Street Address
43 Middle Street
Portsmouth, NH 03802-0728
Mailing Address
PO Box 728
Portsmouth, NH 03802-0728
May 1st - October 31
Daily11 AM - 5 PM
Special Event Rental
Group Tours
Stephanie Seacord, Director of marketing
phone: 603-772-1835


John Paul Jones, colonial America’s first sea warrior, was a tenant of the Widow Purcell in this house in 1781 while he supervised the building of the Navy’s ship America nearby. Though he loved Portsmouth, he left New Hampshire in 1782 never to return. His house is now the museum of Portsmouth men, women and children, where their stories live.

The Garden

The Society is working to restore the Garden of the John Paul Jones House to Samuel Lord’s 1859 diagram of the landscape. The pathways were recreated in the fall of 2004 with the proper foundation and top layer of clamshells... Sod taken from the pathway was placed near the foundation of the house. Overgrown bushes and old yew trees have been removed or trimmed. The 1,000 tulip bulbs planted then are now a lovely frame of color for the lawn.

Our gardens are a community effort. Thanks to the many businesses, the City, the Navy, Portsmouth Garden Club, UNH PrOVES, Forestry Center, Tree Stewards and Board members who volunteer their time month after month to keep our gardens beautiful.


The house known today as the John Paul Jones house was built in 1758 for Gregory Purcell, a sea captain and merchant. When built, the house was considered to be at the edge of downtown and was amongst only a handful of stately three story homes in the city.

The house is a fine example of Georgian architecture with its gambrel roof and symmetrical five bay fronts. Its interior, with some of the original Georgian heavy molding, panels and carved woodwork intact, features two rooms on each side of a central hall and staircase. One of the front parlors provides a good example of changes in architectural taste during the federal period when it was remodeled. This room contains the classical thin lines popular during the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century.

The house has been known as the John Paul Jones House for several generations. Jones (1747-92), the celebrated naval hero of the American Revolution, spent time in Portsmouth in 1777 and again in 1781-82. He is believed to have rented a room in this house during 1777, when the widow of Gregory Purcell was operating a boarding house here. There is a wide range of material on Jones available in print and online; a helpful introduction to his life and career appears on the website.


The Portsmouth Historical Society has operated the house as a museum since 1920.


Group tours

Group tours are welcomed although reservations are requested. A maximum of 60 people can be accommodated at one time. Tours may be guided or self-directed; $5 per person for groups of fewer than 20 and $4 per person for groups of more than 20. Contact the Curator/Manager to make your reservation by phone (603-436-8420)

Functions and Special Events

The beautiful grounds of the John Paul Jones House, and its charming carriage house, are available for function rental. We would be happy to discuss the possibilities with you. For preservation reasons, we cannot host functions inside the museum itself. For more information, please contact the Curator/Manager at the John Paul Jones House by phone (603-436-8420).

Special Event Rental

Group Tours