Apparently the Flying Dutchman is believed to be a Dutch man-of-war seen in clouds around the Cape of Good Hope.

According to Wikipedia, the origin of Davy Jones is even more vague.

So, my question is what is the first sci-fi and fantasy novel, novella or story that mentions Davy Jones. A simple mention of Davy Jones' Locker is not what I am looking for (since that appears to have been an idiom used for the bottom of the sea). Davy Jones himself must be mentioned.

In order to clarify:

  • The work should be considered as sci-fi and/or fantasy.
  • It must mention Davy Jones.

I am not looking for any non-sci-fi work that mentions Davy Jones as a bedtime story, however, feel free to mention them in the comments.

  • 7
    POTC is fantasy. So is Davy Jones. You seems to be looking for the origin of the name in literature, so necessitating "sci-fi" is likely to give you no results. I answered the question assuming that this was a simple genre confusion. But either way, please provide clarification.
    – amflare
    Commented Jun 11, 2018 at 17:52
  • 3
    I don't see what is unclear. I am not looking for the origin of Davy Jones, I am looking for the first sci-fi work that contains Davy Jones as a character.
    – user65648
    Commented Jun 11, 2018 at 18:09
  • 3
    It is unclear, because you reference fantasy but ask for sci fi.
    – JohnP
    Commented Jun 11, 2018 at 18:16
  • 7
    I don’t understand what Davy Jones has to do with the Flying Dutchman. They’re two completely different legends. That’s like asking about Paul Bunyan and Atlantis.
    – Broklynite
    Commented Jun 12, 2018 at 9:30
  • 2
    Why do you mention the Flying Dutchman then?
    – mmmmmm
    Commented Jun 12, 2018 at 9:57

2 Answers 2


The earliest reference that I can find to Davy Jones as an individual, is in the works "The Adventures of Peregrine Pickle", written by a Scottish author Tobias Smollet, and published in 1751.

The reference can be found in Google Books, with the following passage:

"By the Lord! Jack, you may say what you wool; but I'll be damned if it was not Davy Jones himself: I know him by his saucer-eyes, his three rows of teeth, his horns and tail, and the blue smoak that came out of his nostrils. What does the black-guard, hell's baby want with me? I'm sure I never committed murder, except in the way of my profession, nor wronged any man whatsomever since I first went to sea." This same Davy Jones, according to the mythology of sailors, is the fiend that presides over all the evil spirits of the deep...

This mentions Davy Jones in a specific context of the legend, as a devil and demon of the sea, and in charge of fiends which would be fantastical in nature.

Addendum - The website Marine Insight states that the first reference is actually "The Four Years Voyage of Capt. George Roberts", published in 1726. I found a scanned copy on archive.org, I haven't found the specific reference yet, and it appears that it was a reference to the Davy Jones' locker.

  • 21
    "The black-guard, hell's baby" is my new favorite infult. Commented Jun 11, 2018 at 18:46
  • Turns out it's on page 89
    – Matt
    Commented Jun 12, 2018 at 8:31
  • 3
    Wait. Tobias Smollett? Was the captain in Treasure Island named after him, by any chance?
    – Rand al'Thor
    Commented Jun 12, 2018 at 10:06
  • @Rand al'Thor I have supposed that to be case case, and on note 51 on page 211 here it is suggested as a possibility. books.google.com/… Commented Jun 13, 2018 at 2:39
  • @M.A.Golding I've gone ahead and posted a question about it.
    – Rand al'Thor
    Commented Jun 13, 2018 at 10:43

I'd argue that "Davy Jones' Locker" is a reference to Davy Jones given that it is a possessive.

But to answer your question, Davy Jones, as an entity separate from Locker identification, seems to be first spoken of in written literature in Edgar Allan Poe's short story King Pest (1835) wherein a character names Death as Davy Jones. Or, as Graham points out in a comment, disputes the name/identity of "that unearthly sovereign"

by so doing to advance not more our own designs than the true welfare of that unearthly sovereign whose reign is over us all, whose dominions are unlimited, and whose name is 'Death.'

"Whose name is Davy Jones!" ejaculated Tarpaulin, helping the lady by his side to a skull of liqueur, and pouring out a second for himself.
King Pest - Edgar Allan Poe

  • 5
    Apparently, Davy Jones' Locker is an idiom used for the bottom of the sea, so any book on sailors can contain that phrase without going any deeper. That is why I specifically wanted to omit the work that only refers to Davy Jones' Locker. You have my upvote by the way, your answer satisfies my question perfectly. Alas, I cannot verify it right now, so I'll accept it at a later date.
    – user65648
    Commented Jun 11, 2018 at 18:12
  • 1
    I'd like to see more context, but that seems more like him calling bullshit on the first person than agreeing, in the same way as they'd say "the devil you say!"
    – Graham
    Commented Jun 11, 2018 at 19:43

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