Jonathan Meredith was born in Bucks County, PA, about 1772. He enlisted in the Marine Corps 6 June 1803 and was promoted sergeant 1 August of the same year.

During an engagement at Tripoli 3 August 1805, Sergeant Meredith saved the life of Lt. John Trippe of Vixen, who with a party of nine men had boarded a Tripolitan ship. Heavily outnumbered, the boarding party fought a fierce hand-to-hand combat, in which Trippe was severely wounded; Meredith protected him from what would have been the final blow.

Four days later, Meredith was killed in the explosion of Gunboat No. 3 during a similar attack against the Tripolitans.