In Part II of The Golden Age of Piracy, we’re taking a look at:
- Captain Thomas Tew
- Captain Henry Avery (Every)
- Samuel Bellamy and his BFF Paulsgrave Williams
- Benjamin Hornigold
- Stede Bonnet
- Edward Thatch (Teach) – AKA: Blackbeard
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Captain Thomas Tew
Captain Thomas Tew was an American colonist, born in Newport, Rhode Island. By 1692, Captain Tew was a successful privateer for England, but since England and Spain were at peace yet again, privateers weren’t as high in demand anymore.
Some men from the Crown Colony of Bermuda asked Tew to head up a mum’s the word privateering adventure. But before his ship could set sail, he wanted to make sure the Amity had its letters of marque.
The Amity went in December 1692 in the direction of Africa. At least, that’s what Tew and the guys behind the venture told everyone. Instead, Tew was heading towards India, but first he had to 1. Tell his crew and 2. His crew had to vote on it. The crew voted yes.
The unknowing target: the Mogul Empire, the rulers of which were Muslim. And unfortunately, the ships were the opposite of fast, and the sailors on board those ships didn’t have the skillset the European sailors did.
As soon as Tew’s ship made it into the Indian Ocean in April 1693, they were on the hunt. They hunted and searched and hoped every day to catch a prize worthy of the trip. And then…they hit paydirt. A huge ship full of treasures: spices, silks, and most importantly, over 100,000 pounds in gold and silver coins.
A year later Captain Tew and the Amity made port back home in Newport, Rhode Island. And then in November 1694, another privateering green light in hand, Captain Tew and his crew set off again for the Indian Ocean.
In September 1695, a ship caught Tew’s eye. Bad news: this ship put up a fight. Worse news: Captain Thomas Tew died as a result. Tew was buried at sea by his crew. He may have died without getting to enjoy a life of luxury like he planned, but his story lived on. And continued to inspire the future pirates of the world.
Captain Henry Avery was born near Plymouth, England and basically lived his entire life out on the ocean. First he was a sailor on merchant ships, then he joined the Royal Navy when England and France were at war with each other in 1688.
And as he served on various ships, he experienced the joys that drove men to piracy: physical abuse, harsh punishments, shitty food, and little to no paychecks. So in the spring of 1693 he signed on as a first mate for the Charles II, which was heading to the Caribbean as part of a four ship mission to trade with the Spanish colonies and steal from French ships.
The Spanish were the ones footing the bill, except they didn’t pay the crew at all by the time spring rolled around in 1694. The Charles II was docked at a port in Spain, and the captain, one Mr. Charles Gibson, didn’t do a thing about it.
Avery was 40 years old and an incredibly skilled sailor. Unlike many of his fellow sailors, he could read and write and had a talent for strategy, math, and navigation. Add all of this to the fact that he was respected and liked by his crew, and it was the perfect recipe for a mutiny.
Avery went and had a chat with Gibson. Avery gave him a choice. Stay, be a part of their plan, and remain in control of the ship or return to port in a boat. Gibson and the guys who didn’t want to join in chose option 2. The Charles II became the Fancy.
Avery headed to the Indian Ocean, the same hunting grounds that Captain Tew made famous. On his way there he met up with two American pirate ships, heading to the same place. They joined forces. With this arrangement Avery was the pirate in charge of everyone.
Finally, in August 1695, the pirates arrived. A huge prize was heading their way in the form of the Great Mogul’s ships, full to the brim with treasure. Two more ships from the American colonies appeared and one of them was the Amity. They all teamed up.
The Amity was the first ship to catch up to the Mogul’s vessels and this was the moment where Captain Thomas Tew died. The Amity pulled back as a result, but the Fancy pulled right in. This time the Mogul’s ship was no match for Avery, and they knew it. Instead of fighting they surrendered.
Avery’s crew boarded the ship and found gold and silver – 50,000 pounds worth. But there was still another prize out there. A larger ship was within sight, so Avery and his men went after it.
The Fancy raised Avery’s flag as a sign that the ship needed to surrender. When the ship didn’t give an answer one way or the other, they raised the red. No quarter. Into battle both ships went, for two long hours apparently. When the battle was finally over, Avery’s crew were the clear winners.
The treasures taken from ship #2 included ivory, jewels, gold and silver (500,000 pieces worth), and expensive fabrics. Once they were almost 2500 miles away from the scene of the crime, they stopped at the island of Bourbon and divided the spoils.
The regular crew got 1000+ pounds each – aka one share – while Avery received two shares. Which was the usual for a pirate crew. Then the ships went their separate ways. The Fancy sailed off to the Caribbean, ending its journey in the Bahamas, which had yet to become the famous pirate haven it would be known for.
By the time Avery and his crew reached Nassau, Avery was a famous and well known pirate. Stories were already starting to spread all across Europe. Avery paid off the governor for safe passage into Nassau, pretending they were a slave trading vessel. Naturally, he also gave a fake name. And then, he even offered to hand over the Fancy, sans cargo.
While the rest of the European world was wondering “where in the world is Henry Avery,” and trying to hunt him down, he had his feet up in one of the king’s own colonies. He palled around for a bit, but what he really wanted was to sit back and enjoy his riches, and Nassau was not the place he wanted to do it in.
A bunch of his crew set up shop in Nassau. A second group bought a ship and headed back to England. Group number three decided to journey to Charleston, South Carolina. And Avery’s group purchased a ship and left Nassau. The Sea Flower, as the ship was named, was on its way to Ireland.
In June 1696, Avery and company arrived in County Donegal, Ireland, where they parted ways. 8 of Avery’s crew eventually ended up in prison, and 5 of them were hanged in London in November 1696. As for Avery, well, when he and his crew parted ways, he was never heard from again.
Samuel Bellamy, Paulsgrave Williams, and a Pinch of Benjamin Hornigold
Samuel Bellamy and Paulsgrave Williams’s stories are pretty intertwined with each other. It’s not known how the two of them teamed up, but team up they did. In 1715 they weren’t pirates yet, just two guys trying to find treasure.
Months before they set out, a bunch of Spanish ships were taken out by a hurricane near Florida, laden with gold and silver. Their goal was to find and take some of that gold and silver for themselves, with Bellamy as the captain.
When they made it to the scene of the shipwrecks in January 1716, they discovered they weren’t the only ones there. The Spanish were there, to reclaim what was theirs. Ships from various other countries had also already come and gone.
Bellamy and Williams turned to piracy. They were able to get their hands on two canoes that were faster than their ship. And they used their ship as payment for the canoes. Then they teamed up with Henry Jennings, another famous pirate captain from the Golden Age.
They went after the St. Marie, a French merchant vessel near Cuba. Bellamy, Williams, and their crew were the ones in charge of getting the captain of the St. Marie to surrender, and they did it all from their canoes. Naked as the day they were born, except for all of their weapons.
Jennings then stepped in and forced the St. Marie’s sailors to tell him where they hid all their coins – also known as pieces of eight, 30,000 pieces to be exact. But there was another ship in the area, the Marianne, and Jennings wanted it.
While Jennings was off on his wild pirate chase, Bellamy and Williams took the opportunity that Jennings left open. They stole the coins and off they went.
Bellamy and Williams came across Benjamin Hornigold afterwards, another very famous pirate. Hornigold was also British. He started out as a privateer during the War of the Spanish Succession before turning pirate at the end of the war. It’s thanks to Hornigold and his friends that Nassau became the pirate haven that it was.
In 1713 they arrived in Nassau and claimed it for themselves. Hornigold and his buddies were known as the “Flying Gang.” Unlike other pirates, who threw off the yoke of their mother country once they pledged their lives to the black, Hornigold stayed loyal to Great Britain. He did not attack British ships. Period.
Which is why Bellamy and Williams didn’t stay with him for long. They did join up with Hornigold at first though, at which point Bellamy became the Marianne’s captain. Not long after this they made even more friends. Captain Olivier Levasseur, nicknamed La Buse (aka The Buzzard), joined the pirate party. He was also a privateer turned pirate.
Hornigold’s refusal to attack British ships was becoming a problem. La Buse and Bellamy saw British ships the same way they saw French and Spanish ships: ripe for the taking. So they parted ways, after a vote removed Hornigold as the boss and replaced him with Bellamy.
Hornigold and his loyal crew were able to leave on his own ship. Off he went to Nassau, while La Buse, Bellamy, Williams, and almost 200 pirates went looking for more prizes. In November 1716 they took a British merchant vessel as a prize, the Sultana. Paulsgrave Williams became the captain of the Marianne while Bellamy took command of the Sultana.
Soon enough La Buse and his crew struck out on their own. In April 1717 Bellamy and Williams captured a very nice prize, the Whydah, a British slave ship. Instead of going out in a blaze of glory, Captain Prince surrendered. The Whydah was filled to the brim with gold, silver, sugar, indigo. In addition to the loot, the pirates also took the Whydah.
Bellamy and Williams decided to return to New England. So they left the Caribbean behind and headed north. Unluckily for them, their ships were separated by a thick fog. Bellamy figured they’d all just meet up near Maine as scheduled.
That wasn’t going to stop them from trying to take as many prizes as they could between along the way. One of the ships they captured was the Ann Galley, which Bellamy kept. It was going to be used as a moving, floating warehouse.
At the same time, Williams and the Marianne were doing the same thing. Sailing north, hunting prizes, and hoping to meet up with Bellamy later on. Since the Marianne was a smaller ship Williams couldn’t just attack any old ship. He finally spotted one that fit the bill, the Tryal, which surrendered.
Then there was a really bad storm off the coast of Long Island, where Williams was. Instead of trying to fight through it or outrun it, the Marianne found cover. Bellamy on the other hand, had no idea what was coming. He was still near Cape Cod, where things were much calmer.
The Whydah was having a pretty successful run of it. The pirates had captured a ship – the Mary Anne – at the same time Paulsgrave Williams and his men were taking shelter from the storm. And then came another thick fog, like the one that separated the Whydah from the Mary Anne.
This time around Bellamy made sure his three ships were right next to each other. Bellamy had the ships come to a complete stop. But a heavy storm was rolling in and pushing the ships in the direction of land. To make matters worse, the ships started separating from one another.
The pirates tasked with taking care of the Mary Anne were getting closer and closer to land. The sailors of the Mary Anne and the pirates from the Whydah worked together to run the ship aground, which saved lives.
The sailors of the Ann Galley and the pirates on board her also made a play to save their ship. They dropped all their anchors and hoped they’d hold until the storm was over. When the skies cleared, the Ann Galley was right where she was supposed to be, anchored to the ocean floor.
Then there was the Whydah, which traveled further than the other two ships. Bellamy made the same play as the Ann Galley. The Whydah dropped all anchors and for a moment it looked like it might work. But the ship, and its anchors, were still being pushed towards land by the storm.
On to Plan B: run the Whydah aground. They cut the anchors free and tried to turn the ship around, so they could drive the ship towards the beach bow first. The ship didn’t turn and the stern of the ship collided with land.
The Whydah had become a gruesome shipwreck. Around 160 men were dead. Only two survived the wreck: John Julian, one of Bellamy’s guys from the original canoe crew, and the carpenter, Thomas Davis. The pirate captain Samuel Bellamy, which history knows as Black Sam Bellamy, was dead.
As for the half beached Mary Anne, the survivors were able to get to the beach and thank their lucky stars they were alive. The pirates tried to make a run for it but they were caught by the justice of the peace and were taken to the jail.
The trial started in October 1717 in Boston, but only 8 of the 9 pirates were actually put on trial. John Julian, one of the two survivors from the Whydah, was likely sold into slavery. According to Woodard’s “Republic of Pirates,” he was a native of Central America, one of the Miskito people. This, sadly, was the usual outcome for any black pirates as well.
There were actually two trials, one for the pirates wrecked on the Mary Ann and another for the forced pirate convert, Thomas Davis. All 7 pirates said they were innocent. Only one was declared innocent.
Apparently there was evidence Thomas South had in fact been forced to join the crew. He got to walk. The other 6 pirates were found guilty. Thomas Davis was also found innocent. As for the 6 pirates found guilty, they were all hanged.
After Captain Benjamin Hornigold got the boot, he and 26 of his guys went back to Nassau. Among these men was Edward Thatch, or Teach.
While in Nassau, Hornigold put himself to work. When he wasn’t busy with the Flying Gang or sailing the high seas and capturing ships, he made sure Nassau was ready if the Spanish or British came calling. He had cannons moved to Fort Nassau, ready for use at the first sign of attack.
In the fall of 1716, Hornigold and his men took a very nice ship as a prize. Hornigold and the rest of the island council decided to give it to Edward Thatch, who was to become the biggest, baddest, scariest dude to go a pyrating. He became known by: Blackbeard.
By the time March 1717 rolled around, Blackbeard was one of the most powerful pirate captains in Nassau. At the beginning of April Hornigold and Blackbeard captured the Bonnet. There was an actual chest of gold, and Hornigold decided he’d take the Bonnet, and get rid of his ship.
Things continued to look up when on the way back to Nassau, Hornigold and Blackbeard captured another ship, the Revenge. All in all they plundered £100,000 and solidified the support of their men and Nassau.
Blackbeard was then out on his own for the first time while Hornigold took care of some last minute errands. Hornigold loaded his vessel with some choice items, such as flour and sugar, and headed out to Harbour Island.
Around that time, some very important news reached the island. King George was offering a pardon to all pirates. All’s forgiven, no questions asked. The perfect, bloodless end to piracy. Except, not everyone was thrilled by the news.
Nassau was divided. Pirates like Henry Jennings and Richard Nolan were stoked. Hornigold was still sailing the high seas at this point; however, he was 100% in the pro-pardon camp. This group also included, unsurprisingly, all the guys that were forced into piracy.
The other half of the pirates were quite the opposite of happy. These were the roughest of the rough, those who took pride in flying the black. This group included Paulsgrave Williams, Edward England, Jack Rackham, and Charles Vane, the one leading the anti-pardon faction.
People started packing their bags. They weren’t going to take the pardon, so they might as well cut loose sooner rather than later. Hornigold and many of the pardon seekers decided to stay, but Hornigold went a step further. He sent men to Port Royal to ask for a Royal Navy warship to come to Nassau. There was already a ship on the way from New York.
Captain Vincent Pearse of the HMS Phoenix hopped to once the New York Governor gave the all clear to head to the Bahamas. He set out and arrived in Nassau in February 1718. He sent his lieutenant, Mr. Symonds, ashore with news about the pardon.
Thanks to Hornigold, things ended up a whole lot better than they could have. He offered the pirates a compromise. Option 1: take the pardon. Or option 2: take the pardon for the moment, but do what you want after that. If that included going back to pirating, so be it.
Stede Bonnet wasn’t a sailor. Bonnet was a former major in the Barbados militia, from a well-to-do land owning family, living in Barbados. Apparently, he just decided to become a pirate because his marriage sucked.
After the death of his first child, Stede never really got over it. He had 3 other children, though they weren’t enough to fill that empty hole in his heart. He became depressed, maybe even a little insane.
And so, one day, he decided he was going to become a pirate. His friends and family were not on board. He bought a ship and went into the local taverns to entice people to sign up to be a part of his crew. About 70 people decided to join him. He named his ship the Revenge.
Bonnet weighed anchor and sailed for Nassau. First Bonnet took a slight detour to the Carolinas. On August 26, 1717, the Revenge captured a ship. There wasn’t anything worth stealing. Another ship came by a few hours later.
Unfortunately, the captain of said ship, being from Barbados himself, knew exactly who Stede Bonnet was. He was trying to use the alias of Captain Edwards. Down side: Bonnet wasn’t able to last a day without people figuring out who he was. Plus side: Captain Joseph Palmer’s ship had goods worth money on board.
On to the next hunt. And Bonnet, having absolutely zero experience captaining a ship, had no idea how to rein in his crew. They were already arguing nonstop. Eventually they just headed in the direction of the Straits of Florida.
The Revenge ended up in a fight with a Spanish Warship. There was no way Bonnet’s ship could take on a man-of-war. By the time they realized their only option was to flee, there were several dead or injured, including Bonnet. While Bonnet was possibly dying in his cabin, his crew made for Nassau.
It was at the end of August that the Revenge sailed into Nassau Harbor. No one knew who the ship belonged to. But obviously it was a pirate ship since it flew the black. And then out walked Stede Bonnet, dressed in his expensive robe.
Bonnet was welcome on the island as long as he handed over the Revenge to be used as the pirates saw fit while he was recovering. Specifically used by Blackbeard. All while Bonnet rested in his cabin.
The Blackbeard of legend is a force to be reckoned with. There is a reason Blackbeard became one of, if not the most, terrifying pirate on the open seas. Part of it had to do with where his name came from. He sectioned off portions of his beard and, when capturing a ship, would light hemp cords and place them either under his hat or near his face/beard to look as frightening as possible.
It made people scared. Which made them more likely to surrender. Which meant less bloodshed, loss of his crew, and captured ships remained whole. The other thing behind his reputation was his temper. If sailors knew who he was, they’d surrender more likely than not. If they chose to fight, Blackbeard and his crew could be brutal.
So where’d this dude come from? It’s a mystery. By the time the history books have any mention of him, he was going by the name Edward Thatch or Edward Teach. One of which may be his real name, but again, nothing is sure.
He was a privateer during the War of the Spanish Succession. After the war ended he didn’t want to work one another ship. So instead, he showed up in Nassau in 1715 and joined Hornigold’s crew. The two of them were thick as thieves, and when Stede Bonnet showed up with the Revenge in September 1717, Hornigold thought the ship should go to Blackbeard.
Blackbeard made a plan and shared it with his men. It was time to wage war against the British. Since Bellamy’s death, Blackbeard wanted to cripple the British economically. For as terrifying a reputation as Blackbeard had, he actually wasn’t the biggest fan of just killing because they had the power to do it.
He plundered British ships, looting items like rum, food, jewels, and tools, and then his crew tossed everything else overboard. Without Hornigold to temper him and caution restraint, Blackbeard and his men could do as they liked. One day Blackbeard and his men were just one more pirate crew on the sea, and the next day, they were all anyone could talk about.
In the middle of November they found a prize: La Concorde. A French slave ship. Captain Pierre Dosset was very aware that if his ship was attacked, there would be no fighting back. He and his men had been sailing for 8 months, and it was far from an easy journey.
When Blackbeard’s crew shot some warning cannons, Dosset really tried to get his men up and ready to fight. The men had nothing left in them. Dosset ordered their colors be struck and he surrendered. Blackbeard found himself a new ship, one that could maybe even surpass Bellamy’s Whydah.
Blackbeard took command of La Concorde and renamed it Queen Anne’s Revenge. Stede Bonnet got the Revenge back.
At this point, news of King George’s pardon was spreading. Any pirate could take the offer for the pardon, even if they were in prison. Only caveat: the pirates had a year to take the pardon and only crimes committed before January 5, 1718 were pardonable. This pardon didn’t reach Boston in time. Bellamy’s men were already dead.
At some point Blackbeard returned to Nassau. He was firmly on the anti-pardon side of things. When he learned Woodes Rogers was about to arrive, he had to make a decision. He could stay in Nassau and help Vane fight back, or he could head for the hills. He chose the latter.
Without any outside help, there weren’t enough pirates left in Nassau to successfully fight back. He wasn’t about to die fighting a losing battle. So he figured he’d find a way to get everything he’d ever wanted.
He was going to blockade Charleston. It was May 1718 when they arrived at Charleston. Within a few days, they were able to capture a bunch of ships trying to leave the harbor. On one of them, Blackbeard found himself some valuable hostages, two of whom were Samuel Wragg and his 4 year old son, William. Wragg was a member of the governor’s council.
Blackbeard wanted medicine since members of his crew were sick. There was a two day time limit.
Blackbeard sent two of his men with a Mr. Marks, one of the hostages, into town to deliver the message. They didn’t make it to shore right away; a sudden storm knocked over their boat and toppled them into the water. Two days passed and the message still hadn’t been delivered.
Marks paid the fishermen to go to Blackbeard and ask for an extension. Blackbeard gave the men another two days. And still, the same end result. No news. Blackbeard, though, didn’t lay a hand on the hostages. Instead, he decided to torment the people of Charleston.
When the guys actually made it to Charleston, they split up. Marks went to the governor, and the governor said, “Yes.” The pirates, on the other hand, found the alcohol. The only reason they came back to the land of the sober was because Blackbeard had arrived and the people of Charleston were screaming.
Only then did they let their crew know where they were, which stopped any violence to be. Blackbeard and his crew left with medicine, some rice, about £1,000, clothing taken quite literally off the backs of the well to do men they held hostage, and a newly captured ship.
There were more than 300 men serving under Blackbeard. It made sailing incognito impossible. And by the time prizes were divided up, the shares were nothing but scraps.
So Blackbeard purposefully destroyed Queen Anne’s Revenge. He had his fleet sail into an inlet and made sure his ship ran aground on a shoal. Then Blackbeard gave the Revenge back to Stede Bonnet, who, with his men, left, eager to get themselves a pardon.
The 100ish members of the crew who were in on Blackbeard’s plot then left 16 men on a bank to fend for themselves on an uninhabited island not too far off from the mainland, and another 200 or so were left in Beaufort.
From there, Blackbeard and his men, aboard the Adventure, went to Bath, North Carolina, where Governor Eden, a friend of Blackbeard’s, was offering a pardon. It was an exchange. Blackbeard would keep pyrating, and Eden and company would be his beard and fencer of stolen goods.
When Blackbeard was done with North Carolina, at least for the time being, he and his crew boarded the Adventure and sailed away. Plundering, and looting, and living that pirate life. A much quieter pirate life.
In September 1718, Blackbeard returned one last time to North Carolina, to Ocracoke Island. And then he had one hell of a party that lasted about a week. While Blackbeard chilled and did some business on the side, the people of North Carolina had reached their limit.
With rumors floating about that Blackbeard was on a mission to create a new pirate haven in North Carolina, the people wanted to make sure it never happened. Since they couldn’t ask their Pirate-friendly Governor Eden, they turned to Virginia Governor Alexander Spotswood.
Spotswood worked with the Royal Navy to plan Blackbeard’s capture. He even set a reward for Blackbeard at 100 pounds. Not wanting anyone to know they were coming, Spotswood kept all his thoughts and plans to himself.
So on November 17, two ships set a course for Ocracoke and arrived on November 21. Lieutenant Robert Maynard was in charge of the H.M.S. Pearl and a man by the name of Baker was in charge of the H.M.S. Lyme, with Maynard leading the charge.
Unfortunately, Blackbeard knew they were coming. His friend Tobias Knight, who worked in customs, heard what Spotswood was up to and sent word. Blackbeard did absolutely nothing except drink well into the morning.
Then the morning came, and it was a different story. That’s when Blackbeard decided it was time to move. He tried to sail away, but not even the Adventure could speed away when there was barely any current or wind.
Baker, in the H.M.S. Lyme, was able to close the distance between his ship and Blackbeard. Sadly, Baker and many of his men died when Blackbeard turned the Adventure to let loose his cannons. Blackbeard couldn’t really get away after that since the wind had completely died down, but that also worked against Maynard. His men had to resort to using the oars.
They worked hard and were soon close enough that Blackbeard was able to let off another barrage of cannon fire. Most of Maynard’s men were down, 21 out of 35.
The rest of his crew went belowdecks to hide, pistols at the ready. Maynard, the helmsman, and the pilot stayed where they were, hiding from view. When the H.M.S. Pearl was side by side with the Adventure, Blackbeard’s men threw grenades onto the deck of the Pearl. Since Maynard’s men were down below, it didn’t matter. But it did give them the perfect smoke cover to come out from their hiding place and attack Blackbeard’s men.
And so the fight began. Maynard and Blackbeard aimed their pistols at each other, point-blank range. Blackbeard missed, Maynard didn’t. The bullet hit his body, but Blackbeard didn’t go down. Just when Blackbeard and Maynard were about to kill each other, one of Maynard’s crewmen cut Blackbeard’s throat. Still he didn’t go down.
Maynard shot him again, this time in the chest. That just seemed to make Blackbeard angry. Apparently, he was shot five more times and cut at least 20 times by Maynard’s crewmen before Blackbeard finally fell.
With Blackbeard dead, his men surrendered. Maynard chopped off Blackbeard’s head and hung it up on his ship like a really grotesque trophy. The body, though, he dumped into the water. That was a win for the British.
While Blackbeard’s death put a damper on things in Nassau, so too did Stede Bonnet’s end. Apparently, after the two of them parted ways, Bonnet was not happy. Blackbeard had taken all the treasure. So he spent his time searching for Blackbeard. No dice, moving on. But he didn’t want to return home. Or return to piracy.
Plan C: go to Denmark and become a privateer. His crew was on board. Some of them anyway. A new quartermaster was elected and he decided that they needed to hunt some prizes to replenish what Blackbeard took. They renamed the ship the Royal James to hide their identities a bit. Bonnet wasn’t a fan of becoming a pirate again.
He told his crew to call him Captain Ewards or Captain Thomas, which didn’t always work. Another idea he came up with: paying the sailors on the vessels they took. Because then they were businessmen, not outlaws. Some of Bonnet’s crew, who also liked having pardons, ran away when they got a chance. For some reason, Bonnet didn’t.
On September 27, 1718 two pirate hunters out of South Carolina, led by Colonel William Rhett, found the pirates near Cape Fear. The pirates were outmanned and outgunned, but into battle they all went. And the pirates lost. Bonnet survived the fight, was arrested, and imprisoned.
And then he escaped on October 24. But he didn’t get away. William Rhett recaptured him on November 8 and then he was tried for piracy on November 12. Verdict: guilty. Which shouldn’t come as a shock. On December 10, 1718 Stede Bonnet was hanged by the neck until dead.
*Photos: All photos used in this post are taken from The Library of Congress Archives and WikiCommons and are in the Public Domain.
*Music: Initial classical piece that’s a part of the intro is Concerto for 2 Oboes in F Major Op9 no3, 3 Allegro by Advent Chamber Orchestra under the Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.*
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