Friday, May 24, 2013
Here is the first.
Sometime Charlestonian Anne Bonny (8 March 1702 – 22 April 1782) was a pirate. As a girl she moved with her family from Ireland to Charleston, SC, where she was noted as a “good catch” in the marriage department but earned a reputation for her notorious temper, on one occasion stabbing a family servant with a table knife. Over the objections of her family she married a sailor, whom she soon abandoned. Much of what we know of her time in the Caribbean is from the Dutch book, A General History of the Pyrates, from the early 1700s, which includes the one and only contemporary portrait of of Bonny:
Skilled in combat, Bonny, Mary Read and one unknown pirate were the last to remain to fight and defend Rackham's ship aginst attack in 1720, as Rackham's remaining crew were simply too drunk to fight. The crew were tried as criminals; Read and Bonny “pleaded their bellies” and were excused from execution because they were pregnant. Bonny visited Rackham in his cell and reportedly uttered that she was “sorry to see him there, but if he had fought like a Man, he need not have been hang'd like a Dog."
It is unknown what she did upon being released-- return to her husband, resume piracy under a new identity-- but most likely her well-connected father secured her release and she returned to Charleston to give birth, presumably to Rackham's child. In 1721 she married a local man, Joseph Burleigh, and they had 10 children. She died “a respectable woman,” at the age of eighty.
(This is going to be for sale as a print at the Farmer's Market and on my Etsy site very soon. Hint, hint.)