Search results for stede

A Pirate’s Life Was His, Stede Bonnet’s

An engraving of Stede Bonnet from Charles Johnson’s A General History of the Pyrates.

On September 27, 1718, Colonel William Rhett captured the so-called “Gentleman Pirate” Stede Bonnet, after a six-hour battle near the headland of the Cape Fear River.

Born into a well-off British family and educated in England, Bonnet advanced in the army to major before leaving the service and moving to Barbados. There he and his wife established a prosperous sugar plantation, the image of wealthy respectability to neighbors.

In 1717, with no apparent explanation, he bought a sloop, named it the Revenge and took up piracy, even though he’d never been a sailor.

Bonnet enjoyed early success as a pirate. He plundered ships up and down the coasts of Virginia and New England, torching all those from Barbados. However, his crew, far more seasoned sailors than Bonnet, grew agitated under his command. He suffered his first major setback when he met Blackbeard, who made Bonnet a virtual prisoner and put another man in charge of the Revenge.

Blackbeard and Bonnet parted company near Bath, and Bonnet sought clemency from then royal Governor Charles Eden. Eden granted Bonnet permission to try and secure commission as a privateer.

A portrait of Rhett by Charles Fraser.

While attempting to become a privateer, Bonnet discovered that Blackbeard had abandoned the Revenge. He renamed the ship and returned to piracy before being cornered by Rhett.

He was executed several months after his capture.

Visit: The North Carolina Maritime Museum in Southport tells the story of Bonnet and other pirates that operated in the Lower Cape Fear.

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For more about North Carolina’s history, arts and culture, visit Cultural Resources online. To receive these updates automatically each day, subscribe by email using the box on the right and follow us on FacebookTwitter and Pinterest.

Until He Be Dead: The End of Stede Bonnet

The hanging of Stede Bonnet

On December 10, 1718, Stede Bonnet, the “Gentleman Pirate,” was hanged in South Carolina. An unlikely buccaneer, Bonnet was born in 1688 in Barbados, orphaned at a young age and inherited a sizable plantation. By 1715, Bonnet was married and held the rank of major in the militia. In 1717, he gave up his life among the Barbadian planter elite, deserting his family to become a pirate.

Instead of capturing a vessel, Bonnet launched his pirating career in the way in which he was accustomed to doing business—he purchased and armed a ship and hired a crew. Bonnet was known to have been in league with Blackbeard on occasion—including during the siege of Charleston’s harbor. Despite his pardon by Gov. Charles Eden, Bonnet returned to piracy, establishing a base near modern-day Southport.

The state of South Carolina, responding to the piratical threat to the colony, sent a ship north in search of pirates. A fierce battle took place in September 1718—the largest and bloodiest of the pirate conflicts in the colony’s waters. Members of the captured crew were executed in Charleston, effectively ending the “Golden Age of Piracy” in North Carolina.

Other related resources:

For more about North Carolina’s history, arts and culture, visit Cultural Resources online. To receive these updates automatically each day, subscribe by email using the box on the right and follow us on FacebookTwitter and Pinterest.

Stede Bonnet, the “Gentleman Pirate,” Was Hanged in South Carolina

Stede BonnetOn December 10, 1718, Stede Bonnet, the “Gentleman Pirate,” was hanged in South Carolina. An unlikely buccaneer, Bonnet was born in 1688 in Barbados, orphaned at a young age and inherited a sizable plantation. By 1715, Bonnet was married and held the rank of major in the militia. In 1717, he gave up his life among the Barbadian planter elite, deserting his family to become a pirate.

Instead of capturing a vessel, Bonnet launched his pirating career in the way in which he was accustomed to doing business—he purchased and armed a ship and hired a crew. Bonnet was known to have been in league with Blackbeard on occasion—including during the siege of Charleston’s harbor. Despite his pardon by Gov. Charles Eden, Bonnet returned to piracy, establishing a base near modern-day Southport.

The state of South Carolina, responding to the piratical threat to the colony, sent a ship north in search of pirates. A fierce battle took place on Sept. 27, 1718—the largest and bloodiest of pirate conflicts in the colony’s waters. Members of the captured crew were executed in Charleston, effectively ending the “Golden Age of Piracy” in North Carolina.

Other related resources:

For more about North Carolina’s history, arts and culture, visit Cultural Resources online. To receive these updates automatically each day, subscribe by email using the box on the right and follow us on FacebookTwitter and Pinterest.

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