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Pirate Imagery in the Rare Book Collection – Day 2

We are all gearing up for Pirates Pack the Park this weekend at The Mariners’ Museum and so I thought I’d share some of the Pirate treasures we have in the Library for each day leading up to the big event.

In The Pirates Own Book or authentic narratives of the lives, exploits, and executions of the most celebrated sea robbers, I’ll be sharing some of the illustrations and bits of history that still make the pirates from long ago so intriguing.

Here’s two for today:

Captain Roberts’ crew carousing at Old Calabar River.
Read about Captain Roberts and you’ll find out about his many tales of marauding, but in this book, you will learn of one way that pirates came across so much alcohol.
Captain Bartholomew Roberts was introduced to the pirate life in 1719 when he was taken by the pirate Davis off of the Guinea Coast. From there he began capturing vessel after vessel, taking their goods and seizing, burning or sinking their ships. From Surinam to the Barbadoes and Tobago, Captain Roberts was a skilled pirate. In one case, he knew of a Dutch custom where you are to hoist your jack in order to signify that you wish to trade with the inhabitants of an island. Knowing this signal, many flocked to Captain Roberts with the hopes of a good trade only to find that his intent was to take their goods and destroy the vessel.
This quote is great because it summarizes the success of his exploits well: “Roberts and his crew were so fortunate as to capture several vessels and to render their liquor so plentiful, that it was esteemed a crime against Providence not to be continually drunk” (page 92).

Gibbs and Wansley burying the Money
Instead of being robbed of your goods by Captain Roberts, some pirates buried their valuables.
Charles Gibbs was an “atrocious and cruel pirate” who once boarded the brig Vineyard as one of the crew. With William Thornby as Captain the crew was set to sail from New Orleans to Philadelphia with a wealth of cargo. It sounds pretty like a pretty ordinary voyage… Up until five days into the voyage when Gibbs heard about the 54,000 dollars in specie that was on board . With this information, he conspired with three other crew members, killed the captain and mate and overhauled the vessel.
The next day, they divided several kegs of the specie ($5,000 each), made bags and sewed the money shut. At a location about 15 miles S. S. E. of Southampton Light, they got into their boats with the money, scuttled and set fire to the vessel. Gibbs learned that the money belonged to Stephen Girard, went on the shore of Brown Island and buried the money very lightly in the sand… They were eventually tried and Gibbs was sentenced to death by public hanging for piracy and murder.
If you want to celebrate with your crew Captain Roberts-style, come on out, have a refreshment, and see what’s going on at The Mariners’ Museum Pirates Pack the Park event on Saturday, September 21, 2013 from 10am – 5pm.
I don’t think that there will be any buried bags of money, but free admission to the PPP event is just as good nowadays.
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