Friday, September 18, 2015

Captain Kidd, pirate


Captain Kidd
Captain William Kidd was born in Dundee, Scotland, however, resided in Massachusetts where he owned a large house.  and started out as a privateer.  Privateers were not pirates, but licensed fortune hunters for various countries and dominions.  During the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries, spanish galleons were on the high seas seeking treasure, most in South America.  A major plunder was Brazil where they took a lot of gold from the local indians.  We all know the history.  Meanwhile, other countries and monarchs were game for attacking pirates and other vessels which hauled treasure from the caribbean to Africa.    Thus, they hired their own pirates to take the plunder from the vessels.  The idea was that the treasure would be split amongst the captain and his crew, with the larger portion going to the monarch.

In 1699, William Kidd, possessing his Letters of Marque, commenced his treasure hunt, spending several years attempting to find treasure.  But Kidd had bad luck and when he did not return with it, he was branded a pirate. Thus, the hunt began to find Captain Kidd.  He was known to be on Madagascar, the island of the pirates.located in the Indian Ocean.  Some of his troubles were recorded in affidavits filed by members of his crew in Charleston, South Carolina.  (Another reason to read the old colonial wills, estates and documents of Charleston).  History records that while in Newgate prison he attempted to obtain a release by offering to show officials where his treasure was buried. The authorities did not take him up on it because he was hanged on May 3, 1701 at Execution Dock in Wapping, United Kingdom.  The name of his vessel was Adventure Galley, which was scuttled and sunk near Madagascar.

Privateers sailed the Atlantic Ocean to the West Indies and were seen off the coasts of New England, Charleston, South Carolina and Beaufort, North Carolina.  This is the sort of history which one discovers by researching county records.  The oldest American seaport cities provide their bounty in documents such as wills, estates, inventories, receipts, sales, affidavits, and deeds.  Because our ancestors were the living authorities of history, to find the name of one's ancestor is not enough. We must explore the records and study up on some written history as well.  There is history is just about every old record which you can find, from political correspondence and State Papers to church records.  The records of some of the oldest cities survived, like Charleston, S. C. and Savannah, Georgia.  During the 17th and 18th centuries these were major ports and just about everyone ventured there at one time or the other.  Here is where to start gathering information:
Georgia Pioneers
South Carolina Pioneers
Virginia Pioneers


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