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About GregF

  • Rank
    Deck Hand
  • Birthday November 29

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  • Gender
  • Location
    Boston MA
  • Interests
    Piracy, maritime history, sailing, exploration
  1. On this day in history...

    I always found the stories about Julian fascinating, too. I wrote a short post and guest column for the Cape Cod Times recently about Julian and the shipwreck of the Whydah ---
  2. On this day in history...

    Great posts, William. Related to above -- also taken from the Greyhound by Edward Low on that day was Charles Harris, who was likely not forced and soon after joined Low's crew. Harris went on to become a quartermaster under Low and was in command of the pirate ship Ranger in June 1723, when it was captured by a British warship (ironically, also called the Greyhound) after a brutal twelve-hour battle at sea. Charles Harris was one of twenty-six convicted pirates who were hanged in July 1723 along the shoreline of Newport, Rhode Island.
  3. On this day in history...

    Great post on the Boston execution of the Whydah survivors. I had not remembered that was today! A few months ago, I wrote a piece for the Cape Cod Times on another of the survivors (not convicted) you mention, John Julian --
  4. On this day in history...

    On September 5, 1722, Marblehead fisherman Nicholas Merritt and nine other men, most of them forced captives like Merritt, escaped from the pirate Edward Low and his crew. Merritt and the other men had been sent aboard the sloop Thomas and James, which was taken near at the Isle of Maio, one of the southernmost of the Cape Verde Islands. In the early morning, “a little after break of day,” on Thursday, September 5, the captives set a course away from Low's other two pirate vessels -- Merritt later said “we hailed close upon a wind and stood away” -- and the men aboard the sloop were able to slip away. On September 26, they arrived at Saint Michael in the Azores. Unfortunately, the men were suspected of being pirates themselves, despite the fact that they had just intentionally escaped from Low's crew, and were placed in jail. Merritt was held until June of 1723, when he finally secured passage back to Boston.
  5. On this day in history...

    On August 31 1724, the British warship HMS Diamond, cruising in the Bay of Honduras near modern Belize, battled and nearly destroyed two pirate vessels under the command of Francis Spriggs A quick summary here:
  6. On this day in history...

    On August 29, 1723, a young fisherman on his first voyage at sea was captured by a small pirate crew off the coast of present-day Canada. That fisherman was John Fillmore, who would become the great-grandfather of the future U.S. president, Millard Fillmore. The pirate crew was under the command of a man named John Phillips. Phillips and four other men had been part of a fishing crew working near Newfoundland when, only days before, they deserted their captain in a stolen schooner and set out as pirates. John Fillmore would sail as a captive aboard Phillips’ ship for eight months. Phillips nearly sliced Fillmore’s head off with a sword at one point and threatened to kill him at another, but Fillmore and several other captives were ultimately able to stage one of the most successful uprisings in the history of Atlantic piracy. My new post on Fillmore here:
  7. On this day in history...

    Very interesting about the search for one of Morgan's ships off the coast of Panama. I had not heard about Frederick Hanselmann or his efforts.
  8. On this day in history...

    Very interesting about the search for one of Morgan's ships off the coast of Panama. I had not heard about Frederick Hanselmann or his efforts.
  9. On this day in history...

    June 19, 1723 -- On this day, 26 convicted pirates from the crew of the pirate captain Edward Low were hanged in Newport, RI -- one of the largest mass executions in American history. One of Low’s two sloops, under the command of Charles Harris, had been captured by the HMS Greyhound in June. Exactly one week after their trial in Newport, the condemned men were hanged. Their bodies were buried across the harbor on Goat Island. My description of the executions:
  10. What are you reading right now ?

    Sound advice, Jas. Hook! The young pirate captive Philip Ashton was in a tough spot with no shoes. I've posted some photos on my web site of the island of Roatan, which show the jungle-like environment Ashton had to navigate in bare feet....
  11. On this day in history...

    On July 12, 1726, William Fly and several other convicted pirates were executed in Boston. At the trial a week before, Fly and three other men -- Samuel Cole, Henry Greenville, and George Condick -- were convicted. On July 12, all but Condick were executed before a large crowd in Boston Harbor near the mouth of the Charles River. Condick, a “drunken, ignorant fellow who served as ship’s cook,” was granted a last-minute reprieve at the gallows. Later that same day, several men steered a boat out of Boston Harbor. The wooden craft rode low in the water, weighted down by its cargo. Their destination was Nixes Mate Island, a small patch of land less than six miles from Boston. Today, Nixes Mate Island is little more than a mound of rocks capped by a cone-shaped harbor marker with black and white stripes. But in July 1726, before much of the slate on Nixes Mate had been dug up, there was more to the patch of land. The men were headed there in a boat loaded with the corpses of the three executed pirates. Two of the pirates, Cole and Greenville, were buried. But Fly was hung in chains on the small harbor island to rot, a gruesome symbol of the pirates that sailed the Atlantic during this bloody era. A picture of Nixes Mate Island as it looks today on my web site:
  12. GAOP Essential Reading List

    I'll have to get a copy. Looks great.
  13. GAOP Essential Reading List

    Nice cover!
  14. On this day in history...

    Great post on William Fly! A few months back, I posted a pic of Nixes Mate Island in Boston Harbor, where Fly was hanged in chains following his execution...
  15. On this day in history...

    On the morning of June 10, 1723, just before the break of dawn, a British warship stationed out of New York spotted two sloops sailing less than 50 miles south of Long Island. The captain of the warship, Peter Solgard, was all but certain the sloops were trouble -- he had been told by a sea captain three days earlier that they were pirate ships under the command of a notoriously violent captain, Edward Low. It didn't take long for Low's crew to spot the warship, HMS Greyhound, and head directly for it. The next twelve hours gave rise to one of the most dramatic sea battles with pirates in the history of America. After several hours of fighting that day, Low sailed away in his sloop but Low's quartermaster, Charles Harris, was unable to retreat in the second sloop. With so little wind that day and their mainsail practically in pieces, even by rowing Harris’ crew could not get free of the Greyhound. At about five o’clock that afternoon, Harris signaled his surrender. Harris and thirty-five members of his crew who had survived the battle were taken prisoner and many of them were taken back to Newport, Rhode Island in Harris’ sloop. In the Greyhound, Solgard continued to chase after Low for several more hours, but lost sight of their sloop around nine o’clock that evening somewhere in the sea between Block Island and Martha’s Vineyard. The Greyhound then returned to Newport that night. Harris’ crew was put on trial a month later, and most of the pirates were convicted and hanged in July in what remains one of the largest mass executions in the history of colonial America.