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Anne Bonny female pirate, Anne Bonney

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Anne Bonny (neé Cormac) was born around 1697 in Cork, Ireland to a lawyer William Cormac and his house servant, Peg Brennan. Upon disclosure of the affair, Cormac lost his practice and wife, choosing to take Brennan with the child Anne to Charles Town,(now Charleston) South Carolina for a new career. He became wealthy enough to settle on a plantation, but soon lost Peg to a deadly fever.

Anne Bonny's relationship with her father was apparently as strong during these first few years in the States as her temperament was. He spent a lot of time teaching her how to run the plantation, and she became known as a fiery young girl who could take care of herself, as evidenced by her soundly beating a man who made vulgar advances toward her. Her temperament, however, won out over everything in the end, as her desire for adventure ultimately led her to marry a part-time pirate named James Bonny...a dangerous relationship her father rejected outright along with her.

Anne Bonny pirate action figure

Jack Rackham, fond for Anne Bonny Their mutual infatuation with piracy led the couple to New Providence, Bahamas by early 1719, but the relationship soon fell apart when James became an informant in governor Woodes Roger's campaign to rid the area of such types. In May, Anne Bonny met Calico Jack Rackham and soon fell in love with her dream pirate. James Bonny was outraged, and by most accounts appealed to Rogers to have her flogged for adultery. He also refused Rackham's offer to buy Anne's divorce. She soon had a child which was sent to Cuba to be raised by other pirate families; apparently nothing was more important than going off with Rackham.

Anne Bonny hung around the crew of a sloop long enough to determine the best time to steal it, and soon she and Rackham were off to sea, with Anne dressed as a man. She proved just as apt at fighting as she was at stealing, and with the rest of the crew made plenty of noise in the Caribbean by attacking local merchant ships and fishing vessels.

Iron Men, Wooden Women- Book

Her masquerade as a man had a twist all its own after she became attracted to a Dutch sailor who upon further inspection turned out to be the English woman Mary Read. They became close friends and soon let Rackham in on the new secret, who had until then been in a jealous rage. The other crewmembers later would report that from then on the women only dressed as men before and during a battle....

After the capture and trial previously mentioned, Anne Bonny apparently was never hanged, but her end is uncertain. Some claim she was reconciled to her father. Another ending that requires only a small stretch of the imagination is that her acquittal was purchased by a former pirate who took her back to Charles Town to live with him. See also a detailed account by Charles Ellms below.

Anne Bonny- Wikipedia / Anne Bonny- Way of the Pirates / Life of Anne Bonny

The Life and Exploits of Anne Bonny from Charles Ellm's The Pirate's Own book

The Only Life That Mattered- Book

This female pirate was a native of Cork. Her father was an attorney, and, by his activity in business, rose to considerable respectability in that place. Anne was the fruit of an unlawful connexion with his own servant maid, with whom he afterwards eloped to America, leaving his own affectionate and lawful wife. He settled at Carolina, and for some time followed his own profession; but soon commenced merchant, and was so successful as to purchase a considerable plantation. There he lived with his servant in the character of his wife; but she dying, his daughter Anne superintended the domestic affairs of her father.

During her residence with her parent she was supposed to have a considerable fortune, and was accordingly addressed by young men of respectable situations in life. It happened with Anne Bonny, however, as with many others of her youth and sex, that her feelings, and not her interest, determined her choice of a husband. She married a young sailor without a shilling. The avaricious father was so enraged, that, deaf to the feelings of a parent, he turned his own child out of doors. Upon this cruel usage, and the disappointment of her fortune, Anne and her husband sailed for the island of Providence, in the hope of gaining employment.

Acting a part very different from that of Mary Read, Anne's affections were soon estranged from her husband by Captain Rackam; and eloping with him, she went to sea in men's clothes. Proving with child, the captain put her on shore, and entrusted her to the care of some friends until her recovery, when she again accompanied him in his expeditions.

Upon the king's proclamation offering a pardon to all pirates, he surrendered, and went into the privateering business, as we have related before: he, however, soon embraced an opportunity to return to his favorite employment. In all his piratical exploits Anne Bonny accompanied him; and, as we have already recorded, displayed such courage and intrepidity, that she, along with Mary Read and a seaman, were the last three who remained on board when the vessel was taken.

Anne was known to many of the planters in Jamaica, who remembered to have seen her in her father's house, and they were disposed to intercede in her behalf. Her unprincipled conduct, in leaving her own husband and forming an illicit connexion with Rackam, tended, however, to render her friends less active. By a special favor, Rackam was permitted to visit her the day before he was executed; but, instead of condoling with him on account of his sad fate, she only observed, that she was sorry to see him there, but if he had fought like a man he needed not havying with child, she remained in prison until her recovery, was reprieved from time to time, and though we cannot communicate to our readers any particulars of her future life, or the manner of her death, yet it is certain that she was not executed.