Sunday, June 7, 2009

Blacksheep Sunday - Yo Ho, Yo Ho, A Pyrate's Life

One of our colorful ancestors:
Captain Edmund Du Chastel of Philadelphia, PA

At the close of the seventeeth century the port of Philadelphia was a veritable haven for the pirates that preyed upon the Spanish and French shipping in time of war under letters of marque; and in time of peace on any ship they dared board. It was the practice of wealthy Philadephians to outfit ships with arms, rum and supplies and send them to the pirates of Madagascar who could offer inexchange the cargos taken from India merchantmen.

So great was the complaint of Colonial shippers that the Admirality sent Captain Thomas Robinson from England with a commission to put an end to piracy in Philadelphia. The report of the commissioner to has superior, the Earl of Romney, describes his visit to Philadelphia on June 6, 1697, and complains of his lack of success in "That there were warrants out for apprehending Charles Goss, Edmond Duke Castell, George Thompson, Adam Birth, and James Miller and Pyrates notwithstanding which they were publickly and dayly seen up and down the streets of Philadelphia without any notice taken of them." ("Archives of Maryland," vol. 23,page 161; Vol. 25, page 569.)

"The Pyrats were much alarm'd at that time," wrote MatthewVanderheydens on July 15, 1697, "being I was tould Occasion'd by Captain Thomas Robinson his Comming up there with some Commission to call them to Accot..." (Ibid, Vol. 23, page 163.)


Untangled Family Roots said...

What a colorful account of your history. Finds like that are great. They are stories you can tell to the children and spur their interest in their family history. What a treasure.

Unknown said...

Shhh, don't tell anyone we're related! Just kidding. I've been subtly trying to build up anticipation of the Captain. He's so cool, isn't he? [Even his name is cool!] I just bought a book today entitled, "Empire of Blue Water" by Stephan Talty. Have you read it? It's all about Captain Morgan and the "epic battle for the Americas." I'm real excited about it. We should start a Genealogy Blog Carnival just on pirates alone...there were so many!