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Anne Bonny

Born November 1687, Cork County, Ireland. Died ?.

Anne Bonny The Pirate

Anne Bonny was born of the illicit affair between her father who was a respected lawyer and a common household maid. Disgraced by the exposure of the affair, Anne's father was forced to flee Ireland to salvage his reputation. He arrived in North Carolina in 1689 where he bought a plantation.
Raised by her mother, Anne Bonny quickly developed a fiery spirit and wicked temper. Not satisfied with the choices available to an ill-born child, Bonny began frequenting coastal taverns where the lure of the sea inspired her.
After a short and unsuccessful marriage to James Bonny, Anne suspected her spouse's plot of trying to steal her rights to her father's plantation. Furthermore James Bonny tried to turn his wife in as a lawbreaker to local authorities. Anne left her husband in fear.
Attractive, witty and determined, she gained the affections of the pirate Calico Jack Rackham who agreed to sign Anne Bonny on as a crew member aboard his ship. She quickly proved she could spend gold as well as she could steal it and Rackham and Bonny became a formidable scheming pair. Bonny proved herself an expert with both pistol and cutlass and preferred to fight in mens clothing.
Rackham and Bonny's exploits on the High Seas made them wanted pirates by the French, Spanish and British navies. Capturing a Man-O-War, Anne Bonny met a fellow female crew member in Mary Read. Convincing Calico Jack to spare her life, the three joined forces to plunder the oceans and headed east toward America.
While Mary Read set up a shop in Cape May, New Jersey, Rackham and Bonny continued their raids of coastal towns and vessels. They exchanged their stolen booty for money at Mary Read's shop until British colonial authorities realized the operation. Burning Mary's shop they issued warrants for their arrest. While fleeing Cape May, Rackham confronted a British naval blockade in the Delaware Bay of 12 vessels. After a long and bloody fight Rackham surrendered.
Bonny, Read and Rackham were taken back to England to face trial on charges of Piracy. Though Calico Jack Rackham was hanged on November 28, 1720 at Execution Dock, both Read and Bonny received stays of execution. Read died several weeks following Rackham's execution of fever. Anne Bonny though, disappeared mysteriously from jail. Sources indicate that her father used his influence to have her freed and brought to New Jersey.
It is believed that Anne Bonny lived a new life under a new name in Cape May. In 1751 a woman passed away in the New Jersey town of Ocean City. Her name was Mary Pritchard yet her personal possessions included family heirlooms and documents of the plantation owned by Anne Bonny's father. Though there is no direct evidence to prove Mary Pritchard was actually Anne Bonny, those who knew her claimed she was. If this is to be regarded, Anne Bonny would have been 64 years old when she died.