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Anne Bonny – A Charleston Pirate



Anne Bonny was born in Ireland, but at a young age moved to Charleston, South Carolina.  Her father, William Cormac, was an attorney and owned a plantation outside the city.

Despite her young age, she could be seen hanging around the docks of Charleston consorting with some interesting characters.  Before she was even out of her teenage years she married James Bonny, a renegade sailor and sometime pirate.  James Bonny is believed to have married Anne because of her father’s wealth, but her father disowned both of them, and according to legend, burned down his plantation.


Anne soon became tired of James and met another pirate Calico Jack. Calico Jack was a very colorful figure and they became romantically involved. Anne Bonny was known for her cruelty, even when was still living with her father it was said that she stabbed one of the household maids. She even was said to almost beat a man to death with a chair. She was a practiced fencer and marksman and was such a great shot that she once took off a man’s ear.

When Calico Jack’s ship was attacked all the other pirates cowered, but Anne supposedly stated, “If there’s a man among ye, ye’ll come out and fight like the men ye are to be.” When no one came to her side, she shot several pirates on board, killing one. When she was finally captured by the British, she was pregnant, and it was a naval law that they could not hang a pregnant woman so she narrowly escaped a typical pirates’ destiny. Nobody knows what happened to Anne after this event. Some say that she was hanged a year later, some say she became a nun, some even say she came back to Charleston, but we will truly never know.

Posted on October 14, 2014

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