Anne Bonny and Mary Read: Female Pirates and Maritime Women (Page Two)

The Sailor's Return, 1744

The Sailor’s Return, 1744

Note to the Readers: This is a two-page article.  This is page two of two, featuring the third and fourth sections of the article.  For sections one and two, which cover Anne Bonny and Mary Read, see PAGE ONE (Click Here).

Other Women Pirates and Female Interactions with Pirates

For the period of 1680 to 1740, Anne Bonny and Mary Read are almost the only examples of women who went onboard pirate ships and actively participated in piracy.  The exception to the famous pair is a woman named Mary Critchett.  In May of 1729, a group of six convicts, transported from England and sold in Virginia, ran away from their masters and banded together to steal a vessel.  The crew managed to hijack a sloop, the John and Elizabeth, in the middle of the night of May 12, without any weapons.  The group sailed the vessel out of the Piankatank River and into the Chesapeake Bay for several days, and eventually let the master of the sloop and his servant leave in a flat boat.  There are no details of when or who caught the five men and Critchett.  Since their trial showed the convicts had limited maritime skills, and the charges in court all concerned the John and Elizabeth, it appears someone caught them in the Chesapeake Bay before they could go to sea and attack other vessels.  During this briefest of pirate careers, Critchett’s most significant actions as a pirate included sitting on a hatch to prevent their two prisoners from escaping and arguing against allowing the prisoners to leave since they would tell the authorities.  The court found her guilty of piracy along with the rest of the crew.  There are currently no known documents showing authorities carried out this execution.  While Critchett’s piracy consisted of two minor acts on her part, and lasted a shorter amount of time than the already brief careers of Bonny and Read, it is the only other example of a woman pirate for this period.[1] Continue reading