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  1. #1
    Charter Member
    Pirate of the Ays

    May 2004
    Minelab Excal 1000
    138 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting

    Whydah's littlest pirate found

    Small bone, shoe all that remain of 9-year-old who joined Black Sam Bellamy


    Underwater archaeologists have identified the partial remains of the youngest known pirate to ply U.S. waters, a 9-year-old boy who eagerly joined Capt. Black Sam Bellamy's crew on the infamous Whydah.
    Teen-age pirates were common during the early 18th century, but "this is the youngest one I have ever come across," historian Ken Kinkor of the Expedition Whydah Sea-Lab & Learning Center in Provincetown, Mass., said yesterday in announcing the discovery.
    The young pirate's idyll aboard the Whydah did not last long. The ship foundered in a storm off Cape Cod three months later, sinking with all but eight of its 180-man crew. Six of the eight survivors were tried and hanged in Boston. Two defended by Cotton Mather were acquitted.
    The tale of the young pirate, identified as John King, was pretty much lost to history until explorer Barry Clifford used court documents and an early salvage map to locate the Whydah in 1984 - the first time that an authenticated wreck of a pirate ship had been found.
    Since then, Clifford and his divers have recovered more than 100,000 artifacts from the wreck, bringing them to the surface, conserving them, and putting them on display at their museum at the end of a Provincetown pier.
    The wreck "was like a 300-year- old Wal-Mart on the bottom of the ocean," Clifford said, with a broad variety of items stolen from other ships. Despite the quantity of materials recovered, he added, "we've never really discovered the mother lode of the ship."
    They did find a small shoe, a silk stocking and a short leg bone. The items had been in storage for nearly 20 years before Clifford and Kinkor recently made the connection to John King.
    King's story is found in a deposition filed with the governor of Antigua on Nov. 30, 1716, by Abijah Savage, commander of the Antiguan sloop Bonetta. As was the usual practice, Savage reported to the governor the details of a pirate attack on his ship.
    On Nov. 9, the Bonetta was attacked by Bellamy's ship and held for 15 days. The pirates took all of their valuables, including "a Negro Man and an Indian Boy belonging to Mr. Benjamin Wicker" before releasing them.
    Savage wrote that one John King, who was sailing with his mother as a passenger from Jamaica to Antigua, "deserted his sloop, and went with the Pirates and was so far from being forced or compelled thereto by them as the deponent could perceive or learn that he declared he would Kill himself if he was Restrained, and even threatned his Mother who was then on Board as a Passenger with the Deponent."
    Such depositions are usually brief and record only the most striking things that happened, Kinkor said. "It was pretty unusual for Captain Savage to have recorded it."
    Kinkor noted a variety of reasons that a pirate's life might have appealed to a youngster - "a free and easy lifestyle, and a classless, democratic subculture."
    Spurred by Savage's account, Clifford showed the short fibula to expedition archaeologist John de Bry and Smithsonian Institution expert David Hunt. They said the bone belonged to a child between the ages of 8 and 11.
    The stocking is of woven French silk, Kinkor said, and the shoe - 2 inches in width at its widest point - is of upper-class design and craftsmanship, consistent with it having belonged to King.
    The shoe and fibula were found next to a large concretion of artifacts that is now on display at the museum. Such solidified masses occur when iron objects electrolyze in sea water, catalyzing the formation of stone-like materials that bind artifacts together.
    X-rays show that the mass contains many other bones, a possible skull and hundreds of other artifacts. "It's a 300-year-old time capsule," Clifford said.
    Eventually, they might drill into the mass to determine whether the bones are King's.
    But they are unlikely to take it apart, Clifford said. "It's much more interesting seeing the X-ray and the bones protruding."
    Thomas H. Maugh II writes for the Los Angeles Times.

  2. #2

    Dec 2003
    Western Schuylkill County
    MINELAB EXPLORER SE PRO ....... Garrett Pro Pointer…… Sovereign XS-2 Pro
    28737 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    Honorable Mentions (1)

    Re: Whydah's littlest pirate found

    Very Intresting !

    9 years old that's amazing.

  3. #3
    Dec 2004
    Troy X5
    41 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting

    Re: Whydah's littlest pirate found

    VERY INTERESTING thanks for the post.....the joys of youth...
    All animals are equal, but some are more equal then others. -George Orwell

  4. #4
    Apr 2005
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting

    Re: Whydah's littlest pirate found

    Jesus, 9 years old? here i am at almost 17 and i haven't even given a though to joining a pirate ship yet
    Carpe Diem

  5. #5

    Nov 2006

    Re: Whydah's littlest pirate found

    Hi All=
    How's this for dredging something out of the past to obscure recent "inflammatory posts">>.?
    I remembered it because my best bud, Randy and I were recruited to dive with Barry Clifford, BY Robert
    McClung, his chief diver, in 1990, in Palm beach. I dredged it out to say "(*&^%$# We shoulda went!"
    The salvage boat, er ship (90') was mind boggling, on our tour, in port in Palm beach. Everything spectacular, right up to a 5 man Decompression chamber, on deck, and prepped. I regret not going,
    I still don't know why we turned tail and ran from it.
    Robert took us to his home (condo) in Palm beach, showed us Christies Auction Catalogs of the finds so far, and his place was absolutely wall to wall with his own division of treasures from the wreck of the Whydah and several other wrecks. Randy and I were neck deep in a project to refit and redeploy to Key West at the time, so I assume thats what kept us from diving with them. Bob Weller initially hooked us up with them, good ol Bob...can't say enough nice things about him, he's been a godsend since I met him. And his wife Mermaid...
    Anyway, hope this has been a distraction from the
    uh, "unacceptable"posts. I can do more, if you like. just say so. he he I been around the block a couple times.

  6. #6

    Jun 2003
    10 times

    Re: Whydah's littlest pirate found

    i visited barrys whydah museum several years ago. it is a very interesting museum . he has a cannon stuffed full of treasure i believe with an oversized ball stuffed into the end . as far as i know he hasnt opened it yet. they have to much work recovering the ship they figure they will open it eventually. their website has been under construction now for awhile. so i have not heard anything new about the recovery. hopefully they locate the mother load soon. kiddrock33

  7. #7
    Apr 2004
    Tesoro Sand Shark, Homebuilt pulse loop
    1199 times

    Re: Whydah's littlest pirate found

    I learned an interesting map technique from Barry's research that could drastically change where you end up surveying. If an island or city is given as a landmark, you measure from the center - not the edge - of that landmark. If triangulation is involved, this could greatly affect where your search area will be.

    Hope this helps someone else.


  8. #8

    Mar 2007
    Excal 1000

    Re: Whydah's littlest pirate found

    Quote Originally Posted by Darren in NC
    I learned an interesting map technique from Barry's research that could drastically change where you end up surveying. If an island or city is given as a landmark, you measure from the center - not the edge - of that landmark. If triangulation is involved, this could greatly affect where your search area will be.
    For this kind of use, where is the "center" of a city? I believe (although this could be totally wrong) that most modern roadmaps use the main post office as the "center" of a town--at least the center for the purposes of saying how far apart places are. That kinda makes sense as if a town sprawls in one direction more than others this "center" would remain constant while the geographic center would move.

    Back in the 1700s the USPO was in existence, but the "office" was probably wherever they kept the horses. I'd guess that the "center" of a town back then was either the town square, the cemetary, or the church. I'm pretty sure that was the case in England, but churches with spires and steeples were probably far commoner there than in the Americas.

    Perhaps when the information being used is "about 5 miles SSE of Miami" it doesn't really make much difference though. Anyone thought this through any further?



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