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  1. #1

    May 2006
    1 times

    The Pirate Billy Bowlegs

    I am looking for information conerning the Pirate Billy Bowlegs.
    How large was his ship?
    What happended to his ship?
    How long did he operate?
    Peg Leg

  2. #2
    Apr 2005
    Sardinera, Mona Island
    GTI2500,Seahunter Mark II, Eagle eye two box
    3 times

    Re: The Pirate Billy Bowlegs

    Hi Peg

    I think I got inf. about that Pirates-Bowlegs. Soon I'll be posting information about him.

    "Live your Adventure"

  3. #3

    Jun 2006
    NY State & Caribbean 18*N
    4 times

    Re: The Pirate Billy Bowlegs

    Peg Leg,

    Digging up Billy Bowlegs' legacy

    By NICOLE STALLWORTH, Daily News Contributing Writer
    Will the real Billy Bowlegs please stand up?

    The first Capt. Billy to swagger ashore for Fort Walton Beach's Billy Bowlegs Festival in 1955 said he was chosen because he was ugly, short and bowlegged, like the pirate.

    But contemporaries described the pirate as a tall, handsome, charismatic man.

    So what gives?

    Bowlegs aficionados who dig deep enough for lore about Billy Bowlegs can find as many as five people who have been given that nickname - all with ties to North Florida. Put them all within a span of less than a century and it's easy to become confused. Was he a pirate or a patriot? English or American or Creek - no, Seminole?

    The answer, as regards the festival in Fort Walton Beach, is William Augustus Bowles.

    Bowles was a young British loyalist born in Maryland who came to Pensacola with his regiment after the Revolutionary War. Flamboyant, rebellious and commanding, he was dismissed from service for insubordination and befriended by Creek Indians. During this period of his life, he adapted to their ways and married the daughter of a Creek chief.

    His pirating began after the Spanish took control of Pensacola in 1781. At first, trade in the area continued as usual: Alexander McGillivray, a man of Scottish and Creek descent, represented the firm of Panton, Leslie and Co. to the Native Americans in trade, and essentially cemented a monopoly with them.

    But when Panton trade ships were delayed and Bowles showed up with a shipload of goods, McGillivray didn't ask many questions. Bowles began to organize the local tribes in raids, and became hated and hunted by the Spanish, but esteemed by the English.

    Eventually, Bowles grew resentful and distrustful of his position. Banking on his Creek ties, he developed a plan to break away from both McGillivray and the British. The Creeks and other Native American nations would unite and form the state of Muskogee, demanding independence and trade without violence.

    Bowles' raiding grew to include Panton, Leslie stores as well as Spanish posts. Panton put a bounty on his head, but Bowles resisted capture and assassination.

    Finally, though, Bowles accepted a Spanish offer to discuss boundaries and was promptly imprisoned.

    Spain shipped him to several places around the world in an effort to keep him as far from Florida as possible. His organization of men and tribes survived in his absence, and in 1797 Bowles managed to escape. Returning to Florida with the favor of the British, Bowles and his men seized a Panton, Leslie ship and proceeded with their combined goods into trade with the Native Americans. The pirate Bowles was back.

    At this time, tensions and war among England, Spain, and the new American nation aided Bowles. Capitalizing on the instability of the region, he and his people of the State of Muskogee plagued the northern handle of Spanish Florida. Everything Spanish was subject to his plundering and looting. When Spain struck back, he took to the woods with his men. This pattern continued, with Bowles' "navy" capturing several Spanish ships and causing general trouble in the Gulf of Mexico.

    Finally, as nations resolved their issues, Bowles remained the one problem facing them all. His defiance and elusiveness may have continued to confound them for many more years if he had not been betrayed by some of his own men.

    When a party of disillusioned men seized him at an Indian congress in Alabama in 1805, representatives from all three countries - England, Spain, and the United States - were present. The Spanish shipped him of to Cuba, where in defiance of his captors he starved himself to death.

    Historical figure though he is, William Augustus Bowles can easily be confused with a number of different people. One was William Rogers, also a pirate who marauded in the Gulf of Mexico. Although he was active half a century later, the nickname of "Bowlegs" may have originated with him.

    Unlike Bowles, this Billy was short and unsightly, and supposedly so bowlegged he could straddle a barrel standing up straight-without touching it with his legs. Rogers was one of the pirate Jean Lafitte's men, and his sinking of at least one treasure-laden schooner off the Gulf Coast became the stuff of legends.

    Another contender for the Bowlegs name was Jesse Rogers, who settled in the Mary Esther area in 1838. Also short and bowlegged, he apparently led the life of a recluse, raising cattle and stashing away both Union and Confederate cash. Gossip about the loner and his store may have given him the name.

    Yet another was a Seminole chief named Holata Micco. It is not known why he is called Billy Bowlegs, but the theory that may or may not correctly identify him as another Seminole by the English name of Billy Bolecks (who has also been given the nickname) may explain it.

    Holata Micco was a major leader in the Second and Third Seminole Wars in Florida. In 1858, after he and his men surrendered, over 120 Seminoles were removed to Indian Territory. The credit for the phrase "Okie from Muskogee" should go to him, as he settled in what is now Oklahoma, where one town is called Bowlegs after his grandson.

    William Augustus Bowles could have received his alias by accident. Records are filled with references to "Billo Bowles," and William Rogers was called Charlie Bowlegs by his men. Bowles' name lends itself to an adaptation that blends the two pirates' nicknames. It could even be that the nickname was originally held by someone else. True to the piratical way, he has claimed it for his own and is now probably the most celebrated of all who bear the name.

    Nicole Stallworth is a freelance writer. She currently lives in Byron, Ga., with her husband and two children, but she still calls Niceville home.

    Dale M. Titler, "Billy Bowlegs' Owne Charte," 1956, 1977.

    Charles Brady, "Billy Bowlegs Festival" Playground Daily News, 1970 .

    Yules W. Lazarus, "The True Story of William Bowles," 1964.

    Kevin McCarthy, "William Augustus Bowles, 1801" "Twenty Florida Pirates," 1994.

    The National Portrait Gallery, Billy Bowlegs (Holata Micco), http:/www.npg.si.edu/col/native/bowlegs.htm , 2001 (Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery).

    M. Christopher New, William Augustus Bowles (1763-1805), http:/users.erols.com/candidus/wbowles.htm , 1996.

    Randy Renner, Oklahoma's Strangely Named Towns with Randy Renner: Bowlegs, Okla., transcript at www.kwtv.com/news/ strange/bowlegs.htm , 1995-2001 (Griffin Television, LLC).


    This article can be found on page C1 of the June 03, 2001 Daily News.
    Found this link:


    God rises up out of the sea like a treasure in the waves, and when language recedes His brightness remains on the shores of our own being...
    Thomas Merton

  4. #4

    May 2006
    1 times

    Re: The Pirate Billy Bowlegs

    I wish to thank all those that are doing research into Billy Bowlegs.
    During my own research I may have come across a BELL from one of the BOWLEGS ships-which Bowkegs is not known at this time.
    I met a gentleman who has family roots in Destin Florida. He is 76 years old and still retains a great memory. He told me last week that he recalls that an Indian living in Chiefland had recovered a Bronze Bell from the Gulf and had it hanging in his back year.
    I am going to meet with this Gentleman tonight (I hope) and try to get more information. He still has family in Destin. He also recalls when there were only 90 people living in Destin.
    He now lives on Merritt Island and is a large Orange Grove owner. I met this man while playing Texas Holdum.
    Peg Leg

  5. #5

    May 2006
    1 times

    Re: The Pirate Billy Bowlegs

    Does anyone have any information as to the size of the SHIPS commanded by any of the PIRATES named BILLY BOWLEGS.
    Peg Leg

  6. #6
    Mar 2006

    Re: The Pirate Billy Bowlegs

    I don't know much of the size of ships but I've heard of him scuttling one in Apalachicola Bay, and of him having activities on Dog Island. I heard stories growing up in Tallahassee and knowing the area pretty well have been trying to do some research on this and other wrecks in the Franklin and Wakulla County areas when I find time. It's fun trying to sort him out from Billy Bowlegs the Seminole Chief. I know that they say our Bowlegs died in Mary Esther so maybe your friend can shed some light, if he does I hope it's something you can share.

  7. #7

    Jul 2006
    Fort Worth, TX

    Re: The Pirate Billy Bowlegs

    I was recently reading that the second Billy Bowlegs' ship, the Mysterio, was a rather small, fairly flat-bottomed boat that he could navigate in rivers and other shallow areas.

    Apparently, he liked to hit-and-run passing ships, outrunning pursuers in the shallows. Some reports say that he scuttled the ship, along with the bulk of his treasure, while fighting off a British man-of-war that he had mistakenly assaulted.

    Interesting...I'll try to find the links.

    "In the end they will lay their freedom at our feet and say to us, 'Make us your slaves, but feed us.'" [Dosteovsky's 'Grand Inquisitor']



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