Anne Bonny & Mary
in London, England, Mary Read was raised as a boy. Disguised as a
male, she served as a footboy, sailor, soldier, and pirate. Dressed
as a man, Mary was on board a vessel bound for the West Indies when it
was overtaken by the pirate, Captain “Calico Jack” Rackham. She accepted
his offer to join the pirates on board his ship, the “Curlew”.
She now sailed under Captain Rackham,
who had with him another woman pirate, Anne Bonny. They took a large
number of ships belonging to Jamaica and from one of these took prisoner
a young man with whom Mary fell deeply in love and would soon marry.
This young man had a quarrel with one of the pirates and, as the ship lay
at anchor, they were to go fight it out on shore according to pirate law.
Mary, to save her young man, picked a quarrel with the same pirate and
managed to have her duel at once. Fighting with sword and pistol,
she killed him on the spot.
In October of 1720, the “Curlew” was
attacked by an armed British sloop on orders from the Governor of Jamaica.
While the rest of the pirate crew hid below deck, Read and her friend,
Anne Bonny, and one other pirate took up the fight. Read shouted
for the others to join them, but they refused. To scare them into
action, Read fired her pistols down the hatch, killing one man and wounding
others. But the pirates, including their husbands, still wouldn’t
fight. Finally, the whole crew was captured and taken prisoner.
The following month, Read and the crew
of the “Curlew” were found guilty of piracy and sentenced to hang.
As Rackham went to the gallows, Bonnie told him, "Had you fought like
a man, you need not have been hanged like a dog!" Both Read
and Bonny were pregnant, so they were given a delay in execution until
their babies were born. However, Read died from a high fever soon
after the trial.