Friday, June 10, 2011

19th Century Pirates

Charlotte Badger & Catherine Hagerty
Years Active: 1806
Country of Origin: Australian
Comments: Widely considered to be the first Australian female pirates.

Catherine is described as the more attractive of the pair, being blonde and fresh complexioned; while Chalotte is described as fat with light hair. It is assumed that both were being transported to the penal colonies in and around Australia; Charlotte as a London pickpocket, Catherine for an unknown crime.
Shipped first to Port Jackson and from there departed for Hobart Town, Tasmania aboard the brig Venus. June 16 saw Catherine, Charlotte and some male convicts convincing the first mate to steal the ship while anchored at the River Tamar and the captain, Samuel Chace was visiting another ship.
The women with two of the men departed the ship at Bay of Islands, New Zealand, while the remaining crew went pirating, although there was no one aboard that knew how to navigate the ship. The two men who had accompanied Catherine and Charlotte, John Lancashire and Benjamin Kelly were captured and taken to London for trial. The Maoris, South Sea natives, captured the Venus with it's pirate crew, burned the ship for the scrap metal and more than likely consigned the crew to the cooking pot.
It appears that Catherine had died of disease; Charlotte is said to have had a child and lived with a minor chieftain at the Bay of Islands (another story tells of her being picked up by a passing American whaler on Vavau in the Tonga Group.

Charlotte is known today as Australia's first female pirate, although it seems more probable the Catherine was the real instigator of the crime.

Margaret Croke ~ alias Margaret Jordan
Years Active: 1809
Country of Origin: Canadian
Comments: Following a dispute with investors over his schooner, The Three Sisters, Edward Jordan was on his way to Halifax to sort it out. Wrongly assuming his family was being sent to debtors’ prison, he killed two crewmen then three the Captain overboard before commandeering the vessel with the help of the remaining crewmen. The marooned Captain survived and testified against Jordan claiming Margaret, who was aboard with her son and three young daughters, was also involced. Margaret admitted hitting the Captain after he had hit her husband during an argument in her cabin before he decided to commandeer the vessel; the other crew member testified she was actually in fear for her life from her violent husband and had attempted to escape. Both Margaret and Edward were hanged for piracy.

Johanna Hard (1789-18??)
Years Active: 1823
Country of Origin:
Comments: Sweden’s last pirate.

In 1823, recently widowed Hard, a farm owner on Vrango Island, was arrested along with her farmhand Anders Andersson, farmer Cristen Andersson, and one of Christen’s farmhands Carl Borjesson and boatman Johan Anderson Flatas of Goteborg for piracy after the Danish ship Faru Mette was found beached and plundered with a murdered crew. Evidence was presented that the five had followed the Frau Mette on Flatas fishing vessel the Styrso and equested water. After boarding her they killed the crew. Johan Andersson Flatas, Anders Andersson and Christen Andersson were sentenced to death and beheaded. Carl Borjesson was imprisoned in Karlstens fortress where he died 1853. The evidence against Johanna Hard was insufficient and she was released and subsequently disappeared.

Sadie the Goat
Years Active: 1869
Country of Origin:
Comments: Operated around New York State as a member of the Charlton Street Gang. Named for her havit of headbutting her victims before taking their money.

Gertrude Imogene Stubbs ~ alias “Gunpowder Gertie, the Pirate Queen of the Kootenays”
Years Active: 1898-1903
Country of Origin:
Comments: Fictional pirate who operated in the Kootenay Lake and river system of British Columbia, Canada. Told as an April Fools joke in the local newspaper, so many people believed it that it was later retold as historical fact on the CBC program “This Day in History”.

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