Pirates had a special affinity for the City of Brotherly Love.
Members of the crew of the infamous Henry Avery -- an
inspirational figure for later pirates -- retired here at the end
of the 17th century under the protection of Pennsylvania
Governor William Markham. As told in The Republic of
Pirates, Markham allowed one wanted pirate to marry his
daughter, and threw a royal agent in prison for trying to
arrest the man. Philadelphia - then a modest town of 4000 -
appears to have been the most pirate-friendly port in North
Throughout the great piracy outbreak of 1715-25,
Philadelphia's shipping was regularly targeted. Several
Flying Gang pirates are known to have blockaded the
mouth of Delaware Bay, including Paulsgrave Williams,
Blackbeard, and Stede Bonnet.
But the city's most famous link with the pirates are the visits
Blackbeard allegedly made sometime between 1716 and
1718. Early 19th century historians interviewed several
elderly Philadelphia residents who claimed their parents had seen or interacted with the famous pirate. Blackbeard
was said to frequent an inn at the corner of High and Second Streets, to have brought a vessel to the Schuylkill River
for supplies. These accounts cannot be confirmed by period documents, but it is known that several of Blackbeard's
men came here in 1718, and the pirate himself was reported to have visited the city while he was living in Bath,
North Carolina. Perhaps he knew some of Avery's men, who may well have been living in Philly at the time.
|The Republic of Pirates: Being the True and Surprising Story of the Caribbean Pirates and the Man who Brought
them Down by Colin Woodard. The Official Homepage. (c) 2008 Colin Woodard.
Blackbeard reportedly frequented an Inn at the corner of High Street and Second
Street (shown above in 1798.) It's possible that this was the building on the left,
which no longer exists.