Anne Bonny 

Anne Bonny was born on March 3, 1802.  Most of her early life is unknown, but what is known is that she was the daughter of attorney William Cormac and Mary Brennan. It is also possible that when Anne was 13, she stabbed a servant girl in the stomach with a table knife. Anne had red hair, and was considered very beautiful.


Anne eventually married a poor sailor named James Bonny, who, according to legend, hoped that he would win possession of his wife’s family estate, but she was disowned by her father. Sometime between 1714 and 1718, Anne and James moved to Nassau in the Bahamas, which was, at the time, a popular base for many pirate operations. In 1718, James became an informant to the governor. While in Nassau, Anne spent a lot of time mingling with pirates at local pubs, and met the pirate John “Calico Jack” Rackham. They soon fell in love. However, her husband (James) found out, and dragged her before Governor Rogers, and demanded that she be whipped, and then returned to him. There was even an offer made by Calico Jack to buy her in a divorce-by-purchase. But Anne refused to “be bought and sold like cattle”. Eventually, Anne and Calico Jack escaped to live together as pirates.


At the time, it was considered unlucky to have a female presence aboard a ship. But Anne did not disguise herself as a man to join Calico Jack’s crew aboard the Revenge, unlike another crew member named Mary Read (a.k.a. Mark Read), who did disguise herself, but was later revealed. She and Mary  helped Calico Jack steal a sailing boat at anchor in Nassau harbor and set off to sea, putting together a crew and taking several prizes. She took part in combat, and gained the respect of her fellow crew members. Over the next several months, Calico Jack and Anne had many successes as pirates, capturing several ships and a lot of treasure.


On October, 1720, Calico Jack and his crew were attacked by a sloop, captained by Jonathan Barnet (who was working for the governor of Jamaica). Most of Calico’s pirates did not put up a fight, as they were mostly drunk. But Anne, Mary, and an unknown crew member managed to hold back Barnet’s troops for a short time. After their capture, Calico Jack and his crew were sentenced by the Governor of Jamaica to be hung. Apparently, Anne’s last words to Calico Jack were that she was "sorry to see him there, but if he had fought like a Man, he need not have been hang'd like a Dog." After their arrest and trial, Anne and Mary both admitted that they were pregnant. According to English law, the women were not allowed to be hung until after they gave birth. Mary died in prison, either from a fever or childbirth.


There is no record of Anne’s death or release. The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography suggests that Anne’s father managed to release her from jail, and bring her back to Charles Town in South Carolina, where she gave birth to Jack Rackham’s second child. On December 21, 1721, she married a local man named Joseph Burleigh, and they had 8 children. She died in South Carolina at the age of 80, as a respectable woman.

Anne Bonny