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Biographies of Famous Pirates

Captain John Evans


    Evans was master of a sloop belonging to the Island of Nevis. Afterwards being in Jamaica and out of employment, and berths being scarce, he decided to go "on the account," and in September, 1722, rowed out of Port Royal in a canoe with a few chosen companions. They began piracy in a small way, by paddling along the coast and landing at night to break into a house or two and robbing these of anything they could carry away. Eventually they found what they were looking for, a small Bermuda sloop lying at anchor. Evans stepped aboard and informed the crew of the sloop that he was now captain of their vessel. Going on shore, Evans treated to his new crew to drinks at the village inn. Later in the middle of the same night, Evans and his companions returned to the inn and proceeded to take away all they could carry aboard their sloop.

    Mounting four guns and christening their little vessel the "Scowerer", they set sail for Hispaniola. Good luck immediately followed, as on the very next day they took their first prize, a Spanish sloop, an extraordinarily rich prize for her size, for the crew were able to share a sum of 150 a man. After this they set coarse for the Windward Islands, where they captured the Dove, a ship bound from New England to Jamaica, off Puerto Rico, captained by a Captain Diamond. They forced the Dove's mate into service and added three others to the crew. After releasing the Dove, they set into one of the islands for fresh water and supplies.

    The next prize was the 200 ton Lucretia and Catherine, captained by a Captain Mills, off the island of Disseada on January 11th. This done they went to the little island of Avis, intending to careen their hull and clean. However, before they could begin they sighted a sloop and gave chase, but failed to catch the ship, being slowed by the Lucretia. They were then nearer the island of Ruby, and so decided to careen there. This plan was again forstalled as they ran up with a Dutch sloop and captured her. This new sloop being more to their liking than the Lucretia, they released the Lucretia and kept the sloop. The Scowerer and captured sloop now set sail for the north coast of Jamaica and soon captured a sugar drover, before driving to the Grand Caymans, again with the intention of cleaning their hulls.

    But prior to making landfall, the boatswain and Captain Evans exchanged ill language, and the boatswain taking offense challenged Evans to a duel. When the sloop arrived, however, the boatswain refused to go ashore and pursue the duel, whereupon the captain took his cane and gave him a hearty drubbing, when the boatswain, all of a sudden drawing a pistol, shot Evans through the head, so that he fell down dead. The boatswain then jumped overboard and swam for the shore, but a boat put off and brought him back to the vessel. A trial was at once held, but the chief gunner, unable to bear with the slow legal procedure any further, stepped forward and shot the prisoner dead. The crew of thirty men lacking a willing candidate to take over as captain now shared their plunder of some 9,000 and broke up, each going his own way. Thus was brought to a tragic and sudden end Evans career in piracy that showed early signs of great promise.




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