Biographies of Famous Pirates
Captain Richard Worley
Flag Attributed to Captain Worley
At this time the governor issued a proclamation for the apprehension of all pirates who had not availed themselves of the King's pardon, and ordered out the Phoenix, a ship of 20 guns, to enforce this proclamation. However, Worley and his band set out to sea and missed the Phoenix which was searching for them in the coastal waters. Six weeks later the pirates returned, having taken another sloop and a brigantine among the Bahama Islands. The company had increased to 25 during this trip and their sloop now mounted 6 guns. Captain Worley and his crew had also adopted the skull and crossbones in their ensign (flag). Articles were signed and the crew were officially 'on account' that they would fight to the end, no quarter asked or given.
They were next sighted off North Carolina where they paused to clean and refit their ship. The governor received this information and outfitted two ships of 8 and 6 guns to trap the pirates, but to no avail as they were gone by the time the ships arrived. Unfortunately, Worley came in sight of the ships and mistaking them for merchants moved to prevent them from entering the Jamestown harbor. Instead of preventing their entry, he ended up trapping himself in the harbor with two ships blocking his escape. True to their articles the pirates fought to the end, taking a broadside from one of the Carolina ships before being boarded. All of the pirates died on board, except for the captain and one other, who were very seriously wounded. Both captured pirates were hanged the next day, February 17th 1719, for fear that their wounds might prevent them from receiving the punishment that was felt due.