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Captain Thomas Anstis

    This notorious pirate sailed with some of the best of them. In 1718 Anstis started his pirate career in very famous company; he shipped out of Providence in the Sloop Buck and was one of six that conspired to use that ship in the trade of piracy. The others being Howel Davis, Dennis Topping, Walter Kennedy and two unnamed others. Upon the death of Davis, Anstis served under Bartholomew Roberts until April 18th, 1721, when he parted ways with the arch pirate and sailed to the West Indies in the brigantine Good Fortune. In June of that year they took several ships in the vicinity of Hispanola, Jamaica, and Martinico, from which they provisioned themselves and increased the size of their crew. During this time these pirates are suspected of 'abusing and wounding' one Colonel Doyle of Montserrat, for having attempted to prevent the pirates from brutilizing a female passenger. The woman in question was said to have been killed and flung overboard.

    After cleaning their vessel, they turned for Bermuda and captured the Morning Star. They proceeded to refit the ship with 32 guns and 100 men. However, Anstis allowed John Fenn to captain the vessel so that Anstis could remain with the other ship as he favored its handling. At this time the pirates' company had grown to the point that they could have undertaken some grand deed, but the inclination of many of the crew was to quit the game of pirating. A petition was drawn up to request pardon from the English crown which they sent via a merchant ship. The crew then retired to an unnamed island off the South West end of Cuba. Here they lived for the next nine months surviving on the bounty of the island and sea. During this time the pirates passed the days in dancing and other diversions and an account of a mock trial comes down to us through Captain Johnson.

    In August of 1722 the pirates made ready to sail out and see how their petition had been received. A merchant passed the word that their petition had drawn no interest and the pirates found that they must continue in their profession. Setting sail with the Good Fortune and Morning Star, misfortune soon settled in around them. The Morning Star was wrecked upon the Grand Caymens and while anchored to recover the crew of the wreck, the Good Fortune was set upon by two men of war, the Hector and Adventure. The pirates were able to escape by cutting their anchor cable and ran before the two men of war for some time, escaping finally by rowing their ship during a calm in the wind. Sailing to the Bay of Honduras to clean and refit the brigantine, Good Fortune, took three more ships as prizes and burned them all to leave no trace. Here some of the prisoners taken off the ships, including one Captain Durfey, attempted to take the ship, but had to be content with escaping with their lives.

    Early December 1722, found the pirates in the islands where they again took a sizable ship and mounted her with 24 guns. Again Fenn, though having only one hand and having wrecked the Morning Star, was given command of the larger ship, a frigate. After taking a couple of prizes the pirates turned to the Bahamas, taking more prizes. Putting into Tobago to clean and refit in April 1723, the pirates were suprised by the arrival of the Winchelsea, a man of war, and they burned all ships except Anstis' brigantine, which escaped. The crew, apparently tired of the pirate life, killed Anstis and several of the others and put the ship into Curacco, where all but those that delivered up the vessel were tried and hanged.