Mary Read

From Academic Kids

Mary Read was a female pirate born in the late 17th century who disguised herself as a man and later escaped hanging through an unplanned pregnancy.

Mary Read was born in London to the wife of a sea captain. Because her father was at sea when she was born, Read?s mother dressed her as a boy to make her husband believe Read was truly a male. Read?s father died at sea and left his inheritance to his ?son?; which is the reason Read?s mother dressed her as a boy. With the money left, Read and her mother lived nicely until her teenage years when the money ran out. Read, still dressed as a boy, found a job as a footboy and later ran away because of her lack of interest in the position. Read then found herself employed aboard a ship where she experienced excessive amounts of abuse. She was able to jump ship and join the British military. Read proved herself through battle and found herself in love with a fellow sailor. Read and the sailor married and opened an inn with the military commission named The Three Horseshoes.

Read, for the first time in her life, lived life as a woman. Read and her new husband lived happily until his tragic death. With her husband?s death, Read once again returned to the military disguised as a man. The military lost its sparkle to Read, so she quit and boarded a ship to the West Indies. While sailing to the West Indies, Read?s ship was attacked and captured by the notorious Calico Jack Rackham and his mistress, Anne Bonny.

Read soon was recruited to Rackham?s crew (still dressed as a man) where she met another female pirate, Anne Bonny. Before Bonny knew of Read?s true sex, she became interested in the ?new sailor? and followed her to the men?s dressing quarters. As Read was dressing, Bonny discovered her true sex and the two became immediate friends. Rackham became jealous of how much time Read and Bonny were spending together and with cutlass drawn, asked Bonny what was going on. Read confessed herself to Rackham who was thrilled to be on a ship with two females.

While touring the Caribbean with Rackham?s crew, Read became interested in a fellow pirate and soon found herself in love once more. Read and her pirate lover married and were happy together, but not for long. In October of 1720, the troops of Captain Barnet captured Rackham and his crew for the governor of Jamaica. Many believe Rackham?s crew didn?t put up much resistance because they were drunk and passed out in the hull.

Rackham and his crew were sentenced to hang for acts of piracy. Read and Bonny announced of their pregnancy, and had their sentence held until they have given birth. Bonny was pardoned from her sentence and lost from official records while Read and her unborn child died in prison of a fever.


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