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Saturday, May 23, 2020

Deposition with description of Paulsgrave Williams

The capture of the vessel Tryal has always been accredited to Paulsgrave Williams. Even though this deposition doesn't specifically name him, it does include a bit of a description of his ship and of the man himself. For that [art alone this deposition stands out as there are almost never physical descriptions of the pirates in these depositions! 
I left in most of the original spelling from the deposition for authenticity. 

"Deposition of John Lucas, Master of the Ship Tryal of Brighthelmstone of Great Britain before John Hart, Governor of Maryland". Annapolis. April 13, 1717. Colonial Office Papers 5/1318 no.16iii.
John Hart Esqr., Captain Generall, Governor & Vice Admiral of the Province of Maryland etc. To all to whom these presents shall come,
            Know ye that on the thirteenth day of Aprill Anno Domini Seventeen Hundred and seventeen came before me John Lucas Master of the Ship Tryal of Brighthelmstone of Great Britain, and deposed on ye Holy Evangelist of Almighty God that on Tuesday the ninth Instant about six of ye clock in the morning he being with his sd. ship & compy consisting of seven men & two boys about three Leagues to ye East South East of Cape Henry as he was standing into ye Capes of Virginia, he saw a Sloop lying under the Land, which _____ bore down to him, and commanded their boat on board them, Acquainting him at the same time that they were Pyrates, and threatning that if he not immediately comply they would sink his Ship. Whereupon he the sd. Capt. John Lucas went with his boat & four hands on board the sd. Pyrate's vessell where he and his men that went with him, were forcibly & against their wills detained from seven of the clock in the morning, until three in the afternoon, when & not before he the sd. John Lucas was permitted to go with his boat & men on board his said ship. That severall of the Pyrate's crew went on board his Ship and remained on board her till about Six of the Clock in ye afternoon And then as he supposes the Pyrates Spying a Ship coming out of the Capes and being afraid, stood off with their Sloop to Sea, Commanding him the sd. John Lucas with his Ship and Saylors to follow after them, upon the ______ of his and his Saylors lives. But the sd. John Lucas finding the wind spring up did not obey them but ran into the Capes and so got away from them with his said Ship & Company.

            The sd. John Lucas further deposed that as soon as he came on board his ship, he was told by his Mate and Sailors, that the Pyrates had been aboard her, whilst he was detained on board their Sloop near nine hours & had rumaged her hold, and had taken from on board her three Boat's Lading of goods, and thrown severall things overboard _____ as boxes, trunks & a Chest of Drawers etc. Besides which he does not know of any other damage done to the sd. Ship's Lading, and that he himself nor any other Person whatsoever by his knowledge or procurement, directly or indirectly hath not done, committed or suffered any Wast or Imbezelment of any part of the sd. ship's Cargo. And the sd. John Lucas Further deposed that the sd. Pyrate's Vessell was a Sloop seemingly of New England built, about the burthen of fourty or fifty tuns her Quarter  being spotted with blew and yellow, as likewise her stern spotted with blew, and having no windows, That her Mast was sprung at the head and near the deck and that She had old patcht sails, That they had a St. _______ Jack hoisted at the Boltspritt and that the sd. Sloop had twelve guns, Six on carriages, four in Swivells and two more in the hold, and seem'd to be mann'd ______ about fourty men, most of which seemed to be English, & Especially the Pyrate's Captain, who was a middlesized man of a dark brown complexion wearing a peruke That he the sd. John Lucas observed there were Five Frenchmen, five Negros & an Indian on board the sd. Pirate's sloop.

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

For the Love of a Pirate - Chapter One

Hello! I am posting this here as a sort of teaser for the fiction project I am currently working on. I am open to any feedback you may have on this first chapter sample. 

Thank you!

For the Love of a Pirate

By Laura Nelson


Kelly Hunter, 53, groaned and reached over to her nightstand to pick up her cell phone and shut off the alarm. Dropping her head back on the pillow, she laid the phone in its rose gold wallet next to herself and wondered again why she had agreed to this blind date. Sunday mornings were meant for sleeping in and taking your time getting out of bed.
Sighing, she pulled the covers up higher around her neck and closed her eyes. A few more minutes of sleep wasn’t going to affect anything. And she was reluctant to leave the comfort of her cotton sheets, blue Velux blanket, and delicately flowered bedcover.
On either side of her, two cats, one grey and one black, both solid color longhairs, shifted their positions, knowing the alarm going off meant she was going to be getting out of bed momentarily.
She had almost fallen back asleep when she gave in to the inevitable and pulled back one corner of the blankets. At once both cats stood, yawning, and indulging in the leisure stretching of their kind. They would follow her into the bathroom and then to the kitchen where she would refresh their water bowls, pour some more dry food into their food bowls, and give them treats.
Slowly she put on her glasses and blue floral slippers, then trudged down the hall to the bathroom, kitties happily bounding around her, rubbing on her legs, and impeding her progress. While she sat on the throne she thought about the weird dream she’d had that night: in it, a black-haired man dressed in what looked like a pirate outfit straight out of Hollywood had been following her through what looked to her like some sort of medieval town.
She’d eluded him several times by ducking into doorways and alleys, frequently back-tracking to throw him off. She’d felt sure she’d finally lost him, only to find herself at a dead end. She turned to go back and there he’d been, smiling in triumph at having cornered her. Then the alarm had gone off. Strange that she’d been dreaming of pirates; she never had before. Maybe it had to do with going on this blind date to the pirate exhibit at the museum.
The guy had been enthusiastic about attending the exhibit, telling her how excited he was to be going to see artifacts from a real pirate ship recovered from the bottom of the sea. He’d seemed nice enough, and Kelly figured a museum was probably a fairly safe place to meet up with someone new, so she’d agreed to go. Since reaching middle age she’d put on weight and her now lumpy body bore no resemblance to the skinny thing she’d been in her youth. Faced now with the reality of having to get up early on her day off, she wasn’t so sure.
From the bathroom she continued her zombie-like walk back down the beige-carpeted hall to the kitchen. The cats walked around her, meowing with impatience while she got fresh water from the sink and a fresh supply of dry food from its storage canister. As usual, there was still some food in the bowls, but because they’d pushed everything to the side the bottom of the bowls were showing and to the cats that meant the bowls were empty. Then she reached in the cupboard next to the stove and got out the canister of treats.
            Shaking it, the treats inside sounding like a giant rattle, she called out, “Who wants a treat?”
            The cats meowed and cantered up to her, tails in the air. Crouching down on the green linoleum floor, she fed them their treats, sometimes feeding them by hand, other times tossing them down on the floor for them to chase. They got eight or nine pieces each, then she put away the canister.
            Pushing herself back up, she resisted the urge to keep walking down the hall and detouring into the living room and turning on the TV. She knew if she did, she’d plop down on the couch and watch it instead of getting ready. So, she made a left in the bathroom to take a shower. Glancing at the clock just inside the bathroom door, she realized she didn’t have much time left before she was scheduled to meet this guy. There wouldn’t be time to eat before leaving. Maybe she’d be able to grab something to eat at the museum.
            While she showered, she wondered what this guy would be like. He was another of her “friend” Clemencia’s “cast-offs” that she insisted on setting her up with. Kelly had avoided two “parties” where Clemencia wanted to invite a bunch of her former boyfriends and admirers so Kelly could meet them.
            “It’s for you to meet them, but they won’t know that,” she told her. “They’re nice guys, they just didn’t work for me, but maybe they’ll work for you.’
Then she had come up with the idea of this blind date. Kelly agreed reluctantly, mostly just to shut her up.  She really didn’t want to go; she could think of better ways to spend her Sunday morning. Sleeping, for one, she grumbled silently. Or reading. She was barely two chapters into a Steve Berry book she hadn’t read yet.
She and Clemencia had met about five years ago. She’d been fresh out of a divorce. She had remarried a couple years ago, and now had a big thing about trying to get Kelly hooked up with someone. Now that she was married again, she saw herself as being in some strange, rarified air that put her above anyone who was single.
She had tried to set Kelly up like this once before, to a guy who Kelly found out later couldn’t hold a steady job and wanted a girlfriend so he could have money to spend.
            Kelly finished her shower, dried off, and slipped back into her robe. On her way back down the hall she idly noted the framed belt certificates from her two years of Kempo and a couple of pieces of artwork a former boyfriend had never come back to claim. On the opposite wall, above her bookshelves which stretched its whole length, was a framed poster from the movie Ben-Hur featuring a great close-up of Charlton Heston driving a chariot of four white horses. She’d had to send in a receipt and proof of purchase from when she bought the DVD to obtain it. Whoever had painted this place had done the walls in nearly the same beige color as the carpet, so the artwork added much-needed spots of color to the place.
            Back in the bedroom, she plopped down on the bed, then picked up her phone off the pillow where she had left it. The sign-in screen indicated that someone had called while she was in the shower. She pulled up her voicemail.
            “Hey, this is Dan. I’m not gonna be able to meet you at the museum today, sorry. Maybe I’ll see you some other time.” With a sigh of disgust, Kelly clicked the delete button and set the phone back on the nightstand.
            “Well, that takes care of that,” she exclaimed.
            Now what? Gazing around the room, her eyes fell on the newspaper article advertising the exhibit at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science. She had let it fall to the floor last night after reading through it and gazing at the black and white and color photographs again. The theme of pirates had seemed intriguing, and Dan had said he was buying the tickets, so she had figured why not?
            She bent down and picked up the article. Behind her on the bed, the cats had finished eating and were taking up positions on the Queen-sized bed to wash. As she turned her attention back to the article, from the corner of her eye she thought she saw one of the figures in the color picture move.
            She stopped, holding out the article before her. She looked more closely at the picture. The four male figures, three men and a boy, were standing facing forward. How had she thought just now that the one on the end had turned and lifted his hat to her?
            She rubbed some grit out of her eyes and tossed the article on her nightstand. Maybe the diversion of getting out of the house and going to the museum was what she needed after all. And maybe, a little voice in the back of her head seemed to be saying, it would be more fun to go by herself and not have to worry about whether she liked the guy, or if they even got along.
            Her decision made, she found a clean pair of dark blue jeans and a black tee-shirt with a red and blue Southwest Airlines logo on it to wear. Seated on the bed she pulled on a pair of grey crew socks, then stood and walked down the hall once more, this time bypassing the bathroom to go to the living room. Forcing herself to stay away from the TV, she walked past it to her desk and booted up her computer to search for the museum’s web site. The main page had a nice, large button to click to order tickets for the exhibit. You had to choose a specific entrance time, and it was already 10am, so she chose 11:30, which would give her plenty of time to drive there, get parked, and get in the building.
            While her ticket printed, she realized she felt lighter and happier than she had in quite a while. Had it really been that long since she’d made herself go somewhere and do something like this?
            Oddly, as she sat in the front entryway and put on her running shoes, then hugged and kissed her kitties and said good-bye, she had a distinct feeling that someone was observing her. Spying her purse on the couch, she grabbed it and zipped it closed.
            Her apartment was at the top of the stairs of a two-story Victorian built in 1899. The bottom floor was used by her landlady as an antique jewelry shop. Since it was Sunday, the store was closed, and the double wood doors to the store were shut. So, it wasn’t like there were any other apartments from which someone might try to covertly observe her.      
            Finishing tying her shoes, she straightened up to look around, but of course, there was only herself and the cats. Dakota Avenue was quiet for once, no cars zooming by and no one on the sidewalk. It was only one lane, but for some reason, people preferred to drive on it to get between northbound Broadway and southbound Lincoln instead of using the four-lane roads with intersections and traffic lights just a block up in either direction. With cars parked on both sides of the street, cars going in both directions could make for some hairy traffic situations.
            Her first New Year’s Eve here she had heard crashing and banging outside. Scrambling to the living room to see what was going on, she’d seen an SUV facing east with its driver standing in front of it. She couldn’t hear him through the window, but his wide-open mouth and frantic gestures told her enough. The next morning, she had walked out to see the tree on that side of the road had a chunk of bark missing where the driver had apparently hit it.
            Thinking at the last minute that she might want to put her hair back later, she went back down the hall to the bedroom and grabbed a blue scrunchy, then made her way back to her door. As she walked down the stairs to the front door of the building, she realized she was happy to be going somewhere. Getting out of the house for something besides work was exactly the right thing for her to do.
            She and her landlady parked their cars in the Girl Scouts parking lot that was on the other side of the alley from the house rather than park out on the street. Making her way down the sidewalk, she realized she was whipping her head from side to side, as though looking for someone sneaking up on her. Why am I acting like someone’s going to sneak up on me? No one’s here.
            Just before she stepped onto the asphalt of the parking lot, she stopped and turned to look around her. No one was there, yet she couldn’t shake a feeling of being watched. She strode quickly to her car and got in. Once the doors were closed and locked, she felt better. She looked around again while starting the engine, then back up quickly and left the parking lot.
            As she drove the short way down Dakota to Lincoln, she had to laugh at herself. She must really be getting cabin fever if the mere act of walking to her car made her think she was being followed! She needed to get out of the house more!

Tune in to my interview with Phil Johnson!

Tune in to my interview with Phil Johnson!
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