Friday, December 30, 2016

Black Barts

A little fun before the nightmare of 2017 begins.

Black Bart is a great villain name that became famous twice in history.

Bartholomew Roberts
Black Bart Roberts started his pirating career in 1719 when, as serving as a mate on a slave ship, he was captured by pirate Howell Davis. Bart has a valuable talent, he was a skilled navigator, so the pirates gave him an option - join us or die. He joined.

Within six weeks of being forced into a pirate's life, Bart was elected captain, replacing Davis who had been killed by authorities on the West African island of Principe. Although Bart didn't want to be a pirate he decided if he was going to be a captain he'd be the most ruthless pirate who ever sailed. His first act was ordering his ship to Principe where he murdered ever man on the island in retaliation for the death of Davis.

For the next three years he wreaked havoc on shipping in both West Africa and the Caribbean, killing and plundering, selling captured cargo (often African slaves) for profit. He developed a reputation as an indestructible demon incapable of either death or mercy.

The British Royal Navy sent warships to hunt Black Bart and caught up with his fleet off the coast of modern day Gabon. Bart died in a grapeshot broadside in 1722.

Black Bart - California Outlaw
In the 1870's, Charles Bolton (or Bolles) was a middle-aged failed gold miner, failed farmer, and failed husband. Disgusted with his life, Charles decided to rob a Wells Fargo stagecoach in Calaveras County, California. He loved it, left his wife, and began his career as an outlaw.

He was an unusual outlaw. He did all his robberies with an unloaded shotgun. He asked for his booty politely, saying "please." And he often left poetry behind.
I've labored long and hard for bread
For honor and for riches
But on my corns to long you've tread
You fine-haired sons of bitches.
~ Black Bart, 1877
He was caught in classic CSI fashion. He had dropped a handkerchief and police were able to trace the laundry mark. Black Bart was 53 years old when he went to San Quentin Prison in 1883. Released four years later, he disappeared from history.

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