Goat Island Pirate Graves

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Goat Island Pirate Graves

Location
Newport, Newport County, Rhode Island, USA
Memorials 26 added

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An interesting sidelight to Goat Island’s history:

The largest group of pirates ever executed at one time in the Colonies is buried there. Pirates were both numerous and active in the West Indies and along the American Coast during the early 1700’s.

One pirate captain, Charles Harris, had originally been a navigator aboard a Boston owned ship which was captured by pirates. Shortly after his capture, Harris signed articles
as a full-fledged member of the pirate crew. By 1723, he was captain of the pirate sloop Ranger,but he made the mistake of engaging in battle with HMS Greyhound, a man-of-war captained by Peter Solgard, who had sworn to capture the pirates .

Ranger and another pirate sloop opened
fire on the Greyhound, which returned shot for
shot. The pirates, realizing their error, pulled
down their black flags of piracy and fled. The
wind dropped, and the pirates resorted to their
oars, but Captain Solgard was not to be outdone
and ordered his eighty-six sailors to man the
Greyhound’s oars. By 2:30 in the afternoon,
the Greyhound was close enough to fire on
Ranger, demolishing the sloop to "a helpless
hulk”. Harris and his crew surrendered, and the
Greyhound sailed to Newport with forty-eight
pirates aboard.

The trial began on June 11, 1723 and took
two days. A number of the pirates were released,
including the pirate doctor, several teenage
boys and an Indian who had been captured by
the pirates while he was fishing off Nantucket.
Twenty-six others, including Harris, were found
guilty.

On Friday, 19 July 1723, twenty-six pirates were hung and were buried on the north end of Goat Island, on the shore, between high and low water mark. They had been tried in Newport between 10 and 12 July and hanged at nearby Bull's Point (Gravelly Point). They were: Charles Harris, Thomas Linicar, Daniel Hyde, Stephen Mundon, Abraham Lacy, Edward Lawson, John Tomkins, Francis Laughton, John Fisgerald, William Studfield, Owen Rice, William Read, John Bright, Thomas Hazel, William Blades (Rhode Island), Thomas Hagget, Peter Cues, William Jones, Edward Eaton, John Brown, James Sprinkly, Joseph Sound, Charles Church, John Waters, Thomas Powell (Connecticut), and Joseph Libbey. "The pirates were all young men, most of them natives of England." The following is taken from The Salem Observer, November 11, 1843: "...this was the most extensive execution of pirates that ever took place at one time in the Colonies, it was attended by a vast multitude from every part of New England."

GPS Coordinates: 41.49286, -71.32693

  • Added: 16 Sep 2017
  • Find A Grave Cemetery: #2651230