Captain William Kidd

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William Kidd
William Kidd.jpg
Bornc. 1655
Dundee, Scotland
Died23 May 1701(1701-05-23) (aged 47)
Wapping, England
RelativesShea Dauphinée, Michael Dauphinée, James Dauphinée
Piratical career
TypePirate / Privateer
AllegianceTemplate:Country data Kingdom of Scotland
CommandsBlessed William
Adventure Galley

Why Captain Kidd[edit]

Captain Kidd is one of the most common pirates associated with Oak Island, but many question if he actually sailed in the waters near Oak Island. OakIslandSociety.ca has a pretty detailed story including most of the common elements of the Kidd story. This site is not referenced to any historical documents to verify authenticity, but the information fits with most theories that have been verified. 

Kidd Treasure Map[edit]

Captain Kidd and His Skeleton Island written by Harold T. Wilkins is one of the biggest things that drove popular culture to look to Oak Island. Although the validity of the Wilkins map has been effectively disproven, the location of the Hubert Palmer Charts from which the Wilkins map was supposedly created has yet to be determined- so there are still many people that believe Kidd hid his treasure on Oak Island. 

Kidd Testimony[edit]

Kidd himself spoke of a buried treasure on an ‘island in the Indies’ amounting to £100,000 when faced with execution

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Death Bed Confessions[edit]

There are many different stories of death bed confessions of sailors that once sailed with Captain Kidd hiding a treasure on an island. None of these confessions speak specifically about Oak Island, and in fact, treasure was found on Gardiner Island- so it is entirely possible that this was the treasure all spoke of. 

 

R.V. Harris Theories[edit]

R.V. Harris did considerable research on all theories surrounding Oak Island and is specifically credited with most of the research regarding the Pamer-Kidd Charts. He presents the following in letters supporting his belief that Kidd visited the area. Additional information about Kidd's life and conquests can be found in Treasure and Intrigue: The Legacy of Captain Kidd.

Do I believe that Captain William Kidd ever visited Nova Scotia?
My answer is "Yes", based on the following documentary evidence. 
1. On a large rock near the mouth of the Gaspereau Brook near Liscomb in Guysborough County, Nova Scotia, we find an inscription cut deeply in the rock, which includes the name "KIDD" in large capital letters, the date 1670, a knee boot, two small crossed flags, the initials, J.M.D., and other buccaneering hieroglyphics. 

The water-worn inscription has been there for at least 150yrs, according to statements from the oldest inhabitants when inquiries were made ten years ago. 

For many years it was covered by the roots of a small tree that seemed to grow out of the rop of the big rock, until the tree was blown down in a big storm, and the inscription exposed. The inscription is too elaborate to be the work of a casual passer0by. I made a detailed sketch of the inscription and it appears in my books. I regard it as convincing evidence that Kidd was there in 1670 when he was about 25yrs old. 

2. That Kidd and his associates knew the way to Nova Scotia is conclusively established by comments in the Canadian Archives at Ottawa. 

In a report made March 1 1690, by Col Hawerson, the British Commander of an expedition which captured the French Island of Maris Galante, near Guadaloupe, he states that he was assisted by Captain Wiliam Kidd and several of his ships and htat much booty and pluder was recovered. 

Hawetson also reports that in February 1690, the crews of two of Kidd's ships mutinied and being well-stocked with arms and manned by 80 or 90 men sailed away to Nova Scotia and adopted the role of pirates. 

From who did Col Hewelson learn of this get away, except from Kidd himself? "Two ships, and ninety men" and £2000 pluder, sailed away to Nova Scotia" That was no invention of Hewetson, but must have come from Kidd himself. He knew where the two ships went, and told Hewetson - to Nova Scotia 2000 miles away. 

From another document, we learn the name of one of the ships, the "Blessed William" commanded by Kidd himself. While Kidd was ashore, Robert Culliford and Samuel Burgess, both confederates of Kidd, took over the ship and made their escape with the booty. At that time Culliford was 26yers of age, but already one of the most caring and bloodthirsty pirates of his time, operating mostly in the indian ocean and in oriental waters. He was later tried alond with Kidd at the Old Dailey in May 1701. Kidd was hanged but Culliford was reprieved. 

Futher confirmation is to be found in another document in the archives in which we learn that Governor Codington of Antigua making his report to England wrote "They took their opportunity when Captain Kidd (who has behaved himself well) was ashore and carried off goods to the value of £2000. Most of the crews", he writes, "were formerly pirates and I presume liked their old trade better than any that they were likely to have here."

Kidd himself in a letter written by him to the Earl of Oxford when in prison before his execution said that "When I was in the King's service in 1690 at the Leeward Islands, I lost a ship of my own, of 18 guns, by the villany of my men, who ran away with her while I was ashore."

The whole steal was undoubtedly planned by the three master-minds of the "Blessed William". Nova Scotia was at the time comparatively un-inhabited, but noted as the haunt of scores of pirates who preyed on the trade between France, Brittan, and Spain, and their colonies in the New World.

But that is not the whole story. Those two ships knew the way and they arrived a Port Royal (now Annapolis, Royal N.S) on June 16th, 1690 and pludered and burned all the houses near the fort and destoryed many cattle belonging to the settlers. Haned two people, burned a woman and her children in her house. The town had been captured by Sir Wm. Phipps about a month before but he left no garrison. 

Judge Savary in his history of Annapolis Country refers to the ships as "pirate vessels with about 90 men, and says: "They then went across the Bay of Fundy and captured a Frech ship there, the Union." A French account of the capture says also "the two ships had a crew of ninety men and nine natives of Marie Galante."

The three ships later rounded Cape Sable and sailed along the south coast of Nova Scotia, past Mahone Bay and Chebucto Bay (now halifax) through the straight of Canno, up the coast of New Brunswick to Isla of Perce near Gaspe, where they sacked and destroyed the Frech settlement and committed many attrocities. They next attacked Placentia in Newfoundland, plundering the settlement to the last house, before returning southward. 

All of this is a matter of record and definitely shows an extensive knowledge of Nova Scotia waters. 

3. The record also shows that Kidd was off this coast on several other occasions. 

In May 1691, he was in New York and was married while there. On June 8, he was in Boston and was charged with neglecting a fair chance of capturing another ship, "known to be a pirate ship." In August 1695 he sailed from New York to London and undoubtedly passed through Nova Scotia waters on the way. 

On May 1st, 1696, he left Plymouth, England by the same route to New York, with the Adventure and a crew of 80 tough seamen reaching New York in July after capturing a French Banker off the Grand Bank of Newfoundland and Nova Scotia. 

Yes he knew where Nova Scotia was and I am convinced knew its safe harbors. There are also other bits of evidence had I time to give them. 

I am convinced beyond any doubth that Kidd knew where Nova Scotia was that he had a place of deposit here for his ill gotten gains. And as he was only one of the many scoundrels who infested the coast of Nova Scotia between 1630 and 1730 , the same depository may have served others as well as himself. 

Editor Comments[edit]

Based on the amount of work done on Oak Island, and the apparent complexity of it, I find it hard to believe it was the work of one group. I don't think a single pirate would have been able to convince his crew to spend the amount of time it would have taken without the promise of some great reward. The theories about it being a pirate "bank" holds more credence in my opinion just because there would be more than one person involved in building it.