Monday, October 17, 2016

Pirate Raid 1747 Delaware River Bombay Hook



A stretch of beach a few miles above Bombay Hook was the scene of a pirate raid in 1747 of two families. Prior to 1790 no coastal area was safe from privateers and pirates that infested the inlets along the coast.

On this lonely strip of beach there were only two houses, James Hart and his family occupied one and a short distance away lived his neighbor, Edmund Liston in the other house. Just after dinner, on 12 July 1747, Liston's little daughter, took one of the little slave girls as a companion and went to the beach, within sight of the house, to catch some crabs. Within a few minutes, fifteen or twenty, Spanish or French landed in an open boat, surrounded the children, took them prisoners, tying the black girl and leaving her at the beach , while they carried white child to the house. Here they found Liston at home, admitting they were pirates, demanding Liston to give them his slaves, together with his money. Fearing the safety of his family he complied with their demands without resistance. The pirates stripped the house of anything they could put in the boat, food, bedding, furniture and closthing.

A mile away, Hart, was also at home, had seen them coming and barricaded his house and gave a fight. QA slave girl who had failed to get into the barricaded house was caught and bound and brought to the house, however, Hart gave fight, and for a while keep the pirates away. However, Mrs Hart had been hit by a musket ball and was bleeding badly and in an effort to save her life, surrendered and opened the door, soon the house was stripped bare. Then Liston and Hart were taken back to the Liston house, saw the loot in the boat, with the slaves tied up among it. The two families were left , unhurt, on the beach shore.

This raid was immediately reported to the Council of Anthony Palmer. Evidently this was the start of our fondness of long and impressive investigations, as several years later, the court records were stuffed with letters and orders directing someone else to do something about it. Since the names of the pirates were unknown, nothing was ever done about the raid.

Sewell P. Moore, Delaware Historical Spots, Wilmington News Journal, 4 Oct., 1930

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