Chronological Facts

Chronology of Events for Anne Bonny and Mary Read

1702:   Anne (as Anne Cormac) is born in County Cork, Ireland as the illegitimate daughter of William Cormac and his housemaid, Mary Brennan.  Disgraced, William leaves Ireland for the opportunities in Carolina colony taking his lover and baby with him.

Meanwhile, Mary, age 11, is being raised as a boy (Mark) and educated by her mother.  Now able to read and write, she goes to grammar school using paternal grandmother’s money, who wants ‘him’ to be prepared as a military officer in the war.

1705:    Anne, age 2, and her parents arrive in the American Colonies where William Cormac begins a lucrative business.

Mary, age 13, becomes a footboy in London after her grandmother dies and the money runs out.

1707:   Anne, age 5, is being raised in a life of privilege as her father has become a wealthy plantation owner.

Mary, age 16, joins the English army as Mark Read and is sent to Flanders, Holland where ‘he’ becomes an expert swordsman.

1714:   Anne, age 12, develops into a hellion/brat/tomboy after her mother dies.

Mary, age 23, leaves the army at the end of the war, marries a fellow soldier, and they set up in business running an inn in  ​Flanders.

1716:   Anne, age 14, supposedly stabs a man who tries to molest her.

Mary’s husband dies and she, age 25, is unable to manage the business by herself

1717:    Anne, age 15, begins a relationship with James Bonny in Carolina colony.

Mary, age 26, leaves Europe on a ship bound for the West Indies as a soldier (Mark) in search of a new life.

1718:   Anne, age 16, defying her father elopes with James Bonny.  They leave for New Providence, The Bahamas, intending to become pirates, and arrive late in 1718.  Governor Woodes Rogers, who arrived either in May or July, 1718, had offered a Royal proclamation of Pardon from King George I for the pirates and brought two warships to use against those who did not comply, so the Bonny’s were forced to find legitimate employment.

The ship carrying Mary, age 27, is intercepted by the pirate ship, the Ranger, which is under the command of Charles Vane.  The Ranger’s quartermaster, Jack Rackham, age 35, is impressed with ‘Mark’s’ fighting skills and recruits ‘him.’  When it is revealed that Mark is really Mary, Jack defends her and they begin a relationship.  Later, a crew member challenges Jack to a duel but Mary steps up and kills the challenger.  On November 24th, Mary sides with Jack Rackham when he leads a mutiny against Charles Vane takes command of the Ranger.  Jack sails the Ranger to Jamaica where they capture a rich prize, the Kingston, on December 11, 1718 and take it and the Ranger to Isla de Pinos, an island south of Cuba.

1719:   Mary, age 28, and Jack are stranded on Ilsa de Pinos when hired mercenaries from Jamaica take back the Kingston on February 19, 1719. The Ranger, in poor condition, is pulled onto the beach to be refitted in order for them to return to sea, but a Spanish warship with a small captured sloop in tow comes across them and prepares to attack the next morning.  The pirate crew sneaks aboard the sloop, overthrows the watch, and make their escape that night.  Nowhere else to go, on May 16, 1719 they sail to New Providence and accept amnesty.

Jack Rackham most likely then sailed as a privateer with either Captain Burgess or Captain Hornigold until they were shipwrecked in a storm in the Caribbean in December.  Jack survived, but it was six months before he made it back to New Providence where Mary was likely running a local tavern.  That is where she would have met Anne Bonny, then age 17, who was probably working as a barmaid.

1720:   Anne, age 18, becomes infuriated when her husband, James Bonny, becomes an informant for Governor Roger, and their marriage falls apart.

Mary, age 29, and Jack plan to return to piracy, and Mary invites Anne to join them.

     August 22nd:  They steal the William, a sloop of war, from New Providence Harbor.

     Late August:  They plunder seven boats from fishing villages around Harbour Island.

     September:  Woodes Rogers, furious that they returned to piracy, puts a bounty out on them.  The Bahamas become too hot with navy and pirate hunters looking for them, so they sail south and take two ships off the coast of Hispaniola.

    October:   They sail towards Jamaica, probably stopping at Ilsa de Pinos.

    October 22:  They take a large merchant schooner or brigantine and anchor near Negril Point to celebrate, but are sighted by the English navy warship, the Tyger.

    October 23:  They are captured by Captain Jonathan Barnet of the Tyger and taken as prisoners to Port Royal, Jamaica.

    November 16:  Jack is tried and convicted at Admiralty Court in St. Jago de la Vega.

    November 17:  Jack is allowed a visit from Anne.

    November 18:  Jack is hanged and his body is gibbeted in the harbor.

    November 28:  Anne, age 18, and Mary, age 30, are tried and convicted of piracy.  Mary claims to be pregnant and pleads her belly.  Neither are executed and they are both held in jail in Port Royal.

    December:  Anne’s father comes to Jamaica and takes her back to Carolina Colony.