Captain James Kelley


James Kelley was aboard a slave ship when he was captured off West Africa by John Williams in 1680. Kelley joined Williams and was with him when Williams rescued John Cook as well as other pirates in the Caribbean in early 1681.
Kelley left Williams and joined Cook after Williams and Cook had argued after capturing a Spanish prize. Kelley in the company of Cook aboard the ship Bachelor's Delight plundered along the South American Pacific coast from 1684 to 1688. Cook died during this time and Edward Davis came into command of the ship. While the ship was at Jamaica, Kelley left Davis' company, accepted a pardon and became a privateer.
A few months passed and Kelley helped seize a sloop which he was elected captain of. Kelley set sail for the Indian Ocean. While in the East Indies, Kelley (using the alias James Gilliam) reunited with his old ship, the Bachelor's Delight. Kelley chose to join his old ship as quartermaster. Near Bombay in January 1692, the pirates captured the Unity. The defeated crew of the Unity joined with the pirates, put their officers out to sea, and elected Kelley as their captain.
Kelley next took his crew to northwest India where they put in for water. While in harbor, Kelley and 20 others were arrested. The charges against them were that they hadn't paid for supplies during an earlier stop while still onboard the Bachelor's Delight. The prisoners were forcibly converted to the Muslim faith and several of them died while undergoing circumcision. Kelley remained there for several years.
Around 1696, Kelley with the aid of others was able to steal a boat and reach Bombay. Kelley joined the ship Mocha, an East Indiaman ship. Eight days after leaving port the crew mutinied and Ralph Stout was elected captain. The pirates were very successful in their plundering, taking very rich prizes. In May 1698, the Mocha anchored at Saint Mary's Island. Kelley having much booty decided to join William Kidd who was heading home. This decision cost him his life, as unknown to Kelley, the authorities were hunting for Kidd. When Kidd landed at Boston, he was arrested as was Kelley.
Kelley was taken to England to be tried for his crimes. Kelley was found guilty and hanged in 1701. While awaiting his fate, Kelley wrote his memoirs which were later published as..."A Full and True Discovery of all the Robberies, Pyracies and Other Notorious Actions of James Kelley".

Posted by Under The Black Flag on 4:44 π.μ.. Filed under . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0

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