The dramatic and deliciously swashbuckling story of Sarah Kidd, the wife of the famous pirate Captain Kidd, charting her transformation from New York socialite to international outlaw during the Golden Age of Piracy
Captain Kidd was one of the most notorious pirates to ever prowl the seas. But few know that Kidd had an accomplice, a behind-the-scenes player who enabled his plundering and helped him outpace his enemies.
That accomplice was his wife, Sarah Kidd, a well-to-do woman whose extraordinary life is a lesson in reinvention and resourcefulness. Twice widowed by twenty-one and operating within the strictures of polite society in seventeenth- and eighteenth-century New York, Sarah secretly aided and abetted her husband, fighting alongside him against his accusers. More remarkable still was that Sarah not only survived the tragedy wrought by her infamous husband’s deeds, but went on to live a successful and productive life as one of New York’s most prominent citizens.
Marshaling in newly discovered primary-source documents from archives in London, New York and Boston, historian and journalist Daphne Palmer Geanacopoulos reconstructs the extraordinary life of Sarah Kidd, uncovering a rare example of the kind of life that pirate wives lived during the Golden Age of Piracy. A compelling tale of love, treasure, motherhood and survival, this landmark work of narrative nonfiction weaves together the personal and the epic in a sweeping historical story of romance and adventure.
Historian Geanacopoulos (The Pirate Next Door) delivers a colorful biography of Sarah Kidd née Bradley, the wife and "closest confidante" of privateer William Kidd. The daughter of a widowed sea captain, Sarah emigrated from England to New York with her family in 1684. Her father partnered with a wealthy merchant named William Cox and arranged Cox's marriage to Sarah. Though Cox helped Sarah open a shop for "imported high-end goods" in Manhattan, she was not entitled to it when he died in 1689. Recognizing that "a woman's place in colonial society was through her husband," Sarah quickly remarried but soon met and fell in love with Captain Kidd, a privateer "hired to legally plunder and seize enemy French ships." After her second husband's death, Sarah and Kidd married, and he acquired a lucrative commission to hunt French ships and pirates in the Indian Ocean. The mission proved to be his downfall, however, when he was convicted of "turning pirate" and hanged in 1701; Sarah took the location of Kidd's buried treasure to her death 40 years later. Though Sarah remains a somewhat enigmatic figure, Geanacopoulos packs the narrative with intriguing details about piracy and privateering in colonial America. This seafaring tale fascinates.