William Kidd

This article is about the 17th century pirate. For the 15th century pirate, see William Kyd. For the outlaw in the American West, see Billy the Kid. For other people with the same birth name, see William Kidd (disambiguation).
"Captain Kidd" redirects here. For other uses, see Captain Kidd (disambiguation).
William Kidd
Born 22 January 1645
Greenock, Scotland
Died 23 May 1701(1701-05-23) (aged 56)
Wapping, England

Piratical career

Type Pirate / Privateer
Allegiance  Kingdom of Scotland

Captain William Kidd (c. 22 January 1645 – 23 May 1701)[1] was a Scottish sailor who was tried and executed for piracy after returning from a voyage to the Indian Ocean. Some modern historians deem his piratical reputation unjust, as there is evidence that Kidd acted only as a privateer. Kidd's fame springs largely from the sensational circumstances of his questioning before the English Parliament and the ensuing trial. His actual depredations on the high seas, whether piratical or not, were both less destructive and less lucrative than those of many other contemporary pirates and privateers.


Captain William Kidd was either one of the most notorious pirates in history, or one of its most unjustly vilified and prosecuted privateers, in an imperialistic age's rationalisations of empire. Despite the legends and fiction surrounding this character, his actual career was punctuated by only a handful of skirmishes, followed by a desperate quest to clear his name.

Kidd was born in Greenock, Scotland, January 1645. He gave the city as his place of birth and said that he was aged 41 in testimony under oath at the High Court of the Admiralty in October 1695 or 1694. Researcher Dr. David Dobson later identified his baptism documents from Greenock in 1645. His father was Captain John Kyd, who was lost at sea. A local society supported the family financially . Richard Zacks says that Kidd came from Dundee in the biography The Pirate Hunter (2002). Reports that Kidd came from Greenock have been dismissed by Dr. Dobson, who found neither the name Kidd nor Kyd in baptismal records. The myth is also discounted that his "father was thought to have been a Church of Scotland minister". There is no mention of the name in comprehensive Church of Scotland records for the period. A contrary view is presented here.[2][3] Kidd later settled in the newly anglicized New York City. It was here that he befriended many prominent colonial citizens, including three governors. There is some information which suggests that he was a seaman's apprentice on a pirate ship, much earlier than his own more famous seagoing exploits.

By 1689, he was a member of a French-English pirate crew that sailed in the Caribbean. Kidd and other members of the crew mutinied, ousted the captain of the ship, and sailed to the British colony of Nevis. There they renamed the ship Blessed William. Kidd became captain, either the result of an election of the ship's crew or because of appointment by Christopher Codrington, governor of the island of Nevis. Captain Kidd and Blessed William became part of a small fleet assembled by Codrington to defend Nevis from the French, with whom the English were at war. In either case, he must have been an experienced leader and sailor by that time. The governor did not want to pay the sailors for their defensive services; he told them that they could take their pay from the French. Kidd and his men attacked the French island of Marie-Galante, destroyed the only town, and looted the area, gathering for themselves something around 2,000 pounds Sterling.

Kidd captured an enemy privateer during the War of the Grand Alliance, on orders from the provinces of New York and Massachusetts Bay, which he was commissioned to perform[4] off the New England coast. Shortly thereafter, he was awarded £150 for successful privateering in the Caribbean. One year later, Captain Robert Culliford, a notorious pirate, stole Kidd's ship while he was ashore at Antigua in the West Indies. In 1695, William III of England appointed Richard Coote, Earl of Bellomont as governor in place of the corrupt Benjamin Fletcher, known for accepting bribes of one hundred dollars to allow illegal trading of pirate loot.[5] In New York City, Kidd was active in the building of Trinity Church, New York.[6][7]

On 16 May 1691, Kidd married Sarah Bradley Cox Oort, an English woman in her early twenties, who had already been twice widowed and was one of the wealthiest women in New York, largely because of her inheritance from her first husband.[8]

Preparing his expedition

Captain Kidd in New York Harbor, ca. 1920 painting by Jean Leon Gerome Ferris

On 11 December 1695, Bellomont was governing New York, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire, and he asked the "trusty and well beloved Captain Kidd"[9] to attack Thomas Tew, John Ireland, Thomas Wake, William Maze, and all others who associated themselves with pirates, along with any enemy French ships. It would have been viewed as disloyalty to the crown to turn down this request, carrying much social stigma and making it difficult for Kidd to say no. The request preceded the voyage which established Kidd's reputation as a pirate, and marked his image in history and folklore.

Four-fifths of the cost for the venture was paid for by noble lords, who were among the most powerful men in England: the Earl of Orford, the Baron of Romney, the Duke of Shrewsbury, and Sir John Somers. Kidd was presented with a letter of marque, signed personally by King William III of England. This letter reserved 10% of the loot for the Crown, and Henry Gilbert's The Book of Pirates suggests that the King may have fronted some of the money for the voyage himself. Kidd and his acquaintance Colonel Robert Livingston orchestrated the whole plan and paid for the rest. Kidd had to sell his ship Antigua to raise funds.

The new ship Adventure Galley[10] was well suited to the task of catching pirates, weighing over 284 tons burthen and equipped with 34 cannon, oars, and 150 men. The oars were a key advantage, as they enabled Adventure Galley to manoeuvre in a battle when the winds had calmed and other ships were dead in the water. Kidd took pride in personally selecting the crew, choosing only those whom he deemed to be the best and most loyal officers.

As the Adventure Galley sailed down the Thames, Kidd unaccountably failed to salute a Navy yacht at Greenwich, as custom dictated. The Navy yacht then fired a shot to make him show respect, and Kidd’s crew responded with an astounding display of impudence — by turning and slapping their backsides in [disdain].[11]

Because of Kidd's refusal to salute, the Navy vessel's captain retaliated by pressing much of Kidd's crew into naval service, this despite rampant protests. Thus short-handed, Kidd sailed for New York City, capturing a French vessel en route (which was legal under the terms of his commission). To make up for the lack of officers, Kidd picked up replacement crew in New York, the vast majority of whom were known and hardened criminals, some undoubtedly former pirates.

Among Kidd's officers was his quartermaster Hendrick van der Heul. The quartermaster was considered "second in command" to the captain in pirate culture of this era. It is not clear, however, if van der Heul exercised this degree of responsibility, because Kidd was nominally a privateer. Van der Heul is also noteworthy because he may have been African or of African descent. A contemporary source describes him as a "small black Man". If van der Heul was indeed of African ancestry, this fact would make him the highest ranking black pirate so far identified. Van der Heul went on to become a master's mate on a merchant vessel, and was never convicted of piracy.

Hunting for pirates

In September 1696, Kidd weighed anchor and set course for the Cape of Good Hope. A third of his crew perished on the Comoros due to an outbreak of cholera, the brand-new ship developed many leaks, and he failed to find the pirates whom he expected to encounter off Madagascar.

As it became obvious that his ambitious enterprise was failing, Kidd became desperate to cover its costs. But, once again, he failed to attack several ships when given a chance, including a Dutchman and a New York privateer. Some of the crew deserted Kidd the next time that Adventure Galley anchored offshore, and those who decided to stay on made constant open threats of mutiny.

Howard Pyle's fanciful painting of Kidd and his ship, Adventure Galley, in New York Harbor.
Howard Pyle's fanciful painting of Kidd burying treasure

Kidd killed one of his own crewmen on 30 October 1697. Kidd's gunner William Moore was on deck sharpening a chisel when a Dutch ship appeared. Moore urged Kidd to attack the Dutchman, an act not only piratical but also certain to anger Dutch-born King William. Kidd refused, calling Moore a lousy dog. Moore retorted, "If I am a lousy dog, you have made me so; you have brought me to ruin and many more." Kidd snatched up and heaved an ironbound bucket at Moore. Moore fell to the deck with a fractured skull and died the following day.[12]

Seventeenth-century English admiralty law allowed captains great leeway in using violence against their crew, but outright murder was not permitted. Yet Kidd seemed unconcerned, later explaining to his surgeon that he had "good friends in England, that will bring me off for that."

Accusations of piracy

Acts of savagery on Kidd's part were reported by escaped prisoners, who told stories of being hoisted up by the arms and drubbed with a drawn cutlass. On one occasion, crew members ransacked the trading ship Mary and tortured several of its crew members while Kidd and the other captain, Thomas Parker, conversed privately in Kidd's cabin. When Kidd found out what had happened, he was outraged and forced his men to return most of the stolen property.

Kidd was declared a pirate very early in his voyage by a Royal Navy officer, to whom he had promised "thirty men or so".[9] Kidd sailed away during the night to preserve his crew, rather than subject them to Royal Navy impressment.

On 30 January 1698, he raised French colours and took his greatest prize, the 400-ton Quedagh Merchant,[13][14] an Indian ship hired by Armenian merchants that was loaded with satins, muslins, gold, silver, an incredible variety of East Indian merchandise, as well as extremely valuable silks. The captain of Quedagh Merchant was an Englishman named Wright, who had purchased passes from the French East India Company promising him the protection of the French Crown. After realising the captain of the taken vessel was an Englishman, Kidd tried to persuade his crew to return the ship to its owners, but they refused, claiming that their prey was perfectly legal, as Kidd was commissioned to take French ships, and that an Armenian ship counted as French, if it had French passes. In an attempt to maintain his tenuous control over his crew, Kidd relented and kept the prize. When this news reached England, it confirmed Kidd's reputation as a pirate, and various naval commanders were ordered to "pursue and seize the said Kidd and his accomplices" for the "notorious piracies".[15] they had committed.

Kidd kept the French passes of Quedagh Merchant, as well as the vessel itself. While the passes were at best a dubious defence of his capture, British admiralty and vice-admiralty courts (especially in North America) heretofore had often winked at privateers' excesses into piracy, and Kidd may have been hoping that the passes would provide the legal fig leaf that would allow him to keep Quedagh Merchant and her cargo. Renaming the seized merchantman Adventure Prize, he set sail for Madagascar.

On 1 April 1698, Kidd reached Madagascar. Here he found the first pirate of his voyage, Robert Culliford (the same man who had stolen Kidd’s ship years before), and his crew aboard Mocha Frigate. Two contradictory accounts exist of how Kidd reacted to his encounter with Culliford. According to The General History of the Pirates, published more than 25 years after the event by an author whose very identity remains in dispute, Kidd made peaceful overtures to Culliford: he "drank their Captain's health," swearing that "he was in every respect their Brother," and gave Culliford "a Present of an Anchor and some Guns."[16] This account appears to be based on the testimony of Kidd's crewmen Joseph Palmer and Robert Bradinham at his trial. The other version was presented by Richard Zacks in his 2002 book The Pirate Hunter: The True Story of Captain Kidd. According to Zacks, Kidd was unaware that Culliford had only about 20 crew with him, and felt ill-manned and ill-equipped to take Mocha Frigate until his two prize ships and crews arrived, so he decided not to molest Culliford until these reinforcements came. After Adventure Prize and Rouparelle came in, Kidd ordered his crew to attack Culliford's Mocha Frigate. However, his crew, despite their previous eagerness to seize any available prize, refused to attack Culliford and threatened instead to shoot Kidd. Zacks does not refer to any source for his version of events.[17]

Both accounts agree that most of Kidd's men now abandoned him for Culliford. Only 13 remained with Adventure Galley. Deciding to return home, Kidd left the Adventure Galley behind, ordering her to be burnt because she had become worm-eaten and leaky. Before burning the ship, he was able to salvage every last scrap of metal, such as hinges. With the loyal remnant of his crew, he returned to the Caribbean aboard the Adventure Prize.

Trial and execution

Captain Kidd hanging in chains.

Prior to returning to New York City, Kidd learned that he was a wanted pirate, and that several English men-of-war were searching for him. Realizing that Adventure Prize was a marked vessel, he cached it in the Caribbean Sea and continued toward New York aboard a sloop. He deposited some of his treasure on Gardiners Island, hoping to use his knowledge of its location as a bargaining tool. Kidd found himself in Oyster Bay, as a way of avoiding his mutinous crew who gathered in New York. In order to avoid them, Kidd sailed 120 miles around the eastern tip of Long Island, and then doubled back 90 miles along the Sound to Oyster Bay. He felt this was a safer passage than the highly trafficked Narrows between Staten Island and Brooklyn.[18]

Bellomont (an investor) was away in Boston, Massachusetts. Aware of the accusations against Kidd, Bellomont was justifiably afraid of being implicated in piracy himself, and knew that presenting Kidd to England in chains was his best chance to save himself. He lured Kidd into Boston with false promises of clemency,[19] then ordered him arrested on 6 July 1699. Kidd was placed in Stone Prison, spending most of the time in solitary confinement. His wife, Sarah, was also imprisoned. The conditions of Kidd's imprisonment were extremely harsh, and appear to have driven him at least temporarily insane. By then, Bellomont had turned against Kidd and other pirates, writing that the inhabitants of Long Island were "a lawless and unruly people" protecting pirates who had "settled among them".[20]

Kidd was eventually (after over a year) sent to England for questioning by Parliament. The new Tory ministry hoped to use Kidd as a tool to discredit the Whigs who had backed him, but Kidd refused to name names, naively confident his patrons would reward his loyalty by interceding on his behalf. There is speculation that he probably would have been spared had he talked. Finding Kidd politically useless, the Tory leaders sent him to stand trial before the High Court of Admiralty in London, for the charges of piracy on high seas and the murder of William Moore. Whilst awaiting trial, Kidd was confined in the infamous Newgate Prison, and wrote several letters to King William requesting clemency.

Kidd had two lawyers to assist in his defence.[21] He was shocked to learn at his trial that he was charged with murder. He was found guilty on all charges (murder and five counts of piracy). He was hanged on 23 May 1701, at Execution Dock, Wapping, in London. During the execution, the hangman's rope broke and Kidd was hanged on the second attempt. His body was gibbeted over the River Thames at Tilbury Point—as a warning to future would-be pirates—for three years.[22]

His associates Richard Barleycorn, Robert Lamley, William Jenkins, Gabriel Loffe, Able Owens, and Hugh Parrot were also convicted, but pardoned just prior to hanging at Execution Dock.

Kidd's Whig backers were embarrassed by his trial. Far from rewarding his loyalty, they participated in the effort to convict him by depriving him of the money and information which might have provided him with some legal defence. In particular, the two sets of French passes he had kept were missing at his trial. These passes (and others dated 1700) resurfaced in the early twentieth century, misfiled with other government papers in a London building.[23] These passes call the extent of Kidd's guilt into question. Along with the papers, many goods were brought from the ships and soon auctioned off as "pirate plunder". They were never mentioned in the trial.

As to the accusations of murdering Moore, on this he was mostly sunk on the testimony of the two former crew members, Palmer and Bradinham, who testified against him in exchange for pardons. A deposition Palmer gave, when he was captured in Rhode Island two years earlier, contradicted his testimony and may have supported Kidd's assertions, but Kidd was unable to obtain the deposition.

A broadside song "Captain Kidd's Farewell to the Seas, or, the Famous Pirate's Lament" was printed shortly after his execution and popularised the common belief that Kidd had confessed to the charges.[24]

Mythology and legend

The belief that Kidd had left buried treasure contributed considerably to the growth of his legend. The 1701 broadside song Captain Kid's Farewell to the Seas, or, the Famous Pirate's Lament[25] lists "Two hundred bars of gold, and rix dollars manifold, we seized uncontrolled". This belief made its contributions to literature in Edgar Allan Poe's "The Gold-Bug"; Washington Irving's The Devil and Tom Walker; Robert Louis Stevenson's Treasure Island and Nelson DeMille's Plum Island. It also gave impetus to the constant treasure hunts conducted on Oak Island in Nova Scotia; in Suffolk County, Long Island in New York where Gardiner's Island is located; Charles Island in Milford, Connecticut; the Thimble Islands in Connecticut; Cockenoe Island in Westport, Connecticut;[26] and on the island of Grand Manan in the Bay of Fundy.

Captain Kidd did bury a small cache of treasure on Gardiners Island in a spot known as Cherry Tree Field; however, it was removed by Governor Bellomont and sent to England to be used as evidence against Kidd.[27][28]

Kidd also visited Block Island around 1699, where he was supplied by Mrs. Mercy (Sands) Raymond, daughter of the mariner James Sands. The story has it that, for her hospitality, Mrs. Raymond was bid to hold out her apron, into which Kidd threw gold and jewels until it was full. After her husband Joshua Raymond died, Mercy moved with her family to northern New London, Connecticut (later Montville), where she bought much land. The Raymond family was thus said to have been "enriched by the apron".[29]

On Grand Manan in the Bay of Fundy, as early as 1875, reference was made to searches on the West side of the island for treasure allegedly buried by Kidd during his time as a privateer. For nearly 200 years, this remote area of the island has been called "Money Cove".

In 1983, Cork Graham and Richard Knight went looking for Captain Kidd's buried treasure off the Vietnamese island of Phú Quốc. Knight and Graham were caught, convicted of illegally landing on Vietnamese territory, and assessed each a $10,000 fine. They were imprisoned for 11 months until they paid the fine.[30]

Quedagh Merchant found

For years, people and treasure hunters have tried to locate Quedagh Merchant.[31] It was reported on 13 December 2007 that "wreckage of a pirate ship abandoned by Captain Kidd in the 17th century has been found by divers in shallow waters off the Dominican Republic." The waters in which the ship was found were less than ten feet deep and were only 70 feet (21 m) off Catalina Island, just to the south of La Romana on the Dominican coast. The ship is believed to be "the remains of Quedagh Merchant".[32][33] Charles Beeker, the director of Academic Diving and Underwater Science Programs in Indiana University (Bloomington)'s School of Health, Physical Education, and Recreation, was one of the experts leading the Indiana University diving team. He said that it was "remarkable that the wreck has remained undiscovered all these years given its location," and given that the ship has been the subject of so many prior failed searches.[34] Captain Kidd's cannon, an artifact from the shipwreck, was added to a permanent exhibit at The Children's Museum of Indianapolis in 2011.[35]

Treasure found

In May 2015, a 50-kilogram (110 lb) ingot expected to be silver was found in a wreck off the coast of Île Sainte-Marie in Madagascar by a team led by Marine Archaeologist Barry Clifford, and was believed to be part of Captain Kidd's treasure.[36][37][38] Clifford handed the booty to Hery Rajaonarimampianina, President of Madagascar.[39][40][41] However, in July 2015 a UNESCO scientific and technical advisory body revealed, that the ingot consisted of 95% lead and speculated that the wreck in question might be a broken part of the Sainte-Marie port constructions.[42]

Comics and animation

  • In the 1991 TV series Beetlejuice, a parody of Captain Kidd, "Captain Kidder", is featured as a recurring character in a few episodes involving treasure and maritime piracy.
  • In the popular manga One Piece, a powerful notable pirate known as Eustass "Captain" Kid is a key rival with protagonist Monkey D. Luffy.
  • In the 1985 anime film The Dagger of Kamui, Captain Kidd's treasure is sought as a source of wealth capable of keeping the Shogunate in power.
  • The British comic book Whizzer and Chips had a strip called "Captain Kidd" about a boy pirate.
  • Early Pogo strips had the Okefenokee characters finding Capt. Kidd's treasure chest – and stupidly throwing its contents into the water as "junk", in occasional gags.
  • In the 1947 Looney Tunes cartoon short "Buccaneer Bunny", Bugs Bunny walks away after outsmarting Yosemite Sam (known in this picture as "Sea-Goin' Sam", a pirate) chuckling, "So long, Captain Kidney!"



  • In 1896, Parker Brothers produced the Captain Kidd and His Treasure[43] board game.
  • The MMORPG Pirates of the Burning Sea (set in the year 1720) uses a fictional storyline where William Kidd escaped from his hanging in Wapping (by bribing the hangman involved, according to the game, who subsequently sought Kidd's protection) to Tortuga, where he founded a new Brethren of the Coast organisation, and acts as a primary organiser behind the piracy in the Spanish Main in that game. He is still there 19 years later, having fully embraced his role as a pirate.
  • The time-travel card game Early American Chrononauts includes a card called "Captain Kidd's Treasure Chest" which players can symbolically acquire from the year 1699.
  • In the video game Sid Meier's Pirates!, Captain Kidd is one of the nine other notorious pirates with whom the player competes.
  • The ADK fighting game series World Heroes has a character named Captain Kidd (who debuted in World Heroes 2). Much like most other characters in this game are based on actual historical figures, he is based on the actual William Kidd and his fame, thus being a pirate as well.
  • In the 2012 video game Assassin's Creed III, the protagonist can retrieve four pieces of a map leading to Captain Kidd's treasure. Upon reuniting the map, the player is led to Oak Island and locates a Shard of Eden, supposedly the treasure that Kidd had hidden and that kept him safe from bullets. Additionally, the Freedom Edition and the Digital Deluxe Edition of the game have a mission called Lost Mayan Ruins, in which the protagonist recovers Captain Kidd's fabled sword, the Sawtooth Cutlass, from Cerros.
  • Another game in the Assassin's Creed series, Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag, includes William Kidd's alleged bastard son, James Kidd (who was actually Mary Read in disguise).
  • In Star Sonata, a large uber named Captain Kidd exists, notable for flying a big red Prawn and being difficult to kill.


  • Fichte's student Rafael signed all of his writings with "Captain Kid", referring to Captain William Kidd.
  • In Mark Twain's short story, "Captain Stormfield's Visit to Heaven", Captain Kidd is mentioned as an 11th hour convert who had a grand reception in heaven.
  • Mentioned in a book "Avalon Town" which Bing Crosby recorded for CBS radio on 29 December 1955.
  • In Chris Archer's Series of books, Pyrates, four kids search for Kidd's treasure.
  • In J.M. Barrie's works on Peter Pan, the particular bay in the Neverland in which the pirate ship of Captain Hook lies, is called "Kidd's Creek".
  • Children's author Robert Lawson wrote Captain Kidd's Cat (Little, Brown 1956), in which Kidd's cat McDermot tells the tale of Kidd's adventures on the high seas, arguing that Kidd was no pirate but was rather a victim of circumstances – and politics – beyond his control.
  • Kidd's buried treasure is uncovered on Sullivan's Island, near Charleston, South Carolina, in Edgar Allan Poe's short story "The Gold-Bug".
  • Howard Pyle included a fictional short story, "Tom Chist and the Treasure Box", featuring Captain Kidd burying his treasure in 1699 at Cape Henlopen, Delaware in Howard Pyle's Book of Pirates.[44]
  • In "The Devil and Tom Walker" by Washington Irving it states that according to old stories Kidd buried a good portion of his treasure just outside Boston before being captured within Boston.
  • The legend of William Kidd's treasure was central to the plot of Nelson DeMille's 1997 novel Plum Island.
  • In Treasure Island, an anchorage is named after Captain Kidd.
  • Emily Dickinson, in her eleventh poem, describes the sunlight on a hill as "buried gold", "plunder", and "booty", personifying the Sun itself as "Kidd."
  • Kidd is the speaker of Eugene Lee-Hamilton's sonnet "Captain Kidd to His Gold," one of Lee-Hamilton's Imaginary Sonnets.


  • Captain Kidd's legend is also the subject of a traditional English song, "Captain Kidd", which takes the form of Kidd reminiscing about a rather inaccurate version of his life. One recording of it may be found on the Waterson–Carthy album Fishes and Fine Yellow Sand. Another may be found on the Great Big Sea album The Hard and the Easy.
  • A New England ballad version was sung in Old Folks Concerts and published in Father Kemp's Old Folks Concert Tunes (1874)Father Kemp's Old Folk Concerts
  • Comprehensive web pages about the history and evolution of the folk tune "Captain Kidd" illustrated with over 60 midi files at www.davidkidd.net/Captain_Kidd_Music.html and www.davidkidd.net/Captain_Kidd_Lyrics.html
  • There are four heavy metal songs based on Kidd's adventures; two by Running Wild called "The Ballad of William Kidd" and "Adventure Galley", released on The Rivalry album (1998); and also by Scissorfight called "The Gibbetted Captain Kidd" on the album Balls Deep as well as a song by The Dread Crew of Oddwood by the name of "When I Sail'd".
  • The first single of the 2005 album The Hard and the Easy by Great Big Sea is "Captain Kidd" which chronicles the story of Captain William Kidd. The lyrics are derived from a traditional Newfoundland folk song supposedly sung during Kidd's time.
  • German pop band Dschinghis Khan recorded a song called "Käpt'n Kid (Wir sind Piraten)" in 1982, but released it on 2004's "Jubilee" album.
  • A South African ska band, Captain Kidd's Adventure Galley, based in Grahamstown in the Eastern Cape, combined elements of ska, South African jazz, and punk, introducing the genre to the student town. Although they disbanded after just two years, they inspired a relatively vibrant scene that spawned a handful of bands who dominated the local line-up
  • Captain Kidd was mentioned in the lyrics to Bucks Fizz's 1981 song; The Land of Make Believe.
  • On Bob Dylan's song "Bob Dylan's 115th Dream" from his 1965 album Bringing It All Back Home Bob says his name is Captain Kidd in the 10th verse of the song.


  • In Wildwood, New Jersey, the third weekend in May is known as "Captain Kidd's Weekend". During this weekend, children dig up small candy-filled plastic treasure chests buried on the beach. Here, the name "Kidd" is a pun to the word "kid", a slang term that has come to mean "child".
  • In Corunna, Ontario, Canada, the first weekend in August is known as "Captain Kidd Days".
  • There is a public house, The Captain Kidd, next to the Thames River in the Wapping area of London, close to Execution Dock where Kidd was hanged.
  • There is the Captain Kidd Bar that has been located in Woods Hole, Massachusetts for over a century.
  • Kidd's Beach, a holiday town just southwest of East London on South Africa's east coast is reputedly named for the pirate who is said to have landed there.
  • Seattle Seafair Pirate's celebrate opening day with the landing of Captain Kidd's ship on Alki beach in the Puget Sound.
  • Bass player, Dougie Poynter from the band McFly, released a new clothing range on February 2012 called Saint Kidd named after Captain William Kidd as Poynter's tribute to his love of piracy.
  • Relient K refers to him saying "I don't know what he did but I'm down with Captain Kidd..." in their remake of "The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything" made popular by the animated Veggie Tales movie by the same name.
  • There is a Captain Kidd Cafe located in Harmon, Guam.
  • There is the Captain Kidd Bar located in village of Catskill, New York.
  • The USS Kidd (DD-661), a WW II-era destroyer, has a depiction of Captain William Kidd on the forward smokestack.

See also

Notes and references


  1. "William Kidd". UXL Encyclopedia of World Biography. 2003. Retrieved 13 December 2007.
  2. "Pirates: William Kidd". Genealogy & Family History Achievements Heraldry and Research. Retrieved 13 December 2007.
  3. "WELCOME TO THE ULTIMATE CAPTAIN WILLIAM KIDD WEB SITE". Archived from the original on 30 May 2006. Retrieved 13 December 2007.
  4. "WILLIAM KIDD". Online Encyclopedia. Retrieved 13 December 2014.
  5. "Bellomont, Richard Coote, earl of". The Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition. May 2001. Retrieved 13 December 2007.
  6. "Trinity Wall Street Historical Timeline". Retrieved 13 December 2007.
  7. "Question of the Day: Trinity's Very Own Pirate?". The Archivist's Mailbag. Trinity Church. 19 November 2008. Retrieved 18 December 2011.
  8. Zacks, p. 82-83, 86.
  9. 1 2 Hamilton, (1961) p.?
  10. Frank R. Stockton. "Buccaneers and Pirates of Our Coasts" "The Real Captain Kidd". The Baldwin Online Children's Literature Project. Retrieved 13 December 2007.
  11. Botting (1978) p.106
  12. Cordingly (1995), p.?
  13. "Pirates of the High Seas – Capt. William Kidd". Retrieved 13 December 2007.
  14. ""Quedagh Merchant" (ship)". Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 13 December 2007.
  15. Hamilton, (1961)
  16. Charles Johnson (1728). The History of the Pyrates, p. 75.
  17. Zacks, p. 185-86.
  18. Richard Zacks, The Pirate Hunter: The True Story of Captain Kidd (Hyperion, 2003)
  19. "The Quest for the Armenian Vessel, Quedagh Merchant" (PDF). AYAS Nautical Research Club. Retrieved 13 December 2007.
  20. "Legend of Capt. Kidd". Legend of Capt. Kidd. Newsday. 12 April 2009.
  21. Zacks, p. 364.
  22. "A brief history of piracy". Royal Navy Museum. Retrieved 23 June 2011.
  23. Ralph Delahaye Paine (1911). The Book of Buried Treasure: Being a True History of the Gold, Jewels, and Plate of Pirates, Galleons, Etc., which are Sought for to this Day. Heinemann. p. 124.
  24. The complete words of the original broadside song "Captain Kid's Farewel to the Seas, or, the Famous Pirate's Lament, to the tune of Coming Down" are at http://davidkidd.net/Captain_Kidd_Lyrics.html.
  25. the complete words of the original song are at http://davidkidd.net/Captain_Kidd_Lyrics.html, and also the genealogy of the historic tune.
  26. Kanaga, Matt (27 April 2011). "Cockenoe Island: Farm? Distillery? Power plant? Buried Treasure?". Retrieved 25 July 2013.
  27. Zacks, Richard (2002). The Pirate Hunter: The True Story of Captain Kidd. Hyperion. ISBN 0-7868-8451-7. Retrieved 14 December 2007.
  28. Ralph Delahaye Paine (1911). The Book of Buried Treasure: Being a True History of the Gold, Jewels, and Plate of Pirates, Galleons, Etc., which are Sought for to this Day. Heinemann. p. 304.
  29. Caulkins, Frances Manwaring (1895). History of New London, Connecticut. p. 293.
  30. Branigin, William (12 May 1984). "Tracking Captain Kidd's Treasure Puts Pair in Vietnamese Captivity". The Washington Post.
  31. "Captain Kidd (1645–1701)". PortCities London. Retrieved 13 December 2007.
  32. "Captain Kidd Ship Found". Yahoo News. 13 December 2007. Archived from the original on 15 December 2007. Retrieved 13 December 2007.
  33. "Captain Kidd's Shipwreck Of 1699 Discovered". Science Daily. 13 December 2007. Retrieved 13 December 2007.
  34. "IU team finds fabled pirate ship". INDYSTAR.COM. 13 December 2007. Archived from the original on 17 December 2007. Retrieved 13 December 2007.
  35. Falkenstein, Jaclyn (16 March 2010). "Children's Museum Reveals First Major Component of National Geographic Treasures of the Earth". The Children's Museum of Indianapolis Press Release. Retrieved 13 May 2011.
  36. "Pirate Captain Kidd's 'treasure' found in Madagascar". BBC. 2015-05-07. Retrieved 2015-05-07.
  37. http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/may/07/captain-kidd-treasure-found-madagascar
  38. "Mission to Madagascar". UNESCO Scientific and Technical Advisory Body assists Madagascar. Retrieved July 14, 2015.
  39. Staten Island Historical Society. "Captain Kidd and His Treasure". Online Collections Database. Past-Perfect Online. Retrieved 20 April 2012.
  40. Howard Pyle. "Howard Pyle's Book of Pirates". New York: Harper, 1921. http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Howard_Pyle's_Book_of_Pirates/Chapter_IV


  • Botting, Douglas (1978-05-01). The Pirates. ISBN 978-0-8094-2650-8. 
  • Cordingly, David (1995). Under The Black Flag : The Romance and the Reality of Life Among the Pirates. Harcourt Brace & Company.
  • Hamilton, Cochran, et al. (1961). Pirates of the Spanish Main, 1st Edition. New York: American Heritage Publishing Co., Inc.

Further reading


  • Campbell (1853). An Historical Sketch of Robin Hood and Captain Kid. New York.
  • Dalton (1911). The Real Captain Kidd: A Vindication. New York.
  • Gilbert, H. (1986). The Book of Pirates. London: Bracken Books.
  • Howell, T. B., ed. (1701). "The Trial of Captain William Kidd and Others, for Piracy and Robbery". A Complete Collection of State Trials and Proceedings for High Treason and Other Crimes and Misdemeanors. XIV. London: Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme, and Brown (published 1816). pp. 147–234. Retrieved 27 August 2008. 
  • Ritchie, Robert C. (1986). Captain Kidd and the War against the Pirates. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.
  • Zacks, Richard (2002). The Pirate Hunter: The True Story of Captain Kidd. Hyperion Books. ISBN 0-7868-8451-7.
  • Konstan, Angus. (2008) The Complete History of Piracy. (Osprey Publishing).


Wikisource has the text of a 1892 Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography article about William Kidd.
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