Today marks the start of a new feature here on the Observation Desk called #CaptainKiddHistory. These historical tidbits about Captain William Kidd are told by Billy, the main character of my upcoming middle grade adventure PIRATE ISLAND. Billy discovered and wrote down these tidbits while doing research to find Kidd’s lost treasure but before he actually looked for it on Pirate Island. Let’s give a big welcome to Billy!
January 1654? – A Legend is Born
by Billy Bonny
Pointing out the day someone is born seems kind of boring. But in the case of someone legendary like Captain William Kidd, it’s totally worth noting. The trouble is that no one is quite sure when he was actually born. Some sources claim he was born in 1645 and others in January of 1654. That’s a nine-year difference; a lot can happen in nine years. That’s like two-thirds of my whole life! (My birth date is June 22, 2004…just so you know for sure if I ever become famous one day.) It is known that he was born in Scotland, but no one is sure exactly where.
Even worse, there is no good evidence of what he was up to until the late 1680s. That’s 30 or 40 years of lost history when it comes to Kidd. I know he lived a long time ago, but you’d think the life of an infamous pirate (or not-pirate as I would say…but that’s a later post) would be better documented. What about all those non-famous people that lived at the time? Is there any record of them ever being alive? It kind of makes me happy to be alive now when it’s so easy to find out what everybody is up to.
A thrice cursed island, a legendary pirate treasure, and one not-so-brave boy. What could possibly go wrong?
For centuries, the whereabouts of Captain William Kidd’s lost pirate treasure has remained a mystery. When Billy’s best friend, Andy, proposes they look for it on nearby Pirate Island, Billy thinks it’s just another one of their crazy adventures. It’s usually Billy who ends up in trouble as a result, but he goes along for the ride…like always. The more he delves into the life and death of Kidd, the more he thinks the treasure is real and that it might be buried on the small island in Long Island Sound. Billy—nope, call him William—becomes obsessed with the captain of the same first name. He even believes he’s possessed by Kidd’s restless soul. Now he and the spirit of a long-dead pirate are leading the crazy adventure on Pirate Island. And what they find is far bigger than the treasure they imagined.