Famous Pirate: Paulsgrave Williams

The Oldest Pirate

Paulsgrave Williams was born on Rhode Island, in 1678. He succeeded long family tradition and became a goldsmith.

In 1715, he met Samuel Bellamy, a poor sailor who came to the Caribbean to look for sunken Spanish treasures. Williams liked his new friend so much, that he left his wife and children to pursue his friend's dreams. He even financed Samuel's second treasure hunt expedition.

Desperate, after failing to find sunken treasure, in order to get rich at any cost Paulsgrave Williams and Samuel Bellamy decided to become pirates. Bellamy became a pirate because he wanted to get rich quickly and return as respected captain. However, it's uncertain, why would 38-years-old man, who was already rich, had wife, children and successful job wanted to become pirate.

Perhaps, he felt old.

As a pirate, Paulsgrave Williams was very successful. He was the quartermaster and second in command on Bellamy's ships. When Samuel captured the "Mary Anne", he gave it to Williams. Together they robbed more than fifty ships in less than one year. After Bellamy's unfortunate death in April 1717, Williams continued to sail on his own. However, without his friend, he did not find piracy as interesting as before. He peacefully retired in the following year.

But once a pirate, forever a pirate. He returned to the sea once again and sailed for several more years, plundering mostly sloops and small merchant ships. At the age of 45, in 1723 he retired for the second time. We presume that he changed name, started a new family and died in peace.

NamePaulsgrave Williams
Known AsCaptain Williams
Active1716-1717, unknown-1723
Activity RegionCaribbean