Infamous Pirates > John Evans

John Evans

Golden Age of Piracy - Chapter Decoration

Background

John Evans (?? - 1723) was a pirate from Wales that operated in the West Indies. He is first recorded as the captain of a sloop that was operating out of the British island of Nevis however, for unknown reasons he lost employment and soon joined a crew headed towards British Jamaica.

John Evans - John Evans (Pirates of the Spanish Main Trading Cards - 1888)

John Evans - Pirates of the Spanish Main (1888)

There was little opportunity available for legitimate and gainful employment during the Post Spanish Succession Period and it finally seemed that centuries of war in Europe had died down for good. With no war looming on the horizon the ex-privateers soon turned to piracy and in September of 1722 Evans and his crew decided to fly the Jolly Roger and left the city of Port Royal in a small canoe and made their way to the north side of the island to raid local villages and houses.

A few days after simple burglaries the pirates captured a small sloop and named it the Scowerer, eventually sailing to the island of Hispaniola. There they captured a treasure laden Spanish ship that saw each man receive about a £150 share. Following this success they captured more ships in the region and recruited many sailors along the way from the captured prizes to join them. With a bolstered crew and a small fleet of ships including a Dutch sloop, Evans and his crew decided to set sail for the Cayman Islands in order to careen their vessels and resupply. However, they would never make it there.

John Evans - John Evans (Sea Raiders Chewing Gum Cards - 1933)

John Evans - Sea Raiders (1933)

While on-route Evans would get into several arguments with his boatswain that eventually led to a challenge of a duel the first time they made land. However, when they began to reach the Cayman Islands Evans reminded the boatswain of the pirate code and that he was obligated to fight. The boatswain refused to duel Evans and the captain decided to beat him with his cane. The boatswain drew his pistol and shot Evans through the head, killing him instantly on the deck of the ship. For his cowardice and murder the rest of the crew captured him before he could escape and executed him. Due to the loss of their captain the rest of the crew decided to disband on the Cayman Islands and split the remaining loot of about £9,000 between them.

Sources

Primary Sources

Johnson, C. (1724). A General History of the Pyrates (2nd Edition, Volume I). London, Great Britain: T. Warner.

Johnson, C. (1724). General History of the Pyrates (2nd Edition Volume I) - Chapter XIV, Of Captain John Evans and his Crew. London, Great Britain: T. Warner.

Secondary Sources