After talking to some of the locals from town, I was able to narrow down the time frame that the pirate could have existed. Due to the lack of small non-commercial ships during the Civil War (security issues), the pirate would have had to be operating some time after the civil war. This narrowed down the field quite a bit. Furthermore through some more background research of the late half of the 18th Century I found some interesting information which could give more context to the story of this pirate if he actually existed.
In 1873, due to the United States under went a financial crisis that has similarities to the one we are currently suffering from today. The crisis began in September of 1873 with the failure of a well-known firm by the name of Jay Cooke and Company had over-extended it’s abilties and tried to invest in the Northern Pacific Railroad but failed to find sufficient funds to support it. In addition to its collapse nineteen other firms went under causing widespread panic and making credit almost impossible to obtain (sounds kind of familiar right?) Being as I am not an economics major, it’s a little hard for me to completely understand everything that the articles I read are talking about, but the gist is that the failure of the investment firms, resulted from their inability to make payments to the banks, which caused banking failures. This was followed by the plummeting of railroad stocks and deflation of prices. Property values also declined and the number of bankrupcies doubled.
The effect of the depression was felt worldwide, so this could have had an influence on the life of this pirate. He might have lost his job or his property in the midst of the depression, which could explain why he might turn to a life of crime. People do crazy things in times of need. I actually came across an article recently that talks about what people do during desperate times, in relation to our current economic situation. Here’s the link: http://articles.moneycentral.msn.com/Banking/YourCreditRating/desperate-times-desperate-people.aspx?GT1=33001.
Here are some of the sources I looked at:
Wells, O. V. “The Depression of 1873-79.” Agricultural History 11, no. 3 (July 1937): 237-251.
Rezneck, Samuel. “Distress, Relief, and Discontent in the United States during the Depression of 1873-78.” The Journal of Political Economy 58, no. 6 (December 1950): 494-512.