PIRATES

and

PRIVATEERS

page 1

 

animated pirate with jug of rum animated jolly roger flag animated treasure chest


ARRRRGGGGGH!
THERE BE PIRATES AFOOT IN THE FAMILY TREE:

Privateers were a special brand of pirates;
Sponsored by the government,
they had permission to "pirate" ships.
Privateers were presented with "Letters of Marque".
These letters would protect them from punishment
in the event of their capture.

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"Some of the Dewolfs were a scurrilous lot
and their deeds are recorded by history.
It is an unfortunate truth, that we cannot pick
our ancestors. "

(modified quote used with permission by Fred Clarke)


THE DEWOLF FAMILY IS ONE IN WHICH
THE PIRATES TRADE WAS PRACTICED AND
HANDED DOWN GENERATION AFTER
GENERATION



1) CAPTAIN JAMES DEWOLF 1764-1837
(one of 15 children born to Mark Anthony and
Abigail (Potter) DeWolf) 

Captain Jim is Sarah Elizabeth Rose's
4th Cousin 6 times removed
Our common ancestor is Balthazar DeWolf


"In Bristol, RI, at one time an old town of Plymouth
Colony, stood the DeWolf Mansion always
spoken of as "The Mount". It fronted upon
DeWolf Avenue. Behind it rose extensive
possessions of the Hon. James DeWolf,
who was in his time, the dominant personality
of the town.

The Mount, was for more than half a century the
center of gatherings of successive generations
of that branch of the family commonly known
as the "Rhode Island DeWolfs".  The
walls of the long drawing room were quaintly
painted by hand, with scenes from
"Paul and Virginia",
interspersed with panels on which slaves
are seen toiling in rows of coffee plants
on Cuba Plantations belonging to members
of the family.

These latter, well typify two chief sources
of the princely fortunes of the DeWolfs
of that day - the slave trade and the
West Indian trade.


pirate dagger


Old rhode island Vol 2 Issue 6, 1992,
Rogues, Rascals, and Pillars Of Society,
Part VIICaptain Jim's career began
during the Rev. War when, in 1779,
he sailed on a Privateer owned by
John Brown. Jim was only 15 years
old at the time and the privateer,
after successfully evading the British
fleet in Newport, was captured off the
coast of Bermuda.  James was
captured, escaped, and was captured
again. He was mistreated and
carried a life-long hatred for his
British captors.

The DeWolf brothers, following the
lead of their notorious, cantankerous uncle,
Simeon Potter, dominated Bristol's trade.

animated pirate digging animate pirate firing his musket

Called "The Triangle Trade, this is how
the operation worked;  At the first
part of the triangle, their molasses
was turned into rum at DeWolf
distilleries in Rhode Island, At point two, 
the rum was taken to Africa in DeWolf
ships, and exchanged for slaves. 
At point three, the slaves were sold
at tremendous profits in Cuba and
other ports up and down the coast
and into the Carribean.

James became
the richest of the five De
Wolf brothers. At age 20 while
serving on John Brown's slave ship,
"Providence", James made a great
deal of money and was able to use
his wages to buy a share of the cargo
and increase his profits.   At age 20
he became a Sea Captain, and was called
"Captain Jim".



 In 1784, the Rhode Island Legislature
wanted to pass a bill to emancipate
all slaves in R.I. James DeWolf,
members of the Brown family in
Providence and others used their
political influence to try and have
the bill quelled. The result was a
compromise, all blacks born after
March 1, 1784 were to be free,
all slaves between the ages of
fifteen and twenty-five were to be
indentured for seven years then
freed; all slaves over the age of
twenty-five were to remain slaves
for the rest of their lives.

The RI General Assembly passed a
law in November of 1787, which
imposed a fine on any ship owner
who was caught importing slaves
into RI
.  This didn't stop James,
John, William, Charles, George,
Levi, and Samuel  DeWolf from
their work in the family business.


At the turn of the 19th century the
China trade was new and promising,
but the slave traffic still appealed
to the greed of some Rhode
Islanders. A Quaker inspired
state statue of 1787 had prohibited
Rhode Islanders from engagine
in the slave trade, but one could
choose to operate beyond the
state's borders (e.g. in South Carolina),
and thus escape penalty.

By 1790, at age 25 James owned his own
brigantine,
called the "Little Watt".

sword

James DeWolf built a large warehouse on
Thames Street made of heavy timbers
and large stone blocks which had
been imported from Africa as
ballast. Here he loaded and unloaded
his slavers and privateers.

Not far from the warehouse was his
large distillery which was capable
of converting 300 gallons of
molasses into 250 gallons of rum
per day at the cost of about ten cents
per gallon.

In 1790 James, (like practically all of
the DeWolf's) married into one of the
finest families in the area.  James
married Nancy Ann Bradford,
(a Mayflower descendant), daughter of
Massachusetts Governor William
Bradford, a close friend of
George Washington.

Nancy, known for her irascible
disposition, added wealth, power
and prestige to the growing
DeWolf enterprises.

Click here for Pirates Page 2:
Captain Jim and The Slave Trade


Click here for Pirates Page 3:
More Family Tree Pirate Stories


animated pirate head
AHOY MATE!
HAND OVER YER EMAIL
OR WALK THE PLANK!



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CIVIL WAR
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THE WOMEN
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BLACK SHEEP
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GEN POEMS
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COOL LINKS
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GEN DICTIONARY
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REV WAR
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WELCOME
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AWARDS
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PATRIOTIC
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HOME
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THE MEN
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NOTEWORTHY COUSINS
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PILGRIMS &PURITANS
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WHAT AILED THEM
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THE PRESIDENTS
 
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ENTERTAINERS
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WRITERS AND POETS
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POLITICALS
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FIRST LADIES
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FAMILY CREST
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EPIDEMICS
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HOW MANY
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LINEAGE GROUPS
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BRICK
WALLS
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JOBS
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NICK
NAMES
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ARTISTS
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FIRST SETTLERS
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WITCH TRIALS


OTHER EXCELLENT
SARAH ROSE SITES

the front cover of my poetry book, A Tribute To Life
POETRY
SITE
ONE
the front cover of my poetry book, A Tribute To Life
POETRY
SITE
TWO




Sources:
1) "Descendants of Anthony DeWolf" in
"Charles D'Wolf of Guadaloupe"
by Rev. Calbraith B. Perry, D.D., 1902
   2) Mount Hope by George Howe published
by the New York Viking Press 1959.
3) Old rhode island Vol 2 Issue 6, 1992,
Rogues, Rascals, and Pillars
Of Society, Part VII
4) The DeWolf home was featured as
"The Home of The Week" in The  
Providence Journal (Providence,
Rhode Island) Saturday, 12 Sep 1998
(with photos).
5) James' death is recorded in
"Dr. Shepard's Record of Deaths",  
RI Vital Records      
6) Genealogies of RI Families
Vol II (FTM CD # 1)
7) Several DeWolf cousins from
the Rootsweb Maillists.  
8) Rhode Island Historical Society