Story of Deadman’s Island
John Ware was Master of the Adventure Prize (renamed Quedagh Merchant). When Kidd met Captain Henry Boulton in the Mona Passage between Venezuela and Hispaniola, Kidd invited Boulton aboard. We are led to believe that it was here that Kidd first learned of the warrant for his arrest for acts of piracy in the Indian Ocean. News quickly spread throughout the crew that they had been branded as pirates, and many wanted to jump ship with their share of their hard earned loot, and make their own way back to America. After discussing and assessing the situation with Boulton, Kidd suggested that four of his crew (including John Ware) stayed with the Adventure Prize together with Boulton and sixteen of Boulton’s men to guard the ship and her cargo. Boulton was to captain the ship. Kidd then bought Boulton’s sloop named Antonio for the last leg of his voyage to New York. Kidd was so sure that he could prove his innocence, he persuaded enough of his men to crew the Antonio to New York. Before departing for New York, Kidd told Boulton that if he had not returned with two months, he was to sail the Adventure Prize to New York. Kidd then transferred a sizeable portion of the Adventure Prize’s cargo into the Antonio’s hold and made passage for New York.
In Boulton’s deposition dated 4th February 1701, he states that Ware and his men overpowered him and his men and took control of the Adventure Prize, stole everything of value and deserted with up to £400 per. man. He also stated that Ware and the deserters made for Curacao where Boulton and his men were put off the ship. Boulton claimed he attempted to bring the bunch to justice, but without success. According to Boulton, Ware and his men then set sail in the Adventure Prize.
The map was allegedly drawn by Ware and Kidd together, although Kidd’s name does not appear on the second version. Edward Rowe Snow claims he bought the map from a New York dealer along with several other maps, including the map of Gallops Island in Boston Harbour, where it is believed Avery concealed a small deposit after his return from the Indian Ocean. Experts at the time (we don’t know who) agreed on the authenticity of the maps. The maps were drawn on watermarked parchment, and close examination revealed that an old quill was used to make the sketch. The parchment quill and watermark dated the document to the late 17th century.
Could the maps be Ware’s depiction of Maye Island, part of the Cape Verde group of islands off the western coast of Africa? There is no doubt that Kidd could have called into these islands to provision his ship with fresh water, wood, salt and food before embarking on his trans-Atlantic crossing to the Venezuelan coast. Or there again, could Ware’s sketch be Cocos Island off the Costa Rican coast in the John Ware’s Maps allegedly showing the location of the Adventure Prize treasure discovered by Edward Rowe Snow.
Maps of Cocos Island in the Pacific on the top and the Isle of Maye in the Cape Verde Islands on the bottom The coastline shape of both Islands are remarkably similar. Could one or both of them be the island depicted on John Ware’s maps shown above?
Note: Click on the link above for more information regarding William Kidd.
I have not included much information on this website pertaining to the Ware families of England and elsewhere, but I couldn’t resist this historical account of John Ware. Pirates have been a fascination of mine for years.
Victoria Ware Cheesman