Captain William Kidd And The Legend Of The Lost Treasure

By | October 24, 2019

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Captain Kidd in New York Harbor, in a c. 1920 painting by Jean Leon Gerome Ferris. Source: (Wikimedia Commons)

Captain William Kidd was hanged for his crimes and his body left to rot in a cage for three years as a warning to other pirates. He was one of history’s most notorious pirates, but Kidd claimed never to have been a pirate at all. Then there is the enduring mystery of his lost treasure, which still has people searching the globe.

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William Kidd, privateer, pirate. 18th century portrait by Sir James Thornhill. Source: (Wikimedia Commons)

Early Life

William Kidd was born circa 1645 in Greenock, Renfrew, Scotland. His father was a sea captain. Little else is known of Kidd’s early life except that his father died when he was young. The young Kidd joined a merchant ship’s crew and landed in New York. There he settled and married Sarah Oort. Oort, who had two previous husbands, was wealthy and with a touch of scandal married Kidd less than two weeks after her second husband passed. The couple had two daughters. Meanwhile, Kidd developed a reputation as a worthy sea officer and mingled in high society.