What The History?!: America’s Lady Pirate

nicole vandeboom
5 min readJan 10, 2020

First American female pirate? Female serial killer? Common thief? Runaway? Ultimate bad boy lover? There’s nothing chill about this edition of What The History?!

It’s not decided which historical box Ms. Rachel Wall should be permanently placed in. But then again, what woman wants to be placed in just one box? And in 1789, things were still a little hectic, ya know, we’d just fought and won a war for our independence from Britain. Although, you wouldn’t know it today, based on how obsessed we are with British Royalty, this author included. And we Mexited Britain’s asses long before Meghan and Harry got that idea. Editorial: I fully support their decision to walk away from toxic shit. Family and tradition be damned. Been there, done that. Go M&H! But it’s 2020 ya’ll, and us women are way more than one life event, even if they’re all life of crime events.

Rachel Wall was a Jane of All Criminal Trades: She is largely considered first American female pirate. Rachel used her feminine wiles and beauty to trick dumb ass men so she could plunder all the shiny expensive shit from their ships. In her spare time, she was petty thief and pick-pocketer. She even got caught targeting one of John Adams’ friends. Whoops! She was a runaway, accomplice to murder, maid, and, her ultimate downfall, being a fan of fashion.

You’ll Never Change a Bad Boy: Rachel ran away from home around the age of 16. Docs like this are a little murky. But she was enticed by the sea. And to be fair, who hasn’t been enticed by the ocean a time or two? Then, like so many of us young dumb girls have done, she met a real bad boy, fell in love, married him, and turned to a life of crime. Okay so, maybe all of us haven’t done exactly that, but we have fallen for some angsty bad boy that we think we can change. (Heads up: We can’t. He won’t change, dear. Move on. Find a stable smart funny kind dude, who will be a good dad, if you’re into the whole parenthood thing. Trust me.) George Wall was a fisherman for a time. Until hatching a plan with Rachel and some sailor buddies to take up piracy. This was of course, after the Golden Age of Piracy had faded to a close. Nothing quite like jumping on a trend too late.

OG Bonnie and Clyde?: Rachel and George seemed to be the OG Bonnie and Clyde in their day, committing petty crimes…

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nicole vandeboom

Parenting w/humor & f-bombs. Historian finally using my $$ private-school degree. I come up with my best writing ideas naked in the shower. nicolevandeboom.com