Captain Kidd: Pirate and downtown New Yorker

Some regard him as a savage plunderer. Others maintain he was merely a privateer unjustly hanged by the British.

Whatever he did out there on the high seas doesn’t change the fact that William Kidd was a city resident—reportedly moving here from Scotland as a child, around 1650.

He was a prominent guy, marrying the colony’s wealthiest widow and living in a mansion on today’s Hanover Square, at 119 Pearl Street.

Kidd, fancifully illustrated here in New York Harbor, even donated materials to help build Trinity Church.

Of course, his days as a New Yorker were numbered. After learning he was wanted by the British for pillaging the Quedagh Merchant in the Indian Ocean, he tried to escape to Boston.

There he was imprisoned and later sent to England to stand trial for piracy and for the murder of one of his crew.

Found guilty in 1701, he was executed in London, his body left to hang as a warning to other pirates.

Above photo: lovely Hanover Square in the Financial District today. Kidd’s mansion stood at the far left.

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4 Responses to “Captain Kidd: Pirate and downtown New Yorker”

  1. Thomas Jefferson Says:

    As a kid growing up on the Island, I was told that Captain Kidd had buried his treasure on a south shore beach. LOL

  2. Nabe News: March 21 - Bowery Boogie Says:

    […] New York’s infamous pirate – Captain Kidd.  He moved from Scotland as a child in 1650, and would eventually live at 119 […]

  3. Claudia Says:

    In addition to having an enormous mansion downtown, Captain Kidd enjoyed the uptown acreage of his wife, Mrs.Sarah Bradley Cox Oort (her story is very interesting) on the East River at 73rd 74th Street. There was a tanning mill I believe on the Saw Mill Creek and later, as that Creek became obstructed it was Arch Brook — This is my neighborhood and I’ve researched families on that location on the east river from the 1700’s to the present. Currently there’s a big power plant that runs from 75th to 74th on the East River which is right along the old Captain Kidd property. I have heard there is treasure buried here, too!! But it would likely be impossible to get to – the East River in the 70’s is very developed!

  4. Darwin Says:

    Capt. Kidd was also a notorious slave trader.

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