Of Captain Thomas Tew

A Timeline of Known Events in the Life of Captain Tew

Date Event
1640 Benjamin Fletcher born
1682 "Thomas Teu" was seen living in Jamaica (from an account made in 1697 by travelor John Groves ~ see 1697 below.)
1690 Golden Age of Piracy begins - an era defined by the largest scale piratical action the world had ever experienced
1691 Tew landed in Bermuda and purchased a share in the sloop Amity that was being fitted out for a privateering cruise.
8 January 1692 Tew signed an agreement between himself, his crew, and the other owners of the Amity.
??? Captian George Dew and Captain Thomas Tew received commisions from the Govenor of Bermuda to sail directly to the river Gambia to attempt the taking of a French factory lying upon the coast at Goree.
??? A few days after they sailed out, Dew returned to Bermuida to refit after springin his mast in a violent storm. Instead of proceeding, Tew changed course for the Cape of Good Hope and the Staits of Bab el Mandeb (the entrance to the Red Sea). Here, he took a large, richly laden ship, bound from the Indies to Arabia, depsite there being three hundred soldiers on board.
29 August 1692 Colonel Fletcher, who was a soldier of fortune, was appointed governor by William and Mary, and, after soliciting troops, presents for the Indians, and war stores, arrived in New York on 29 August 1692.
Oct. 1693 After a successful piratical cruise against the Moors in the Red Sea, where Tew... "had taken a rich ship belonging to the Mogul and had received for his owner's dividend and his sloop's twelve thousand odd hundred pounds, while his men had received upwards of a thousand pounds each" ..., Tew and the Amity provisioned at St. Mary's (Ile Sainte Marie), Madagascar. Accordning to Malagasy reports, Tew achored his sloop at Nosy Boraha, an offshore island of Madagascar (later called Ile Sainte Marie), presenting himself as a British Privateer. He presented a letter of credentials from the Queen of England and was received with high honors by the local ruler, Queen Antavaratra Rahena.
April 1694 Tew returned to Newport, Rhode Island, contacted the shareholders of the Amity, and presented them with their share of the substantial profits
5th June 1694 A copy was made of the agreement between Tew, his crew, and the other owners of the Amity.
Oct. 1694 Tew presented himself at Governor Ben Fletcher's mansion in New York to obtain a privateering commission.
Oct. 1694 Traveler John Groves saw "Thomas Teu" fitting out his sloop in Rhode Island, recognising him from Jamaica twelve years before. (from a written account made in 1697 ~ see 1697 below)
2 Nov. 1694 New York's Governor Ben Fletcher signed Tew's last commission, his second supposedly privateering voyage to the Indies. (Tew sailed from Newport, and was joined by Captain Want in a brigantine and Captain Wake in a small vessel fitted out at Boston. Want was Tew's mate on voyage in 1692 and returned with him and spent his share of the treasure in Rhode Island and Pennsylvania. On this final voyage, Thomas Jones of Newport was also associated with him. One Captain Glover, in a ship owned by New York merchants, is also said to have joined Tew's fleet.)
8 Nov 1694 Fletcher gave Tew the commission on 8 Nov 1694, in receipt for 300 pounds.
June 1695 Tew's vessel joins Captain Avery's fleet. (In June 1695 Tew was at Liparu Island at the mouth of the Red Sea, where with other English vessels he joined the fleet commanded by Captain Avery. Tew at that time had a crew of 'thirty to forty' men. After gaining information on ship movements they came across twenty-five ships, which they followed. The Amity was a bad sailor and could not keep up. The rest of the fleet captured two vessels which gave 60,000 pounds plus 1,000 pounds per man, for 180 men. This information came from the examination of John Dann, mariner of Rochester.)
January 26th1696 King William the Third named Captian Thomas Tew among other priates in a commission to Captain William Kid to apprehend, seize, and take into custody all such pirates, free booters and sea rovers that he should meet with upon the seas and coasts.
May 1696 Captain William Kid sailed out of Plymouth in May 1696 in a galley called the Adventure equiped with thirty guns and a crew of eighty men. His first port of call was New York where he increased his company to 155 men, offereing every man a share of what was taken, after reserving 40 shares for himself and the owners. He then sailed to Madera, where he took in Wine and other necessities, then to the Cape de Verd Islands' of Bonavista and St. Jago, where he took in salt and other provisions.
1696 Tew was killed by a shot to the belly from a Moor ship in the Red Sea.
February 1697 Just nine months after leaving Plymouth, Captain William Kid reached Madagascar, the hunting ground of the pirates he seeked.
1697 John Groves wrote to the Council for Trade and Plantations in 1697 that in October 1694:
"I was travelling from New England to New York, when I saw 3 small ships, a sloop, a brigantine and a barque, fitting out at Rhode Island. The name of the master of the sloop was Thomas Tue, whom I had known living in Jamaica twelve years before. He was free in discourse with me, and declared that he was last year in Red Sea, that he had taken a rich ship belonging to the Mogul and had received for his owner's dividend and his sloop's twelve thousand odd hundred pounds, while his men had received upwards of a thousand pounds each. When I returned to Boston there was another barque of about thirty tons ready to sail and join Tew on the same account."
1699 Kidd apprehended in Boston and sent to England for trial;
post 1700 According to western documents an English pirate named Thomas White turned up in Ile Sainte Marie, had a relationship with Queen Rahena, fathered her son Ratsimilaho and had, before dying there, instructed his staff to take Ratsimilaho to England for education. But on Ile Sainte Marie, the father of Ratsimilaho is said to be Thomas Tew, not Thomas White. The Zafy-Malata do not know any separate person called Thomas White. Instead, they believe that Tom Tew and Tom White are the same person. Also:
"The Betsimisaraka people who inhabited the north-east coast of Madagascar were ruled by an individual named Ratsimilahy (sic). who claimed to be a son of the pirate Thomas Tew by a daughter of the original chief. This chief, who resided on St. Mary's (Ile Sainte Marie)..." (Bulpin, 119)
1701 Kid executed
1703 Benjamin Fletcher died
1730 Golden Age of Priracy ends
1719 "Thomas White lived happily in Nosy Boraha before he allegedly died in Ile Bourbon (La Réunion )in 1719?"
1756 Ratsimilaho died. "Ratsimilaho is believed to have been born some time between 1680(!) and 1710 (the latter date stands probably for the beginning of his long reign), and to have died in 1756. In all likelyhood Ratsimilaho was born in 1694 and became king in 1710. "