Three hundred and seventy-three years ago, or thereabouts, a small ship attempted to trade with Native Americans at Palmer’s Island, now known as Garrett Island, on the Susquehanna River at the top of the Chesapeake Bay. The ship never made it to the island – it was captured in what was dubbed the first act of piracy in Maryland.
Several centuries later, the Susquehanna Museum at the Lock House in Havre de Grace is celebrating the history of piracy on the Chesapeake with a Pirate Gala on July 12. Aside from eye patches, peg legs, shoulder-mounted parrots, plank-walking and an unimaginable number of scurvy-mouthed “arghs!,” the event will also feature a reggae band, an auction, food and beverage, a costume contest and a re-created pirate encampment.
The pirates are coming! The pirates are coming!
Havre de Grace is bracing for its second invasion this year. The British did their damage, now it’s time for the pirates. Did you know the first act of piracy in Maryland occurred near what is now called Garrett Island in 1635? To commemorate this odious event, the Susquehanna Museum at the Lock House is hosting a Pirate Encampment July 12 & 13. Re-enactors will recreate the life of pirates through living history demonstrations using authentic period dress, customs and mannerisms. See the pirates live, work, play and of course, plunder! The encampment is open both Saturday (10-5) and Sunday (10-3).
In conjunction with this event, the Lock House Museum is having a Pirate Gala Saturday July 12th from 7-11 pm on the museum grounds. After a hard days work and being on their best behavior for visitors, the pirates want to party. Come join them for a Caribbean style feast, featuring food from the Laurrapin Grille, beer and wine, cash bar, live reggae music and live and silent auctions. Pirate dress is encouraged! Tickets are $50.00 each and can be purchased at the following places; Laurrapin Grile, Cork & Barrel, Amanda’s Florist, HdG Visitors Center and Java by the Bar. Please call 410-939-5780 for more details.
For more history of the pirates on the bay and river, see Cruising the Chesapeake: A Gunkholer’s Guide by William H. Shellenberger, from whence this information came:
“In the spring of 1635 a small Maryland pinnace attempted to trade with Native Americans and was captured by Claiborne’s men near what is now Garrett Island, in the Susquehanna River. This act, dubbed piracy by the Marylanders, sparked a series of ship seizures and battles between the contending parties.”