Mary Read was born in London, England.  Her mother had a legitimate son, but became pregnant again after the death of her husband.  Maryís mother fled to the country, where Mary was born and the son died.  To continue to get money from her husbandís parents to raise the son, the widow raised Mary as a boy.  By the age of thirteen she was working as a foot boy for a rich French woman.  She soon tired of the dull life as a woman and enlisted in the army.  She enlisted only in a foot regiment, but later joined a horse regiment.  However, she fell in love with a soldier, confessed the fact that she was a woman to him, and they ran off and got married.  They opened an inn called the "Three Horseshoes" near the Castle Breda. 
     While Mary was still young, her husband died, and once again she attempted a man's life in the army.  Failing because her gender was found out, she shipped off to the West Indies.  The ship she was on was attacked and taken by a ship belonging to a pirate, Captain Calico Jack Rackham.
     Legend has it that Anne Bonny, already a pirate on Calico Jack's ship, saw a handsome sailor and decided to have her way with him.  Eventually, before things went too far, Anne Bonny found out that the sailor was indeed a woman like herself.  Mary Read then confessed that she would rather sail on Calico Jack's ship then go back and lead her dull life as a woman.  And so it was done.
    On Calico Jack's ship, Mary fell in love again, this time with a newly captured sailor.  The young sailor had a conflict with one of the older, tougher, more experienced pirates and a duel was set for the following day.  Everyone knew that the young sailor didn't have a chance against the other man.  Mary, not wanting to lose another love, began quarreling with the pirate who was set to duel with the sailor.  She knew that she would at least have more of a chance than the young sailor would.  She demanded that the quarrel be settled on the spot; and since they were at anchor, the quartermaster rowed the two ashore fully equipped for a duel.  They both had no luck with pistols and moved quickly to cutlasses.  The duel stretched on until, by some stroke of luck, the older pirate stumbled after giving a thrust with his cutlass that missed.  Taking advantage of his distraction, Mary ripped open her shirt, astonishing every one around her, especially the one she was dueling.  Mary leapt forward and swung her cutlass, nearly cutting the other pirate's head clean off.  He died slowly.
    The next morning, the young sailor awoke and went to fight the fight that would surely have been his last.  He soon found out that the man he would have been dueling had been killed already by Mary Read.  Mary and the young sailor "plighted their troth to each other" because there was no minister on board to wed them. Shortly after though, in 1720, Calico Jack's ship was taken prisoner.  In early November, the government captured Rackhamís sloop, which held Mary Read, Anne Bonny and nine men.  The crew was tried at St. Lago de la Vega in Jamaica, but Read and Bonny were given separate trials due to their gender.  All of the crew members were sentenced to be hanged on November 28.  Many believe that Mary Read and Anne Bonny pleaded that they were pregnant and were taken to a nearby jail instead of hanged.
    In this case, Mary Read dies soon after in a Jamaican prison. However, many also believe that Mary bravely stood on the day she was to be hanged and told the court, "As to hanging, it is no great hardship.  For were it not for that, every cowardly fellow would turn pirate and so unfit the sea, that men of courage must starve."

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