Israel Cross

Israel Cross, Bosun of the Private Ship of War, Archangel. Born in Africa in the 1690s.

As a child, he was shipped to Barbados as a slave and worked a sugar plantation owned by Nathaniel Cross, a wealthy sugar baron . As was popular amongst slaves at the time in Barbados, he frequently ran away into the interior of the island to be with the bands of rebel slaves that lived there. Soon though, his particular band was recaptured, and his master branded and whipped him as punishment. He then ran away again…and again…on the third try, Israel made his way to Bridgetown(the one port capital and largest city in Barbados).Now in his teens, he lived there, telling all he was a free man, and made a living as a dock worker. Out of fear that his master would soon come to Bridgetown looking for him, he found a merchant captain, short on crew and begged to be taken aboard. A highly illegal action.

Israel spent a few months aboard the ship, before signing on with a Dutch merchantman. He remained on the merchantman for a few years, fearful of what treatment he might get elsewhere. Whilst on board he was taught a bit of basic navigation, and the ship’s sailing master, taught him a little reading and a few other skills. Over all, he experienced good treatment and wages. But it soon appeared that Israel’s new life was to be cut short.

As the War of Spanish Succession raged on, the Dutch merchantman was attacked by a French privateer. Many of the crew were killed, but Israel was taken, clapped in irons and destined to be sold into slavery on some French colonial island, until, the French privateer was attacked by English privateers out of Jamaica. He then cruised with the Jamaican privateers right till the end of the war. These were some of the best times of Israel’s life, he experienced great treatment, and became close with the crew. As a well respected seaman, he soon made bosun. After the war’s end, he and his crewmates wanted to continue the merriment and not finding enough employment to go around, many sailors now found themselves out of work, they soon turned to a life of taking what they pleased on the high seas… pyracy. After a few jovial months on the account, in which they earned a reputation as well as a bounty on their heads, their ship was attacked by the Archangel.

Refusing to surrender, many of the pyrate crew were killed in the fire fight(their ship being outgunned by the Archangel) including their captain. Some managed to get away in one of the ship’s boats. Israel had tried to make that boat, but as he went for the gunwale, the Archangel’s boarding party came aboard. Sacrificing himself, so that those in the boat could escape, he surrendered himself. At the time, unaware of Sterling’s feelings toward slavery, Israel thought to save himself from being sold once again or worse, the hangman’s noose, by claiming he had been pressed against his will. Being skilled in rigging and repair, he was offered a spot in the Archangel’s crew. He reluctantly agreed. Many of his former mates, though, were captured and hanged for their crimes.

After several cruises, and the death of the Archangel’s bosun, Israel was named the ship’s new boatswain. He remains with the crew and has taken part of multiple voyages but not without incident. Israel harbors mixed feelings, blaming Captain Sterling, instead of himself, for his commrades who were hanged, whilst he still lives. And yet, he is grateful to Sterling for giving him a chance to continue as a free man. He also harbors a fear about facing his former friends who got away in the ship’s boat, who are currently being hunted by Sterling.

R.Kirton copyright 2011


One Response to “Israel Cross”

  1. Awesome! Its in fact awesome post, I have got much clear idea concerning from this paragraph.

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