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Edward Low

Edward Low (Lowe, Loe or also known as Ned Low) was a hoodlum turned pirate. He was from Westminster and began his career as a small time thief/pickpocket. At first he beat up the local boys for pocket change. Then he and his brother took to pick pocketing. After he grew older, Lowe moved to Boston and took on the honest trade of a ship rigger. He quickly tired of honest work and joined a sloop sailing to Honduras where they planned to plunder a shipment of of log-wood which they would then resell in Boston.

Edward Low had a falling out with the captain, and tried to kill him. He and twelve other men were put over the side in a small boat after the failed mutiny and the very next day his official war against the world began when he and the men overtook a small sloop and turned pirate. This occurred in May, 1722.

Afterwards, Lowe fell in with the infamous Captain Lowther and the two went a plundering until Lowe had a falling out with Lowther. It would seem Lowe had a problem with play partners. He had several falling out in his short blustery career. When this partner ship ended, Lowe took over as captain of brigantine with a crew of 44. The Brigantine was named the Fancy. Lowe began to have a very successful run, so successful that things got to hot in the Caribbean and the Eastern coast and he headed for the Azores.

It was around this time, that Lowe became quite brutal. He enjoyed torturing those he captured and almost always the tortured ended in death. His crew also took to the sadistic practice. According to accounts of his life, This led to Lowe accidentally having his lower jaw slit open when a drunken crew member went to cut up a prisoner and hit Lowe by accident. Apparently Lowe and his crew enjoyed the spirit and were often drunk onboard ship, especially during the torture sessions. Lowe had a drunken doctor sew his mouth up but the man did such a poor job that he was reprimanded by Lowe who was also intoxicated at the time. The doctor was deeply offended when his ability as a surgeon was questioned, and struck Lowe causing the stitches to break loose. The doctor supposedly cursed Lowe and told him to fix his own mouth. Which, according to the story, he did. (The accounts are unclear if Lowe killed the doctor or not, but I would assume he did). Whatever the outcome, it is said that the operation left Lowe hideously scarred and the wound never healed correctly; an outcome that was not uncommon for an 18th century surgery.

Lowe continued his successful, if brutal reign around the Azores finally teaming another pirate named Harris. Harris sailed the Ranger and Lowe once again operated a ship he named Fancy. The two became the terror of the Azores. His brutality and his success once again made him such a nuisance that the authorities took special notice and Lowe again relocated, heading back to the Carolinas.

It was around this time that Lowe attacked a merchant man out of New England (Lowe despised anything to do with New England) and making an example out of the captain, cut off his ears, and 'caused other wounds about the captain's body' and sent him back home as a warning to all other New Englanders.

In late 1723, Lowe spotted a prize barq of the Carolina coast and he and Harris went in pursuit of the choice plunder. However, lowe had been to quick in his assessment and the Barq turned out to be a Man-o-War (the HMS Greyhound) and after a short fight, Lowe deserted his fellow pirate and headed back to the Azores. Most assume the two ships could have defeated the man-o-war if Lowe had stuck around, but lowe like most pirates was a coward at heart.

He was last sighted in July 1723, sailing a ship sporting a black flag with a red skeleton in the vicinity of the Azores, the Canaries, and Guinea but soon afterwards, disappeared and was never heard from again.

Such was the fourteen month career of Captain Lowe.

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The only author and editor of all pages on the site. Most of what I write about is based on years of book reading on the topic. My first web page was published back in 1994.

Updated: 04 September 2022