Black Bart strikes again

Black Bart strikes again

Black Bart robs a Wells Fargo stagecoach in California. Wearing a flour sack over his head, the armed robber stole the small safe box with less than $400 and a passenger’s diamond ring and watch. When the empty box was recovered, a taunting poem signed “Black Bart” was found inside:

Here I lay me down to sleep to wait the coming morrow, Perhaps success, perhaps defeat / And everlasting sorrow,

Yet come what will, I’ll try it once, My conditions can’t be worse, And if there’s money in that box, 'Tis money in my purse.

This wasn’t the first time that Black Bart had robbed a stagecoach and left a poem for the police; however, it was the last time he got away with it. His next stagecoach robbery secured a lot more cash, $4,800. At yet another robbery, on November 3, 1888, though, he left behind a handkerchief at the scene.Through a laundry mark, Pinkerton detectives traced the handkerchief back to Charles Bolton, an elderly man in San Francisco.

Bolton later confessed to being Black Bart but bitterly disputed his reputation as an outlaw. “I am a gentleman,” he told detectives with great dignity. How Bolton became Black Bart is unclear. What is known is that Bolton had tried to hit it big in the Gold Rush, but had ended up with a lifestyle beyond his means.

Black Bart ended up serving only a short stretch in prison and spent the rest of his days in Nevada.

READ MORE: Meet Stagecoach Mary, the Daring Black Pioneer Who Protected Wild West Stagecoaches

10 Facts About Pirate "Black Bart" Roberts

  • Ph.D., Spanish, Ohio State University
  • M.A., Spanish, University of Montana
  • B.A., Spanish, Penn State University

Bartholomew “Black Bart” Roberts was the most successful pirate of the “Golden Age of Piracy,” which lasted roughly from 1700 to 1725. In spite of his great success, he is relatively unknown in comparison with contemporaries such as Blackbeard, Charles Vane, or Anne Bonny.

Here are ​10 facts about Black Bart, greatest of the real-life Pirates of the Caribbean.​

Early Life

Little is known of Roberts' early life, other than that he was born near Haverfordwest, Wales in 1682 and his real first name was possibly John. He took to sea at a young age, proving himself a competent sailor, as by 1719 he was second mate on the slave ship Princess.

The Princess went to Anomabu, in present-day Ghana, to pick up enslaved people in mid-1719. That June, the Princess was captured by Welsh pirate Howell Davis, who forced several crew members, including Roberts, to join his band.

Only six weeks after "Black Bart" was forced to join the crew, Davis was killed. The crew took a vote, and Roberts was named the new captain. Although he was a reluctant pirate, Roberts embraced the role of captain. According to contemporary historian Capt. Charles Johnson (who might have been Daniel Defoe), Roberts felt that if he must be a pirate, it was better "being a commander than a common man." His first act was to attack the town where Davis had been killed in order to avenge his former captain.


Early career Edit

Rick Harris started wrestling in 1975. He went through several names, such as "Man Mountain Harris," "Hangman Harris," and "Hangman Ricky Harris".

Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling Edit

In 1981, Harris competed as a preliminary wrestler on the Jim Crockett Promotions "Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling" program as "Ricky Harris".

Universal Wrestling Federation and Mid South Wrestling Edit

It was during his "Hangman" Rick Harris phase, working for Bill Watts, that he debuted as a bounty hunter for Skandor Akbar in 1982 Mid South Wrestling and before settling on the name of "Black Bart" which was given to him by Dusty Rhodes in 1984. [2]

Championship Wrestling from Florida and the Long Riders and Jim Crockett Promotions Edit

Harris formed a tag team called the "Long Riders" with Ron Bass in Florida Championship Wrestling in 1984 and they would hold the NWA United States Tag Team Titles (Florida) and work a program with Barry Windham and Mike Rotunda and went on to the NWA's Jim Crockett Promotions later that year and were managed by J.J. Dillon.

After splitting with Bass in 1985, Harris feuded with Ron Garvin, Terry Taylor and Sam Houston over the NWA Mid-Atlantic Championship which he won and defended. During this time Black Bart developed his second-rope leg drop to a prone opponent finishing move known as the "Texas Trash Compactor". [3]

World Class Championship Wrestling Edit

In late 1986, Bart went to World Class Championship Wrestling where he feuded with Chris Adams and Kevin Von Erich over the World Class title. When Adams, who held the World Class title, left the promotion in September 1986, Bart was awarded the championship. but not before the promotion explained that Bart won the belt from Adams in a fictitious match held in Los Angeles. Bart lost the championship to Von Erich a month later in Dallas, then, like other major World Class stars, left WCCW to join the UWF.

Universal Wrestling Federation Edit

While in the Universal Wrestling Federation they would co-promote shows with the NWA. While wrestling in the NWA for Jim Crockett Promotions, he received a sizable push in the midcard, winning the NWA National Heavyweight Championship and the NWA Mid-Atlantic Heavyweight Championship. He also wrestled in the tournament for the NWA Western States Heritage Championship. Harris lost in the final match to Barry Windham. [4]

New Japan Pro-Wrestling Championship Wrestling from Florida Continental Wrestling Association Edit

In 1987 Black Bart wrestled in Japan for New Japan Pro-Wrestling and had some matches with Antonio Inoki.

He then went back to Championship Wrestling from Florida and teamed with Bobby Jaggers and Tony Anthony while feuding with Dustin Rhodes and Mike Graham and The Nasty Boys.

He then went to the Continental Wrestling Association where he feuded with Dutch Mantel.

USWA Memphis, TN Edit

In May 1989 Bart went to Memphis and feuded with Jerry Lawler & Jeff Jarrett

World Wrestling Federation (1990–1991) Edit

On January 22, 1990 Black Bart made his debut for the World Wrestling Federation when he defeated Lee Peak in a dark match at a WWF Superstars of Wrestling taping in Miami, Florida. Four weeks later Bart made his first appearance on television, when he was defeated by Tito Santana on Prime Time Wrestling on February 19. For the remainder of the year he worked mostly as enhancement talent. Bart appeared in well over one hundred matches and was featured regularly on television. He did, however, score victories over enhancement talent such as Jim Powers (a five match winning streak in July), Paul Diamond, Mark Young, Jim Evans, and Pez Whatley, and even managed to get a shot [ citation needed ] at the WWF World Tag Team Titles to wrestle then-champions Demolition alongside Bart's partner for the match, Mark Ming, in a losing effort.

Bart was the opponent for several wrestlers making their debuts in the WWF. On April 24, 1990 Bart was defeated by Dustin Rhodes at a dark match at a Wrestling Challenge taping in San Antonio, Texas. This was Dustin's debut. On the July 21 episode of WWF Superstars of Wrestling, Bart teamed with Tom Stone to face The Legion of Doom in their first match with the company. On July 24, 1990, he defeated Shane Douglas at a house show in Los Angeles, California. Following a series of matches in July against Jim Powers where he emerged victorious in every encounter, he entered a house show series in August with Pez Whatley. Again he was unbeaten, and then moved on a to another house show program – this time with the former Killer Bee Jim Brunzell. Brunzell would win all of these encounters. In October Bart would enter a house show series with Dustin Rhodes and again would come up winless. That winter he began a series of matches with Saba Simba and Shane Douglas.

On the January 19, 1991 edition of WWF Superstars of Wrestling, Bart went after the Tag-Team Championship again when he teamed with WT Jones in an unsuccessful challenge to The Hart Foundation. This would be his final WWF match, as he returned to WCCW shortly thereafter. [5]

Return to WCCW Edit

After leaving WWF he wrestled for the USWA owned World Class Championship Wrestling promotion in Texas where he struck up another feud with Sam Houston.

World Championship Wrestling (1991) Edit

Less than a month after his final televised WWF appearance, Black Bart signed with World Championship Wrestling. He made his first appearance at house show in Jacksonville, FL on February 15, 1991. Teaming with Dan Spivey and Buddy Landell, the trio mounted an unsuccessful challenge to WCW Six-Man Tag-Team Champions Junkyard Dog, Ricky Morton, and Tommy Rich. [6] That spring he renewed several rivalries, as he faced Sam Houston and Dustin Rhodes on the house show circuit.

WCW created a stable known as "the Desperados" consisting of Dutch Mantell, Black Bart, and Deadeye Dick. The Desperados were packaged with the gimmick of being three bumbling cowboys looking to meet up with Stan Hansen to go to WCW and become a team. Over the course of a few months, they were promoted through a series of vignettes by which they would be beaten up in saloons, searching ghost towns, and riding horses. The Desperadoes entered the ring for the first time at house show in Charlotte, NC on May 12, 1991, where they (Bart and Dutch Mantell) were defeated by The Young Pistols.

Bart made his first WCW PPV appearance seven days later at SuperBrawl I, when he substituted for Larry Zybysko in a match against Big Josh. Later that month Bart began teaming regularly with Deadeye Dick in house show matches against Ricky Morton and Dustin Rhodes. The full Desperadoes trio entered the ring for the first time on July 3, 1991 in East Rutherford, NJ at the start of the 1991 The Great American Bash tour, where they were defeated by The Freebirds and Badstreet Brad Armstrong. On July 14 he wrestled Junkyard Dog in the dark match of the Great American Bash PPV. He later appeared as a lumberjack in a match between Big Josh and Black Blood.

While the Desperadoes angle continued and the trio was shown as late as the June 29th WCW Power Hour program still looking for Stan Hansen, the former AWA champion reportedly wanted no part of the storyline and left for Japan, never to return to wrestle in North America. Without Hansen, the group were pushed into service as jobbers and were dissolved as a stable before the end of the year. Bart's final match was on August 24, 1991 on the WCW Power Hour, when he teamed with Richard Myers against The WCW Patriots.

Global Wrestling Federation (1991–1994) Edit

Two months after departing from WCW, Bart re-emerged in Global Wrestling Federation. Teaming with Tug Taylor he faced Chris Walker and Steve Simpson. During his tenure he won the Bass Knuckles title, as well as the Tag Team Titles 3 times, including once with John Hawk. [7]

World Championship Wrestling (1995) Edit

Harris returned to WCW on November 26, 1995 when he participated in the 60 man, three ring battle royal at World War 3. Wrestling as "Big Train Bart", he was eliminated. He next appeared on WCW Saturday Night on November 30, where he faced Disco Inferno. [8]

Independent circuit Edit

Harris wrestled in the independents for the rest of his career before retiring in 2002. Harris resurfaced in 2006 wrestling on some independent shows in Texas. Harris has also appeared at many NWA reunion events.

As a trainer, his most famous pupil to date has been John Bradshaw Layfield. Harris once ran a professional wrestling school at the Dallas Sportatorium. [9]

A diabetic, Harris had heart bypass surgery in 2015.

In July 2016, Harris was named part of a class action lawsuit filed against WWE which alleged that wrestlers incurred traumatic brain injuries during their tenure and that the company concealed the risks of injury. The suit was litigated by attorney Konstantine Kyros, who has been involved in a number of other lawsuits against WWE. [10] US District Judge Vanessa Lynne Bryant dismissed the case in September 2018. [11] In September 2020, an appeal for the lawsuit was dismissed by a federal appeal court.

  • ACTS Wrestling Alliance
    • ACTS Heavyweight Championship (1 time) [12]
      (1 time) (2 times) – with Bobby Jaggers (1) and Tony Anthony (1) (3 times) – with Ron Bass
    • (2 times)
      (1 time) (3 times) – with Bill Irwin (1), Johnny Mantel (1) and John Hawk (1)
      (1 time) (1 time) (1 time) – with Ron Bass (1 time)
    • PWI ranked him #348 of the 500 best singles wrestlers during the "PWI Years" in 2003
      (2 times)
    • Class of 2013
    • World Class Wrestling Association
        (1 time) [13][14]
    • In 2014, Rick was inducted into the CWF Hall of Fame in Texas, alongside “The New Breed” Iron Mike and Johnny Blade.

      Black BART workers find racist threats on lockers, lawyer says

      A group of African American BART track maintenance workers say they were subjected to racist death threats at work last month - the latest incident in a continuing pattern of racial discrimination and harassment.

      An attorney for the workers says racist incidents have continued even after a lawsuit was filed on behalf of the workers late last year. In the latest episode, graffiti was sloppily scrawled with a black marker on three of the workers' lockers on June 27, said Jody LeWitter, the attorney representing workers. It read: "F- you (first name of worker) dies N-."

      LeWitter said that BART has been slow to investigate the incident, which came several months after the workers filed suit in Alameda County Superior Court in December, alleging discrimination in promotions and training, as well as racist graffiti scrawled on lockers and in restroom stalls.

      While BART ignored prior incidents, dismissing them as "horseplay," the transit agency is investigating the latest, LeWitter said. But the investigation has taken more than a month, which she described as unusually long.

      BART officials did not respond to multiple requests for comments on the incidents and the lawsuit Tuesday and Wednesday.

      The workers said in a statement that they considered the graffiti "threatening, racist, retaliatory, hateful and criminal," and that they feared the potential of violence while working on tracks at night. The workers said they declined to report to work after the June incident but have since returned, under protest, after being ordered to do so.

      LeWitter described the incidents as an ongoing problem that BART managers have failed to address.


      The Great American Bash was invented by Dusty Rhodes, a prominent wrestler of the National Wrestling Alliance (NWA), who became a wrestler and booker of the NWA's Jim Crockett Promotions (JCP). The first Great American Bash event was held on July 6, 1985 in Charlotte, North Carolina at the American Legion Memorial Stadium. It was broadcast on closed-circuit television. In 1986 and 1987, The Great American Bash was held as a series of events. The Great American Bash continued to be broadcast on closed-circuit television until the 1988 event, which was the first to be broadcast on pay-per-view (PPV). In November that year, JCP was purchased by Turner Broadcasting System and JCP was rebranded as World Championship Wrestling (WCW). [1]

      WCW continued to produce The Great American Bash under the NWA banner until WCW seceded from the NWA in January 1991. As such, the 1991 event was the first Great American Bash produced by WCW alone. After the 1992 event, WCW did not hold the PPV again until they revived it in 1995. It then continued annually until 2000. [1] The 2000 event was the final Great American Bash held by WCW, [2] as in March 2001, WCW was purchased by the World Wrestling Federation (WWF), [3] which was renamed to World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) in May 2002. [4]

      After a four-year hiatus, the event was revived by WWE in 2004. To coincide with the brand extension, where the promotion divided its roster into brands where wrestlers exclusively perform, [5] the 2004 event was held exclusively for the SmackDown! brand. [6] It continued to be held exclusively for SmackDown! in 2005 and 2006. [7] [8] Following WrestleMania 23 in April 2007, brand-exclusive PPVs were discontinued, [9] thus the events from 2007 to 2009 featured the Raw, SmackDown!, and ECW brands. [10] [11] [12] In 2009, the event was renamed as The Bash. [12] It would be the only held under this name, as well as the last held on PPV, as the event was replaced by Fatal 4-Way in 2010. [13]

      In April 2011, WWE ceased using its full name with the WWE abbreviation becoming an orphaned initialism. WWE then revived The Great American Bash in July 2012 under the event's original full name. This event was held as a special episode of SmackDown. [14] After another eight years, WWE again revived the event, this time for the NXT brand as a two-part special episode of NXT. [15] The event was scheduled to again be held as a special episode of NXT in 2021, thus becoming an annual event for NXT. [16]

      WCW/nWo co-branded event SmackDown-branded event NXT-branded event
      # Event Date City Venue Main Event Ref.
      National Wrestling Alliance: Jim Crockett Promotions
      1 The Great American Bash (1985) July 6, 1985 Charlotte, North Carolina American Legion Memorial Stadium Tully Blanchard (c) vs. Dusty Rhodes in a Steel cage match for the NWA World Television Championship [1]
      2 The Great American Bash (1986) July–August 1986 A tour of 13 shows around the south and eastern parts of the country Dusty Rhodes (c) vs. Ric Flair for the NWA World Heavyweight Championship [1]
      3 The Great American Bash (1987) July 1987 A tour of several shows around the south and eastern parts of the country The Road Warriors (Animal and Hawk), Dusty Rhodes, Nikita Koloff, and Paul Ellering vs. The Four Horsemen (Ric Flair, Arn Anderson, Lex Luger, and Tully Blanchard) and The War Machine in a WarGames match [1]
      4 The Great American Bash (1988) July 10, 1988 Baltimore, Maryland Baltimore Arena Ric Flair (c) vs. Lex Luger for the NWA World Heavyweight Championship [1]
      National Wrestling Alliance: World Championship Wrestling
      5 The Great American Bash (1989) July 23, 1989 Baltimore, Maryland Baltimore Arena Ric Flair (c) vs. Terry Funk for the NWA World Heavyweight Championship [1]
      6 The Great American Bash (1990) July 7, 1990 Baltimore, Maryland Baltimore Arena Ric Flair (c) vs. Sting for the NWA World Heavyweight Championship [1]
      World Championship Wrestling
      7 The Great American Bash (1991) July 14, 1991 Baltimore, Maryland Baltimore Arena Rick Steiner vs. Arn Anderson and Paul E. Dangerously in a handicap steel cage match [1]
      8 The Great American Bash (1992) July 12, 1992 Albany, Georgia Albany Civic Center Terry Gordy and "Dr. Death" Steve Williams vs. Dustin Rhodes and Barry Windham in a tournament final for the inaugural NWA World Tag Team Championship [1]
      9 The Great American Bash (1995) June 18, 1995 Trotwood, Ohio Hara Arena Ric Flair vs. Randy Savage [17]
      10 The Great American Bash (1996) June 16, 1996 Baltimore, Maryland Baltimore Arena The Giant (c) vs. Lex Luger for the WCW World Heavyweight Championship [17]
      11 The Great American Bash (1997) June 15, 1997 Moline, Illinois The MARK of the Quad Cities Diamond Dallas Page vs. Randy Savage in a Falls Count Anywhere match [17]
      12 The Great American Bash (1998) June 14, 1998 Baltimore, Maryland Baltimore Arena Sting vs. The Giant for control of the WCW World Tag Team Championship [17]
      13 The Great American Bash (1999) June 13, 1999 Baltimore, Maryland Baltimore Arena Kevin Nash (c) vs. Randy Savage for the WCW World Heavyweight Championship [17]
      14 The Great American Bash (2000) June 11, 2000 Baltimore, Maryland Baltimore Arena Jeff Jarrett (c) vs. Kevin Nash for the WCW World Heavyweight Championship with Ernest Miller as the special guest enforcer [17]
      World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE)
      15 The Great American Bash (2004) June 27, 2004 Norfolk, Virginia Norfolk Scope The Undertaker vs. The Dudley Boyz (Bubba Ray Dudley and D-Von Dudley) in a Handicap Concrete Crypt match [6]
      16 The Great American Bash (2005) July 24, 2005 Buffalo, New York HSBC Arena Batista (c) vs. John "Bradshaw" Layfield for the World Heavyweight Championship [7]
      17 The Great American Bash (2006) July 23, 2006 Indianapolis, Indiana Conseco Fieldhouse Rey Mysterio (c) vs. King Booker for the World Heavyweight Championship [8]
      18 The Great American Bash (2007) July 22, 2007 San Jose, California HP Pavilion John Cena (c) vs. Bobby Lashley for the WWE Championship [10]
      19 The Great American Bash (2008) July 20, 2008 Uniondale, New York Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum Triple H (c) vs. Edge for the WWE Championship [11]
      20 The Bash June 28, 2009 Sacramento, California ARCO Arena Randy Orton (c) vs. Triple H in a Three Stages of Hell match for the WWE Championship [12]
      21 SuperSmackDown LIVE: The Great American Bash July 3, 2012 Corpus Christi, Texas American Bank Center The Great American Bash 20-Man Battle Royal to determine the guest General Manager for the following week's SmackDown [14]
      22 NXT: The Great American Bash (2020) July 1, 2020 [Note 1]
      (Night 1)
      Winter Park, Florida Full Sail University Io Shirai vs. Sasha Banks [15]
      July 8, 2020
      (Night 2)
      NXT Champion Adam Cole vs. North American Champion Keith Lee in a Winner Takes All match
      23 NXT: The Great American Bash (2021) July 6, 2021 Orlando, Florida Capitol Wrestling Center at WWE Performance Center [16]

      The Great American Bash was the inaugural Great American Bash professional wrestling closed circuit event produced by the NWA's Jim Crockett Promotions. It took place on July 6, 1985 at the American Legion Memorial Stadium in Charlotte, North Carolina. The event included a 1-hour live concert performance by David Allan Coe. [18]

      As a result of Dusty Rhodes winning the match, Tully Blanchard's valet, Baby Doll was forced to be Dusty Rhodes' valet for 30 days which sparked her face turn as she became a full-time valet for Rhodes and his then partner, Magnum T.A.

      The Great American Bash was the second Great American Bash event series produced by the NWA's Jim Crockett Promotions.

      JCP used "The Great American Bash" as the name for a tour that had several pay-per-view caliber shows around the country. In 1986, there were 13 Great American Bashes and NWA World Heavyweight Champion Ric Flair defended his title at each one against Ricky Morton, Road Warrior Hawk, Ron Garvin, Nikita Koloff, Robert Gibson, Road Warrior Animal, Magnum T.A., Wahoo McDaniel, and Dusty Rhodes. Rhodes defeated him for the title at the July 26 Bash. Flair challenged for it on the last Bash on August 2. Nikita Koloff and Magnum T.A. were involved in a best of seven title match series throughout the Bash for the U.S. Title. The cities toured in 1986 were in order as follows: July 1 in Philadelphia, July 3 in Washington, D.C., July 4 in Memphis, Tennessee, July 5 in Charlotte, North Carolina, July 8 in Charleston, WV, July 9 in Cincinnati, July 10 in Roanoke, Virginia, July 12 in Jacksonville, Florida, July 18 in Richmond, Virginia, July 21 in Fayetteville, North Carolina, July 23 in Johnson City, Tennessee, July 25 in Norfolk, Virginia, July 26 in Greensboro, North Carolina and August 2 in Atlanta.

      In July 2019, the July 5 and July 26 editions were uploaded as hidden gems on the WWE Network. [22]

      July 5, 1986 in Charlotte, North Carolina (Memorial Stadium)

      July 26, 1986 in Greensboro, North Carolina (Greensboro Coliseum)

      The Great American Bash was the third Great American Bash event series produced by the NWA's Jim Crockett Promotions (JCP).

      This was the first use of the WarGames: The Match Beyond match conceived by Dusty Rhodes.

      Rhodes was on the winning side in both events along with The Road Warriors, Nikita Koloff, and Paul Ellering. Koloff, Rhodes, and J.J. Dillon sustained serious injuries in the first encounter. The Bash series took place in numerous venues all July long, starting in Lakeland, Florida at the Lakeland Civic Center Arena on July 1. This was also the final wrestling event of the NWA's JCP to be aired live on closed-circuit television, as JCP began airing their wrestling events live on pay-per-view, starting with Starrcade in November 1987.

      July 4, 1987 in Atlanta, Georgia (The Omni)

      July 18, 1987 in Charlotte, North Carolina (Memorial Stadium)

      On July 3, 2012, the Great American Bash title was revived for a special SuperSmackDown Live episode of SmackDown from the American Bank Center in Corpus Christi, Texas. Unlike previous editions of The Great American Bash, it was the first to air as a special episode of a regular WWE television program, as opposed to a pay-per-view event. It was the seventh Great American Bash under WWE, and 21st overall. [14]

      No. Results Stipulations Times
      1 The Great Khali and Layla defeated Antonio Cesaro and Aksana [29] Mixed tag team match 1:56
      2 Cody Rhodes defeated Christian [30] World Heavyweight Championship Money in the Bank qualifying match 12:50
      3 Dolph Ziggler defeated Alex Riley [31] World Heavyweight Championship Money in the Bank qualifying match 4:26
      4 Jim Duggan, Santino Marella, and Sgt. Slaughter defeated Camacho, Drew McIntyre, and Hunico [32] Six-man tag team match 7:25
      5 Ryback defeated Curt Hawkins (with Tyler Reks) [33] Singles match 3:10
      6 Zack Ryder won by last eliminating Kane [Note 2] [34] The Great American Bash 20-Man Battle Royal to determine the guest General Manager for the following week's SmackDown 10:48

      Battle Royal Edit

      On June 24, 2020, WWE announced that the eighth Great American Bash under the WWE banner (22nd overall) would take place as a special two-week event during the July 1 and July 8 episodes of NXT. Both episodes were taped on July 1. [36] One scheduled match for the July 8 broadcast was a champion vs. champion winner takes all match between NXT Champion Adam Cole and NXT North American Champion Keith Lee. The two-night event went head-to-head against All Elite Wrestling's Fyter Fest, which was held on the same nights. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, both nights of the 2020 event were held behind closed doors at NXT's home base of Full Sail University in Winter Park, Florida. [15]

      Night 1 (July 1)

      No. Results Stipulations Times [37]
      1 Tegan Nox defeated Candice LeRae, Dakota Kai, and Mia Yim Fatal four-way elimination match to determine the #1 contender for the NXT Women's Championship 20:37
      2 Timothy Thatcher defeated Oney Lorcan by submission Singles match 11:32
      3 Rhea Ripley defeated Aliyah and Robert Stone by submission Intergender Handicap match
      Had Ripley lost, she would have joined the Robert Stone Brand .
      4 Dexter Lumis defeated Roderick Strong Strap match 16:00
      5 Io Shirai defeated Sasha Banks (with Bayley) Singles match 14:01
      Night 2 (July 8)

      • (c) – refers to the champion(s) heading into the match
      • D – indicates the match was a dark match

      On June 13, 2021, WWE announced that the ninth Great American Bash under the WWE banner (23rd overall) would return as a special episode of NXT, thus becoming an annual event for NXT. Instead of a two-night event like the previous year, it will only be a one-night event, airing on July 6, 2021. Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the event will be held at the Capitol Wrestling Center, hosted at the WWE Performance Center in Orlando, Florida. [16]

      The True Story of ‘Black Bart,’ aka Charles Boles

      On August 12, 1877, the stage running from Fort Ross to Russian River was held up by a lone highwayman wearing a mask and exhibiting a shotgun. There were no passengers on the stage and after obtaining $325.00 from Wells-Fargo’s treasure box, the bandit very courteously bid the driver good-day and disappeared.

      On July 28, 1878, the stage running between Quincy and Oroville was held up by a robber whose general appearance and conduct indicated that he was the same individual who committed the Russian River robbery. On this occasion he obtained jewels and money valued at $600.00 from Wells-Fargo’s treasure box.

      After the stage departed, he picked up a Wells-Fargo waybill and dedicated the following verse to the company, which was afterward found at the scene of the holdup:

      “Here I lay me down to sleep,
      To wait the coming morrow,
      Perhaps success, perhaps defeat
      And everlasting sorrow.
      Yet come what will—I’ll try it on,
      My condition can’t be worse,
      And if there’s money in that box
      ‘Tis money in my purse.

      As the mail was also robbed on this last occasion, the Federal government joined Wells, Fargo & Company in offering large rewards, but this did not stop “Black Bart,” for he held up two other stages within a few months afterward. The first was the stage running from Covelo to Ukiah and the second was on the road from Weaverville to Shasta.

      On November 3, 1883, the twenty-eighth and last stage was held up by this lone and courteous bandit. On this date he stopped the stage running from Milton to Sonora, near Copperopolis. The driver, J. McConnell, was the only occupant, and the highwayman ordered him to unhitch the horses and hand out Wells-Fargo’s box, from which the robber took $4,100.00 in amalgam and $550.00 in gold coin.

      At this stage of the proceedings, an Italian boy with a rifle carelessly thrown over his shoulder, came down the road. This seemed to alarm the robber, who grabbed his loot and ran. McConnell procured the rifle from the boy and fired several shots at the fleeing highwayman, who, in his haste, dropped a handkerchief on which was a laundry mark, “F. 0. X. 7.” This was the only clew as to his identity.

      Captain Harry Morse took charge of the case. Working on the theory that the robber probably visited the country regions only for the purpose of committing these crimes and then probably enjoyed his ill-gotten gains in the metropolis, a search was made in the laundries in this city to ascertain who received laundry with this mark.

      After a search of the entire city it was finally ascertained that T. C. Ware, a laundry agent on Bush Street near Montgomery, used this mark to designate a customer known as “Charles E. Bolton.”

      Morse then ascertained that Mr. Bolton resided in room 40 at the Webb House, located at 27 Second Street, and that he posed as a mining man whose “interests” required him to make frequent trips to the mining regions. A “shadow” was placed on this building and Captain Morse made frequent visits to the laundry office.

      One day while there, Mr. Bolton was seen approaching, and Ware agreed to introduce Morse to him, representing that he (Morse) was a mining man. When Bolton arrived, the introduction took place and Morse stated that he had some ore which he wished to have examined, and as Ware had stated that Bolton was a mining man, the latter agreed to accompany Morse for the purpose of making the examination, but when they reached Wells-Fargo’s office, Morse took him into Detective Thacker’s private room.

      Charles Bolton, aka Charles Boles, aka Black Bart

      Bolton was about fifty years of age, immaculate in appearance and an extremely interesting conversationalist. When he learned the nature of the investigation he pretended to be indignant and threatened those who were detaining him.

      A search was made of his room and a Bible was found in which was written : “To my beloved husband, Charles E. Boles.” Handkerchiefs similar to the one dropped were also found.

      Boles was then taken to San Andreas, and after a severe examination he made a complete confession of the twenty-eight robberies he had committed.

      He stated that his right name was Boles, and that he served in an Illinois regiment during the Civil War. He proudly boasted that he had resolved never to harm a human being, and that the shotgun which he invariably carried was as harmless as a broomstick, as it was never loaded. He then took the officers to the spot in the hills where he had buried the proceeds from the last robbery.

      He pleaded guilty to the last robbery and on November 21, 1883, was sent to San Quentin for seven years.

      During his visits to San Francisco between robberies, he ate at a restaurant patronized by a number of local detectives and frequently joked with them regarding the inability of the country officers to capture “Black Bart.”

      In 1888 he was released and stated before leaving prison that he would commit no more crimes.

      When asked if he would write any more poetry he replied : “Did you not hear me say I would commit no more crimes?”

      Immediately after leaving San Quentin Boles came to San Francisco and, after calling on the officers who were instrumental in his conviction, he disappeared, never to be seen or heard of again.

      1870s stagecoach bandit Black Bart reforms, learns job skills

      Bandits of the Old West were the stuff of legends and penny novels, many of them ending up as repeat offenders or hanging at the end of a rope. There were exceptions such as one notorious stagecoach robber who chose to take advantage of San Quentin’s rehabilitative job training program – Black Bart.

      According to the Library of Congress, Black Bart robbed 28 stagecoaches between 1877 and 1883. He was apprehended on Nov. 12, 1883, and four days later he entered a guilty plea.

      According to San Quentin’s record, he was 48 when he arrived to serve his six-year sentence. By all accounts, he was a model inmate and was paroled in 1888.

      The prison was focused on rehabilitation and Black Bart may be an example of those early efforts.

      Who was Black Bart?

      That was the question haunting Wells Fargo agents and law men in Northern California. Known as the gentleman bandit, or the Poet of the Sierra, Charles “Black Bart” Boles was a wanted man. Hiding behind boulders on dusty stagecoach routes, Boles would step out while brandishing a gun. His favorite targets were the Wells Fargo stages. He was polite, never fired a shot and usually left behind poems for the investigators.

      Charles Boles, aka Black Bart. Undated.

      According to many accounts, he was a veteran of the Civil War, fighting with the 116th Illinois Infantry Volunteers. In the military he reportedly earned the rank of sergeant. After the war, he returned to the family farm with his wife and three young daughters. According to all accounts, he didn’t swear, drink alcohol or use tobacco.

      Years later, after his arrest in San Francisco, he admitted his guns were never loaded because he didn’t want to hurt anyone. He said he’d seen enough bloodshed during the war.

      Black Bart’s first appearance as a bandit in California was Aug. 3, 1877, when he robbed a stagecoach making its way from Fort Ross to the Russian River. Using a double-barrel shotgun, he politely demanded the treasure box and mail bags be thrown to him.

      After robbing a Quincy-to-Oroville stagecoach on July 25, 1879, he left behind a poem:

      “Here I lay me down to sleep
      To wait the coming morrow,
      Perhaps success, perhaps defeat,
      And everlasting sorrow.
      Yet come what will, I’ll try it on,
      My condition can’t be worse.
      And if there’s money in that box,
      ‘Tis money in my purse.”

      It was signed, Black Bart, the P o 8.

      He hit stagecoaches running from Jackson to Ione, Lakeport to Cloverdale, Laporte to Oroville, Ukiah to Cloverdale, Yreka to Redding and many others.

      One stagecoach driver had the notion to catch Bart and claim the reward but he was outfoxed.

      “Dan Shealy, a driver of a stage running out of Copperopolis, … told detectives, ‘I’d gotten about five miles out of old Cop when somebody sung out ‘halt,’ and I heard two sharp clicks. Seems as if the (horses) knew what’s the proper thing for they stopped as quick as if they’d struck a stable. Then somebody in the bushes asked me pleasant-like to hold my hat on with both hands for some buckshot might blow it off. … I dropped the express chest with $1,100 of Wells Fargo’s coin and drove off just like it was the regular thing. When the posse got back there they found an old ax that he’d used to bust the box, and on the cover he’d stuck this:

      ‘Once I toiled for gold in ditches,
      Now with ease I amass riches,
      Daniel now I’m on this lay,
      I’ll come against another day.'”

      The bandit hit Shealy’s stagecoach again.

      “(Bart) was dressed in a long linen duster and had a flour bag over his head. Said he’d taken a fancy to my gun (last) trip, and I let him have it. But darned if he didn’t shove a $50 (bill) onto the box to pay me when he’d gotten through. … I remember the poetry he left that time. It was:

      ‘Daniel, it grieves me to say it,
      Next time you attempt to play it,
      Buy an overcoat of pine,
      And I’ll send the corpse in time.’”

      Charles “Black Bart” Boles, photo undated.

      “Black Bart, Shasta County’s notorious highwayman, asks all the people he stops to contribute to an orphan asylum, and there is something so forbidding in his appearance that all the travelers shell out without asking where the asylum is, or how much it needs,” reported the Daily Alta California, Sept. 23, 1882. “The rascal is described as being very ‘gentlemanly,’ never forgetting to raise his hat to the ladies, and seldom asking them for donations. But he is unmerciful to men, and they are never out of range of his deadly gun. Some … day though, ‘Black Bart, the PO8 (‘poet’) of the Sierras,’ as he styles himself, will be shot all full of holes, just like a pepper box lid, and he won’t have any daises planted over his little mound, either. J.B. Hume, the express company’s detective, has gone to Redding to give chase to the highwayman. Black Bart despises Hume, but never fails to send that gentleman his regards after committing a robbery. … He is a smart fellow, and has written some clever verses, forwarding them through the mails to different papers up north. After committing a highwayman’s act, he never leaves any traces whereby he can be identified. He very politely asks that the treasure box be thrown from the stage, and then urges the necessity at the muzzle of his gun, of the stage driver’s moving on, ‘Very quietly, sir, if you please.’”

      In 1883, he held up his last stagecoach. Thanks to a feisty stagecoach driver, the happenstance of a young man wandering nearby and the carelessness of Black Bart, his stagecoach-robbing days were over.

      “Last Monday evening, the detectives of Wells Fargo & Co., of whom J.B. Hume is chief, succeeded in running down and capturing, after a long chase of about six years, one of the most noted and daring stage robbers of the country, ‘Black Bart,’ as he is generally known,” reported the San Francisco Bulletin, Nov. 14, 1883.

      While attempting to hold up a stagecoach on Nov. 3, he finally left behind a clue.

      “As the Sonora and Milton stage was running over the mountain road a man, whose face was concealed by a flour sack that had been ripped open and cleansed, jumped from behind the thicket skirting the roadway and commanded a halt. … The driver, McConnell, was compelled to get down from his seat, unharness the horses and drive them behind the conveyance. The robber then broke open the treasure box of Wells Fargo & Co. and took therefrom … amalgam, valued at $4,100, … gold and $550 in gold and silver coin. As McConnell drove the animals to the rear of the stage, he noticed a … boy on the foothills a short distance away, who was carrying a Henry rifle, with which he had started out to hunt. He beckoned to him, and the lad came. The robber had secured his booty and was making off with it, when McConnell seized the rifle from the boy’s hands and fired at the despoiler. Black Bart … ran. McConnell pursued and discharged three more shots at him. In running, Black Bart lost his hat, a little round Derby, and his handkerchief fell out of his pocket. … (Later,) a further clue, another piece of property, which is presumed to belong to Black Bart, was found behind some rocks near the spot where the stage was stopped. This was the case of a pair of spyglasses, which it is thought he used to descry the stage from afar and to note how many were about it. On the handkerchief was a laundry mark, which was the means of securing his arrest.”

      C.E. Bolton, alias Black Bart, aka Charles Boles, in the San Quentin prison register.

      The investigators found a launderer with that mark in San Francisco on Bush Street. From there, they discovered the owner of the handkerchief was “C.E. Bolton,” who was staying at a nearby hotel.

      Bolton, who also went by Boles, was put under surveillance and Sheriff Thorn got a warrant for his arrest.

      “It was found that (Bolton) was a well-known man about town. He was thought to be a mining man, having conveyed that impression in the society of others by his conversation,” reported the newspaper. “His departures from the city at various intervals were accounted for on this supposition.”

      They arrested him. On Nov. 16, 1883, he pleaded guilty and was sent to San Quentin.

      A new life for Black Bart

      When he was released from San Quentin on New Year’s Day, 1888, he vowed to give up his life of crime.

      “He declared that he had robbed his last stage, and that when he got out he would lead an honest life. He has been a model prisoner, giving no trouble to the officers. He has worked during the greater part of his imprisonment in the drug department of the prison, and he has become an expert chemist,” reported newspapers at the time.

      According to the Calaveras Heritage Council, when he stepped out of the gates of San Quentin, he was swarmed by reporters.

      “He had visibly aged, his eyesight was failing, and he had gone deaf in one ear. Reporters swarmed around him when he was released and asked if he was going to rob any more stagecoaches. ‘No, gentlemen,’ he smilingly replied ‘I’m through with crime.’ Another reporter asked if he would write more poetry. Boles laughed and said, ‘Now, didn’t you hear me say that I am through with crime?'”

      Boles said he hoped to use his newfound chemist skills to work for a druggist.

      In the Prison Board of Directors Report, dated Nov. 1, 1880, Warden J.P. Ames emphasized rehabilitation as a means to reduce recidivism.

      “The criminal should not only be restrained of his liberty, but … every effort should be made to reclaim the criminal through reformatory influences,” he wrote. “Labor is indispensable as a means of reform, but the labor should be productive, and not merely penal, unproductive labor, which affords no mental exercise, and simply serves to degrade the convict. … I feel convinced of the necessity of having every prisoner taught some trade by which he may be enabled to obtain livelihood after his discharge. … The (job training) should be some industry for which there is demand, or the convict, after his release, will find himself as incapable of making a living as he was before his imprisonment. … The prisoner should receive encouragement, and should be made to feel that, although he has transgressed against the laws of society, there is yet hope for him in the future.”

      Many of the rehabilitative programs started under Warden Ames continued through the mid-1880s under Warden Paul Shirley.

      In an 1884 report, Warden Shirley extolled the benefits of job training for inmates as well as allowing them to earn a small salary for their work.

      “(He) learns that the reward of industry … being only 10 cents per day, properly expended, materially benefits his condition,” Warden Shirley wrote. “By the exercise of proper economy, a small capital can be secured, with which, at the expiration of his sentence, each convict can reenter a free life not dependent upon the charity of the world, or compelled to illegal and vicious practices for means of sustenance. Those having families secure at least a portion of the means needed to guard their little ones from the pathway of vice. … There is no good reason why (convicts) should not leave the prison much better men than when they entered, and with sufficient skill acquired in some field of industry to enable them to live well and honestly thereafter.”

      What happened to Boles after his release remains a mystery but one thing is certain – he never returned to San Quentin State Prison.

      Despite some rumors that he returned to his life of crime, they were often proven to be copycat bandits. There were also rumors that Boles was hired by Wells Fargo as a consultant to dissuade him from robbing future stagecoaches. According to many reports, this was also a rumor that found print decades later in an east coast magazine.

      An obituary notice for a Charles Boles was reportedly published in 1917, which would have put him at 88 years old, although his death was never confirmed.

      Finding fame of their own

      Those who played a role in the Black Bart story went on with their lives but because of their association with the 19th century’s most infamous bandit, they also experienced a level of celebrity.

      James Bunyon Hume, Wells Fargo detective

      “Peaceful death ends stirring career of famous sleuth who for many years directed the work of the Wells Fargo Detective Bureau,” reported the San Francisco Call, May 19, 1904.

      James Hume.

      He died at his home in Berkeley at 77 years of age. His law enforcement career began when he settled in California in 1850.

      “The first service Mr. Hume saw on the fire line was in El Dorado County shortly after he came to California,” the paper reported. “The people of that county elected ‘Jim’ Hume sheriff and in that capacity it was his duty to convict or dislodge all the criminals that infested the wiles of that country in those days. He made himself the terror of the lawless element of El Dorado and upon his record alone he was appointed warden of Carson (jail). This was now 1870.”

      Two years later, he took a job with Wells Fargo.

      “Mr. Hume’s most distinguished capture was of the famous ‘Black Bart,’ the fellow who alone held up stage after stage of Wells Fargo throughout the state. It was a long chase but Black Bart was finally run down with the aid of a simple laundry mark. Such desperadoes as Sonntag and Evans, the Dalton brothers and others have been successfully apprehended through his advice and activity,” reads his obituary notice.

      Ben K. Thorn, Calaveras County sheriff

      “Ex-Sheriff Ben K. Thorn of Calaveras County, whose death occurred in San Francisco, was one of California’s (colorful) characters,” reported the Press Democrat, Nov. 17, 1905. “In the early days he achieved a reputation for bravery and daring that has never been surpassed by any peace officer of the state. Joaquin Murietta, Sam Brown, Black Bart and many others of like ilk were run to earth by brave Sheriff Thorn.”

      He had been with the sheriff’s office for more than 50 years. He settled in California in 1849 and was 75 years old when he passed.

      Harry N. Morse, detective

      At 14 years old, Harry Morse came to California as a teenager in 1849. He ended up in Redwood City for a short time, building and operating the town’s first hotel when he was only 17.

      Harry Morse.

      He also became a firefighter, joining the small town’s volunteer fire brigade.

      He later served as sheriff of Alameda County from 1864-1878. He then formed the Morse Detective Agency and is credited with capturing Black Bart. Nabbing the bandit allowed him to collect the $300 reward in 1883.

      Morse made headlines again when his son George was slain by 14-year-old Claude Hankins on a ranch near Marysville.

      “According to the story told by Hankins, he followed Morse to where he was milking a cow Tuesday evening and, approaching him without exciting suspicion, fired the fatal shot, robbed him of his purse and then departed,” reported the San Francisco Call, July 21, 1904. “Hankins hardly seems to realize the seriousness of his crime.”

      Three years later, he buried his wife, Virginia, according to the San Francisco Call, May 26, 1907.

      Detective Morse had other interests as well. He “was an early investor in the Gold Park Mining District in Nevada and ran the district from 1896-1912,” according to the University of Nevada, Reno.

      His last well-known case was the 1905 poisoning death of Jane Stanford, founder of Stanford University.

      After his death in 1912, newspapers recounted his career.

      “Morse was a pioneer peace officer in California, his exploits in the early history of Alameda County in dealing with desperadoes and criminals forming a startling chapter. He frequently rode across the state and captured criminals in the (vastness) of the Sierra Nevada mountains and then escorted them here for trial. He engaged in numerous rifle duels in taking bandits. Later he founded a detective agency, which bore his name, and he continued in active management until his death,” reported the San Francisco Call, June 26, 1912.


      He was born John Roberts in 1682 in Casnewydd Bach, [5] between Fishguard and Haverfordwest in Pembrokeshire, Wales. His father was most likely George Roberts. [6] It is unclear why Roberts changed his name from John to Bartholomew, [7] but pirates often adopted aliases. He may have chosen his first name after the well-known buccaneer Bartholomew Sharp. [8] He was thought to have gone to sea when he was 13 in 1695, but there is no further record of him until 1718, when he was mate of a Barbados sloop. [9]

      In 1719, Roberts was second mate on the slave ship Princess under Captain Abraham Plumb. In early June that year, the Princess was anchored at Anomabu (then spelled Annamaboa, which is situated along the Gold Coast of West Africa, present-day Ghana) when she was captured by pirates. The pirates were in two vessels, Royal Rover and Royal James, and were led by captain Howell Davis. Davis, like Roberts, was a Welshman, originally from Milford Haven in Pembrokeshire. Roberts and several other of the crew of the Princess were forced to join the pirates.

      Davis quickly discovered Roberts' abilities as a navigator and took to consulting him. [10] He was also able to confide information to Roberts in the Welsh language, thereby keeping it hidden from the English and international crewmen. [11] Roberts is said to have been reluctant to become a pirate at first, but soon came to see the advantages of this new lifestyle. Captain Charles Johnson reports him as saying:

      In an honest service there is thin commons, low wages, and hard labour. In this, plenty and satiety, pleasure and ease, liberty and power and who would not balance creditor on this side, when all the hazard that is run for it, at worst is only a sour look or two at choking? No, a merry life and a short one shall be my motto.

      Commander or commoner? Edit

      In the merchant navy, Roberts' wage was less than £4 per month and he had no chance of promotion to captaincy.

      A few weeks after Roberts' capture, Royal James had to be abandoned because of worm damage. Royal Rover headed for the island of Príncipe. Davis hoisted the flags of a British man-of-war and was allowed to enter the harbour. After a few days, Davis invited the governor to lunch on board his ship, intending to hold him hostage for a ransom. Davis had to send boats to collect the governor, and he was invited to call at the fort for a glass of wine first. The Portuguese had discovered that their visitors were pirates. They ambushed Davis' party on its way to the fort, shooting Davis dead. [13]

      A new captain had to be elected. Davis' crew was divided into "Lords" and "Commons", and it was the "Lords" who had the right to propose a name to the remainder of the crew. Within six weeks of his capture, Roberts was elected captain. This was unusual, especially as he had objected to serving on the vessel. Historians believe he was elected for his navigational abilities and his personality, which history reflects was outspoken and opinionated.

      He accepted of the Honour, saying, that since he had dipp'd his Hands in Muddy Water, and must be a Pyrate, it was better being a Commander than a common Man.

      Roberts' first act as captain was to lead the crew back to Príncipe to avenge the death of Captain Davis. Roberts and his crew landed on the island in the darkness of night, killed a large portion of the male population, and stole all items of value that they could carry away. Soon afterwards, he captured a Dutch Guineaman, then two days later a British ship called Experiment. The pirate ship took on water and provisions at Anamboe, where a vote was taken on whether the next voyage should be to the East Indies or to Brazil. The vote was for Brazil. [15]

      The combination of bravery and success that marked this adventure cemented most of the crew's loyalty to Roberts. They concluded that he was "pistol proof" and that they had much to gain by staying with him. [16]

      Brazil and the Caribbean July 1719 – May 1720 Edit

      Roberts and his crew crossed the Atlantic and watered and boot-topped [note 1] their ship on the uninhabited island of Ferdinando. They spent about nine weeks off the Brazilian coast but saw no ships. They were about to leave for the West Indies when they encountered a fleet of 42 Portuguese ships in the Todos os Santos' Bay, waiting for two men-of-war of 70 guns each to escort them to Lisbon. Roberts took one of the vessels and ordered her master to point out the richest ship in the fleet. He pointed out Sagrada Familia, a ship of 40 guns and a crew of 170, which Roberts and his men boarded and captured. Sagrada Familia contained 40,000 gold moidores and jewellery designed for the King of Portugal, including a cross set with diamonds. [17]

      Rover next headed for Devil's Island off the coast of Guiana to spend the booty. A few weeks later, they headed for the River Surinam where they captured a sloop. After they sighted a brigantine, Roberts took 40 men to pursue it in the sloop, leaving Walter Kennedy in command of Rover. The sloop became wind-bound for eight days, and when Roberts and his crew finally returned to their ship, they discovered that Kennedy had sailed off with Rover and what remained of the loot. [18] Roberts and his crew renamed their sloop Fortune and agreed on new articles, now known as a pirate code, which they swore on a Bible to uphold. [19]

      In late February 1720, they were joined by French pirate Montigny la Palisse in another sloop, Sea King. The inhabitants of Barbados equipped two well-armed ships, Summerset and Philipa, to try to put an end to the pirate menace. On 26 February, they encountered the two pirate sloops. Sea King quickly fled, and Fortune broke off the engagement after sustaining considerable damage and was able to escape. [20] Roberts headed for Dominica to repair the sloop, with twenty of his crew dying of their wounds on the voyage. There were also two sloops from Martinique out searching for the pirates, and Roberts swore vengeance against the inhabitants of Barbados and Martinique. He had a new flag made with a drawing of himself holding a flaming sword and standing upon 2 skulls, one labelled ABH (A Barbadian's Head) and the other AMH (A Martiniquian's Head).

      Newfoundland and the Caribbean June 1720 – April 1721 Edit

      Fortune next headed northwards towards Newfoundland, raiding Canso, Nova Scotia, [21] and capturing a number of ships around Cape Breton and the Newfoundland banks. Roberts raided the harbour of Ferryland, capturing a dozen vessels. On 21 June, he attacked the larger harbour of Trepassey, sailing in with black flags flying. In the harbour he discovered 22 merchant ships and 150 fishing ships. [22] All of these vessels were abandoned by their panic-stricken captains and crews, and the pirates were masters of Trepassey without any resistance being offered. Roberts had captured all 22 merchant ships, but was angered by the cowardice of the captains who had fled their ships. Every morning he had a gun fired and the captains were forced to attend Roberts on board his ship they were told that anyone who was absent would have his ship burnt. One brig from Bristol was taken over by the pirates to replace the sloop Fortune and fitted out with 16 guns. When the pirates left in late June, all the other vessels in the harbour were set on fire. During July, Roberts captured nine or ten French ships and commandeered one of them, fitting her with 26 cannons and changing her name to Good Fortune. With this more powerful ship, the pirates captured many more vessels before heading south for the West Indies, accompanied by Montigny la Palisse's sloop, which had rejoined them. [23]

      In September 1720, Good Fortune was careened and repaired at the island of Carriacou before being renamed Royal Fortune, the first of several ships to be given this name by Roberts. In late September, Royal Fortune and Fortune headed for the island of St. Christopher's and entered Basse Terra Road, flying black flags and with their drummers and trumpeters playing. They sailed in among the ships in the Road, all of which promptly struck their flags. [24] The next landfall was at the island of St. Bartholomew, where the French governor allowed the pirates to remain for several weeks to carouse. By 25 October, they were at sea again off St. Lucia, where they captured up to 15 French and English ships in the next three days. [25] Among the captured ships was Greyhound, whose chief mate James Skyrme joined the pirates. He later became captain of Roberts' consort, Ranger.

      During this time, Roberts reportedly caught Florimond Hurault de Montigny, the Governor of Martinique, who was sailing aboard a 52-gun French warship. The Governor was caught and promptly hanged on the yardarm of his own ship, which the pirates converted into the new Royal Fortune. [26] According to Konstam and Rickman, this reported capture was an embellishment by Captain Charles Johnson in his A General History of the Pyrates. [27]

      By the spring of 1721, Roberts' depredations had almost brought seaborne trade to a standstill in the West Indies. [28] Royal Fortune and Good Fortune therefore set sail for West Africa. On 18 April, Thomas Anstis, the commander of Good Fortune, left Roberts in the night and continued to raid shipping in the Caribbean, with future captains John Fenn and Brigstock Weaver aboard. [29] Royal Fortune continued towards Africa.

      West Africa April 1721 – January 1722 Edit

      By late April, Roberts was at the Cape Verde islands. Royal Fortune was found to be leaky and abandoned there. The pirates transferred to Sea King, which was renamed Royal Fortune. The new Royal Fortune made landfall off the Guinea coast in early June, near the mouth of the Senegal River. Two French ships, one of 10 guns and one of 16 guns, gave chase, but were captured by Roberts. Both ships were commandeered. One, Comte de Toulouse, was renamed Ranger, while the other was named Little Ranger and used as a storeship. Thomas Sutton was made captain of Ranger and James Skyrme captain of Little Ranger. [30]

      Roberts next headed for Sierra Leone, arriving on 12 June. Here he was told by retired pirate John "Old Crackers" Leadstone that two Royal Navy ships, HMS Swallow and HMS Weymouth, had left at the end of April, planning to return before Christmas. [31] On 8 August, he captured two large ships at Point Cestos, now River Cess in Liberia. One of these was the frigate Onslow, transporting soldiers bound for Cape Coast (Cabo Corso) Castle. A number of the soldiers wished to join the pirates, and they were eventually accepted, however they only received a quarter of a pirates pay because they were not sailors most of their lives. Onslow was converted to become the fourth Royal Fortune. [32] In November and December, the pirates careened their ships and relaxed at Cape Lopez and the island of Annobón. [33] Sutton was replaced by Skyrme as captain of Ranger.

      They captured several vessels in January 1722, then sailed into Ouidah (Whydah) harbour with black flags flying. The eleven ships at anchor there immediately struck their colours, but were restored to their owners after a ransom of eight pounds of gold dust per ship was paid. [34] [35] When the master of one of the ships refused these terms, Roberts had his crew climb aboard the ship and set her on fire. The captured vessels were slave ships, and the one set on fire had around eighty enslaved Africans on board. They perished either as a result of the fire or by drowning or shark attack after jumping overboard. [35]

      Death in battle Edit

      On 5 February 1722, Captain Chaloner Ogle of HMS Swallow came upon the pirate ships Royal Fortune, Ranger, and Little Ranger careening at Cape Lopez. Swallow veered away to avoid a shoal, making the pirates think that she was a fleeing merchant ship some sources claim Ogle spotted Roberts' ships and turned Swallow as a ruse. [29] Ranger departed in pursuit, commanded by James Skyrme. Once out of earshot of the other pirates, Swallow opened her gun ports and opened fire. Ten pirates were killed and Skyrme had his leg taken off by a cannonball, but he refused to leave the deck. Eventually, Ranger was forced to strike her colors and the surviving crew were captured.

      On 10 February, Swallow returned to Cape Lopez and found Royal Fortune still there. On the previous day, Roberts had captured Neptune, and many of his crew were drunk and unfit for duty just when he needed them most. [36] At first, the pirates thought that the approaching ship was Ranger returning, but a deserter from Swallow recognized her and informed Roberts while he was breakfasting with Captain Hill, the master of Neptune. As he usually did before action, he dressed himself in his finest clothes:

      Roberts himself made a gallant figure, at the time of the engagement, being dressed in a rich crimson damask waistcoat and breeches, a red feather in his hat, a gold chain round his neck, with a diamond cross hanging to it, a sword in his hand, and two pairs of pistols slung over his shoulders . "

      The pirates' plan was to sail past Swallow, which meant exposing themselves to one broadside. Once past, they would have a good chance of escaping. However, the helmsman failed to keep Royal Fortune on the right course, and Swallow was able to approach to deliver a second broadside. Captain Roberts was killed by grapeshot, which struck him in the throat while he stood on the deck. Before his body could be captured by Ogle, Roberts's wish to be buried at sea with all his arms and ornaments on (a request he had repeated in life) was fulfilled by his crew, who weighed his body down and threw it overboard after wrapping it in his ship's sail. It was never found. [38]

      Roberts's death shocked the pirate world, as well as the Royal Navy. The local merchants and civilians had thought him invincible, and some considered him a hero. [ citation needed ]

      Aftermath Edit

      The battle continued for another two hours until Royal Fortune ' s mainmast fell and the pirates signaled for quarter. One member of the crew, John Philips, tried to reach the magazine with a lighted match to blow up the ship, but was prevented by two men. Only three pirates had been killed in the battle, including Roberts. A total of 272 men had been captured by the Royal Navy. Of these, 65 were former African slaves that Roberts had emancipated, and they were sold into slavery. The remainder were taken to Cape Coast Castle, apart from those who died on the voyage back. 54 were condemned to death, of whom 52 were hanged and two reprieved. Another twenty were allowed to sign indentures with the Royal African Company Burl comments that they "exchanged an immediate death for a lingering one". [39] Seventeen men were sent to the Marshalsea prison in London for trial, where some were acquitted and released.

      Of the captured pirates who told their place of birth, 42% were from Cornwall, Devon, and Somerset, and another 19% from London. There were smaller numbers from northern England and from Wales, and another quarter from a variety of countries including Ireland, Scotland, the West Indies, the Netherlands, and Greece. [40] Roberts experienced problems with mutinous Irishmen early in his pirate career and was known to generally avoid recruiting Irishmen, to the extent that captured merchant sailors would sometimes affect an Irish accent to discourage Roberts from forcing them into his pirate crew. [ citation needed ]

      Captain Chaloner Ogle was rewarded with a knighthood, the only British naval officer to be honoured specifically for his actions against pirates. [41] He also profited financially, taking gold dust from Roberts' cabin, and he eventually became an admiral. [41]

      This battle proved a turning point in the war against the pirates, [42] and many consider the death of Roberts to mark the end of the Golden Age of Piracy. [41]

      The defeat of Roberts and the subsequent eradication of piracy off the coast of Africa represented a turning point in the slave trade and even in the larger history of capitalism.

      Black Bart strikes again - HISTORY


      The legend begins on a mountain pass called Funk Hill in Calaveras County, four miles outside of Copperopolis, California, on July 26, 1875. A man appeared before Wells Fargo stage driver John Shine (later a U.S. marshal and a California state senator). The man wore a long, soiled duster over his clothes, and covering his head was a flour sack with holes that had been cut for eyes. The man carried a double-barrel 12 gauge shotgun and a Henry rifle hung over his shoulder 1 .

      A deep voice commanded: "Please throw down the box!" Bart then said, "If he dares shoot give him a solid volley, boys." Shine looked around and protruding from the boulders on the hillside were what appeared to be six rifles. Shine quickly reached beneath his seat and withdrew the Wells Fargo strongbox (a wooden box reinforced with iron bands and padlocked) containing $348, according to Wells Fargo, and tossed it and the mail sacks to the ground. Shine warned his passengers, eight women and children and two men 2 , to refrain from doing anything stupid. One of the women travellers threw out her purse in panic. Black Bart reportedly picked it up, bowed to the lady, and handed it back to her. "Madam, I do not wish your money," he said. "In that respect I honor only the good office of Wells Fargo."

      With a sweep of his hand Bart motioned Shine on his way. As Shine drove away the driver took a quick glance back and saw the man attack the strong box with a hatchet. Shine drove off some distance and then stopped the stage. Shine's stage had barely gone up the hill when a second coach, driven by Donald McLean of Sonora, started up the hill and came upon the robber hacking away at the treasure box. McLean stopped the stage and Bart asked him to throw down the express box. McLean, with the double barreled shotgun pointed at him, said that he did not have an express box 3 . Believing the driver, Bart told him to drive on, unmolested. McLean caught up with Shine's stage at the top of the hill. The drivers and a couple of male passengers walked back down the road, saw a half dozen guns leveled at them from outlaws positioned behind boulders. They stood still and then realized the outlaws were not moving. It was sticks pointed at them from the boulders.

      1 This is the only robbery that Bart carried more than just a shotgun. After the robbery Bart stopped at a farm asking for directions and sold the Henry rifle to the farmers wife for $10.00.

      2 One of the two men on the stage was one of the owners, John Olive. The other passenger was a young miner. When Bart stopped the stage the young miner went for his gun but John Olive grabbed his wrist and foced the gun to the floor. He said to the young miner "Put that damned thing away, do you want to get us all killed."

      3 There was sort of an unwritten rule between drivers and robbers that if the driver said there was no treasure box on the stage the robber would not press the issue. However, if the robber found out later that the driver had lied, the next time the robber causht up to the driver, he probably would shoot him.

      The legend was born Black Bart had committed his first robbery.

      Charles E. Boles (aka Black Bart, aka Charles E. Bolton) lived in San Francisco. He was a man well into his 50's, about five-foot eight inches tall, ramrod straight, with gray hair and a moustache. A natty dresser, he favored diamonds and carried a short cane. People seeing him walk down the street in 1870's San Francisco would have thought him nothing more than a kindly, prosperous, old grandpa out for a leisurely stroll. But, he was more than that, much, much more. No one could have imagined that this man was really the famous, or infamous, Black Bart the stage robber-poet of Northern California, or P o 8, as he preferred to refer to himself. He was a man who liked to live well and intended to do just that. He stayed in fine hotels, ate in the best restaurants and wore the finest clothes. Now all he had to do was find a way to earn a living to support his preferred lifestyle, and Charles E. Boles found a dandy.

      Bart was not a rampant pillager of Wells Fargo. He only robbed stages periodically, sometimes with as much as nine months time between robberies. He later stated that he "took only what was needed when it was needed." Most stagecoach drivers were submissive to Bart, seldom defying him with a cross word and obediently tossing down the strongbox when ordered to do so. This was not so with hard case George W. Hackett who, on July 13, 1882, was driving a Wells Fargo stage some nine miles outside of Strawberry, California. Bart suddenly darted from a boulder and stood in front of the stage, stopping it and leveling a shotgun at Hackett. He politely said: "Please throw down your strongbox." Hackett was not pleased to do so he reached for a rifle and fired a shot at the bandit. Bart dashed into the woods and vanished, but he received a scalp wound that would leave a permanent scar on the top right side of his forehead.

      The lone bandit continued to stop Wells Fargo stages with regularity, always along mountain roads where the driver was compelled to slow down at dangerous curves. It was later estimated that Bart robbed as much as $18,000 from Wells Fargo stages over the course of his career, striking twenty-eight times. He left no clues whatsoever, although he did leave a spare gun after one robbery. He was always extremely courteous to passengers, especially women travelers, refusing to take their jewelry and cash. He made a favorable impression on drivers and passengers alike as a courteous, gentlemanly robber who apparently wanted to avoid a gunfight at all costs.

      On July 30, 1878 while robbing the stage from La Porte to Oroville, Black Bart added to his legend. Again a woman traveler attempted to get out of the stage and give up her valuables to Bart. Black Bart stopped her and said: "No lady, don't get out. I never bother the passengers. Keep calm. I'll be through here in a minute and on my way." With that he took the express box containing $50 in gold and a silver watch, the mail sacks and was on his way.

      With his loot, Bart had invested in several small businesses which brought him a modest income, but he could not resist the urge to go back to robbing stages when money became short. After so many successful robberies, the P o 8 thought his luck would continue forever, but it was not to be. On November 3,1883, his luck ran out.

      Why did Charles Boles decide to call himself Black Bart? Bart himself told Harry Morse and Captain Stone why when they were going out to pick up the gold alamagam from his last robbery. He said that he had read the story "The Case of Summerfield" several years earlier. When he was searching for a name, that one just popped into his mind. He chuckled at the stir his verse had created when signed by the name Black Bart.

      On June 30, 1864, supposed Confederate troops held up the Placerville stage, and Captain Henry M. Ingraham, C.S.A. receipted to Wells Fargo for the treasure. Then in 1871, a San Francisco lawyer, William H. Rhodes, under the pen name "Caxton" resurrected the captain as Bartholomew Graham in a dime novel story called "The Case of Summerfield," which appeared also in the Sacramento Union. Graham, known as "Black Bart" according to Rhodes, had been "engaged in the late robbery of Wells Fargo's express at Grizly Bend!" He was an "unruly and wild villain" who wore all black, had a full black beard and a mess of wild curly black hair. It should be noted that Charles Boles never wore black nor did he have a beard nor was his hair black. Of more importance was the rest of his description: "He is 5 foot 10.5 inches in height, clear blue eyes and served in the civil war." Stage drivers never forgot those "clear blue eyes." By using the name Black Bart, Boles took advantage of an established dime novel bad guy. So the robber Black Bart was already known as someone to be feared. If you were robbed by Black Bart, you didn't argue, you just gave up the loot.

      At the fourth and fifth robbery Bart left a note. He signed the note with a name that would go down in western history: "Black Bart, P o 8." The letters and number mystified lawmen as much as the name Black Bart. Any tracking posse found no trace of the elusive bandit, and superstition had it that the stage indeed had been robbed by a ghost. There were only two poems but it is one of the most recognizable parts of the legend.

      "I've labored long and hard for bread,
      For honor and for riches
      But on my corns too long you've tread,
      You fine-haired sons-of-bitches.
      Black Bart, the P o 8"

      "To wait the coming morrow,
      Perhaps success, perhaps defeat
      And everlasting sorrow.
      Yet come what will, I'll try it once,
      My conditions can't be worse,
      But if there's money in that box,
      It's munny in my purse.
      Black Bart, the P o 8"

      Note: A little know fact is that on the first poem there was also a note scribbled under the verse. The poem and the note had each line written in a different hand. It is thought that Bart did this to disguise his handwriting.

      The note reads:
      Driver, give my respects to our old friend, the other driver. I really had a notion to hang my old disguise hat on his weather eye.

      After Bart's release from prison there was another robbery where a poem was left in the same fashion that Bart always left his poems. Detective Hume examined the note and compared it with the genuine Black Bart bits of poetry of the past. He declared the new verse a hoax and the work of another man, declaring that he was certain Black Bart had permanently retired. This gave rise to the later notion that Wells Fargo had actually pensioned off the robber on his promise that he would stop no more of its stages, paying him a handsome annuity until his death.

      This is the third poem that was NOT written by the P o 8

      So here I've stood while wind and rain
      Have set the trees a'sobbin'
      And risked my life for that damned stage
      That wasn't worth the robbin'.

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      Adult life prior to criminal career

      California Gold Rush

      In late 1849, Bowles (his friends called him Charley) and two of his brothers, David and James, took part in the California Gold Rush. They began mining in the North Fork of the American River in California.

      Bowles mined for only a year before returning home in 1852. Soon he made the trip again to the California gold fields, with his brother David and with another brother, Robert. Both David and Robert were taken ill and died in California soon after their arrival. Bowles continued mining for two more years before leaving.


      In 1854, in Illinois, Bowles (who, for some reason, had changed the spelling of his last name from "Bolles" to "Bowles") married Mary Elizabeth Johnson. They had four children. By 1860, the couple had made their home in Decatur, Illinois.

      Civil War

      The Civil War began in April, 1861. Bowles enlisted in Decatur as a private in Company B, 116th Illinois Regiment, on August 13, 1862. He proved to be a good soldier, rising to the rank of first sergeant within a year. He took part in numerous battles and campaigns, including Vicksburg, where he was seriously wounded, and Sherman’s March to the Sea. On June 7, 1865, he was discharged in Washington, D.C., and returned home to Illinois. He had received brevet commissions as both second lieutenant and first lieutenant.


      After the long years of war, a quiet life of farming held little appeal to Bowles, and he yearned for adventure. By 1867, he was prospecting again in Idaho and Montana. Little is known of him during this time, but in an August 1871 he sent a letter to his wife, he mentioned an unpleasant incident with some Wells, Fargo & Company employees and vowed to pay them back. He then stopped writing, and after a time his wife assumed he was dead.

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