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Real Pirates

Thomas Davis

Thomas DavisThomas Davis was a Welsh shipwright and carpenter born in 1695. In December of 1716, he was sailing on the St. Michael when Captain Sam Bellamy and his crew captured her. Davis unwittingly identified himself as a carpenter when Bellamy asked if any were aboard, and he was immediately pressed into service on board the Sultana. Davis was not a seaman, but rather a skilled tradesman who would be invaluable aboard any wooden ship. He had his career to think of and protested enough that, in private, Bellamy promised to let Davis leave on their next captured ship. That next ship was the Whydah.

After helping strip the Whydah and outfit it for Bellamy's fleet, Davis reminded the captain of his promise. Davis learned that whether or not Bellamy was really willing to let him go, it was ultimately up to the crew to decide his fate. A vote was taken and Davis' request for dismissal was denied, with threats of violence for wanting to leave in the first place.

Davis was one of the few survivors of the wreck of the Whydah. At his trial, many people testified on his behalf, including his father and a former captain, who sent letters from Bristol, England. The letters were not admitted as evidence, however, as people of this time were required to testify viva voce, or in person, at pirate trials. Despite this setback, Davis was found not guilty and was the only member of the Whydah to be released in 1718.

Portrayed by:

Damian Johnson

Damian JohnsonDamian Johnson is a company member with the Science Museum of Minnesota's Science Live Theatre, and also portrayed trimmer Ernest Allen in the museum's Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition. He has worked with Live Action Set, Robert Karimi & Kaotic Good, Jon Ferguson, the Center for Hmong Arts Talent, Hardcover Theater, The Bloomington Bros, Comedy Sportz and HUGE Improv Theater. He teaches improvisation at the Children's Theater Company and the Brave New Workshop.