John Julian


Born: Unknown

Died: 1733 (?)

John Julian was a half-blood Mosquito Indian who joined Samuel Bellamy early in his brief, brilliant career. On land, Julian’s skin made him nobody. On water, his skill made him somebody. He eventually piloted the Whydah, which was the leading ship of Bellamy’s fleet. Julian was one of 30 to 50 people of African descent in the pirate crew—all treated as equals.

Julian’s life took a nosedive when he survived the Whydah wreck in 1717. He was jailed in Boston but apparently never indicted. More likely, he was sold into slavery. He was probably the “Julian the Indian” bought by John Quincy—whose grandson, President John Quincy Adams, became a staunch abolitionist.

If so, he suffered. A purportedly “unruly slave,” Julian the Indian was sold to another owner and tried often to escape. During one attempt he killed a bounty hunter who was trying to catch him.

John Julian probably either ended his days in slavery or by execution in 1733 for killing a bounty hunter. (History is unclear on this point)

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