Richard Worley was a pirate who was active in the Caribbean Sea and the east coast of the American colonies during the early 18th century. He is credited as one of the earliest pirates to fly the first version of the skull and crossbones pirate flag.
He is first recorded leaving New York with a small boat and a crew of eight men hoping to make their fortune in the so-called Golden Age of Piracy. However, their first prize resulted in the capture of household goods from a shallop in the Delaware River near New Castle in September 1718. This attack was technically burglary rather than piracy, as according to British maritime law at the time the attack did not take place in international waters. Local authorities mistakenly attributed the attack to Worley's better-known counterpart Blackbeard, who had raided the same waterways earlier in the year. Vessels were armed and sent to intercept the robbers but, after cruising for several days without setting sight on Worley, returned empty-handed.
Their second prize brought better luck as, upon capturing a sloop bound for Philadelphia, Worley also gained four additional crew members. A few days later they requisitioned another sloop bound for Hull which, as well as being in better condition, was fully provisioned which they had desperate need of.
They left the Delaware and set out to sea to the Bahamas, however, King George I issued a royal proclamation for the capture and execution of pirates who chose not to accept a royal pardon from the British government. Although the 24-gun warship HMS Phoenix was sent out after Worley, he and his crew were able to evade capture.
After six weeks off the Bahamas, he captured a brigantine and a sloop, increased his crew to about twenty-five and gained six cannons and numerous small arms. The brigantine was released, but the sloop sunk, to prevent it from returning to its home port of New York where it would raise alarm. It was during this time that he began flying his official colors of a black flag with a white Death's Head in its center and the crew agreed upon a set of articles, which included a vow to fight to the death rather than surrender to authorities.
- Thanks to Wikipedia