Do you think Rockford was ever home to any pirates?

September 19th is "Talk Like a Pirate Day." I don't think I need to explain the concept, but just in case.

Video: Talk Like a Pirate Day

I know you're going to think I'm crazy, but I started thinking. Were there ever pirates in Rockford? Maybe they caused havoc on the Rock River?

I did what any curious person would do and I searched on the internet.

You are going to be surprised at what I found.

According to liquisearch.com,

"The Banditti of the Prairie also, known as "The Prairie Bandits," "Pirates of the Prairie," "Prairie Pirates," or simply "The Banditti," in the U.S. state of Illinois, were common in the counties of Lee, DeKalb, Ogle, and Winnebago." 

Yes, there were pirates in the Rockford area.

Looking at genealogytrails.com,

"They were bold, desperate men, who prey upon the unprotected settlers rather than gain a livelihood by honest toil."

Here are some of the things these pirates like to do from historyrat.wordpress.com,

1. "Robbing Houses"
2. "Cattle Thievery"
3. "Horse Thievery"
4. "Stage Coach Robberies"
5. "Highway Robberies"

That sure sounds like things pirates would like to do.

I'm not sure if Disney could make a Johhny Depp movie out of the story, but it's still part of our Rockford history.

From the book, "The American Old West Gangs, Outlaws, and Gunfights."

"In Winnebago County, the offices of the "Rock River Express" (predecessor of the "Rockford Register Star") were ransacked by them."

If you look at historyillinois.org,

"There is a historical marker at the rest area, east side of IL 2, about 6 miles north of Oregon."

As you are celebrating "Talk Like a Pirate Day," impress your friends and co-workers by telling them about Rockford Pirates.

Sometimes it sounds like we still have pirates living in Rockford.


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