Thomas Davis wasn't much of a pirate. Actually, he wasn't a pirate at all. He was a carpenter on a ship called the St. Michael when Samuel Bellamy and his band captured her.

Carpenters are always handy on wooden ships, so Bellamy drafted Davis for the Whydah crew. Davis was not pleased. In fact, he kicked up such a fuss that Bellamy promised to set him free as soon as he'd found some other unlucky carpenter to take his place.

Davis survived the Whydah sinking in 1717, only to wind up in a Boston jail on charges of piracy. To buttress his defense, he produced several testimonials—the written equivalent of character witnesses. One, from a former employer, assured the court that Davis "had a good Education in a Religious and Orderly Family, and that his Conversation, Carriage and Behaviour all that while was very decent and becoming."

Verdict: not guilty.