You could argue that Richard Noland was the most important man in Samuel Bellamy's pirate fleet, for he looked after the treasure. Elected and trusted by the men, the quartermaster made sure that each pirate received a fair portion of the loot.

His other jobs included inspecting weapons, punishing minor infractions of the pirates' rules, assigning work details, overseeing elections, managing provisions—and keeping the captain in line. Juggling more than a hundred egos took plenty of "blarney," as they still call a smooth tongue in Noland's homeland, Ireland.

Noland's verbal virtuosity came in handy on land too. He retired from piracy in 1718 under one of the pardons granted periodically by the British crown. Unlike many ex-pirates, who speedily gambled and drank their way to poverty, Noland managed to establish himself as a respectable citizen. Indeed, he even served as a character witness at the trials of other pirates.