Debated as both ''Man and Myth'', Captain William Death was an English Privateer in the 17th Century. He was quite active during the first year of The Seven Years War (1756-1763). Death commanded The Sloop-of-War ''Terrible'', which boasted 200 Men and 26-Guns. He was responsible for the capture of several larger French Man-of-War's (at the cost of the loss of his Brother, who sailed with him).
Legend has Death in battle with The French Warship ''Vengeance'' in 1756. Outgunned, The ''Terrible'' stayed Port to Port, firing salvo after salvo into The French. Although badly damaged, ''Terrible'' took the day – and according to legend, also Captain Death.
It was said by eyewitness, that death was killed in battle with The French. Others, cite that it was when he boarded the Enemy vessel and attempted to take down The French Colors, that an assassin shot him down from hiding. Either way, he was hailed a ''Privateer Hero'' by England.
His exploits great even before The War, even future American Patriot Thomas Paine thought of joining Death and his Crew at one point (but thought better of the venture). The exploits of ''Captain Death'' even became fodder for an early Colonial American song ballad. Further parts of Death's legend cite that the wood from The ''Terrible'' was used to help build England's infamous ''Execution Docks'' – the final judgment for many an errant Pirate in the 18th Century.