raised instead the Stars and Strips of the United States. Great guns
appeared on the desk and begun firing upon the pirates. Quickly
Gasparilla realized he had been tricked. His men were outnumbered
and comparatively weak in arms. A shot shattered the bow of his ship.
Escape was impossible. A fatalist, Gasparilla wrapped a piece of anchor
around his waist and jumped into the sea.
His boat crew, with the exception of the cabin boy, were hanged.
The cabin boy, because of his extreme youth, was carried to New Orleans
where he was sentenced to 10 years in prison. The 10 men left in charge
of the island escaped into the woods, making their way to the mainland
before the pursing crew from the United States ship could overtake
One escapade of Gasparilla was learned long after his death.
Two men taking the census of 1900 stopped off at Panther Key, and
spent the night at the cottage of John Gomez, who claimed to be the
brother-in-law of Gasparilla. He was an old man with but little strength
left. Nevertheless, all through the night, he held his visitors spellbound
with tales of piracy. He told of the capture of ships, the murder of
resisting officers, men and women, and last of all he told the story of the
little Spanish princess.
In the year 1801, the old man related, a young princess of Spain
sailed for Mexico. While she was there she received great acclaim and
homage. To show her appreciation, she asked that all of the fairest of
Mexico's maidens be allowed to go back with her,