bers hewn from the sturdier trees of the mainland. These were built in a
semicircle, about two hundred feet apart and facing the Gulf. The
houses were chiefly furnished from the captured ships, but rough chairs,
tables and beds were also made from available timber.
A wharf was built and here the small boats from the pirate ships
stood by, ready for immediate use. On Captiva Island, a building was
constructed for men prisoners. Women captives were kept on Gasparilla
Island. The men prisoners were forced to labor about the camp, probably
in "gangs" with a pirate as boss. Captiva Island was also selected as a
burial ground for both pirates and prisoners.
Upon Cayoplean, a little island close to Turtle Bay, was a burial
mound of the Indians, on which Gasparilla constructed an observation
tower, where a sentinel was stationed to scan the Gulf in the hopes of
spying a merchant ship.
As time passed, Gasparilla's character became more cruel and
ferocious. He retained his polished manner, however, and was always a
great lover of fanciful clothes. He was something of a Bluebeard,
fanatical in his demand for beautiful women. But he was so fickle that
when an additional capture was made and a new face appealed to him,
one of the older captives paid with her life to make room for the newest
In 1795 Gasparilla and his men, numbering between sixty-five
and seventy, attacked and captured a Spanish bark, making its first