New England's Real Life Robinson Crusoe

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In the 1720s, there was a pirate even more well-known — and perhaps more feared — than Blackbeard on the Atlantic coast. His name was Edward Low. And before staging a mutiny and resorting to piracy, he operated as a Boston-based seaman.

As a pirate, Low captured a young Marblehead cod fisherman off the coast of Nova Scotia. The 19-year-old Philip Ashton sailed with the pirates as their prisoner for 9 months, until he escaped to live on a deserted island off the coast of Honduras for almost 2 years. He survived and eventually made his way back to his native New England.


Greg Flemming, author of "At the Point of a Cutlass: The Pirate Capture, Bold Escape and Lonely Exile of Philip Ashton." He tweets @Flemming_Greg.


The Boston Globe: 'At The Point Of A Cutlass' By Gregory N. Flemming

  • "Philip Ashton made a daring escape and survived, alone, on a desert island for nearly two years. Shirtless and shoeless, Ashton had neither knife nor gun nor way to build a fire. Utterly alone, he scraped by largely on fruit until he learned how to fish and cook some of his food."

This segment aired on June 24, 2014.


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