Matt Glanbury was born around 1730 in poor South London neighborhood. His father, a carpenter, work on many ships arriving from Caribbean, and the young boy spent long evenings hearing pirate stories from the visitors to his father’s workshop. For his 10th birthday he received from his father a locking wooden chest so he could, like a real prate, hide his treasures from jealous friends. In the chest he kept a button from a pirate’s coat, an old map, and a small knife with mysterious inscriptions.
At 13, just after his father death, Matt stowed away on a ship departing for the Bahamas and Jamaica, taking nothing with him but a change of clothes and the wooden chest. He was discovered after just four days at sea, but that was too late to put him on land, so Matt was along for the voyage. As a stow-away, he was at the mercy of the captain (even more so than the crew, who had a hard enough life themselves.) Unfortunately for Matt, the captain was a bitter and sadistic character, and perhaps a bit crazy from drinking too much home-made rum. He seized Matt’s wooden chest as partial payment for the voyage, and noting with a sneer that it was just a trifle, not nearly enough, declared that Matt would be his new cabin boy (much to the relief of the previous one). He beat Matt with his staff for every lapse of duty, of which there were many, since Matt had grown accustomed to his kindly father and did not take well to his tyrannical new master.
As they approached the outer Bahamas, the ship was taken by pirates, without much of a struggle. It was not an especially rich prize, carrying mostly manufactures from England to be traded for molasses, sugar and gold in Jamaica. But it did carry a substantial sum of money for settling some of the ship owner’s business affairs in Nassau. The captain kept it well hidden in his cabin, and none of the crew even knew it existed – except Matt, who had a keen eye for carpentry and noticed the hidden compartment in a cabinet. The pirates planned to keep the ship, and maroon the crew on a remote island. But Matt offered the pirate captain a deal – he could show them a rich prize, if they let him stay on board, and returned his wooden chest. The pirates were amused by his pluck, and shook hands on the deal. Matt became a sort of mascot for the pirate ship, and the captain treated him like a son. He grew up to be a fearsome pirate himself, and seized many treasures during his wild adventures, but the box from his father remained his most cherished possession.