Second in command under Blackbeard the pirate, Hands was given command of the sloop Adventure when it was taken in the Bay of Honduras. After Blackbeard's death, Hands was captured and made to stand trial in Virginia. He gained a pardon in exchange for testifying against corrupt North Carolina officials with whom the pirate had dealt, and promptly vanished from history. It was afterward rumored that he died in London, a pitiful beggar. Robert Louis Stevenson later used the name in his classic novel Treasure Island.