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Rob and greg


the 5 pirate s_edited
George crossing the
       Pirates of the Canal is a 501c3 Charitable Organization. We have fundraisers that support local charities in and around the Lemont area.


  Though pirates have existed since ancient times, the Golden Age of piracy was in the 17th and early 18th centuries.  During this time more than 5000 pirates were said to be at sea. Throughout history there have been people willing to rob others transporting goods on the water. These people, known as pirates, mainly targeted ships, though some also launched attacks on coastal towns. They threatened the trading routes of ancient Greece, and seized cargoes of grain and olive oil from Roman ships. The most far-reaching pirates in early medieval Europe were the Vikings.

  Many of the most famous pirates had a terrifying reputation, and they advertised this by flying gruesome flags, including the 'Jolly Roger' with its picture of skull and crossbones. Captives were famously made to ‘walk the plank’ – though this doesn’t appear to have been as common in reality as in fiction; in fact, it's likely that most victims of piracy were just thrown overboard.

  Thousands of pirates were active between 1650 and 1720, and these years are sometimes known as the 'Golden Age’ of piracy. Famous pirates from this period include Henry Morgan, William 'Captain' Kidd, 'Calico' Jack Rackham, Bartholomew Roberts and the fearsome Blackbeard (Edward Teach). Though this Golden Age came to an end in the 18th century, piracy still exists today in some parts of the world, one place being the Canals Of Lemont. 

   In 2016, a townsman by the name of Robert J Themel, by chance, had been out and about in what is known as The Smokey Row pub district of Lemont. More specifically, Canal St., was his path that day. Walking past Canal St. Pub, he glanced in, to see a Pirate sitting at the bar. This sight had stopped him in mid-stride, to a turn straight through the Pub’s front entrance. Seeing this Pirate sparked curiosity and a series of questions to follow. “Why is there a Pirate sitting at the bar? Why is there a Pirate in Lemont? Who is this and why are you dressed as a Pirate?” 

  Rob sat down next to the Pirate and began his questioning. They sat for hours talking and laughing. They had become friends in that short time of meeting, one of many of Rob’s attributes. Their conversation had brought about a plan, a plan to invade Lemont, with Pirates. Not to plunder and pillage, but to join a small crew of friends to be Pirates, raise money for Charity, and breathe life back into a failing pub district. This was the birth of flooding The Smokey Row with Pirates, with that Captain “Rotten” Rob Themel joined together with Captain Greg the Pirate to organize the goal.

  The plan was originally for 25 to 30 Pirates that year but turned into 65 to 70 very quickly as word spread of this invasion. With the element of surprise on their side, Witches and Villagers watched in awe as Pirates made their way through the streets. Their presence had become known in a short time of Pirates who raise funds for Charity while bringing life back to a forgotten area. With such success they vowed to return making this an annual invasion. 

  That started the yearly Pirate Pub Crawl for Charity, hosted by our Captain “Rotten” Rob Themel and Captain Greg the Pirate, Sailing always three sheets to the wind at the helm of the “Intoxicator”!

The second year would bring the flooding of Smokey Row Pub District. Pirates were to fill the district instead of flowing through as a group. This year Cpt. Rob brought with him a trusty parrot sidekick, to accompany him and his original crew. The flooding brought forth more pirates and crew that traveled to join in on the Charity event and partake in the patronizing of the district.

  The third year Cpt. Rob vowed to raise for yet another charity, solely raised by collections directly to himself, and at the end of the night in the middle of Canal Street, he shaved his beard in front of all the pirates to show he is willing to go to no ends to help the less fortunate, and their cuddly companions. The pirates flooded the district again this time drawing more pirates than ever before, there were groups of pirates on every corner, in every establishment and lining the streets in the once dimmed and almost burnt-out pub district. This was the year Cpt. Rob and Cpt. Sal met the Illinois Pirate Crew, they knew great things were coming for the Pirates of Illinois. The liveliness had begun to return and the Cpt. Was happy. The night had grown into the great vision Cpt. Rob had foreseen when he started this rebranding of the once dimmed pub district, all was moving along according to plan.

  Then tragically, we lost our mighty Cpt. Rob the early months of 2019, and the flame had again looked dim, the people of the Smokey Row Pub District as well as the Village of Lemont, mourned the loss of a brother, a friend and of course their Cpt., the thought of pirates in the pub district started to fade.

  During their mourning came the union of the 5 Captains and they banded together and vowed to keep the legacy of their fallen Cpt. and his vision alive. They follow his traditions, keep to his sight and continue his legacy to this day as The Pirates of the Canal. Taking part in community events, special events, and of course the Pirate Pub Crawl with the crew of the Intoxicator sailing three sheets to the wind every October in Lemont Il.

                                   RIP Adm. Rotten Rob Themel

 Your memory lives on through The Pirates of the Canal captains you brought together to carry on your work.

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