It's been awhile, but I've been documenting my family history, using the physical copy of this book as my main resource. And yes, there's an awesome pirate in my family tree. The great-grandson of David Provost, the first North American in the family, is David Provost (1696-1791), who worked as a smuggler and privateer. So I'm a 10th generation pirate.
David's father (also named David) served in New York's government, including as the mayor of New York City, and was involved in a minor financial scandal. David Jr., by contrast, became a wealthy merchant, shipping and sailing out of New York Harbor.
During his time as a merchant he turned to privateering, sailing on the ship Johnson. He was motivated by a war, but the historical record is unclear as to which war. My primary source references the French War, which could either mean King George's War (1744-1748) or the French and Indian War (1754-1763), both of which would match with his age.
Several other sources I have found claim that he fought in the Revolutionary War (1775-1783), but those sources don't provide dates for his life and I have a hard time imagining an 80 year-old man in the 18th century buccaneering it on the high seas. I'm going to default to my family history book since it is much more detailed.
David became a privateer and smuggler during the French Wars, raiding and capturing French ships and making a small fortune off of them. This increased his already substantial wealth, and he became known in the colonies as “Ready Money Provoost” (the Provost's often went with the Dutch spelling of their name, Provoost, during this time), in contrast to his financially troubled father.
In 1742 Ready Money bought a 90-acre tract of land along the East River in New York and built his house there. He allegedly hid the loot from his smuggling endeavors in a cave on this land. He also constructed a tomb there for both himself and his wife, which popular lore often conflated with the cave where he hid his smuggled goods. This land, part of which is now part of the grounds of Rockefeller University, hosted a huge wood called Jones's Woods, which was the original candidate for Central Park.
After Ready Money died, Jones's Park developed a reputation for being haunted by the ghost of the privateer. Boys would try to camp out in the woods, but could never bring themselves to spend the night.
The picture at the top of the post is of a mid-19th century painting of David Provost's tomb/cave, titled “The Smuggler's Tomb.”