One only needs to google piracy in the Outer Banks to come up with the name “Captain Edward Teach”, alias “Blackbeard. The chilling description of him in the Boston Globe (published some 177 years after his death) is as follows:
“Our hero, Capt Teach…assumed the cognomen of Blackbeard from that large quantity of hair which, like a frightful meteor, covered his whole face, and frightened America more than any comet…He stuck lighted matches under his hat, which, appearing on each side of his face and eyes, looked naturally fierce and wild…”
Was it simply his fearsome looks which enabled him to hold Charleston, South Carolina at bay for several days in 1718? Was Teach, himself, fearless? The governor of South Carolina, Governor Johnson wrote to the Council of Trade and Plantations on June 18, 1718 of the ordeal:
“The unspeakable calamity this poor Province suffers from pyrats obliges me to inform your Lordships of it in order that his Majestie may know it…we are continually alarmed and our ships taken to the utter ruin of our trade…about 14 days ago 4 sail of them appeared in sight of the Town…commanded by one Teach alias Blackbeard has a ship of 40 od guns under him and 3 sloopes tenders besides and are in all about 400 men.”
Ok, so maybe his 400 men had something to do with his fearlessness. At least he seemed to take care of his men:
After taking hostages the pirates sent word “if I did not imediately send them a chest of medicins they would put every prisoner to death”, and once the medicine was received “plundered” the hostages and sent them back near naked.
How are my findings impacting my research? Well, they may force me to go in another direction. Preliminary findings don’t have much to do with the Outer Banks, other than a potential hiding place for the pirates and their yet to be found treasure. This Charleston bit is quite interesting, though, and I remember when I was in Charleston for my honeymoon, the locals today seem pretty proud of their history with Blackbeard.
FYI-Teach was killed on November 22, 1718 by one Lieutenant Maynard (allegedly killed after at least 6 shots and 20 cuts while fighting back, until he finally fell down dead, only to be beheaded by Lieutenant Maynard and proudly displayed on the front of the sloop before heading to Virginia.
LEGO MY BLACKBEARD
Pyle, Howard. “Blackbeard’s Treasure.” Boston Daily Globe (Boston, MA), Jan. 20, 1895.
Frederick, R.S. “Georgia Isle May Yield Fortune in Lost Gold.” The Washington Post (Washington, D.C), Nov. 25, 1934
Yaramanoglu, Okay, Creator. Burnbeard. Photograph on Flickr, Nov 13, 2014. https://www.flickr.com/photos/23397895@N08/15850965521.
Robert Johnson, Letter from Governor Johnson to the Council of Trade and Plantations, June 18, 1718.