Blackbeard Adventure Alliance

Building Blackbeard's Ship "Adventure"

Economic Benefactor Then and Now - Black Beard the Pirate (In Memoriam)

by Kevin P. Duffus ©2013

Springer's CalmSpringer's Calm

"Teach's Hole Channel was like a mirror. Ragged tatters of cirrus clouds streaked overhead and were reflected in the water like a kaleidoscope of nature. And in the distance, the indistinct, gauzy horizon blended water and sky in a pale palette of mauve. Was I seeing the thin veil of time? Was all that had happened still there?"

The Last Days of Black Beard the Pirate

 

In 2007, on the morning of the 22nd of November, the air was still and the water lapped ever so lazily as I stood alone at the edge of Ocracoke Island where the sandy beach of Springer’s Point merged with the historic roadstead of Teach’s Hole Channel. The hour was eerily silent and entirely devoid of the malevolence, terror, and bloody life-or-death struggle that had occurred there long before.

What occurred there 289 years earlier was why I was there, to remember the day that Black Beard the notorious pirate, and most of his men, were killed in a furious hand-to-hand fight lasting fewer than six minutes. In all, 23 men were killed that day, including 11 Royal Navy sailors.

Even though the story survived the centuries and grew into  a legend of outlandish proportions enriching authors, publishers, and film producers, the memory of those real-life souls who perished there near Springer’s Point had long-been forgotten. Those pirates, sailors, and slaves were “once living men” with hopes and fears, families and friends, whose fates delivered them to a pivotal moment in time that made world history, but cost them their lives.

They ought to be remembered, I thought. They ought to be honored for giving history something worth preserving. On that quiet day in 2007, I resolved that in forthcoming years I would not stand there alone. It was then that an idea was born that would take on a life of its own.

Read more: Economic Benefactor Then and Now - Black Beard the Pirate (In Memoriam)
 
Blackbeard's True Treasure

However, there was a treasure, and it likely survives to this day in Eastern North Carolina.

North Carolina's Department of Cultural Resources proudly boasts - and rightly so - that it has retrieved over the past 15 years more than 250,000 artifacts from the Queen Anne's Revenge, including the anchor recently brought to the surface. Few experts, however, have considered the cargo of flesh and blood transported by the famous ship.

This is not the pirate history you will see on the silver screen, find on roadside historic markers, read on museum walls or hear at our state's historic sites. But it is our history.

In November 1717, north of Barbados, Blackbeard positioned his flotilla in the path of slave-trading ships arriving from West Africa, where he captured the French slaver La Concorde, renaming her the Queen Anne's Revenge. Historians have surmised that he wanted to capture a big slave ship in order to mount up to 40 guns aboard, making her as powerfully armed as any Royal Navy warship patrolling the West Indies.

I believe it was to serve a different purpose.

Read more: Blackbeard's True Treasure
 
Edward Salter

Salter's Capture by Black BeardSalter's Capture by Black BeardNoted historical researcher and BAA board member Kevin Duffus believes that Edward Salter, a barrel-maker who died in 1735, was a cooper forced into piracy after Blackbeard captured him on a ship near Puerto Rico in 1717. Salter was not onboard the Adventure at the battle of Ocracoke, but was later captured at Bath. No official record of his execution has ever been found so Kevin believes he escaped the noose and returned to settle in Bath. Salter went on to become a warden of St. Thomas Parish in Bath and an assemblyman representing Beaufort County in 1731.

Read more about Edward Salter in the article "The Life, Death and Lasting Legacy of Edward Salter".