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“Along the shore I spy a ship
As she sets out to sea;
She spreads her sails and sniffs the breeze
And slips away from me.
I watch her fading image shrink,
As she moves on and on,
Until at last she’s but a speck,
Then someone says, “She’s gone.”
Gone where? Gone only from our sight
And from our farewell cries;
That ship will somewhere reappear
To other eager eyes.
Beyond the dim horizon’s rim
Resound the welcome drums,
And while we’re crying, “There she goes!”
They’re shouting, “Here she comes!”
We’re built to cruise for but a while
Upon this trackless sea
Until one day we sail away
( by John T. Baker)
Bristol, England, 1680, born was a chap, the name of Teach. Edward Teach, according to most references to his name in historical documents written within the past 200 years.
Original documents, under protection of the North Carolina office of Archives and History, and the North Carolina Maritime Museum, however, show that the fellow went by the name of Edward Thache.
At least he did during the time of his shenanigans, and brief attempt to live a reformed life in Bath Town, the first (English) town established on North Carolina soil.
Though there are other aliases, or discrepancies, about what his name actually was, none of them are all that important to us here in this rendering of his story.
Quite simply, this is because we readily recognize him by the name that carries as ominous an undertone to it, as does his legacy, and that being “Blackbeard the Pirate”.
Little is known of his background before becoming the world’s most notorious pirate. A claim to fame ironically twisted with one of the shortest durations of existence in the historically documented tyrannical tirades of the high seas.
Was he one of the many penal subjects of his time,
commissioned by the British government, to sail as crew members along with Picaroon, or Privateer Captains?
Or, was he a dedicated British sailor at one time, working a legitimate job in a far away place, that made sticking to that kind of life, rather than sailing back to England and facing unemployment seem practical?
These are details of the mans life that we may never know, but, most everything that he did from the point of parting ways from the Captain that he had worked under out of Jamaica, have been well documented.
Privateer, as well as picaroon pilfering were both sanctioned, and many times commissioned by the British, both during the Queen Anne’s war,(1702-13) and off the tidewater states, in the New World.
Virginia, Maryland, and Delaware, openly expressed their disdain for British control, and therefore suffered many attacks on their ships, as well as many of the Plantations along those shores by picaroon fleets.
The original reason for the British Picaroons being in North America, was to protect the colonies who were being brutally attacked by the French, with allied Indians.
Later, however, they took on their own pirating practices, against the colonies, and divided the booty among themselves to auction off.
Privateers like Benjamin Hornigold, whom Edward Teach served under as first mate, worked for the British out of Norfolk England, attacking, and disarming enemy ships in and around the Bahamas during the war of the Spanish Succession.
Though Hornigold and his crew were already pilfering, and stealing, or sinking ships for there personal benefit by 1713, Hornigold was careful to not attack any ship flying the British flag; thereby keeping the pretense, and commissions as a privateer working for the British.
Hornigold, and his crew had taken a 30 gun sloop by 1717, and he gave the Captaincy of his previously manned sloop over to Teach.
Later that year, after acquiring a total of five ships, and a crew of at least 350 men, the lieutenants of the fleet mutinied over Hornigold, because of his policy of not taking all the ships that they came across, including the British flagships, and voted Edward Teach in as the new Captain.
Thus began the short lived, but greatly feared pirating career, as well as the renaming , of Edward Teach, to Blackbeard the Pirate.
In two short years by means of self-projecting a fearsome reputation, to gain a psychological advantage over any ship’s crew that he came across, Blackbeard took over 40 ships.
Usually, a loosely armed merchant ship would surrender readily after seeing the message that was given when Blackbeard’s flag was hoisted.When the crews did not resist his crews stealing of their cargo, then they were left with ship to sail, and lives to live. Others who put up resistance to his plummeting, plunderers, found themselves on a deserted sand bar, or island, watching their ship burn into the tide.
Said to have been a very tall, large framed man, with a black beard covering nearly all of his face, Blackbeard, who claimed to have been empowered from Satan himself, hung lime-juice soaked canon wicks under his hat before leaping on board a vessel filled with young merchant sailors, and lit them, to give off an even more ominous look.
By November 1717, he had taken an even bigger, 14 gun French slave ship, called the La Concord, quickly increased it’s fire power to 40 guns, and called her the “Queen Anne’s Revenge”. The reputation quickly swelled to “the Pirate armed enough to put a British Man of war under the sea“.
North Carolina was governed at the time by British Lord Governor Charles Eden, who had come over from England in 1714, and assumed the Governorship of the colony.
Not only did the shallow, difficult maneuvering waters of the outer-banks of North Carolina make good hiding places for Pirates and there ships, but, it is said that with a substantial cut in the booty, so did Governor Eden.
In fact, though, there are other stories of why Blackbeard decided to go back into piracy, after settling in Bath, and receiving a full pardon from the good Governor; it is said that the Governor and Teach had a secret plan for one more big haul.
During that attempt at one last bit of skulduggery, is where Blackbeard met his watery demise. Some say this was due to Governor Eden double crossing him,to relieve himself of any connection, after learning that a British Naval Ship was on it’s way to track down the Villainous swashbuckler.
Though Blackbeard was armed to the hilt, with swords, knives, and guns, there is no record of him ever killing anyone, prior to his final battle,against Lieutenant Maynard, and his crew of British Navy men.
This battle took place, on November, 22,1718, and Teach is said to have received 20 cuts, or stabbings, and five gunshot wounds before falling to his knees, to be decapitated by Maynard’s sword.
His head was hung on the front of the Virginia ported ship, and later his scull was turned into a drinking bowl, and is now on display in a Massachusetts museum.
And though it is also told that he had 14 different wives, all of whom he was supposed to have been very gentle, and loving toward, there is only one record of him ever being married, and that to a 16 year old girl from Bath, North Carolina, by the name of Mary Ormond.
During his stay in Bath, Blackbeard was said to have been the Gentleman’s Gentleman, and sociably graceful, and poised enough to charm the likes of even the governing officials.
Apparently, he did however, frighten most everyone, due to his reputation, which, seems to have been greatly enhanced by himself to strike fear into those whom he was about to take a ship or cargo from.
No one was ever killed during a raid, and no one ever walked the plank…at least, not at the command of Blackbeard, that was ever documented.
Some say prior to his last attempt to go a pirating, he was angering, or scaring his new found neighbors, by several wild parties that he joined with other jolly roger flying crews in his favorite place to hide his ship, in Ocracoke inlet. A place that is still known today as “Teache’s Hole“
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