In the area of northern Delaware known as
Blackbird – located north of Smyrna
and east of Townsend – there are tales
of chests filled with gold and treasure that
were hidden centuries ago by the famous pirate
Edward Teach, better known as Blackbeard.
The famous figure of legend and lore is believed
to have visited the Blackbird Creek area in
1717 and early in 1718, and other sites along
much of the Delaware Coast as well.
area of Blackbird is named after the 18th
century swashbuckler, who was well known
for his erratic behavior and 13 wives.
Treasure hunters have been searching the
area for hundreds of years.
to have found evidence of decaying pirate
forts, built of wood in the marshes. But,
despite using metal detectors, and aerial
and satellite photography, no one has of yet
publicly claimed the chests and sacks full
of Blackbeard’s captured gold and jewels.
Many believe much of it still lies buried
somewhere along the state’s sandy coastline
and marshy wetlands.
Blackbeard was a large man, with a beard that
extended below his waist. To add to his bizarre,
almost demonic appearance, the pirate wore
his beard in pigtails tied with ribbons, one
in honor of each of his wives. To add a bit
of theatrical drama to his already strange
looks, he tied two, slow burning cannon fuses
from either side of his face. When lit, they
enveloped his head in a dark, foggy cloud.
The pirate also would mix a dash of gunpowder
in his rum and set it on fire, then smile
at any onlookers as he drank down the flaming
wore pistols, daggers and a cutlass in a belt
about his waist. Across his chest he wore
a sling that held three brace of pistols,
all six primed, cocked and ready to fire.
A General History of the Pyrates, Fourth Edition,
volume one. London: T. Woodward, 1726. pp.
87-88. VCC 915 J66g - Blackbeard portrait
on p. 70.
In late 1718, near his hideout in a cove off
Ocracoke Inlet in North Carolina, Blackbeard
was shot five times and suffered nearly two
dozen cuts in a sea battle with Lieutenant
Robert Maynard of the Royal Navy. The officer,
fearing Blackbeard might somehow come back
to life, had the pirate’s head cut off
and hung it from a mast off the bow, then
tossed the body overboard.
Legend says that Blackbeard’s ghost,
holding a lantern, is still searching for
its head and roams the beaches of North Carolina
as well as the wetlands of the Delaware and
Chesapeake Bays. Unexplained flashing lights
on the North Carolina shoreline are often
referred to as Teach’s Light.
Some experts say the well-known pirate will
not rest until his treasure has been found
by modern day hunters. Others, however, believe
differently. They claim Blackbeard’s
ghost appears only when treasure seekers get
too close to his booty, for the ghost of the
pirate is standing watch to insure that his
loot stays hidden and will remain only his
Excerpt Story by Ed Okonowicz from his book,
Spirits Between the Bays Series Volume I:
Pulling Back the Curtain, copyright ©
1994 by Myst and Lace Publishers, Elkton,
your everyday Skull & Crossbones
"Old Roger" was
an English name for the devil, it is conjectured
that this is the source of the name Jolly
Roger --or pirates' flag. Each pirate had
his own flag and --supposedly-- it meant mercy
would be shown if their prey would surrender
without a fight.
Though Blackbeard was the
most infamous of pirates, his flag is not
the traditional "Skull & Crossbones"
now almost universally accepted as the flag
of piracy. It contained the devil or a horned
skeleton holding a spear and hour glass and
a bleeding heart.
Blackbeard's original name possibly was Edward
Drummond, and he likely was born around 1680
and died 1718 in a fierce fight off Ocracoke.
A native of Bristol, England, after he became
a pirate he called himself Edward Teach, which
most records show as Thatch, Tache or Tatch.
A 1734 engraving
a British pirate, was one of the most famous
villains in the history of the sea. He received
his name from his habit of braiding his long,
black beard and tying the braids with ribbon.
Few pirates have looked and acted as fierce
Blackbeard carried three
braces of pistols. He made himself look devilish
in the thick of fighting by sticking long,
lighted matches under his hat, framing his
face in fire. If action was slow, Blackbeard
stirred things up by lighting pots of sulfur
in his own ship, or shooting off pistols beneath
the table while entertaining friends in his
darkened cabin. His journal states that confusion
and plotting developed if his men were sober,
but all went well when they had enough rum.
Blackbeard terrorized the
Carolina and Virginia coasts during 1717 and
1718 in his ship, the Queen Anne's Revenge.
In 1717, he blockaded Charleston, South Carolina.
He captured ships in the harbor and seized
citizens for ransom. Blackbeard left after
he received a chest of medicine as ransom.
After this raid, he ran his ship aground near
Cape Fear, North Carolina. Blackbeard then
received a general pardon from Governor Charles
Eden of North Carolina, whom he probably bribed.
Life on land was not for Blackbeard, and he
quickly returned to the sea.
Blackbeard took such a toll
of shipping and created so much terror along
the American coast that Virginia and Carolina
planters organized against him. The Virginia
governor sent the ship H.M.S. Pearl out to
take him alive or dead. Blackbeard was caught
on Nov. 21, 1718, near Ocracoke Inlet, off
the North Carolina coast. He fought desperately
with sword and pistol until he fell with 25
wounds in his body. His head was taken back
to Virginia and displayed on a pole.
He is said to have
had 14 wives. In 1997, researchers claimed
to have found the remains of Blackbeard's
ship Queen Anne's Revenge near the coast of
of Blackbeards last days
was a reign of fear that lasted two
long years. Blackbeard and his crew
of pirates terrorized sailors on the
Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea from
1716 through 1718.
They ambushed ships carrying passengers
and cargo in the dim light of dawn
and dusk when the pirates' ship was
hard to see.
The pirates often determined a ship's
nationality first. Then they raised
that country's flag on the pirate
ship so they appeared to be friendly.
Now able to draw close to the unsuspecting
ship, the pirates hoisted Blackbeard's
flag only at the last moment.
Merchant crews often surrendered without a
fight the moment they saw Blackbeard's flag.
If the ship didn't surrender after warnings,
the pirates moved in. Frequently their first
target: the sailor at the ship's wheel. Then,
as the pilotless ship drifted aimlessly, the
pirates snared it with grappling hooks, pulled
it closer, and leaped aboard. When the attack
ended, the pirates took the passengers and
crew hostage and ransacked cabins looking
for coins, gold, silver, and jewelry. Blackbeard
repeated this scene over and over again.
was a huge man, who enhanced his imposing
appearance by tying lighted fuses into
his beard when preparing for battle.
He carefully maintained his evil reputation,
with the result that many captured ships
capitulated without a fight, rather
than inspiring his anger. Life aboard
Blackbeard's pirate fleet is vividly
illustrated by this extract from his
day, rum all out: — Our company
somewhat sober: — A damned confusion
amongst us! — Rogues a-plotting:
— Great talk of separation —
so I looked sharp for a prize: —
Such a day found one with a great deal
of liquor on board, so kept the company
hot, damned hot; then all things went
—One of several memoranda, said
to be in Blackbeard's own hand, found
aboard the sloop Adventure, after the
pirate was slain at Ocracoke Inlet in
Captain Charles Johnson, A General History
of the Robberies and Murders of the
Most Notorious Pirates. London, 1724.
Edward Teach appears
to have been born in the Bristol area
some time around 1680. His early life
is shrouded in mystery, but by 1713
he was a crewman aboard Benjamin Hornigold's
privateer vessel. Privateers were commerce
raiders operating on behalf of their
home nations - the eighteenth century
version of state-sponsored terrorism.
Hornigold soon became
a full pirate, with Teach as one of
his most trusted lieutenants. In 1716,
Teach was given a vessel of his own
to command, and the two pirates sailed
together to terrorise the Caribbean.
The following year Hornigold took advantage
of a general pardon to retire from piracy.
Teach sailed on, naming a recently captured
prize the Queen Anne's Revenge as his
At the height of his
power, in May 1718, Blackbeard blockaded
Charleston, South Carolina for a week.
Shortly afterwards the Queen Anne's
Revenge ran aground and was wrecked.
Blackbeard sailed on to Bath, North
Carolina which was then the state capital.
The Governor, Charles Eden (with whom,
it was rumoured, Blackbeard was in league)
granted him a pardon and even officiated
at his wedding - to what was reputed
to be his 14th bride!
Though he purchased
a fine home in Bath, the quiet life
didn't suit him and he was soon out
again raiding shipping on the American
east coast, making his base in Ocracoke
Inlet. It was too much for Governor
Spotswood of Virginia, and he sent a
naval party under Lieutenant Robert
Maynard to clear out this nest of pirates
once and for all.
The final fight went
much as McGonagall describes it. Maynard's
vessel the Ranger was outgunned by Blackbeard,
so he sailed in close and hid most of
his crew to lure the enemy into boarding.
With Blackbeard aboard the trap was
sprung and a fierce fight began. Blackbeard
was shot 5 times and received 20 sword
wounds before he fell. Maynard cut his
head off and threw the body over the
side (where, according to legend, it
swam a lap around the ship!). The skull
hung for many years at the confluence
of the Hampton and James rivers, known
to this day as "Blackbeard's Point".
Some merchant ships carried passengers-often
targets of pirates. According to one story
told about Blackbeard, a passenger once refused
to give up his diamond ring. So Blackbeard
sliced off his finger, ring and all.
Blackbeard once took over a large cargo ship
carrying many wealthy passengers-including
children-as it sailed out of Charleston, South
Carolina. The hostages were locked in the
dark hold of the ship. Blackbeard threatened
to kill them all if the townspeople in Charleston
didn't come up with the ransom: a medical
chest filled with remedies. The deadline for
delivery passed. The hostages were frantic.
The pirates prepared them for hanging. With
only minutes to spare, the town came up with
the ransom and delivered the medicine chest.
Before releasing the hostages, the pirates
stole all their jewelry and clothing.
Blackbeard made a home base in North Carolina,
a British colony, near a string of islands
called the Outer Banks. From there he preyed
easily on ships traveling the American coast.
Local townspeople tolerated his presence because
they liked to buy the goods he stole, such
as cloth and sugar. Pirate goods were usually
cheaper than imported English goods. The colony's
ruling officials turned a blind eye to Blackbeard's
In the fall of 1718 Blackbeard returned from
sea to his favorite hideaway off Ocracoke
Island. He hosted a huge, wild pirate get-together
with dancing, drinking, and bonfires. Other
famous pirates sailed in for the days-long
event. News of the pirate bash reached Alexander
Spotswood, the governor of Virginia. He decided
that the time had come to stop Blackbeard
once and for all. He spent the next several
weeks planning Blackbeard's capture. SPOTSWOOD
sent two sloops, small swift ships, commanded
by Lieutenant Robert Maynard of the Royal
Navy to Ocracoke. Seeing the navy's sails,
Blackbeard and his pirates knew they were
trapped. Only sandbars lay between them and
the navy. By morning, the tide would rise,
the sloops would glide over the submerged
sandbars, and the attack on the pirate ship
All through the night Maynard's men prepared
for the next day's fighting. Muffled laughter
and swearing from the pirate ship echoed across
the water. Blackbeard didn't seem worried
about the upcoming battle. His pirates, however,
were nervous. They stockpiled ammunition on
deck and soaked blankets in water in preparation
for putting out fires. They spread sand on
the decks to soak up blood once the fighting
started. Thinking it likely they would all
die, one pirate asked Blackbeard whether Blackbeard's
wife knew where he had buried his treasure.
Blackbeard bellowed that nobody but he "...and
the devil knew where it was, and the longest
liver shall take it."
In the morning Blackbeard didn't try to outrun
the navy sloops. Instead he waited at his
ship's wheel. His crew was puzzled. Finally,
when Maynard's sloops started moving toward
the pirates, Blackbeard ordered his crew to
set sail. He seemed to be steering the ship
directly toward the beach! They were going
to crash! But then Blackbeard eased the pirate
ship through a narrow channel between the
beach and a barely visible sandbar. Chasing
the pirates, the navy sloops crashed into
the sandbar. Blackbeard shook with laughter.
The pirates blasted the stranded sloops with
cannons. Thundering explosions shook the waters.
Then the pirate ship lurched backward-and
became stuck on a sandbar. One navy ship lay
destroyed. Maynard's sloop was battered. Maynard
ordered his men to throw food and water barrels
over the side to lighten the ship. It worked.
Floating free of the sandbar, Maynard's damaged
sloop edged toward the pirate ship. Maynard
ordered his men to hide below decks with pistols
and swords ready.
Blackbeard's men hurled grenades onto the
seemingly deserted navy sloop. The pirates
boarded the ship easily. Suddenly, Maynard's
men rushed the deck, firing pistols and wielding
swords. The pirates turned around, completely
stunned-they had been tricked into thinking
the navy crew was dead. A battle began. Screams
and cries of pain filled the air.
Pistol in one hand, cutlass in the other,
Blackbeard came face-to-face with Maynard.
They both fired pistols. Blackbeard missed.
Maynard hit his mark. Shot, Blackbeard still
managed to swing his cutlass and snap off
Maynard's sword blade. Maynard drew back.
Blackbeard raised his arm for a finishing
blow. Just in time, a navy seaman came up
from behind Blackbeard and slashed his throat.
As a warning to other pirates, Blackbeard's
head was cut off and suspended from the bow
of Maynard's sloop. Maynard searched for Blackbeard's
treasure but found only supplies and letters.
When Blackbeard died, the secret of his treasure
died, too-if indeed he ever had one.
see: WATER'S MY GRAVE Story by A. Pustanio,
artwork by Ricardo Pustanio.
at Wikipedia - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Blackbeard operated in littoral
waters with shallow-bottomed ships; it was
difficult for ships of the line to engage
him in battle. As such, two smaller hired
sloops were therefore put under the command
of Lieutenant Robert Maynard, with instructions
from Spotswood to hunt down and destroy Blackbeard,
offering a reward of £100, and smaller
sums for the lesser crew members. Maynard
sailed from James River on November 17, 1718,
in command of thirty men from HMS Pearl, and
twenty-five men and a midshipman of the HMS
Lyme, and in command of the hired sloops,
the Ranger and Jane, and found the pirates
in a North Carolina inlet anchored on the
inner side of Ocracoke Island, on the evening
of November 21. Maynard and his men decided
to wait until the following morning because
the tide would be more favourable. Blackbeard's
Adventure had a crew of only nineteen, "Thirteen
white and six Negros", as reported to
A small boat was sent ahead
at daybreak, was fired upon, and quickly retreated.
Blackbeard's superior knowledge of the inlet
was of much help, although he and his crew
had been drinking in his cabin the night prior.
Throughout the night Blackbeard waited for
Maynard to make his move. Blackbeard was asked
by one of his crew, "If ye die on the
morrow, does your wife, Mary, know where ye
buried the treasure?" Blackbeard reputedly
laughed and replied, "Damn ye, my friend,
nobody but me and the Devil knows where it's
hid — and the longest liver will get
it all." Blackbeard
cut his anchor cable and quickly attempted
to move towards a narrow channel. Maynard
made chase; however his sloops ran aground,
and there was a shouted exchange between captains.
Maynard's account says,
"At our first salutation, he drank Damnation
to me and my Men, whom he stil'd Cowardly
Puppies, saying, He would neither give nor
take Quarter", although many different
versions of the dialogue exist. Eventually,
Maynard's sloops were able to float freely
again, and he began to row towards Blackbeard,
since the wind was not strong enough at the
time for setting sail. When they came upon
Blackbeard's Adventure, they were hit with
a devastating broadside attack. Mr. Hyde,
captain of the smaller sloop Ranger, was killed
along with six other men. Ten men were also
wounded in the surprise attack. The sloop
fell astern and was little help in the following
action. Maynard continued his pursuit, managing
to blast the Adventure's rigging, forcing
it ashore. Maynard ordered many of his crew
into the holds and readied to be boarded.
As his ship approached, Blackbeard saw the
mostly empty decks, assumed it was safe to
board, and did so with ten men.
Blackbeard's severed head hanging from Maynard's
bowMaynard's men emerged, and the battle began.
The most complete account of the following
events comes from the Boston News Letter:
Maynard and Teach themselves
begun the fight with their swords, Maynard
making a thrust, the point of his sword against
Teach's cartridge box, and bent it to the
hilt. Teach broke the guard of it, and wounded
Maynard's fingers but did not disable him,
whereupon he jumped back and threw away his
sword and fired his pistol which wounded Teach.
Demelt struck in between them with his sword
and cut Teach's face pretty much; in the interim
both companies engaged in Maynard's sloop,
one of Maynard's men being a Highlander, engaged
Teach with his broad sword, who gave Teach
a cut on the neck, Teach saying well done
lad; the Highlander replied, If it be not
well done, I'll do it better. With that he
gave him a second stroke, which cut off his
head, laying it flat on his shoulder.
Despite the best efforts
of the pirates (including a desperate plan
to blow up the Adventure), Teach was killed,
and the battle ended. Teach was reportedly
shot five times and stabbed more than twenty
times before he died and was decapitated.
His head was then placed as a trophy on the
bowsprit of the ship (it was also required
by Maynard to claim his prize when he returned
History has romanticised
Blackbeard. Many popular contemporary engravings
show him with the smoking lit ends of his
pigtails and the pistols stuck in his bandoliers,
and he has been the subject of books, movies,
and documentaries. Teach never actually acquired
a large fortune, and when his ship and all
of its cargo was sold, the earnings were a
mere £2,500. There is also no significant
evidence supporting the claims that Teach
was prone to burying treasure. In times as
desperate and difficult as the American Revolution,
it was common for the ignorant, credulous,
and desperate to dig along these banks in
search of hidden treasures; impostors found
an ample basis in these rumours for schemes
of delusion. His ship is believed to have
been discovered near Beaufort, North Carolina
in 1996 and is now part of a major tourist
ALSO SEE These Stories:
Ghost of Jean Lafitte
and the Phantom Pirates of Barataria
IS MY GRAVE
head was severed from his body in that famous
battle. Afterwards Maynard unceremoniously
threw the headless corpse overboard where
it reportedly swam around the ship seven times
before sinking into the depths of Davey Jones'
Locker... But his skull was the stuff that
haunted Pirate legends are made of.
Please Visit Here To Read The Full Story About
Blackbeards Skull <
on the internet
About Edward Blackbeard Teach, the Queen Anne's
Revenge, recovered treasures and artifacts.
- Pirates and Privateers - Blackbeard
Exploring Legends in History, Folklore, Literature,
Fiction, and the Arts.
Offering detailed information about Blackbeard,
including RealAudio or wav clips.
- Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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