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Thursday, February 23, 2006

About Edward Teach, alias "Blackbeard."

Ben Franklin wrote a broadside in 1719 about the sea battle between Lieutenant Maynard and the pirate Captain Teach, a.k.a. Blackbeard. I recently set it to music and my band is performing it in Connecticut soon.

In preparation for that program, here are some things I found out about Edward Teach, a.k.a. Blackbeard:
  • He was able to read and write, unusual in his set;

  • Some say he forced his captives to eat their own ears;

  • He is said to have had fourteen teenage wives, whom he would lock them in room to starve;

  • He placed lit matches in his hair and beard so it would seem to enemies that his head was spouting fire. People took him for Satan;

  • He was 6'4" tall;

  • Originally Edward Drummond, he was born in Bristol England around 1680;

  • He started out as an "honest seaman.", sailing out of his home port of Bristol, England;

  • He soon left Bristol for Jamaica, where he became a privateer and where pirate Benjamin Hornigold gave him a small vessel to command in 1716;

  • In 1718 he left the Caribbean and sailed north, encountering several ships who with him. By the time they reached Charleston in late May, he had nearly seven hundred men under his command.

  • That same year - proving that crooks sometimes travel in high society - Blackbeard bought a nice house in Bath, North Carolina and was married to Mary Ormond, the 16 year old daughter of a wealthy plantation owner (and apocryphally his fourteenth teenage wife), by the state's Governor, Charles Eden, who was his next-door neighbor.

The end of Teach, chronicled by 13-year-old Benjamin Franklin in his broadside entitled The Downfal of Pyracy", came about this way:

Governor Spotswood of Virginia, perhaps distressed by how chummy Governor Eden was with Blackbeard, decided to run him out of Carolina. (Teach, not Eden.) He sent Lieutenant Maynard by sea to capture Blackbeard. On the morning of November 22, 1718, Maynard and Blackbeard fought near Teach's Hole at Ocracoke Inlet. Blackbeard received twenty sword wounds and five gun shot wounds before he was brought down.

Blackbeard's severed head was hung from Maynard's bowsprit as a trophy and also to prove that the pirate was indeed dead. His body was thrown overboard.

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At 4:37 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

VERY informative and fun to hear! I love all things pirate and high seas. One time in the BVI's I picked up a small book about women pirates. It was way cool; Anne Bonny and Mary Mead were the most bad*ssed of the lot (according to the book). I wish Victoria in Alborada would act more like a pirate. And you set BF's broadside to music? What a great idea! Is it like a sea shanty?


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