The Man known as Blackbeard or Edward Teach

0
859
Blackbeard or Edward Teach

Ruthless and cunning, Blackbeard the pirate is historically said to have visited locations in both Delaware and Pennsylvania during his career on the Eastern Seaboard.

For decades a small house in Marcus Hook, Pennsylvania was rumored to be a mistress’s house that was frequented by one of the most well-known pirates today: Blackbeard. But that’s not the only location in the area where he is said to roam, lurking in the shadows for his head and gold. There is also Blackbird, Delaware that claims him as a resident ghost from time to time. But when he was living, the man was larger than life, and he knew what it took to get what he wanted. Coming in on the tail-end of the ’glory days of pirating’, Blackbeard was an educated man and ruthless captain, therefore, it is no wonder he is the most recognized and celebrated pirate on the Eastern Seaboard.

The Look of a Pirate Captain

Born Edward Teach, the man simply known as Blackbeard was a formidable foe, cutthroat, and scoundrel, better known as a pirate. Blackbeard was the captain of a ship called Queen Anne’s Revenge, where he would sail the Eastern Seaboard and the Caribbean Islands looting and commandeering ships as he went to build a menacing flotilla. He struck a dashing figure: tall, broad, unpredictable, and dressing in the high fashions of the day but not forgetting his choice of accessories that included silk sashes that were attached to his shoulders. He was armed with an array of flintlocks, daggers, and cutlasses, all honed and waiting to fight or defend. His trademark beard was what made him stand apart from the rest. It covered his face and was grown down to just below his chest. It was also braided into individual plaits with colored ribbon. Some speculated that there were fourteen plaits, one for each of his wives. Before going into battle, Blackbeard would light slow burning fuses that were attached to his hat, which added to his fearsome appearance.

Blackbeard’s Anchoring in Pennsylvania and Delaware

Although Blackbeard was known to frequent the seas off of North and South Carolina and the Caribbean, stories about his secret trysts with women in Marcus Hook, Pennsylvania were being told for countless years. One such house in Marcus Hook is simply known as the Marcus Hook Plank House Log Cabin. The house looks modern under the layers of stucco, siding and additions to the house, but there is an archeological team that is working year-round uncovering thousands of artifacts. It is said that the house was owned by a woman belonging to Blackbeard, and she was in charge of taking care of him when he was in the area. Another Blackbeard encounter location is located in an area called Blackbird, Delaware. He is reported to have landed there after sailing off of Cape Henlopen around 1717. Many Blackbeard enthusiasts believe that Blackbeard’s gold is still buried deep in the beaches and marshes of the Delaware coast line, but until the loot has been located, the riches can only be imagined.

The End of America’s Pirating Era

Blackbeard‘s death and after-life was as adventurous as his piratical life. The telling begins with a multi-ship battle between Lieutenant Robert Maynard and Blackbeard, where in the end Blackbeard is slain in the battle sustaining over twenty wounds to his body. His head was severed from his body and then hung from the bowsprit of Maynard’s sloop. It was rumored that his headless body swam around the sloop several times before it sank. The head went missing after that, and the ghost of Blackbeard’s body is said to roam the coasts of the Eastern Seaboard hunting for his severed head. It just so happens that his ghost is also said to be roaming the beaches of Marcus Hook for the same reason, as well as looking for his gold. Whether looking for his head or his gold, Blackbeard could prove to be one menacing spirit. What marked the end of the glory days of piracy based off the American costal waters, was Blackbeard’s legendary battle, beheading, and then finally the execution of the remainder of Blackbeard’s crew.

Blackbeard, like many pirates of his day, was a tortuous character, and remains the most commonly recognized pirate that terrorized the Eastern Seaboard. It is from his description that the stereotype of pirates was built upon and emulated for decades afterward in a multitude of ways. Blackbeard has become the face and historical disembodied spokesman of the original terrors of the sea, the pirates of legend and lore. Marcus Hook, Pennsylvania, and Blackbird, Delaware are only a couple of places where he is said to have set anchor, but it is in those areas that the spirit of Blackbeard seems to come to life, hunting for head or gold, but hunting and terrorizing people nonetheless long after his death, making sure he is never forgotten.

Sources:

  1. Cawthorne, N. (2005). Pirates: an illustrated history. London, England: Arcturus Publishing Limited.
  2. Cordingly, D. (1994). Under the black flag: the romance and the reality of life among the pirates. New York: Harcourt Brace & Company.
  3. Miller, P. (2007). Images of America: Marcus Hook. Charleston, South Carolina: Arcadia Publishing.
  4. Okonowicz, E. (1994). Spirits between the bays series volume 1: pulling back the curtain. Elkton, Maryland: Myst and Lace Publishers.
  5. Seibold, D. (1990). Ghost stories of the Delaware coast. Reading, Pennsylvania: Exeter House Books.