JAN / FEB 2015: BY CAROL STARKEY
Blackbeard. The very name struck fear into the heart of any who heard it. Little is known of his past, even his name, though most authorities agree it was some form of Edward Teach. Blackbeard got his name from his wild black beard. He tied black ribbons in it, and wore smoking matches in his hair under his hat. Years later, his name still holds the terror he cultivated and he is still known as the Spawn of the Devil.
He built up his reign of terror, though he didn’t kill as many people as legend would have us believe. Usually, if no one fought him when he arrived to take over their ship, he’d take their cargo and ship, but let them go free, often marooned on a desert island. The only people he wouldn’t tolerate on board were women; he’d strangle them, then toss their bodies overboard.
He deserved his reputation, and no one was safe from his quick temper or tempestuous ways. Once, he had his men hold lit pots of brimstone and he and they went below deck to see who could last the longest through their own creation of hell. One by one, each pirate begged to go above until only Blackbeard was left. Another time, he, the gunner, and another pirate were drinking. Blackbeard cocked his pistols and the other pirate quickly left the room. Blackbeard snuffed the candle, then fired both pistols. A slug ripped through his gunner’s leg, crippling the man for life. Blackbeard claimed that if he didn’t kill one of his men occasionally, they’d forget who he was.
Blackbeard started as a sailor under the tutelage of Benjamin Hornigold. Hornigold, a rarity among pirates, was a fair man, and eventually turned himself in for a pardon. Blackbeard wanted no part in that, and continued pillaging and pirating, enjoying the easy piracy of the Carolinas and the West Indies.
Eventually, Lieutenant Robert Maynard of the HMS Pearl decided to take matters into his own hands. If the colonies wouldn’t stop piracy, Maynard would. He found Blackbeard’s ship in the Ocracoke Inlet of North Carolina, living with his fourteenth wife, a sixteen-year-old girl. Instead of preparing for battle, Blackbeard and his pirates had spent the night drinking, but the next day, they almost won anyway. Near the end of the battle, Maynard stood within point-blank range, but Blackbeard missed. Maynard shot back, wounding the pirate. Blackbeard fought back with his cutlass, howling through the pain. They fought until Maynard’s sword broke at the hilt. Just as Blackbeard went in for the kill, another soldier darted forward and slashed his neck. Still he refused to give up. Not until the other soldiers stabbed him with their swords repeatedly did he die.
Maynard cut off Blackbeard’s head and hung it on his ship as proof that the fearsome pirate was dead. He will, however, live on in infamy forever. ♥
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Carol Starkley lives in the beautiful state of Connecticut. She has a husband, three daughters and numerous pets. She works part-time while working and going to school. She loves to write, read, and take pictures of life around her. Her blog is updated infrequently, but she hopes to change that after she graduates. She’s a Christian, and hopes that ultimately her life will point to him. She also blogs.