Monday, November 22, 2010

An Historic Date

It was on this date in 1718 that Lt. Robert Maynard of the British Royal Navy encountered the pirate Blackbeard at what has ever after been known as Teach's Hole, a protected anchorage in Pamlico Sound, just offshore from Springer's Point. After a bloody naval battle, Blackbeard (who suffered more than 20 wounds before he was beheaded) and his crew were defeated, ending the "Golden Age of Piracy." Benjamin Franklin, at that time a young "printer's devil," composed the following ditty to commemorate the event:

"Come all you jolly sailors
You all so stout and brave;
Come hearken and I’ll tell you
What happen’d on the wave.
Oh! ’tis of that bloody Blackbeard
I’m going now for to tell;
And as how by gallant Maynard
He soon was sent to hell."

In about 1765 a ballad entitled "The Downfall of Piracy" appeared in a small songbook. Many scholars believe this poem descended from Benjamin Franklin's original.

The full title of the ballad is "The Downfall of Piracy; being a full and true Account of a desperate and bloody Sea-fight between Lieutenant Maynard, and that noted Pirate Captain Teach, commonly call'd by the Name of Blackbeard; Maynard had fifty Men, thirty five of which were kill'd and wounded in the Action: Teach had twenty one, most of which were kill'd, and the rest carried to Virginia, in order to take their Tryal."

Here is the full text of the ballad:

"The Downfall of Pyracy, sung to the tune of What is greater Joy and Pleasure.

Will you hear of a bloody Battle,
Lately fought upon the Seas,
It will make your Ears to rattle,
And your Admiration cease;
Have you heard of Teach the Rover,
And his Knavery on the Main;
How of Gold he was a Lover,
How he lov'd all ill got Gain.
When the Act of Grace appeared,
Captain Teach with all his Men,
Unto Carolina steered,
Where they kindly us'd him then;
There he marry'd to a Lady,
And gave her five hundred Pound,
But to her he prov'd unsteady,
For he soon march'd of[f] the Ground.
And returned, as I tell you,
To his Robbery as before,
Burning, sinking Ships of value,
Filling them with Purple Gore;
When he was at Carolina,
There the Governor did send,
To the Governor of Virginia,
That he might assistance lend.
Then the Man of War's Commander,
` Two small Sloops he fitted out,
Fifty Men he put on board, Sir,
Who resolv'd to stand it out:
The Lieutenant he commanded
both the Sloops, and you shall hear,
How before he landed,
He suppress'd them without Fear.
Valiant Maynard as he sailed,
Soon the Pirate did espy,
With his Trumpet he then hailed,
And to him they did reply:
Captain Teach is our Commander,
Maynard said, he is the Man,
Whom I am resolv'd to hang Sir,
Let him do the best he can.
Teach reply'd unto Maynard,
You no Quarters here shall see,
But be hang'd on the Main-yard,
You and all your Company;
Maynard said, I none desire,
Of such Knaves as thee and thine,
None I'll give, Teach then replyed,
My Boys, give me a Glass of Wine.
He took the Glass, and drank Damnation,
Unto Maynard and his Crew;
To himself and Generation,
Then the Glass away he threw;
Brave Maynard was resolv'd to have him,
Tho' he'd Cannons nine or ten:
Teach a broadside quickly gave him,
Killing sixteen valiant Men.
Maynard boarded him, and to it
They fell with Sword and Pistol too;
They had Courage, and did show it,
Killing the Pirate's Crew.
Teach and Maynard on the Quarter,
Fought it out most manfully,
Maynard's Sword did cut him shorter,
Losing his Head, he there did die.
Every Sailor fought while he Sir,
Power had to weild [sic] the Sword,
Not a Coward could you see Sir,
Fear was driven from aboard:
Wounded Men on both Sides fell Sir,
'Twas a doleful Sight to see,
Nothing could their Courage quell Sir,
O, they fought courageously.
When the bloody Fight was over,
We're inform'd by a Letter writ,
Teach's Head was made a Cover,
To the Jack Staff of the Ship:
Thus they sailed to Virginia,
And when they the Story told,
How they kill'd the Pirates many,
They'd Applause from young and old."


Click on the photo below to view our selection of decorative plant rooters from Village Craftsmen's online catalog.

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is an article, with a number of photos, documenting the history of water cisterns on Ocracoke Island. Click on the following link to go directly there:


  1. Blackbeard7:35 AM

    If you think any of this is true, come out to Springer's Point on a windy night with a full moon, I dare ya!

  2. Anonymous9:15 AM

    Wow! I have chills to me bones!

  3. I have always loved the stories of Blackbeard. He was the MAN!!