Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Blackbeard's Treasure

For 300 years various tales have been told of Blackbeard's treasure, supposedly buried on an eastern North Carolina farm, in a riverbed, or under a stately oak tree. Here is one from F. Roy Johnson's 1962 book, Legends and Myths of North Carolina's Roanoke-Chowan Area:

"D. R. McGlohon of Winton [NC] quotes an old colored man of Edenton as relating a representative Blackbeard treasure tale soon after 1900. His master, who operated a farm and fishery, told him one Saturday afternoon, 'Go hitch up the cart and take it to the creek.' Later the two men pulled a heavy iron box from a spot in the creek the master selected. 'This is Blackbeard's treasure,' he remarked enroute to his warehouse. The Negro never saw the chest again; but after that his master was a wealthy man."

Another popular tale about Blackbeard's treasure (he is reputed to have said that his treasure was hidden "where none but Satan and myself can find it") is that it is buried in the Oak Island (Nova Scotia) Money Pit.

Excavations at Oak Island, 1931

 I, for one, believe Blackbeard never buried any treasure (after all, most of his ill-gotten booty was sugar, cotton, or other trade goods...even slaves; not gold and silver). He and his crew were surely living in the moment. No doubt they sold their stolen goods quickly, then spent the money on rum, women, and other luxuries.  Only the lucky few (William Howard comes to mind!) were granted pardons, then went on to live long, and sometimes productive, lives.

This month's Ocracoke Newsletter is a brief history of Howard's Pub. You can read it here:


  1. Julie S.8:31 AM

    Do you know where on Oak Island that 1931 photo was taken?

    1. Julie, I do not. This Oak Island is in Nova Scotia, not North Carolina.

  2. Anonymous9:37 AM

    Have you read Kevin Duffus' book "The Last Days of Black Beard the Pirate"? He spends one chapter debunking the idea that pretty much no pirate ever (with one noted exception) actually buried their "treasure". It was a fascinating book to read!

    1. Yes, I have read Kevin Duffus' book. In fact, I was speaking with him just this morning, and today's blog post came up in our conversation.

  3. Anonymous4:49 PM

    I am sure they spent it or sold it as fast as they got it. They were not into warehousing anything. They were just common thieves out for a fun time.

  4. Anonymous7:46 AM

    Proclaim great interest of reading this article. I am enjoying the reading of your journal. Thank you much for sharing your island little with us. ...Vladimir

  5. Anonymous4:51 PM

    According to the National Geographic Blackbeard was basically a bully and petty thief stealing mostly grain, molasses, lumber, furniture, tools, some rum and possibly 3 ships through puffery and threats.

    It is said that he once cut off a finger just to steal a ring. However most of the tales concerning his adventures have never been confirmed. Another unproven act was his shooting into the kneecap of a crew member, under a table, a sneak attack in a show of ‘management by intimidation’

    There is one known documented act, the blockading of the entrance to the Charleston, SC harbor while demanding medical supplies. Which he finally received.

    The Golden Age of Piracy lasted a brief 24 months. It quickly ended after Blackbeard was hunted down then beheaded and his body tossed overboard for fish food thus ending a wasted dysfunctional life. He was certainly not a role model.


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