Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Blackbeard's Toilet

Many of our readers know that Blackbeard was killed at Ocracoke Inlet in 1718. In his final battle, against Lt. Robert Maynard of the British Royal Navy, Blackbeard's head was cut off and tied to the bowsprit of Maynard's sloop. It was carried to Edenton, NC, then to Williamsburg, VA, and finally impaled at the mouth of the Hampton River as a message to any would-be pirates.

A recent article from the Queen Anne's Revenge Project is titled "A Look Inside Blackbeard’s Head."The article is not about dissecting Blackbeard's noggin, nor is it about "Blackbeard’s thought process or piratical tactics," as the first paragraph of the article explains. It is about the pirate captain's on-board toilet (in nautical parlance, the "head").

As the article explains, by the 16th century sailors relieved themselves at the bow (that's the "pointy end" of the ship), or head. To this day, sailors refer to the bathroom aboard a ship as the "head."

Captain Teach and his crew, of course, did not have the convenience of a modern marine toilet. To learn what they did have, click on this link: https://www.qaronline.org/blog/2018-03-01/artifact-month-seat-of-ease.

This month's Ocracoke Newsletter is a delightful story written by Dr. Warren Silverman, who in 1981 became the island's resident physician after forty years without a doctor. The story is about Dr. Silverman's very first Ocracoke patient, island native Maltby Bragg (1904-1985). You can read the story here: https://www.villagecraftsmen.com/my-first-island-patient-by-dr-warren-silverman/

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