The Civil War in North Carolina



Reminiscences and Memoirs of North Carolina and Eminent North Carolinians

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CHAPTER XIII.
CHOWAN COUNTY.

        THIS county, in the earlier days of the state, was the residence of the Royal governors, and its capital town preserves the name of Charles Eden, who was governor under the Lord Proprietors, from 1713 to 1722. The administration of Eden was eminently prosperous. His grave is still to be seen on Salmon Creek, in Bertie County, and the marble bears the inscription that he governed the province for eight years; that he died March 26th, 1722, aged forty-nine years. During his administration a notorious pirate lived in North Carolina, and whose name is preserved by "Teach's Hole," near Ocracoke Inlet. Inasmuch as at this point he was in the habit of careening his vessel, the "Adventure," and it was here, at the head of only seventeen men, he met the Virginia naval expedition sent out for his capture, of whom he killed and wounded thirty before he fell--gallantry and conduct worthy of a better cause! The reputation of Governor Eden suffered by a supposed intimacy with Teach, and he was compelled to lay before the council an account of his conduct.

        I copy from a very scarce work, "A General History of the Pirates from their first rise and settlement to the present time," by Charles Johnson, fourth edition: London 1726, referred to in Waldic's select circulating library, Philadelphia, 1883, I., 123:

        "Edward Teach, better known as 'Blackbeard,' was born in Bristol, England. He was engaged as a private sailor till 1716, when a Captain Hornsgold, a noted pirate, placed him in command of a sloop which he had made prize of. They sailed together for the American coast, capturing many ships and plundering them. After various cruises they were shipwrecked on the coast of North Carolina. Teach hearing of a proclamation by which pirates who surrendered were to be pardoned, went with twenty of his men to the governor of the state, and received certificates of pardon from him. But it does not appear that their submission was from any reformation, but rather to gain time and opportunity for a renewal of their nefarious deeds. Teach had succeeded in cultivating the kind offices of the governor, and soon after brought in, as a prize, a merchant ship, which the vice-admiralty court of the province awarded as a lawful prize to Teach. In June, 1718, he sailed for the Bermudas, and took many ships on his voyage, among them two French ships, one was loaded with sugar and cocoa, and the other in ballast; the latter with both crews he released, and the other he brought to North Carolina. Teach and his officers claimed them as lawful prizes, and made affidavits that they found the prize at sea without a soul on board, and the court condemned her. The governor (Eden,) received sixty hogsheads of sugar for his part, Mr. Knight, his secretary, one, and the collector of the province twenty.

        "Thus countenanced and protected, Teach became most daring, desperate and dangerous. He infested the whole coast, particularly the waters of Delaware, Virginia, and the Carolinas. In November, 1718, Governor Spottswood, of Virginia, offered a reward of 100 for Teach, dead or alive.

        "On the 17th of the same month, Lieutenant Maynard sailed from Kicquetan, on the James river, in search of Blackbeard. On the 31st, at the mouth of Ocracoke Inlet, he came in sight of the pirate. Blackbeard had been advised of this movement by a letter from Mr. Knight, Governor Eden's secretary. He immediately prepared for a desperate resistance. A terrible conflict ensued in which Blackbeard was slain, fighting with great fury and desperation. Maynard sailed up to Bath with the head of the pirate nailed to the bowsprit of his vessel. A letter was found in the pocket of the dead pirate from Knight, dated November 17th, 1717, a copy of which is preserved in Williamson's History of North Carolina. When the lieutenant came to Bath town he seized the sugar that the governor and his secretary had received from Teach.
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