PORT PIRATE: Return of Black Beard’s captors reenacted in BathPublished 7:00pm Thursday, July 10, 2014
BATH — Sailors tie up at the town dock, the crew weary from their travels. They’ve just returned from a sea battle off the island of Ocracoke, one from which legends would be passed down through the centuries. Some of this crew may have witnessed Black Beard’s death at the hands of a Scottish sailor. One of them was tasked with tracking the notorious pirate to his Outer Banks lair — Lt. Robert Maynard.
Saturday, the crew and Maynard will be paying a visit to Bath, as The Devilmen of Cape Feare reenact Maynard’s triumphant return to Bath, prisoners in tow. It’s all part of Pirates in the Port, an event hosted by the Historic Bath State Historic Site, and enacted by the Devilmen, an authentic maritime living history group out of Wilmington. The reenactment will be narrated by noted Black Beard historian and author Kevin Duffus.
At 10 a.m., Maynard and crew will arrive at the state dock in Bath to report to Capt. Ellis Brand and prisoners will be marched down to Bonner Point, where a living history camp will be set up, complete with small arms, rope work and cooking demonstrations.
“They’re even going to hold a pirate funeral,” laughed Leigh Swain, director of the historic Bath site.
Bath will be in a piratical state of mind throughout the day: at 1 p.m., Duffus will present his theory about Black Beard’s real story — disputing the one generally accepted as fact — at the Noe Building at St. Thomas Episcopal Church. Duffus will be followed at 2 p.m. by Charles Ewen, director of East Carolina University’s Phelps Archaeology Laboratory who will present his lecture “X Marks the Spot: the Archaeology of Piracy.”
In addition to those events, visitors can take a tour through the state historic site where artifacts from Black Beard’s ship, Queen Anne’s Revenge, are on display as part of a traveling exhibit. A belt buckle, cannon and cannonballs, flakes of gold rescued from the QAR’s remains are just a fraction of the items on exhibit until July 26. In the neighboring old Bath High School building, a small exhibit of pirate art can be found in gallery adjacent to the new Bath Community Library.
Swain said traffic at the state historic site has been high due to the popularity of both the QAR exhibit and the site’s summer pirate camps for children.
“You know, people are just fascinate,” Swain said. “I think that tells us that people are just fascinated by pirates.”
Pirates in the Port is free and open to the public. Those interested in attending should park in the Bath historic site parking lot and meet at the state dock on Main Street at 10 a.m.