Blackbeard artifacts are coming home to Bath

Published 7:14 pm Tuesday, June 10, 2014

FAMOUS RESIDENT: A marker commemorates Blackbeard's residency in Bath. The town's state historic site will host an exhibit of artifacts from the pirate's ship beginning this week.

FAMOUS RESIDENT: A marker commemorates Blackbeard’s residency in Bath. The town’s state historic site will host an exhibit of artifacts from the pirate’s ship beginning this week.


BATH — Bath’s most notorious former residents is coming home.

At least, some of his belongings are.

Items belonging to the infamous Edward Teach, better known as Blackbeard the pirate, will go on display this week when Historic Bath State Historic Site hosts the Queen Anne’s Revenge traveling exhibit.

The exhibit, featuring artifacts from Blackbeard’s ship, opens with a “sneak peek preview” Thursday evening, according to Historic Bath site manager Leigh Swain. The preview, hosted by the Historic Bath Commission, begins at 6:30 p.m. in the visitor center.

Then, on Friday at 10 a.m., a ribbon cutting ceremony officially opens the exhibit, which will be in Bath for six weeks.

“The Blackbeard exhibit has been traveling around the state and we feel it’s finally coming home,” Swain said. “History has told us Blackbeard may only have been in Bath for a few months, but he’s never left.”

Long after the pirate was beheaded in a battle near Ocracoke Island in 1718, Blackbeard’s presence remains in Bath. A restaurant, road and other landmarks bear his name, and a local gift shop specializes in treasures of a pirate nature. Even the Historic Bath gift shop carries a selection of pirate merchandise, including flags, coins, hats and books.

“We can certainly outfit a little pirate,” Swain said.

Bath residents and visitors alike seem to share a fascination with the history of piracy in the area.

“Blackbeard might not have been a nice person, but he’s very popular here,” Swain added with a laugh.

In conjunction with the Queen Anne’s Revenge exhibit, a pirate art show will be on exhibition this summer in the Bath High School building, according to Swain. And on Friday, a painting by prizewinning watercolor artist and Beaufort County resident Jeffrey Jakub will be unveiled. “The Return of the Pamlico River Pirates” was commissioned by Blackbeard Adventure Alliance and Looking Glass Productions, Inc., and was inspired by Kevin P. Duffus’ book, “The Last Days of Black Beard the Pirate.”

Also, on Friday and Saturday tours aboard the “Ada Mae” will be offered; tickets may be purchased on a first-come, first-served basis at the state docks. The “Ada Mae” is the last remaining skipjack still in operation in North Carolina; the vessel was built nearly 100 years ago in the Rose Bay community of Hyde County.

“This is exciting to me, and it’s timely to have this exhibit going around the state, allowing people to see the artifacts,” Swain said. “And it is helping to build excitement for our upcoming maritime anniversary.”

In 2015-2016, the 300th anniversary of Bath being named the first port of entry for the colony will be observed. And 2018 marks the 300th anniversary of the end of Blackbeard’s life and pirate career.

*More on Blackbeard, the Queen Anne’s Revenge exhibit and public fascination with pirates will be featured in Sunday’s Pamlico Life.