Ocracoke to commemorate 300th Anniversary of Blackbeard Battle

Published 6:33 pm Wednesday, November 14, 2018

From the Ocracoke Preservation Society

OCRACOKE — A memorial ceremony on Thanksgiving Day will honor and recognize the fallen mariners of the Battle at Ocracoke on Nov. 22, 1718.

Named by The Smithsonian as number three of the top ten anniversaries worth traveling for in 2018, the Ocracoke community will host representatives from the British Royal Navy for the 300th Anniversary celebration. The three-day event will include a memorial ceremony, tea party and music by Molasses Creek, David Tweedie and Martin Garrish and Friends.

At the Battle at Ocracoke on Nov. 22, 1718, the Royal Navy, under the command of First Lt. Robert Maynard, defeated the pirate Blackbeard in the waters off Ocracoke Island. Much ado is made of Ocracoke’s piratical heritage, but little is acknowledged about Maynard and his men, eleven of whom are buried on Ocracoke. Islanders have recently learned their identities.

Ruth Toth, a board member of the Ocracoke Preservation Society, made it her mission to bring attention to the role of the Royal Navy and the personal sacrifice of the sailors who rid Ocracoke of pirates.

“This battle was the first time the rule of law was established on Ocracoke,” she said. “Our commemoration brings a balanced approach to the history.”

The Ocracoke Preservation Society in partnership with the Coastal Land Trust’s Springer’s Point Preserve will host a memorial ceremony on Nov. 22 at 10 a.m. along the shore at Springer’s Point Nature Preserve, the closest land to the site of the battle. Commander Richard Underwood, a Royal Navy attaché in Washington, D.C., will be in attendance to honor the dead and place wreaths.

Also, officers from the current HMS Ranger, named for Maynard’s ship, and the Sussex Universities Royal Navy Unit will be in attendance. This unit holds their most formal dinner of the year on Nov. 22, to celebrate Maynard’s defeat of Blackbeard.

Immediately following the service, all are invited to an English tea in the barn at the Berkley Manor. Knowing that it wouldn’t be proper to serve tea in disposable cups, OPS has secured fine china teacups.

The 300th Anniversary of the Battle at Ocracoke Nov. 22, 1718 is sponsored by Ocracoke Preservation Society in partnership with the Coastal Land Trust’s Springer’s Point Preserve with support from the Berkley Manor, David Bundy and Ocracoke Style and the Ocracoke Occupancy Tax Board.

For more information, please contact OPS Executive Director Andrea Powers at 252-928-7375 or admin@ocracokepreservation.org.