Showing posts with label History. Show all posts
Showing posts with label History. Show all posts

Monday, February 25, 2013

Fact or Fiction: The History of Blackbeard

Today is day 25 of the 30 minus 2 days of writing hosted by Nicky and Mike of We Work For Cheese. Today's prompt is "Fact or Fiction". Visit Nicky's post to see what the others are claiming as fact or decrying as fiction.

Image Source:  Wikipedia
He was born Edward Teach in Bristol, England, but better known as Blackbeard, the most notorious pirate in all of history.  He was a privateer for Queen Anne, before joining ranks with a crew of pirates which set his life of ruthless piracy and murder in motion.  He captured a French vessel and renamed her Queen Anne's Revenge, although no longer associated with her Majesty.  He became a pirate leader in his own right.

He eventually ended up in the small colonial town of Bath, NC, and lived in fine style after receiving a royal pardon from Governor Charles Eden.  Remember this was before the Revolutionary war and we were still under British rule.  He was welcomed by wealthy planters, and in return, entertained in his own home.  Indeed, piracy was considered a fashionable vice during that era.  He was only a threat at sea, and was, therefore, socially accepted.

Shortly after his arrival, he, the father of 13 children, married his 14th wife, and the Governor performed the ceremony.  As he was already under the Governor's protection, this further suggests that they were friends, and gave credence to the existence of an underground passage way leading well away from the Governor's house.  The tunnel would allow him to come and go without being seen, and also implicated the Governor in taking a share of his loot.

North Carolinians also benefited from Blackbeard, for while he terrorized all at sea, he brought a vast array of goods back to Bath which he sold at reasonable prices. 

Proving just how villainous he was, though, when he wished to court the Governor's daughter, she refused him because he was engaged to another man.  Blackbeard could not stand this rejection and so he murdered her fiance and cut off his hands before disposing of his body at sea.  The girl pined away and died as was fashionable after a broken romance at that time.  

Alas, he soon caught the attention of the wrong man, and the Governor of Virgina, Alexander Spotswood, sent soldiers and sailors to capture Blackbeard.  On November 22, 1718, a group of sailors led by Lieutenant Robert Maynard, captured and killed the infamous pirate.  He was beheaded and his head placed on the mast of Maynard's ship as a warning to other pirates of the fate that awaited them should they continue pirating.

Much of this is documented fact, but since he was the most notorious pirate to sail the high seas, he was also the subject of much speculation and talk became legend.  Which is fact and which is fiction?  You be the judge.

Sources:  Text that was adapted from historian Robert E. Lee's Blackbeard the Pirate: A Reappraisal of His Life and Times.  Winston-Salem:  John Fl Blair, 1974, and Wikipedia.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Hello Mr. President

It is day 12 of the 30 minus 2 days of writing hosted by Nicky and Mike of We Work For Cheese.  Today's prompt is "The Day I Met Abraham Lincoln".  Visit Nicky's post to see more creative stories.

The year was 1863, and President Lincoln was about to make a speech that would be known forever more as the "Gettysburg Address."

150 years later...

Ready as I'll ever be so here goes
Press start
Set date to 1863
Turn dial clockwise to 150
Press launch and close eyes
Count to 5
Open eyes

"Ladies and Gentlemen, the President of the United States."

This is truly amazing.  It worked.  I don't believe it. Well, I always knew it was possible. At least I thought it was possible.  I hoped it was possible.

Oh the doors this could open. We have the chance to relive history, to right wrongs, and to learn what we should have learned the first time.  We can prevent diseases, save lives, and maybe even prevent wars.  

As I look around I see a crowd gathering.  Abraham Lincoln is taking the stage.  I am about to witness the famous Gettysburg Address.  This is terrific, huge, earth shattering, but as with much technology today, in the wrong hands this could be dangerous. 

As I study the crowd, one thing I didn't think about is my appearance.  I stick out like a sore thumb.  All the women we were wearing long dresses and bonnets.  The men were dressed in suits and hats.  The plain and the fashionable alike had turned out to hear their President, and here I stood in my 21st century clothes with my mouth agape, staring like some deranged fool.  That should raise some eyebrows.

Fortunately, for the moment all eyes were on Lincoln.  His speech was important and everyone was riveted.  "Four score and seven years ago..."  It sent chills up and down my spine.  I'm standing in the middle of one of the most written about periods in our history.  I had to pinch myself to believe I was really here.

All the years of research, late nights and testing paid off, and now, like the rest of the audience, I stood with eyes glued to the stage.  Only unlike the others, I had future knowledge of where the country was headed and how hard the next years would be.  A shattered country, continued war, loss and years of rebuilding afterward.

He finished speaking and amid thunderous applause he walked out into the crowd, shaking hands and speaking with constituents.  Then he noticed me standing there still staring like a crazy person, my eyes following his every move and my camera case hanging from my shoulder.

"I say there madame I don't believe you are from around here.  Might I ask where you are from?" 

As he approaches me, I'm thinking this is wait, it's a disaster.  I could be in real trouble here.  I put all my efforts into getting here, with little thought to what I'd do after I got here so I can't explain my presence.

"Hello Mr. President", I said, "I don't think you would believe me if I told you."

And that is how I met Abraham Lincoln.