The Pirate Treasures of Elizabeth City
By Jeannette Holland Austin
February 1719. Letter from Alexander Spotswood To my Lord Cartwright concerning the dangers threatening the neighborhood and the rescue of trade in North Carolina from the insults of pirates.
"...That about the beginning of last June, one Capt. Thatch, a Notorious Pyrate, refused to accept of his Majesty's pardon offered him by the Governor of South Carolina about eight days before he Lost his Ship at Topsall Inlett, with one of the four Sloops he had in his Company, upon w'ch he and his Crew pretend to Surrender to the Governor of No. Carolina, most of his people dispersed, some going towards Pensilvania and New York, and others betaking themselves to their former Villanies, under the Command of Major Bonnet Thatch, w'th about 20 more, remained in No. Carolina, and kept one of the Sloops, pretending to Employ themselves in Trade, but both their discourses and Actions plainly show'd the wickedness of their Designs. The Inclosed Affidavit of one of the Inhabitants of that province, and M'r of a Vessell there, will best display Thatch's insolent behaviour, and how little sensible that Abandoned Crew were of the Clemency they had received. Upon the repeated Applications of Trading People of that Province, and the Advice that Tach had taken and brought in hither a Ship Laden w'th Sugar and Cocoa without either men or Papers, I thought it necessary to put a Stop to ye further Progress of the Robberys, and for that purpose, having prevailed with our Assembly to give considerable Rewards for the Apprehending and destroying of these and other Pirates I hired two Sloops, furnished them w'th Pilotts from Carolina, concerted w'th the Capt's of his Maj'ty's Ships of this Station the proper Measures for extirpating that Gang of Pyrates. These Sloops, fitted with Men and Officers from the King's Ships, Came up with Tach at Oecceh inlett on ye 22nd Nov'r last, and after an obstinate Resistance, wherein Tach, w'th nine of his men, were killed, and nine more made prisoners, and took his Sloop, w'ch was mounted w'th 8 Guns, and in all other respects fitted rather for piracy than Trade. The prisoners have been brought hither and Tryed, and it plainly appears that the Ship they brought into Carolina was, after the date of his Majesty's pardon, taken from the Subjects of France upon the high Seas, near the Island of Bermuda, and the Men put on Board another ship of the same Nation taken at the same time, and was not a Wreck, as Tach persuaded the Governm't of your Lord'p's Province to believe." He went on to explain that the project of suppressing the pirates should have been concealed and put into execution without the participation of the Governor because his house was located in a thinly populated area and should the pirates learn of the plan, the Governor could not defend himself. The stolen goods of Capt. Thatch were inventoried and brought into the colony and a Court of Admiralty held and claims made as to who had rights to the goods. Twelve men were killed and twenty two wounded in the capture of Thatch. On March 11, 1718, a report was made that the crew of Edward Thatch taken on board of his Sloop remain in prison for piracy and that their trail was delayed until winter was over and there would be a full Council for a more solemn Examination of the several pirates "of which these and the rest of that Crew have been Guilty. That he judged this the more necessary because he finds Reports are Industriously spread abroad that Thatch and his Crew were not only within the benefit of his Majestys late pardon; but that the Sloops were fitted out for taking them after the said pardon was actually arrived here."
Sources: Letter from Alexander Spotswood to John Carteret, Earl Granville; Spotswood, Alexander, 1676-1740; February 14, 1719; Volume 02, Pages 324-327; [From the Spotswood Letters. Vol. II. P. 272.]
Edward Teach, known as Edward Thatch and "Blackbeard" The Pirate, was known to have buried treasure near Elizabeth City on many occasions, called "Treasure Point".
Pasquotank County Wills and Estates
Pasquotank was formed as early as 1668 as a precinct of Albemarle County. Its name is derived from an Indian word pasketanki which meant "where the current of the stream divides or forks." It is in the northeastern section of the State and is bounded by Albemarle Sound and Perquimans. Gates, and Camden counties. In 1799 Elizabeth (City) Town was made the county seat and on June 6, 1800, the first court was held there. Elizabeth City was first called Redding, which was established in 1793. Redding was changed to Elizabeth Town in 1794, and Elizabeth Town was changed to Elizabeth City in l801.
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