Washington, May 18 (ANI): In a new research, a historian has claimed that the notorious pirate Blackbeard and many of his henchmen weren't rogue Englishmen, but Americans.
Most historical accounts contend that the early 18th century pirate, known as Edward Teach or Thatch, was from Bristol, England.
But now, according to a report in The Baltimore Sun, historian Kevin P. Duffus said that his review of archives and genealogical research indicates that Blackbeard was probably Edward Beard, son of a landowner in Bath in Beaufort County, North Carolina, US.
"There's never going to be a smoking gun to determine who he really was," Duffus said of the pirate. "My version is a lot more plausible than what's been foisted upon us for nearly three centuries," he added.
Duffus also claims that several of Blackbeard's crew members were not hanged as earlier accounts said and at least three returned to North Carolina to respectable and wealthy lives.
With the help of genealogists, Duffus has found a descendant of one of Blackbeard's known crew members, Edward Salter.
Under prodding by Duffus, state officials are investigating whether a skeleton kept for years in a state archaeology lab in Raleigh is that of Salter, who lived out his life near Bath.
The bones were recovered in 1986 from a crypt near the Pamlico River.
If DNA tests show that the bones are Salter's, the identification would establish that at least one of Blackbeard's men had family roots in Bath.
Steve Claggett, the state archaeologist, said such a scenario could be true. "I think there's a pretty good case for it," he said.
Blackbeard is largely known for his exploits late in his life, before troops from Virginia tracked him down and killed him at Ocracoke in 1718.
His ties to Bath have been documented, and some have become the stuff of legend, but there is scant evidence of his early life.
Duffus' theory is that Blackbeard was the son of Captain James Beard of the Goose Creek area near Charleston, South Carolina, who owned about 400 acres on the west bank of Bath Creek as early as 1707.
He said that Beard's son Edward, born in South Carolina in 1690, came to Eastern North Carolina with his father, but was also taken to Philadelphia, where he learned his sailing skills.
Duffus suggests that Edward Beard sported a black beard and used "Black" as a nickname, much like fellow pirate Black Sam Bellamy.
By his account, Thatch or Teach was an alias, and the pirate's moniker was actually Black Beard, later condensed to Blackbeard. (ANI)