Touring Historical Pirate Sites of the United States

ouring Historical Pirate Sites of the United States from North Carolina Travel Blogger Adventures of Frugal Mom

We have no idea how pirates managed to become the ‘good guys’ in fiction. When we were children, we loved hearing stories about wild men on the high seas with parrots on their shoulders and a skull-and-crossbones flag rigged to the mast of a ship’s mainsail, and if you have children of your own, you’ll probably find they’re exactly the same. The hugely-successful “Pirates of the Caribbean” movies, based on an old ride at a Disney theme park, have only served to enhance the image of pirates and lovable rogues. That’s a strange representation of people who literally used to attack ships without warning, kill some of the sailors on them, and steal all of their goods, but we suppose that’s the way history works. The legendary Robin Hood of England was also a thief, and he’s a folk hero, too. So why are people interested in the life of a pirate?

The influence of pirates and piracy in our culture is everywhere and shows no sign of waning in the present day. We’ve already mentioned the “Pirates of the Caribbean” films, which are the most substantial evidence of that fascination, but there are other articles of evidence we could include. Until recently, you could still choose ‘pirate’ as your default language on Facebook if you wished to do so.

As piracy was somewhat ‘frowned upon’ (to say the least) by the authorities, captured pirates didn’t tend to meet pleasant ends. They were generally executed, and their ships were either sold or destroyed. That makes finding ‘real’ pirate sights difficult but not impossible. If your child – or the inner child in you – wants to go and see some pirate sights in real life and find out more about this strange period in history, we’re happy to make some recommendations for you!

Gardiner’s Island, New York

There are many stereotypes that surround pirates, and we’ve covered a few of them already. Parrots and Jolly Roger flags are among the most popular, but when we mentioned pirates, we bet at least a few of you instantly thought ‘buried treasure.’ This is something of a misnomer because pirates didn’t often bury their ill-gotten gains – but it did happen occasionally, and it happened at Gardiner’s Island in New York. William Kidd, a prolific pirate of the 17th century, buried at least one million dollars worth of loot thereafter gaining permission from John Gardiner, who owned the land. Nobody knows why that agreement came to an end. One version of events is that Gardiner’s conscience got the better of him, and he informed Lord Bellomont, the area’s colonial governor, about the presence of the treasure. Another version says that Kidd confessed to Bellomont after he was arrested. Whatever happened, the treasure was exhumed, and today there’s a plaque standing in its place, along with a small museum nearby. Some people say there’s still treasure below the ground – but we’re sure that’s nothing more than a rumor!

Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop, New Orleans

So little is known about the Lafitte brothers that we don’t even know for sure that they were truly brothers. We do, however, know that they were truly pirates. There’s no doubt about that! Claiming to be French, the pair appeared in New Orleans shortly after the start of the 19th century and immediately began to acquire a fleet of ships and vessels they could use for smuggling. They also acquired a blacksmith’s shop so they could launder their money and appear to be legitimate businessmen. The authorities knew what they were up to and would probably have executed them, but during the war of 1812, their sailing knowledge and fleet of ships proved to be invaluable to General Andrew Jackson’s American forces and played a pivotal role in winning the Battle of New Orleans. The brothers were pardoned, and the blacksmith’s shop is still standing – although these days, it’s a bar. 

Plum Point, North Carolina

You’ve heard of Blackbeard, but have you heard of Edward Teach? We imagine you probably haven’t, and that doesn’t surprise us because we’re not even totally convinced it was Blackbeard’s real name. “Edward Thatch” appears just as often as “Edward Teach” in historical records, and historians don’t know which one is correct. What we do know is that, unlike most notorious pirates, Blackbeard eventually settled down to a pleasant and comfortable retirement after ending his villainous seafaring ways in 1718. When he did settle down, he did so at Plum Point, which is close to Bath Creek in North Carolina. Apparently, he was a charming man, and was a popular speaker at dinner parties! You’ll find numerous plaques here marking places Blackbeard is known to have visited in the town, artifacts from his life at the North Carolina Maritime Museum, and a colossal statue of the man himself standing on Highway 70. 

Dungeon Rock, Lynn, Massachusetts

It takes a little bit of imagination to see the pirate history at Dungeon Rock, but then all pirate stories take a little imagination. It’s not like there are any of them alive today to tell us their stories in person! Here’s the story of Dungeon Rock:- A band of pirates has swept ashore in Lynn in 1658, and the majority of them were arrested the moment they reached dry land. Thomas Veal was the only one to escape, carrying treasure with him as he ran, and he disappeared into the forests, never to be seen again. Legend has it that he ran to Dungeon Rock, which at the time would have been a spacious cave, and lived here in secrecy until an earthquake struck the region, destroying the cave and trapping Veal and his treasure inside it. A whole century later, spiritualist Hiram Marble believed that he’d been contacted in a dream by Veal’s ghost and bought Dungeon Rock with the intention of excavating it with his son Edwin and retrieving the treasure. They spent their whole lives searching but found nothing. Dungeon Rock is now part of the Lynn Woods Reservation, and the cave is open to visitors. The current owners would prefer it if you didn’t bring a shovel and do any digging of your own.

Similar Posts:

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.