Sorry it’s taken me so long to update, it’s been a busy week with papers and exams that of course were all scheduled for the same day. (Sometimes I feel like the Professors are plotting against us but that can be discussed at another time.) Before I get off topic, this weekend I took a trip down to the restaurant where I first encountered the legend of the last American pirate. I wanted to make sure I had enough time to get to the restaurant, but also to mull around the local shops and houses to see if I could find anything out.
In order to start researching I needed more information about the pirate. So my first stop was to the restaurant. Unfortunately the waitress who had handled my table the first time I visited was not in. Luckily since it’s a small town dependent on tourist traffic in the summer, business was slow, so the hostess had plenty of down time to talk to me. She told me she was from the area so she was familiar with the legend and did, in fact, know something about this mysterious man. According to her the legend is something like a bedtime story, known by locals, because they had grown up listening to their grandparents talk about it. Apparently about 150 years ago there was a man from that area who had turned to piracy after losing everything and robbed small, non-commercial boats out of necessity. When I asked her if there were any books she knew that were written expressly on the subject, or newspaper articles, she gave a sort of disinterested shrug. She told me she had never heard of any, the story was mostly a myth and the people who knew about it, paid no real interest in it. She was sure that if a book had been written that the whole town would know about it. The reason they had put the story on the menu was because it was an inside joke among the locals and it helped with the tourists. But, she told me not be discouraged. She suggested that I go talk to some of the older members of town and see if they knew more about it. Though I was a bit discouraged when I left, I was still convinced there was more to this story. I took the her advice and decided to keep investigating.
I walked up and down the street on which the restaurant is located, looking for any kind of gift shop or local business that might know something, anything about this story. Almost everything was closed because it was a Sunday. I managed to find a small plant nursery that was open whose owner was in his late seventies; he told me about as much as the hostess did, only he had always known the pirate to be regarded as a local hero because he did most of his work in Maryland. (I don’t know much about local Virginia history, but there seems to have been many a dispute among Virginia and Maryland over the waterways in between them, so that could help narrow down my time frame). According to the shopkeeper, the pirate had never been caught so he was able to evade the authorities, and he just sort of disappeared one day. The robberies stopped.
The town was pretty dead, since the summer season was over and the fact that it was Sunday did not help. So my search ended up being a lot less productive then I would have liked, but I was able to find a little more information about the pirate. At least now I have a general time frame, and perhaps I can find some events that occurred about 150 years ago that could narrow down the time frame.