In the early decades of the 18th Century, on the heels of the notorious reign of Black Beard the Pirate, rumors surfaced of a crafty sailor with a white beard and unusual sailing hat. None know the true name of White Beard, though legend has it that shortly after Blackbeard was felled by Lieutenant Maynard’s crew on the inner side of the Ocracoke Island, a single survivor was able to escape in the dead of night.
This survivor, a young deck hand that had been taken from his family, had seen on countless occasions the thievery of Blackbeard. He was also witness to the impact of the tortuous hurricane season each fall from the Carolina coast down through the Caribbean. Scores of cities devastated, without food or shelter for months on end and with Blackbeard stealing supplies thousands had suffered. As he drifted away from the Queen Anne he clung to a long piece of the destroyed plank from the ship. He drifted for several days until a fishing crew heading due east plucked him from the Atlantic. The lad was still in shock from the events on the Queen Anne, so much so it turned his teenage hair stark white. The crew of fisherman clothed and fed him and transported him to their homeland…the small island town of Sao Nicolau (Portuguese for Saint Nicholas) in Cape Verde off the coast of Africa.
This mountainous fishing town was far from the hurricanes, starvation and servitude of the pirate community. Sao Nicolau provided him an opportunity to earn some money fishing, hone his sailing skills, and develop a strong variety of crops. Each day he reflected on those dark years and vowed to return to the seas he started on and help those devastated communities by reclaiming those stolen treasures from the dreaded pirates of the Atlantic and bring them to those in need. He set sail once a year, loaded with rations from his own crops, taking back what was stolen and visiting those communities most affected by the season’s hurricanes. His vessel, the Trineo Rojo, and crew departed each fall. They navigated the Caribbean each winter and returned home in the spring to plant crops and build his rations for the following season. His white hair was also reflected in his long white beard and pirates of the Atlantic came to fear him more than the authorities while the locals heralded his feats and looked forward to seeing his return each winter.
His spirit lives on to this day and many fly his symbolic flag around the holiday season in remembrance of his selfless gestures.
- 12"L x 18"
- Brass grommets. 200
- Denier screen printed nylon
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