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OPS to honor 300th anniversary of the Battle at Ocracoke this week
Events kick off tonight (Nov. 20) at 7 with a history presentation in the Ocracoke Community Library. See below.
The Ocracoke community will host representatives from the British consulate and the Royal Navy this week for the 300th anniversary celebration of the Battle at Ocracoke on Nov. 22, 1718, when First Lt. Robert Maynard and his crew vanquished the pirate Blackbeard.
On the anniversary of this historic day, dubbed the beginning of the end of the “Golden Age of Piracy,” the Ocracoke Preservation Society will host a memorial ceremony at 10 a.m. Thanksgiving Day (Nov. 22) on the beach of the Springer’s Point Nature Preserve, the closest land to the site of the offshore battle.
Commander Richard Underwood, a Royal Navy attaché in Washington, D.C., with his family, will attend to honor the dead and place wreaths.
Officers from the current HMS Ranger and the Sussex Universities Royal Navy Unit, who train in England aboard the Ranger, named for Maynard’s boat, also will attend. This unit holds their most formal dinner of the year on Nov. 22 to celebrate Maynard’s defeat of Blackbeard.
All are invited afterwards to an English Tea in the Barn at the Berkley Manor. Knowing that it wouldn’t be proper to serve tea in disposable cups, OPS has secured fine china teacups.
There is no public parking along Loop Road where the entrance to Springer’s Point is located. So attendees must walk or ride the Ocracoke tram.
Ruth Toth, an OPS board member, who is organizing the event, said attendees can park in the NPS parking lot near the Visitors Center, and the Ocracoke tram will begin shuttling people to the site starting at 9 a.m. Signs will direct attendees to the memorial.
Toth made it her mission to bring attention to the role of the Royal Navy and the personal sacrifice of the sailors who dispatched pirates. Eleven of Maynard’s men are buried on Ocracoke and islanders have recently learned their identities.
“This battle was the first time the rule of law was established on Ocracoke,” she said. “Our commemoration brings a balanced approach to the history.”
Tuesday evening (Nov. 20) at 7, the Ocracoke Community Library will host a free history presentation on the Battle at Ocracoke with Jeff Jernigan.
The memorial also features ticketed events before the Thanksgiving Day ceremony. Some tickets are available for the pig picking Friday night (Nov. 23) at 6 p.m. in the Berkley Barn.
The 300th anniversary celebration is sponsored by Ocracoke Preservation Society in partnership with the Coastal Land Trust’s Springer’s Point Preserve with support from the Berkley Manor, David Bundy and OcracokeStyle, and the Ocracoke Occupancy Tax Board.
For more information, contact OPS at 252-928-7375.