Hampton History Museum

Posted on: May 18, 2017

"Blackbeard’s Legacy" — Lecture & Book Signing, June 3, 1 p.m.

Square Blackbeard Legacy cover image

Hosted by the Hampton History Museum, author Barbara McLennan will discuss her new novel "Blackbeard’s Legacy," the third in her "The Wealth of a Nation" trilogy, 1 p.m., Saturday, June 3, at St. John’s Church Parish Hall, 100 West Queen’s Way, during the Blackbeard Pirate Festival. Afterwards, she will sign copies of her book at the museum across the street from the church. The lecture and book signing are free and open to the public. In this final book of an historical fiction trilogy involving early Virginian Sarah Harrison and her husband James Blair, founder of William & Mary, and other prominent families in early Jamestown and Williamsburg, Blackbeard’s Legacy covers the years 1710 to 1722. Author McLennan focuses the story around young Benjamin Harrison IV and his relationship with Blackbeard and continues the narrative of personal and political rivalries rampant among the prominent tobacco growers and various political figures in Williamsburg. The parallel stories of piracy along the Virginia coast, the larger than life Blackbeard and political machinations of the period offer the kind of history lesson all can enjoy. "Blackbeard’s Legacy" ($14.95) and the first two books in the trilogy are available in the museum’s gift shop. Book Synopsis Blackbeard and his fleet sail the Atlantic coast and Caribbean capturing many ships and enriching themselves. Andrew Morgan from Virginia, Blackbeard’s gunner, invests his shares with a banker in Philadelphia. Andrew visits friends in Virginia and agrees to bring along young Benjamin Harrison on one of his spring voyages. Ben, raised as nephew to Sarah Harrison Blair, is 18, has just completed his studies, and has been promised in marriage to a daughter of King Carter of Virginia. Ben witnesses Blackbeard’s election as captain and impresses Blackbeard with his education and family background. Blackbeard allows him to become assistant navigator on his ship and Ben is included, along with the navigator, in meetings of the ship’s officers. When they get to the Bahamas, Ben, who has made enemies, duels with the previous assistant navigator. He also meets the governor of Jamaica and becomes aware of the dangers awaiting Blackbeard and other privateers. Upon their return to the mainland Andrew marries his banker’s daughter and is present when Blackbeard blockades Charles Towne harbor. Ben, who has received a small ship from Blackbeard for his hard work at sea, returns to Virginia and is elected burgess. Ben meets Gov. Spotswood and participates in Spotswood’s fall in Virginia politics. Ben also learns of Spotswood’s plan to murder Blackbeard and travels to Ocracoke trying to warn the captain. There, from another ship, he witnesses Blackbeard’s assassination at the hands of Spotswood’s hired killers. Andrew and Ben live through the aftermath: trials, executions, political recrimination from London and North Carolina, Spotswood’s seizure of large tracts of property, and Spotswood’s eventual replacement as governor. This is followed by marriages, new families, new businesses, the growth of trade and manufacturing, and fond memories of Blackbeard. The Hampton History Museum is at 120 Old Hampton Lane in Downtown Hampton. There is free parking in the garage across the street from the museum. For more information, call 757-727-1102.

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