The Mystery Of Blackbeard's Only Legitimate Wife

Blackbeard, the notorious pirate feared throughout the Caribbean, was not exactly the shy and retiring type. And no one ever expected him to settle down. Expectations aside, Blackbeard actually was married. Granted, he had tons of mistresses, but at some point, there is a documented wedding. Blackbeard, real name Edward Teach, was known to be a womanizer, as befitting the stereotype. He was even rumored to have 13 wives. Documentation shows, however, that the fearsome pirate had at least one official wife. And not much else is known about her.

The lucky, or some say unlucky, woman was named Mary Ormond. Ormond was the daughter of a plantation owner, William Ormond, in Bath, Somerset. Blackbeard probably met Ormond while in North Carolina, said The Way of the Pirates. The pirate had been stranded in North Carolina after losing his ship, The Queen Anne's Revenge, which had run aground there when he was fleeing from authorities in South Carolina.

Blackbeard applied for a Royal Pardon from the governor. A pardon would mean all of his previous crimes were erased. It also meant that he had to show he planned to be an upstanding citizen of the colonies. Knowing that he needed to show at least outwardly that he was going straight, Blackbeard decided he should marry. For real.

He chose to marry Ormond. There are conflicting accounts of how old she was when she married the pirate; some say 14, while others say Ormond was 16 years old.

But he got bored with life on the land

It's highly possible that news of the notorious pirate Blackbeard legally marrying someone would have shocked many people. The governor of North Carolina, Charles Eden, himself performed the marriage ceremony. The governor probably wanted to make sure Blackbeard wasn't lying when he said he would be a good, productive member of society.

And so it was that Blackbeard married his only legal wife in 1718 in Bath, North Carolina, said Owlcation. Ormond was supposedly pregnant either during or soon after the wedding, although there are no records of her giving birth. On the other hand, record-keeping in those days was less than thorough.

To no one's surprise, a few months after the wedding, Blackbeard started thinking about going back to the sea. He took up piracy once more and began going on small raids, bringing his loot back to the home he shared with Ormond. North Carolina authorities heard that Blackbeard started thieving again, and the pirate decided to leave Bath altogether. Blackbeard returned to piracy full-time. He was operating in the coastal waters off North Carolina when Lieutenant Robert Maynard decided to bring him in, said Amherst College.

Maynard had orders from the governor of Virginia, Alexander Spotswood, to apprehend the pirate. Spotswood was concerned that such a notorious criminal lived near his state and wanted him gone. So Maynard took off to capture Blackbeard. Around this time, however, there was no word whether or not Ormond went to sea with her husband.

It didn't end well for either of them

Blackbeard's luck eventually ran out. In 1718, he and his band of pirates had anchored on Ocracoke Island off the coast of North Carolina. The boats captained by Maynard and the Royal Navy waited until the perfect moment. Maynard managed a surprise attack with his ships, and Blackbeard was killed in the ensuing battle. It's reported that during the final battle he was shot five times and stabbed more than 20 times. There are stories that Blackbeard had refused to resort to violence when Maynard and his men came upon him, but there's no real evidence for that.

It was a particularly gruesome end, as Maynard cut off the pirate's head and displayed it on his ship, claiming it as his bounty. As agreed, the Virginia governor awarded Maynard £100 for ending Blackbeard's reign of terror.

But what about the pirate's wife of only a few months? Ormond largely disappeared from historical records after her marriage. Some people believe Blackbeard offered her as a gift to his old crew to get back into their good graces. Maybe he sweetened the deal with rum. It's unlikely we'll find out more about Ormond unless someone out there starts to claim they're Blackbeard's long-lost descendants, or long-lost documentation of some kind is discovered. We can only hope that Ormond didn't end her days being bartered by her husband so he could once again prowl the seven seas. Such is the life of a woman who became a notorious pirate's only legitimate wife.