Sunday, October 02, 2016

French Pirate Jean Martel: Deception in "A General History"

Hispaniola and Puerto Rico on the 1729 Keulen Map of the Caribbean

John "James" Martel from A General History

Jean Martel was a French pirate of the early Golden Age of Piracy. He was probably born or closely related to the Martels in Hispaniola (Martels grew sugar there since the 1550s - there is a town near Petit Goâve named “Martel” and the family borrowed money from Spain to invest in sugar cane, making a connection with earlier (1708) Spanish privateer Lewis Martel seem plausible). 
Martel perhaps operated between Hispaniola and Puerto Rico by fall of 1716. He took a boat of Saint Domingue with English pirates near Cape Tiburon (Hispaniola) in late 1717 and had a sister-in-law who lived at Petit Goâve, Saint Domingue, Hispaniola, also late in 1717. At this time, he became an informant about a pirate attack planned for Christmas 1717 on Petit Goâve and asked not to mention his name “because it would risk his life if the English [pirates] learned the secret of his French heritage.” 

I assume that Martel had little to no accent?
Remarkably, Capt, Charles Johnson, actually polemic Jacobite journalist Nathaniel Mist, in 1724 wrote a narrative of Martel in A General History of the Robberies and Murders of the Most Notorious Pirates, 2nd ed. that appears almost entirely misrepresented and partly faked. 

First, he refers to Martel as an Englishman from Jamaica when he is clearly French. This has caused a tremendous amount of trouble for the last 300 years because almost every fan of pirates out there takes A General History as literally as the Bible! 

Just because of the word "history" in the title?

Secondly, his narrative is hard to substantiate with primary sources, with exception of the final two paragraphs which come from a letter of Gov. Walter Hamilton of Antigua, dated 1 Mar 1717. The details are identical to those in the Calendar of State Papers; however, the Calendar's account is generic - no names or identification for the pirates were given by Hamilton in his letter. Martel’s responsibility for these deeds is merely assumed by Johnson-Mist.[1]

Capt. Charles Johnson writes on pages 64-69 of A General History that several vessels had been captured by “John Martel” of Jamaica in mid-late 1716. Few of these references could possibly be true. Some are manufactured and it was not the first time that Johnson-Mist had attempted such bold deception in his unreliable and polemical "history" book.

The vessels that Johnson-Mist attributes to the “Jamaican” John Martel are: Berkley Galley, Capt. Saunders; sloop King Solomon; John and Martha, Capt. Wilson; an unnamed sloop and brigantine; Ship Dolphin, 20 guns, bound for Newfoundland; Kent, Capt. Lawton; a small Ship and a Sloop, belonging to Barbadoes; Greyhound galley of London, Capt. Evans, from Guiney to Jamaica; a ship of 20 guns, a sloop of eight, and three prizes, another ship of 20 Guns, a sloop of four Guns, and another sloop. Furthermore, between September and December, Johnson-Mist shows Martel with a sloop of 8 guns and 80 men. Later, he has a ship of 22 guns and 100 men, plus a sloop of about 25 men. He then amassed quite a flotilla, according to the polemical journalist. Note that the masters’ names only include surnames – no given names – a peculiar change from other parts of his narrative (compare to the section on Blackbeard which includes Christopher Taylor, David Herriot, and Jonathan Bernard in just the first few paragraphs). This could be from his sources, like Royal African Company (RAC) letters that seldom mention given names. Still, he misapplied these sources - real people and events used falsely to imply truth where there wasn't any.
One possibility is that the primary sources from which Johnson-Mist drew this information may be lost to us now. That would please Johnson-Mist devotees to no end! However, that would require a massive amount of loss, an almost impossible documentary calamity. Anyway, as the available records show, there are plenty of extant references available – probably more still buried in the National Archives in London. A bit of research can easily reveal these sources - and the lies.  

I'm sure that Nathaniel Mist never had computers. ;)

The Greyhound galley, Capt. Evans, has been located on Voyages: The Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Database. Their voyage began 30 Aug 1716 and they could have been intercepted by pirates in the Caribbean; but, this is doubtful. The record shows that they began with 273 slaves and delivered 236 to Kingston, Jamaica. Johnson-Mist declares 40 slaves stolen by Martel. Indeed, the database shows a loss of 37. Still, the reality of the slave trade is that, even in the late eighteenth century, 15 percent of slaves died in the Middle Passage. For the Greyhound galley, that translates to 41 slaves, and an estimated 232 delivered to Kingston even when no pirates were involved. To assume that all of the slaves would have survived and that pirates were the only reason for the loss is unsupportable. One reason for the appearance of this voyage of the Greyhound in A General History is the story first appeared in Nathaniel Mist’s own Weekly Journal newspaper on 25 Jul 1717.[2]

Gregory O’Malley writes in Final Passages that Capt. Hume in HMS Scarborough captured a pirate named Kennedy; he, with others, allegedly took the Greyhound galley of London and stole 40 slaves (again, a supposed loss by pirates and not disease). Martel could have been a partner of Kennedy. Still, O’Malley’s reference is puzzling, for the only citation he gives is for A General History, a book that only declares Martel as responsible for this deed. Moreover, the only Kennedy that Johnson-Mist refers to is a later pirate and contemporary of Bartholomew Roberts named Walter Kennedy, “executed the 19th of July, 1721, at Execution Dock.”

No ship named Kent can be found operating during this period, in the slave trade database or the Calender of State Papers, the National Archives in London, nor Naval Office Shipping Records. The same search applied to Berkley Galley results in the discovery that Capt. Edmund Saunders and mate Nathaniel Tucker completed their slave trading voyage to Jamaica between June 1716 and 22 Dec 1716 without incident. Again, they lost 54 slaves of 367 to the usual disease, or 14.7 percent. Johnson-Mist may have had some familiarity with RAC reports, but still, again: no pirates in this one.

King Solomon, Capt. Edward Coward sailed an expensive and exceptionally horrid slave voyage, arriving 26 July 1716 at Jamaica with only 288 of the original 450, a mortality rate of 36 percent. Thirty-one percent of the complement were also children. This vessel may indeed, have been caught by pirates after delivery, in the months of September or October. There is no other reference to the incident, however.  

John and Martha, Capt. Wilson, appears only in the Boston News-Letter (but apparently “was cast away upon Cuba” in Oct 1716 near where Capt. [Henry?] Jennings took Capt. Stone of Hamilton galley and held him for four days drinking his rum – Wilson’s crew were returned to New York 29 Oct 1716 by Capt. Stone in Hamilton galley – three of Wilson’s men joined Jennings; BNL 5 Nov 1716), which indicates that he was taken by pirates, but this pirate was Henry Jennings and not Martel. 

Ship Dolphin, Capt. Hall was destroyed by a natural disaster that claimed all lives. No pirates were involved. And, it, too appeared in Mist’s newspaper on 17 Dec 1716. Mist may have been a sensationalist – a tabloid-type yellow journalist who relied on Royal African Company workers' dock rumors for his publications.

Furthermore, in A General History, Johnson-Mist regarded “John” Martel as an Englishman - a Jamaican - while two primary sources clearly identify him as a Frenchman: an American newspaper article (see below), to which he has proved time and again abundant access, and a letter titled “Activity of pirates at Saint Domingue,” 21 Jan 1717 [AN Marine B1 29f], today in the Centre des archives d’autre mers in Aix en Provence, France. These records declare Martel operating in November with 135 men (no mention of the number of vessels he had). Also, Anglican Church records show that no Martels were either born, married, or buried on Jamaica until 1789.

Still, Johnson-Mist was haphazard in his use of the records he had – even manipulative at times. Most likely, Johnson-Mist manufactured this data, as he had for Stede Bonnet from Samuel Bellamy’s work off Virginia in April 1717. He might then have appended the information from Gov. Hamilton about Capt. Hume and HMS Scarborough.

Even the “Port of Cavena” mentioned by Johnson-Mist in his Martel narrative as being on Cuba is not a real place. It appears to evolve from “Gran Caverna de Santo Tomás,” a system of caves in the Vinales Valley – it is not, nor has it ever been, a port. A General History is full of lies and should never be used for telling actual history!

Boston News-Letter, Monday November 12, 1716, 2:

Rhode Island, Novemb. 8.  Arrived here Thomas Pemberton from Antigua, Daniel Waire from Connecticut both for Boston, Ford & Whitfield from Boston the first for New York, Col. John Cranston from New London, gives an account that in his Passage from Philadelphia to Jamaica in August last off Portorico, he met about the 21st of September with one Capt. John Martell a French Pyrate of 135 Men, being most of them French, who took his Ship and Cargo, made him and his Company Prisoners, but afterwards was so civil as to make an Exchange in giving him his Pyrate Sloop, and otherwise was very kind to him & his Men. He also gave him a New London Sloop to come home in, one Butels Master, and at his Arrival he return'd her again to the right Owners.

Perhaps Nathaniel Mist didn't get his Boston newspaper in the mail that day... maybe it was taken by pirates on its way across the ocean. Also, I guess Martel DID have an accent after all! ;)

[1] Baylus C. Brooks, Quest for Blackbeard: The True Story of Edward Thache and His World (Lake City: Baylus C. Brooks, 2016), 370; Noël Deerr, History of Sugar, Vol. 1 (Chapman and Hall, 1949), 124-125.
[2] Paul Finkelman, Encyclopedia of African American History, 1619-1895: From the Colonial Period to the Age of Frederick Douglass, Vol. 1 (Oxford University Press, 2006), 125; National Archives (London), HUTCHINSON v FOXCROFT: Ledger of copies of letters from the Royal African company to its outposts in Succondee, Commenda and Dixcove, West Africa, 1716, C 113/261; Gregory E. O'Malley, Final Passages: The Intercolonial Slave Trade of British America, 1619-1807 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2014), 100. 

"Quest for Blackbeard" has finally been approved for Global Distribution which means that it will be available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Alibris, and other online booksellers very soon. Check it out on my Author's Amazon site.

It is already previewable on Google Books.

I will also send a free "Genealogy of Blackbeard" family chart (5x7 postcard) to the first ten people to review the book on the Amazon site or on my Lulu site at:

Simply leave the review and then email me with your name and mailing address. It will not be seen by anyone else and you will not be included in any databases.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Nathaniel Mist's Piracy!

Quest for Blackbeard: The True Story of Edward Thache and His World is not your usual pirate history - because it does not accept the narrative developed from the virtual worship of A General History of the Robberies and Murders of the Most Notorious Pyrates as a valid historical source. In fact, this 300-year-old book, sold as actual history for these many years, is merely historical fiction. "Capt. Charles Johnson" at some times quoted accurately from sources, but at other times, he clearly lied, usually in carefully crafted deceptions - perhaps why the political polemicist Nathaniel Mist used this pseudonym. Still, the book was registered at His Majesty's Stationary Office in London under his real name. He still made profits from it to help with the numerous legal fines he incurred. 

Still, Mist made one fatal error in his deception... 

The literal “smoking gun” of proof for Mist’s intentional fraud in A General History of the Robberies and Murders of the Most Notorious Pyrates is the deposition of Andrew Turbett and Robert Gilmore in Virginia, 17 April 1717. This document is available to view on my website's "Pirate Library" page. Mist absolutely fabricated a completely false history for pirate Stede Bonnet from a single document that clearly mentioned Samuel Bellamy by name. Mist cannot escape the fact that he clearly knew details from this deposition, and probably possessed a copy of it, while purposely avoiding the actual pirate mentioned in that document as responsible for that piece of the history. He needed this detail to flesh out his character of the "Gentleman" Pirate Stede Bonnet. Mist sacrificed deeds of the virtually unknown Samuel Bellamy to his literary desires and needs. As a result, Bellamy has been nearly forgotten for many years and is still confused today because scholars have refused to ignore Mist's historical fiction and rely strictly upon primary sources.

Not only did this book tell a completely bogus history for what happened to Stede Bonnet's early career, but Mist also fabricated an entirely "notorious" and even "evil" history for others, especially for Edward "Blackbeard" Thache of Spanish Town, Jamaica and especially Blackbeard's time in North Carolina. The point was to diminish the pirates of America (actual conservative heroes to Americans of that time) and even America itself because America was far too unruly in their adherence to Stuart conservatism. They were difficult to control 3,000 miles across the Atlantic. England changed, became more progressive, while America did not. The British government simply tried to bring America back into line with their policy and they used Nathaniel Mist for this purpose.

All of this is difficult for us to accept. This is why Quest for Blackbeard has not evolved over the last two years as your usual pirate history. My narrative offers, as I propose, an actual history of Golden Age Piracy and even alters the presumed history of America itself... in my opinion, a true history that has been hidden for 300 years because of British propaganda used against Americans in 1724! Our first premature Revolution (1715-1718) ended as Rebellion and degenerated into outright lawlessness from 1719-1726. The victors' narrative reigned supreme - it still does -especially for our memories of once-coveted former heroes, even after the American Revolution sixty years later established the independence for us to proceed unimpeded!

The proof for Mist's deception lies on pages 335-336 of Quest for Blackbeard:

As to the missing period of August–October 1717, an entire paragraph of information on Stede Bonnet’s first cruise was related by Johnson-Mist in both editions that includes details not found in any other known source, newspaper account, or official correspondence. This paragraph states:
[H]is first Cruize was off the Capes of Virginia, where he took several Ships, and plundered them of their Provisions, Cloaths, Money, Ammunition, &c. in particular the Anne, Captain Montgomery, from Glascow; the Turbet from Barbadoes, which for Country sake, after they had taken out the principal Part of the Lading, the Pyrate Crew set her on Fire; the Endeavour, Captain Scot, from Bristol, and the Young from Leith. From hence they went to New-York, and off the East End of Long-Island, took a Sloop bound for the West-Indies, after which they stood in and landed some Men at Gardner’s Island, but in a peaceable Manner, and bought Provisions for the Company’s Use, which they paid for, and so went off again without Molestation.
These are detailed references, but all were likely fabricated or misreported. Neither the Turbet of Barbados, Endeavor of Bristol, nor Young from Leith can be exactly identified. “The Agnis,” however, with a master Capt. Andrew Turbett (who was probably not set on fire), “was taken and sunk by a pirate [not mentioned by Johnson-Mist], Saml. Bellamy, five leagues off Cape Charles, 7th April [1717].”  “On the same day,” as Lt. Gov. Spotswood’s packet to the Board relates, “they took the Anne galley of Glasgow and the Endeavor pink of Brighthelmstone [master John Scott], and on the 12th a ship belonging to Lieth [Leith; a ship whose master was Capt. Young], all bound for Virginia.”  These vessels had all been captured by Bellamy, April 7-12, then annoying Virginia – not Stede Bonnet and not in August as Johnson-Mist alleged. 

The actual record containing this information found in Johnson-Mist’s confusing passage on Stede Bonnet were the depositions of Andrew Turbett and Robert Gilmor, master and supercargo of Agnis, John Lewis and Joseph Jacob, master and mate of Tryal. They clearly indicate that the pirate who molestated these vessels off Virginia was Samuel Bellamy. These particular vessels captured by Samuel Bellamy in the Whydah, are attributed to Stede Bonnet only by A General History or references to this book or its many editions.

There is no proof that Bonnet traveled further north than Charles Town, South Carolina, on his initial cruise. Mist might have confused or used an early false history for Bonnet when he first wrote the book and published it in May 1724, but he continued the deception in December. Some pirate historians have accepted this information without questioning it, but most avoid writing of these questionable events, even while still trusting upon A General History as a “reliable” historical source.



"Quest for Blackbeard" has finally been approved for Global Distribution which means that it will be available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Alibris, and other online booksellers very soon. Look for it to appear on my Author's Amazon site.

It is already previewable on Google Books.

I will also send a free "Genealogy of Blackbeard" family chart (5x7 postcard) to the first ten people to review the book on the Amazon site or on my Lulu site at:

Simply leave the review and then email me with your name and mailing address. It will not be seen by anyone else and you will not be included in any databases.

Friday, September 16, 2016

A Fraudulent History of the Pyrates Revised!

For 300 years, a single narrative of the pirates of the Golden Age has survived beyond all sense and reason because of its popularity. It is a solitary narrative made even more popular by Disney's Pirates of the Caribbean and Robert Louis Stevenson's Treasure Island. In this narrative, pirates have been traditionally viewed as notorious, villainous, dirty, poor, desperate, and even bloodthirstily evil. 

It all goes back to Capt. Charles Johnson's A General History of the Robberies and Murders of the Most Notorious Pyrates, particularly the second edition published in December 1724. I mention the second edition because it is radically different in some respects from the first, an earlier version which was published only six months before, in May 1724. These variations beg the question of its authenticity as an historical source.

Not only is its authenticity in question, but Capt. Charles Johnson wasn't even the author's name. Johnson never existed. The real author was once thought to be Daniel DeFoe, but since we have learned that his name was Nathaniel Mist, a polemical Jacobite newspaper publisher in London. Furthermore, there is speculation of late as to whether a financially ailing Mist had been coerced by the British government, Lord Sunderland in particular, to diminish the reputation of pirates in America - to eliminate possible rebellion 60 years before the American Revolution!

Still, generations of pirate amateurs and scholars alike claim this book to be the solitary and sacred "Bible" of pirate historical information. 

Why is this flawed book so popular? This is one question that I explore in detail in my new book, Quest for Blackbeard: The True Story of Edward Thache and His World. A preview of this book is available at Google Books.

Asking this question forces pirate authors and scholars across the world to examine their 300-year-old prejudices. Moreover, once Mist's flawed book is taken out of the equation and replaced by actual primary evidence, a very different picture is revealed of pirates in America - at least about the ex-privateers of Jamaica and Bermuda until about 1718. These men, like Edward Thache, are not poor and desperate. They are not notorious villains or demons, but were wealthy freeholders and may actually have been revered as great heroes to early Americans - revolutionaries whose revolution failed and became a rebellion. This rebellion was put down hard by the British and propagandized against by books like Mist's. The propaganda knocked down America's heroes.

And, we subconsciously still knock them down today. 

Quest for Blackbeard is naturally controversial. This book forces us to view a 300-year-accepted prejudice from another angle. As a result, we also must view the beginnings of our nation from a new perspective - a not so comfortable glance in the mirror - perhaps one reason that the old British view of American pirates has survived for so long!

This image does not represent ex-privateers and Colonial American heroes like Edward "Blackbeard" Thache. This is the view that 18th-century British authorities had of America itself.


"Quest for Blackbeard" has finally been approved for Global Distribution which means that it will be available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Alibris, and other online booksellers very soon. Look for it to appear on my Author's Amazon site.

It is already previewable on Google Books.

I will also send a free "Genealogy of Blackbeard" family chart (11" x 17" poster) to the first ten people to review the book on the Amazon site or on my Lulu site at:

Simply leave the review and then email me with your name and mailing address. It will not be seen by anyone else and you will not be included in any databases.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Ashworths of Liverpool and Jamaica!

Church of Our Lady and Saint Nicholas
St Nick's or The Sailors' Church
Continuing to tell the story of piracy and America  from a progressive perspective:

Ashworths of Liverpool and Jamaica... and possibly South Carolina! 


Read about North Carolina's piratical birthpangs in the Brunswick Town & Wilmington affair and the hero that saved the Port of Wilmington from the Family's political opposition, Capt. James Wimble

Both can be found at the author's Amazon page and at

And, now on sale at

From the author of Blackbeard Reconsidered! 

Monday, August 08, 2016

Isle of Jersey's Connection to Bath Town, North Carolina

Guernsey and Jersey - Channel Islands
A 22-year resident of Britain's Channel Islands described his little island home of Jersey, "a pleasant little island with super-rich people and an awful lot of crime." Alistair Mitchell is a geographer at  Le Rocquier School on Jersey, "dear little Jersey," just 14 miles off the Normandy coast of France and 100 miles from the south coast of England. 

This is the island exile of Victor Hugo in the nineteenth century and the place on which he wrote Les Miserables over the course of nine years. In 1853, the author began a series of more than one hundred secret séances there in order to connect with his dead daughter, Leopoldine. 

For North Carolina and its early port town of Bath, however, the Isle of Jersey holds an early eighteenth-century significance as the birthplace of one of its more well-known maritime residents. 

About Jersey's history - William I, having conquered England in 1066, brought Jersey and the other French isles, as part of Normandy, into the English domain. On the conquest of William's home of Normandy by the French, an attempt was made to reduce these islands back into French control, but most of them, including Guernsey and Jersey, remained part of England. 

A Topographical Dictionary of England, ed. Samuel Lewis (London, 1848) stated that landowners "as had possessions both in the isles, and on the main land of Normandy, were compelled to make choice of those they wished to retain, and abandon all claim to the rest."

Lewis, writing in Hugo's time, further provided that "arbitrary and tyrannical conduct of English governors and their deputies, and the rancorous broils which prevailed among the resident seigneurs under the feudal system," were effectually ended in the reign of Henry VII., "who with that view obtained from the pope a comminatory bull, and issued ordinances, comprised in thirty-three articles, for the government of the island, which continued in force until superseded by a regular code of laws in 1771."

Alistair Mitchell describes the island today:
The island has its own government and parliament, the States of Jersey, members of which are elected by the population aged 16 and over. It is a self-governing dependency of the UK, a Peculiar of the Crown, which stems from deals done with King John back in 1204. The island is further divided into 12 parishes, under the diocese of Winchester, each with a parish church... And who are the folk who inhabit this rock? There has long been a cultural mix. The locals of French origin were the first, establishing their own dialect of Norman French called Jerriaise, a language that is seeing something of a revival at present. Incoming Brits and Irish swelled the population, and in recent years migrants from Madeira, and more recently from Poland, have made their home here.
Jersey's Seal and Arms

In the eighteenth century, Royal Navy vessels like Greyhound, Portsmouth, Foresight, Assistance, and Swallow Prize have routinely patrolled the Channel Islands, convoying merchants carrying "Wool, Malt, Draperies, etc." Other vessels on patrol there have been Shoreham and Scarborough, of later fame in the Americas against pirates of the Golden Age. 
Parishes of Jersey

Ancestors or kinsmen of one of Jersey's "super-rich" citizens, wealthy former Bailiff of Jersey and member of the House of Lords in the United Kingdom, Alexander Moncrieff Coutanche, Baron Coutanche (9 May 1892 – 18 December 1973) left their island home for the American Colonies in the early eighteenth century.

Michel Coutanche, Sr. (1676-1733) and wife Marguerite Neel , raised a large family of seven boys and four girls in Trinity, St. John Parish, Isle of Jersey, many of whom became mariners by trade: Michel, Jr. (b. Nov 1708), Jean Coutanche (b. Dec 1713), Edouard (b. 1715), Marguerite (b. 1716), Elie/Elias (b. 1719; m. Anne Pipon of St. Helier Parish), Suzanne (b. 1721), Josué (b. 1723), Charles (b. 1724), Phillipe (b. 1726), Catherine (b. 1728), and Elizabeth Coutanche (d. 1728)Some of these would settle Newfoundland in Canada.

Isle of Jersey today - Mont Orgueil Castle, St. Martin.

Jean Coutanche, mariner and master of Providence set sail with his brother Michel for the port of Boston in 1734. 

AMERICAN Weekly Mercury. (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) • From Thursday June 9, to Thursday June 16, 1737 • Page [2]

Jean and Michel Coutanche operated for a few years sailing from Boston to Philadelphia and New Jersey. While living in Boston, Michel met Mary Salter (b. 1718), probable daughter of Thomas and Mary of Charlestown. They announced their intention to marry on July 15, 1736 and wed August 3rd by the Rev. Joseph Sewell. Their son, Michel III was born just over a year later on August 13, 1737. Prior to his birth, on May 12, 1737, however, Michel Coutanche cleared the Boston Custom House for North Carolina for the first time. 

"Michael" Coutanche would make Bath Town his new home. NCPedia tells that "On 5 Mar. 1739, as Captain Michael Coutanche of 'Boston, in New England, Mariner,' he bought lots 24 and 25 in Bath Town," formerly belonging to Admiralty-Judge Edmund Porter.

Porter-Coutanche lots 24 and 25 highlighted in blue on an old map of Bath Town.
Michael's brother Josué, as "Joshua," appears to have also sailed in William, as "master, of North Carolina trade" on May 4, 1743 when he appeared in Greenwich, England and may have occasionally partnered with his brother in Bath Town. William, master Coutanche, also appeared in shipping lists in the Daily Gazetteer of London, sailing from Deal, Kent on July 14th of that same year, bound for Jersey. Josué returned to Pool that November, arriving from Newfoundland. 

Michael Coutanche, later sailing in the sloop Dolphin, transported Edward Salter, Jr. from North Carolina to attend school in Boston under the care of Capt. James Gold or Gould. Young Edward was likely the son of Edward Salter, the cooper, who formerly sailed on the 20-gun sixth-rate HMS Speedwell, Capt. George Moulton of Wapping, London with Martin Towler, who was serving on Henry Bostock’s Margaret when she was taken by Edward "Blackbeard" Thache on December 5th, 1717, just after they captured La Concorde, the slaver that they renamed the Queen Anne's Revenge. Edward Salter, Sr. remained in Bath Town where he lived a remarkably wealthy life, owning at least three ships, and one with £1200 worth of cargo in 1734, when he died. The executor for Salter's will was North Carolina surveyor and controversial politician, Edward Moseley.

Speculation of many is that Salter gained a portion of the gold dust or prize money from Edward Thache after wrecking the QAR in Beaufort Inlet on June 10, 1718. Another Salter family researcher's speculation concerning Edward Salter, Jr. is that he went to Boston - where his relatives lived - for his education, and that Michael Coutanche, as an in-law, transported him there. This would mean that Edward Salter was a kinsman to the family of Henry Salter of Massachusetts. 

Michael's wife, Mary Salter Coutanche, appears to have died around the time of his arrival in Bath Town. Michael then married Sarah Pilkington, daughter of wealthy merchant Seth Pilkington and his wife, Sarah Porter, the daughter of John Porter and widow of John Lillington. Incidentally, Edward Salter's daughter, Sarah lived with John's widow, Sarah Porter in the Lower Cape Fear for a number of years, alluding to the Salter-Porter-Pilkington-Coutanche connection.

An inventory of Pilkington's estate, conducted by Michael Coutanche on February 27, 1754, shows that Pilkington operated a general store in Bath Town. He sold stockings, felt hats, shot and powder, tallow, deer skins, sugar, molasses, all manner of general tools, and canoe sails with other maritime supplies. His three-and-a-half page inventory also included the usual possessions of a mariner of the times, including anchors, a "Mariners Compass," and copies of the Merchants Magazine. His membership in the 1% was well established by the ownership of twenty-six slaves and four white apprentices and his education by the numerous books and the map of North America in his possession.

Michael Coutanche was the executor to various wills and deeds of family and friends in Bath, including Richard Evans, Henry West, and James Brown. He also constructed the house known as the Palmer-Marsh House in Bath Town, which still survives today. 

Palmer-Marsh House in Bath, NC

Michael Coutanche served as Beaufort County representative from 1744-1745 when he was joined by Wyriot Ormond. Together, they represented the county until 1761/2, when Coutanche passed away. His will is in the North Carolina State Archives, but the best copy available was made by Wyriot Ormond and sent to the Isle of Jersey because of Michael's bequeathal of half of his estate in Jersey to go to his brother Josué's children: son Josué, Jr. and daughters Elizabeth, Marguerite, and Marie, and the other half, worth "10 cabots of wheat of rente" to the poor of St. John's Parish, sold in 1766 - common for Jersey wills of the time.  

Michael Coutanche's will copy of 9 Mar 1758 from Jersey Archives, page 1

Michael Coutanche's will copy of 9 Mar 1758 from Jersey Archives, page 2

Seymour Tower, Grouville, Isle of Jersey

12th Century Lady of the Dawn Christian Chapel is Superimposed on La Hogue Bie Dolmen, an Ancient Pagan Tomb on the British Isle of Jersey


Read about North Carolina's piratical birthpangs in the Brunswick Town & Wilmington affair and the hero that saved the Port of Wilmington from the Family's political opposition, Capt. James Wimble

Both can be found at the author's Amazon page and at

And, coming on August 15, 2016 at

From the author of Blackbeard Reconsidered!