By Rebecca Jones, special to the News-Times
BEAUFORT — On June 10, 1718, Blackbeard and his fleet of pirates invaded Beaufort Inlet on the ship called Queen Anne’s Revenge as the town was caught up in a battle to defend itself from Spanish privateers.
Pirates, once again, invaded Beaufort on the morning of Aug. 13, 2021. The ship landed at Taylors Creek, and pirates (professional pirate reenactors, villagers and merchants) began their walk to set up encampment at Gallants Channel. Some of those who set up camp was Capt. Horatio Sinbad, The Cannon Crew, The Shadow Players, The Sword Circle Crew, Braze and Blackbeard’s Crew. You could find singers and music makers, fire spinners, bullwhip crackers and even mermaids as they went about their daily colonial life, called Living History Days.
Pirate Jonah was another one of those pirates. He has the important job of what he says is “keeping the lights on, so to speak.” Back in the pioneer and pirate times, there was no such thing as electricity or battery-operated lighting. People had to depend on candles as the source of light. Pirate Jonah says he gets his pure beeswax from a friend who has beehives. Some candles in that time period were made from animal fat, but he prefers to use pure beeswax as it burns longer and cleaner. Pirate Jonah is a vital part of the pirate community as he provides light for the whole encampment.
Making candles is no easy task. He begins the process by filling a metal container about three-fourths full of beeswax. He puts the metal container in a pot of water so that it hits about halfway up the container. He then heats the water over medium heat until the wax is melted, and then he removes some of the wood coals so that the heat is down to a simmer. He has a tin mold that holds the wicks. Once the wax is melted, he carefully pours the wax into the molds and waits for them to cool. He has to carefully pull the candles out of the mold, and timing is most important. It is a process that takes time and patience.
He loves being part of the encampment and doing his part as a candlemaker. He has been with this fleet of pirates at many cities in North Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia and Alabama. Each “camp members” have unique gifts that draw them together. What Jonah loves most is being part of the community, which is not the same as being in the community.
“Being in the community points only to physical presence,” he says, “Being part of the community means having the opportunity to interact and form relationships with other community members.”
He loves socializing with people who share his interests, but he also loves to interact and teach people who come to these events.