Blackbeard Crew Bones Heading To Smithsonian

After a lengthy dispute, the remains of a former member of Blackbeard's pirate crew are no longer in state custody..

Researchers believe the remains found in Bath back in 1986 belong to Edward Salter, who was a barrel-maker forced into piracy. Salter later became a prominent merchant, assemblyman and church warden in Bath.

Friday morning in Raleigh, the remains were turned over to family members, who want the bones examined by a expert at the Smithsonian Institution.

The remains were in four white boxes and were placed in a hearse outside the North Carolina Office of State Archaeology Research Center.

In January a superior court judge ordered the Department of Cultural Resources to follow state law by filing a legal notice to search for a potential next of kin. When that happened four claimants submitted their names to the State Archaeologist.

Once at the Smithsonian, the bones will be examined by chief forensic anthropologist Dr. Douglas Owsley. The remains then will be returned to Beaufort County for burial.


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Bones believed to belong to a former member of Blackbeard's pirate crew will finally be returned to his descendants for reburial.

Researchers believe the remains found in Bath back in 1986 belong to Edward Salter, who was a barrel-maker forced into piracy. Salter later became a prominent merchant, assemblyman and church warden in Bath.

In January a superior court judge ordered the Department of Cultural Resources to follow state law by filing a legal notice to search for a potential next of kin. When that happened four claimants submitted their names to the State Archaeologist.

Joan Bass, an 8th generation descendant of Salter will be present Friday in Raleigh. The remains will be placed in a hearse and taken to the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History in Washington D.C. There the bones will be examined by chief forensic anthropologist Dr. Douglas Owsley. The bones then are expected to be returned to Beaufort County for burial.


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