Hampton Claims Pivotal Role in the Tale the Real Treasure Island (and Pirates of the Caribbean too!)
There is no doubt that Stevenson’s Treasure Island was a major influence on Disney Studios when they conceived the Pirates of the Caribbean series. Recent research has uncovered his real Treasure Island and Hampton played a central role..
. In Treasure Island, Robert Louis Stevenson lays down a thrilling beginning with the discovery of a treasure map in a dead pirate’s sea chest which records the burial of the pirate’s booty on an uninhabited Caribbean island in 1750. The rest of the story is about returning to that island to recover the treasure.
Stevenson says little about where the treasure came from other than it was buried by Captain Flint. Outer Banks, author and maritime historian, John Amrhein, Jr., not only documents in his book that there was a real Treasure Island but that the treasure was buried on November 13, 1750, by a man named Owen Lloyd who lived on Queen Street in Hampton, Virginia. Robert Louis Stevenson, born November 13, 1850, would write the fictional sequel in 1881.
History is all about timing and Amrhein lays out an amazing series of events that begin with Owen Lloyd moving to Hampton Roads and working as a merchant captain who traded with the Caribbean. His peg-legged brother, John, did likewise, but his residence was on Church St. in Norfolk. Both brothers had suffered greatly at the hands of the Spanish during the recent war. Owen was in financial ruin which prompted his wife to leave him and return to the family sugar plantation at St. Kitts.
In late August of 1750, a hurricane drove a Spanish fleet up the American coast, scattering them from Cape Lookout to Assateague Island. One galleon, the Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe was disabled at Ocracoke. Immediately after the hurricane, Owen and John departed Hampton for St. Kitts with the goal of reuniting with his wife and to get a fresh start in business. Shortly after leaving, their sloop sprung a leak. The hand of fate forced them to into Ocracoke Inlet where his sloop sunk. Owen had previously traded with Ocracoke and was familiar with its treacherous channels. The galleon captain hired Lloyd to get his galleon safely into the inlet. Six weeks later, Owen and John executed their clever plan and sailed away with the Spaniard’s treasure. Owen made it to the British Virgin Islands where he buried his loot on Norman Island. Today, that island is reputed to be Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island.
Amrhein’s historical investigations spanned ten years with the aid of professional researchers in Spain, England, Denmark, The Netherlands, Wales, Scotland, and the Caribbean. It was the discovery of documents in The Netherlands and England that led him to Owen and John Lloyd’s connections with Hampton Roads. With these clues in hand, he visitedthe courthouses of Norfolk and Hampton where he was able to piece together who the brothers were and what motivated them to steal the treasure.
The Lloyd brothers were born in Flintshire, Wales and came from a respectable family. Both Owen and John served as midshipmen in the British navy before relocating to America. “I was stunned to find out that these two characters had lived nearly in my backyard,” said Amrhein, a resident of the Outer Banks.
This Friday marks the first day of the Blackbeard Pirate Festival where Amrhein will be selling and autographing his books. In 2007, he published The Hidden Galleon: the true story of a lost Spanish Ship and the wild horses of Assateague Island. This award winning book recounts Amrhein’s discovery of La Galga, the 56 gun warship which was not only escorting the Guadalupe’s treasure but is the legendary galleon described in the children’s classic, Misty of Chincoteague. Amrhein found that warship buried beneath sands of Assateague Island in 1983. You can read more about his books here http://www.outerbanksnc.com