THE PIRATE BLUESKIN
LEVI WEST OF LEWESTOWNE
Blueskin , the pirate, a native seafaring Lewes resident, known to be Levi West, the son of
Hiram West, a grist mill owner in Lewestowne around 1750. As a boy Levi West had live here, knew the neighborhood well, was the 'favorite' of his step father, Eleaser White. His half brother, Hiram White, who still lived here, was known to be 'a stupid fellow'. So called 'Blueskin' because of gunpowder marks on his face, he was unknown as a pirate to the local seacoast village. The distorted bluish scar across his right cheek and neck , as large as a man's hand, had been there since a pistol explosion so close to him that the gun powder penetrated under his skin and could not be removed. He told of a Spanish Captain who was behind the pistol . Blueskin, describing the incident, said with a well satisfied air, “better for that Spaniard if he had fired into his own head that morning”.
Returning home as Levi West, he visited Harim, and stole from his less romantic brother, his sweetheart, Sally Martin. Laterwhen Sally returned to Lewes, she was turned away.
He was a suspected confederate of the notorious Blackbeard and said to be a rapacious buccaneer with a gory career along the mid Atlantic coast, especially the Delaware Indian River region.
As Blueskin 'the pirate', on a lonely strip of seacoast near Lewestowne on the tip of Cape Henlopen , he sat upon a metal bound chest full and heavy with dubloons, jewels, gold and silver, stolen from merchant ships along the Virginia and Carolina coast, watching two of his crew digging the sand. His commands to hurry were heard as he stood to show the brace of villainous weapons strapped to his belt. Soon the hole was deep and he ordered the chest be lowered and covered until there was no sign of being disturbed. Again and again Blueskin paced a distance to a certain tree, making careful note. As the crewmen sat with their backs toward Blueskin , with a ferocious moment of activity, the nonchalant pirate chief, turned, wiped the blade of his cutlass and replaced it again at his side. The two lay still upon the sand. Dead men tell no tales.
Then, unexpectedly, as Blueskin was bent down, to examine the surface under which the chest was buried, his back to the forest, a slight movement behind him, he found himself blinded and imprisoned in a sack of heavy cloth that had been tossed aside where the chest had been resting on the sand, his hands and feet were tied and weapons thrown aside. And there stood Hiram, dull and stupid Hiram, who had followed his half brother, Levi, and hid in the nearby forest, reaped his vengeance for the cruelty to Sally Martin.
Hiram brought the helpless pirate chief , bound, gagged, before the village magistrate and Lieutenant Robert Maynard, Master of the sloop of war Scorpion that had been in Lewes Harbor watching for pirates, was identified , not as Levi West, but as Blueskin the Pirate. Placed aboard the Scorpion and taken to England to stand trial. While awaiting trial at Newgate Prison, Blueskin, removed his stockings and hung himself with them in his cell.
CINCINNATI ENQUIRER, OHIO, SEPTEMBER 22, 1929 'LAURA LOU BROOKMAN'