The legend of Billy Bowlegs

Stories about buried treasure have and always will capture the imagination of those possessing an adventurous spirit. For some, just the thought of buried riches is enough to quicken the pulse. More common perhaps than any other legend however are stories involving pirates and buried treasure. No matter the pirate, Blackbeard, Bellamy, Lafitte or otherwise, there almost always seems to be an accompanying story of buried loot. While the matter of factual basis for these claims is controversial – and often unfounded – in the eyes of serious historians, to many, the stories are interesting folktales nonetheless.

A fact that many locals may be unaware about, however, is that both Santa Rosa and Okaloosa counties possess some pirate legends of their own. In fact, one of the more notable festivals during the year for Northwest Florida is the Billy Bowlegs Festival in Fort Walton Beach.  An exciting time of reverie for those in the area, the festival itself is supposedly based off the figure William Augustus Bowles, whom people refer to as “Billy Bowlegs.” What is perhaps even more confusing than pirates invading modern-day Fort Walton Beach however is the sheer number of people purported as being “Billy Bowlegs.”

Read the full article in the June 2 issue of Navarre Press. Click HERE to subscribe online to your community newspaper.

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