One fateful night in 1717 a violent Nor’easter blew into Cape Cod and claimed the Wydah Gally, a 300 ton, 3 masted, ship once sailed by the English to transport slaves. That night the ship was captained by the famous Captain Samuel Bellamy, a young and very successful pirate who had captured the ship earlier that year.
Samuel Bellamy, known to many as “Black Sam” due to his preference for tying his long black hair back in a pony tail as opposed to wearing the more popular powder wig of the day, had captured the Wydah as part of his short career as a pirate. While Sam’s career was short it was nothing less than illustrious. Captain Bellamy captured 53 ships and became the wealthiest pirate in recorded history when he scored the Whydah, a ship loaded with gold and precious trade goods that had been secured by the sale of slaves.
Bellamy was driven to wealth by his beloved’s parent’s dissatisfaction with his financial status. Having fallen in love with Maria Hallett of Wellfleet/Eastham, Bellamy went to sea to earn his fortune and claim his love. He first attempted the honest life but soon found that piracy was more lucrative. Unfortunately he did not have much time to enjoy his fortune as he went down with the Wydah in the Nor’easter. It was not till 1984 that the shipwreck and its treasures were found by Barry Clifford. The discovery of the Wydah was the first authenticated find of a pirate ship and its discovery and riches are documented at the Whydah Pirate Museum in Provincetown, MA.
Whydah Pirate Museum, 16 MacMillian Wharf, Provincetown, 10am to 5pm, daily April 15- Oct 31, $10 admission.