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Prince of Pirates, the Richest, and His Tragic Love Story

Black Sam, Pirate

Black Sam, Pirate

Replica of Ship Whydah

Replica of Ship Whydah

Sam Bellamy, Known as "Black Sam"

Sam Bellamy was born in England in 1689. However, he earned the nickname of "Black Sam," not because he was notorious but due to his long black hair tied back in a ponytail and tied with a ribbon. Sam was flashy, wearing a long black coat with four dueling pistols in his sash. He was definitely dashing and very well-mannered.

Sam signed on with the Royal Navy but soon turned rogue. While in Wellfleet, he met a young girl, Maria Hallett, who was only 15 years old. Aam was 26 years old, but they fell in love. Her parents felt he was stable enough, so Sam was tempted by love and money. He set sail with Captain Homigild and another pirate, Teach, and headed to Florida for treasure. It seems the crew decided to elect Bellamy as their leader. All the while, Sam had no idea his love Maria was pregnant. Now captain of the Sultana Bellamy spotted the ship WHYDAH, loaded with riches beyond belief. Sam pursued the Whydah for three days, and the Whydah surrendered easily. True to his character of generosity and fairness, he traded the Sultana for the Whydah and let the captain and his crew go. He added more guns to his new ship Whydah and, with all the riches, set sail for Wellfleet to reunite with Maria.

The Whydah was built in 1715, was 100 feet long, and weighed 300 tons. It had been a slave ship and had just finished unloading its cargo of slaves in Bermuda when Sam captured her.

In just a short time, less than two years, Sam had captured 50 ships and their treasures amassing a fortune worth 142 million in today's money, thus making him the richest pirate.

Sailing Back to Wellfleet

Sam was anxious to return to Maria and was sailing along the coast when disaster struck. A noreaster was tearing up the coast, so Sam headed into Cape Cod, but as fate would have it, he hit a sandbar tearing the ship apart and sunk with all on board drowned, including Sam, except for two survivors.

For months Maria had been walking the shores calling for Sam as she waited for his return. The town had scorned Maria being pregnant out of wedlock. She was alone, living in the woods and encouraging for food.

After the Whydah sunk, over 100 bodies washed ashore, and none were Sams. Maria heard about the wreck, and Maria became a recluse living in a small shack alone without her love or child that had died.

The Discovery of the Wreck Whydah in 1984

Diver Barry Clifford had always heard stories of the Whydah as he grew up in the area. He discovered the wreck in 14 feet of water covered with five feet of sand. They recovered the ship's bell intact with the inscription Whydah 1715 and chests of gold, silver, and jewels. This discovery was the only certified and authenticated pirate shipwreck ever found in America.

Bones were found fused in the sand, and an attempt was made using DNA from a living relative of Bellamy. As more bones will be released, DNA will be ongoing to match Sam's. Clifford built a museum to showcase the story of Sam Bellamy and the history of the Whydah. The museum is located at 16 MacMillan Pier, Provincetown, Massachusetts. 508-534-9571.

Map of Wreck Cape Cod, Mass.

Map of Wreck Cape Cod, Mass.

Bell of the Whydah

Bell of the Whydah

Treasure of Whydah

Treasure of Whydah

Wellfleet Restaurant

Wellfleet Restaurant

The Legend of Maria Hallett

There are several different legends surrounding Maria "Goody" Hallett, the mistress of Sam Bellamy.

Legend says that after her baby's death and being shunned and abandoned by her lover, she made a pact with the devil in return for her soul. She learns about the return of the Whydah, and so she climbs to the highest dune, raises her arms, and creates a storm. As she watched the ship sink with all aboard, she danced on the beach the proceeded to drag a chest full of gold and bury it onshore.

The area is close to Marconi Beach, Mass.

Here's an interesting tidbit.

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In 1998, a Wellfleet restaurant staff reported a customer emerged from a restroom in a panic, saying there was a young woman in an old-fashioned dress in the room. The customer hurriedly signed the credit slip and left. The signature on the credit slip was BELLAMY!

Marconi Beach, Mass.

Marconi Beach, Mass.

Sources Used



Chrish Canosa from Manila Philippines on April 10, 2021:


BRENDA ARLEDGE from Washington Court House on April 09, 2021:

Wow! What an interesting story about Sam & Maria.

Based on a true story no doubt. Those are my favorite...finding sunken treasures.

I wonder if they will ever find his DNA.

As for Maria..I find it interesting that she was shunned away by her family when they knew of Sam.

Her baby dying had to be awful at such a young age. Then being alone to fend for herself on top of it.

I wonder if the legend is true about her making a pact with the devil.

Was she upset? Did she feel abandoned? Or was she waiting patiently for his return?

I can imagine the patron who left in a hurry. They say things like this do actually happen.

Great write.

fran rooks (author) from Toledo, Ohio on April 09, 2021:

Treshty, thank you for your visit. So glad you liked it.

Chrish Canosa from Manila Philippines on April 09, 2021:

All hand Hoy!! Ahoy Sir! I so love pirate stories and histories, that was a sad ending.

Thanks for sharing Captain Samuels history- one of the faces of the golden age of Piracy. I do really enjoyed it. Blessings!!!

fran rooks (author) from Toledo, Ohio on April 09, 2021:

And thank you Rosina for your visit and comment.

Rosina S Khan on April 09, 2021:

This is an intriguing account of the pirate Sam Bellamy. I really enjoyed it. Thanks for sharing, Fran.

fran rooks (author) from Toledo, Ohio on April 09, 2021:

Thank you for your visit and kind comment. I do appreciate it.

MG Singh emge from Singapore on April 08, 2021:

Wonderful, I am fond of pirates and read a lot about them. You have created a nice and interesting account of a pirate.

John Hansen from Australia (Gondwana Land) on April 08, 2021:

A tragic but very interesting tale. Thank you for sharing about Black Sam, a pirate I had never heard of before.

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on April 08, 2021:

This iis an interesting article, Fran. Poor Maria had a horrible life, and the tales are wild about her actions. I enjoyed reading it.



Liz Westwood from UK on April 08, 2021:

This is a sad tale. Although piracy is theft I found myself wishing that he could survive.

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