The Bones of Black Sam Bellamy — Captain of the Whydah?

“Black Sam” Bellamy

The Whydah Pirate Museum announced this week, that last year human bones were found near the wreck of the pirate ship Whydah  on Cape Cod, Massachusetts.  The bones were located in an area close to where a pistol, which possibly belonged to the ship’ captain, Samuel Bellamy, had been recovered.  Forensic scientists from the University of New Haven in Connecticut are now comparing the DNA from the bones to a DNA sample given by one of Bellamy’s living descendants in the United Kingdom.

Samuel, “Black Sam” Bellamy had one of the shorter careers as a pirate, lasting roughly one year.  Nevertheless, in that time he and his crew captured at least 53 ships, valued at $137 million in 2017 dollars – making him one of the wealthiest pirate in recorded history.

Black Sam wasn’t able to enjoy his ill-gotten games, however. Bellamy’s ship the Whydah was caught in a violent nor’easter storm off Cape Cod at midnight, on April 26, 1717 and was driven onto the shoals near what is now Wellfleet, Massachusetts. All but two of the 145 men aboard were drowned, including Sam Bellamy. Bellamy was 28.

When the the Whydah sank, it was said that she was carrying from four and a half to five tons of silver, gold, gold dust, and jewelry.  Of those aboard, 102 bodies were recovered and subsequently buried. There is no record that Bellamy was among the bodies recovered.

The wreck of the Whydah was discovered in 1984 and was the first pirate ship to be discovered on the American coast. 

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