Whydah Galley (1716)

The sea crashed and churned with waves as high as 30 feet smashing into the hull of Whydah, drunk and in a stupor the 146 crew were unable to control the ship. she hit a sandbar broke apart and founded. all but two of the men survived and the ship took to the bottom of the ocean a vast amount of Gold and Silver and a man that would slip into Legend and Lore for the next 300 years, the Prince of Pirates, Black Sam Bellamy.

The Whydah Galley is one of the oldest ships that I know about associated with my family history, it had a pretty short life of only two years and ran aground, capsized and then sunk in a storm of Wellfleet, Massachusetts on the 26th April 1717.

The ship passed into legend and lore for the next 300 years, for inside that ship contained the vast wealth of Pirate Black Sam Bellamy.

Whydah was built as a slave ship in 1715 and would have made many Atlantic crossings during her first year in service, however she was hijacked in Jamaica on her maiden voyage by Black Sam, the ship was 100 ft in length and weighed 300 tons, a sure prize for any pirate. For the next year the captain and his crew used Whydah to pirate other ships before sailing north to Wellfleet, Massachesetts where it’s believed that Bellamy’s lover was waiting for him.

Wyhdah never reached its destination and Bellamy’s bride to be Mariah Hallett never saw him again, as legend has it the crew were too drunk to finish out the journey and sadly the ship came afoul of a powerful Nor’easter on the night of 26th April. The gale was fierce and strong with winds as fast as 70 miles per hour, the sea churned and swelled and Atlantic waves as high as 30 feet slammed into the ship. On Wydhah’s approach of Capecod the storm worsened and the ship’s crew still too drunk and unable to keep control during its navigation of the storm, crashed violently into a sandbar and immediately broke apart. 146 men were onboard and all but two of the crew survived.

Legend has it that Bellamy’s Bride heavily pregnant at the time watched the Whydah disappear beneath the waves as she stood helpless on Wellfleet sands. As the ship sunk it took with it the wealth of 53 other vessels, according to one survivor Whydah Galley contained 180 bags of gold and silver.

Black Sam Bellamy was the wealthiest pirate to have ever lived.

A brief history of Samuel Bellamy (1689 – 1717)

Bellamy was the youngest of seven known children born to Stephen and Elizabeth Bellamy in the parish of Hittisleigh in Devonshire, England, in 1689. Elizabeth died soon after, and was buried on 23rd February 1689, three weeks before Samuel’s baptism on March 18. The future pirate became a sailor at a young age; in his late teens, he joined the Royal Navy and fought in several battles. Though it has been speculated that he may have had a wife and child, there is no definite historical proof of this.

Bellamy travelled to Capecod in 1715, it is believed he was visiting relatives there, it was during this time that he met Mariah, they fell in love and vowed to marry her, although her parents regarded him as poor un-confident sailor and not marriage material for their daughter. Samuel decided hence forth to seek his fortune return a rich and strong man and marry her.

Though his known career as a pirate captain lasted little more than a year, he and his crew captured at least 53 ships, making him the wealthiest pirate in recorded history before his death at age 28. Called “Black Sam” in Cape Cod folklore because he eschewed the fashionable powdered wig in favor of tying back his long black hair with a simple band, Bellamy became known for his mercy and generosity toward those he captured on his raids. This reputation earned him another nickname, the “Prince of Pirates”. He likened himself to Robin Hood, with his crew calling themselves “Robin Hood’s Men”.

Bellamy really was a Prince of the Seas.

My family connection to Bellamy.

Samuel “Black Sam”, “Prince of Pirates”, “Robin Hood of the Sea” BELLAMY (1689 – 1717)
1st cousin 11x removed

Stephen BELLAMY (1646 – 1720)
father of Samuel “Black Sam”, “Prince of Pirates”, “Robin Hood of the Sea” BELLAMY

Francis BELLAMY (1625 – )
father of Stephen BELLAMY and my 11th great-grandfather.

John BELLAMY (1641 – )
son of Francis BELLAMY

Anne ‘Hannah’ BELLAMY (1667 – )
daughter of John BELLAMY

Samuel HOWE (1691 – )
son of Anne ‘Hannah’ BELLAMY

Sarah HOWE (1724 – 1771)
daughter of Samuel HOWE

Sarah Hough HEWITT (1747 – 1794)
daughter of Sarah HOWE

Henry LEGGETT (1778 – 1831)
son of Sarah Hough HEWITT

Samuel Black LEGGETT (1818 – 1903)
son of Henry LEGGETT and possibly named after Black Sam as he shares his name and born 101 years to the day he died.

Margaret LEGGETT (1842 – 1871)
daughter of Samuel Black LEGGETT

George Rochester WOODS (1863 – 1911)
son of Margaret LEGGETT

Mary Ann WOODS (1908 – 1982)
daughter of George Rochester WOODS

William Llewellyn BEAN (1931 – )
son of Mary Ann WOODS

Christine Angela Deborah BEAN (1957 – )
daughter of William Llewellyn BEAN

Stephen Robert KUTA
I am the son of Christine Angela Deborah BEAN

Details regarding Whydah Galley

Whilst in British Hands

Name: Whydah Gally
Namesake: The African slave port Ouidah
Owner: Sir Humphry Morice
Operator: Private Vessel
Builder: Unknown
Cost: Unknown
Laid down: 1715, London
Launched: 1716, London
Homeport: London
Fate: Captured by pirates
Commander: Captain Lawrence Prince
Chased by pirates: late Feb, 1717
Windward Passage
Surrendered /
Captured:
three days later, near the lower Bahamas

Whilst in Pirate Hands

Name: Whydah Gally
Owner: Crew of Captain/Commodore Samuel “Black Sam” Bellamy
Acquired: late February, 1717
Homeport: Blanco Islet, B.V.I. (later re-named Bellamy Cay) Caribbean Sea
Fate: ran aground, capsized
Status: Ruins under perpetual recovery and conservation; private ownership & exclusive dive rights
Commander: Samuel “Black Sam” Bellamy
Wrecked: late night of 26 April 1717, Billingsgate, Cape Cod, Massachusetts Bay Colony Coordinates: 41.892°N 69.9594°W
Discovered: 1984, by Barry Clifford
Authenticated: 1985, by discovery of the ship’s inscribed bell and a brass placard, both inscribed with ship’s name
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One thought on “Whydah Galley (1716)

  1. Was “Black Sam” actually black? I am related to the Bellamys of Jamaica and wonder if he’s in that blood line.

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