Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Historical Cape Cod - Facts and Fictions

  Sam Bellamy, aka 'Black Sam' and 'Prince of Pirates', was a real pirate from the 1700s.  Born in England, his life has been documented through official records and ships logs.  A National Geographic special, entitled, Real Pirates was produced in the spring of 1990 featuring Barry Clifford's 1986 discovery of the wreck of Bellamy's ship, the Whydah, off the coast of Cape Cod.  Always a mystery, the unearthing of the Whydahs’ bell by Clifford was the key to prove the legend to be true. It also increased the aura that surrounded this handsome rogue and added another piece to the puzzle of Sam Bellamy. This past April 26 marked 295 years since the sinking of the Whydah.

The Whydah, photo courtesy of the Exhibition Whydah website. Here is a link:

This video is interesting.

This is fun to explore!
National Geographic's link:

Marconi Beach in Wellfleet, near where the wreck was discovered, is a beautiful and scenic vista. Erosion has eaten away at the cliffs but gives you a glimpse into the desolation and danger of running afoul in a 1717 nor'easter. This picture was taken April 26, 2012.

A high dune at Marconi resembles the one that Maria Hallett watched from, as she waited for her Sam. According to one of the legends about her, she cursed all sailors that sailed by the coast because her lover never came back for her.

Maria Hallett, allegedly the mistress of Sam Bellamy, has never been proven to actually exist. But for over 295 years, she has lived in the minds and superstitions of all Cape Codders.  According to legend, when Bellamy had enough gold and booty after years of plundering along the Atlantic coast and the West Indies, he and his fleet headed to the coast of Maine. No one knows why he turned off course towards the tumultuous coast of Cape Cod that fateful night of April 26, 1717. It might have been that he wanted something that was his…or could it have been for the love of a woman named Maria Hallett.

To some Cape Codders Maria Hallett is a myth; to others she was very real. Here is a street in Eastham named for her. Either it was for fun or they wanted to make a statement, further perpetuating her myth. Besides being called Maria Hallett, she was also known as 'Goody Hallett' and the 'Witch of Billingsgate', an island that disappeared off Wellfleet.

In my historical novel, I take Maria's legend and tell her story the way I think it could have happened using the true facts of Sam Bellamy. No one knows for sure what ever became of Maria, for all I know, maybe my story is what really happened.

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