Bones of Fearsome Pirate May Have Been Found

Remains pulled from the wreckage of the Whydah Gally will be tested
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 17, 2018 6:10 AM CST
Bones of Fearsome Pirate May Have Been Found
The location of the pirate ship Whydah Gally, captained by the famous "Black Sam" Bellamy, which wrecked off the coast of in Cape Cod on April 26, 1717.   (Wikimedia Commons)

When the Whydah Gally went down in a 1717 storm 144 lives were lost—none so noteworthy as that of Samuel "Black Sam" Bellamy. The New England Historical Society describes the pirate as infamous, but not infamously cruel: As historian Colin Woodard puts it, he followed a credo of "Fight smart, harm few, score big," and big he did score—plundering 54 ships before his watery death at age 28. The wreck of the Whydah Gally was found off Wellfleet, Mass., in 1984 by Barry Clifford, whose Whydah Pirate Museum now features coins, weapons, and other items pulled from the wreckage, with the Boston Globe reporting the ship also had four tons of silver and gold aboard. It notes a 2008 report from Forbes that weighed in on just how successful Bellamy was on the financial front: It estimated he had pilfered the equivalent of $120 million as a pirate.

The museum earlier this month announced that archaeologists in 2017 located remains in a huge concretion (that is, a hardened mass of sand and stone) pulled from the wreck near what they suspect is Bellamy's pistol, reports the AP. University of New Haven scientists now plan to compare whatever DNA they can recover from the femur with that of one of Bellamy's modern-day relatives, with results due in roughly 6 weeks, reports the Cape Cod Times. If the bones are indeed Bellamy's, they'll be buried in his native England. As for his nickname, "Black Sam" came from the fact that declined to wear the powdered wigs popular in the day, instead simply securing his black hair with a black satin ribbon. (A surprising find was recently made in Blackbeard's cannon.)

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