The Witch and the Pirate

The Tragic Love Story of Maria “Goody” Hallett and “Black Sam” Bellamy

Joshua Hehe


(Image Credit: Greg Manchess/National Geographic)

In the wake of the War of the Spanish Succession, after the Peace of Utrecht, countless privateers and veterans of the Royal Navy became unemployed sailors. Some of those desperate jobseekers then headed from England to New England to make a fresh start in life. Among them was a good-looking, charismatic Cornishman from England’s West Country, named Samuel Bellamy. He arrived in East Ham Harbor in the summer of 1715, probably in late July. Then, not long after he set foot on the shores of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, Sam awoke one morning with a particularly nagging hangover. So, he decided to take a walk and clear his head a bit before really getting the day started. Little did he know that this would lead to a chance encounter with someone that would change his fate forever.

As if drawn by destiny, he wandered into the scrub pines and heard the voice of a young girl, who was singing a siren song on a swing. Maria was an innocent yet alluring blonde-haired, blue-eyed, 15-year-old virgin, and Sam was a dashing and daring, tall, dark, and handsome 25-year-old sailor. Nonetheless, as if they were soulmates reunited across time and space, the moment Sam and Maria saw each other it was love at first sight. Their lingering stare immediately gave way to an erotic embrace, which gave way to a brief love affair. The problem was that she came from the well-to-do Puritanical Hallett’s of Yarmouth, so her parents wholly disapproved of the footloose out-of-work seaman who seemed to be trying to take advantage of their naive young daughter. They even made it quite clear to Sam that he would not become their son-in-law.

Still, wanting nothing more than to have her hand in marriage, like a proper gentleman, Sam Bellamy vowed to set sail and return a wealthy man who would be far more deserving of her as his wife. He had lofty ambitions of becoming a treasure hunter and headed down to the coast of Florida to find sunken Spanish ships filled with riches beyond his wildest dreams. However, when that plan soon failed, Sam did what most down-on-their-luck sailors did back then and became a pirate. Samuel Bellamy joined a brutal band of buccaneers and soon ousted Captain Benjamin Hornigold in a bloodless coup, in which Ben was deposed…