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Cape Cod The Crew of 102

One hundred and two men, the crew of a pirate ship, were once buried on the beach at Welifleet. They were the crew of the Whydah, a ship of about 200 tons. It was armed with twenty-three guns and one hundred and thirty men.

The captain was Samuel Bellamy. During April 1717, this pirate crew took seven prizes. But the days of this piratical gang were to be numbered by hanging or drowning.

The seven prizes had to be taken into port. The captain of one of these captured vessels saw that the pirate crew was drunk so he managed to get his vessel away from the pirates and he sailed into Provincetown harbor. Some of the pirates were caught and sent to Boston where they were tried and hanged. Others escaped.

The captain of the pirate ship Whydah, fearing a storm was coming up, told the captain of one captured prize that he would let him go if he would pilot the ship into Provincetown. The night was dark so a lantern was hung in the rigging. By this the captain could follow the course.

The Cape Cod captain did not trust the pirate so he managed to get over the shallow water where the pirate could not follow, He then threw a burning tar barrel overboard that the pirate ship followed. The fleet, made up of the pirate ship, her tender, a wine ship and a sloop, were put into confusion. On the 26th of April the fleet was wrecked near the Wellfleet shore. All but two men of the large ships perished, an Englishman and an Indian.

When the news of the disaster reached Boston a government ship was sent to the Cape to look after the government interests. This ship reached Provincetown on May 2. A whale boat and crew were sent to Truro. Here horses were gotten and they went to Wellfleet.

A watch was set upon the wreck and the shore. The vessel was on the beach broken to pieces. The wreck of the wine ship, four miles further up the beach, was also broken up. About 200 men, some from as far away as 20 miles had visited the wreck and helped themselves to anything that had come ashore. The gale was still heavy. Captain Southack of the government boat got the pirate’s cable and ax anchors, and issued a notice that anyone found with any of the shipwrecked goods in his possession would be in trouble with the government. Several cartloads were reclaimed and sent to Boston by the way of Wellfleet.

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Cape Cod
Posted by Cape Cod - (website) on 05/04/06
Categories: HistoryPlacesWellfleet
Keywords: history, maritime, pirates, shipwrecks, wellfleet, Whydah


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