The Tragedy of Goody Hallett

Gypsy Heart

Gold Member
Nov 29, 2005
The Tragedy of Goody Hallett

The discovery of the pirate ship Whidah has shed light into the activities of pirate Captain "Black Sam" Bellamy and his ill-fated band of buccaneers. The loss of the ship and most of her crew in the winter of 1717 produced a number of legends about buried gold, the sounds of death, and ghostly apparitions on foggy nights at the Cape's outer shore.

Josef Berger, who wrote the 1930's classic Cape Cod Pilot, told the story of the simple Eastham farm girl whose fate was linked with the wreck of the Whidah. Her name was "Goody" Hallett.

How good "Goody" Hallett was is a matter of some speculation. It seems that she made the acquaintance of Captain Bellamy when he visited Eastham some years before he and his ship were done in by a northeaster. While he stayed the warm months at the Crosby Tavern, Bellamy met and sweet-talked sixteen year old Maria Hallett. The handsome pirate's tales of wealth and adventure impressed the wide-eyed Cape lass and there was talk of love. He convinced her that he would return and marry her once he cleared up some business in the Caribbean. As September brought its chilly evenings, he sailed away without her.

Some months after his departure, Maria Hallett gave birth to a child that died the same night. The event caused such a scandal in the small town that the selectmen threw the poor girl in jail. While in prison she became so distraught that she lost her mind. Escaping frequently, she wandered the dunes of the Atlantic shore looking seaward for her lost lover. Eastham ceased its attempts to confine the girl and she was eventually cast out of town with the stipulation that she never return. She was reduced to scratching out a living doing menial jobs and lived in a lonely shack near the shore at South Wellfleet.

As years passed, Maria became a shell of her once beautiful self and residents began to refer to her as a witch who sold her soul to the Devil. They called her "Goody" and told stories of seeing her in the dunes on cold windy nights screaming curses into the storm on the head of Captain Sam Bellamy, the man who betrayed her.

As for Captain Bellamy, he had long forgotten Maria and his pleasant summer in Eastham. He developed quite a reputation for himself and, with his band of brigands, he terrorized ships in the Caribbean. But it may have been the memory of warm Eastham nights that caused him to bring his ship back to New England. Or perhaps it was because the price on his head was high enough for him to decide to seek plunder in different waters. At any rate, he arrived off the coast of Cape Cod in the winter of 1717 only to fall victim to a massive storm. Despite all the efforts of the crew, the Whidah struck the bar off South Wellfleet and went to pieces. As men screamed their last in the raging surf, people along the beach saw "Goody" Hallett standing on the high bluffs shrieking her thanks to the Devil for vengeance.

In the aftermath of the wreck, the story grew that "Goody" Hallett somehow managed to retrieve and conceal a chest of pirate gold from the ship. Because Sam Bellamy's body was never recovered it was also rumored that he escaped the sinking ship and was ashore in search of his lost treasure.

The legend developed that the buried gold is still somewhere in Wellfleet because "Goody" Hallett forgot where she buried it, taking the secret to her grave. For many years after the Whidah wreck, local residents reported picking up gold coins along the Atlantic beach after great storms.

Was there a buried treasure? No one really knows. Perhaps the secret did die with "Goody" Hallett and the remainder of the treasure lies waiting for someone to stumble on it.

excerpt from Cape Cod Companion, The History and Mystery of Old Cape Cod


Bronze Member
Jun 9, 2006
Banning, California
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Hey Gypsy,
Great story !!!! oh and Love your avatar..... I just don't trust the look with the words but,..... ok ... I'll be your Valentine :-* but.... will you be mine ???


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