The story of the two pirates Samuel Bellamy and Paulsgrave Williams, circa 1716-1717, has been written before, but my version comes from a book dating to before 1900 and contains information which I have not found in any other publication.
It was not at the mouth of the Machias River where the two pirates had their stronghold, but further upriver. They did dig a subterranean treasure house, but it was not inside the fort. There is little doubt but that the vault holds a large hoard of what we call treasure today. The story of Bellamy and Williams started out as what could have been just another instance of illegal salvaging in the West Indies. After several years of wrecking ships from the shore, the two men decided to try it at sea by becoming pirates.
Now, for piracy, they needed a ship, which they did not have. But the problem was shortly solved with the appearance of the British merchant vessel Whidah near their headquarters. The Whidah, her holds bulging with precious metals, ivory, and gems, took shelter in a small West Indian cove. Here the British proceeded to replenish their water supply before starting the long voyage to England. A few hours later, the land-bound pirates were rowing toward the unsuspecting ship. In a matter of minutes, every member of the crew was dead. Bellamy and Williams immediately commissioned the Whidah as a pirate ship and headed north.
After looting a number of ships along the way, the pirates arrived at a destination selected by Captain Bellamy, the only navigator on board. The spot was near the mouth of the Machias River, far from any civilized community at that time. It was here that the two leaders put into action a plan they had had for some time. They reasoned that the cargo which their ship carried should be hidden before they sailed again.
The two decided to build a permanent headquarters, which took the form of a large log fort with defensive fences and earthworks. Close by, a large vault was excavated to serve as a treasure house. Here the spoils of their pirating were secreted.
When all of this was done, and the Whidah had been overhauled, Bellamy and Williams set sail again. For several months their piratical deeds were the byword from New England to the Carolinas. After several forays, the treasure house was filled. So extensive was the wealth that Bellamy and Williams decided they could afford to quit pirating.
However, the temptation to make one more trip was too much, and on the last trip out, near-disaster occurred in the vicinity of Fortune Bay. The pirates spotted a wealthy-looking vessel, which, when they came within range, was a French corvette with 36 guns. In the battle that followed, most of the crew of Bellamy and Williams were killed, although the battered Whidah did manage to elude the French vessel and sailed back to their pirate headquarters. When the Whidah was repaired, they again set sail on one last trip.
Near Nantucket Shoals, Massachusetts, the pirates captured the Mary Jane, an outbound whaler from New Bedford. It carried nothing of value. Bellamy appointed the Mary Janes captain to lead the Whidah through the unfamiliar shoals until the tip of Cape Cod was passed, and then Bellamy himself would navigate.
The captain of the Mary Jane, threading his way through the reefs, led the Whidah around, and both vessels were torn apart. All the men onboard both ships were drowned except the captain of the Mary Jane, who finally made it to shore.
Seven pirates who were following the two vessels in a small sloop also reached the shore, but they were swiftly captured and hanged by the angry townspeople of Eastham, Mass.
The headquarters of Bellamy and Williams, near the mouth of the Machias River, has just about disappeared. Butsomewhere nearby is hidden one of the richest pirate caches in North America, one that has never been reported found.