Monthly Archives: June 2021

The Saddle and Pillion Graves

(Updated 6/25/21 by Don Bayley)

Edmond Freeman, one of the Ten Men from Saugus and the founder of Sandwich is buried here with his wife Elizabeth.

He sailed with his 2nd wife Elizabeth, 4 children from his first marriage on the “Abigail” which left Plymouth, Devon, England on 4 June 1635. There was an outbreak of smallpox on this ship during the crossing. The family arrived in Boston Harbor on 8 Oct 1635. They first settled in Saugus which is now called Lynn, MA. Admitted freeman at Plymouth, MA on 23 January 1637. He was the assistant to Gov. Bradford 1640-1647 and the principle founder of the town of Sandwich, Barnstable, MA in 1637.

Freeman settled on his homestead about a mile and a quarter east of the present Town Hall on the sloping land leading from what is now Tupper Road down to the Cape Cod Canal. (Most of the former Freeman land is now occupied by the NRG power plant.) They lived out their lives here and when Elizabeth passed away on February 14, 1676, Edmond buried her on a hill on their farm. He marked her grave with a large stone likening to a pillion (a British term for the seat behind the saddle on a horse). With foresight, Edmond also positioned a large stone that resembled a saddle to be used as a monument for his own grave. Family tradition tells us that the headstones reminded Edmond of the early years in Sandwich when he and Elizabeth traveled by horseback over the fields of their farm. Edmond Freeman died in 1682 and was buried beside Elizabeth, the longer stone, “the saddle,” was placed over his grave.

The burial place became known as the Saddle and Pillion Cemetery and is the oldest burying ground in Sandwich. Bronze plaques were added to these stones in 1910 by their descendants. The cemetery is located a short distance north of the end of Wilson Avenue and a marker has been placed on the south side of Tupper Road just before it intersects with Rt. 6A. VIEW MAP

Saddle and Pillion Graves
Saddle and Pillion Graves

At one time these graves were encircled by a stone fence, remnants of which were still visible in the late 1800’s. The beautiful bronze tablets which are presently on these stone monuments were placed there on August 22, 1910 by members of the Freeman family, descendants of Edmond.

Article on the Freeman graves in Towns of New England and Old England, Ireland and Scotland, Volumes 1-2
By State Street Trust Company, Boston, Allan Forbes

The website Find A Grave lists the Freeman Family tree as follows (click the pic to go to the site):

Brady Island

-by Bill Daley

What we call “Brady Island” today, was once a charming teardrop shaped upland of 12 acres in the middle of the historical harbor marsh that connected the Village of Sandwich to Cape Cod Bay at high tides.


The creeks around the island were used as a method of transporting goods and people to and from Sandwich. It acquired its name when the land was purchased by its namesake, Hugh Brady, in 1865. The land was originally owned by the Tobey family and was referred to as Tobey Island. During the Hugh Brady years, he successfully petitioned the town to construct a small bridge from the island over the creek to Tupper Avenue as well as a similar structure that led to the factory area.   Today it is no longer an island for in the 1930s Route 6A was constructed along one of its boundaries and the land became a peninsula.

Hugh Brady (c.1832-1925) is linked to the glass making industry that changed Sandwich from a rural farming community to a glass manufacturing town. Like many local glass workers at that time, he was born in Ireland and emigrated to work at the Boston & Sandwich Glass Company.

Hugh Brady purchased the land in 1865, built a home there and he and his wife raised their 15 children on the property. It was from here that he walked to work at the factory to take his position as a “shearer”, the person who assisted the head glass maker by cutting the glass during the final phase of glass making. It was something he would do for 25 years. Upon his death at age 93 in 1925, the land passed to his heirs and it was sold in the late 1950s to the Bazzinotti family. They held in for a few years and by the early 1960s it was sold to the town. In what can only be described as tragic, the town gave it to the local fire department to use as a training area and the 1865 Brady home was intentionally burned to the ground by the firefighters.  The Sandwich Conservation Commission acquired the property in 1967.

There have been various thoughts about restoring the area to its former parklike setting but, none have come to fruition. Presently it is overgrown with trees and vegetation since it was abandoned in the 1960s. The current Conservation Director is clearing some of the growth with the idea that it could become a restful spot again.

Bill Daley

Sandwich Historical Commission, March, 2021