The 10 Men of Saugus

“The year 1637 marks the era of the first English settlement on the Cape. The settlement at Sandwich was projected by Mr. Edmund Freeman and others who, April 3 of this year, obtained a grant from the Colony of Plymouth and at once with a large number of families from Lynn, Duxbury and Plymouth but chiefly from Lynn, the ancient Saugus, removed to the location designated. The settlement was begun this year under very favorable auspices although it was not regularly incorporated as a town until about two years after.

“Touching this settlement the following record appears: ‘April 3, 1637, it is also agreed by the Court that these ten men of Saugus, viz., Edmund Freeman, Henry Feake, Thomas Dexter, Edward Dillingham, William Wood, John Carman, Richard Chadwell, William Almy, Thomas Tupper, and George Knott shall have liberty to view a place to sit down, and have sufficient lands for threescore families, upon the conditions propounded to them by the governor and Mr. Winslow.‘”
(from: The History of Cape Cod: The Annals of Barnstable County …, Volume 1
By Frederick Freeman)










DSCN7172Click each name below to read a transcript of speeches given at the Sandwich 375th anniversary celebration in 2014.




(portrayed by Mark Pommrehn)

(portrayed by Bill Powell)

(portrayed by David Schrader)

(portrayed by Doug Dexter)

(portrayed by Jeff Miller)

(portrayed by Bill Imes)

(portrayed by Irving Freeman)

(portrayed by Raymond Tobey)

(portrayed by Paul Williams)

(read by Kaethe Maguire; William Wood was her 9th Great Grandfather)


17 thoughts on “The 10 Men of Saugus

  1. Though I am not an ancestor of the 10 men, I grew up just across Rt. 6A from where Edmund Freeman’s homestead was. I was living there in the early 80’s when the original Freeman house was arsonized on behalf of the interests of Canal Electric, which sought to open a pathway to store their fuel. Turns out they never ended up needing it anyway as the oil embargoes eased up. Unfortunately, the most historically significant piece of property on Cape Cod was lost. But I spent many a day spelunking in the barn behind the house, collecting all sorts of knick knacks like medicine bottles and marbles. Gave me great joy and a true sense of adventure as a child.

    1. I am researching George Slawson and his brother Thomas who arrived in Lynn in 1636 and ended up in Sandwich by 1637/8. Both men apparently married while in Sandwich. How might I find any marriage records or potentially a birth of son John Slawson c. 1641?

  2. I am descended from Mr. Henry Feake through his daughter Margaret, the first wife of Nathaniel Fish. (Their granddaughter Abiah fish married Samuel Tobey, grandson of George Knott.) (By the way, Henry Feake’s cousin, also named Henry Feake, was the London goldsmith.) Here is Henry Feake’s story, as he recently told:

    (Aug. 14, 2018) Mr. Henry Feake was a man with a mission. Mr. Feake understood, after he had inherited, that he would be able to use part of his wealth to help others. Mr. Feake understood, in the time that he lived, it was very difficult for villages to provide enough food. Mr. Feake knew, because of this situation, that people were looking across the ocean. Mr. Feake decided to go across the ocean with several people who needed land. Mr. Feake did this. Mr. Feake brought his wife and three daughters. Mr. Feake had a son in the New World, as it was called. Mr. Feake, because of the situation in his new home, emigrated again and helped organize a settlement. This is what Mr. Feake did with his life.

    (Sept. 5, 2018) Mr. Henry Feake wanted to have the opportunity to bring several people to America. This would mean that Mr. Feake had men who were respectful. This would also mean that these men and most likely their sons would be willing to labor for Mr. Feake.

    Mr. Henry Feake knew, after there was talk of founding a new town in the New World, that this was his opportunity. This was something that Mr. Feake had been hoping for. Mr. Feake understood, with a few discussions, that there were several other men who were interested in moving to the New World. This was something that Mr. Feake expected. (Mr. Feake will now simply refer to himself as Henry.)

    Henry was able to bring five men to the new town of Saugus. Three of these five men eventually settled in Sandwich. Mr. Feake understands that John Schmeeckle is descended from two of the three men.

    (Sept. 30, 2018) Mr. Henry Feake was allowed to be one of the leaders. There were several men of good estate. Mr. Feake wasn’t the wealthiest. Mr. Feake had brought other men, however. And this helped. Mr. Feake had the support of the men that he brought.

    (Oct. 11, 2018) Mr. Henry Feake understood, after a year, that Saugus was not a good place. The land had little soil. There was not enough water. The people were disappointed. There would be a hard life. Many of the people started looking for places in another town. Mr. Henry Feake was one of these people. Mr. Henry Feake understood, if this was going to happen, that Mr. Henry Feake should think of settling in a new town with others. This meant that Mr. Henry Feake had to talk to other leading men. This meant that Mr. Henry Feake had the opportunity to be a settler, as he had envisioned.

    Mr. Henry Feake understood, after about a year, that the best opportunity was in Plymouth, to the south of Massachusetts. Massachusetts was filling up, and the only available land was far away. Mr. Henry Feake understood that, if he settled in Plymouth, he would be in a town close to Plymouth. This meant that he and his fellow leaders would have the benefit of consultation with the government. This is how the ten men of Saugus formed a committee to establish a new town in Plymouth.
    (Oct. 13, 2018) Mr. Henry Feake was able to have a good relationship with Plymouth. Mr. Feake understood, because of the government, there was a limit on the type of person who was allowed to settle. Mr. Feake understood that his five supporters might not qualify. Mr. Feake talked to each of them. Mr. Feake was especially concerned about their idea about religion. Mr. Feake understood that orthodox thinking was very important. Mr. Feake also understood that there were many men in Scituate, where Mr. Feake heard was a problem. Mr. Feake understood, because of the situation in Scituate, Plymouth was trying to be very careful.

    Mr. Feake understood, because of his five supporters, that Mr. Feake was in a position to question the views of others. Mr. Feake understood that people who might not have good religion were capable of pretending. This meant that people would have an attitude of approval when other people showed ideas that were deemed correct. Mr. Feake understood, when people heard correct ideas, they would say, “Amen.” This was a signal. And this is what Mr. Feake began doing.

    (Oct. 18, 2018) Mr. Henry Feake was unable to be around the controversy that broke out. Mr. Feake was known to be a man who went to church. Mr. Feake was not known to have strong opinions. Mr. Feake tried to be good. Mr. Feake thought of that as good religion. Mr. Feake understood, if this was the criterion, then the five men would be good townsmen. Mr. Feake didn’t think that a careful examination of the religion of every man was going to be effective. Mr. Feake understood, because of what had happened, Plymouth was obsessed with trying to impose conformity. Mr. Feake, because of what had happened, was in a position that he didn’t expect.
    (Nov. 30, 2018) Mr. Henry Feake knew, because of the situation, there was no way for Henry to be of influence. Henry simply could not enter into the discussion. The religion of Henry was an issue that had never been examined. This was something that Henry intended to preserve.

    (Dec. 4, 2018) Mr. Henry Feake knew, after the review of the town by the colony, that the members of the Committee [the ten founders] were under suspicion. Mr. Feake had not been among those who communicated with the colony. This was done primarily by Mr. Freeman. Mr. Feake knew that Mr. Dillingham was also involved. Mr. Feake suspected that both of them had a general understanding of Christianity that was similar to that of Mr. Feake. Mr. Feake also understood, because of his position, there were three members of the Committee who did not have ideas that were acceptable. This meant that the men who were in charge were guilty. This also meant that the town had members who were not acceptable. This meant, before anyone was allowed to enter the town, they would be required to demonstrate that their religion was acceptable. This meant that people who wanted to enter the town had to be able to explain their view of salvation. This meant that people needed to learn a proper way of saying things. This meant that people needed to study the Bible. This is what happened.

    [Thomas Tobey, Sr.: Thomas had to make a statement of his religion when Thomas came to Sandwich. Thomas came one year after the original settlers. This was in time. After Thomas arrived, nobody was allowed to enter the town. Thomas understands that Thomas was permitted to enter because one other man left. Thomas understands that this man went to a new town. Thomas had to study to make sure that Thomas understood in the Bible where the statement came from. This was not difficult. Thomas already knew some of the Bible. Thomas was not opposed to studying. This was a way to make the people believe in the same way. Thomas thought this was not a bad thing.]

    [Ezra Perry: Ezra arrived with his brother and his father’s second wife after the town was prohibited from accepting new townsmen. Ezra stayed as a sojourner. This meant that Ezra lived in the town without the privilege of being a townsman. This meant that the town would not help if Ezra was in need. This meant that Ezra had to be careful. Ezra had to be able to support himself. Ezra understood, eventually Ezra and his brother would become townsmen. Ezra understood, Ezra and his brother needed to make a statement about their religion. This was something that Ezra did not think was a problem. However, Ezra’s brother was dissatisfied. Ezra cajoled his brother and his brother did not reject the statement.][Here is the first “bequest” from Ezra’s 1689 will, which was actually a statement of religious orthodoxy: “I give and comit my Soule unto Allmighty God my Saviour and Redeemer in whom and by ye merrits of Jesue Christ I trust and believe assuredly to be saved and to have full remission and forgiveness of all my sins, and that my Soule with my Body at the generall day of Resurrection shall rise again with Joy and throue ye merritts of Christ’s Death and Passion, possess, and inherit ye Kingdom of Heaven, prepared for His Elect Chosen.”]

    [Dec. 11, 2018, Richard Bourne: “Richard Bourne will summarize the difficulty in doctrine that was at issue. The men from Saugus who were under the influence of the Rev. Stephen Bachilor believed that, because Jesus Christ was divine, Jesus did not have a clear sense of what mortal humans had to endure. This meant that Jesus Christ, in their view, was unable to redeem without the intervention of God the Father. This is why Jesus was the Son, different from the Father. In this view, Jesus was an assistant. This was different from the view that Jesus Christ and God the Father were of one being. This was the essential error.”]

    (Dec. 6, 2018) Mr. Henry Feake had a way of dealing with the situation. The people of the town were not in harmony. The minister was not accommodated. This, in the mind of Mr. Feake, was inappropriate. The minister should receive more land to demonstrate his worth. This was not the opinion of the majority. The minister was not well cared for.

    Mr. Feake thought, after this problem, that Mr. Feake would find a way to show good will to the minister. This was an unfortunate choice. By doing so, Mr. Feake was thought to be of the minister’s party. Mr. Feake was not of that opinion. Mr. Feake was unable to persuade others that Mr. Feake was not of the minister’s opinion. Mr. Feake was not opposed to the minister. Mr. Feake often had no opinion.

    (Feb. 15, 2019) Mr. Feake will tell of what happened afterward. The town had its settlement. The colony visited. Thomas Prence was made the overseer of the town. This was something that Mr. Feake thought would lead to no good. Thomas Prence was violent in his mood. Thomas Prence was inclined to enforce the law harshly. Mr. Feake was concerned that Thomas Prence would become the governor. That would mean that Mr. Feake would have to leave. Mr. Feake openly told Thomas Prence that Prence was too strict. That meant that Prence would remember Mr. Feake. Mr. Feake had to accept, when Governor Bradford didn’t continue, that Mr. Feake would be leaving. But that did not happen until Mr. Freeman made a new controversy.
    (Feb. 23, 2019, after Thomas Tobey, Jr. talked about three different groups in Sandwich) Henry Feake understood. There was a way for Henry to be accepted by the different groups in the town. Henry was not a strong member of the group of the minister. Henry was simply associated with the minister in the minds of people who knew that Henry did not disrespect. Henry was able to think of himself as a man who could bridge the divisions. Henry was able to think of men who were of different groups. Henry was able to make a friendly relationship with two or three of these men. This meant that Henry was able to be accepted and his words in the meetings were received with respect. Henry was able to continue in this way until the problem with the new gathering of Edmund Freeman. This was a challenge to the church and to the colony. Henry had to not associate himself with this. This resulted in bad feelings. Henry was expected to at least attend a service to demonstrate the point of free worship of men who accepted the doctrine of the colony. This was not something that Henry wanted to encourage. Henry was upset by the way two of the men in this group talked about the minister. Henry thought, if other men in this group accepted such talk, Henry should not be close. This is what Henry explained. This was misrepresented. Henry simply had to endure.

    (Mar. 3, 2019) Mr. Henry Feake knew, after this incident, that Henry would leave. Henry did not think of waiting for the Governor to stop being governor. Henry understood that Thomas Prence was doing much of the work, and this meant that Thomas would be the new governor. Henry Feake decided to leave. Henry Feake was of the hope that his son Nathaniel [Fish] would accompany. Henry knew that Nathaniel had married another woman after the death of Henry’s daughter. This was what kept Nathaniel from leaving. Henry thought, Nathaniel could bring his wife. But Nathaniel understood that, because of the brother of his wife [a minister], there was a benefit for Nathaniel that would not be available if Nathaniel left the colony. Henry did not think of Nathaniel with resentment. Henry was simply disappointed.
    Henry decided to move to Long Island. This was an area that was disputed. It was not clearly Dutch. Henry understood that English settlement would help decide. Henry was one of three men from Sandwich who gathered other men to leave. Henry had the satisfaction of encouraging one of the brothers of Nathaniel to accompany him to the new settlement. This meant that Henry had a man in the town who was inclined to be supportive of Henry. This is something that was always in the minds of men at the time.

    (Mar. 8, 2019) Henry Feake was able to live in Long Island. Henry had a family. Henry did not think of his family as likely to extend. Henry had a daughter and a son. Henry knew that his son did not think of having a big family. Henry was able to imagine descendants in Sandwich. Henry knew that Nathaniel Fish had six children with Henry’s other daughter. Henry thought, this must continue. Henry now knows that this is the case.

  3. Very interesting stories. I am visiting Sandwich this summer and very excited to see all of my relatives who are buried there. Edmund Freeman is my 10 X great grandfather: Thomas Tupper my 11X great grandfather and Benjamin Nye my 10X great grandfather. So we will not doubt have a lot of graves to visit. What a wonderful legacy it is to have the historical records that Sandwich does!

    1. I myself am of the Tupper family, with Thomas I being my 9th Great Grandfather. Amazing stories that would never have been know to me and my family except by the great countrymen and countrywomen of Sandwich. I salute all of you.

  4. Hi
    I have an original 1621 dated indenture on vellum signed twice by Edmund Freeman, It mentions his first wife, Bennett, his brother William and his father Thomas.
    It mentions Billingshurst as his home.

    1. Would love to see this, could you email ( me a copy… I am descendant and a DNA genealogist.

    2. I have just one across this website in my quest for family history. What a treasure-trove of information. I am a ninth great grandson of Edmund Freeman. My great-great grandfather Samuel Amos Freeman (b. Canada 1800) emigrated back to the US (NE New York). As he reportedly rejected his father’s profaneness, he dropped the name Samuel, and simply went by. Amos Freeman, thus rendering genealogy research quite difficult. I would love to receive an emailed image of the document to which you refer. My 8th ggfather was Major John Freeman, who married Thomas Prence’s daughter Mary (or Mercy). That fact throws a whole new wrinkle to the Edmund Freeman story!

  5. I am a descendant of William Almy. One of the last Almys in our branch of the tree because I have all sisters and my father, Clifford J. Almy’s brother, Kenneth Almy had no children. My father’s father was Judson Almy. Looking back at how I came to be, my long past relatives gives great pride and admiration as to what it took for me to be where I am today.

    1. Hi Susan:

      I too am a descendant of William Almy although the name in our branch vanished with my great-grandmother. I live over in the Portsmouth, RI area where William Almy moved after leaving Sandwich. I am descended through his son Christopher Almy (I found his grave here in Portsmouth) and there are many generations of Almys buried in the area.

  6. Thank you for your lovely letter, Edmund Freeman. I appreciate all that you gave done in Massachusetts and I thank you for being supportive of Wiliam Vassall. He, like yourself, is one of my favorite ancestors!
    I plan to visit Sandwich in mid June and perhaps I can find your grave. It sounds so interesting.
    My connection to you is through a long, long line of Perrys. My ancestor, Edward, was married to your daughter. As you well know! The Perry name has continued to be a middle name for my son and his grandson.

    1. Hi I’m Halsey and Edward dillingham was my tenth great grandfather guess were related somehow

    1. Yes, Henry was married to Hannah Perry in 1652. They are my 8x great grandparents.

  7. Edward Dillingham is my 9th great grandfather. His wife was Ursula Carter. My next ancestors are Winges.

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