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Tidbits from Kaethe

The source for these short facts is mainly old newspapers given to the Archives by Carolyn Crowell. 

  • In April of 1904 Sandwich Town Meeting voted to run a road from the beach to Ploughed Neck Road. The road would be called North Shore Boulevard and cost $400.

  • In May of 1904 the Central House, as the Dan’l Webster was known then, was leased to Thomas Sisson for 5 years. He added improvements such as steam heat and bathrooms. He also had a hotel in Middleboro called the New Market House.

  • From the Yarmouthport newspaper. In February of 1904 The Boston and Sandwich Glass works was sold, including the land, for $1,000 to a Mr. Haywood. This sale included the tenement house, woodland and marsh. Select man, Mr. George McLaughlin, expressed the hope that a new industry would arise making ‘electric ware’. 

  • By March of 1905 the fires went out for the last time at the site of the Boston and Sandwich Glass Works. All gallant efforts had failed, and all workmen and families had to find work elsewhere.

  • In January 1905 there was a combined effort for a proposed Leper Hospital (Hansen’s Disease), in Brewster. All medical doctors assured the public that Hansen’s Disease was not contagious. Most people wanted to put all lepers ‘on an island somewhere’. Ironically, there were only 2 or 3 lepers in all of Massachusetts. At this time a Smallpox hospital in Tewksbury was housing these leper patients.

  • On February 21, 1905 a “Cape Cod Night” was held in the Neponset section of Dorchester for all those people from Cape Cod now living in the Boston area. The Ladies Aid Society, assisted by the “King’s Daughters” put this program together. They charged $.25 per person for supper and entertainment. (I wonder why they held it in cold possibly snowy February?). It was held at the Trinity Congregational Church at 51 Walnut St. People were instructed to take the ‘Neponset Bridge Car’ for public transportation. This gathering was highly successful in spite of the time of the year.

  • Our own Gustavus Swift ( 1839-1903) was born in what was then West Sandwich to Captain William swift and Sally Sears Crowell. In 1877 he invented and produced the first ‘refrigerated’ train cars to carry ‘dressed meat’ instead of sending cows overland where some died, and all inevitably lost weight from running all those miles to and from Chicago. He eventually produced more than 7000 cars. He called them “reefer cars”. By the 1930s this whole enterprise was purchased by General American Transportation. However, the company always continued as “Swifts’ Premium Brand”.

The sources for these tidbits are old on-line newspapers. I should have written them all down. Many were found in the clippings that Carolyn Crowell has given to me which will eventually be filed in the archives. I have to photo copy all these files. I pulled out all the rusty staples and they are now in plastic covered paper clips at least.

From the Plymouth Colony Records of January 24, 1647.

  • Edmund Freeman purchased the Town of Sandwich of William Bradford for 16 pounds and 19 shillings.


  •  From the Falmouth Enterprise August 23, 1957

    • Five pieces of paper were found in the Sandwich Smith Hoxie House , awaiting restoration, which document the fall of Vicksburg during the Civil War, sometimes called the War of Insurrection. The reverse side of a piece of wallpaper contained the Vicksburg Daily Citizen July2, 1863. This newspaper was found pressed between the pages of an old notebook found on site.

    • The newspaper describes the horrific conditions of the soldiers and citizens as food, water and any supplies ran out during the siege. The population turned to horses, mules, cats and even rats for sustenance. 

  • With no newspaper on which to print, the proprietor of the Citizen, J. M. Swords, turned to rolls of unused wall paper to feed his press. The issue found in the Smith Hoxie House was the last issue printer before the city surrendered to General Grant on July 4th.

  • A map of 1980 created by the Army Corp  of  Engineers (included), shows many historical points along the canal as it appears over the centuries. One interesting note is labeled, “Neapolitan Revolt- 1880”.  I quote, “4,5000 Italian workers began to dig a canal by hand. After a few weeks without food or pay they briefly held the contractor’s son, then roamed through town looking for food. A shallow ditch remains as a symbol of this early effort.” 

  • There are many interesting historical sites on this map but just to name a few, be sure to note the Indian Burial Hill of 1637. “Missionaries Richard Bourne and Thomas Tupper built a Meetinghouse here. Graves are unmarked but the last reported burial was King Saul, 1810. “ 

  • Also noted on this map is the Indian trail that became the Old King’s Highway. Marked King’s Highway 1684, “The road laid out by Colonial surveyors linked Plymouth to the villages of the Cape. This old Indian path was used at the crossing of Scusset Valley at Sagamore.

  • Don’t miss the Keith Car works of 1826.  “Founded by Isaac Keith as a blacksmith shop, the company reached its peak at the turn of the (last) century  manufacturing wooden freight cars, power provided by a mill pond on Scusset Creek. It closed in 1929.”



  • The Newcomb Tavern, sire of the Torie hang out during the Revolutionary War, was built by Peter Newcomb in 1703, tho some debate that date. The home is on Grove St.

  • On the night of September 25th, 1774 neighbor Nathaniel Freeman was viciously attacked by Tories pouring out of the tavern as he walked home. Freeman had just led 1500 citizens to Barnstable to prevent the sitting of the King’s Court. (Now the Tales of Cape Cod building, was the Court House at the time).

  • The Tories nearly murdered Nathaniel Freeman, they beat him so badly.

  • While the Patriots were in Barnstable, the Tories also tore down the Liberty Pole. They were later made to replace it.

  • In 1775 a Sandwich boy, John Nye, ran away and joined the Boston Tea Party and while the tea was being thrown overboard he secured some and brought it home to his aged grandmother, Deborah Nye, who drank it in secret.

  • In 1788, some years after the American Revolution, Town Treasurer, Abraham Williams was ordered by members of the Select Board to pay Edward Wing nineteen shillings and four pence for his gun that was taken in Publick Service in 1777.Edw Wing was the owner of what became for many years Wing Scorton Farm. Members of the Select Board were: Tomas Smith and Stephen Chipman.

  • Evidently if one took some gun powder out of the town storage (hidden in the Old Town Burial Ground during the Revolutionary War), you were expected to replace it. As of December 1795 the following men still owed the Town the following: Joseph Nye 6 lbs. powder, 12 flints; Paul Gifford 3 lbs. of powder; Stephen Bassett 6 lbs. powder; Wm. Bodfishy (usually Bodfish ), 5 lbs. of powder; Prince Tupper Jr. 11 and ½ lbs. powder; William Nye Jr. 5 ½ lbs. powder; Jonathan Nye 2 lbs. powder; Lemuel Tobey 1 lb. powder; Shadrack Freeman 4 lbs. powder; Wm. Nye 4 ½ lbs. powder. This reads like a list of all the early settlers!

  • In 1804 the infamous Rev. Jonathan Burr, resident of 23 Water St. “The Lindens” and probably the planter of said trees, began the first Sandwich Academy across from his home and in front of the now Smith Hoxie house.

  • Although a direct landing on Town Neck Beach by the British in 1812 was prevented by their misconception that the people walking back and forth on the beach were troops when they were the brick workers. Still, there was damage from the British ships shelling the area. A cannon ball went through the gable end of the home of one of Sandwich’s first settlers, George Allen. Also a cannon ball remained imbedded in the house of Watson Freeman. (The Freeman Farm). The nearby house of Thomas Burgess also suffered from the bombardment. The ship responsible for this destruction along the Sandwich coast was the British Man o War, Commodore Hardy.

  • 1817 is the first authentic date of a vessel being built in Sandwich. Thomas Bourne was the builder  and it was purchased by Simeon Dillingham on his 21ST birthday and named “Charming Betty”.

  • The 1849 gold rush provided many jobs for the locals at the Keith Car works, then engaged in producing the ‘prairie schooners” that carried so many west. The Keith Car works was in business for 102 years as it quickly adapted to the needs of the day. They ceased business on May 12, 1928.

  • On a disappointing note, in 1834 a Sandwich Anti-Slavery Society was founded. It was of only a few years duration, owning to so much opposition.

  • Ella Ellis Holway played a significant role in the preservation of Sandwich. Born in 1861 to Wanton Ellery Ellis and Sarah Priscilla Story, she married Jerome Holway a direct descendent of one of our earliest settlers, Joseph Holway [1] on September 30, 1886.


Having trained at Lasell University, class of 1881, Ella was a local school teacher and mother of 4 children. In her free time Ella researched and wrote extensively about historic homes in Sandwich. In 1907 she founded the Sandwich Historical Society, the holding company for the Sandwich Glass Museum today.

Perhaps her greatest gift to Sandwich was the charting and recording of all the burial stones in Old Town Burial Ground.

In 2010 when Jon Shaw and I were writing the first grants for the documentation and restoration of stones at Old Town, Ella’s work was invaluable to us since between 1907 and 2010 many of the stone facings had eroded making the reading of the epitaphs very difficult or impossible.

Ella died at only 56 years of age in 1915.


[1] In full disclosure, Jos Holway is one of my 9th great grandfathers.

SOURCE:  FREDERICK FREEMAN HISTORY OF BARNSTABLE COUNTY , particularly, the Annals of Sandwich. 1862.


  • I am sure you have all heard of the Fessenden Inn, made famous as a Patriot strong hold during the American Revolution, but did you know that another equally well-known inn preceded it?  Built in about the same spot on what is now Main Street was the Swift Inn. Now, the Swifts were a very early family to West Sandwich which is now part of Sagamore. Many of their graves rest in the Sagamore Cemetery, formerly a Sandwich burial place, just over the Sandwich/ Bourne line. The Swift inn served as a convivial meeting place for our early settlers.

  • Originally our Town was known as Shawme, the Indian word for the area. the Scorton area still keeps its original Indian name of Scorton. North Sandwich, now part of Bourne, was known as Herring River.

  • Town Neck, as we now know the area, became the property of representatives of the original Freemen of the town and thence came under the control of the town government. This whole area was designated as a pasture land and used that way for centuries. The “herbage” that grew there was an excellent food for cattle.

  • The narrow strip of beach off Town Neck, never a good beach area, contained a hidden treasure, Clay that was perfect for the manufacturing of bricks. If you do not know the famous story of how that brick works saved us from being shelled during the 1812 War, I will tell you now.


  • The British war ships were passing back and forth at sea in front of this area trying to figure out what was happening on shore. Was it a whole encampment of American Soldiers? Were there big guns there? Using their primitive ‘glasses’  to try to discern the activity, they erroneously concluded that it was indeed a whole encampment of soldiers who could then fire back on their boats should they pass close enough to the Neck. They turned and left. The fires and stacks from the brick works were interpreted as huge canons aimed out to sea. The many workers  were thought to be hundreds of soldier.

  • What kind of wood do you think built our whaling ships and the U.S Constitution? Where do you think it was harvested?

    1. In the winters beginning about 1795, men from Sandwich and the Upper Cape would leave Sandwich for South Caroline, Georgia and the Florida area to gather Live Oak timber, a dense timber particularly valued for the ribs and joints of ships. 

    2. ​​Eventually a new business grew out of this practice when brothers Elisha and Elijah Swift of Falmouth entered the trade in 1818 and made contracts with the U.S. Navy Yards and Whaling vessel construction places.  Live Oak ships were built in Woods Hole and Wareham where there was easy access to the open Ocean.

  • Who Lived in the Hoxie House? 

    1. You will all remember hearing of John Smith, one of our first ministers for whom we built the Smith House on Water Street, erroneously now simply referred to as the Hoxie house even though a Hoxie did not live there until the middle 1800’s.  Will this ever be corrected?

    2. The debate is out on whether the Smith house was constructed in 1642 or about 1672. Logic tells us it had to be much earlier than 1672. 

    3. At any rate John Smith and his wife raised 13 children in that tiny structure on the banks of Shawme Lake as it was called then

    4. Minister Smith asked to be removed from his duties in 1688 when he was 74 years old. [1]

    5.  Their 13 children by then were spread all over the Cape, but many stayed in the area of Sandwich.

    6. Minister Smith was eventually replaced by Roland Cotton, whose first cousin was the famous Cotton Mather of Boston.  Roland was buried in the Old Town Burial Ground but the marble insert for his gravestone was stolen sometime before 1875.  He died at age 55 on March 18, 1721/22.

Sources: Sandwich, A Cape Cod Town by Russell A. Lovell Jr. (1984) and The History of Barnstable County, Annuals of Sandwich by Frederick Freeman 1862.


  • Telephone poles were first placed on Sandwich streets in 1906.  Also in 1906 the State Fish Hatchery began on its present site. Who knew it was there so long ago?

  • IN 1910 the Freeman Family placed the current bronze plaque on the Saddle and Pillion Graves of Sandwich Founder, Edmund Freeman and his second wife Elizabeth located on Wilson’s Hill.

  • Also in 1910, the Eaton Monument to Civil War Soldiers was placed in what was then Dewy Square, thereafter known as Eaton Square.

  • In 1911, the Sandwich Public Library, known as the Weston Memorial Library for the generous benefactors, William HH and Sophia Weston, opened. The Weston’s descended from one of the Glass worker families.

  • In 1911 Gasoline dealers came to Sandwich. First was Joshua Hall followed in 1912 by Jerome Holway, descendent of early Sandwich resident, Joseph Holway. Jerome and wife Ella Ellis Holway, who founded the Sandwich Historical Society and recorded all graves and epitaphs in Old Town Burial Ground, lived on what is now Tupper Road beside the Sandwich Glass Museum. Ella’s mother lived in the house beside them.

  • In 1914 a Plank Boardwalk was extended to the Town Beach. Also in 1914, electricity was added to Town Hall and silent movies began to be shown.

  • In 1918, World War I vets, Michael Haddad and Alden Clark died of disease as did many in that era before antibiotics. The Sandwich Hill School was named the Clark Haddad Building in their memory.

  • In 1923 a forest fire burned from Pocasset to East Sandwich.

  • In 1925 what is now known as the Town Hall Annex was constructed as the Cooperative Bank.

  • Also in 1925 Mrs. Harvey had a tea room on Shawme pond near where the Grist Mill is today.

  • ON February 28, 1926 a strong Earth Quake struck the area! I had never heard of this and will have to research.

  • In 1927, The Ford Museum at Dearborn, Michigan, which also holds much of the memorabilia from the Sandwich Glass Factory, bought the ladder wagon and leather fire buckets that had been kept in the rear of Town Hall.  

  • In 1930 what is now Route 6A was built from the Bourne line to Charles Street, taking many old  homesites in its path. This became a state highway whereas it had previously been known as the County Road for centuries.

  • In 1928 Camp Burgess was created on Triangle Pond with 550 acres of land connecting Lawrence Pond and Spectacle Pond.

  • Also in 1928 the new Wing School was dedicated. It had been built by a bequest from Henry T. Wing and his wife Clementine Swain Wing.

  • In 1943 , during World War II, that area which until recently was known to all as exit 2, was reserved for military use only. The Sandwich/ Falmouth Road was closed to allow a runway to be constructed on Otis Airforce Base.

  • IN 1946 the Town accepted Lombard Park at Snake Pond from Percival Hall Lombard.

  • In 1948 a second officer was added to the Sandwich Police Force. 

  • I think most new comers to Sandwich think that we probably were always a farming community and not much of a business center. Well, that is not true. Upper Shawme Pond, often called Shawme Lake, was the site of various businesses.

  • Before the Industrial Revolution in order to manufacture anything, you had to have a source of power and in the early days that power had to come from a natural source, like water. On the upper milldam Of Shawme Lake Samuel Wing had a cotton and wool yarn factory.This eventually became the Sandwich Tack factory owned by Jones and Heald. Closer to the village, the Bay State Tack Company created a plant at Willow Street in 1880. When the original Tack factory of Heald and Jones burned, they took over the Willow Street factory. [1]


  • The Boston and Sandwich Boot and Shoe Company occupied a site opposite Town Hall in 1881 with twenty workers making fifty pair of Shoes a day! [2]


  • Some of you who have been around for a while may have heard of the Armstrong Braiding Co., which eventually moved to Attleboro. Well, that company filled the spot held by the Shoe Company.


  • Things kept enlarging.The Upper Mill Damn Sam Wing cotton and Wool Yarn company was succeeded by the Wing and Rogers tack Factory.


  • It seems that key figures just kept exchanged factory sites and ownership. The Wing and Rogers tack Factory was taken over and even enlarged by Jones and Heald.


  • Grove Street became the site of the Union Braiding Company.


  • Of course fish and Cranberries remained as vital businesses in Sandwich and elsewhere on Cape Cod. If you will recall, I have written about the fish weirs off our shores and owned by such well known residents as Robert Hammond who moved the entrance of Scorton Creek, then more correctly called “Scorton River” from the end of Hammond road to the area off North Shore Boulevard to enable more fish weirs at the end of what became known as Hamond Road.


  • Many of the previously mentioned characters not only owned and ran factories, but also took part in the native cranberry industry. Isaiah Tobey Jones the man who owned a Tack Company, was heavily involved with the Cape Cod Cranberry Growers’ Association founded in 1888. [3]


  • So, it was not only the Boston and Sandwich Glass Company and Deming Jarves who ran a successful business in Sandwich. It true, however, that with the demise of the Glass Works, many, many people were out of work and had to move on and leave Sandwich.


[1] Sandwich, A Cape Cod Town. Russell A. Lovell, Jr. p 377

[2] Sandwich, A Cape Cod Town. Russell A. Lovell, Jr. p 378

[3] Lovell, p. 378.

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