Old Town Burying Ground

Sandwich’s First Official Burying Ground

Old Town Burial Ground, Sandwich, MA

The Old Burying Ground, Sandwich, MA received its first interment by 1639, the reported date of the oldest headstone. More recently referred to as Old Town Cemetery, the headstones document the lives of most of Sandwich’s earliest families. The families are mostly Protestant, but a few Roman Catholic graves are included; not out of any discrimination, but because of the scarcity of Catholic residents in Sandwich in these early years.

Click here for a listing of every headstone in Old Town Burying Ground. Click here for a detailed map of the location of the headstones, foot-stones and monuments in the Old Town Burying Ground.

Benjamin Fessenden

Benjamin Fessenden

Edward Pope, detail

Edward Pope, detail

Edward Pope, price detail

Edward Pope, price detail

Joanna Foster, detail

Joanna Foster, detail

Sample Epitaphs of Old Town Burial Ground

In Memory of
Mrs. Joanna Foster
Wife of
Mr. John Foster
Deceafed Febry ??
AD 1771
Aged 73 Years

& 12 Ds. DEC. AUGT.

The following stone is in such bad shape that the epitaph is not clear…

Mortals Beware
Here lies interred the Body
Of Mr. Benjamin Fessenden who
Died Octr. Ye 24th 1783 in ye
53rd year of his Age.
The many amiable Virtues which
Adorned his Character enhanced
His Memory and leave a coh?ing
Assurance to his friends that he
Participates the days of a
Happy immortality.
Oh death divine that givst us the s?
? Patron of the pa?
? thy shrine.

9 Responses to Old Town Burying Ground

  1. Jim Fleischer says:

    Thank you for creating and maintaining this site. I was looking for the headstones of some of my ancestors. Due to the condition of the stones after three hundred years, I never would have found what I was looking for without it. I hope the Town will continue to maintain this historical cemetery, it’s a real treasure.

  2. Barbara Hunter says:

    I’m looking for ancestors by the name of Edward and Susannah Dillingham. I believe they are buried on Old Time. Working on DAR registration and need to connect to this people to complete my search. Can you help? Edward was born 6/11/1779, death 1835 and Susannah was born 1779 and died 8/12/1862. Need photo of stones if possible. Thanks for any help you can give me.

  3. Paul Rentz says:

    It was a trill to finally see the cemetery back in 2010. My ancestors, the Perrys and Burgesses, are among the earliest remaining markers in the cemetery. And what a beautiful location. What’s funny is that in my college days I used to stay with friends in Eastham and even visited Sandwich with family but until being able to research on the internet never knew the full history of the family line. A photo of a Perry family reunion and a link to my Perry line (which, of course goes up to the Burgesses as well as Ezra was married to Elizabeth Burgess Perry). http://flic.kr/p/5CRGnr

    • Kay Burgess says:

      Was excited to see the reference to the Perry line, since Elizabeth Burgess Perry was Thomas’ daughter and I am a direct descendant. Looking forward to exploring this cemetery in the spring. We also have Burgesses who married Perrys later on in the 1870’a and am wondering if these are of the same Perry line. I can trace a Mark Perry through the Burgess line back to the 1700’s.

  4. Kay Burgess says:

    I need directions to get to this cemetery. Google maps had me out on Nantucket and below New Bedford. How do I find this cemetery?

    • Sarah says:

      Grove Street, Sandwich, MA on your GPS should take you to it. It is off Route 130/Main St. and is behind the Town Hall along the shores of Shawme Pond (e is silent).

  5. Cindy Resch says:

    Greetings —
    I am from Cuba, NY. My mother’s family, the Swift’s came to Western New York in the 1820’s from Massachusetts. A distant family member did a very thorough geneology a few years ago. I have a few questions.

    Many generations ago, William Swift, having been born around Dec 16, 1605 in England, is said to have died in Sandwich on Jan 7 around 1642-1644 and his wife (unknown birth year in England) Joan, likely died in Sandwich around Nov 26, 1662. They had landed in Boston and moved to the Plymouth colony . He has been traced to both Watertown and Sandwich in the early 1600’s. It appears they moved to Sandwich in the spring of 1637.A Reverend Freeman showed record of William dying in 1642 in Sandwich.

    Additionally, the geneology shows his son William Jr. died in Sandwich in January 1705 0r 06. I don’t see a record of his marriage but he had 7 children it seems, at least 2 born in Sandwich and one, William (III) died in Jan 1701-1706, likely in Sandwich.

    I have looked at the list of names on gravestones and am wondering if there is a way to know if these gravestones would be in your cemetery and how to verify what’s on them if they are. I am planning a trip to Cape Cod this summer and would like to visit this cemetery to photograph the stones, if they remain. There are a few other grave sites I would like to visit in other towns and it would be helpful to know which places to actually go.

    Please advise! Thank you for your time and doing such a beautiful job on this site.

  6. Cindy Resch says:

    p.s. The Reverend recording William Sr’s death was Reverend F. Freeman.

  7. Jonathan Bourne says:

    I spent summers with my grandparents (Donald & Meredith Bourne) who lived in Sandwich and made numerous visits to the cemetery. It was (and continues to be) a sobering experience to visit a place where so many of my ancestors were laid to rest. I’m awfully glad to have discovered your web site and its resources. Thank you.

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