Welcome to Braintree Historical Society


Annual Fund Drive 

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4th Annual Elm Street Cemetery Historical Tour in Braintree

Sunday, October 9th 4:00-5:30 PM

Postponed due to weather.. watch for a new date in April.

Saturday 8 Am: ELM STREET HISTORIC CEMETERY TOUR STATUS -THIS SUNDAY: We are monitoring the weather forecast closely... some say Sunday afternoon will be fine others say it will be raining... So for now ...we are on for the tour at 4:00 PM.. but please expect an update when we see what tomorrow may actually be like...and a final decision tomorrow about 2:00 PM with a possible rain date next weekend (if all of the character actors are available).

The Braintree Historical Society will host their 4th annual historical walking tour of the Elm Street Cemetery on Sunday, October 9 from 4:00 to 5:30 PM. The Community Preservation funding and the Braintree Historical Commission over the last few years has repaired many of the memorials at the cemetery and that work continues.

Visitors will hear from about 12 character actors portraying the people that were placed in both the tombs that remain and those that have been lost, all in the cemetery that started 300 years ago. Some of the spirits you will meet include the first burial and the last burial in (1717 and 1995), the salesman who sold the cast iron fence along Elm Street, Rachel Thayer wife of the Honorable General Ebenezer Thayer (in the tomb right on the edge of Elm Street), General Sylvanus Thayer father of West Point and Founder of Thayer Academy, and Lt Leonard Case Alden who lead the 54th colored regiment of volunteers, hear of the slaves buried in the cemetery and more.

A tour will leave every 15 minutes starting at 4 PM. Last tour will depart at 5:30 PM. Tour takes about an hour and is open to all and suitable for all ages. No charge for admission. Donations to the Society are encouraged.

 Good walking shoes recommended. Come and learn our fascinating history right here in our hometown! Parking available behind First Congregational Church at 12 Elm Street.

Native American life in early Massachusetts

Wednesday October 19th 7:00PM


Massachusetts, on. Wednesday, October 19, 2016, at7:00 p.m. Local historian and BHS Board of Director Rick Durham will delve into Native American life in early Massachusetts, and specifically the chieftain who lived in Braintree and granted the charter of Native American land to the forefathers of our own town of Braintree. Free admission. Gilbert Bean Museum, 31 Tenney Road. For info call 781-848-1640 or visit us on Facebook and braintree-historical.org.


John Adams Kiosk Dedication 
At First Congregational Church
April 16, 2016 


Located at the
Gilbert Bean Museum 31 Tenney Road
Braintree, Massachusetts 02184



Historic House Plaque Program
Is your home over 50 years old and substantially as it was built? Then you may be interested in purchasing a sign with a custom sign to date your home. 



In Memory of 
James E. Fahey October 21,1929 - March 31, 2015
Curator at Gilbert Bean Museum and Historic Society board member 

James E. Fahey, 85, passed away at his home in Braintree, surrounded by family, on March 31, 2015, after a brief illness. Jim was a resident of his beloved Braintree for the last 45 years. Born October 21, 1929, to James and Mary (Spriggs) Fahey, he was raised and educated in Roxbury. It was in the backyard of his childhood home that his lifelong love of history was born, after digging up an old Revolutionary War bayonet at age 10. Once old enough, he enlisted in active duty with the United States Coast Guard and proudly served his country over the next 20 years here in the U.S. and overseas. In 1967 he retired from the Coast Guard as Chief Petty Officer after a distinguished career in Air and Sea Rescue. Because of this service, he held a deep respect and admiration for all service men and women. From his early found love of history he began a long career in military history research and archaeology. Some of his works took him as far away as Russia, Germany and France. In 1989, he appeared in an issue of National Geographic for his work done in French caves. In 1990, he was the recipient of the prestigious Oliver Wendall Holmes Jr. Award for his outstanding efforts in the preservation and education of the American Civil War. In 2009, he was awarded the Martin Luther King Jr. Peacemaker Award for serving the town of Braintree, through his work at the Braintree Historical Society. Anyone who knew Jim, knew what a great sense of humor he had. His practical jokes and antics were legendary. His faith and family were the most important to him. He was the beloved husband of 55 years to Joan P. (Manton) Fahey. He was the loving father of Maureen Reynolds of Braintree, Kim Fahey of Braintree, Donna Shuttleworth and her husband Scott of Quincy, James Fahey, Jr. and his wife, BPD Lisa, and Tina Bongo of Hull; brother of Patricia Smith of Braintree and the late Dennis, Walter Sr. Daniel Marie and William; loving Papa of Thomas James Jr., Danielle, Jaclyn, James, Sydney, Michael, Austin, CJ and Mark. In addition, his furry companion Suki. Relatives and friends are respectfully invited to attend the visiting hours Monday 4-8 p.m. in the McDonald Keohane Funeral Home, at 809 Main Street (Rte. 18 opp. So. Shore Hospital), South Weymouth. Relatives and friends will gather in the funeral home at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday prior to the funeral Mass in St. Francis of Assisi Church, Braintree, at 10:30 a.m. Interment will be held Thursday, April 9, at 1:45 p.m. at Massachusetts National Cemetery, Bourne. Donations may be made to VNA Care Network/Hospice, www.VNACareNetwork.org or in Jim's memory perform a random act of kindness - 


For Braintree's 375th celebration information please see . http://www.braintree375.org

For information on Braintree's 4th of July Celebration see http://www.braintrees4th.org



Gilbert Bean Museum


Founded in 1930 and incorporated in 1938, the Braintree Historical Society is a non-profit organization dedicated to the care, preservation and communication of Town of Braintree history its background and its people, by way of reference materials and photographs, historic structures, publications, special programs, and an extensive collection of artifacts.  It is a rich source of information for anyone interested in Braintree’s history. The Society owns and operates the General Sylvanus Thayer Birthplace, the Gilbert Bean Museum, and the Watson Library and Research Center. The Society’s main campus is located on Washington Street across from the Town Hall and next to the Thayer Public Library.

The Town of Braintree as it is defined today, is the former Middle Precinct of a larger “Old Braintree,” which also included the present day City of Quincy, the Towns of Holbrook and Randolph, and a part of the Town of Milton. The earliest inhabitants of current-day Braintree were the Massachusett Indigenous Americans, a nation of semi-migratory fishers and farmers, who encountered the English settlers early in the 1600s. Braintree was established as a separate town by a land grant from the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1640, by which time, disease and colonial encroachment had largely dissipated the remaining Massachusett people. John Eliot introduced Christianity to the Massachusett people by way of creating a written form of their language and translating the Bible into their native tongue; after King Philip’s War, many indigenous people were confined to “praying towns” in Boston Harbor, where they met their demise. During the Boston Massacre, Crispus Attucks, a man of Massachusett descent, was the first casualty on the road to independence.

The Braintree Town Hall holds the birth records of U.S. president John Adams and John Hancock, first Governor of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and signer of the Declaration of Independence. Sylvanus Thayer, “Father of the Military Academy,” was born here, and Thomas A. Watson, co-inventor of the telephone, was an actively involved resident of the town. The notorious Sacco and Vanzetti incident occurred here, and the “Braintree Instructions,” authored by John Adams, a prelude to American independence and instrumental in ending the Stamp Act, were first read to the people in Braintree. 

The mission of the Society is carried out by a dedicated group of volunteers with the financial support of members and friends across the United States who share a commitment to the cultural enrichment of our town, state and nation, and to the continued celebration of our great American heritage. The Society owns, operates and maintains the Sylvanus Thayer Birthplace, the Gilbert and Mary Bean Cunningham Resource Center, the Asa French House, and The Gallivan House.  These buildings are situated together on a landscaped campus bounded by Washington Street, Gilbert L. Bean Drive, Tenney Road and Union Place, within the town’s handsome Historic District.

As Braintree continues to grow and attract new residents, the Society has committed to diversify its programs and exhibits to recognize the town’s rich history. There’s more to Braintree than you think… Come and experience three hundred years of local history right in your own back yard!