top of page

Jabez & Sally Boyden & the case of "the pistol waving highwayman"

Updated: Mar 18

Jabez Boyden (1787-1875)

Sally Fuller Boyden (1791-1857)

 Born in Walpole on September 5, 1787, Jabez Boyden was the son of Benjamin and Unity Boyden. On January 15, 1812, he married Sally Fuller, the daughter of Jonathan Fuller and Anah Guild Fuller (lots 265, 266) and the granddaughter of Aaron Guild (lot 199). Sally was born in 1791.


Jabez became a trader and a cabinetmaker. Jabez and Sally Boyden had two children: Fanny and Addison. Fanny Boyden married Curtis G. Morse and Addison Boyden married Mary Holmes. Both remained in South Dedham, later Norwood.


According to Robert B. Hanson in his book Dedham, Massachusetts, 1635-1890, published by the Dedham Historical Society in 1976, Jabez Boyden was involved in a striking incident around 1834. Hanson tells the tale that while Boyden was riding in a wagon near Dedham, he “was assaulted by a pistol-waving highwayman” who took his money. Later identified by Boyden, a George Walton (who had several aliases) was arrested for this and another robbery of a Mr. John Fenno. Walton, who was a large man of over 200 pounds and of considerable strength, tried to escape from the jail but was prevented from doing so by two guards. Defended by Horace Mann, who later became a noted educator, Walton was acquitted of the Boyden robbery because Jabez Boyden had previously identified someone else. However, he was convicted of the Fenno robbery and died in prison in 1837. *


Sally Fuller Boyden died on September 12, 1857 of consumption.


On July 19, 1858, Jabez Boyden, his daughter, Fanny Boyden Morse, and her husband, Curtis, and his son, Addison Boyden and his wife, Mary, joined with others to discuss founding the South Dedham Baptist Society. Originally members of the West Dedham Baptist Church, they and a dozen others signed a letter requesting dismission from the West Dedham Church in order to form their own congregation. This was done with a cornerstone laying ceremony on June 7, 1859 and dedication services on December 1, 1859. The Baptist Church stood on Washington Street in the center of the South Dedham community.

The Baptist Church(left) stood on Washington Street in the center of the South Dedham community.


Jabez Boyden died on August 27, 1875 of old age. Because Highland Cemetery was not yet established, both were likely interred in Old Parish. They were later removed to Highland Cemetery, lot 71.


*James L. Parr in his book Dedham, Historic and Heroic Tales from Shiretown (History Press, 2009) recounts the same tale.

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page