Group Leader Information
Edwards House sits on the corner of Badger Road and Salem End Road, so named when it was settled in 1693 by the families of five accused “witches” from Salem who had been condemned to death.
The property belonged to Ebenezer Buckminster in 1709 and then to John Clayes in 1774. Clayes died tragically on June 3, 1777, when he and his horse were struck and killed by a lightning bolt as they rode through the gate in the back yard of Edwards House. His death is shrouded in mystery as the lightning bolt reportedly originated from a single cloud in an otherwise clear sky. John Clayes’ son, Josiah, continued to live here until his death in 1853, and soon the property became the home to Luther Orlando Emerson, a musical composer. More recently, it was the home of Charles F. Adams who founded the First National Stores, owned the Boston Bruins, built the Boston Garden, and established Suffolk Downs Racetrack in 1937. After his death, his wife sold the vast property to the Massachusetts Conference of the United Church of Christ.
Edwards House is named in honor of Jonathan Edwards, a well noted orthodox Congregational preacher and writer who died in 1758.
The main office of the Massachusetts Conference of the United Church of Christ, the largest Protestant denomination in the state, is headquartered at the red barn, which is across the driveway from Edwards House. Pilgrim Day Camp, a popular summer program in operation for more than 40 years, is also housed on the property, as is a transitional home for women operated by the South Middlesex Opportunity Council