The purpose and goal of the Shrewsbury Historical Society shall be to keep alive and increase interest in the history of the Town of Shrewsbury; to collect and preserve items of special value, traditions, and curiosities; to encourage general public interest in the Society's work and to maintain such personal properties and real estate that may come under the control of the Society.


Shrewsbury Historical Society

P.O. Box 641

Shrewsbury, MA 01545



© 2019 Shrewsbury Historical Society

The Pirate Old Brazil

Old Brazil was an American Indian whose true name was Basil Mann. He was once a pirate on the high seas and if his bloodcurdling stories were true, many a hapless craft fell into his merciless hands. He enjoyed telling, how he could in those times split a man's head open, with his axe, exactly in the middle; ''one-half would fall onto one shoulder and t'other half on t'other shoulder.”

Such grim and ghastly stories made him a terror to all the children in the neighborhood as well as to some of the older people, and his habit of drinking added not a little to his native fierceness and terrifying power. During his life in Shrewsbury he practiced none of his evil arts, seemingly satisfied with reminiscences of the past.

Old Brazil lived in the small house once occupied by Lorey Pease, quietly and industriously weaving baskets which he and his wife Nancy went about the country to sell, entertaining his customers with his “charming” tales. They died about the year 1850.

To show their pleasure at the departure of these undesirable neighbors, the village boys procured a bombshell and, placing it in the brick oven, blew the house to fragments.

Excerpt from Old Times in Shrewsbury, Massachusetts: Gleanings from History and Tradition

by Elizabeth Ward

Copyright 1892