In his confession, Michael Martin laid out in minute detail his movements prior to and following his highway robbery of Major Bray on the Medford Turnpike (today’s Mystic Ave.) on August 13, 1821. On that day, he crossed over the Craigie Bridge from Boston, stopped at a tavern and got his bearings, then headed for Governor John Brooks’s house in Medford, where a party was being held that night. Martin robbed Major Bray, one of the guests, on the road. Martin returned to Medford later that evening, but heard that the alarm for him was out, so he headed directly south towards Cambridge.
He traveled through the night, going about 45 miles on horseback, until he was six miles from Holliston, Massachusetts. During this whole sequence of events, Martin spent less than twenty-fours hours in Middlesex County, Massachusetts.
Yet because the robbery took place in that county, and it was where Martin was tried and executed, it is in Middlesex County that legends surfaced about Martin’s supposed treasure troves and hideout caves.
The first appeared twenty-one years later, in 1842:
The idea that Martin might have buried some of his loot is not totally without merit. In two different places in his confession, Martin describes burying money in Ireland–and never mentions going to retrieve those stashes.