ouseholders to support a school for reading and writing, it was not till twenty-seven years later that Medford made any move to establish such a school.
Lying so near Boston, we may feel certain that if she had had the requisite number of people she would have been obliged to comply with the law, even if reluctant to do so. Its insignificance, furthermore, may be inferred from the fact that although incorporated as a town in 1630 no one of its people seemed to be aware of the fact till about 1680,—fifty years later,—and the first white child born within its borders had become an old man of eighty-three before it had a settled minister, and this in a thorough-going puritan settlement.
Very likely as she drew her preaching from ministers settled in the surrounding towns, and from young men studying in Harvard college, so her brighter and more ambitious boys managed to attend the public schools established in those places.
The distance was not excessive, and the boys of those days d
f each vessel, with the place where it was built.
More than 1,200 vessels are entered in the register, and out of them all there is but one Medford-built vessel, the brigantine Joanna, of 70 tons, built in 1699, and owned and commanded by one Bailey, of Boston.
In this same register we find 130 vessels built on the Merrimac river, of which 100 were built at Newbury, and perhaps as many more at Scituate and other towns on the North river.
The register contains a record of vessels built from 1680 to 1714.
In the eighteenth century, which comes nearer to our times, we have no evidence that the business of shipbuilding was prosecuted, and it is improbable that any craft larger than a lighter was built here.
But the time came at last when ship-building was to be established as a great local industry, and the noble vessels launched from our yards were to carry the American flag all over the world.
The pioneer in this movement, so eventful to the town, was Thatcher Magoun.