We quote also the following from the Massachusetts Archives:—
From Province Laws, p. 210, Chap.
194 (first Session).
A petition of Richard Sprague, late constable of Medford in county of Middlesex.
Showing that in the year 1733 Mathew Ellis of that Town was assessed Forty shillings as a part of a Tax for the support of the Minister there which the said Ellis Refusing to pay, the Memorialist, Agreeably to his Warrant, Committed him to his Majesty's Goal in said County; wh5 to hear the appeal.
As on May 6, 1737, Ellis is styled as late of Medford, husbandman, it is presumable that he had then removed.
Though he was taxed for real estate, we have been unable to find where in Medford he resided.
We find that in 1733-34
John Whitmore, Jonathan Hall and Jona Bradshaw be Depeud [deputed?] to vew the Highways by Matthew Ellises and make Report to the Town what they Judg Mr. Ellis should have allowed him for moving Som Large Rocks in the Country Road nearby hi
distil-house, and so the way came to be called Distil-house lane.
It will be seen that the house stands on a corner lot. The other way is probably as short a street as there is in Medford—River street. Extending to Salem street, it adjoins (even covers a part of) the earliest burial place, and was long known as Dead-man's alley.
This old house had been erected sixty-eight years when its brick neighbor was built.
Its owner was a man of some note in Medford, and constable of the town in 1733.
Mention is made of him elsewhere in this issue of the Register.
From out this comfortable mansion, Constable Richard Sprague sallied forth one day, perhaps with his staff of office, but clothed with the majesty of the law, and backed by the warrant of the selectmen, to lay hold on the body of one Matthew Ellis, a delinquent tax payer, and trouble of years' duration began.
But to return to the view, which, though made twenty-five years ago, and with a few changes, holds good today.