riter of Medford was Lydia Maria (Francis) Child, a sister of Rev. Converse Francis.
Her first novel, Hobomok, published in 1824, when she was only twenty-three years of age, was a great success, and was soon followed by the Rebels in 1825.
She edited a periodical for children called Juvenile Miscellany, afterwards published as Flowers for Children.
The Frugal Housewife; Evenings in New England, 1826; First Settlers of New England, 1829; The Girl's Own Book; The Coronal; The Mother's Book, 1831; and the Ladies' Family Library, four volumes of short biographies, followed in quick succession.
Some of her books reached twenty-five editions and were translated and printed abroad.
In 1833 she wrote a pamphlet, An Appeal for that Class of Americans Called Africans, which cost her her popularity as woman and writer.
She never faltered in her work for the anti-slavery cause, however, but left her home and went to New York to edit the Anti-Slavery Standard, wrote Incidents in the Life o
ghtmare in those days to many a poor soul battling with poverty.
The town had the usual barn and out-buildings near by, including the crazy pen, where a few unfortunates bereft of reason were kept.
Happily such are cared for in these days in a different manner, and not exposed to the view of idle passers, or the teasing of ill-mannered youths who need the parental discipline of birch or shingle; but such were the conditions of those days.
Of this latter, mention is made advisedly, for in 1831 the schoolhouse, built elsewhere two years before, was moved into the corner of the almshouse lot, as a more convenient site, and fronted on the canal lane.
In 1835 the Lowell railroad was opened for travel, having been constructed through the town's land and within two rods of the house.
In 1851 the great tornado which wrought such havoc in West Cambridge (now Arlington) and Medford totally wrecked this schoolhouse, but did little damage to the almshouse.
Fortunately there were no child