en carried down through generations.
Free public schools were founded in Medford in 1670; in 1776 the people voted that the master instruct girls for two hours after the boys are dismissed, but not until 1834 was it decreed that the girls shall enjoy equal privileges therein with the boys throughout the year.
This may have been one reason for the prevalence of private schools for girls and for boys and girls.
This edict was not carried out, however, until the high school was organized in 1835, one of the first three free schools in the State for both sexes, devoted to the higher branches of learning.
This school has proved an important factor in the intellectual life of Medford.
Numbers of its teachers and pupils have distinguished themselves in art, science and letters.
Thomas Starr King, author of The White Hills; Their Legends, Landscape and Poetry, 1859, said to be the most complete work of its kind in existence, a forerunner of the modern nature books, taught one of the pu
rt of the Cradock farm in 1660.
His son Caleb lived in the mansion house of Golden Moore, mentioned by Edward Collins in his deed.
Since Caleb (the first resident of the Brooks name), successive generations have there had their homes until the recent sale of the estate (including the mansion built by Peter C. Brooks in 1802) to a real estate trust.
During the century gradual disposals have been made, but the latest will produce the change most marked.
In 1803 the Middlesex canal, and in 1835 the Lowell railroad, were opened for travel through it. Early in the fifties the southern portion came into the possession of Thomas P. Smith. Oak Grove Cemetery is in the northern border, and also enlarged from this estate.
Next, the Playstead took a portion along Whitmore brook, and the residential section near the Gleason school followed.
In more recent years the Mystic Valley Parkway has bordered the lake, and the Mystic hickories that were sizable trees when Paul Revere rode by, overlo
unates 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 children hurt in the schoolhouse wreck, as it was vacation time, but the school was to have opened two days later.
It is said, however, that the great September gale of 1