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Medford Historical Society Papers, Volume 23., The mills on the Medford turnpike. (search)
s one hundred to the inch, wasting practically nothing. Just when this Medford mill ceased operation, or whether it ceased by limitation contained in the above agreement, we may not say with certainty. The Fire Department report says: Jan. 21, 1872. Mill building on Mystic Ave., supposed to be by incendiary. The building was a total loss. This account is written at some length, because neither Mr. Brooks nor Mr. Usher made any mention of this mill in their History of Medford. Mr. Hooper, in the scant space allotted him, made brief note of it, but the register, in Vol. XIV, p. 68, fixed the identity of the miller's dwelling, (Gershom Cutter's) a view of which had been shown as the toll-house several times, unchallenged. This house is said to have been burnt, but as yet we find no record of the fire. It is probable that the view we present was secured about 1890, by Mr. Will C. Eddy. With its burning disappeared the last vestige of a Medford business covering a period o
the locality better known than ever it could have been in turnpike days. As can be seen, the toll-house was a substantial structure, as were those of its day. Save that it had a central chimney, instead of two at the rear, it was a counterpart of those erected just before at West Medford and Wilmington by the Middlesex Canal Company. The latter, in 1807, was built at a cost of $833.73 (as per record) Middlesex Canal record. and the same figure may well apply to this. Inquiry as to whether this house still remains brings no satisfactory reply. It may have been burnt, removed, or remodelled to different style during the years that have elapsed. Mr. Hooper informs us that though this was the residence of the toll-man and his family, the real toll-house was a little cabin on the other side of the road. It resembled the old-time shoemakers' shops, once so numerous in Eastern Massachusetts, and may have been thus used. This has long since gone, but the turnpike road has improved.
nal was of necessity at a lower level than the other and required two locks for its operation. Land was purchased of Samuel Dexter and William H. Sumner (owners of Royall estate), seven and one-half acres and two rods for $751.25, and was to revert to the grantors if disused for two years. A storage basin The area of this is still noticeable near Mystic avenue. was constructed on this land, beside the main canal, with a side lock, or gates, in the embankment to give access thereto. Mr. Hooper, who when a boy lived nearby on the turnpike, says the lock was a big timber-framed box between two heavy stone walls which were several feet away, and timber braces between, up and down which the boys could climb. His description tallies with that given by others of the wooden locks of the Middlesex canal. At the opposite side of the basin, a lock was built like those in the canal, and from it to the river the branch canal was excavated at the requisite lower level. There another loc
Medford Historical Society Papers, Volume 23., Medford Saltmarsh Corporation. (search)
know about salt hay? The foregoing was in substance stated by the librarian, who exhibited the papers in evidence. Mr. Hooper followed, in interesting remarks upon the location of the marshes, their ownership by numerous proprietors, often from because of the pile of grass before him, and unless warned by the one ahead, would suddenly find himself in the hole. Mr. Hooper's description of the savage bites of the green-head flies was very realistic. No one seemed to know what staddles were till Mr. Hooper explained that some proprietors, especially those remote from the solid ground, drove clusters of posts into the marsh, leaving the tops about two feet elevated. On these the hay was stacked and removed when the ground had frozen.clumsy safeguard, and bore off the grass to the main, where it was made up into great loads for the homeward journey. Mr. Hooper gave an interesting account of the stump marsh, which is nearby and which is the remains of a primeval forest sunk into
Parson Smith's farm. It was an easy transition from these latter marshes to the consideration of Parson Smith's farm and barn which was close by one of them. Mr. Hooper located it by his remembrance as near the now disused Cummings schoolhouse and present North street. Rev. William Smith, the father of Abigail, wife of President John Adams, inherited a part of this farm, and at his mother's death bought a farm in Medford. Such is his entry in his interleaved almanac, the usual manner of keeping a diary in those days. Several of those he kept we have examined, and extracts were read in the above connection. We find in Nast's Sketch of Weymouth that in August 1634 [it should be 1734] a call was extended to Mr. William Smith of Charlestown to become the minister at a salary of one hundred and sixty pounds and three hundred pounds settlement, the latter to be paid one hundred pounds annually for three years, all in bills of credit. This invitation was accepted, and on the
double stream of eloquence. Also we query, Was there ever one like it anywhere? We deem it fortunate that the late Francis Wait, himself a mechanic of ability, made a description of its operation and peculiar features, which our local artist and younger Medford boy has preserved for us in our illustration. It was probably installed soon after 1812, and after serving the thirsty public for an average human lifetime, was replaced by another of ordinary style in 1848. Our worthy townsman Hooper tells us of the boyish pride he felt when he first was able to operate its pendulum handle, which alternately lifted the water in the two pumps enclosed in the box-like structure, and delivered through a single spout as shown It was a man's job to operate it and fill the big trough from which the horses and cattle drank. We of present day Medford never see an ox in our streets; horses are becoming rare. What do the generality of Medford children know of pumping water? They would be help