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t thirty years of the nineteenth century was the era of canal and turnpike development. In whose brain the idea of a level road to Charlestown, in two unbroken straight lines, originated, we cannot say; probably that of Benjamin Hall, then the leading business man of Medford, who took one-tenth of its capital stock. Medford was, in 1803, a town of but twelve hundred inhabitants, its only direct route to Boston being the old road over the top of Winter hill, through Charlestown to the Charles river bridge but fourteen years built. It was a long, hard pull up and over the hill, not only for the local teams, but for the much greater volume of traffic and the stages from northern Middlesex and New Hampshire. So this new, shorter, and level route was apparently a feasible, practical and desirable investment. Steam travel was then thirty years in the future, electric power unheard of, and the automobile undreamed of. There were no serious engineering problems to cope with. It cro
fails to reveal more attention paid by them to this branch canal. The recent acquisition by the Historical Society of the original record book of the Medford Turnpike Corporation gives some data, and the present seems a fitting time to notice this short but essential connection of the famous old waterway with the Medford river of those days (the Mistick of earlier), today called Mystic. Why essential? First, because the Middlesex canal (opened two years before) was a through line to Charles river and Boston. Contrary to original intent, it left Medford at one side with only a way station at the further end of its first level in a corner of the West End. There the original survey was commenced by Samuel Thompson of Woburn, who began his work and proceeded from Medford river near the location of the present lock. See Historical Sketch of Caleb Eddy, agent of canal, 1843. There, was to have been the southern terminal of the canal, and from there the tidal flow of the river
of the governor's bark? for traditions have some value after all. Perhaps it can be supported and made less shadowy by authentic record. Let us see. There is, in the archives of our State House, carefully preserved, a letter from, and in the handwriting of, another Governor, the presiding functionary of the London Company chartered by King Charles I, who made that company a grant of land in New England in width from three miles north of the Merrimack river to three miles south of the Charles river and westward to the South sea in which to do business. The company had sent over a colony which settled at Nahumkeeke, i.e. Salem, with a few at Cape Ann, i.e. Gloucester, but who left there and settled at Mattapan (present Dorchester) and a few at Nantasket. All these were under the supervision of a local governor, John Endicott. There had some from Salem found their way across country (or otherwise) to the Mistick valley, and had here settled in the interests of that presiding fun
he salt (which was poured into the spaces between) passing into the bottom of the vessel, where it was not needed for the preservation of the wood, as it was in the sides above the varying water line Captain Grimes complained of the over-salting of his brig, which would indicate a lack of care taken. We are told by an expert attendant at the old State House that the brig Owhyee was of 166.52 tons, built by John Wade at Boston in 1821. John Wade was previously master boat-builder at the Navy Yard. The Boston Directory of that year says his shipyard was at Bullard & Hart's shipways, Lynn street, near Charles river bridge; and in 1822 he was, with his brother Francis, in the same location. The succeeding directories mention John Wade, who very likely was of Medford ancestry, as boat-builder. Perhaps the Owhyee, a small brig, of similar size of the two built the previous year (knock-down as the modern term is) at Medford, was his first venture in a larger line of constructive work.
Medford Historical Society Papers, Volume 24., The Turnpike highwayman's Fate. (search)
his desperate attempt. He told the sheriff that he prayed to God twice on his knees, that the blow he was about to inflict on the keeper might not prove fatal. Twelve days later (Thursday, December 20) the sentence of death was executed. A vast concourse of people assembled at Lechmere Point to witness it. East Cambridge was not then a network of railway tracks and closely built factories, and the scaffold was in plain view of the state prison at Charlestown, and of Boston across the Charles River. The Centinel of the 22d gave a graphic account of the same, mentioning the appeal of the sheriff to the assembly to maintain respectful silence and order while the last offices of religion were performed to the unhappy man by the attending priest, stating The request was complied with and the regularity and decorum with which [the execution] was conducted must have made a deep impression upon the great body of spectators which witnessed it, and inspired them with a suitable awe f
Medford Historical Society Papers, Volume 28., Medford and her Minute Men, April 19, 1775. (search)
he Neck and turned into the Mystic road, now Broadway and Main street in Somerville, and Main street in Medford. It was the two British officers who intercepted Revere on his intended route to Cambridge that caused him to make the detour through Medford. It is because of those unknown soldiers of the night, lurking in the shadows of the road, that in Medford and at the house of Isaac Hall was sounded the first alarm on that ride. It was one o'clock before the British column left the Charles river behind them. By that time Revere was in Lexington, and one hour earlier than that Medford had the news that the British were moving. By two o'clock the King's men were in the present Union square, Somerville. By three o'clock, coming up the Lexington and Concord road, now Massachusetts avenue, they had halted at the present Arlington center. Indeed, the Sons of Liberty were aware of the intended march even before the troops themselves. In more than one house along the route, as the
Medford Historical Society Papers, Volume 29., The Cradock house, past and future. (search)
between forty and forty-eight degrees north latitude, straight through to the South sea. In 1628 this court granted to the Massachusetts Bay company, consisting of six persons, all the land between a line everywhere three miles south of the Charles river and a line everywhere three miles north of the Merrimac. It is to be hoped that the Charles and the Merrimac in those days ran straight and parallel. Six persons were rather a close corporation for all this land and in 1629 twenty other pert and approbation of Mr. John Endicott, Governor, did the same summer of 1628 (1629) undertake a journey from Salem, and travelled the woods above twelve miles to the westward, and lighted on a place situate and lying on the north side of the Charles River, full of Indians called Aberginians. Their old sachem being dead, his eldest son, by the English called John Sagamore, was their chief, and a man naturally of a gentle and good disposition. . . . They found it was a neck of land, generally f
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