THIS sketch of Waltham has reached nearly double the number of pages originally intended, and yet many matters of interest have not even been mentioned. So rich is the supply of material that a volume four times as large could easily have been filled with the valuable historical records that have been preserved since its incorporation, while further diligent and careful research would doubtless throw much light upon its settlement and growth during the hundred years preceding. The Puritan visitors, who made their simple exchange of a bisket-cake for a bass with the native fishermen of the Mishaum on that balmy summer's morning two and a half centuries ago, little dreamed that before that period should elapse upon either bank of the same river would arise industries that should revolutionize the trade of the world, or they would have remained and identified themselves with a spot destined to become so famous. The chief aim in making this compilation has been to condense within the limits of a popular sketch such facts as were thought to be of the most importance in the history of the town from this early date (1630), and to present them in such form as would attract and interest the general reader.  If this end has been attained; if by the perusal of these pages readers are led to feel a deeper interest in the deeds and records of ‘the fathers,’ not only of the town but of the state and nation as well; if the ‘sun-pictures’ of its manufactories, its churches and school-houses, its private residences, and its natural scenery attract the attention of those heretofore strangers to its marvellous beauty and to the enterprise of its people, and if an interest be aroused that shall call for a full and complete history from competent hands, this book will not have been written in vain. It remains to return sincere thanks to all who have kindly assisted the compiler, and rendered his task a pleasant one; especially to Mr. Jonathan Brown Bright, whose researches into the early records of the town and its church history, published in the files of the Waltham Sentinel and Waltham Free Press, have been freely drawn upon, and who kindly listened to and revised many pages of Mss.; to Mr. George Phinney, editor and publisher of the Waltham Free Press, for many courtesies and for free use of the files of the papers named; to Mr. J. H. Colby for the use of a small volume of Mss. notes on the early history of the town; and to John Ward Dean, A. M., Librarian of the New England Historic, Genealogical Society, for the use of the fac-simile autographs scattered through the book.
Charles Alexander Nelson. Irving Street, West Somerville,
22 February, 1879.
22 February, 1879.