This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
“  that fishermen shall have their fish for bait at the same rate that others have at the wears, and be first served.” “The property of Governor Cradock, invested at Medford for fishing and other purposes,” was large. Mr. Savage says, “He maintained a small plantation for fishing at Mistick, in the present bounds of Malden, opposite to Winthrop's farm, at Ten Hills.” Complaint was made by our fishermen of a law, passed by Plymouth Colony, which laid a tax of five shillings on “every share of fish” caught by strangers “at the Cape.” From all that we can gather, we conclude that Mr. Cradock had invested as much as fifteen thousand dollars, which in various trade here must have made Medford a thriving and populous plantation for an infant settlement. The fishing business continued for fifteen or twenty years, but with less and less profit to Mr. Cradock. It was finally abandoned as a failure; and afterwards the river-fishing alone claimed attention. May, 1639: The price of alewives in Medford, at this time, was five shillings per thousand. This made food incredibly cheap. That Mystic River, as a resort for fish, was early known and greatly valued, appears from many testimonies. In Josselyn's account of his two voyages to New England (1638) we have the following record: “The river Mistick runs through the right side of the town (Charlestown), and, by its near approach to Charles River in one place, makes a very narrow neck, where stands most part of the town. The market-place, not far from the water-side, is surrounded with houses.” In Mystic River were “bass, shad, alewives, frost-fish, and smelts.” Josselyn says, “We will return to Charlestown again, where the river Mistick runs on the north side of the town (that is, the right side, as before said), where, on the north-west side, is the town of Mistick, three miles from Charlestown, a league and a half by water,--a scattered village. At the head of this river are great and spacious ponds, full of alewives in the spring-time; the notedest place for this sort of fish.” This quotation from Josselyn, while it goes to prove that bass, shad, and alewives were no strangers in our rivers, shows likewise that the population of our town was then settled chiefly between the two brick houses now standing, and that the place was called, Mistick. The “Wear” or Fishing Dam in Medford was at the outlet of the Pond; and, as our river was “the notedest place” for fish in
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.
An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.