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[388] Many were smoked, after the manner of herring, and eaten in New England; many more were used as bait for cod-fishing on the Banks. Alewives, in early times, were sometimes used as manure; and shad were salted in tubs, and eaten in the winter.

The income from these fisheries may not have been very large, unless we count the support which fish furnished as food; and, in such case, we apprehend the income was great indeed. They gave a needed and most welcome variety in that brief list of eatables with which our fathers were wont to be contented.

In 1829, by the enterprise of Mr. John Bishop, the business of mackerel-fishing was attempted. Some of the finest schooners from the fleets of Hingham were purchased, and fitted out in amplest order. Three schooners were built in Medford for this service. But, before two years had elapsed, it was found impossible to compete with Plymouth, Hingham, Gloucester, and Boston. In these places, barrels and salt were cheaper than at Medford, and the common market more accessible, especially in winter.

Medford crackers.

He who introduces a better kind of bread than was ever known before is entitled to honor for his ingenuity, and to gratitude for his beneficence. The individual richly deserving both these is Convers Francis, Esq., the first manufacturer of the Medford crackers. Mr. Francis served his apprenticeship to the baking business with Captain Ebenezer Hall, in Medford. After acting as his foreman for some years, he set up for himself in West Cambridge (then called Menotomy), where he remained two years, when Captain Hall came to him, and proposed to him to return to Medford, and take his bakehouse and business, and carry it on for himself. This he agreed to do. Thus Mr. Francis, in 1797, found himself in Medford, doing a good business in the place of his master. In that business he continued till 1818, without intermission, and accumulated a comfortable property. He early gave the energies of an active mind to the invention of a new kind of cracker. He well knew that the quality of the flour demanded his first scrutiny; and so skilful had he become in the examination of that article, that he cared

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