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[391] with salt water. This catastrophe ruined him as entirely as it did his rum. With much of the Anglo-Saxon courage, he kept his spirits up, and looked to his Malden friends to aid him. They consented to do so; and Captain John Dexter, Captain Harnden, and Mr. John Bucknam, joined him in building the second distillery, which, in our day, is converted partly into a store, and partly into a shelter for the locomotive of the Medford Branch Railroad. After this time, Mr. John Bishop built a distillery on the opposite side of the road, in Ship Street, nearer to the river; and Mr. Benjamin Hall, in 1797, took down the one which his father had built of wood, and replaced it with the one of brick which is now used. This enlargement of the business, together with the high reputation justly acquired by the manufacturers in Medford, gave employment to many men in many ways.

The business has been carried on by Messrs. Andrew Hall, Benjamin Hall, John Bishop, Nathaniel Hall, Fitch Tufts, Joseph Swan, Hall and Manning, and Joseph Hall. It is now prosecuted only by Mr. Daniel Lawrence. It was never a profitable branch of trade; and, till 1830, it ruined many persons who entered it. Since the “temperance reformation,” it has yielded great profits to the few who pursue it.

The business demanded a larger investment of capital than any other manufacturing interest within the town. Agents were employed to purchase molasses in the West Indies; and schooners of the largest tonnage were often seen unlading at wharves on the borders of which the distilleries stood.

Soon after 1830, all the distilleries but one were discontinued, and three of the buildings were demolished. In 1849, the efforts of temperance societies had so far influenced public opinion and the general habits as to diminish the use of rum to an extent almost fatal to the manufacturers of it. But about that time commenced an active demand for alcohol, as a component part of the “burning fluid” now so generally used; and this demand rather increases. The present war in Europe has greatly augmented the consumption of rum; and so brisk is the demand, that now, for the first time within thirty years, new distilleries are being established, not only in the United States, but in Cuba and other West India islands.


This name was applied to a freighting business, carried on extensively through Mystic River, between Medford and Boston. The craft generally used were sloops ranging from fifty to one hundred tons' burden. They were introduced for the transportation of bricks, and afforded the only mode of transfer before Charlestown Bridge was built. Mystic River, to our fathers, was bridge, turnpike, and railroad. When adventurers settle in a forest, it is the first wisdom to fix themselves near a river; because a river is an easy highway, always kept in good repair, and free from all taxation. The business of lightering employed many men; and the inhabitants at first used these sloops as passenger-packets to Boston and Salem. So important had become this mode of conveyance for bricks, merchandise, and people, that, when a petition was started for permission to build Charlestown Bridge, Medford opposed it with unanimity and zeal, “because it would destroy the lightering business.” The result was much as our citizens had foretold: bricks soon began to be carried by oxen in carts; thus saving both the loading and unloading in the sloop, where many were necessarily broken.

The labor of lightering was very hard; for, at times, it became necessary for men to walk on the banks, and thus tow the sloop by means of long ropes. This toil was often undertaken in the night, and during stormy weather. Wood and bark were freighted from Maine, and rockweed from Boston Harbor. A business that was suspended during two or three months of each year, on account of ice, was not attractive to those who wished steady employment, and was not likely therefore to secure the best laborers.


The building of a mill required more iron and stone work than our fathers in Medford were at first prepared to carry through: they therefore adopted the Indian's mill; which was a rock hollowed out in the shape of a half-globe, and a stone, pestle. The mortar held half a bushel, and the pestle weighed forty or fifty pounds. A small, flexible tree was bent down, and the pestle so tied to its top as to keep it suspended

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