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[424] the town, was built by Mr. Andrew Blanchard in 1804, and attained great popularity under its first keeper, Mr. Jaquith. It was furnished with four bowling-alleys, which proved too great a temptation to some. At a later period, the house came into the possession of a company of gentlemen, who were resolved to have it kept on temperance principles. This plan proved more moral than profitable; and it passed from the hands of the company to its present Italian owner.

The taverns of olden time were the places of resort for gentlemen; and one consequence was, good suppers and deep drinking. They also performed the office of newspapers. In 1760, Medford passed the following vote:--“That their names, posted on the several tavern-doors, shall be a sufficient notice for jurors.” Saturday afternoon was the time when men came from all quarters of the town to see and hear all they could at the tavern. For many years, the favorite arena was at Mr. Blanchard's, where politics and theology, trade, barter, and taxes, were all mixed up together over hot flip and strong toddy.

The taverns served also as places for marketing. During most of the winter, they were filled every night with farmers from Vermont and New Hampshire, who had brought their pork, butter, grain, seeds, and poultry to market. Most families supplied themselves through these opportunities, and purchased the best articles at moderate prices.

Landlords could not grow rich very fast on country custom. The travelling farmer brought all his food for himself in a box, and that for his horse in a bag. He therefore paid only twelve cents for his bed, and as much for horse-keeping. It was not uncommon to have six days expenses amount only to two dollars!

Taverns seemed to subserve all purposes. Auctions, theatricals, legerdemain, caucuses, military drills, balls, and dancing-schools, all came in place at the tavern. Especially sleigh-riding parties found them convenient. Medford was just about far enough from Boston to tempt a party to a ride on a pleasant moonlight evening. Scarcely one such evening passed without witnessing a gathering of young people, who brought with them their “fiddler,” or procured our “Greenough;” and who danced from seven to ten, then took a hearty supper, and reached Boston at twelve. New forms of trade and amusement have almost wholly displaced these former customs.

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