Medford was favored in good tavern-keepers. Journeying in former days, one found queer specimens of humanity among this unique class. Generally, they were only variations of Yankee Doodle. Some landlords were so full of sunshine that it was June all the year round; others had minds so frost-bitten that there was no hope for you, except in the January thaw. Here was one so anxious to oblige that he would spring to throw a lasso round the moon, if you wished it; and there another so cross, that putting a question to him was like squeezing a lemon.
Burying-grounds.The places used by the first settlers of Medford for the burial of the dead are not positively known. Whether from unwillingness to follow England's example, in providing expensive and well-secured graveyards, or from their inability to do so, we cannot say; but the fact is clear, that such provisions for the dead were not made. The oldest gravestones in the present graveyard, near Gravelly Bridge, were brought from England, and are remarkable for their width, thickness, and weight. The oldest bears the date of 1691. It may be that some of our gardens are cemeteries, and that from human soil we gather our daily bread, while the spade and ploughshare lacerate the relics of our ancestors.
March 20, 1705: “Put to vote, whether the selectmen shall discourse Mr. Dudley Wade, referring to the proposals made this meeting by Stephen Willis, jun., in said Wade's behalf, respecting the burying-place in Medford, and make return thereof to the town at the next town's meeting. Voted in the affirmative.”It does not appear what this proposition was, nor what action the town had upon it. Probably it was a proposal to sell the town some land for a place of burial; and we presume it was accepted, because, May 15, 1717, we find the following record:--
Put to vote, whether the town will choose a committee, to join with the selectmen, to view some land offered by Mr. Aaron Cleavland and John Willis, for the enlargement of the burying-place near Mistick Bridge; and bring in a report to the town of the same, at the next town-meeting, both of the price of said land, and the convenience of the same for the use aforesaid.