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 For the first hundred years of our settlement, the attention of agriculturists must have been directed to clear up lands, erect stone walls, ditch marshes, and open roads, while they also studied the rotation of crops, and procured new seeds from other localities. When Boston became a large town, our farmers were prompt in supplying it with milk; and this new business gradually extended till it became one of the most lucrative. This led to raising cows on an extensive scale; while this, in its turn, led to raising grass and hay in preference to corn. The amount of butter and cheese made in Medford has been therefore comparatively small; the milk farms being found more profitable. At the beginning of this century, the quantity of milk sold in Boston by our Medford farmers was very great; its price varying from three to five cents a quart. The cows were milked by earliest daylight, and the vender was in Boston by sunrise. Within the last thirty years, the milk has found its market more in Medford; and several large farms have been used to raise hay for the horses of Boston. The cultivation of fruits has been a cherished object in our town., and many of our farms have doubled their value by this means. It is not unusual with them to produce one and two hundred barrels of apples, besides great varieties of pears, peaches, plums, quinces, and the common lesser fruits. To Medford belongs the introduction of the celebrated “Baldwin apple.” The first tree, producing this delicious fruit, grew on the side hill, within two rods of the former Woburn line, and about ten rods east of the present road which leads from West Medford to the ancient boundary of Woburn. It was on the farm occupied by Mr. Thompson, forty or fifty rods south of what used to be called “the black-horse tavern.” At the request of Governor Brooks, the writer made a visit to that tree in 1813, and climbed it. It was very old and partly decayed, but bore fruit abundantly. Around its trunk the woodpeckers had drilled as many as five or six circles of holes, not larger than a pea; and, from this most visible peculiarity, the apples were called “Woodpecker apples.” By degrees their name was shortened to Peckers; and, during my youth, they were seldom called by any other name. How they came by their present appellative is this. Young Baldwin, of Woburn, afterwards a colonel, and father of Loami, was an intimate friend of young Thompson (afterwards Count Rumford); and, as lovers of
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