The following owned lands in Medford
The lands of Medford
were apportioned to the first settlers according to the decision of the Court
of May 1, 1629; and Josselyn
speaks of the town, in 1638, as “a scattered village.”
We suppose that the three “forts,” or brick houses, were placed conveniently for the protection of all the inhabitants.
If so, the first settlers occupied the land near the river, on its north bank, from the old brick house on Ship Street to the west brick house, now standing behind the house of the late Governor Brooks
Soon the population stretched westward to Mystic Pond
; and, when the inhabitants came to build their first meeting-house, they found the central place to be “Rock Hill
;” and there they built it. The West End
was very early settled as the best land for tillage.
It is natural to ask, by what right our Medford
ancestors held their farms at first, and what guarantees they had from adequate authorities.
We have abundant testimony that not a foot of land was taken from the Indians by force.
Every particle was fully and satisfactorily paid for, as we have shown elsewhere.
Having thus honorably come into possession, the question was, how can ownership be legally secured?
That question was answered by the following most important order of the General Court, under date of April 1, 1634:--
“It is ordered, that the constable and four or more of the chief inhabitants of every town (to be chosen by all the freemen there, at some meeting there), with the advice of some one or more of the next Assistants, shall make a survey of the houses backside, cornfields, mowing-ground, and other lands, improved or enclosed, or granted by special order of the Court, of every free inhabitant there, and shall enter the same in a book (fairly written in words at length and not in figures), with the several bounds and quantities, by the nearest estimation, and shall deliver a transcript thereof into the Court within six months now next ensuing; and the same, so entered and recorded, shall be sufficient assurance to every such ”