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[96] divided into four counties,--Middlesex, Norfolk, Suffolk, and Essex.

1646: Selectmen were empowered to try causes in a town where the magistrate could not, or where he was a party.

The first mention of Medford in the public records of the Province is the following:--

At a Court of Assistants at Charlestown, 28th Sept., 1630. It is ordered that there shall be collected and raised by distress out of the several plantations, for the maintenance of Mr. Patrick and Mr. Underhill, the sum of £ 50, viz.: out of Charlton, £ 7; Boston, £ 11; Dorchester, £ 7; Rockbury, £ 5; Watertown, £ 11; Meadford, £ 3 ; Salem, £ 3; Wessaguscus, £ 2 ; Nantascett, £ 1.

It appears from the records that the inhabitants of Medford did not receive legal notice of their incorporation as a town till fifty years after the event. Wishing to be represented in the General Court, they petitioned for an act of incorporation, and were answered, that “the town had been incorporated, along with the other towns of the province, by a ‘ general act’ passed in 1630; and, under this ‘ act,’ it had at any time a right to organize itself and choose a representative without further legislation.” Thus Medford was an incorporated town in 1630. The first representative was Stephen Willis, elected Feb. 25, 1684. The annual meeting was always held in February.

In the absence of early records, we are left to conjecture, from what afterwards appeared, what existed in the earliest times. We therefore presume that the first settlers of Medford did as their neighbors did; that is, organized a municipal government, which should have the usual powers of levying and collecting taxes, opening and repairing roads, guarding the public interest, and securing the common peace.

The mode of “warning a town-meeting,” in the early times, may be new to many of our day. It ran thus:--

To Mr. Stephen Hall, jun., Constable of Medford, Greeting: You are hereby required, in His Majesty's name, to warn the freeholders and other inhabitants of Medford to meet at their meetinghouse, the first Monday of March next ensuing the date hereof, by eight o'clock in the morning; then and there to choose a Constable, Selectmen, Town-clerk, and other town-officers, as the law directs. And all persons, to whom the said town is indebted, to bring in their accounts, and lay the same before the said town; and the

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