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[87]

‘Brigham Farme on ye Rocks.’

William E. Brigham in ‘the History of the Brigham Family.’

In 1648 there was laid out by the town of Cambridge to Thomas1 Brigham ‘72 acres on ye Rocks on Charlestown line.’ In view of the important error of Rev. Abner Morse, the first Brigham genealogist, in locating upon this plot the homestead in which Thomas died in 1653, the place has borne a distinction in Brigham family history which is unwarranted by its actual position as a Brigham possession. Morse, mistaking the well-known ledges of Clarendon Hill for ‘ye Cambridge Rocks,’ declares that the last habitation of Thomas was in Somerville. Having done this, he easily draws a graphic picture of the Brigham Farm as it might have appeared in the last days of its owner; and he even goes so far as to offer the baseless conjecture that Thomas was buried in Medford.f

The ‘Cambridge Rocks’ were, as Morse says, a well-known ancient landmark, but they were not where Morse places them. They begin in Cambridge on the Watertown line, at a point which is now the corner of Pleasant Street and Concord Avenue, Belmont. They skirt the western boundary of Pleasant Street to the corner of Massachusetts Avenue, Arlington, where the public library now stands. This site was originally the corner of the old Watertown road. Thence they cross Massachusetts Avenue, and, following the line of the present Water Street, extend to Fowle's Mill Pond, and thence northwesterly along the mill pond and brook, and northerly across the brook to the Charlestown Line. (This brook, Sucker Brook, was originally Alewife Meadow Brook, and should not be confounded with the present Alewife Brook, flowing out of Fresh Pond, originally the Menotomy [a] River. ‘The Rocks’ continued along the Charlestown Line to a point near the present Lexington and Arlington Line. The territory to the west— Lexington since 1713—was originally known as Cambridge Farms.

It was colloquial to refer to the grants in this immediate vicinity as the ‘small farms’; hence the item in the inventory


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