come to Somerville territory and established himself at Ten Hills, where he evidently lived during the summers of many years, Charlestown peninsula, and later Boston, being his winter residence.
On July 4, 1631, he built a bark at Mistick, which was launched this day, and called the Blessing of the Bay.
This was at Ten Hills Farm, in Somerville, just east of the present Wellington Bridge.
She was of thirty tons burden, and was the first craft built in Massachusetts large enough to cross the ocean.
She was constructed of locust timber, cut on the farm, and was built by subscription at a cost of £ 145. In 1632 she was converted into a cruiser to suppress piracy on the New England coast.
Her energies were to be particularly directed against one David Bull, who, with fifteen Englishmen, had committed acts of piracy among the fishermen and plundered a settlement.
She therefore may lay claim to the honor of having been the first American vessel of war.
Mention of the ship is made several times in the Colony Records
up to 1692.
The Cambridge Chronicle in 1852 stated that the identical ‘ways’ on which the Blessing of the Bay
was built were still in existence and in fair preservation.
James R. Hopkins
, chief of the Somerville Fire Department, who was familiar with the locality, and John S. Hayes
, master of the Forster School, together with two firemen, William A. Perry
and William A. Burbank
, in May, 1892, secured a portion of the ‘ways’ from which the bark was launched.
Three vases and two gavels were made of the wood secured, and one of the gavels is now in the possession of the Historical Society.
From the Somerville Journal Souvenir
number, March 3, 1892, we take the following:—
The Powder House, or old mill, at West Somerville is unquestionably the most interesting historical relic in Massachusetts, and it has, indeed, but few rivals in New England.
The exact date when it was built is not known.
It was originally a grist-mill, and was probably built by John Mallet, who came into possession of the site in 1703-04.
In his will, made