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‘ [130] school-house’ (that stood on a public common there sixty years ago),1 commenced an awful cannonade on the island. As the Indians could not thus be dislodged, it was concluded to take the island by storm. One or two companies of militia were embarked on a flat-boat and other craft, and effected a landing on the island, under cover of Admiral Brooks's fleet. The Indians thus hotly pursued, took to their canoes, after seeing their wigwam burnt, and crossed over to the woods where the Spy Pond Hotel now stands. But here the West Cambridge ‘Light Horse,’ supported by infantry, met them, and a sharp running fight of half an hour took place, when the Indians were all captured, and marched up, strongly guarded, to the common by the Unitarian [First Parish] Church, and, after being liberally treated and lunched, were dismissed, with plenty of good advice. ...

A Post Office was established in West Cambridge a year or two after its incorporation. Its population then amounted to only about 900. Postage was so abominably high, that but few letters were sent through the mails. The office of Postmaster was first offered to Col. Thomas Russell, and the usual commission and bond sent on from Washington. But the business and compensation were so trifling, he would not be bothered with it. In fact more letters were stuck up on the post on his store-counter, by and for private persons, than sent through the mails. He recommended Capt. William S. Brooks, who was appointed, and thus became first Postmaster of the town.2 Capt. Brooks was an ardent Federalist and a public-spirited citizen, and opened the first lumber yard in the place, as well as a dry goods and grocery store. There were seven groceries in the town at this period, kept by William Locke, Tufts & Adams, Thomas Russell, Walter Russell, William S. Brooks and Miles Gardner, besides the ‘ Factory Store’ kept by William Whittemore & Co., though more business was done by Colonel Russell than by all the others combined, his store having been established before the Revolution, and having a large country trade in Lexington, Bedford, Carlisle, Billerica, &c. I do not suppose the Postmaster's salary, now about twelve hundred dollars per annum, then amounted to twenty.

J. B. R., Reminiscences.


Voted that the selectmen and town clerk be directed to cause a printed statement of the expenses of the town to be made, and to furnish each family with one of the same. A copy of this statement is appended.

1 The Eastern District Schoolhouse erected 1808, building sold 1838.

2 The postmasters of the town have been: William S. Brooks, 1812-1814; Amos Whittemore, 1818-1827; Henry Whittemore, 1831-1834; Isaac Shattuck, Jr., 1835-1839; John Fowle, 1840-1846; Edwin R. Prescott, 1847-1862; Abel R. Proctor, 1862-1868; Frederick E. Fowle, 1869-1879.

Belmont (before set off as a town)—John L. Alexander, 1865-1869.

Arlington HeightsJonas M. Bailey, 1876-1877; Charles L. Howard, 1878-1879.

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