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[p. 23] been ready to acquire at their fair value. The pedler was not aware of their value except as rags, and carried them to the capital of a neighboring State, where by the merest accident they fell into appreciative hands and ultimately into mine, though sadly impaired in value by careless treatment.

Another case more important has come also within my observation. Some years ago, at the request of the city government of Chelsea, I undertook to write the history of Winnisimmet and Rumney Marsh, from the earliest times. My first inquiry was at the city hall for the old town files, and I was told that there was not even a scrap. Some hints were found in the colony records respecting two cases which proved to be of the highest interest and importance, but neither in the files nor elsewhere were there any papers, for the reason which will immediately appear. One of these cases was respecting the Capt. Robert Keayne estate in what is now Revere, and the other was that of Gov. Richard Bellingham's farms, which included the whole of the city of Chelsea. These cases raged in every court,— colonial, provincial, and State,—and the latter was in the English courts, and finally settled only at the end of one hundred and fourteen years from its beginning. Yet nobody knew anything about them save some vague statements found in the public records; and the reason was this: A Chelsea town clerk, who was also concerned in the later stages of the Bellingham case, on removing from Chelsea, near the close of the last century, carried with him into a remote country town not only all the Bellingham case papers, but also the greater part of the town files, both of which have been lately discovered in a very imperfect and dilapidated condition. The above cases are by no means isolated; on the contrary, they have been very common.

I will only add that doubtless Medford, like every ancient town, possesses many intelligent men and women who are competent to recall, investigate, and set down for preservation, local changes, biographical

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