[p. 80] Medford
It was the first launch I ever saw. How beautiful the brightly painted ship, with her graceful outlines, appeared to me, and with what a thrill I saw the last block knocked away, and the slowly increasing movement of the mighty mass!
I can still see the hundred stalwart men on the shore manning the great hawsers, checking and guiding the vessel as she swings into the stream on her way to the wharves of Boston
I can remember when one of Paul Curtis
' ships grounded while going through the draw of Cradock bridge, where she had to stay till the next tide, and the bother people had in getting from one side of the river to the other; vehicles bound for Boston
were compelled to make their way through Arlington
, for there were no bridges above the Cradock then.
Our secretary informs me that he was once present at a launch of one of James O. Curtis
The vessel moved for a short distance and then stopped.
A hawser was attached to her, and a tug-boat endeavored to start her down the ways.
After several ineffectual efforts, the boat gave up the job and lay idle in the stream.
Suddenly the great vessel ceased to sulk, and, of her own volition, rushed down the ways, advanced on the tug-boat before she could get out of the way, and landed her high and dry upon the opposite bank of the river.
Vessels on the launch-ways had many caprices, and it sometimes required a deal of coaxing to get them into the water.
But it is useless for me, by any indulgence in pleasant reminiscences, to defer the painful catastrophe with which this narrative must close.
You have seen that in the last decade of ship-building in Medford
(1863-1873) there was a marked decline in the prosperity of the industry: only 14 ships were built in that period— hardly more than one ship a year.
In 1873 the last ship ever built in Medford
, the ‘Pilgrim,’ was launched from the yard of J. T. Foster
, and from that time the sound of the shipwright's hammer was never more