present line of the river, the river having been filled in since the bridge was built.
There is a remarkably soft bottom to the river on the westerly side of the bridge; in driving piles for the present stone bridge one was driven 64 feet below low-water mark, and it settled 6 inches under the last blow of the hammer.
This soft bottom runs diagonally across the river; while about one-third of the north abutment extends over this soft place, only about 6 feet of the pier is so situated, and there are no traces of it under the south abutment.
This bridge, as will be hereinafter shown, was both rude and weak in its construction, in need of frequent repairs, and, from the peculiar circumstances connected with its care and maintenance, a source of constant annoyance, not only to the inhabitants of Medford
, but also to the inhabitants of the neighboring towns, as well as to the Great
and General Court.
All printed authorities have heretofore fixed the date of the commencement of this bridge as being in the year 1638.
On a plan of Governor Winthrop
's Ten Hills farm, dated the 8th month (October), 1637, is shown a bridge across Mistick river at the place now occupied by the present bridge; there is a singular fact connected with the location of this bridge, which would seem to indicate that if not commenced earlier than the year 1637 (as we believe it to have been) it was at least in contemplation as early as the year 1631.
It was in that year that Governor Winthrop
received the grant of land known as the Ten Hills farm
, and the northwest corner of this grant was located exactly at the southeast corner of the bridge.
Could this have been accidental, or was it by design?
As early as the year 1629 there were settlers on both sides of the Mistick river.
On the north side Mr. Cradock
's men had established themselves, and on the south side Charlestown
's territory was being located