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[p. 4] upon. As these and other settlements in the Colony grew, it must have been early evident that the ford at Mistick, with the water in the river from o to 2 feet deep twice in 24 hours, would be inadequate to the wants of the growing towns, especially as Medford was in the line of travel between the north and south shores of Massachusetts bay. It is entirely within the bounds of possibility to believe that the site of this bridge was selected as early as the year 1631, if not before.

The first reference to this bridge in the records of the General Court is in the year 1639:

‘At the General Court held in Boston the 22nd. of the 3rd. month (called May) 1639. Mr. Mathew Cradock is freed of rates to the County by agreement of the Court, for the year ensuing from this day in regard to his charge in building the bridge, and the county is to finish it at the charge of the public, Mr. Davidson and Lieut. Sprague to see it done and to bring in their bill of charges.’

This action of the General Court shows that, although Mistick bridge was first commenced by Mr. Cradock as a private enterprise, yet it so commended itself to the Court as a public benefit that Mr. Cradock was reimbursed for what he had previously done towards its construction, by freeing him from County rates for one year; and it was ordered to be finished at the public expense, and, as we shall see, the Court ordered it to be repaired from time to time thereafter, at the expense of the Province. The records of the General Court say that ‘Oct. 10th. 1641 it is ordered that Lieut. Sprague and Edward Converse should repair the bridge at Medford over Mistick river, and the same be paid for out of the Treasury.’

Oct 17th. 1643. ‘Mr. Edward Tomlins should have 22 pounds to repair Mistick bridge, to make it strong and sufficient, for which sum of 22 pound he hath undertaken it.’

‘At a General Court at Boston, for elections the 6th. ’

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