pleasantly remembered by our citizens who have passed middle age.
One of the most interesting memorials of the past standing in Medford
was the Tufts house
in the public square, on the western corner of Forest street. It was torn down in 1867.
It was a large unpainted wooden building, three stories high in the front, and sloping down to one low story in the rear.
Such was the picturesque style of building our fathers affected a century and a half ago. During the later years of its existence the house was in a dilapidated, not to say ruinous, condition, its bulging walls and sunken floors threatening immediate collapse.
I think it was only upheld by its immense chimney—the largest I ever saw—which stood in the centre of the house.
Portions of the building were utilized to the last.
In the front apartment, on the east side, I can remember that a small bookstore was kept by a Mr. Randall
, who had also the charge of the social library which found a place in the room.
The same room was afterwards occupied as a barber's shop, and in a room behind it Mr. Gillard
kept his fish market.
The front room on the western corner was for many years used for the reading-room to which I have already referred, and concerning which I shall have something more to say. A very faithful likeness of the Tufts building
will be found in Usher
's edition of ‘Brooks
And the Tufts family played an important part in the earlier and later history of the town.
The founder of the family, Mr. Peter Tufts
, was born in England
in 1617, and came to New England
somewhere about 1638 and was one of the earliest settlers of Malden
, where he was a large land-owner.
He also bought of Cradock
's heirs 350 acres of land in what is now one of the most thickly settled parts of Medford
His son, Capt. Peter Tufts
, resided in Medford
and was the father of Dr. Simon Tufts
, the first physician of the town.
It seems likely that he was the builder of the house in the square