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[p. 69]

The home of the Historical Society.

THE negotiations for the purchase of the Francis Home1—so called—the residence of the Medford Historical Society since its inception, have had a happy issue for the society; the title of the property having passed to the society June 13, 1902.

The old landmark so familiar to the people of Medford and so widely known as the birthplace of Lydia Maria Child2 may now stand as a memorial to the life and effort of that noble woman, and as a monument dedicated to the veneration of the historic, to be preserved and bequeathed to posterity.

The following reminiscence is by Mr. Andrew D. Blanchard, who was born and lived in the home to 1847. This was written some eight years ago, on a visit to the old homstead by Mr. Blanchard:—

I went to Medford expecting to find the old homestead demolished, but found it standing. The old bake-house in the rear is gone,3 and was in all respects the most ancient, for it remained as it was originally built, except the old ovens. The house was entirely rebuilt by my father previous to 1840 the brick ends only remaining. The front was originally oil Salem street, and when the alteration was made the old front door was put in the bake-house. I always understood that the house was built by Converse Francis, father of Mrs. Child, and placed near the street so that the sign could be seen from the square. The shop was at the westerly end. I learn from the history of Medford that Mr. Francis of West Cambridge served his apprenticeship to the baking business with Capt. Ebenezer Hall in Medford, went back to West Cambridge for two years and then came to Medford in 1797. His ‘Medford Crackers’ were famous. Mr. Francis remained in business till 1818, when my father, Capt. Andrew Blanchard, Jr. purchased the estate and resided on it until his death in 1853.

Lydia Maria Child was born in the house February 11, 1802. Her brother, Rev. Converse Francis, D. D., was born in West Cambridge, November 9, 1795. What is now Ashland street was a lane which separated my father's estate from the Bishop estate. My father's land extended on the lane to the estate next to Mrs. Gill's and to Forest street. Mr. Luther Angier bought the Forest

1 Not infrequently called the ‘Child House.’

2 See Register, vol. III., No. 3, and National Magazine, p. 161, May, 1901.

3 Used for a gold-beater's shop by Mr. C. P. Lauriat until his, death.

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