entering into an entirely erroneous statement of why it was a ‘peculiar town
follows in the footsteps of Brooks
in this particular, as we might naturally expect.
The General Court did not declare Medford
to be a ‘peculiar town
,’ but a ‘peculiar.’
The reason of this is obvious.
The word ‘peculiar’ in Colonial and provincial Massachusetts
meant a parish, precinct or district not yet erected into a town, but having authority to act on all, or most matters of local administration, but not in choosing a representative to the General Court.
Although taxes had been assessed, legislation had been enacted at various times, and the settlement had been recognized in one way or another since 1630, the rights of the place were still incomplete, and it had no representative in the Provincial Government
for several years after this declaration.
All of these facts are evidence toward bearing out the statement relative to our records being intact, and that no public ones had been kept previous to those we now have.
There are several errors in other of Brooks
' extracts of the records, which become evident on examination, but I shall not go into this feature in detail.
On March 4, 1684-5, the selectmen were empowered to make such orders as shall be needful for the preventing any person or families coming into the town and continuing as inhabitants, and in case of need to protest against any such, for fear they might become a burden or damage to the town.
This, of course, as you will recognize, was an action to put into effect the ‘warning out’ law, and this method of procedure was continued for an hundred years, many of those who, with their descendants, afterwards became our best citizens, having been subjected to this warning.
All who were residents, and received into their families so-called strangers, were obliged to notify the selectmen at once of the fact, that such action as might be deemed advisable could be taken.
The first procedure of the selectmen, under this vote, was on April 1, 1685, when one William Burgess