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[p. 46]

Unpublished Manuscripts.

Battle of the bees.

[Inserted by some former residents, and found upon page 26 of a History of Medford.]

Sometime about 1830 the Bees of Mr Joseph Swan went over in a body-and made an attack on the Bees of Mr Samuel Train (near the Meeting House) they fought in the air—with great fury —and many fell dead on the ground—Mr Train witnessed the battle. Finally Mr Train's bees were conquered, and compelled to assist the others in carrying away their own honey! which was done in a short time, while they were coming loaded out of the hive, Mr Train sprinkled flour (from a cook's flour box) and then went to Mr Swan's hives where he found the flour on the Bees, and thus identified them as the Invaders. It was a Case that did not admit of any redress.

C. S. Dec. 1855

Mr. Brooks' volume was published in 1855. Another attached paper commented upon the announcement of the same from the Unitarian pulpit. Along with the above are several newspaper clippings in relation to pugnacious bees. Mr. Swan was about forty years of age at the time of the battle he described, and his entry is made twenty-five years after the occurrence, in a legible hand, on the old-fashioned blue writing paper, and attached with bits of red wafer to the margin of the leaf.

Doubtless the occurrence made a vivid impression upon the youngsters of the neighborhood, as fifty-eight years afterward Mr. Swan's nephew took up the story and added more details, and also an incident his uncle omitted from his account thirty-three years before, as seen below.

Bees in a dwelling House.

Sometime about 1830, as near as I can recollect, at the time of the battle of the bees mentioned by my uncle Caleb Swan as having occurred between the bees of my uncle Joseph Swan and Mr Samuel Train whose house was next my mother's in Medford, a large swarm of bees came one day and settled on the eaves of the house at the Southwest corner, where they had discovered previously an entrance at the gutter into the attic in a space made between the south wall of the attic and the eaves. I well remember the tine. The air seemed full of bees and as they passed along in [p. 47] their flight over my uncle Joseph's, Roach's, and Train's premises, every one seemed to be out, beating tin pans, ringing table bells and making other discordant noises to induce the bees to settle in a swarm so that they could be hived. But they cared nothing for the noise but soon got into their new quarters where they lived several years and made a deal of honey. The first winter after they came my mother had a door and shelves arranged so that from the attic chamber where I and my brothers slept, the door could be opened and honey taken out. These bees were finally destroyed by an excessively cold winter.

James G. Swan Boston, Aug. 5, 1888.

He also illustrated his manuscript by an outline drawing of his mother's house. This, though a little crude, is readily identified as the house next adjoining the Unitarian Church where Washington was once a guest.

The bees are also shown clustered on the ‘southwest corner,’ and duly labelled ‘Bees.’ This above manuscript is in a clearer and excellent hand and on white paper. The ‘premises of Roach’ may be identified today by the old cellar, where was the house which was demolished soon after the death (by accidental burning) of Hannah Roach, in 1886. Those of ‘Train,’ as is well known, adjoined the house of Mrs. Swan, which became a beehive. The residence of Mr. James Swan's ‘uncle Joseph’ was then near High street, and was in the early seventies moved backward, enlarged and remodelled to its present shape by the late Alvin D. Puffer.

Both the Messrs. Swan were observers of men and things in Medford.

The Battle of the Boys.

[For account of the same see page 492, Brooks' History, 1808, Snowballing.]

Sectional differences existed in Medford a century ago even among the boys, as those living east of the meetinghouse were called ‘maggots,’ while those at the west were designated as ‘fag-enders.’ The snow fort of the ‘maggots’ boasted a single piece of artillery, which, however, proved more dangerous to the garrison than [p. 48] to the besiegers, as one boy was seriously wounded ‘on its discharge.’ See Mr. Swan's account for details of the fray:—

The boy was David Osgood only son of Revd Dr. Osgood The boys had built a large Fort of Snow behind the meetinghouse—a party appointed to attack it, and another party to defend it. David Osgood was of the inside party. They had got a large bellows nose, hammered the large end together and so made a Cannon of it, and filled it with powder—but at the first fire it exploded in several pieces—one of which tore his face and neck very badly and came within a hair of the jugular vein. He bled so profusely [that] Dr Brooks thought his life in imminent danger for more than a week.

Snowballing parties were prohibited after this....

A similar snowball fort was made by the boys of Dr. Stearns' Academy south of the bridge—but the attack was ordered to be given up—it was to have been attacked a day or two after the other.

Dr. Brooks was chosen governor in 1816, and held the office for seven successive years.

Century old Medford items.

The year 1808 was noted as the time when an assistant teacher was first employed in the public school.

Also in 1808 were made several diggings for Captain Kidd's buried treasure.

For richest Jems and gainfull things most merchants wisely venter;
Deride not then New England men this corporation enter:
Christ calls for trade shall never fade come Craddock factors send;
Let Mayhew go and other mor spare not thy coyne to spend;
Such trades advance did never chance in all thy trading yet:
Though some deride thy loss, abide her's gaine beyond man's wit.

From Chapt. VII. Wonder Working Providence of Zion's Saviour in New England. Edward Johnson.

On February 21, 1908, our former president and faithful worker, Mr. David H. Brown, entered into rest. He had but recently assumed the editorship of the Register, and to it gave his latest work.

An appreciative memorial is being prepared and will be presented in due time. [p. 49]

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