[p. 2] 1854. All the rich material of the past was thus barred out, and all the still richer material of the years which followed I could make no use of.

At first I felt strongly tempted to write and withdraw my promise, but after due consideration I concluded that I might, in the way of anecdote and comment, manage to shed some sidelights on Medford life and society, even in that brief space of time, that might be of passing interest.

I doubt if in all the years of Medford's history there was ever a more stagnant period than during those nine months. I am not finding fault. It suited me well enough, for I needed quiet surroundings for my work; but it was unfortunate for your sakes here tonight that it didn't provide me with more stirring material than I shall be able to give you. I was young when I first came to the town. I knew no one, and my life was spent much to myself. I made few acquaintances, but I was naturally of an inquiring mind, and while most of the people I met with were apparently oblivious of my existence, I kept my eyes and ears open.

My first coming to Medford was the result of a painful episode in my family history. When I was a child I used to hear my mother, who died nearly twenty years ago at the age of ninety, tell the story of her brother who died in Medford, away from his home, at the age of sixteen, and who was buried in the old ground across the street from here. His father, my grandfather, had, with several of his neighbors, obtained the charter for a new town in New Hampshire, and had emigrated there with his family. The conditions were unfavorable, however, and the little community suffered from lack of money. It was finally decided that half a dozen of the younger men should return to Massachusetts and seek employment, sending home regularly a portion of their wages, thus relieving the stress upon the little community. My uncle was then young in years, but a man in size and intelligence. He begged to be one of those

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