done a few years later when the branch to Woburn
By reference to the county map, this peculiarity will be observed.
The new line was true to its name, boston & Lowell
. The Middlesex Canal
nearly traversed and was entirely within the county, hence its name.
The railroad passed through the central village of no town in its entire length of twenty-five miles. Its course lay between Charlestown
and West Cambridge
The traveller that journeys over it today will find the compact city of Somerville
, the residential western section of Medford
(that once was almost a town itself), and the beautiful suburban town of Winchester
grown up on both sides of its course.
Possibly his train may take him two miles over the steep grade of the Woburn branch
, now extended as the Woburn loop through that city.
At intervals the loop follows closely beside the still water-filled channel over which Capt. John L. Sullivan
steered the steamboat Merrimack
, ere the railroad was thought of. As a matter of fact, the grade and embankments of the long disused waterway made possible the extension of the branch railway to the village of North Woburn, as it did an electric road in Wilmington
in later years.
When the old waterway was built in the closing years of the eighteenth century, the labor was performed by men mostly native hereabout, and sections of two rods each were let out to a single laborer to dig and embank.
A few of these, however, were from England
, and the place of their former residence was carefully entered in the superintendent's account book.
Almost without exception there appears a charge to each man of a quantity of rum
, varying from a quart down to a glass, and in some cases a little sugar.
There is also the account of expense of ‘sett of measures’ necessary for the accurate dispensing of the said rum, and while it did not take as much rum to build the canal as water to fill it, the entries