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The old Rock tree near Whitmore Brook.

Mr. Symmes' story of the wild hog suggests notice by the Register of one of the natural curiosities of our old town.

Some of the strollers in the Fells have noticed the tree growing on the bowlder near the Winchester line, just a little westward from Whitmore road and brook, and have looked at it with no little surprise and wonder.

The tree is some fifteen feet tall and of our native variety of red cedar, so called, though really a juniper (junipera virginiana), and differs a little from others of its kind, which are tall and tapering, in being somewhat spherical in its branching top.

The bowlder beneath it is nearly cubical in shape, in size about twelve feet, and partially buried in the alluvial drift from the hills that lie northward and enclose what little remains of Bear Meadow. No bears are there now to be found, and little trace of the meadow, now that the trees are gone, but within fifty years both Bear Meadow and farther Turkey Swamp sheltered some wild creatures.

Not the slightest crevice or cranny can be seen in the rock beneath the tree, and none beside it, into which its [p. 15] roots like spreading fingers might clasp, were there any. The only favoring thing in its strange setting is a slightly higher portion of the rough bowlder forming a barrier against the north wind. Some bird in its flight may have dropped the seed in this sheltered nook on the sunny southern corner of the huge bowlder, and there, under nature's kindly forces, it germinated, and in its rock cradle (that does not rock) the infant seedling was nurtured. It was a survival of the fittest, and has attracted the attention, not only of the casual observer, but of scientific men, geologists and naturalists. They estimate the age of the tree to be over four hundred years. Under favorable conditions the native red cedar, thriving best on rocky soil, is of very slow growth, but here is one growing in no soil, but all rock. What wonder, then, that it was old when Edward Johnson passed by it on his way to locate in Charlestown Village, soon ‘called Wooburne.’

But it was older when the early Medford settlers on Cradock's grant (after Collins, the land speculator, came in possession) built the mill just below it on Whitmore Brook. Traces of the dam that made a pond at the bowlder's base, and of the race-way and mill-site, may still be seen by the observant ones who pass along Whitmore road.

Six generations have come and gone, and where once was heard the hum of the mill wheel there now is silence like to that of the silent city of Medford's dead, broken only by the echoes of passing travel on the highway that lies between. Who were the men that worked in the mill or dwelt there? Answer, who can. Even later comers are forgotten, but the bowlder lies there as secure as when the surrounding soil was washed away and left it, and the tree that has weathered the storms and winds of past years untold gives promise of years, perhaps centuries, to come, while

A passing thought, that soon is o'er,
That fades with morning's earliest beam,
And fills the musing mind no more.

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