The 18-18 Boys.
Such was the name by which a little company of Medford
men was for many years known.
Various have been the reasons for which clubs have been formed, and equally various the conditions requisite for membership.
In this, there was but one, the accident of birth, and that not of place, but of time.
And so it came about that ten (and perhaps more) Medford
men formed a social club with the above name.
At the present time, of the coterie born in the year 1818 but one survives,1
and he ‘in age and feebleness extreme.’
Their names, so far as can now be ascertained, were Asa Law, Marshall Symmes
, William B. Thomas
, Henry Richardson
, Alfred Tufts
, Henry Reed
, David S. Hooker
, Mark Durgin
, Samuel F. Woodbridge
and John Frost
How many beside Mr. Symmes
were natives of Medford
Various occupations they had. Mr.
Law, who bore the military title of Colonel
, was in the engraving business, and also at times officiated as an auctioneer.
was a farmer, and resided at Symmes
' Corner in Upper Medford
, in Governor Brooks
' birthplace, and when Winchester
was incorporated was thus arbitrarily moved out of town.
was a carpenter, skilled at his trade, and served the town in various offices.
and Mr. Reed
were ship-carpenters in the days when things were lively on the Mystic
was a Faneuil Hall market-man, and John Frost
was a ‘fish man’ whose white head gained him the sobriquet of ‘Jack Frost
was a wheelwright and Mr. Hooker
The 18-18 Boys, unlike the other social and fraternal societies, were satisfied with one meeting yearly, which they held at the Medford House
and indulged in a spread, called by some a dinner, by others a supper.
On these occasions each member invited a son or nephew, and one (Colonel Law), who had neither, invited a Tufts College boy, who entertained the company by singing or otherwise.
On these occasions the ‘real boys’ wore badges on which the numerals 18-18 were made by boring holes through the same.
) were accustomed to present their contributions to the entertainment in rhyme.
Inquiry fails to establish the date [p. 28]
when they first met, but probably when they had reached middle life.
One guest was always present and doubtless entertained his hosts with many a good story—George Nichols
But time passed on and Medford
's ‘Old Sexton’ (Nichols
) could truly say in the words of the song, ‘I gather them in, I gather them in.’
About ten years ago they met for the last time, three (possibly four, as there were but seven) men present on that occasion.
They had passed the age of fourscore years, and the memories of the past and their old associations were too much for them to longer gather thus.
This account, meager and perhaps faulty at points, is compiled at the instance of Mr. Francis Wait
, who furnishes most of the details.
Some are given by Miss Emma, daughter of Colonel Law, and some by Mr. Frederic Symmes
, who attended a few meetings, and probably their final one, with his father, who is the only survivor2
of the 18-8 Boys of Medford