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A first citizen named first-rate town.

WE are in receipt of a clipping from a Cleveland paper with the query, ‘Was he a Medford Brooks?’ The town referred to therein celebrated its centennial on July 25, 26, 27, 1912. Replying to the query affirmatively, and curious to know how such occasion was there observed, a letter was addressed to the mayor of Chardon, who replied and also sent the local paper's account of the celebration. This will find place in the Historical Society's archives.

Chardon is the county seat of Geauga County, Ohio, twenty-eight miles east from Cleveland, and six hundred feet above Lake Erie—quite an elevation for that section. A portion of the clipping reads thus:— [p. 98]

The hill was owned by Peter Chardon Brooks, a first citizen of Massachusetts.

It was quite the fashion those days for a gent to found a town and thus put his name on the map. But Brooks, while he craved the perpetual publicity thus to be attained, really was too much of a gent to drive an ox cart to Geauga-co. to do the founding act himself. So he agreed to donate a village plat if the county seat would be called after him.

“ What's in a name?” argued the prominent pioneers, accepting.

They were a little bit dismayed, though, when Brooks announced that it was by his second name he wanted the town called. But they vowed that even if the county seat had to be called by a second name, it wouldn't be a second-rater.

And their progeny are determined to prove that it isn't, by the centennial celebration.

It appears that in Ohio's early days Mr. Brooks, as did others, made purchase of Western lands, and it chanced that upon his the county seat was located, as some one is said to have remarked ‘that the government might be conducted on a high plane.’

Mr. Brooks was son of Rev. Edward Brooks, who gave him the name of his college classmate at Harvard, Peter Chardon. The classmate's father was Pierre Chardon (pronounced Sherdon), a French Huguenot. A refugee from France, he became a prosperous Boston merchant and resided on the site of present Bowdoin Square Baptist Church, and the street adjoining still bears his name.

It was characteristic of Mr. Brooks that in naming the new town he should have modestly deferred the family name and given to succeeding time that of his father's friend, whose parents suffered for conscience sake, and sought liberty on these shores. Unlike the Ohio writer, we do not think he ‘craved perpetual publicity,’ and deem it fitting to quote from Dr. Everett's anniversary poem—

And in the house of prayer
     Before him seated, mark that presence mild—
The merchant's brow, that care
     With greed or fraud not for one hour defiled;
Borne by wealth's fullest breeze,
     He stopped in manhood's prime; and year to year

[p. 99] His books, his friends, his trees,
     Made to his ever widening heart more dear,
List, brothers, list, my grandsire's words, and prize
     Their homely truth today—
“No use of money truer satisfies Than giving it away.

Doubtless our Medford citizen a century ago found in his gift to the town and county of the new State of Ohio something of that same satisfaction.

Two incidents have been told us by men now living and of nearly fourscore years.

One, when a boy of four, was told ‘you can get some peaches at Mr. Brooks' house,’ so taking his basket he started from the old Canal tavern (his father was lock-tender), up the tow-path, a quarter mile. The door of the mansion stood invitingly open. As the boy says, ‘Mr. B. was standing before a glass, shaving. Turning to me he said, “Well, my little man, what do you want?” and on being told, “Well, sit down; I guess you can have them.” Soon calling his serving man he said, “John, fill this boy's basket and see him. safely home.” ’ All of which made impression on the boy's mind, and he delights to tell it today.

Another: A school-boy from West Cambridge, in his daily walk to Mr. Angier's school in Medford, often got a ride in the ‘leather topped chaise’ as Mr. B. made his daily drive to Boston, and he, too, recalls the kindly words and counsel.

The Chardon celebration covered three days. Their paper says: ‘A program of unusual length was carried out without a hitch, the people came from miles around and were entertained as Chardon never did before. And they were pleased, too. It took no end of hard work, and considerable money to finance the Centennial, but Chardon business men and citizens were equal to the occasion.’ [p. 100]

Chardon is a town of eight thousand people, but like others in Ohio, has a city government.

Just here it is well to remember something of the development of the West. Medford was one hundred and eighty-one years old, and had less than five thousand people when Mr. Brooks gave that site and named that town.

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