and fall of the apparently missing cap-stone.
From the known durability and strength, and the present state of preservation of the enclosed stick of cedar, the breakage scarcely seems possible to have been caused by natural causes.
No inscription of any kind is upon it and nothing to indicate its purpose save the cedar stick, or possibly the projecting portions of the granite cap-stone.
To the interested observer, the loosened mortar of its joints and the weather-beaten stones plainly indicate that its builders have long since passed on, leaving its story untold or forgotten.
When after over thirty years residence in Medford
the writer by accident first saw it and made inquiry, he found information not easily obtainable, as its few immediate neighbors were recent comers.
Men who had been town officers and perambulators of town lines were ignorant of its existence.
At last one old resident was found that thought ‘it was the college's north point.’
Acting on this clue to the apparent mystery, the writer made inquiry of Professors Shaler
of Harvard College.
Their replies were to the effect that about 1850 a stone cairn was erected as a meridian mark for the adjustment of the transit circle in the east wing of the observatory.
Also that ‘it supported a simple board spiked to the masonry, on which was a mark that could be seen from the observatory.’
(Southern) Registry of Deeds shows a record of conveyance of land by Benjamin F. Parker
to the President
and Fellows of Harvard College in August, 1847, for the named consideration of fifty dollars. The premises adjoined no street, but a right of way was conveyed, and the boundary line began at a pine sapling, extended west, north, east and south in unequal lines, enclosed a tract of some ten thousand square feet and ended at the point of beginning—at the pine sapling.
The monument served its purpose for twenty years or