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The Medford Grasshopper.

A small record book of fifty-four pages, seven by eight inches in size, was recently placed with others in the hand of the editor with the remark, ‘Perhaps there is something of interest for the Register.’

Its leather binding and board covers are still strong, and the unruled paper, little colored, is both strong in texture and odor of days long gone, for the earliest date is ‘Monday, the 4th day of January, 1808.’

On its first pages is written, in elegant penmanship:— [p. 73]

We the subscribers being appointed by the Selectmen of the Town of Medford for Engine men do subject ourselves to the following regulations 1st To assemble on the first Monday in every month from April to November including both months for the purpose of examining the state of the engine And if any member neglects to attend at the time and place appointed or does not appear before the clerk has put up his list he shall pay the sum of fifty cents for the good of sd company unless he be excused by a vote of the company

2d No person shall be a member under the age of twenty-one years

3d No person shall be voted into said company only by ballot

4th If any member unnecesarily neglects to attend at the Annual meeting in November he shall be held

[End of first page.] Turn over. to pay his proportionate part of the expenses of the evening or such a part as shall not be abated by a vote of the company

5th Any member that shall be absent shall pay his fine at the next meeting after trial.

6th If the clark shall be absent at any meeting appointed by the company it shall be his duty to give the list to some one of the company who shall act in his stead. . . .

7th There shall be three members drawn from the company in rotation until every man has served for one year whose duty it shall be to see that the engine is in compleat order the Day after being called out at any time for fire or otherwise and if they neglect to do the same they shall for each neglect pay the fine of seventy-five Cents. ..

8th Every member shall repair directly to the Engine House on hearing the cry of fire

Then followed the signatures of

Zaccheus Wyman, Samuel Teel Jun, Jonathan Brooks, John Dickson, Isaac Brooks, Joseph Wyman Jr, James T Floyd, Daniel Wier, Patrick Roach, Wm Harris, Leonard Bucknam, Isaac Floyd, John Symmes 3d, Joseph Bucknam 1

At a meeting appointed by the company and held at the house of Mr J. Johnson on Monday the fourth day of JanY 1088 . . .

Voted that Zaccheus Wyman be Master of the engine and James T Floyd Clerk to sd Company for the year ensuing. Also voted to [p. 74] meet the first Monday in April at Half past 5 oClock P. M. at the engine house

At the bottom of the page, in the handwriting of the ‘Clark’ is

Isaac Floyd fined 50
Wm Harris Do50

Six records of monthly meetings are upon the next page, each being a vote to meet the next month at the ‘enjoine house.’

On July 4 it was voted to

Heve the fines remain due till November meeting

At the October meeting it was

Voted to agree with Samuel Teel Jr to cleane the enjoine for one dollar and fivety cents Also voted to meet at the enjoine house the first Monday in November at four O Clock P M Also chose a Cmmitty to prevoid the super

The vote at the November meeting fixed the next in January

At Josiah Johnson Innholder at 6 O Clock Pm for the porpose of chusing Officers for the year ensueing

Two dollars in the fines

At that meeting the officers were re-elected and the next meeting fixed for April. In April (after a winter vacation) Seth Wyman was voted into the company, and Patrick Roach fined fifty cents.

The record of the October, 1809, meeting is significant:

At a legal meeting on the first Monday in October then Voted to agree with Mr. Samuel Teel and John Dickson to Clean the Engine to the Satisfaction of the Company for one dollar and fifty Cents Also Chose Joseph Bucknam and Joseph Wyman to be a Committy to provide a Supper Also Voted to meet the first Monday in November at 7 OClock Pm at the Engine house Also Voted that any that be absent from the Supper Shall pay his part of the Supper and pay fine besides

This ‘enjoine’ was the Old Grasshopper, the first [p. 75] bought by the town in accordance with its vote of March 7, 1763. After it had seen over thirty years of service, and housed near the market-place, it was located near Hastings lane at the top of Marm Simonds' hill. That any enginemen or company were then appointed to care for it, records fail to show. Probably it was simply housed there during a dozen years. In the record of October, 1816, it was styled the Western Engine, and in January, 1826, the No. 2 Engine. After the earlier years, at the November meeting, some one was appointed to keep the snow from the doors at a stipend of fifty cents for the season and under the penalty of one dollar for neglect.

The company's hours of meeting varied from two o'clock in November to seven in June, and no meetings were held in December, February or March. Various members were ‘drawn’ to see that the ‘engine is in perfect order after being called out to a fier.’ Absentees' names were recorded and such were fined for the ‘good of the company.’

The meeting for ‘chusing officers’ was in January, usually at the tavern, and during these twenty years of record Medford had quite a number of innholders, whose names appear. One thing they never failed to do at the October meeting—the committee to provide the supper in November was named. But one record of a supper partaken of is given. Sewell Pierce, Amos Butters and Varnum Pratt were the committee.

November 6th Ad 1826 No two Engine Company tuck Supper at W. Westons Tavern in Woburn and thare voted to meat at Wyman & Dexters Tarven in Medford at half past 6 P. M. Absent at Supper Oliver Wyman and Daniel Simons two members of the Company.

December 18th Ingine No 2 Cald out to a fire Absent Sewell Pierce Thomas Huffmaster Oliver A. Floid Cleon G. Town Frederic A. Kendall

After sixty-five years of service the old ‘Grasshopper,’ must have begun to show signs of decrepitude. So the record of January 27, 1828, is pertinent— [p. 76]

Voted that unless the town provide a new Engine we disband ourselves, also voted that James T Floyd Jr F A Kendall & Edward L. Staniels be a committee to communicate the same to the Selectmen & request them to lay the same before the town at the next march meeting.

The next entry is ominous

The first Monday in April 1823 no meeting

Reference to the town-meeting records shows that after discussion at several meetings, on April 6, 1829, it was voted ‘to purchase a new engine for the west part of the town,’ and the committee for that purpose, Samuel Train, John Bishop, Leonard Bucknam, were directed to dispose of the old engine.

The new engine was called Extinguisher No. 2, and in 1837 received name of General Jackson, in honor of the President. There is no reference to the new one in the old record book, and the last entry is—

Medford January the fifth 1830

Paid to Edward S Staniels forty five cents for services

This was according to vote of previous year and the only record we notice of such payment, and follows—

Sewell Pierce agrees to keep the snow from the engine house doors till the first of April for ten cents.

The old Grasshopper went to Upper Medford (Symmes' Corner) for a time, the people there relieving the town of any expense, and lastly was housed in the hearse house at Salem Street Cemetery and finally (see Mr. Hooper's history) sold for twenty dollars when eighty-five years old.

During the writing of this article the motor-driven combination chemical engine of West Medford, returning to its quarters, has passed the writer's open window. It is a far cry from that to the old Grasshopper, which ‘looked like a tub on a hand-cart,’ but not much farther than from the old hose carriage the engineers furnished West Medford in 1871. [p. 77]

1 [On same page, in same expert hand as before]

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