The Medford Grasshopper.
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
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
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.
, 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
' 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]