HE Register's editor recently received an appreciative letter containing inquiries which suggest two of our following articles.
Our correspondent, a former Medford
boy, writes ‘I was familiar with [Meeting-house
] brook in 1840.
It was a capital smelt brook, and we caught many in our hands.’
In another letter he says, ‘I used to catch smelts in Whitmore brook
Another and older Medford
boy, Caleb Swan
, has left the following written record of December, 1855:—
Meeting-house brook rises north of Mr. Dudley Hall's land, and east of Mr. Swan's woods called Ram-head.
It runs through Mr. Peter C. Hall's farm, and through Mr. Swan's meadow, and unites with the creek from the river by the old meeting-house lot owned by Mr. Swan.
In April, immense numbers of smelts come up from the river and creek into the brook.
They are taken in scoop-nets by the boys, early in the morning, in great quantities.
They are a very sweet and delicious fish, [of] long slender shape and bright silvery sides; 6 to 8 inches long, and 6 to 10 weigh a pound. . . .
wrote B. L. S.,1
April 23, 1855—
Over 5 Bushels were taken today in the brook in your meadow.
And on April 10, 1856, Dr. Swan
wrote to his brother Caleb—
Timothy Swan caught a good mess of smelts last night; he says they have come quite plenty.
Mr. Caleb Swan
, living in New York, made note thus, January 3, 1863:—
Some very small smelts are now brought to market in New York; they are sold to French restaurants.
I had a pound of them counted this morning by James, my fishman, and there were 55 smelts.
also modestly mentions another Medford
boy who caught smelts in these same brooks, in the same primitive fashion first named.
Those fifty-five-to-a-pound smelts of the New York
market were doubtless degenerate in Mr. Swan
's estimation, as the ‘brother doctor's’ letters from Medford
stirred the memories of boyhood days.