previous next
[p. 68]

Medford Smelt and Smelt Brooks.

THE 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. . . .

Dr. Swan 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.

Historian Brooks 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.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)
hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
Caleb Swan (7)
Benjamin L. Swan (2)
Timothy Swan (1)
Peter C. Hall (1)
Dudley Hall (1)
Gorham Brooks (1)
hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
January 3rd, 1863 AD (1)
April 10th, 1856 AD (1)
December, 1855 AD (1)
April 23rd, 1855 AD (1)
1840 AD (1)
April (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: