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Medford's Namesakes.

It has been the purpose of the Register to furnish its readers authentic information as to the other Medfords of our country, fourteen in all. To compass this we addressed, on February 3 last, to the town or city clerk of each, a letter of inquiry. All had our address on the [p. 99] cover, contained stamps for reply, and were written in uniform text. They especially enquired as to the naming of the place, and stated that such historical article as might be prepared would (when published) be sent to the replying informants. These letters also stated that, through the Register's exchange list and the various libraries into which it goes, the various Medfords might be better known. Of these fourteen places, but five have been heard from, and but one letter returned undelivered. We are thus sure that the other eight must have reached some municipal officer who took no interest in the matter, and failed to make reply that would have cost only the effort of writing. These were in Arkansas, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, North Dakota and Tennessee; that unclaimed and returned, from Indiana; and the replies from Oklahoma, Wisconsin, Oregon, Maryland and Maine (in the order named).

We regret that we have learned nothing from a majority of the younger Medfords, and so shall be unable to carry out our perhaps too ambitious plan; also, that in the brief space now available we cannot do justice to those who did reply.

Clerk T. G. Jeffers of Wisconsin, a man past fourscore, says those Medfordites are German, Swiss, Scandinavian, Bohemian, Poles (in order named), a dairying and stockraising people along with their lumbering and tanning industries. He was the second to reply, and is ‘proud to be a Yankee whose ancestors in this country date back to 1635.’ His Medford is the county seat, has 2,000 people (14,000 in county), an $85,000 court house, $65,000 high school, four ward schools, eight churches, a Carnegie library coming, and two weekly newspapers (one German). The soil is a clay loam, highly productive and well watered by the various streams, in which are plenty of game fish. This Medford got its name by the loyalty to New England of the Wisconsin Central Railroad manager in 1873. He was Charles R. Colby from Boston, and gave the various stations names of Massachusetts towns—Medford, Chelsea, Auburndale, and others. [p. 100]

Another Medford is, as Clerk Bigelow writes, ‘back in the Maine woods;’ was incorporated in 1824 as Kilmarnock (the birthplace in Scotland of an early settler's father), and changed, by petition of citizens, to Medford in 1856. Water power is abundant (more than is utilized), lumbering and farming the chief occupation of its 300 people. It has one church, Free — will Baptist, is on the Piscataquis river, and reached from Bangor. Mr. Bigelow sent an excellent historical sketch of his town that exhibits his interest in our plan.

Medford, Maryland, was a railroad station, originally called Medwood. When it came to have a post office it was discovered that one named Medwood already existed, and so its name was changed to Medford—as a compromise.

Medford, Indiana, is a little hamlet (around a railway station) of some fifty inhabitants. Its affairs are cared for by the county.

Medford, Oklahoma (the first to reply) has not as yet sent the information gathered, probably waiting to ascertain why it was so named.

Medford, Oregon, is an enterprising city of 10,000 inhabitants, as evidenced by the literature we have in hand from its mayor, Mahlon Purdin, Esq., who writes that the name was selected by some one from Medford, Massachusetts, in 1885. A finely illustrated book of fifty pages, issued by its Commercial Club, and a copy of a special issue of thirty-six pages of its daily paper, gives evident of the public and business buildings, its broad and lighted streets, and its various industries, notably fruit growing.

We regret greatly that our present space and opportunity forbid further elaboration of this subject.

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