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A Medford writer of long ago and a modern Medford School.

TO the long and creditable list of Medford's authors given in ‘Literary Medford’ (see Vol. XV., p. 1, register) by Mrs. Louise Peabody Sargent, must be added one that escaped her careful search, that of Francis Green. From an address at the Horace Mann School in Boston, November 10, 1897, on the occasion of the unveiling of a bronze tablet in his memory, the facts are gathered. The address was by the Honorable and Dr. Samuel A. Green of Boston. (See Medford Historical Society's accession 2445.) This Francis Green was of an old New England family, and born in Boston, August 2 1, 1742. His earlier education was had in Halifax, and next in Boston Latin School, and he was admitted to Harvard College in 1756. His father had previously procured for him an ensign's commission in the British army, with leave of absence for study at college. The war with France precluded this, and thus the young man, [p. 82] then but fifteen years of age, joined his regiment at Halifax at the close of his freshman year. His leave of absence was not renewed, and his army service, which he seems to have taken up with zeal, took him to Canada and the West Indies. As an especial mark of favor he was permitted to take his A. B. degree in 1760 with his class.

In 1766, having become a lieutenant, he sold out his commission and entered into business in Boston. Three years later he married Susanna Green, who bore (by their fathers being brothers, and mothers sisters) the double relationship of cousin to him. There were five children, one of whom (a son) was deaf.

But Francis Green, perhaps because of his military experience, was a Loyalist, and as such went away to Halifax on the fleet at the evacuation of Boston in 1776. After a time he went to New York, and in 1780 to England, and returned to Nova Scotia in 1784.

While in England, and undoubtedly because of his son's affliction, he became interested in the welfare of the deaf, and wrote a treatise entitled ‘Vox Oculis Subjecta,’ this in London, 1783. In June, 1797, he came to Medford and here resided for twelve years, until his death on April 21, 1809.

While living in Medford he prepared a sketch which he styled ‘Genealogical and Biographical Anecdotes of the Green Family. . . 1806.’ We do not learn that this was then published, as many years after, the original manuscript fell into the hands of Dr. Green of Groton, who copied it for his own use. It was by this circumstance that the authorship of ‘Vox Oculis Subjecta,’ which work had become well known in educative circles, became recognized. Prior to this, all that was known of it was that the author was an American of the name of Green. And so it came about that Dr. Samuel A. Green (whose memory in historic circles is ever green) published an abstract of the same, and later another paper, this in 1861, in which he claimed for Francis Green the distinction of being ‘the earliest advocate of the education of deaf mutes in America.’ [p. 83]

Beside the genealogical work above named, Francis Green, during his twelve years residence in Medford, wrote much for the newspapers of his time over his own name and often over that of ‘Philocophos’ (which latter was eminently appropriate of this work). We quote from the address alluded to, and from which we have compiled the foregoing:—

‘He also made translations from the French on the same subject, which were likewise printed in the Palladium. These various productions from his pen served to call public attention to a matter that lay near and dear to his heart, and without doubt stimulated a sentiment which is today felt throughout the land. It seems almost a suggestion of fate that the “Sarah Fuller Home for Little Children Who Cannot Hear” should have been established less than ten years ago in the neighborhood of Mr. Green's dwelling-place, in a city which, through his writings, is so full of early associations with this interesting class of boys and girls.’

We find that sixteen years after his first marriage Francis Green married his second wife, Harriet Matthews, daughter of a mayor of New York (of the Revolution), and that she bore him six children (afterward Medford boys).

Very likely the eldest of Mr. Green's eleven children may have, ere his coming to Medford, established homes for themselves elsewhere, still, the coming of the younger must have materially added to the census list of the old town of less than one thousand people. As yet we have not learned where was his ‘dwelling-place.’ The allusion to it in the above quotation would lead us to infer that it was in the ‘West End,’ for it was there that the Sarah Fuller Home was instituted in 1887 or 1888. It was first housed in the cottage owned by Gilbert Lincoln, opposite his home on Canal street. This had a sizable lot, suitably fenced and sloping backward to the river, with large apple and smaller fruit trees and garden, making it a comfortable place for this peculiar home school. Miss Eliza L. Clark was the matron and Mrs. Anna Lyons the housekeeper, and the school began with but one pupil. After a time a smaller building was erected beside this for recreation purposes, and these continued to be used until in 1892, when the managers [p. 84] purchased a larger and well-located house on Woburn street. This was the one erected in 1869 for his residence by Martin M. French, and had a stable adjoining, with ample grounds and trees surrounding it. The gilded copper dog that still as a weather-vane surmounts the stable cupola, is a reminder of the hunting and fishing trips taken by him and other Medford men.

By a succeeding owner, and by the home managers, this house has been somewhat improved and is still the home of the ‘Little Children Who Cannot Hear.’ It is noteworthy that it stands directly across the way from the site of first West End schoolhouse, built in 1829, but it serves a far different method of teaching, and type of pupils. The teaching is of the same form as that by which Helen Kellar and Tommy Stringer acquired speech.

Miss Clark has been in charge during all the years until her death on February 23, 1915. Mrs. Lyons, a few years since, retired from service and is now happily settled in the Home for the Aged. Thus closed the record of their honorable, patient and faithful service for the help, education and betterment of many children so seriously handicapped by physical defect. Miss Henrietta Morrison is the present matron.

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