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[p. 99]

Medford Merrymakings of a century ago.

1815—Nahant Parties. At this time, when only a few persons resided at Nahant, it was the custom for families in Medford to join in a party to that beautiful promontory. From ten to twenty chaises would start together, and reaching Mr. Breed's, the ladies and gentlemen, girls and boys, would proceed to fishing from the rocks and boats. Each one wore the commonest clothes, and the day was spent in all sorts of sports. A fish dinner was an agreed part of the fare, and a supper at the Lynn hotel closed the eating of the day. The party rode home by moonlight, and by ten o'clock were tired enough to go to bed.

Yes, people worked hard to have a good time then, even as now, and perhaps enjoyed it more. At the above date Charles Brooks was in his college junior year, and doubtless forty years later, when, after a busy life, he wrote the History of Medford from which we quote, remembered with pleasure the summer outings.

Why cannot some Medford author prepare a pageant scene of this, one true to the facts? There are enough of the old houses of High and Salem streets left (even though the Third Meeting-house, Governor Brooks', the Seccomb and Tufts houses are gone) to give a realistic setting. Be sure and have Mr. Brooks and his box chaise start from under the great sycamores at his father's door —same old place—and ride down Marm Simonds' hill. Have Parson Osgood and his daughters come out from the parsonage and go too, and all the others, not forgetting Lydia Maria Francis-she was thirteen and was not a Child then.

We remember going to a Nahant party with some Medford (and other) people in 1860, but they took the cars at West Medford and ‘Medford Steps,’ and went on steamer Nelly Baker, which was afterward sold to the government in war time. We had a fish dinner, too, and our first dip in salt water.

Mr. Brooks, when at Hingham in 1819 or 1820, was interested in the first steamboats in Boston harbor. His ‘Nahant parties’ were earlier. We wish he had told more about them, but here is a suggestion for some Medford festival.

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