Some errors in Medford's histories.
I have thought it proper to call the attention of the members of the Medford Historical Society, and through them the public, to the numerous errors concerning the early history of Medford that may be found in Mr. Charles Brooks' history, with which most of our members are familiar. I have, in this paper, made brief quotations from that history, and have endeavored to show wherein they are erroneous. I have been careful in pointing out these errors to correct only such as can be readily proved to be erroneous, and where this cannot be readily proved, to give such reasons for my disagreement as will appeal to my readers as good arguments, even if they fail to convince. I have taken great interest in the early history of Medford; my forebears, like those of Mr. Brooks, were among the early landholders of the plantation. It is on account of this interest that I presume to criticise Mr. Brooks' history, and for the same reason I also include the history of Mr. Usher, which is mainly a copy of that of Mr. Brooks. I have not attempted to point out all the errors of these historians; to do this would require a rewriting of much of both histories. In order to correctly understand this article one should have in hand Mr. Brooks' history for reference. These quotations are necessarily brief. On page 1 may be found the following statement:—
This author (Josselyn) gives the name of Mistick to land on the north side of the river and reports a thriving population as then gathered between the two brick houses, called forts.Josselyn is here mis-quoted. He does not speak of brick houses, nor were there any at that date (1638). [p. 26]
It was afterwards the intention of some to unite Mr. Cradock's, Mr. Winthrop's, Mr. Wilson's and Mr. Nowell's lands in one township and call it Mystic. [Page 2.]There is no evidence of this.
Medford's bounds would have run to Malden river had not these four hundred acres intervened.The land granted to Mr. Wilson did not include the marsh at the junction of Mystic and Malden rivers. The town of Charlestown owned the marshes and called the place Wilson's point. Historical Register.]
Mr. Tynge, Mr. Samuel Sheephard and Goodman Edward Converse, are to set out the bounds between Charlestown and Mr. Cradocks farm on the north side of Mistick river (Stoneham and Maiden). [P. 3.]Medford line did not touch Stoneham at that time. The Charlestown wood-lots lay between the two locations. [Register, Vol. 2, p. 53.]
Mistick fields.—The name of the land on the south side of Mystic river from Winter Hill to Medford Pond.Mistick fields were on the north side of Mistick river (Malden and Everett). The land between Main street, Medford, and Menotomy river was called the Stinted pasture. And between Menotomy river and Medford pond was called the Line field. Creek Head creek was called Nowell's creek.
This river is felt to belong to Medford; for we may almost say that it has its beginning, continuance and end within the limits of our town. [P. 6.]This may be considered quite a broad claim, as not much more than one-half its length is within Medford bounds, and its source is divided between Medford and Arlington. Its course from the pond to a point below the Boston and Lowell railroad bridge on the south side is divided between the town of Arlington and the city of Somerville. [p. 27]
The Ford in the center of Medford continued in use. . . till 1639 and was about ten rods above the bridge. [P. 7.]The landing place of the ford on the north side of the river was through the Armory grounds. [Register, Vol. 4, p. 1.]
There was until recently but one island in the river and that is near the shore in Malden.There was also an island a few rods below Wier Bridge.
In 1761—the inhabitants of Medford proposed to cut a canal across this peninsula (Labor in Vain) . . . the plan failed.The canal was cut in 1761. [Register, Vol. 3, p. 71.]
In the Wade family there is a tradition that their ancestor, Major Jonathan Wade gave to the town, about the year 1680, the landing place now occupied by Mr. J. T. Foster. [P. 8.]This is merely tradition, there is no record of any such transaction, and further, the major never owned the land.
Brooks. [P. 9.]Whitmore brook has its source in Bare hill meadow; Marble brook in Turkey swamp; Winter brook in the region south of Winter hill; Two Penny brook (which Mr. Brooks does not mention) has its source south and west of Walnut Tree hill (now College hill); Gravelly creek has its source in the region south of Spot pond.
Medford Records,. . . its first twenty-five or thirty pages are gone. [P. 27.]The first book of records is complete. [Register, Vol. 9, p. 20.] Also see History of Medford in the proceedings of the two hundred and seventy-fifth anniversary of the settlement of Medford. [P. 14.]
This party from Salem, passing through Medford, were the first European feet that pressed the soil we now tread. ‘We went up the Mystick river about six miles,’ . . . and the English eyes in that boat were the first eyes of settlers that looked upon these fields on which we now live. [P. 32.]On the preceding page (31) is an account of a journey from Salem to Charlestown in the summer of 1628-9, from which I quote:— [p. 28]
. . .and the land lying on the east side of the river, called Mystick River, from the farm Mr. Cradock's servants had planted called Mystick, which this river led up unto; . . .Were the settlers who planted the farm in 1629 without feet, and were they blind?
He (Gov. Winthrop) called his place. . . The Ten Hills Farm. . . . This favorite selection of the chief magistrate would naturally turn his thoughts to his fast friend Mathew Cradock and lead him to induce Mr. Cradock's men to settle in the neighborhood.As has been shown, Mr. Cradock's men had planted a farm at Medford in 1629, over a year before Governor Winthrop came to New England. The occupation of the land and the planting of a farm is usually considered as a settlement, and therefore Medford was settled in 1629. There were good reasons why Medford was settled at that early date. The title to the land was in dispute. Governor Cradock suggested that the claim of John Oldham (who claimed under Robert Gorges) might be prevented by causing some to take possession of the chief part thereof. There is reason to believe that the farm at Mystick was planted in order to carry out the above suggestion. There is also reason to believe that those whom Governor Dudley speaks of as settlers upon Mystick, ‘which we named Meadford,’ were in the employ of Governor Cradock. The General Court never granted any land in Medford to any one except Governor Cradock, and no other person had any rights in the soil, and this shows that all the settlers of Medford must have been bound to serve Mr. Cradock previous to leaving England. All settlers who were not so bound would naturally settle in places where they could obtain rights in the soil which could not be so obtained in Medford at that time. Quite a number of our early settlers came to New England, bound to persons who advanced the necessary passage money, and were under contract to serve their masters a specified time, to reimburse them for their outlay.
The Governor had the care of Mr. Cradock's men. . . [P. 33.][p. 29] Mr. Cradock's business was in charge of agents both before and after Governor Winthrop came to New England. [Register, Vol. 9, No. 1.]
The 28th of September, 1630, Medford was taxed £ 3. for the support of military teachers. Nov. 30, 1630, another tax of £ 3. was levied. [P. 33.]These taxes were levied upon Meadford plantation and were paid by Mr. Cradock or his agents, not by the town, as Mr. Brooks would imply, there being no town government at that time.
. . . but not a word of complaint reaches us from the first planters of Medford and no one to our knowledge, left the plantation. [P. 35.]As has been shown, the first settlers of Medford were the servants of Mr. Cradock, and when his enterprises failed and (after his death), the plantation was sold to different parties, these servants of Mr. Cradock no doubt left for parts unknown, and the true settlers, the ‘fathers of Medford,’ came into the possession of the land.
In Medford were built three of these strong brick citadels. . . [P. 35.]It has been already asserted that these houses were not built at that early date. [Register, Vol. 7, p. 49.]
It is ordered that no person shall plant [settle] in any place within the limits of this patent, without leave from the Governor and Assistants, or the major part of them. [P. 35.]This extract confirms my previous statement that the first settlers of Medford had no rights in the soil. Mr. Cradock was the only person to receive a grant of early Medford soil.
The following owned lands in Medford before 1680. [P. 37.]This list is not correct.
It is ordered. . . [P. 37.]This was an order for the survey of lands, etc., and did not apply to Medford.
As soon as Gov. Winthrop had settled himself on the Ten-Hill Farm, in 1630, he recommended Gov. Cradock's men to plant [p. 30] themselves directly opposite him on the north side of the river. . . [P. 39.]The location above described was the land granted to the Rev. Mr. Wilson, April 1, 1634, and there is not the slightest evidence that Mr. Cradock's men built the house referred to, or that there was any house on the land until after the date of Mr. Wilson's grant. Mr. Cradock's men were then located in what is now Medford square, where the travelers from Salem found them in the summer of 1629.
May 25, 1661.—Richard Russell who had occupied the ‘Mansion House’ five years, sold it, with twelve hundred acres of his land, to Jonathan Wade who lived near the bridge on the south side of the river. [P. 41.]The Jonathan Wade who bought land of Mr. Russell was of Ipswich, and father of Jonathan and Nathaniel Wade of Medford. Neither of the Wades owned land on the south side of the river or lived there.
This tract is now the most thickly settled part of Medford. [P. 42.]This should read the most sparsely settled part of Medford.
Oct. 20, 1656: James Garrett. . . sells for £ 5. to Edward Collins, forty acres of land. . .butting on Mistick Pond on the west. March 13, 1657: Samuel Adams sold to Ed. Collins 40 acres of land. . . bounded on the south by Meadford Farm. . . Paid £ 10. [P. 42.]Neither of these grantors lived in Medford, and the lots were part of the Charlestown wood-lots, and were included in the land sold to Messrs. Brooks and Wheeler in the year 1660. Medford.
March 13, 1675. Caleb Hobart sells to Ed. Collins. . . [P. 42.]This was a mortgage.
Mr. Nicholas Davison. . . who lived near Mr. Wade. . . [P. 42.]Mr. Davison left Medford years before Mr. Wade came here. [p. 31]
1658 In answer to the petition of the inhabitants of Mistick. . . [P. 43.]The location of the Mistick referred to was the present location of the city of Everett.
Mr. Wade. . . came over in 1632. [P. 43.]This Mr. Wade settled in Ipswich and was the father of Jonathan and Nathaniel Wade of Medford.
The first bounds of lots cannot now be traced. [P. 43.]See Register, Vol. 7, p. 49, for map showing division of lots.
The Squa Sachem, residing in Medford, Aug. 1, 1637, gives lands to Jotham Gibbon. . . [P. 43.]The Squa Sachem lived on the west side of Mystic ponds, and the land given to Jotham Gibbon was on the same side. This deed included the Mystic ponds. Mr. Cradock's boundary was the eastern shore of the lower pond.
Jonathan Wade. . . bought land on the south side of the river. [P. 43.]As has before been stated, Jonathan Wade did not own land on the south side of river.
Governor Cradock's House. [P. 46.]Much has been said in regard to this ancient house, and many persons still labor under the delusion that this house was built by Governor Cradock's agent in 1634, as asserted by Mr. Brooks. Governor Cradock's grant was made March 4, 1634-5. According to the present style of computing time this grant was made in 1635, one year later than the date given by Mr. Brooks. The so-called port-holes must have been ornaments, for they are placed so high in the wall that it would be necessary for the gunner to stand upon a table in order to shoot through the opening, and even then he could not see his enemy unless he was at some distance from the house. Mr. Brooks says, on page 47, that
Outside shutters were in common use in England at the time above mentioned; and so it was common to ornament houses with round or oval openings on each side of the front.[p. 32] Now let us consider the arguments for and against the identity of this house as being the work of Governor Cradock's agents. First, we have Mr. Brooks' arguments as given in his history. And the only other is that obtained from a letter written by Mr. Cradock, dated March 15, 1636-7, in which he says, ‘I think I shall be forced to be a suitor for some land at Shawsheen, the best of mine, as I am informed, near my house, being allotted to Mr. Wilson and Mr. Nowell. . .’ The only knowledge Mr. Cradock could have obtained as to the location of his land must have come from the crude maps of that period, and he, being three thousand miles distant, might well say that land in a sparsely settled country like that on the banks of the Mistick, was near his house, when it was only about a mile and one-half distant therefrom. On the other hand, let us examine the several deeds conveying Meadford plantation after it passed out of the possession of Mr. Cradock's heirs. In Middlesex South District Deeds, Book 2, page 325, may be found a deed from Edward Collins of Medford, to Richard Russell of Charlestown, ‘1600 acres of land part of Meadford Plantation with Mansion house and other buildings. Bounded easterly on Nowell's farm (and) Blanchard's farm. . . . Southerly with Mistick river. Northerly with Charlestown line, on the west with an oak tree marked R. C.1 standing on the west side of a brook that runs into that part of the Marshland which lyeth on the west side of said Mansion house,. . . and the brook2 into which the said brook runs, is the westerly bounds of the said marsh,. . . Excepting from the above, 12 acres of the meadows lying by Mistick river next unto the land of the said Edward Collins.’ These twelve acres of marsh land above described are bounded by Marble brook (it being the brook mentioned above) on the west, Mystic river on the south, north on [p. 33] the upland between High street and said marshland. It included that point of marshland that was cut off, when a new channel of the river was made by Messrs. Curtis and Stetson, shipbuilders, as a passageway for their ships. This point of marshland or island has been removed by recent improvements made in the river. The easterly part of these twelve acres is the land in the rear of the Armory building. This deed shows that the Mansion house therein spoken of could not have been the so-called Cradock house. In Book 3, page 397, of the abovesaid records, Richard Russell of Charlestown sells to Jonathan Wade of Ipswich ‘3/4 part of the land purchased of Edward Collins, with all buildings.’ Mr. Russell reserved the other one-quarter part adjoining Blanchard's farm, viz.: one-quarter part of the meadow and one-quarter part of all other lands, ‘which were of that part that is furthest from the dwelling house,’ and ‘adjoining that farm which was Mr. Nowell's, and to Blanchard's as above.’ Here we have the Mansion house described in the deed of Collins to Russell called a dwelling house by Russell to Wade. They are identical. Next in Book 8, page 35, of the records aforesaid, we have a deed from ‘Richard Russell, Executor of the will of his father Richard Russell, Senior, to Peter Tufts of Charlestown, of 350 acres of land more or less, part of Meadford plantation. . . being 1/4 part of that farm which Mr. Collins sold to said Russell, and hath thereon one dwelling house and barn. . . .’ Bounded northerly with Charlestown line, southerly with Mistick river, westerly with Mr. Wade's land, easterly on land of the said Peter Tufts (this land of Tufts was the Nowell farm). The date of this deed was April 20, 1677. Again in Book 8, page 36, of the records before mentioned, Peter Tufts, Senior, of Charlestown, sells to Peter Tufts, Junior, of Meadford (commonly called Captain Peter), ‘1/2 part of the farm bought of Richard Russell bounded westerly by Mr. Nathaniel Wade's land, easterly [p. 34] by Peter Tufts senior, southerly by Nathaniel Wade's meadow, northerly by Peter Tufts senior,. . . with all the Housings thereupon.’ This is the land upon which stands the brick house, misnamed the Cradock house. The deed is dated November 26, 1680. That this sale did not include the one dwelling-house and barn mentioned in the deed from Executor Russell to Tufts, will be shown by quoting from the will of Peter Tufts, Senior: ‘I give to my son Peter, 20 acres of upland lying next his house, and the dwelling house standing thereon; he paying his brother John for the barn standing upon said land.’ This dwelling-house is the same house mentioned in the deed from Richard Russell, executor, to Peter Tufts, Senior. To trace this old house still further, reference may be had to a deed, dated April I, 1728. Peter Tufts, Junior, sold to Edward Oakes four acres and thirteen poles of land, ‘with an old house upon it.’ This was the same house, and a portion of the twenty acres bequeathed, not sold, to Capt. Peter Tufts by his father, Peter Tufts, Senior. To conclude the history of this ‘old house,’ reference may be had to an inventory of the estate of Edward Oakes of Medford. The old house was mentioned as a part of his estate, and in the division of the estate it was set off to his son Edward with twelve and one-half acres of land. [Register, Vol. 7, P. 49.]
The other old brick house, built about the same time,. . . (i.e., 1634.) [P. 48.]This house was built by Nathaniel Wade, brother to Jonathan. It stood about fifty feet each way from Park street and Riverside avenue. It was probably built about the time that his brother Jonathan's was.
The third house was built by Major Jonathan Wade who died in 1689. . . . When first built it was only half its present size. [P. 48.]By reference to the division of Major Wade's estate in Volume 4, page 48, of the Register, it will be seen that one-half of the present house could hardly contain [p. 35] the number of rooms therein spoken of. This house was built between 1683 and 1689.
Built by his father, after the model of an English nobleman's house in Antigua. . . [P. 50.]For a description of the Royall house see Register, Vol. 3, p. 133.
To have free access to the river, the great highway, they opened private roads for the use of owners of lands, and what were called ‘rangeways’ for the free use of the public. . . . .[P. 51.]All the roads to the river were laid out by private parties for their own use, and for such other persons as might be granted the right to use them. There is not a landing place on the north side of the river in which the public has, or ever had, any rights, except it may have been the landing at the ford, while the ford was in use. This situation is owing to the fact that all of early Medford territory was under one ownership; and also to the neglect of the officials to lay out these ways for the benefit of the public when the time arrived that they could legally do so. Some years ago the town of Medford claimed rights in the way and landing at Rock hill. A suit was brought to test the ownership thereof. The case was decided in favor of the owner of the land through which the way passed, upon the general ground that the public right (if it ever existed) had been lost by longcontinued disuse. There were no rangeways in Medford while it retained its original area. Cross and Fulton streets, as far as the ‘Rock gate’ (and from thence two ways to the wood-lots), were laid out by the town of Charlestown, by an agreement with Mr. Nathaniel Wade, the owner of the land through which these ways passed. This agreement was made May 13, 1698. Pasture hill and Ram Head lanes were laid out by the proprietors of the land through which they passed. Whatever rights the public had (if any) therein, were acquired by longcontinued use. [Register, Vol. 2, p. 53.] There were rangeways on the south side of the river laid out by the town of Charlestown while that town owned the land [p. 36] bordering on the river. [Register, Vol. 2, p. 53, and Vol. 15, P. 46.] The first roads laid out in Medford were Main street, then called the Charlestown road; Salem street, called Salem path to Mistick ford, also the road to Malden; Woburn road, from Medford square to Woburn. A portion of this road (from the square to Brooks' corner) is now High street, and High street continues to Arlington line over what was called the way to the Wears. There is another way to be mentioned in connection with these roads, although, like the greater part of Main street, it was originally in the town of Charlestown—South street. It was first called the way to the ford, still later, Fish-house lane. It is impossible to tell to which of these roads should be given the claim of priority.
In 1715. . . they fixed the width of the road at the bridge at two rods and twelve feet. . . . [P. 52.]The width of the bridge was then fourteen feet, and eight feet was added from each post at the foot of the bridge, making the width of the road at the bridge thirty feet. The width, at the corner of High and Main streets, was fixed at four rods; and at the southwest corner of the present Mystic church lot the width was fixed at two rods and twelve feet. This line cut off ten feet from the north corner of the great barn. [Register, Vol. 7, p. 41.]
March 9, 1761. Many inhabitants of the town petitioned the Court of Sessions for a road across the marshes at Labor in Vain. . . [P. 54.]This was not for a road, but for the cutting of a canal across Labor in Vain point, in order to straighten the river. [Register, Vol. 4, P. 71.]
Mr. Cradock's Agent (Davison) commenced the building of a bridge over the river in 1638. [P. 59.]This bridge is shown upon a map made in the year 1637, it was finished by order of the General Court in 1639; it was, no doubt, in use in 1638. The bridge was one hundred and fifty-four feet and five inches long and [p. 37] about ten feet wide at that time. The town of Charlestown brought a suit against Mr. Davison for stopping up Mistick river with a bridge, to the hinderance of boats, and for taxing cattle that go over the bridge. July 17, 1688, the board of selectmen of the town of Charlestown and commissioners from the towns of Medford, Maiden, Woburn and Reading met to consider measures for a division of Mistick bridge among the several towns required by law to mend and maintain it. These commissioners agreed that Medford, Malden, Woburn and Reading should pay to the town of Charlestown, five pounds in ‘good pay,’ viz.: in corn or the like, for the present amending of the southerly half of Mistick bridge, and that in the future and for all time to come, the said southerly half of said bridge (being seventy-seven feet two and one-half inches in length), should be mended and maintained by the said town of Charlestown, and the northerly half thereof (being of like length) should be mended and maintained by the other towns above named. These four towns, charged with the care of the northerly half of the bridge, made a division of the same so that each town had a specified share to care for. The record of this division is lost, but it appears from other documents that Medford's share was next to the open arch. From the records of Malden we learn that, November 29, 1689, Malden worked at Mistick bridge, with cart and four oxen, and three hands to gravel the bridge. [Register, Vol. 2, p. I.]
The renowned Sachem of the Pawtuckets, Nanepashemit. . . [P. 72.]Mr. Brooks places the residence of the sachem on Rock hill. Of this there is no evidence. He also quotes from Winslow (see page 73 of the history), but he omits a very important part of the narrative. Winslow says, ‘We discovered Mistick river but did not explore it.’ Some historians locate the places described as being in Medford. It would have been impossible for these explorers to stand on Rock hill and ignore the presence of [p. 38] the Mistick river, which would have been spread out before them, both east and west.
He may have first stopped opposite Winthrop's farm, at Ten Hills, and there done something in the fishing business. . . . [P. 88.]This extract conveys a wrong impression, inasmuch as Mr. Brooks was well aware that Mr. Cradock never came to New England.
And who, in a letter of April 17, 1629, speaks of the settlement of families here in these terms. . . . [P. 89.]Here is an admittance by Mr. Brooks that Medford was settled in 1629.
After his death, a part of his farm in Medford was sold to Mr. Ed. Collins. . . . . [P. 93.]Mr. Collins bought the whole farm.
For the ordering of Prudentials,. . . [P. 100.] （Oct. 13, 1684.) It was agreed upon at a general meeting of the inhabitants, by a vote, to petition to the General Court, to grant us power and privilege as other Towns for the ordering of prudentials amongst us. [Medford Records.]The court declared ‘that Meadford hath been, and is, a peculiar, and have power as other towns as to prudentials.’ Mr. Brooks misquotes the answer of the General Court. This declaration of the General Court did not imply that Medford had all the rights that were enjoyed by the other towns of the colony. The order of the General Court, passed June 2, 1641, ‘That all farms that are within the bounds of any town, shall be of the town in which they lie, except Meadford,’ fixed the status of Meadford plantation; it was a farm or plantation, and not a town, at that date.
Medford a Town. [P. 119.]Mr. Frothingham, author of the History of Charlestown, says ‘that Medford was not a town.’ Mr. Brooks good-naturedly dissents from this statement, and shows cause. Let us, in turn, dissent from Mr. Brooks' statements, and show cause. From 1629, the date of the settlement of Medford, to [p. 39] 1656, the plantation was under one ownership. All taxes levied, or fines imposed upon the plantation, or upon any of the servants therein employed, were paid by the owners thereof. There was nothing in any way resembling a town government. As has been before stated, the General Court, in 1641, called Meadford a farm, and a farm or plantation it continued to be, until the time when it was divided and sold to different parties. That a change took place in the status of the farm or plantation soon after Mr. Collins sold one thousand two hundred acres of his land to Mr. Russell, is shown by the orders of the County Court, which were issued for the first time to Meadford. June 25, 1658. ‘Meadford is enjoined to repair their Highways before the next term of Court. on penalty of forty shillings.’ Also, ‘the 8th of the 10th month 1664, the inhabitants of Meadford were summoned into Court, to answer to complaints about Mistick Bridge. Golden Moore returned that the bridge is repaired.’ The question then arose, ‘What proportion of the taxes levied, and fines imposed upon the plantation or farm, should be paid by each individual owner?’ For the settlement of these questions it became necessary that the several owners should meet together to consult in regard to their common interests, and thus the nucleus of a town government was formed, a peculiar, as the General Court termed it.3 There was no authority for calling these meetings, and the business pertaining to their common interests were, no doubt, transacted by committees. No record was kept of their proceedings. This condition of affairs continued until the increased liabilities of the plantation demanded that an organization resembling a town government should be formed, and persons chosen to take charge of their prudential affairs. The first recorded meeting of the inhabitants of the Meadford plantation was held the first Monday in February, 1674, and Mr. Nathaniel Wade was chosen [p. 40] constable for the year ensuing. In 1676 they chose their first board of selectmen, in 1679 the first highway surveyor, in 1680 the first tithing-man and the first sealer of measures, in 1681-2 the first fence viewers, in 1689 the first representative to the General Court, and in 1693 their first orders and by-laws were approved by the court. Reference has been made to the action of the inhabitants of the plantation in voting to petition the General Court to grant power and privileges as other towns for the ordering of prudentials. This action of the said inhabitants proves beyond question that they were aware that they were not organized as were the other towns of the colony. They knew the measures that had been taken to advance the interests of the plantation, and they felt that the time had arrived when they should be granted the same rights and privileges as the other towns of the colony. It is to be noted that up to this time they called their organization a plantation. They evidently knew what their political status was much better than the historians of the present day. A study of the records of the General Court will reveal the standing of Meadford plantation at the period under consideration. From 1630 to 1638 (both inclusive) Meadford plantation was taxed in the same proportion as were the other plantations of the colony. May 13, 1640, a tax of one thousand two hundred pounds was levied on every town. Meadford is not named. Also at the same date a committee of the court was chosen to value the live stock in every town; no mention of Meadford is made. December 10, 1641, an order was passed concerning the authorization of constables to serve warrants; in the list of towns Meadford is not mentioned. At the same date an order was passed that in every town ‘one shall be appointed to grant summons and attachments in all civil actions.’ Nineteen copies of the laws, liberties and the forms of oaths were transcribed ‘for the use of the persons who may be appointed; said persons to be called clerks of the writs.’ Nineteen towns are named; Meadford not mentioned. [p. 41] May 29, 1644, an order was passed by the General Court ‘that henceforth these towns (according to the entry) as also all other towns that already are or hereafter shall be erected within this jurisdiction shall (according to their antiquity) take their places of precedency, both in the transacting of the affairs of this house, as also in all such other occasions, as may fall out within this Colony respecting such precedency of place.’ Twenty-four towns are named; Meadford is not in the list.4
When Deputy Governor Dudley, and those with him came to this neighborhood, they visited several places; they named one Boston. . . another Meadford,. . .[P. 120.]This action by Dudley and his associates does not alter the fact that Meadford was settled prior to the arrival of the above party. There is a good reason why the farm that Governor Cradock's servants had planted should be given a distinctive name. All the land on the north side of Mystic river, from Mystic pond to the creek (now known as Island-end river) which separates the cities of Everett and Chelsea, was called Mistick, or Mistickside; also, the land on the south side of the river was called Mistick. In 1631 the Court of Assistants granted to Governor Winthrop six hundred acres of land, ‘to be set forth by metes and bounds, near his house at Mistick,. . .’ [See map in Register, Vol. I, p. 123.] July 4, 1631, the governor's bark, the Blessing of the Bay, was launched at Mistick. The governor's house, as shown on the map above referred to, was on the easterly slope of Winter hill, near the Medford line, within the present limits of the city of Somerville. May 11, 1649, ‘In answer to a petition of several inhabitants of Mistick-side, their request is granted, viz.: [p. 42] To be a distinct town of themselves & the name to be Maulden.’5
The celebrated Rev. James Noyes became the pastor and teacher of the inhabitants of Medford in 1634. . . [P. 121.]At the first meeting of the Court of Assistants holden at Charlestown, August 23, A. D. 1630, ‘It was propounded how the ministers should be maintained, Mr. Wilson & Mr. Phillips only propounded.’ November 30, 1630, ‘It is ordered, that there shall be £ 60. collected out of the several plantations,. . . for the maintainance of Mr. Wilson and Mr. Phillips, viz.: Boston, Watertown, Charlton, Roxbury, Meadford, Winnett-semett.’ Here we have the names of the pastors and teachers of six plantations, and Meadford's share of the levy was £ 3. It is not at all reasonable to suppose that Meadford, one of the smaller plantations in the colony, had a pastor and teacher in 1634 in addition to those appointed by the court, and for whose support Meadford had been taxed £ 3. Mr. Brooks' whole argument concerning ‘Medford a Town’ is based upon statements that are not in accordance with facts.
Ecclesiastical History. [P. 200.]In this chapter Mr. Brooks again speaks of Mr. James Noyes as a preacher in Medford in 1634, and in a quotation says, ‘. . . was immediately called to preach at Mistic, which he did for nearly one year.’ It has already been shown that the word Mistic or Mistick was applied to nearly, if not all, the land on both sides of the river, and also that the same name was applied to a settlement and river, now within the limits of the state of Connecticut.
After he left Medford, the inhabitants received religious instructions from Rev. Mr. Wilson and Rev. Mr. Phillips.As has been shown heretofore, Mr. Wilson and Mr. Phillips were appointed the official ministers of six plantations, [p. 43] including Meadford, and these plantations were taxed for their support before Mr. Noyes was alleged to have been located in Meadford. There are many more errors to which attention might be called, but time and space forbid.