There has recently come to our city clerk, from a college professor of New York, an inquiry as to what action Medford
instructed her deputy in an early General Court to take.
Limitations of office quarters, and safe keeping of records elsewhere, prohibits an immediate official and conclusive answer to the inquirer, who supposes the subject in question to be a matter of record here.
The problem has been referred to the President
of the Historical Society for solution, and who has replied in a way to the various queries.
's earliest records are of 1674, and the earliest deputy or representative, 1685, it is evident that Medford
's chances of being historically connected with the famous ‘stray sowe’ case in Boston
, 1636 toa42, are none whatever.
Those who may be curious as to this matter are referred to page 271, Vol. 2, Life and Letters of john Winthrop
, where is told the story of the ‘great sowe case’ of Goody Sherman vs
. Captain Keayne
The office of hogreeve in those early days, at [p. 47]
least in the case of founder of the ‘Ancients,’ incurred much responsibility, as it was taken under consideration by the Church
and next by the General Court, and the third party that meddled in the strife found Solomon's proverb true, as the colony records show that
George Story undertook for Richard Sherman that if he shal bee cast [assessed] what cost he shalbee ceased [assessed] he will beare it.
As the matter was threshed out in the court, it resolved itself into this, in which some towns instructed their representatives how to vote.
Whether the defendt bee found to have been possest of the plaintiffs sowe & converted her to his own use or not; it was voted by 2 matrats & 15 deputies for the plaintiff, & 7 matrats & 8 deputies for the defendt & 7 deputies were neuters
Like some modern lawsuits, the case ‘dragged its slow length along,’ and a year later the record reads,
Wee conceive that hee [Story] can blame none but himself ... and that hee must stay till the Co't come again unless Capt Keayne & hee come to an agreemt betwixt themselves, wch wee much desire.
The fact that Medford
, and not yet a full-fledged town (only ‘Governor Cradock
's farm’), accounts for the absence of town records, and kept Medford
out of the famous controversy of those early days.
Incidentally we note, in this occurrence was the beginning of our dual legislature, the Senate and House—and that because of a stray pig.