[p. 64] at Medford I saw my portly pastor coming, looking through his glasses, first one side and then the other, as was his wont going up the broad aisle. I dropped my axe to welcome him, and soon found he had a gospel of hope for me. He had taken counsel, and came to tell me he thought I might—yes, I might—enter the ministry. That spot of ground is still sacred. I have been to it as to the Mecca of my first hope. All signs of the old ship-yard, to a stranger's eye, were gone; but I knew the old landmarks, and found the spot where I dropped the broad axe to hear the glad tidings that opened to me a new life. I was glad to stand there and feel something of that hour come back to me through the vista of half a century.The ‘portly pastor’ was Rev. Caleb Stetson, the Unitarian minister of Medford, and the young workman probably attended his ministrations in the old third meeting-house. If old Ship street was alive then, it was more so ten years later, when another clergyman of Medford made his observations and compiled his wonderful list of Medford ships. No wonder that Mr. Tilden thought it ‘desolate’ at his return as he contrasted it with the times when two hundred and fifty men were there employed.
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