but little information relative to housing or business.
No newspaper here then, and the bi-weeklies of Boston
had but rare allusion to Medford
One hundred and eighty-nine years had rolled away since the first settlement of the town, and yet Medford
in 1819, separated from the metropolis of New England
by but one town, and but five miles distant, had less than 1,500 inhabitants.
It had been hard hit by the Revolution, but in the first decade of the nineteenth century, with the establishment of ship-building, there was an increase of 316 in the population, but in the second decade but 34.
If the increase of population was small in those latter years, the reverse was true of the new industry, for while 16 vessels were built in the first decade, 60 were built in the second, though there were but three in 1819.
In that year James Monroe
was president of the United States
and Gen. John Brooks
governor of Massachusetts
, having been elected for the fourth time, receiving 215 of his townsmen's votes, out of a total of 240 cast.
The outline of Medford
's territory was larger then than now; its social, educational and civic center was the meeting-house, its business center the ‘marketplace’ where the ‘country road’ from Boston
divided north to Woburn
and east to Malden
, and were the principal public roads (not given names as yet), though two turnpike roads had been opened fourteen years before and a canal a few years earlier.
Does anyone wish to know what the old town looked like in 1819?
Let them look carefully at the few old-time dwellings still remaining, the ancient graveyard and distil-house, the pictures of the third meeting-house, brick schoolhouses and the old Tufts
residence, substitute a country road for those of today, eliminate all motive power but horses and oxen, and light other than sunlight and candles, and turn to an authentic source of information—the old town record book.
Squire Abner Bartlett
had been for some time town clerk.