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[p. 54]

Under date of September 23, 1630, we read that ‘one Austin Bratcher, dying lately at Mr. Cradock's plantation, a jury found that the strokes given by Walter Palmer were accounted manslaughter.’ But two months later, Palmer (who was from Charlestown) was acquitted, not to the satisfaction of everybody, as one Thomas Fox was fined for saying the Court had been bribed. An unpleasant episode—Medford's entrance into the limelight of history.

During the first ten years the fording place was used in crossing the river, unless a boat or raft served, but in 1639 the agent Davison had a bridge built a little way below. It was one hundred and fifty feet long, very narrow, and but little above the marshes that bordered the river. And very soon he found his good work had got him into trouble as his employer's farm was only on this side, and this structure, desirable as it was, was half in the adjoining town of Charlestown. So troubles of various kinds came up, and towns west and north were called upon to assist in its maintenance for nearly a century. Davison must have gotten roiled up some over it for he was up before the Court for swearing an oath, and fined.

In 1640 Captain Edward Johnson and others came up from Charlestown over this new way and bridge and turned about by the little pond and along the varge way, following the old trail across the brook and up another hill and then northwesterly about five miles, and settled Waterfield and Charlestown village. Two years later they organized a church, and were incorporated by the General Court in this terse, brief form ‘Charlestown Village is called Wooburne.’

With this and other going to and fro, our country roads may be said to have begun. The Salem path easterly of course was older. The settlement of Woburn is well told by Mr. Evans in his ‘Seven against the Wilderness.’

An interesting incident is told in Governor Winthrop's

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