Chapter 15: Historical items.
July 28, 1629.--Mr. Joseph Bradshaw
was present this day, as one of the assistants, at the sitting of the court in London
1630.--The fleet that brought over Governor Winthrop
and the first settlers of Medford
was nautically organized.
The history says, “Articles of consortship were drawn between the captain and mariners: The Arbella
to be the admiral; the Talbot
to be the vice-admiral
; the Ambrose
, the rear-admiral
was named in honor of Mrs. Johnson
, the wife of one of the “five undertakers in London
Aug. 23, 1630.--“Ordered that no person shall use or take away any boat or canoe without leave from the owner thereof, on pain of fine and imprisonment, at the discretion of the court.”
Aug. 23, 1630.--“It was ordered that carpenters, joiners, bricklayers, sawyers, thatchers, shall not take above 2s. a day; nor any man shall give more, under pain of 10s. to taker and giver; and that sawers shall not take above 4s. 6d. the hundred for boards at six score the hundred, if they have their wood felled and squared for them; and not above 5s. 6d. if they fell and square their wood themselves.”
Feb. 7, 1632.--On this day, Governor Winthrop
, Mr. Nowell
, and others, crossed our ford in Medford
, and traveller on an exploring expedition towards the north-east, and came “to a very great pond, having in the midst an island of about one acre, and very thick with trees of pine and beech; and the pond had divers small rocks standing up here and there in it, which they therefore called Spot Pond
. They went all about it on the ice.”
says, “Hardly a vessel came into these ports but was crowded with passengers for New England
July 2, 1633.--“It is ordered that no person sell either wine or strong water without leave from the governor or deputy-governor; and no man shall give any strong water to any Indian.”
1638.--“Wine shall not be sold by innholders; but they may brew the beer they sell.”
Oct. 1, 1633.--Thanksgiving-day appointed by the General Court,--the first on record.
It was as follows: “In regard to the many and extraordinary mercies which the Lord
hath been pleased to vouchsafe of late to this plantation,--viz., a plentiful harvest, ships safely arrived with persons of special use and quality, &c.,--it is ordered that Wednesday, 16th of this present month, shall be kept as a day of public thanksgiving through the several plantations.”
1635.--A wharf, made by large trees laid crosswise, was built on the bank of Malden River
, opposite the Wellington Farm
; and a cartway led from it to the first house built in Medford
March 28, 1636.--Governor Winthrop
, writing to his son, says, “This morning, I went to Ten Hills
with your mother and your wife, to have seen Goodman Bushnell
We are all in good health; and I praise God for it. Your wife and mother, and all of us, salute you and your good company.
bless and prosper you. Farewell, my good son.”
Oct. 28, 1636.--“It is ordered that the freemen of every town shall, from time to time, as occasion shall require, agree amongst themselves about the prices and rates of any town, whether workmen, laborer, or servant.”
1636.--“Buying provisions and victuals to sell again is forbidden, unless leave be obtained of the governor.”
Nov. 20, 1637.--“Ordered that no person shall sell any cakes or buns, either in the markets, or victualling houses, or elsewhere, upon pain of 10s. fine; provided that this order shall not extend to such cakes as shall be made for any burial or marriage, or such like special occasion.”
Dec. 4, 1638.--Three persons having been drowned, at Charlestown Ferry, by the careless upsetting of a canoe, the court “ordered that no canoe should be used at any ferry
, upon pain of £ 5; nor should any canoe be built in our jurisdiction before the next General Court, upon pain of £ 10.”
Sept. 9, 1639.--Registration of births, marriages, and deaths, expressly required; and to be sent annually to the court.
was a member of Parliament from London
June 2, 1641.--“The bounds for Charlestown Village (Woburn
) are to be set out by Captain Cooke
, Mr. Holliocke
, and Mr. John Oliver
, the contents of four mile square.”
, the first minister of Woburn
, was ordained 1642, when seventy-seven ministers had been ordained in New England
1642.--Confederation against the Indians recommended by the General Court.
May 10, 1643.--The General Court appointed a committee to lay out a road from Cambridge
was the first to recommend and adopt the division of territory into counties.
Mr. Edward Collins
was chosen by Cambridge
a representative in the General Court; but he did not attend.
They required him to give reasons for his neglect, or pay twenty shillings.
was called to mourn the death of its founder, Matthew Cradock
; and, in 1649, lost a friend and neighbor, in the death of Governor Winthrop
1644.--It was customary with the early settlers in Medford
to attend public worship in the neighboring towns when they had no preaching within their own plantation.
On a sabbath, in the year 1644, when it was a serious loss to have “the go-to-meeting-bonnet” injured, the following semi-tragic scene occurred near Mystic Bridge
We give the narrative in the words of Governor Winthrop
( “Journal,” vol.
II. p. 161): “One Dalkin
and his wife, dwelling near Meadford, coming from Cambridge
, where they had spent their sabbath, and being to pass over the river at a ford, the tide not being fallen enough, the husband adventured over, and, finding it too deep, persuaded his wife to stay a while; but, it raining very sore, she would needs adventure over, and was carried away with the stream past her depth.
Her husband, not daring to go help her, cried out; and thereupon his dog, being at his house near by, came forth, and, seeing something in the water, swam to her; and she caught hold of the dog's tail: so he drew her to the shore, and saved her life.”
If, at this time, it was flood-tide in Medford
, there can be no doubt that marital chivalry was at a very low ebb. We related this hair-breadth escape to a lady of Medford
, who instantly exclaimed, “I would have thrown my inhuman
husband into the river, and then married the human
March 4, 1645.--“Whereas complaint hath been made to this
court, that divers persons within this jurisdiction do usually absent themselves from church meetings upon the Lord
's day, power is therefore given to any two assistants to hear and censure, either by fine or imprisonment (at their discretion), all misdemeanors of that kind committed by any inhabitant within this jurisdiction, provided they exceed not the fine of five shillings for one offence.”
1645.--Something may be guessed concerning the state of things among the early settlers, when “a man walks on snow-shoes five miles to buy a bushel of corn, carries it on his back to mill, and thence home.”
May 6, 1646.--The General Court forbid all persons taking any tobacco within five miles of any house.
1647.--The sum of fifty pounds, and, in 1649, the additional sum of fifty pounds, given, by the will of Mathew Cradock
, to the poor of St. Swithen's, are acknowledged as having been received, and entered in the “Vellum Book,” Oct. 17, 1651.
These sum, were laid out in building shops against the church-wall.
's “part of Mistick Wear was granted as an alowance for the town school for ever.”
1647.--The General Court invite the Synod
to draw up “a confession of faith.”
Nov. 11, 1647.--Medford
was under the following law: Ordered that no lover shall seek the hand of his chosen one till he has asked permission of her parents.
Penalty for the first offence, £ 5; for the second, £ 10; and for the third, imprisonment.
According to this, courting, in those days, must have been a very dangerous business.
platform” adopted 1648; and the church at Malden
gathered the same year.
Oct. 18, 1648.--The coopers united in a company, and received from the General Court an act of incorporation.
May 2, 1649.--The General Court say, “Upon the petition of Mistick-side men, they are granted to be a distinct town, and the name thereof to be called Mauldon
1649.--The Middlesex County
Records before this date are lost.
1649.--“Horses must be registered in a book kept in each town.”
In a neighboring town, church troubles ran so high, in 1650, that they were obliged to call in the civil authorities.
” and “goodwife” were common appellations.
” was applied only to persons of distinction.
” was seldom used: it was esteemed above that of “reverend.”
Mr. Josias Plaistowe
took corn from the Indians.
The General Court ordered him to return the corn, and pay a fine; and “hereafter to be called by the name of Josias, and not Mr.
, as formerly he used to be.”
1657.--The name of Jonathan Wade
first appears on the records
of the registry of deeds in Middlesex County
, June 11, 1657.
Its next occurrence, May 20, 1662.
1670.--Some Indian children were brought up in our English families, and afterwards became idle and intemperate.
A gentleman asked the Indian
father why this was so. He answered, “Tucks will be Tucks, for all old hen be hatch 'em.”
1673.--Population of New England
Of these, 16,000 could bear arms.
had 1,500 families.
In 1760, New England
had 500,000 inhabitants, and 530 Congregational churches.
1673.--An author says, “At this time, there was not a house in New England
which had more than twenty rooms.
There were five hundred persons worth each three thousand pounds. The worst cottages were lofted.”
February, 1674.--The earliest record of town-meetings in Medford
, which has escaped destruction, bears the above date.
Before 1676, there were but few settlements more than twenty miles from the Atlantic coast
1679.--“The court decide that it is not lawful for a man to marry his former wife's sister.”
There is no good reason for this; but it would have been wise to have forbidden first-cousins to marry each other.
Apparitions and haunted houses.
The belief in them was very common for the first hundred years of our history; and it was a faith full of efficacy to puzzle men and frighten children.
1690.--The delusions of witchcraft never penetrated Medford
(See Mr. Turell
In 1690, Medford
chose a sealer of weights and measures.
The “oath of fidelity” was often taken in Medford
during the first century.
It differed from the “freeman oath.”
1697.--“Isaac Royal, merchant, of Boston
, was married, by Benjamin Wadsworth
, July 1, 1697, to Elizabeth
, only child of Asaph Eliot
, of Boston
Hon. Isaac Royal
chosen moderator of a town-meeting,--the first mention of his name on the records (about 1755).
May 3, 1697.--Voted to pay the representative eighteen-pence per day during his service in the General Court.
, of Medford
, descendant of Governor Bradstreet
, son of Simon
, married his cousin, Mercy Wade
, of Medford
, Oct. 9, 1699.
Their children were Dudley
, born Oct. 26, 1701, married Sarah Pierce
, Aug. 18, 1724; Ann, born July 7, 1704; Lucy, born May 30, 1706; and Patience, born Feb. 13, 1712.
Sarah married Rev. John Tufts
, of Newbury
, who was born in Medford
Our ancestors generally assembled in town-meeting at six o'clock, A. M., during the warm weather.
Nov. 26, 1700.--“The above town-meeting was adjourned to the sixth day of December next, to meet at the house of Stephen Willis
, about sun-setting.”
so cold that men struck their feet together, and children gathered around their mothers' footstoves.
1700.--At this time, “black dogs” were put into the contribution-box in Medford
A silver coin
bore this nickname.
1700.--Elders and messengers.
These titles were used in letters missive, till the beginning of this century, to designate the pastors and delegates invited to assist in the ordination of ministers.
voted “that all the waste land belonging to the town, on the north side of Mystic River
, should be divided, and laid out equally, to every person an equal share that hath been an inhabitant of this town six years, and is twenty-one years old; and the like share to all widows, householders, that have been six years inhabitants.”
1703.--A terrific storm occurred in England
, was killed, with his wife, by the falling of chimneys upon them while in bed in the palace at Wells
He was kinsman of the Kidders of Medford
Mrs. Samuel Kidder
, now of Medford
, is a descendant of Rev. John Rogers
, the martyr.
In 1712, a day-laborer in Medford
was allowed two shillings; for a team, one day, five shillings.
The Rev. Aaron Porter
's signature may be seen in the townrecords, under date of May 15 and Aug. 20, 1717.
June 12, 1717.--There was a hearing before the council concerning the question, whether Cambridge
should be the shire-town of Middlesex County
. Judge Sewall
says, “Mr. Auchmuty
pleaded very well for Charlestown
His discourse was very well worth hearing.
alleged and proved for Cambridge
very pertinately and fully.
It was decided for Cambridge
on the 13th.”
Then came the question of concurrence before the House of Deputies
It was a close vote.
The judge says, “Could not tell by lifting up the hands: were fain to divide the house.
They for Cambridge
went to the north side; they for Charlestown
, to the south.
had forty-six; Charlestown
, daughter of John Albree
, afterwards the mother of John Brooks
, was baptized May 4, 1718, and was taken into church Jan. 24, 1743.
May 12, 1718.--“Put to vote, whether persons hiring any persons, or leasing out tenements, in Medford
, may be obliged to acquaint the selectmen therewith, or liable to some fine.
Voted in the negative.”
1720.--Tea began to be used in Medford
voted to turn the road away from a house while the smallpox was in that house.
Aug. 14, 1721.--“Sundry inhabitants on the north side of Mystic River
, who desired to be set off from Charlestown
were refused their petition by Charlestown
From the earliest times, there seems to have been a strong desire to break away from Charlestown
At first, it was the largest town in the Colony; but town after town has been severed from it, till now it is the smallest territorial town in the State
In the graveyard at Malden
, we find the following:--
Here lies buried the body of Capt. Peter Tufts, who died Sept. 20, 1721,
aged 73 years.
Also the body of Mrs. Mercy Tufts, wife of Capt. Peter Tufts, who died
June 18, 1715, aged 48 years.
“Mercy, daughter of Seaborn Cotton, was born Nov. 3, 1666.
She married Captain Peter Tufts
, of Medford
Her grandfather was Rev. John Cotton
, of England
, a very distinguished divine.”
Dr. Simon Tufts
, of Medford
, was the youngest son of Peter and. Mercy Tufts
1727.--Mr. Thomas Seccomb
left valuable records, in manuscript, containing a notice of every clergyman who preached in Medford
, and all the texts preached from, between 1727 and 1774; also a record of all baptisms and all contributions.
|Book No 1 begins Sept.||3, 1727;||and ends June||1, 1736.|
|Book No 2 begins June||20, 1736;||and ends Feb.||28, 1745.|
|Book No 3 begins March||3, 1745;||and ends Dec.||3, 1767.|
|Book No 4 begins Dec.||20, 1767;||and ends May||1, 1774.|
In the second meeting-house, 5,134 sermons were preached, and 1,218 persons baptized.
Oct. 29, 1727.--The great earthquake occurred on this day (Sunday); and. the selectmen of Medford
appointed the next Wednesday, Nov. 2, to be observed as a day of fasting and humiliation on that account.
September, 1729.--The Yankee habit of using a jack-knife on all occasions and in all places seems to have given our town some trouble; for at this time they resolve, by a public vote, to prosecute those persons who have cut the seats of the new meetinghouse.
Feb. 17, 1731.--Mr. Turell
says in his record, “Married, standing together
, William Watson
and Abigail Hall.”
Was this the first time he had seen a couple so placed?
Sept. 12, 1731.--Rev. John Seccomb
preached in Medford
, a negro slave, was sorely frightened by a wild bear and cub, which he met in the woods, near Governor Cradock
In a rock on the north-east border of Medford
, near the corner of Melrose
, is a deep excavation, called Bear's Den
Oct. 8, 1738.--Governor Belcher
attended meeting in Medford
Rev. Mr. Turell
Rev. Joshua Tufts
preached in Medford
, Aug. 24, 1740.
A species of very destructive worm appeared in July, 1743.
They destroyed both grass and corn.
preached, July 3, on the event, from Lam
. III. 39, and Ezek.
1744.--A long-tailed comet, of unusual brightness, frightened some of our people more than Mr. Whitefield
had; but a wag here said, “that he thought it the most profitable itinerant preacher and friendly new-light that had yet appeared.”
voted thus: Any person who allows his dog to go into the meeting-house on Sunday shall pay ten shillings (old tenor) for each offence.
1749.--Some idea of travelling expenses may be obtained from the acts of the town relative to their farm on the Piscataqua River
They wished to sell the farm for two thousand pounds (old tenor); and therefore chose Lieutenant Stephen Hall, jun.
, and Captain Samuel Brooks
, to go to Portsmouth, N. H.
, and settle some claims pertaining to the land; and they voted forty pounds (old tenor) to be given them, to bear the expenses of the journey.
is a name that frequently occurs in the Medford
records about the middle of the eighteenth century.
1750.--The various spelling of proper names by the different town-clerks of Medford
sometimes makes it difficult to determine how families spelled their own names.
1750.--A gallows and a whipping-post stood near Porter
's tavern, in Cambridge
; and this gave rise to the schoolboy strophe:--
Cambridge is a famous town,
Both for wit and knowledge:
Some they whip, and some they hang,
And some they send to college.
Sept. 3, 1752.--The Protestants in England
adopted the 1st of January as the beginning of the year, instead of the 25th of March; and Sept. 3 was changed to Sept. 14.
Jan. 29, 1753.--“Dr. Simon Tufts
, and Lucy Tufts
, his wife, of Medford
, gave a quitclaim deed to Thomas Dudley
of all their right to the property of their honored father, William Dudley
, of Roxbury
In 1755, Massachusetts
raised a large part of the two thousand troops who were to dislodge the French Neutrals
in Nova Scotia
furnished its share.
These Acadians were conquered, and they and their effects scattered through the colonies.
One thousand of the wretched and proscribed sufferers were distributed in Massachusetts
. Eight of them were cared for in Medford
They staid a long time; and the kindness of our people reconciled them to their lot. The family of Le Bosquet
was one that remained here.
May 10, 1756.--“Voted that the money gathered on Thanksgiving-days be given to the poor by the deacons.”
This was the beginning of that excellent custom.
1757.--Stephen Hall gave one hundred pounds (old tenor) for the purchase of a funeral-pall which should belong to the town.
Whereupon, voted that it should be free for the town; but that “half a dollar shall be paid for its use whenever it goes out of town.”
1758.--Rev. Ebenezer Turell
wrote his first will, in which he gave the house he purchased of John Giles
to the church in Medford
, “for the use of the ministry for ever.”
He afterwards wrote two different wills.
The bonds and mortgages owned by him in 1772 amounted to £ 4,860.
1759.--In recording marriages, the Rev. Mr. Turell
often designated the trade or profession of the bridegroom.
Jan. 4, 1759, he married a man, and called him “a ranger.”
1759.--The first time of using the silver baptismal basin was Sept. 9, 1759, when Benjamin
, son of Benjamin Francis
, was baptized.
The last baptism in the second meeting-house was of Rhoda
, daughter of Moses Tufts
, Feb. 4, 1770.
The first in the new meeting-house was Lydia, daughter of Samuel Teel
, March 18, 1770.
Nov. 24, 1759.--The name of Mead
occurs for the first time in the Medford
1760.--The word dollar
occurs in the Medford
records for the first time.
1760.--A certain clergyman said to an Indian, “I am sorry to see you drink rum.”
replied, “Yes, we Indians do drink
rum; but we do not make
1761.--The first record of any vote of thanks in Medford
bears date of May 13, 1761, “thanking Mr. Thomas Brooks
for his good services as treasurer.”
1762.--Wages for a man's labor one day, three shillings and fourpence (lawful money); for a man and team, six shillings and eightpence.
Nov. 1, 1763.--The Stamp Act went into operation.
In 1763, there were nine hundred and five full-blooded Indians in the Old Colony.
Sept. 7, 1767.--Voted that the one hundred and three hymns written by Dr. Watts
be used in public worship, in connection with Tate
's version of the Psalms.
was town-clerk for twenty-two years, and resigned in 1767.
He wrote a very legible hand, spelled his words properly, and was the only person in Medford
who seemed to have any care for records, or any thought of posterity in them.
Oct. 13, 1768.--Rev. Edward Brooks
preached for Mr. Turell
, Worcester County, Mass.
, was named in honor of Colonel Royal
, of Medford
1770.--The engraving of the house in which the writer of this history was born is placed at the end of this volume, as his signature.
March 26, 1770.--“Last Tuesday, Henry Lloyd
, set out on a journey to New York, Philadelphia
, and the southern colonies; and it was observed that the gentleman's whole apparel and house furniture were of American manufacture.
His clothes, linen, shoes, stockings, boots, gloves, hat, even wig and wig-call, were all manufactured and made up in New England
An example truly worthy of imitation.”
May 14, 1772.--“Voted that the selectmen give liberty to Mr. Noah Floyd
to build a shop on his land before the meeting-house.”
1772.--For a day's labor by a man, three shillings and sixpence; for a man and team, six shillings and eightpenee.
It would be a wise law that should re-establish, through the State
, such officers, who would protect the poor against imposition in this all-important article of daily food.
Such officers in Europe
are deemed indispensable.
1774.--An old house, owned, and kept as a tavern, by Eben.
Hills, stood in the market-place.
This year, it was purchased by Mr. Jonathan Porter
, and kept by him as a tavern and a store, and was a favorite resort for British and Hessian officers during the Revolution.
In 1785, Mr. Porter
took down the house, discontinued the tavern, and built his private residence and store on the spot where they continue to this day.
1775.--Before the battle of Bunker Hill
, General Stark
fixed his Headquarters at Medford
, in the house built by Mr. Jonathan Wade
, near the Medford House
, on the east side of the street.
After the battle, twenty-five of the general's men, who had been killed, were brought here, and buried in the field, about fifty or sixty rods north of Gravelly Bridge.
Their bones have been discovered recently.
1775.--Our patriot fathers cut down those “white-pine
trees which his majesty had reserved for the use of his royal navy,” and supplied the American
troops with fuel at Cambridge
1775.--Major Andrew McClary
, of Colonel Stark
's regiment, was a brave and good man. After the battle of Bunker Hill
, he rode to Medford
to procure bandages for the wounded.
After his return, a shot from a frigate, laying where Cragie's Bridge is, passed through his body.
“He leaped a few feet from the ground, pitched forward, and fell dead on his face.
He was carried to Medford
, and interred with the honors of war.”
He lies about fifty or sixty rods north of the old burying-ground.
June 16, 1775.--Colonel Dearborn
's troops, from New Hampshire
, stopped in Medford
through the night, and marched early for Winter Hill
on the morning of the 17th.
February, 1776.--While the British
troops held possession of Boston
, an English officer, in disguise, left the town, and came to Medford
to see a friend who was dangerously ill; and, although he came under cover of the night, the Americans
suspected him, and followed him to Medford
His apprehension and death were almost certain.
What to do, or where to fly, he knew not; but to decide speedily was imperative.
He knocked at the door of Benjamin Hall, Esq.
, and asked to see that gentleman in his entry.
The servant told him that Mr. Hall
could not be disturbed, because he was engaged at a sitting of the Vigilance Committee ! “Good heavens!”
he exclaimed to himself, “here I am
in the lion's mouth.”
Rallying from this surprise, he told the servant to “go and ask Mr. Hall
to step here a moment.”
She went; and soon Mr. Hall
appeared, leaving behind him Joshua Symonds
, Samuel Kidder
, Stephen Hall, jun., and Ebenezer Hall.
The stranger asked an interview alone for an instant.
They went together into a side room, when he said to Mr. Hall
, “I come to put myself under your protection.
I am a British officer.
I came to Medford
to see a sick friend.
I am pursued; and shall be killed, if I am caught.
I throw myself on your magnanimity.”
replied, “You could not have appealed to any man who feels less sympathy with your cause.
I go, with all my head and heart and hand, for the freedom of the Colonies; and the Vigilance Committee of this town is this moment in session in an adjoining room; and, if I was suspected of harboring a British officer, I should be mobbed.
You must leave my house immediately.”
The officer replied, that he was ready to make any concessions or promises, and was ready to die; but did not wish to be seized by an infuriated soldiery, and hung on the first tree.
He therefore only asked to be shielded for a few hours.
now felt that protection to such an unarmed man was an act of magnanimity; and, making the distinction between a private gentleman and a public enemy, he took a candle, and told the officer to follow him. He led him into his garret, and secreted him behind some old boxes, having made him promise to leave the house at midnight. The officer was perfectly happy, wedged in between the bags and barrels of a dusty garret; and there he lay, in total darkness, till the promised hour, when Mr. Hall
showed him the front door; and he went in safety, thanking his generous enemy as the saviour of his life.
Jan. 4, 1779.--Our town-record reads thus: “Mr. Jonathan Patten
says he will use his endeavor that Mr. Foster
shall not use any more charcoal in the blacksmith-shop near the bridge; and, if he still persists in using charcoal, that he, the said Patten
, will desire Mr. Foster
to quit the shop.”
How Mr. Blacksmith Foster
could get along with his work in those days without charcoal, we do not see; and why this municipal interdict, we do not know.
Where the town-pump now stands, in the market-place, there was a small pond, whose edges were covered with a growth of small flags; and there are persons now living, whose fathers have told them that wild ducks were shot in that pond.
May 19, 1780.--This was the dark day
. By ten o'clock, A. M., it had the appearance of night.
Pomp, a negro in Medford
, became frightened, and, going to his master, said, “Massa
, the day of judgment has come: what shall I do?”
“Why, Pomp, you'd better wash up clean, and put on your Sunday clothes.”
Pomp, perceiving that his master was not frightened, began to produce proofs.
, it has
come; for the hens are all going to roost.”
“Well, Pomp, they show their sense.”
“And the tide, massa, in the river, has stopped running.”
“Well, Pomp, it always does at high
“But, massa, it feels cold; and this darkness grows more and more.”
“So much the better, Pomp; for the day of judgment will be all fire and light.”
Pomp concluded not to wash up, but wait.
This epithet is used in the Medford
records, for the first time, in 1781, when the town voted to raise one thousand three hundred pounds, to pay interest on their debt.
1781.--When the news of the surrender of Lord Cornwallis reached Medford
, 1781, the inhabitants immediately testified their joy by a bonfire on the top of Pasture Hill
and rags, covered with tar, were the imflammable materials used to express the jubilation.
The first register of deeds in Middlesex County
chosen, Dec. 20, 1784.
There was but one candidate,--William Winthrop
,--who received seventeen votes in Medford
1785.--“Aunt Jenny” Watts
, of Medford
, carried baked puddings and beans, on horseback, in market-baskets, to Cambridge College twice each week, and would retail her load only to undergraduates!
She sold the best of articles, at the lowest prices, and was almost overwhelmed with customers.
She said she was the beanefactor
of the college, and had no desire to make the young men mealy-mouthed or pudding-headed.
Aug. 7, 1786.--For the first time, Medford
granted liberty of building horse-sheds behind the meeting-house.
Rev. Mr. Osgood
boarded many years in the family of Deacon Richard Hall
, and a very close intimacy blessed both parties afterwards.
On a Sunday, Mrs. Hall
was taken ill in church, and her husband went out with her. After some time, the deacon returned.
As soon as he had shut the door, Mr. Osgood
stopped in his sermon, and said, “Mr. Hall
, how is aunt now?”
“She is better,” was the reply.
1789.--Thomas Brooks, Esq.
, acquired great popularity as one of the “marrying justices.”
One day, while riding on horseback to Woburn
, he discovered a party of six young persons--three male, and three female — riding on horseback towards him. He guessed their errand; and they guessed that the cocked hat, bush-wig, and silver buckles approaching them must belong to “the squire.”
Both parties stopped.
The bridegroom announced his wishes, and the squire replied thus: “My young friends, we are here in the midst of this lofty forest, upon an unfrequented road, with God's clear sky over us, and his green earth under us. We shall not be disturbed.
I propose to solemnize your marriage here: what say you?”
They gladly consented.
He told them not to dismount, but to arrange themselves in due order,--the gentlemen on one side, and the ladies on the other.
This being done, be placed his horse so as to be directly in front of the bride and bridegroom.
Then, taking off his hat, he began his prayer; and report says that he was “gifted in prayer,” and that, on this occasion, “he prayed like an angel.”
The introductory service concluded, the plight of vows was made, the union declared, and the benediction pronounced; and then the whole party journeyed back together, rejoicing in the poetry appended to the great event.
Autograph of Thomas Brooks.|
was represented in the General Court by a conscientious and trustworthy man, who had fallen into the habit of sleeping after dinner.
Sleep he must, and sleep he would.
had petitioned the Legislature for a grant of certain rights touching the fishery in Mystic River
This gentleman had presented the petition; and the day was fixed for its consideration by the house.
That day had arrived; and the Medford
representative was all alive to the question, and had prepared his speech for the decisive moment, in defence of the petition.
Two sessions were held that day; and the Medford
fisheries were to come up immediately after dinner!
How, then, could our representative get his nap?
He went to his seat in the house at a very early moment; and soon his next neighbor came and sat beside him. It now occurred to him that he might safely secure a short nap, by asking his neighbor to wake him when the subject of Medford
fisheries was called up. His friendly neighbor promised to do so: therefore Medford
went to sleep.
The house soon came to order; and it was then proposed to pass another bill first, because no debate would be needed upon it. The bill was for the suppression of houses of ill-fame.
It was not debated; and the vote upon it was about to be taken, when our representative's next neighbor thought that his friend would like to vote on the occasion, and therefore awoke him suddenly.
He had hardly got his eyes and wits fairly open before the speaker cried out, in the usual phrase, “Is the house ready for the question?”
sprang upon his feet in an instant, exclaiming, “Mr. Speaker
I must ask the attention of the house for a few moments to some remarks on this important and interesting question; because, Mr. Speaker
, many of my constituents get their living by this very business.”
A roar of laughter burst from every quarter of the house.
representative stood aghast in raw wonder.
As soon as quiet could be restored, the speaker said to him, “Do you know what the question before the house is?”
“Why, yes: t's fishing in Mystic River
, ain't it?”
Another peal of laughter convulsed the assembly.
March 5, 1792.--Isaac Floyd
This is the first time an officer with this name appears on our records.
Jan. 1, 1794.--Voted that the selectmen purchase a new cushion for the pulpit.
They accordingly purchased “the green velvet one,” which some of us, who preached our first sermon from it, remember with all the distinctness that people remember the time when they had “that great fever.”
May 12, 1794.--A new pew in Medford
meeting-house sold at auction, at twenty-four pounds. In the same year, good oak wood
sold at one pound per cord.
, son of Deacon Samuel Kidder
, strayed from home into the woods back of Pasture till.
He was three years old; and, being weary, he fell asleep under an apple-tree, and there slept till the next day. It was in July, and the weather very clear.
The disappearance of the child created great alarm; and many inhabitants spent the night in traversing the woods, searching the clay-pits, and dredging the river.
During the forenoon, he was found near where he slept, his head filled with dew, and his locks with drops of the night.”
After Sept. 1, 1795, all accounts in Medford
were kept in dollars, cents, and mills.
1797.--Mrs. Benjamin Hall
presented the town with a funeralpall, suitable to be used at the burial of young persons.
1798.--A “deer reeve” chosen in Medford
1800.--About this time, the “Ohio
fever” prevailed; and some from Medford
emigrated to that western land of promise.
They have prospered greatly.
A member of the United States Senate, and a member of the United States
House of Representatives, at the present time, are Ohio
children from the oldest Medford
Several years ago, two Medford
gentlemen were speaking of a young man, who was acting the sorry part of spendthrift and libertine.
One of the gentlemen said, “Oh!
He is sowing his wild oats.”
“Yes,” replied the other; “and the fool don't know they'll all come up again.”
1800.--After this time, “commonable beasts” --i. e., horses, oxen, cows, sheep, and hogs — were not allowed to go at large in the public roads.
The first “clerk of the market” chosen, March 2, 1801.
1804.--During the first part of Rev. Dr. Osgood
's ministry, the number of children baptized, in each year, was about fifteen; which number steadily increased till it reached its maximum, of forty-one, in 1804.
1805.--Health Committee chosen for the first time.
Does this show the healthiness of the town?
1805.--The Medford omnibus
, named “Governor Brooks
,” was said to be the first vehicle of the kind built in New England
It was made by Mr. Osgood Bradley
, of Worcester, Mass.
; and first appeared on its route, Oct. 18, 1836.
It cost $650. Eighteen persons could be seated inside, and six outside.
It was owned and driven by Mr. Joseph Wyman
, of Medford
, who began his new business, Feb. 16, 1805; and, for thirty years, drove daily a public coach between Medford
, without overturning it. The fare was thirty-seven and a half cents for many years; but competition reduced it to twenty-five.
1808.--In the public school, an assistant teacher is provided for the first time.
1808.--Digging for hidden money, near the “Rock landing
,” was three times repeated by (as is said) Mr. James Francis
, of Medford
, and Mr. James Hall
, of Charlestown
We remember seeing the three excavations.
The first, on the southern brow of Rock Hill
, was a hole four feet deep and four feet in diameter, and was enclosed within a small circular furrow dug in the earth.
The work was done in the night.
The second, in Mr. Jonathan Brooks
's land, was within thirty feet of the river, and was small in circumference, and quite deep.
The third was within ten feet of the river, by the bathing-rock
. It disclosed a cave walled up on each side, and arched; its length about six feet, its width three, and its height three.
The rocks were red, and so soft that they were ground and used in painting Captain Richardson
No rocks of that kind are known in this country.
These diggings were at different times; but no one has ever told what success attended the explorations.
Other small trials were made in the eastern part of the town.
Spirits are now substituted for witch-hazel.
. At this time, the boys who lived east of the meeting-house were called maggots;
and they who lived west of it were called fag-enders
. Between these parties, the most furious and unbrotherly battles were fought each winter with snowballs.
Snow forts were erected behind the meeting-house; and so high ran the spirit of contest, that the boys from the east procured a small cannon, which they loaded so heavily, that, on its discharge, it burst, and wounded a boy in the face.
The effect of that injury continues to this day.
1809.--Two representatives to the General Court elected in Medford
1809.--The number of deaths in Medford
, between 1774 and 1809, was 701.
had a large choir of volunteer singers, under the faithful Ephraim Bailey
On Sunday, once, the pitch-pipe set the pitch so high that the whole choir broke down.
tried on the second verse, and again broke down.
could not endure it any longer; and he rose in his pew, beckoned to Bailey
, and said, “Hadn't you better take another pitch?”
replied, “No, sir: I guess we can get through it.”
1811, May 13.--“Voted to instruct the representative of Medford
in the General Court to oppose the petition of Peter Tufts, praying to be set off to Charlestown
The petition was granted.
1814.--The free seats near the pulpit in the meeting-house, which were formerly occupied by aged men and women, were sold, and two pews built in their place.
. At this time, when only a few persons resided at Nahant
, it was the custom for families in Medford
to join in a party to that beautiful promontory.
From ten to twenty
chaises would start together; and, reaching Mr. Breed
's, the ladies and gentlemen, girls and boys, would proceed to fishing from the rocks and boats.
Each one wore the commonest clothes; and the day was passed in all sorts of sports.
A fish-dinner was an agreed part of the fare; and a supper at Lynn Hotel closed the eating of the day. The party rode home by moonlight; and, by ten o'clock, were tired enough to go to bed.
Dec. 10, 1816.--The town of Brooks
, in Hancock County, Maine
, containing 13,744 acres, was named in honor of the governor.
Every town rejoices in some euphonious local names.
, Labor in Vain, No Man's Friend, Hardscrabble.
A minister was asked if he would attend an evening meeting for religious worship.
He answered, “No: I have no opinion of religion got by candle-light.”
The first time any meeting-house in Medford
had been heated by a stove was Dec. 18, 1820.
1822.--The delta of trees, within the triangular fence, which is in the public road, at the junction of High and Grove Streets, near the Lowell Railroad Station, in West Medford, was planted by the Hon. Peter C. Brooks
in 1822; and the fence was built at his expense.
has not been a resort for Jews; but it had one who is remembered with interest,--Abraham Touro
, eminent for his social and generous qualities.
When General Lafayette
, Mr. Touro
offered him his noble horse for his entrance into Boston
On the day of that triumphant entry, Mr. Touro
was standing in his chaise, to catch his first sight of the illustrious visitor, when a sudden start of his horse threw him from his place, and broke his leg. The fracture was a very bad one, and the patient grew worse daily.
The physicians and surgeons did all they could, and finally assured him that nothing but amputation could save his life.
With a Jew's traditionary prejudice against that operation, he firmly answered thus: “No
! I will never go into heaven with one leg.”
He left about two hundred thousand dollars; and distributed it, by will, in legacies varying from five to twenty thousand dollars. He gave much in charity.
He left a large sum to keep the synagogue in Newport, R. I.
, in good repair.
1825.--Parties in the Woods
. Within the first twenty years of this century, it was customary for select parties of girls and boys, in whortleberry-time, to go into the woods near Pine Hill
, or at the Bower, and there frolic in true rustic style.
A long extempore table was crowded with eatables, which had been contributed by the several members of the party.
Rural dresses and schoolboy manners gave zest to the occasion; while dancing on the grass allowed all to join.
The coming home in procession, or in carts, gave the last touch to the jubilant scene.
May 4, 1829, the streets in Medford
received their names.
1829.--Voted that each owner of a dog shall pay $1.25 annually as a tax: also that each dog shall wear a collar; and, if found without one, its owner shall pay $10.
1830.--Voted to have the bell rung at twelve, M., and nine P. M.
1836.--Mrs. John Fulton
, who died this year, aged ninety-five, was one of those who helped to dress the wounds of the soldiers who were in the battle of Bunker Hill
Many of the wounded soldiers were brought to Medford
She was a true patriot; and General Washington
honored her with a visit.
At that time, they had bought a punch-bowl; and the general was the first person who drank out of it. The bowl is now owned by Mr. Frederick Bradlee
, of Boston
Mr. John Fulton
, of Medford
, was cousin to Mr. Robert Fulton
, the inventor of steamboats; and they were once prisoners together.
's mother was a Wier, who came over with the “Scotch-Irish
1840.--The pillars which sustained the gallery of the third meeting-house (1770) are now in use in West Medford, on the outside of the house of the late Jonathan Brooks
Mr. Turell's Portrait
.--In Church Records, vol.
III. p. 104, are the following: “1842, July.--The church received, from the hand of Dudley Hall, a bequest of the late Turell Tufts
,--two pieces of plate for the communion-table; and a portrait of the Rev. Mr. Turell
, one of the former pastors of this church.”
Aug. 7.--“At a meeting of the church this day, a letter was read by Dudley Hall, from Samuel Turell Armstrong
, requesting the church to transfer to him, during his lifetime, the above-mentioned portrait of Mr. Turell
The church voted unanimously that this request be complied with; and that Dudley Hall, the treasurer, be authorized to deliver the portrait to Mr. Armstrong
It is now in the possession of Mrs. S. T. Armstrong
, in Boston
1854.--In the New England Historical and Genealogical Register, of October, is a biographical notice of Hon. Peter C. Brooks
, written by Hon. Edward Everett
, doing justice to the character of our distinguished townsman.
1854.--Captain Duncan Ingraham
married the widow of Dr. Simon Tufts
, as his second wife, and resided in Medford
By his first wife, he had a son, named Nathaniel, who endeavored to force back into slavery Caesar
, a Malay.
Nathaniel had a son, named Duncan
N., who attended our public schools, and is remembered as a boy of spirit and force.
He has recently rendered himself famous by his bold measure at Smyrna
for the rescue of an Hungarian.
So popular is this measure, that even the working-classes of England
have united to present to him a valuable chronometer.
It bears the following inscription: “Presented to Captain Ingraham
, of the United States navy, by some thousands of the British
working-classes, for his noble conduct in rescuing Martin
, the Hungarian
refugee, from the Austrian authorities, April, 1854.”
1855.--Mr. Benjamin Noyes
, son of Benjamin
, was born in West Medford, and educated at the public school.
He is now head engineer in constructing one hundred miles of railroad for the Emperor
of the Russias.
1855.--There are many stumps of large pitch-pine trees now remaining in East Medford, on land of Mr. Charles Hall
The field is called “stump-marsh.”
At the usual spring-tides
, the salt-water covers this field from four to eight inches in depth.
Could the forest of pines have lived and grown up, if thus covered with salt-water every fortnight?
Is proof found here of the theory, that the land on the New-England
coast is sinking?
, born in Medford
, March 1, 1787, entered the State House
, as clerk in the office of the adjutant-general
, in 1813; and, with the exception of three years, has been employed, till this year, as confidential clerk, under the different administrations.
He has been called “the oldest man of the State House
No one was so able to aid seekers after historical documents, and no one could have been more ready.
1855-1655.--What would our Medford
ancestors have said if they could have anticipated this time, when speed is deified, and when haste seems to increase with the means of haste?
Tramp, tramp, across the land;
Splash, splash, across the sea!