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Lawyers of Medford.

by Herbert A. Weitz.
[Address substantially as delivered before the Medford Historical Society, April 21, 1902.]

AMIDST the clamor, the hurly-burly, the vicissitudes of life, we not infrequently pause, momentarily, perhaps, yet reverently, to wander through the paths of the past, to go back to the mansions of the dead, to the shades of the cypress and the willow, to the broken tombstones and obscure epitaphs, to partial histories, scanty traditions and forgotten memories.

The Pilgrims of Plymouth, the austere Puritans of Salem, came to the shores of Massachusetts for civil and religious liberty, bringing with them as their inheritance and birthright the Common Law; yet there was no profession which they and their successors for generations viewed with less respect, importance and esteem than the profession of the law. They were remarkable and peculiar men, and their laws were equally so. They were, however, ardent lovers of law and justice, and firmly, fearlessly maintained their rights. Notwithstanding their distinguished qualities, great piety and active virtues, that inherent litigious spirit of the English race was a notorious feature of those early times. Their law was sumptuary and tinged with bigotry—a peculiar judicial procedure, administered by a multitude of untrained judges, occupying many other official positions at the same time, and with no lawyers—for each man pleaded his own cause—giving a singular and complicated character to the prevailing conditions of practice. Such conditions existed for the greater part of the eighteenth century. Hence the law as a profession was slow of establishment, lawyers were not wanted, and [p. 50] did not exist, as it was held objectionable that lawyers should direct men in their causes. Men in all callings, and particularly the clergy, meddled and dabbled with the law's administration.

The Court House was an early necessity, and was as easy of access to all as were the House of Correction, the stocks and the schools. Beside the meeting-house was the whipping post; in the market-place was the stocks. The dealing out of justice was rough and substantial, though direct and effective.

When we remember the fate of Thomas Lechford, who seems to have been the first lawyer in Massachusetts, it is with a feeling of trepidation that we seek for his successors for many years after.

‘I am kept,’ wrote Lechford, ‘from the sacrament, and all places of preferment in the Commonwealth, and forced to get my living by writing petty things, which scarce finds me bread, and therefore I sometimes look to planting corn, but have not yet here an house of my own to put my head in or any stock going.’

It was not until the last quarter of the eighteenth century that law as a profession offered any inducement to men of learning and ability and that the dominant prejudice was overcome. About 1768 there were about twenty-five lawyers in Massachusetts; they were clustered at the larger and more thickly populated localities. Many of the surrounding towns were, until comparatively recent times, without lawyers.

We look upon those distant and early days with a pitying estimate, a tender compassion, on account of the narrowness, ignorance and demoralizing customs then existing, yet, then were formed the elements of a national character, and of a great Commonwealth, with an unexcelled system of jurisprudence—a profession, within the circle of which the halo of fame surrounds many names commanding our admiration, stirring our enthusiasm and exciting our sober approbation quite as much as any military or naval glory. [p. 51]

Dr. Johnson observed, ‘History may be formed from monuments and records, but lives can only be written from personal knowledge, which is growing every day less, and in a short time is lost forever. What is known can seldom be immediately told, and when it might be told, it is no longer known.’ The labors of a lawyer are of such a nature as to attract but little attention. The daily business of life is his concern, and his deeds, and even his name, often pass away and are forgotten, like the ‘production of the seasons on which we subsist.’

Like shadows gliding o'er the plain,
     Or clouds that roll successive on,
Man's busy generations pass,
     And as we gaze their forms are gone.

The people of Medford in early times were their own lawyers. For about a century and a half there were no resident lawyers, and not until after 1800 did the first lawyer come to Medford. He was one of the most eminent and distinguished men of Massachusetts, and probably the most distinguished lawyer who ever lived in Medford.

Hon. Timothy Bigelow has left a great name—a learned and distinguished lawyer, patriot, statesman. His life was well spent in the honorable labors, a life devoted to the benefit of his fellowmen and in all the private and public demands of duty. His father, Col. Timothy Bigelow, was actively engaged in the early movements of the Revolution. The son joined the father, and was with him during the Rhode Island campaign, but the colonel was ordered South, and the son returned home to his books, and to the aid of his mother, upon whom fell the care of the family, occasioned by the absence of the patriot father.

Timothy Bigelow, Esq., son of Col. Timothy and Anna (Andrews) Bigelow, was born in Worcester, April 30, 1767. His early life was therefore passed in that [p. 52] great early struggle for life through which this country successfully emerged. His elementary education was in the public schools of his native town; but the perils of war suspending school operations, he entered the office of Isaiah Thomas, proprietor of the famous Spy. His passion for books and strong love of literature were manifested during his employment on the press by his devotion of leisure hours to the acquisition of the elementary branches of English and the rudiments of Latin. In 1778 he was put under the charge of the Rev. Joseph Pope of Spencer, but a year later found him with his father in the Continental army, being then only twelve years old, and too young to perform a soldier's duty. On his return he was in the office of Benjamin Lincoln, and was later placed under the tuition of Samuel Dexter, who prepared him for admission to Harvard University, which he entered in 1782, graduating with high honors in the class of 1786. He entered at once upon the study of the law in the office of Levi Lincoln, Esq., and was admitted to the bar in 1789. He commenced practice in Groton, where he became acquainted with and married, September 30, 1791, Lucy, daughter of Hon. Oliver and Lydia (Baldwin) Prescott. It is said he sat in his office six weeks without taking a fee, and then received a pistareen. Mr. Bigelow was endowed with ready apprehension, and an active and inquisitive mind, gathering knowledge with remarkable facility, exact method and system, thus enabling him to compass a vast amount of reading. He soon acquired a wide reputation and a large practice in Middlesex, Suffolk, Essex and Worcester counties, and in New Hampshire. Samuel Dana, Jr., another noted lawyer, and Mr. Bigelow became the leaders of the Middlesex bar. They were retained in the most important cases of the neighborhood, and were generally on opposite sides. In politics, as well as at the bar, they were pitted against each other, but in social life they were the best of friends. Mr. Bigelow was a prominent [p. 53] Federalist, and took an active part in politics. He became a member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives in 1793 from Groton, and later from Medford. Continuously to his death, in 1821, he was a member of the Legislature. In 1806 he removed to Medford. He was Speaker of the House for thirteen years, which place he filled with marked ability and popularity, having the longest term of service in that capacity ever held by any one person. He held this position in 1819, when the act was passed separating the District of Maine from the State of Massachusetts, and was consequently the last speaker of the united legislature of the district and the Commonwealth. Together with George Cabot, William Prescott and Harrison Gray Otis, Mr. Bigelow represented Boston in that famous political assembly in 1814 known as the Hartford Convention.

Amid the engrossing duties of his profession, and during thirty-two years of his practice, and though arguing more cases than any one of the profession in New England, Mr. Bigelow still found time for occasional literary work. A few printed orations are all that inform the present day of the clear reason, strong logic and fervid eloquence which marked the advocate and politician and rendered his control over juries and popular gatherings almost unbounded. He delivered the Phi Beta Kappa oration at Cambridge, July 21, 1796; a funeral oration on Samuel Dana before the Masonic Lodge at Amherst, N. H., April 4, 1798. His exordium on the immortality of the soul in this oration is worthy of a divine. He delivered a eulogy on Washington before the Columbian Lodge of Masons at Boston, February 11, 1800, and it is perhaps one of the best specimens of political spirit in that burning period. Mr. Bigelow was identified with the Masonic fraternity in Massachusetts, over which he presided with signal ability during two triennial terms. He was a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, vicepresident [p. 54] of the American Antiquarian Society, and one of the founders of the Groton Academy, and a member of many literary and scientific societies.

After an eventful and remarkable career, as a representative, senator, and member of the executive council, occupying many positions of trust and honor; sustaining an eminent position at the bar and in politics, always maintaining an unspotted reputation for integrity, ability and honesty; distinguished for genius and beloved by his fellow-men, he died at his mansion in Medford, May 18, 1821, at the age of fifty-four years.

Mr. Bigelow's figure was tall, and courtesy graced his manners; his social spirit made his mansion the seat of hospitality, where were exhibited domestic virtues rendering his society as desirable as his public career was eminent. A fluent speaker, earnest, eloquent and sound, he was well versed in his profession, enjoying the reputation of a good scholar and possessing the nobler merit of high moral and religious principles. Having explored every branch of liberal science, he was peculiarly conversant with theology, and rested on the scripture truth as the basis of faith and the guide of practice. With rare colloquial talents he freely poured forth the stores of diversified information and the treasures of retentive memory, enlivened by illustrative anecdotes and a vein of sparkling humor. His eminence at the bar made his office a place of resort for students, and many distinguished men received their early instruction and impulse in his office. The Massachusetts Centinel of May 19, 1821, said of him: ‘Amply as this distinguished statesman and patriot filled his public offices, he was equally pre-eminent for the discharge of all the duties of a provident father, a kind husband, a hospitable neighbor, a liberal and enlightened Christian, and last—not least—a constant and sincere friend. He saw nothing in futurity to make a change to be dreaded. Conscious as he must have been that his progress had been that of integrity, honor [p. 55] and usefulness, he must have contemplated in them the Path; in his few though severe bodily sufferings, the Price, and in his anticipated transitions from this to a better world, the “Proof of sublime immortality.” ’

So lived and passed the Hon. Timothy Bigelow, whose life and service may well be remembered by the people of Medford and the Commonwealth, and perpetuated in history as an example worthy of the highest emulation.

On May 1, 1820, a town meeting was called to select a representative. Timothy Bigelow was elected. The old town records read: ‘Mr. Bigelow then rose and thanked the town for the honor they did him by this renewed and unanimous expression of their confidence in again electing him for their representative, then adverting to the length of time he had been employed in the counsels of the Commonwealth, the state of his health, and his advancing years, he begged leave to decline serving in the office just conferred upon him. Whereupon it was voted unanimously that the thanks of the town be tendered to Mr. Bigelow for his services as their representative for a number of years past.’

Abner Bartlett was thereupon elected in his place. Abner Bartlett seems to have been, from what insufficient glimpses I have been able to get of him, an original character, a plain man, but rich in what are called ordinary virtues.

Abner Bartlett, Esq., was born at Plymouth, January 1, 1776, son of Abner and Anna (Hovey) Bartlett. He was a descendant of Robert Bartlett, who came to Plymouth in the ‘Ann’ in 1623. Mr. Bartlett, after graduating at Harvard University in 1799, began the study of law and was admitted to the Middlesex bar. He married Sarah Burgess and settled in Medford. At the bar his speech was rough, his manner hesitating, and his words forcible and emphatic. He had a singular habit, for which he was ever remembered; it created [p. 56] fun for the boys, and was a source of silent amusement for the older; whether he was pleading his case in court, or strolling along the streets, there ever emanated from him a succession of grunts, which have been described to me as similar to a ‘bark’ or ‘growl.’

Mr. Bartlett, or ‘SquireBartlett, as was the fashion to call him, was at one time the only lawyer in Medford. He was indeed a typical and eccentric character.

He was not only lawyer, but also trial justice, a man of an unquestioned character and of considerable professional learning, and the conveyancer of the town. The townspeople had great faith and confidence in him. Faithful and thoroughly honest, he pursued his profession in Medford, occupying a little front room in that building next to the bank, now used by the city. His office was often the place of meeting of his many friends who congregated to discuss the town affairs and other matters of interest. When he held court, the boys would peek into his court-room in wonder and curiosity. There are yet living a few who remember well the curiosity with which they followed the movements of ‘Squire Bartlett’ and played jokes on him. He lived next to the Unitarian Church. The school yard was in close proximity to his orchard, and many the dissertation on law the old ‘Squire’ delivered to the school boys for having a fondness for his apples.

He was somewhat of a sportsman and fond of rabbits, and always ready to purchase them from the boys. He hung them up on nails by their tails in his office until they became ‘seasoned and gamy,’ and would drop from the nail, and would often strut up the street to his home with two or three rabbits well seasoned, for his table. Many are the tales told of the ‘old Squire,’ as he was remembered in his later days. He was a good scholar, and could quote his Latin with anyone.

Brooks writes: ‘Among the inhabitants of Medford, there has not probably been a man who has served the town in so many and responsible offices as this gentleman. [p. 57] He was not made for a leader; he had not that kind of force, but left the race to those who coveted laurels. He was a faithful member of the church, and all but revelled in spiritual disquisitions. As a neighbor he was most friendly, as a critic most caustic, and as a wit most ready.’

He was a member of the House of Representatives from Plymouth, and later from Medford. He was for many years moderator of town meetings, being from 1808 to the time of his death active in town affairs. He died September 3, 1850, aged seventy-four years.

Jonathan Porter, a contemporary of Bartlett, was a gentleman of distinguished and liberal acquirements.

Jonathan Porter, son of Jonathan and Phebe (Abbot) Porter, was born in Medford, November 13, 1791. The story of his life is interesting, notable, elevating, and its closing chapter portrays to us some of the most brilliant and noble qualities of man.

He received his early education at the local schools, and entered the business of his father. He had no taste for mercantile pursuits, however, and very early in life exhibited a fondness for books and study. He therefore, when seventeen years old, prepared for college at a private school kept by Dr. John Hosmer of Medford, and entered Harvard in 1810, from which he graduated with the highest honors in the class of 1814. Many of his classmates became men of eminence, and, though he was a confirmed invalid for many years before his death, his home was the rendezvous of the eminent associates of his college and professional life. His generous and manly bearing in the emulous contests of the literary arena won for him the esteem and friendship of his classmates, which continued to the close of his life and cheered the many long years of his feebleness and confinement. He chose the law for a profession, and studied with Hon. Luther Lawrence and Hon. Asahel Stearns, both having been students in the office of Hon. Timothy [p. 58] Bigelow. He soon acquired an accurate knowledge of law and sound professional ethics, was admitted to the Middlesex Bar in 1817, and practiced in both Medford and Boston. His intellectual endowments were well suited to the study of the law as a science. His mind was acute, discriminating and logical, and his memory was retentive and ready. He read much, and his legal learning was accurate and extensive. He had a large practice, and argued cases before the Supreme Court with great ability and success; but, being a scholar, fond of books, study and retirement, and having no fondness for the turmoil and strife, the ‘pert dispute and babbling hall’ of professional practice, he never took the high rank as a lawyer which his attainments in other respects seemed to warrant. In his professional and private life he was just and upright, his principles and practice were pure, elevated and honorable. In 1822 he delivered the Phi Beta Kappa oration at Cambridge. About this time his health began to fail, and the oration was delivered under much bodily weakness and suffering. In 1830 the infirmity which had overtaken him became alarming. He passed the summer in Europe, but his disease—a spinal affection—never improved, and finally reduced him to the condition of a helpless invalid. He made an unsuccessful attempt, on his return from Europe, to resume the practice of law, but was compelled to settle down in the conviction that there was no prospect of his restoration to health. He therefore resigned himself to the care of his family, and his patience and resignation were the triumphs of an abiding Christian. He was particularly fond of Greek literature and history, he reverenced Christianity, and had a firm belief in the Christian scriptures as a divine revelation. His manners were simple, unassuming and courteous, and his feelings were liberal, social and obliging. He occupied various official positions in the town previous to his infirmity. He married, July 22, 1823, Catherine, daughter of Samuel and Anna (Orne) Gray of Medford. On June 11, 1859, [p. 59] he passed from the stage of human action, aged sixty-seven.

As has been well said, ‘the history of man and human progress is a story of sacrifice, devotion and self-denial. As we look down the ages and let pass before the view the toils and the struggles, the failures and the successes, the lights and the shades of human character and efforts, and, above all, when we look into our own souls and try to square ambition with achievement, desire with consummation, hope with possibility—aye, all the contradictions and paradoxes of contest and aspiration—we rise from the contemplation with the conviction that through all these there is a higher destiny.’

The brilliancy of intellect, of character and ability of Jonathan Porter were exemplified in his son, George Doane Porter, who was born in Medford, June 21, 1831. Young, and with a bright career before him, he was, when comparatively only a young man, carried off by that terror of the New England climate, consumption. He was fitted for college by his father, Jonathan Porter, and graduated at Harvard University in 185. He took up the study of law with William Brigham, and was admitted to the bar in Boston, June, 1854. He practiced both in Medford and Boston, and after a while in Medford alone. I am informed that he was a man of splendid character, and always honorable, well read in the law and thorough in the preparation and earnest in the presentation of his cases. He was a quiet, thoughtful lawyer in the argument of his cases, and generally successful.

He married Lucretia A. Holland of Medford, August 8, 1860, and died November 25, 1861, aged thirty. He lived a manly, useful life, and his simple nature, sound sense and abundant humor are still fresh in the memories of those who were his associates and who yet survive him.

Sanford B. Perry was born September 20, 1819, in [p. 60] Leicester, Vt., and came to Medford in 1845. He lived and practiced in Medford but a short time, yet he attained considerable prominence in the town and state as a politician.

Mr. Perry had considerable practice, which was largely conveyancing and collecting. He was, however, a man of ability, and early secured the confidence of the people. He was a prominent Whig, and his contributions to the news sheets of the time on political affairs were favorably received by the people. He was a man of commanding presence. Though not a college man, he was well educated and became very popular and active in town affairs. Elected to the school board in 1847, which position he filled for five years, his broad and progressive views soon overcame the narrow ideas of his associates, and compelled them to adopt a more liberal policy than they had ever dared to adopt before. He was in the Massachusetts Senate in 1853. He had offices in the Turrel Tufts house, and in the railroad building soon after it was erected. He married Miss Barr of Ipswich, N. H., in 1847. In 1856 he went to Chicago, Ill., where he died September 12, 1884.

Elihu Church Baker was born August 2, 1825, in Campton, N. H. He was an ardent politician, connected with the ‘Know-Nothing Party,’ and always more or less prominent in the political arena. He began life as a merchant, but this being distasteful to him, he studied law and was admitted to the Suffolk bar January 17, 1854. In the early stages of the Rebellion he was a war Democrat, turned into the Copperhead wing of the Democratic party, and supported McClellan. He was an eloquent, finished speaker, an able man, but not thoroughly grounded in legal principles or well read in elementary matters. He was a successful criminal lawyer. Being well read in general literature and a good story-teller, he was always a companionable man. He was very nervous. He became [p. 61] moderator, representative, and a member of the Massachusetts Senate in 1855-56, of which he became president in 1856. He was distinguished by his brilliancy as a presiding officer. His ability in this capacity is one of the foremost and distinguished facts which those who remember him relate. He was of the firm of Baker and Sullivan, and later of Baker, Sullivan & Hayes. He removed to Darlington, South Carolina, where he became Judge of Probate of Darlington County, and died in that place December 6, 1887.

Charles Russell was born in Plymouth in July, 1835, admitted to the bar in 1858, and practiced in Medford a number of years. He occupied many of the town offices. He was a lawyer of military tastes, ‘who believed in making rain with repeated discharges of cannons, and raising dead bodies out of ponds in which there were none by the same process.’ He was the first captain of the Magoun Battery, and enlisted with the 5th Massachusetts in ‘61. As a lawyer he did not attain much prominence. He died April 21, 1879.

Distinguished among the peerless knights of law, learning and oratory, John Quincy Adams Griffin was one of the ablest of his time. He was born July 8, 1826, in Londonderry, N. H. When he was very young, his family removed to Pelham, where he received his rudimentary education, and lived until 1844, when he removed to Groton. He prepared for college at Groton Academy, and entered Amherst College in 1846, but discontinued after a year and returned to Groton. He said in later life that he remained there ‘as long as they could teach him anything.’ He then began the study of law in the office of George Frederick Farley, and was admitted to the Middlesex bar in October, 1849.

In 1848, Mr. Griffin, though a young man, took a prominent part on the side of the Free Soil party, both as a speaker, writer and editor of a Free Soil paper. In 1850 he removed to Charlestown and began the [p. 62] practice of his profession, and was city solicitor four or five years. In 1859 he removed to Malden, and shortly after to Medford. While in Charlestown, in 1854, his strenuous opposition to the act of the Legislature consolidating Boston and Charlestown, brought the matter to the Supreme Court, where it was pronounced unconstitutional. He was a representative from both Charlestown and Malden.

Mr. Griffin was one of the brightest and ablest members of the bar, a master of sarcasm, and was at his best in satire, wit and raillery. He was associated with William St. Agnan Stearns for many years, and to the time of his death. Whether at the bar, the rostrum or in the Legislature, his magnetism of personality, deep, sonorous voice, deliberate manner and incisive and logical speech commanded the respect and attention of all. He always intermixed the trial of his cause with jokes, even sometimes hazarding verdict and friends; and this, coupled with his sarcasm, clear logic, keen, brilliant wit and eloquence, caused much discomfiture to his opponent, and made him a wily, dangerous adversary at the bar. The more difficult and intricate his case, the sharper became his intellect and the more terrible his weapons of battle. Distinguished as a jury advocate, he was entitled to standing with Butler, Sidney Bartlett, E. Rockwood Hoar or Josiah Abbott.

He was appointed Clerk of the Courts for Middlesex, but he was like a ‘bound gladiator’ and longed for the excitement of the forum. He occupied the position about a month, and said ‘that if he stayed in the position another month he should have gone crazy.’

Many and severe were the clashes between Butler, Somerby and Griffin. Griffin once wrote an article entitled a ‘Portrait of Butler by a House Painter,’ in the Bunker Hill Aurora, for which Butler never forgave him.

There was never any obsequiousness about Griffin. He detested formality or subordinacy, and was rather [p. 63] trenchant, which caused the displeasure of the court. He was an omnivorous reader, especially in law. He had a large practice, but was a poor collector. He was retained in many well-known cases, among which was the defence of George T. Bailey for the murder of young Converse; the petitions of Edward Everett for damages for destruction of the ‘peep flats,’ and the famous Count Johanni litigation, Commonwealth vs. Green, etc.

Griffin took an important and earnest part in revising and remodelling the Courts of the Commonwealth; and the practice in vogue now is due largely to him.

He was of about medium height, stooped a little, and was slim, although not apparently so because of his massive head. Above his gold-bowed spectacles arose a square, perpendicular forehead, from which his dark hair stood up straight and thick. He was neither elegant nor classical, but his mind was quick and strong.

He married, May 1, 1852, Sarah Elizabeth Wood of Concord, and died at his home in Medford, May 22, 1866, of consumption. He went to Cuba for his health, but died soon after his return. Though cut off in the full promise of an eminent career, he will ever stand conspicuous and prominent among the men of his memorable generation.

His domestic life was sublime; his children were the delight of his eye. His will was singular, where he pays tribute to his wife and family; he then wrote concerning the settlement of his estate: ‘Let great care and caution be exercised, particularly in respect of the bills of deputy sheriffs and constables, whose charges were so often most exorbitant and not infrequently made to me when I have distinctly marked the processes committed to them in such a manner as to notify them that I would not be responsible for officers' fees.’

When the Hon. Justice John W. Pettengill was a student in Mr. Griffin's office, Mr. Griffin told him to ‘Stop Blackstone and read the statutes regarding officers' charges. Fight them and I will back you up.’ [p. 64] He classified the sheriffs and constables as robbers and ‘Shylocks who could out-Shylock Shylock.’

The Transcript of May 23, 1866, paid the following tribute to Mr. Griffin:

The death of John Q. A. Griffin will create quite a void in Republican circles in this state. He had for many years been known as a fearless and uncompromising champion of the ideas which triumphed in the country by the election of President Lincoln. Spurning expediency in politics, he advocated the right under all circumstances, and could not be persuaded to give up a jot or tittle of principle for success. Always wielding considerable influence in his districts and the state at large, this persistent advocacy of what he deemed to be true, whether its adherents were in the minority or majority, operated to prevent him from attaining those national positions which a pliant nature would have secured. In our local halls of legislation, his clarion voice and emphatic periods were often heard, and his power of sarcastic utterance was frequently used to scourge the politicians of the North, who would sell their birthright for the spoils of office. No man exercised a greater influence over a Massachusetts Legislature than did Mr. Griffin. In the practice of his profession as a lawyer, he achieved the most enviable success. His life of nearly forty crowded years was well spent, and his memory will long be cherished by a large circle of friends, among whom are included the most prominent men of the country.

Benjamin F. Hayes, Esq., or ‘Judge,’ as he was always addressed in later life, was born July 3, 1835, in Berwick, Maine. He was the son of Frederick and Sarah Hurd Hayes.

Receiving his early education in Berwick, Lebanon Academy, and at New Hampton Literary Institution at New Hampton, New Hampshire, he entered Dartmouth in 1855 and graduated in 1859. He took up the study of law in the office of Wells & Eastman, in Great Falls, [p. 65] New Hampshire, and in 1860 entered the Harvard Law School. He was admitted to the Suffolk bar March 18, 1861, and when his course in the law school was but partially completed. He returned, however, and completed his course. He soon after settled in Medford, and became associated with Baker & Sullivan, which later became Baker, Sullivan & Hayes. Though having an office in Boston, where he had an extensive practice, he thoroughly identified himself with his adopted town, where he also had a considerable practice. For thirty years previous to his death no man took a more active part in town affairs than did Mr. Hayes.

In 1862 he was appointed Trial Justice for Middlesex County, and served in that capacity until 1873, when he resigned. From 1864 to 1867 he was Assistant United States Assessor under Phineas J. Stone of Charlestown

He became a member of the School Board in 1870, and chairman of the Board of Water Commissioners after the introduction of water into the town. He was a representative in 1872-74, and a member of Massachusetts Senate in 1878-79. In 1892 he was a member of the commission which drafted a city charter, and a year later was appointed the first city solicitor, which office he held to the time of his death. He was for a time captain of the Lawrence Rifles. In 1869 he was elected a trustee of Medford Savings Bank, and later served this institution in many capacities, and at the time of his death was president.

He married (1) Abbie Dwight Stetson of Medford in 1867, who died in 1869. (2) On November 7, 1876, he married Mary Hall, daughter of Judge Thomas S. and Lucy (Hall) Harlow of Medford.

Judge Hayes was both a familiar and well-known figure to us all. He discharged his duties as a town official with fidelity and ability. He was a Republican, and well known in Masonic circles. He died January 31, 1902, of heart disease, at his home in Medford. It being but a short time since his demise, his virtues, [p. 66] ability and qualities as a man and lawyer are too well known to you for me to reiterate and dwell upon. He was a man fond of sport, and in his early days was an excellent swordsman and athlete.

A little over a year ago we paid tribute to the memory of one of Medford's most distinguished citizens, Mr. Justice Thomas S. Harlow. Judge Harlow was born in Castine, Maine, November 15, 1812, and was the son of Bradford and Nancy (Stetson) Harlow. After the usual course of study at the public schools of his native town, he removed to Medford in 1831, and there taught school three years, in the meantime preparing himself for college. During 1833 he took charge of the grammar school, and in 1834 entered Bowdoin College, graduating in 1836. He began the study of law in the office of Governor Edward Kent of Bangor, where he studied two years, and also edited a paper in Dover, Maine. In 1838 he removed to Louisville, Kentucky, where he pursued his study of law, and was admitted to the bar in 1839. He took up the practice of his profession in Paducah, Kentucky, where he also became police justice. He again returned to Medford in 1842 and established himself permanently in the practice of law, practicing in both Boston and Medford. Judge Harlow married Lucy J., daughter of Ebenezer Hall of Medford, November 7, 1843, and died March 29, 1901, at his residence in Medford, a short illness. In his youthful days he was an athletic, tall and commanding man, which was plainly evident in his later days. He often spoke to me of his early days in Kentucky, and the conditions of practice there at that time. In Kentucky, when the judge was there, the lawyers rode the circuit on horseback, with the judges, going from one county to another, passing through the forests in single file—the counties being connected by mere pathways. He particularly emphasized the courtesy extended to the judges—‘a judge should have a bed [p. 67] to himself while the lawyers took pot luck, the best they could find.’ The judge had many and interesting tales of his life in the South. Judge Harlow was a better lawyer than he was credited to be. He was quiet and reserved and an adept in settling his cases out of court. In his later days he was much troubled by deafness; his memory, however, to the last was acute, and his mind active and strong. On the establishment of the First District Court of East Middlesex in 1870, he was appointed associate justice—the precision, form and respect which he commanded while presiding in this court were remarkable. He was associated with John A. Bolles in the defence of James Hawkins indicted for murder, in which the court reversed the ruling in the famous Peter York case. Both cases are reported respectively in 9 Metcalf 93 and 3 Gray 464.

He filled many official positions in the town faithfully and honorably, and up to the time of his death no one was more familiar with town affairs—particularly of the past—than the judge. He was a very well read man and a most pleasant conversationalist; his learning, keen intellect and many anecdotes made him a most desirable companion.

My sketch would be incomplete were I to omit the name of one who was the contemporary of many of those I have spoken of. Though not a lawyer, he performed faithfully all the functions and duties of one. I refer to John Sparrell, Esq., who combined the practice of law with many other callings. He may perhaps well be compared with those of the earlier centuries. He served the town as representative, moderator, and in many other capacities. He was also trial justice. I a informed he made out more deeds than any other man in Medford, and his plans—being a surveyor—have never been found in error. In surveying he used the old time chain. He died respected by all and mourned by his fellow townsmen whom he had served so well and [p. 68] fitfully. He was born in Scituate, and died in Medford, March 29, 1876, aged eighty-two years, months.

‘It is the common lot of men to be born, to live, to die, to be forgotten,’ and it can only be but a short time when the few yet with us—their familiar forms and congenial countenances—will have disappeared; their faint and rapidly fleeting memories will have passed, which have so often assisted us over an almost impassable gulf, separating the present and past. They only can relate to us the life, virtues, abilities and splendid excellences of those men of long ago; men who ‘were honored in their generations ad were the glory of their times.’ It is not alone those whose names are surmounted by the halo of fame, but those also who, although not graced by such high distinction, yet who constituted the sinew, laid the foundation, created the power and made possible that which e now enjoy; who lived, labored and passed away, too often without recognition, and how soon to be forgotten, but to whom we are indebted and should pay tribute to their memory as well as to the leaders, the great or distinguished. They all in their various professions and callings, collectively, gave rise to that glowing vision imagined by Milton: ‘Methinks I see in my mind a noble and puissant nation, arousing herself like a strong man after sleep, and shaking her invincible locks. Methinks I see her as an eagle mewing her mighty youth and kindling her undazzled eye at the full mid-day beam; purging and unsealing her long abused sight at the fountain itself of heavenly radiance; while the whole noise of timorous and flocking birds, with those also that loved the twilight flutter about, amazed at what she means.’

It does not become me to speak of the present practitioners—the past alone has been my province.

Let others hail the rising sun:
I bow to those whose race is run.

[p. 69]

The home of the Historical Society.

THE negotiations for the purchase of the Francis Home1—so called—the residence of the Medford Historical Society since its inception, have had a happy issue for the society; the title of the property having passed to the society June 13, 1902.

The old landmark so familiar to the people of Medford and so widely known as the birthplace of Lydia Maria Child2 may now stand as a memorial to the life and effort of that noble woman, and as a monument dedicated to the veneration of the historic, to be preserved and bequeathed to posterity.

The following reminiscence is by Mr. Andrew D. Blanchard, who was born and lived in the home to 1847. This was written some eight years ago, on a visit to the old homstead by Mr. Blanchard:—

I went to Medford expecting to find the old homestead demolished, but found it standing. The old bake-house in the rear is gone,3 and was in all respects the most ancient, for it remained as it was originally built, except the old ovens. The house was entirely rebuilt by my father previous to 1840 the brick ends only remaining. The front was originally oil Salem street, and when the alteration was made the old front door was put in the bake-house. I always understood that the house was built by Converse Francis, father of Mrs. Child, and placed near the street so that the sign could be seen from the square. The shop was at the westerly end. I learn from the history of Medford that Mr. Francis of West Cambridge served his apprenticeship to the baking business with Capt. Ebenezer Hall in Medford, went back to West Cambridge for two years and then came to Medford in 1797. His ‘Medford Crackers’ were famous. Mr. Francis remained in business till 1818, when my father, Capt. Andrew Blanchard, Jr. purchased the estate and resided on it until his death in 1853.

Lydia Maria Child was born in the house February 11, 1802. Her brother, Rev. Converse Francis, D. D., was born in West Cambridge, November 9, 1795. What is now Ashland street was a lane which separated my father's estate from the Bishop estate. My father's land extended on the lane to the estate next to Mrs. Gill's and to Forest street. Mr. Luther Angier bought the Forest [p. 70] street part back to the lane. When Mr. Francis retired from business, the ‘Withington Bakery’ (next door), was established, and for many years the Francis's ovens were used in the old bake-house which has been taken down. The ovens were used until new ovens were built for the ‘Withington Bakery.’

I have some recollections of the old house, its large kitchen with its great open fire-place, the crane, pots and kettles, and tin kitchen. The settle on one side of the fire-place, and brick oven on the other side, ample to bake all the pies for the Thanksgiving season.

One born on the spot and dwelling where Lydia Maria Child passed her early life can testify to the loveliness of her surroundings —the garden of fruit trees, flowers and vegetables, with its clean walks of Pasture Hill gravel, and beyond, extending to Forest street, (then the turnpike), the field, making in all quite a farm. In those early days the fruits and products of the garden were shared with friends and neighbors.

Mr. Francis purchased the property from Francis Burns, who was a brother-in-law of Gov. John Brooks, and father-in-law of Samuel Buel, the first postmaster of Medford.—editor.

The Identity of the Cradock House.4

In an earlier number of the Register there appeared an article5 throwing doubt on the location of the old Cradock House by utterly denying the claims of the old brick structure on Riverside avenue just below Spring street. Has sufficient weight been given to several features of that claim?

First, in a letter to Gov. Winthrop, written in 1637, Cradock speaks of the best of his land ‘neere my house’ being allotted to Mr. Wilson and Mr. Nowell. Now, the land so granted ‘neere my house’ was part of the present Wellington.

Secondly, the tradition of the Cradock House is very old; it has the authority of age, and is such authority to be lightly set aside? Again, are not the bricks (the originals, of course) of a different size from those subsequently made in the [p. 71] colony, thus indicating importation? And, if so, by whom else than the patron who was constantly sending supplies of all kinds to the infant settlement?

Venerate the Historic.

Gifts and Loans to the Society.

Invitation of Gen.Washington and Mrs. Washington to Miss Cary, January 22, 1776. Miss Cary was later Mrs. Dowse of the Royall House.

A rare picture of the old Fountain Tavern presented by Miss Zipporah Sawyer in memory of her brother, Rufus Sawyer.

Records of the Centennial Committee of Medford, 1875-6, loaned by Thos. Blackinton.

New England Library of Genealogy and Personal History,’ by Charles E. Hurd; gift of Horace D. Hall.

A miscellaneous collection from Mrs. Dinsmore of Dorchester, formerly of Medford.

Picture of the Cradock House worked in worsted, and frame from wood of the Cradock House, from Calvin Clark.

Picture of first M. E. Church, Medford, Salem street, a rare picture, loan, Dr. Cleaves.

Historical Gossip.

Col. Chas. K. Darling gave an extremely interesting and valuable talk oil ‘Porto-Rico in 1898-1902’ before the Society, May 5, 1902.

Miss Hetty Fulton Wait, on June 1, 1902, completed her fiftieth year as a teacher in the Medford Public Schools. On June 3, the Teachers' Association tendered her a complimentary reception, which was largely attended by former pupils and friends. James A. Hervey, Esq., in behalf of the assembly, presented Miss Wait with fifty American beauty roses, having in the centre fifty dollars in gold. No other teacher has such a record, or has had it, except ‘Marm’ Betty Francis, who taught a dame school for sixty years.

It is with pride that the society recognizes the distinguished honor bestowed upon its esteemed first president, Hon. William Cushing Wait, on his appointment to the bench of the superior Court.6 [p. 72]

The Royal Academy of letters, history, and antiquities, National museum, Stockholm, Sweden, is on the exchange list of the Reg-Ister.

Medford was never formally incorporated as a Town.

The first reference to Medford in Records of the State is 1630. Colonial Records, vol. 1, P. 59.


Life, members since the annual March meeting:—

Gilbert Hodges.

Andrew F. Curtin.

Hon. Samuel C. Lawrence.

Mrs. Carrie R. Lawrence.

Hon. Charles S. Baxter.

Hon. William Cushing Wait.

Miss Zipporah Sawyer.

Hon Daniel A. Gleason.

Hon. Daniel A. Gleason.

Miss Agnes W. Lincoln.

Walter F. Cushing.

David H. Brown.

Hon. Lewis H. Lovering.

Edward P. Boynton.

Leonard Tufts.

New members since the annual March meeting:—

Charles M. Ludden.

Mrs. Charles M. Ludden.

Harry Highley.

James Mott Hallowell.

George W. Mills, M. D.

James C. D. Clark, M. D.

Samuel C. L. Haskell.

George C. Tidden.

Francis H. Bridge.

Frederick W. Gow.

James Morrison.

Wm. H. Couch.

William P. Martin.

George W. Nichols. [p. 73]

1 Not infrequently called the ‘Child House.’

2 See Register, vol. III., No. 3, and National Magazine, p. 161, May, 1901.

3 Used for a gold-beater's shop by Mr. C. P. Lauriat until his, death.

4 Vide Register, vol. I., no. 4, P. 119; also vol. II., no. 2, p. 53.

5 Vide Register, vol. 1, No. 4, P. 138.

6 See Register, vol., No. 2.

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