Distinguished guests and residents of Medford.

Eliza M. Gill.
[Read before the Medford Historical Society, October 21, 1912.]

AS we turn the leaves of the fifteen volumes of the Medford Historical Register we find mentioned the names of many well-known people, having more than local fame, who have either been residents in our town, or the guests of Medford families. These names occur in earlier and later colonial times, at the Revolutionary period, in the first and middle part of the last century, and in more recent years.

It is not within the limits of this paper to recall those that have been noticed in the pages of the Register, nor to complete the list of those that have not been printed, but it is sufficient to mention a few, taking them in nearly consecutive periods of time, or else in groups.

The names of the clergymen who were present at the installation, dismissal or burial of Medford pastors, or who came to preach by way of exchange, make a notable list of early Puritan divines who were always honored guests of our people at such times, but as they are found in the histories by Brooks and by Usher, they need no mention.

Although the family of the writer was not among Medford's first settlers, yet she is glad to claim connection with the early history of the place where the family home was established many years ago, through her relative on the paternal side, Judge Samuel Sewall of witchcraft fame. He frequently came to call upon his niece (1713, [p. 2] etc.), the wife of Rev. Aaron Porter, the first settled pastor of the town.

One Sunday in October, 1738, among the worshipers in Rev. Mr. Turell's congregation was Gov. Jonathan Belcher. As he was one of the royal governors we may imagine he came with some show of pomp, but not enough, we hope, to distract attention from the minister and his discourse.

A touch of the romantic was given our staid little town when Sir Henry Frankland and Agnes Surriage (between 1745 and 1775) came on horseback to call on the Royalls at their fine mansion, then in the height of its splendor. How little did the fair maid from Marblehead then dream that a hundred and fifty years later she would be a beautiful heroine, a figure of interest in prose and poetry, and that a tangible evidence of herself would be exhibited in that house, in the same room, perchance, where she was being received. A fan, with finely carved sticks, and picturing in brilliant colors the coronation of George the Second, that once belonged to Agnes Surriage, was shown at the Sarah Bradlee-Fulton Chapter, D. A. R., Loan Exhibit at the Royall House, April, 1899, and is an heirloom in a well-known family of this city. Nor did the gallant with her that pleasant afternoon think that a Medford minister (Rev. Elias Nason) would one day write a most interesting and accurate account of the life of Sir Charles Henry Frankland, Baronet.

We have a still further connection with Agnes Surriage, since her sister, Mrs. Mary Swain, who inherited the Hopkinton estate and the great mansion in Boston that belonged to Lady Frankland, lived the latter part of her life in Medford; and it is not improbable that Mrs. Mary Swain, who died here in 1800 and whose gravestone may be seen in the Salem Street Burying Ground, and the first mentioned are one and the same. A will of Daniel McClester, son of Mrs. Swain by a former marriage, dated August 1, 1807, bequeathing to his uncle, Isaac Surriage, of Hopkinton, the property above-mentioned which he [p. 3] had received from his mother, and the death of a Mr. McClester (the name is variously spelled) in Medford, August 13, 1807, give credence to the supposition.

Jeremiah Page of Danvers responded to the Lexington alarm and served as an officer in the Revolution. He was an ardent patriot, and forbade any tea to be drunk under his roof. The story of the clever ruse of his wife, who managed to enjoy her tea drinking without breaking the letter of the law of her liege lord, forgotten by reason of her death, that occurred soon after, was not recalled until nearly seventy years had passed, and was revived again at the time of the centennial celebrations of the stirring events of the Revolution, and made the subject of a pleasing poem by Lucy Larcom.

Stories told in rhyme deviate from facts and are not always plain, unvarnished tales, but the poetic license accorded to and used by poets only adds to the charm of the story, and knowing this we can take without harm our dose of poetry and fiction. I imagine Miss Larcom's poem, ‘A Gambrel Roof,’ differs but little from the true facts of the case, and though perhaps a digression from our subject, the following concerning Dill, whom Miss Larcom introduced in her story, may not be amiss. One authority says the child was bought April 19, 1766, and died about the middle of the nineteenth century, a nonagenarian. The item to which I especially refer was made public by the Boston Herald, November 8, 1908, and was a receipt, given in connection with a sale of slaves, found in a garret of a house in North Adams, and reads as follows:—

Danvers, Mass., April 19, 1774.
Received of Mr. Jeremiah Page fifty eight pounds thirteen Shillings And fore pence lawful money And a negro woman called dinah, which in full for A negro girl Call Cato And A negro Child Called deliverance or dill which I now sell and deliver to ye said Jeremiah Page.

[p. 4]

The Page homestead, in good condition, is today one of the historic places pointed out to the visitor to Danvers. Our interest in the young man who built this colonial house for himself at the time of his marriage in 1750, and who became a man of force, ability and distinction, lies in the fact that he was Medford born and lived here till early manhood. We find his name on our tax-rate lists for 1744, '45, '46. At the invitation of a Mr. Andrews, whose daughter he married afterwards, he went to Danvers to engage in the business of brick making. Without doubt he had learned much concerning it in the various brick-yards in his birthplace.

Four young men, all but the last being graduates of Harvard, began their public life as teachers in our town school, and though their residence was only for a brief period, as they became eminent in professional circles, it is pleasant to mark their connection with the history of Medford:—

First. Nathaniel Thayer graduated from college at the age of nineteen, and at twenty began the study of divinity with Dr. Osgood, at the same time taking charge of our grammar school. He was teacher in the second schoolhouse from October, 1789, to December, 1790. He was ordained when twenty-four years of age and became pastor of the Unitarian Church in Lancaster, where he was a loved and respected pastor for fifty years. His father had served the church in Hampton, N. H., forty years. Dr. Osgood preached the sermon, taking his text from Acts 20:;27, ‘For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God.’ The good doctor must have had a tender and loving feeling for the youth who had been under his instruction and guidance, and we believe he bespoke for the young man the respect and loyal following of the people who were to become his charge.

The firm of John E. Thayer and Brothers was established by his sons, the members of which amassed great wealth. The younger generations of these families are [p. 5] widely known today in financial and social circles. A son, who bore his father's name, was the munificent patron of Harvard College and of the town of Lancaster, still the residence of the Thayers.

Dudley Hall (1780-1868) used to tell of his being a pupil, when ten years old, of Nathaniel Thayer.

A side light is thrown upon the importance of Dr. Osgood in the community by the fact that of the one hundred copies of the ‘Sermon and Charge and Right Hand of Fellowship’ printed by the town, twelve were given to our Medford minister. Twenty were for Mr. Thayer, six for the president of Harvard, sixteen to as many clergymen, and the rest were given to heads of families in the congregation.

Second. In the third schoolhouse a young man taught for six months (December, 1796, to July, 1797), who afterwards taught theology for nearly forty years in Andover Theological Seminary. He was the celebrated Leonard Woods, D. D. He joined the church under Dr. Osgood and was the life-long friend of his pastor, though their views on theological points varied greatly.

On leaving our town his connection with it did not cease, for Dr. Woods' youngest daughter married Rev. A. R. Baker, who was settled over the Second Congregational Society from 1838-1848.

I find no mention of Mrs. Baker in Mrs. Sargent's paper, ‘Literary Medford,’ published in the Register, January, 1912. She was an able woman and a voluminous author, was born in Andover, Mass., August 19, 1815, and educated at the famous Abbot Female Seminary. She was married three years previous to coming to Medford. Her books were not published till after her removal from here. The list comprises nearly two hundred volumes, most of them juvenile stories, ‘Tim the Scissors-Grinder’ being the most popular. Several were translated into French and German. Fifty years ago she was known to many readers by her pseudonyms of Madeline Leslie and Aunt Hattie. [p. 6]

Her husband assisted her in editing some of her writings, and she assisted him in editing ‘Theology in Romance,’ a work of two volumes. She wrote ‘Reminiscences of Leonard Woods,’ edited and wrote in part her father's ‘History of the Andover Seminary.’ Mr. Baker wrote a number of works on theological subjects, and while in Medford published ‘A School History of the United States, containing Maps, a Chronological Chart, and an Outline of Topics for a More Extensive Course of Study’ (843). Mrs. Baker died in Brooklyn, N. Y., April 27, 1893. A son, born in 1845, is one of the prominent physicians today in BostonDr. William H. Baker, named for a member of his father's parish.

Third. Samuel Weed taught from February, 1806, to August, 1807. He studied medicine with Dr. Brooks, and after settling in Portland, Me., came to Medford for his bride, marrying Maria Condy. He was a physician of the old-school type in dignity, graciousness and worth, like Doctors Brooks and Swan, and was greatly beloved and highly respected in Portland, where he died in 1857 at the age of eighty-three.

Fourth. A later teacher in the West Grammar School became the eloquent preacher and gifted writer, Thomas Starr King. He received his appointment November 25, 1842, through the influence of his father's friend, Rev. Hosea Ballou, 2d, pastor of the Universalist Church, though the only drawback to the applicant was his youth. The family removed here and Starr wrote, ‘I am very much pleased with the change, and delighted with the Medford people.’

While on a visit he wrote to a relative, ‘We have a fine Unitarian preacher there [Medford], Rev. C. Stetson, with whom I am intimately acquainted. He is a man of solid acquirements, weighing some three hundred pounds. I have attended his church pretty often since my removal, which has occasioned mother some worriment, which you may suppose is no way lessened when I tell her, at least twice a week, that I intend taking a [p. 7] class in his Sabbath School, and studying for the Unitarian ministry.’

It seems that the ministers of the First Parish made deep impressions on many young men.

Theodore Parker, on a visit here, wrote in his diary April 13, 1843,‘Saw schoolmaster Thomas Starr King,— capital fellow, only nineteen. Taught school three years. Supports his mother. He went into Walker's three courses of lectures, and took good notes. Reads French, Spanish, Latin, Italian, a little Greek and begins German. He is a good listener.’

He resigned his position August 1, 1843. In 1845, at the invitation of the citizens of Medford, he delivered the Fourth of July oration in the Unitarian Church.

Service in our schools seems to have been a good preparation for a wider life of usefulness and prominence. Many pupils must have been stimulated and greatly influenced for good by such earnest, fine young spirits as Starr King and his predecessors in office.

The most distinguished guests within our borders have been two of world-wide fame, Washington (1789) and Lafayette (1824). The magnet that drew them was John Brooks, their comrade-in-arms.

President James Monroe, during his term of office, on a visit to Boston in 1817, was in Medford twice. A Boston newspaper says that Thursday, July 3, he came with his suite in carriages to return a call made him by Governor Brooks, ‘partook of an elegant collation, visited the delightful neighborhood,’ and on the Saturday following ‘dined with Governor Brooks returning to Boston at 6 o'clock.’

The elegant collation and delightful neighborhood evidently refer to the reception given to the president by Peter C. Brooks at his fine country estate in West Medford, to which he graciously invited his neighbors. Mrs. Elijah Smith, the site of whose home was where Boston avenue meets High street on the south side, attended the reception, taking a little daughter of five months. [p. 8]

The grown — up people present, telling the story of that pleasant afternoon in later years, remembered that strawberries were served, and undoubtedly they were fine if grown on the host's ground, as they probably were; while the baby girl when she grew up had the pretty story to tell that President Monroe took her in his arms and kissed her.

Mrs. Smith was the grandmother of Mr. Wait and the Misses Wait, members of our historical society.

If the after life of some who had a brief residence with us has been a recital of interest we may pardonably have a stronger feeling, one of pride even, in Medford born sons and daughters who have made themselves useful or famous in the world, after going forth from our midst. In this class we shall notice five.

The most picturesque period of our colonial history was the governorship of William Shirley and the most picturesque event of his administration was the planning of the capture of Louisburg.

The act of the Massachusetts boy, the Medford lad, will appeal even to younger readers. He was in the band of thirteen, a reconnoitering party under Vaughan, who, noticing that no smoke was issuing from the barrack chimneys and no flag floating from the staff, entered the battery, after an Indian had crawled in at an embrasure and opened the gate.

They found the place empty, for the French frightened by the smoke of the burning warehouses containing their naval stores which Vaughan had set on fire the night before, had fled in terror, after spiking the guns and cutting the halliards. As there was no flag and Vaughan was ready to report the capture of the fort in the name of England, while waiting for one, William Tufts, a boy of eighteen, climbed the staff with his red coat in his teeth and nailed it to the top.

This bold act, which evinced a sturdy and courageous nature even in a time when men were made of stern stuff for rough work, has been noticed by many writers, but [p. 9] frequently without mention of the lad's name. The following is from the Boston Gazette of 3 June, 1771.

Medford, May 25, 1771. This Day died here, Mr. William Tufts, jun., aged about 44 Years, and left a widow and a Number of small Children to lament his Loss. As an Husband, he was kind and benevolent; as a Parent, tender and affectionate; a good Neighbor, and very industrious in his Calling. He lived beloved, and died lamented, and made a hopeful Change. When he was about 18 years of age he enlisted a volunteer into the service of his King and Country in the Expedition against Cape-Britain under the command of Lt. General Pepperrell, in the year 174ZZZ—where he signalized his Courage in a remarkable Manner at the Island Battery, when the unsuccessful Attempt was made by a Detachment from the Army to take by Storm. He got into the Battery, notwithstanding the heavy Fire of the French Artillery and small Arms, climbed up the Flag-Staff, struck the French Colors, pulled off his read Great Coat, and hoisted it on the Staff as English Colors, all which Time there was a continued Fire at him from the Small Arms of the French, and got down untouched, thoa many Bullets went throa his Trousers and Cloathes.

Query. If a Roman Soldier had done such a bold, daring and Loyal action, would he not have had a Monument of Fame erected for him? or at least some gratuity made him by his king and country?

And now his Family is needy.

Perhaps this obituary was written by some partisan friend or loving relative in whose eyes the act seemed greater than in those of the writers who have omitted to mention Tufts' name. Parkman, who will be spoken of later, covers the period of this war in his ‘Half Century of Conflict,’ and truly no historical writing can be more simple, more charming, or more complete in detail of facts, and for pleasant and interesting reading I commend the book to the attention of our school children.

In 1871 this newspaper account was reprinted in full in an article where the story was told again for the public, and since that time it has been given by successive writers with the youth's name, though Parkman suggests that the act was over exploited. It has been written for young readers by another author and I hope the boys and girls will know all the history concerning William Tufts and also of the events in which he took part. [p. 10]

When the news of the capture of Louisburg reached Boston at one o'clock in the morning of July 3, two months afterwards, bells and cannon woke the slumbering people and they celebrated the glad event with fireworks and bonfires, and shouting crowds filled the streets.

Shall we not imagine that some wave of this enthusiasm rolled over Medford when they heard of the exploit of the soldier boy in King George the Second's army who belonged in their midst and had come home a hero?

In 1907 the Boston Globe issued a set of one hundred pictures, printing one each day, illustrating events in American history, asking school children to send answers naming the event the picture was drawn to illustrate. To those entering the contest, sums of money were awarded for correct answers, and I think it greatly to the credit of our city that six girls of Medford and three boys won prizes. The description of No. 72 was ‘William Tufts of Medford nailing his red coat to staff as a substitute for British flag, at the attack on Louisburg, May 3, 1745.’

The life story of the child of Scotch-Irish descent whose birth was May I, 1732, is one full of interest. With the immigration of the sturdy and worthy Scotch-Irish to New England, several families came to Medford. William McClintock, when others of his companions went on to found the town of Londonderry, N. H., named for their old world home, settled on the Mystic river. He married four times, had nineteen children and died at the age of ninety. I do not know how long he remained here, but for some years the McClintock name was on the town records. The William McClintock and his wife Jane, who settled here for a few years after their marriage and moved to Boothbay, Me., was probably a son of the former. William the elder was an industrious farmer, laboring quietly, not entering into public life. His third wife was the mother of Samuel, coming with her husband to New England. The boy's education began in our grammar school and was continued under Master Minot [p. 11] at Concord, Mass., and Rev. Mr. Abercrombie in an academy near Northampton, Mass.

He graduated from the college of New Jersey in 1751, which was then at Newark. A few years later it was removed to Princeton and has since been known by that name. He was under the tutelage and influence of President Burr, father of Aaron Burr. His service to his country and his sacrifices were in direct contrast to that of the president's notorious and despised son.

Samuel McClintock became the pastor of the Congregational Church in Greenland, N. H., and died in active service in the forty-eighth year of his ministry, having had but one pastorate. His death occurred April 27, 1804, at the age of seventy-two years. He was married twice and had fifteen children.

He was a pronounced patriot, served as chaplain in the French war and repeatedly as chaplain to various bands of New Hampshire soldiers in the Revolution. He had four sons in the Continental Army, three of whom gave their lives to the colonists' cause. He was present at the Battle of Bunker Hill and knelt and prayed with head uncovered and with uplifted hands, for the success of his country during the raging of the battle and the flying of the bullets. (See Medford Historical Register, Vol. VIII, No. 1, p. 23.) This incident has been commemorated by Mrs. Sigourney in the following poem:—

It was an hour of fear and dread—
     High rose the battle-cry,
And round, in heavy volume, spread
     The war cloud to the sky.
'Twas not, as when in rival strength
     Contending nations meet,
Or love of conquest madly hurls
     A monarch from his seat:

Yet one was there, unused to tread
     The path of mortal strife,
Who but the Saviour's flock had fed
     Beside the fount of life. [p. 12]
He knelt him where the black smoke wreathed—
     His head was bowed and bare,—
While for an infant land he breathed
     The agony of prayer.

The column, red with early morn,
     May tower o'er Bunker's height,
And proudly tell a race unborn
     Their patriot father's might:—
But thou, O patriarch, old and gray,
     Thou prophet of the free,
Who knelt among the dead that day,
     What fame shall rise to thee!

It is not meet that brass or stone
     Which feel the touch of time,
Shall keep the record of a faith
     That woke the deed sublime:
We trace it to the tablet fair,
     Which glows when stars wax pale,
A promise that the good man's prayer
     Shall with his God prevail.

Samuel McClintock was considered one of the best classical scholars in New England, received degrees from his own college, Harvard and Yale. His printed sermons and papers form quite a list, but with such ponderous titles as to deter modern readers from looking farther than the titles.

In 1784 Dr. McClintock had the honor of preaching the first election sermon at the inaugural ceremonies of the governor of New Hampshire, a custom that was continued until 1861. He took for his text Jer. 18: 7-10.

Although Bunker Hill Day is not generally observed outside of Massachusetts, yet the grave of Rev. Samuel McClintock, chaplain at the Battle of Bunker Hill, is always decorated at that time.

You who are lovers of history and searchers among records would not have us fail to mention another William Tufts out of gratitude, for ‘no one was so able to aid seekers after historical documents, and no one could have been more ready.’ May, 1857, he bought a home in Salem and made his residence there, where [p. 13] he died, June 3, 1861. TheSalem Register says, ‘An old and faithful servant of the commonwealth, William Tufts, Esq., died at his residence in this city on Monday. Mr. Tufts was in his seventy-fifth year, having been born in Medford, March I, 1787. From 1815 to 1850 he was well known to all who had business transactions at the state house, having been for a long period the chief clerk in the office of the secretary of the commonwealth. For several years past he has resided in Salem, quietly enjoying the fruits of his well-spent active life.’

Capt. James Gilchrist, born in Danvers, 1770, married Susan Wyman of Medford, June 10, 1805. He was engaged in the East India trade, sailing from Salem and Boston. They made their home in the house on High street generally called the Train house, moved to the one called the Ebenezer Turell or Jonathan Porter house, then again to the former. Six or seven of their nine children were born in this town, and after a residence of seventeen years the family moved to Charlestown, N. H., where Captain Gilchrist died, 1827. When we see what was the caliber of the members of this family, we realize that what was our loss was New Hampshire's gain.

John James Gilchrist, born February 16, 1809, and Edward Gilchrist, born February 15, 181, must have received their early education here. The former was a pupil at the school of John Angier. He graduated from Harvard, 1828, and upon being admitted to the bar established himself in Charlestown, N. H. He married a daughter of a former governor of that state, and became successful in the practice of his profession. He was early called to the head of the Supreme Court of New Hampshire, and was appointed one of the judges of the Court of Claims by President Pierce. He discharged his duties with marked ability and was greatly esteemed. He died at Washington, April 20, 1858. His intimate friend and classmate, Hon. George S. Hillard, elsewhere mentioned in this paper, wrote a long and highly complimentary obituary notice of Chief Justice Gilchrist [p. 14] which even one who did not know him could but enjoy reading. In it he says of his friend no one had a better claim than he to the ‘grand old name of gentleman.’

Edward became a surgeon in the navy in 1832 and joined Commodore Wilkes' United States exploring expedition. He left it at Valparaiso about 1840, returned home and became resident physician and surgeon in Chelsea Naval Hospital, where he died suddenly November 4, 1869. His obituary was also written by Mr. Hillard.

A sister, Martha, became the second wife of Chief Justice Cushing, who succeeded her brother John James as Chief Justice of New Hampshire.

When the family moved to Charlestown, in 1822, ‘Mrs. Gilchrist opened a select school for young ladies which was continued for a considerable time. She was a highly educated lady, and previous to her marriage to Captain Gilchrist had been a teacher in Medford, in the celebrated school of Mrs. Rowson. Her school soon acquired a wide reputation, and pupils were attracted to it from a great distance. It was commenced at South Charlestown, but after the death of Captain Gilchrist, in 1827, the family removed to the village and it was continued there. The school was discontinued about 1833, in consequence of the marriage of her three eldest daughters, from whom she had been accustomed to receive great assistance.’ Mrs. Gilchrist, who was born in Woburn, Mass., died in Charlestown, N. H., March 20, 1858, at the age of seventy-four.

Two won their laurels in the dramatic profession.

T. Allston Brown in his ‘History of the American Stage 1733-1870,’ says Mrs. Bannister was born in Chester, N. H., and that her maiden name was Green. ‘Records of the New York Stage 1750-1860,’ by Joseph N. Ireland, states that she ‘was born of a respectable family in the State of New Hampshire,’ and a third authority says that her maiden name was Green.

Over against these statements, stand those of the [p. 15] members of this society before mentioned in this paper, and to them we give credence as again it is a matter of family history, for the lady whom we are now discussing was a relative, a cousin of their father.

It is not strange that in the matter of names a mistake should occur, for she had a middle name, not so common in her time as it is today, and the name of her last husband singularly was the same as her maiden name.

Amelia was baptized, according to the First Parish records, October 6, 1799. She was the daughter of John and Lydia (Fulton) Bannister of Boston, who were married there by the Rev. James Freeman, December 31, 1789. Her mother was the daughter of John and Sarah (Bradlee) Fulton, our local heroine of the Revolution.

There is one saying we do not have to take with a grain of salt, and that is, that no one can escape death and taxes, and the tax lists and assessors' books of New England towns are a great help in proving residence.

Mr.Bannister and Mrs. Bannister became residents of Medford a few years after their marriage. His name is first found on the tax list 1797 and last in 1800. He owned one-half of a house.

Amelia was baptized October 6, 1799 (according to the First Parish records), by the name of Pamelia, but was always called by the former name. Two brothers were baptized at the same time and given respectively the names of John Fulton and Samuel Bradlee. Another child born March 18 was on March 30 christened Mary Adams, and died September 20, 1800. An infant child of the Bannisters died April 23, 1798. Other children in this family were Josiah, David, Charles, Rinaldo.

She married first a Christopher Legge, had a son named Christopher Lucius Legge, who, when his mother married John Augustus Stone, took the name of Stone. By her second husband she had a son named Henry F. Stone. Her third husband was Nathaniel H. Bannister, who was born in Baltimore and died in New York, 1847. He was not related to her father's family. Each of these [p. 16] was an actor, the latter being also an author. He wrote the equestrian drama, Putnam.

Amelia, the third in point of age, spent her early days in this town. Then the family moved to Boston, where she was educated. She soon acquired a taste for the stage.

She played for many years in New York and Philadelphia, but never in Boston, on account of her relatives' dislike for her having adopted the stage as a profession. She experienced, in the place of her birth, the Puritan aversion to the stage and the people connected with it, so much stronger in her day than now, and in the homes of some cousins she was never welcomed.

She made her debut in Pittsburg, Penn., in 1817 as Mrs. Blanford in ‘Speed the Plough.’ Her first appearance in New York was in 1822-3 as Adelgitha in the play of that name. She was long known at the Bowery and other New York theatres. She took such parts as Letitia Hardy in the ‘Belle's Stratagem,’ Leonora in the ‘Lovers' Quarrels’ and Mrs. Malfort in the ‘Soldier's Daughter.’ She made her first appearance as the latter, when she was engaged for the so-called heavy business.

On July 2, 1822, a company of amateurs opened an establishment under the name of the City Theater. Only three had any stage experience, Mrs. Legge being one.

The latter was young, talented and interesting in appearance, a careful and understanding reader, and in a good school of acting would have probably attained distinction, but it has been her misfortune to be generally attached to theaters where her abilities have been wasted on the worst of melodramas, and her true beauties undiscovered or unappreciated.

During the long run of Uncle Tom's Cabin at the National Theater, in 1853, Mrs. Bannister was the representative of the revengeful yet sympathizing Cassy.

She died in New Jersey about 1879. The dates of her marriage can be approximately determined by facts. In 1817 she was known as Mrs. Legge, as Mrs. Stone in 1855. [p. 17] After a few years' absence from New York she reappeared as Mrs. Bannister. She seems always to have appeared under her own name; for her stage career we have relied upon the printed authorities mentioned above.

Mrs. Bannister was connected with the writer's family (a great aunt having married Amelia's brother David), and the actress' name has often been mentioned in our home. Our aunt, feeling her nieces' education was being sadly neglected and their pleasure much curtailed, begged the privilege of taking sister and myself to the theatre, and in her company one Saturday afternoon we made our first acquaintance with the play-house. The memory of that rapturous afternoon, and the new kid gloves worn on the great occasion, still lingers with us. Our ardor was somewhat dampened when we were told at home we could not go again if we were going to talk so much about the play on Sunday.

The mistake made long since, for the books mentioned were published forty years ago, we may not be able to right, but we dare to offer you, our hearers this evening, the correction, and say that Amelia Green Bannister was born in Medford.

Edwin Adams was the eighth in descent from Henry Adams, the immigrant who settled at Braintree. His branch of the family appears to have gone to Medfield. His parents were Elisha Adams, Jr., and Caroline (Boy-den) of Walpole, and their residence is given as Dorchester or Medford. All the children, save Edwin, were born in Dorchester.

Though his birth is not on our town records (like others previously mentioned in this paper), an Adams genealogy, numerous encyclopedias and biographies state that Edwin Adams was born in Medford, Mass., February 3, 1834. As he was an actor of considerable note we will not challenge this statement, but let Medford have the glory given her of having produced another genius within her borders.

His first appearance on the stage was as Stephen in [p. 18] ‘The Hunchback’ at the National Theater, Boston, August 29, 1853. His career is too well known, and accounts of his life and work are so easily accessible that we give but a few facts concerning him. He played in many cities in this country, and went to Australia. Enoch Arden and Shakespeare's characters were his favorite roles. He was associated with Edwin Booth in the latter's theater in New York, and played with him in the Boston Theater in 1870. He was considered one of the best light comedians on the stage. ‘His voice was of wonderful richness, strength and melody.’ His wife was also an actress and dancer, but on the death of her husband retired from the stage. He died in Philadelphia, October 25, 1877. A friend has described to me his house at Long Branch. On the exterior it had the appearance of being three stories in height but the interior had but two stories. This arrangement gave a large and lofty room for the practicing of his parts and for giving entertainments.

This Society has hanging on the wall of its library a framed play bill of that fateful night in Washington, April 14, 1865. At the bottom is the announcement, ‘Easter Monday, April 17, Engagement of the Young American Tragedian, Edwin Adams.’

A little boy at the age of eight came to live on his grandfather's farm (1831), a part of the estate of the late Gen. S. C. Lawrence, the house where the lad lived for four years being the one called the Peter C. Hall house on Winthrop street, now numbered 343. He attended John Angier's private school on Forest street, roamed the Middlesex Fells, gaining a love of nature and a knowledge of woods and fields that became valuable to him in his life's work, for he became the great and scholarly historian, Francis Parkman, the cultivator of fine roses and president of the Massachusetts Horticultural Society. The writer remembers his dignified manner as she sat opposite him at a banquet of the society.

Harriet Martineau, the English writer, came to this [p. 19] country in 1835, remaining two years. She was a guest in the home of Rev. Caleb Stetson, pastor of the First Parish, Medford, and corresponded with him. The parsonage then was the home on High street, later the residence of the late John Ayres, now the site of the parish house of St. Joseph's Church. As the guest and family sat together looking out on the Mystic river below, or low lying Pasture Hill above, there must have been much pleasant conversation on subjects of common interest, for Miss Martineau's brother was a celebrated Unitarian divine.

A relative of the Stetsons says, ‘There floats in my mind a dim tradition of Miss Lucy Osgood having made a tea party for Miss Martineau at that time, borrowing my aunt's guest knives and forks, as extras were needed, but not inviting her. I doubt if any ladies were present but the two sisters and Miss Martineau; they found manly-scholarly conversation much more to their liking than the usual feminine-domestic. Yet no one relished a spicy bit of gossip, not unfriendly, more than they, but it must be the spice, not the substance, of life.’

John Quincy Adams visited his favorite niece, Abby S. Adams, wife of John Angier, in the house built by Mr. Angier, which became the property of our esteemed townsman, the late Eleazar Boynton. We can determine the time of his being here by the dates of the marriage and death of his niece, 1831 and 1845. On this estate, on the west side of the lawn, is a Scotch laburnum and an English oak planted by Mr. Adams. He brought them as small cuttings from abroad, before importations of such goods were common by nurserymen and florists.

A manuscript piece of music, the work of Mr. Adams, is in the possession of the family who own the Surriage fan.

Daniel Webster came one summer day (before 1852) to call on a friend who was boarding here, and together they went to pay their respects to Rev. William Adams. Doctor Adams was spending his vacation at the home [p. 20] of his father-in-law, Thatcher Magoun, the senior ship builder. He married Susan P. Magoun in 1831, and her sister, Martha B. Magoun, in 1835. He was an admirer of Webster and a distinguished man himself and was called one of the noted clergymen of New York City.

He was pastor of the Madison Square Presbyterian Church, and at his Sunday evening services the aisles were filled with benches, and people stood up, so great were the crowds that gathered to hear him preach. He published several volumes of sermons and other works, and on giving up preaching became President of Union Theological Seminary. He was born in Colchester, Conn., January 25, 1807, and died in New York, August 31, 1880.

Dr. Adams and his family spent the summers in Medford, and he was very well known by many families of this town. They were attendants at the First Trinitarian Church, where the courtesy of the pulpit was always extended to the distinguished clergyman, and when the rumor went round that Dr. Adams was to preach, there was a large audience who had the privilege of hearing a fine sermon.

Ex-Governor Boutwell, Secretary of the State Board of Education, presided at the dedication of the new schoolhouse on Park street (December 24, 1855), built to replace the one burned.1

Edward Everett married a daughter of Peter C. Brooks and lived for a while in the house on High street west of the Public Library, now occupied by the Misses Ayres. Another daughter of Mr. Brooks married Charles Francis Adams, son of John Quincy Adams, in 1829. At that time Mr. Brooks had the reputation of being the wealthiest man in New England.

A letter written by Edward Everett while here is in possession of our Public Library, and one dated 15 June, 1857, was headed Medford. A ship built in the yard of Paul Curtis in 1843 was named the Edward Everett, and [p. 21] our town honored the distinguished statesman by naming one of her school buildings for him.

It adds to the interest of local and general history to recall the fact that John Brown (before 1859) was a guest at the home of George L. Stearns, and received sympathy and encouragement from the host and his wife. If he could only have looked down the years to see Doctor Booker T. Washington2 that fine specimen of the despised race he really died for, entertained by our high-minded citizens and listened to by the largest audience ever gathered in Medford, how his soul would have been cheered; but John Brown only saw the promised land from the top of Mount Pisgah.

No choicer spirits, singly or in companies, ever gathered in any home in this town than were found in the home of George L. Stearns. Men and women of the noblest type, ready to sacrifice themselves and their property for the good of mankind, distinguished lawyers and writers, were those who were welcomed within those hospitable walls, and I doubt if our towns-people were ever really cognizant of what transpired there, or were in touch with the inmates of the red house on the hill who formed a little world apart by themselves. George S. Hillard, Moncure D. Conway, and greater lights like Rufus Choate, Wendell Phillips, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Bronson Alcott and Julia Ward Howe were guests of the Stearns family. Later came Julian, son of Nathaniel Hawthorne, a school friend of one of the sons.

Lest we forget what the country and our state owes to this man, of whom we ought to be proud as being a citizen of Medford, let us recall with gratitude these verses from Whittier's tribute to George L. Stearns:—

He has done the work of a true man,—
     Crown him, honor him, love him.
Weep over him, tears of woman,
     Stoop manliest brows above him!

[p. 22] For the warmest of hearts is frozen,
     The freest of hands is still;
And the gap in our picked and chosen
     The long years may not fill.

No duty could overtask him,
     No need his will outrun;
Or ever our lips could ask him,
     His hands the work had done.

He forgot his own soul for others,
     Himself to his neighbors lending;
He found the Lord in his suffering brothers,
     And not in the clouds descending.

Never rods to the wrongs redressing
     A worthier paladin.
Shall he not hear the blessing,
     Good and faithful, enter in.

Phillips Brooks was frequently at the house (1861-1863) of Mrs. A. K. Hathaway, Ashland street, to see a friend who boarded there.

Some of our citizens remember that George L. Brown, the well-known artist, made his home (1863) in the old Bishop house on Salem street opposite the burying ground, for a year or so. Mr. Brown had a married sister, Mrs. Myrick, who lived on South street court. This may account for the artist's presence among us.

He had a daughter, Angelica, born in Rome, I believe, who attended the Everett School. In appearance and speech she differed just enough from her Yankee playmates to be interesting. Her father could have been seen many a day (for our town then was a quiet place with but few people on the street) sitting on a stool on the sidewalk in front of his house, palette and brush in hand, with an umbrella over his head, busily engaged in painting. Possibly he was taking the colors and tints from the sky that have given the glow to so many of his pictures, to be used at a later time, for though he lived abroad many years he returned to America in 1860, and from the following item in the Art journal, May, 1875, [p. 23] we may infer that Medford was placed under contribution for art's sake: ‘Brown's “Sunrise, Genoa” [1875], is one of those gorgeous, idealized, hazy Italian scenes, for which this artist is so much noted, in the vein of Turner.’

Is it not something to have had with us an artist whose pictures are to be seen in the Boston Art Club and Boston Athenaeum, and were found in the homes of Governor Claflin, Governor Fairbanks of Vermont, Henry Ward Beecher and Edward VII of England, who as Prince of Wales purchased during his visit to this country Brown's ‘Crown of New England?’

Rev. John Pierpont, who had been minister to the First Parish, died in 1866 while visiting in the place of his labors.

So eminent an artist as Richard M. Staigg, who had been a pupil of Washington Allston, and excelled in miniature painting, had pupils here to whom he gave instruction in drawing (about 1863).

John G. Whittier was a guest in the home of his brother, Matthew Francis Whittier, who at that time (1865-8) owned the cottage house on Pleasant street (present number 50), now occupied by Mrs. Sarah K. Tebbetts, from whom she bought the property in 1871. The house has been much enlarged and altered, and at that time a neat iron fence was in front of the estate. This was the brother to whom the poet referred in ‘Snow Bound,’ in these lines:—

Ah, brother! only I and thou
Are left of all that circle now,—
The dear home faces whereupon
That fitful firelight paled and shone.

Matthew Whittier wrote under the name of Ethan Spike, and in physical and general characteristics was unlike the gentle poet. He was tall, of rather heavy features and florid complexion. On the street he was a noticeable figure, for he wore a long cape, tall hat and though very erect carried a stout cane. When I first [p. 24] saw him I thought some old Puritan had come back to life.

Charles R. Adams, who won fame on the operatic stage abroad, is remembered by many, as he had a residence here for several years (1879-1882). At that time he was filling an engagement with opera companies at the Boston Theatre. In his early years he was a tenor singer of high qualifications, with a voice of great expression of feeling. He was born in Somerville and later moved to Boston. He displayed a taste for singing when very young. He spent many years in Germany and Austria, where he became a celebrated opera singer. The Emperor of Austria frequently requested Mr. Adams to sing before him and his friends at Vienna, and Mr. Adams brought home to America a laurel wreath presented him while abroad.

Antonio F. de Navarro received reflected glory by his marriage(1889) with Mary Anderson, the beautiful actress. We mention him because he was a pupil at the A. K. Hathaway private school on Chestnut street, where there were many students of Spanish extraction. (The school lasted from 1846-1860.)

Who can say that Medford has not an interesting history back of her with plenty of variety? Is there not enough charm in it to attract the attention of the boys and girls for whom our city today is spending money so generously to provide them with elegant school buildings, finely equipped, and giving them well trained, conscientious teachers of high ability? Are not some of these boys and girls going to give a little time to the study of the history of the city that is either their birthplace or home, and then become the successors of the members of the Medford Historical Society of today?

Medford has had many eminent sons and daughters, and they have allied themselves with families equally distinguished, and the history of the future of our city may be even more brilliant than that of the past, but let the young people of today remember that the making of the future has a strong relation to the past.

1 The school was then named in honor of Dr. Daniel Swan, who was specially invited to be present. He attended, but was unaware of the fact until it was publicly announced.

2 December 17, 1905, Opera House and Mystic Church.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Sort places alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a place to search for it in this document.
New Hampshire (New Hampshire, United States) (6)
New England (United States) (6)
Danvers (Massachusetts, United States) (5)
Amelia Court House (Virginia, United States) (4)
Salem (Massachusetts, United States) (3)
Louisburg (North Carolina, United States) (3)
Charlestown, N.H. (New Hampshire, United States) (3)
United States (United States) (2)
Mystick River (Massachusetts, United States) (2)
Dorchester, Mass. (Massachusetts, United States) (2)
Austria (Austria) (2)
Woburn (Massachusetts, United States) (1)
Vienna (Virginia, United States) (1)
Vermont (Vermont, United States) (1)
Valparaiso (Indiana, United States) (1)
South River, Ga. (Georgia, United States) (1)
Puritan (Pennsylvania, United States) (1)
Puritan (Colorado, United States) (1)
Portland (Maine, United States) (1)
Pittsburgh (Pennsylvania, United States) (1)
Pasture Hill (Massachusetts, United States) (1)
Northampton (Massachusetts, United States) (1)
North Adams (Massachusetts, United States) (1)
New Jersey (New Jersey, United States) (1)
Milford (New Jersey, United States) (1)
Medford (Massachusetts, United States) (1)
Medfield (Massachusetts, United States) (1)
Massachusetts (Massachusetts, United States) (1)
Marblehead (Massachusetts, United States) (1)
Long Branch, N. J. (New Jersey, United States) (1)
Londonderry, N. H. (New Hampshire, United States) (1)
John Brook (Connecticut, United States) (1)
Island (Massachusetts, United States) (1)
Hopkinton (Massachusetts, United States) (1)
Hampton, N. H. (New Hampshire, United States) (1)
Greenland (New Hampshire, United States) (1)
Genoa (Italy) (1)
East India (1)
Concord (Massachusetts, United States) (1)
Colchester, Conn. (Connecticut, United States) (1)
Chester, N. H. (New Hampshire, United States) (1)
Bunker Camp (Missouri, United States) (1)
Brooklyn (New York, United States) (1)
Braintree (Massachusetts, United States) (1)
Boston (Massachusetts, United States) (1)
Boothbay (Maine, United States) (1)
Baltimore, Md. (Maryland, United States) (1)
Australia (Australia) (1)
Angelica (New York, United States) (1)
Andover (Massachusetts, United States) (1)

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
Peter C. Brooks (9)
William Tufts (8)
Nathaniel H. Bannister (8)
Edward Gilchrist (6)
Lucy Osgood (5)
Samuel McClintock (4)
Harriet Martineau (4)
George L. Brown (4)
A. R. Baker (4)
John Angier (4)
William Adams (4)
Vaughan (3)
Nathaniel Thayer (3)
Mary Swain (3)
Agnes Surriage (3)
George L. Stearns (3)
Christopher Lucius Legge (3)
Lucy Larcom (3)
George S. Hillard (3)
Edward Everett (3)
Edwin Adams (3)
Charles R. Adams (3)
Abby S. Adams (3)
Leonard Woods (2)
John G. Whittier (2)
Unitarian (2)
John Augustus Stone (2)
Henry F. Stone (2)
Caleb Stetson (2)
Elijah Smith (2)
Parkman (2)
James Monroe (2)
Medford (2)
Daniel McClester (2)
Thomas Starr King (2)
Starr King (2)
Italian (2)
Samuel S. Green (2)
James Gilchrist (2)
Charles Henry Frankland (2)
Aaron Burr (2)
John Brown (2)
Samuel Bradlee (2)
John Quincy Adams (2)
Yale (1)
Susan Wyman (1)
Wilkes (1)
Matthew Francis Whittier (1)
Matthew Whittier (1)
Samuel Weed (1)
Webster (1)
Booker T. Washington (1)
Walpole (1)
Walker (1)
Francis A. Wait (1)
Usher (1)
Turner (1)
Ebenezer Turell (1)
John E. Thayer (1)
Sarah K. Tebbetts (1)
Frank Tapley (1)
Daniel Swan (1)
Caleb Swan (1)
Isaac Surriage (1)
Starr (1)
John Stark (1)
Richard M. Staigg (1)
Sigourney (1)
William Shirley (1)
Shakespeare (1)
Samuel Sewall (1)
Sargent (1)
Rowson (1)
Rinaldo (1)
Medford Historical Register (1)
Putnam (1)
Aaron Porter (1)
John Pierpont (1)
Sewell Pierce (1)
Wendell Phillips (1)
Pepperrell (1)
Theodore Parker (1)
Jeremiah Page (1)
Antonio F. Navarro (1)
Elias Nason (1)
Myrick (1)
William McClintock (1)
Malfort (1)
Thatcher Magoun (1)
Susan P. Magoun (1)
Martha B. Magoun (1)
Madeline Leslie (1)
Christopher Legge (1)
S. C. Lawrence (1)
Lafayette (1)
Julian (1)
John James (1)
Joseph N. Ireland (1)
Hunchback (1)
Julia Ward Howe (1)
Nathaniel Hawthorne (1)
A. K. Hathaway (1)
Letitia Hardy (1)
Eliza M. Gill (1)
John James Gilchrist (1)
German (1)
John Fulton (1)
French (1)
James Freeman (1)
Henry Frankland (1)
Fairbanks (1)
Ralph Waldo Emerson (1)
Thomas B. Dill (1)
Charles Cushing (1)
Paul Curtis (1)
Moncure D. Conway (1)
Claflin (1)
Rufus Choate (1)
T. Allston Brown (1)
Boutwell (1)
Snow Bound (1)
Edwin Booth (1)
Blanford (1)
Belle (1)
Jonathan Belcher (1)
Henry Ward Beecher (1)
Amelia Green Bannister (1)
John Bancroft (1)
Hosea Ballou (1)
William H. Baker (1)
Boston Athenaeum (1)
Enoch Arden (1)
Andrews (1)
Mary Anderson (1)
Washington Allston (1)
Bronson Alcott (1)
Mary Adams (1)
Henry Adams (1)
Elisha Adams (1)
Charles Francis Adams (1)
Abercrombie (1)
Abbot (1)
hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
1863 AD (3)
1860 AD (3)
1845 AD (3)
1831 AD (3)
1817 AD (3)
1879 AD (2)
1871 AD (2)
1870 AD (2)
1868 AD (2)
1861 AD (2)
1835 AD (2)
1827 AD (2)
1822 AD (2)
1800 AD (2)
October 6th, 1799 AD (2)
1750 AD (2)
July 3rd (2)
October 21st, 1912 AD (1)
January, 1912 AD (1)
November 8th, 1908 AD (1)
1907 AD (1)
December 17th, 1905 AD (1)
April, 1899 AD (1)
April 27th, 1893 AD (1)
1889 AD (1)
1882 AD (1)
August 31st, 1880 AD (1)
October 25th, 1877 AD (1)
May, 1875 AD (1)
1875 AD (1)
November 4th, 1869 AD (1)
1866 AD (1)
April 14th, 1865 AD (1)
1865 AD (1)
June 3rd, 1861 AD (1)
1859 AD (1)
April 20th, 1858 AD (1)
March 20th, 1858 AD (1)
June 15th, 1857 AD (1)
May, 1857 AD (1)
1857 AD (1)
December 24th, 1855 AD (1)
1855 AD (1)
August 29th, 1853 AD (1)
1853 AD (1)
1852 AD (1)
1850 AD (1)
1848 AD (1)
1847 AD (1)
1846 AD (1)
August 1st, 1843 AD (1)
April 13th, 1843 AD (1)
1843 AD (1)
November 25th, 1842 AD (1)
1840 AD (1)
1838 AD (1)
February 3rd, 1834 AD (1)
1833 AD (1)
1832 AD (1)
1829 AD (1)
1828 AD (1)
1824 AD (1)
1823 AD (1)
July 2nd, 1822 AD (1)
August 19th, 1815 AD (1)
1815 AD (1)
February 15th, 181 AD (1)
February 16th, 1809 AD (1)
August 13th, 1807 AD (1)
August 1st, 1807 AD (1)
August, 1807 AD (1)
January 25th, 1807 AD (1)
February, 1806 AD (1)
June 10th, 1805 AD (1)
April 27th, 1804 AD (1)
September 20th, 1800 AD (1)
April 23rd, 1798 AD (1)
July, 1797 AD (1)
1797 AD (1)
December, 1796 AD (1)
December, 1790 AD (1)
December 31st, 1789 AD (1)
October, 1789 AD (1)
1789 AD (1)
1787 AD (1)
1784 AD (1)
1780 AD (1)
1775 AD (1)
April 19th, 1774 AD (1)
April 18th, 1774 AD (1)
June 3rd, 1771 AD (1)
May 25th, 1771 AD (1)
1770 AD (1)
April 19th, 1766 AD (1)
1751 AD (1)
May 3rd, 1745 AD (1)
1745 AD (1)
1744 AD (1)
October, 1738 AD (1)
1733 AD (1)
1732 AD (1)
1713 AD (1)
July 4th (1)
July 2nd (1)
May (1)
April 17th (1)
March 30th (1)
March 18th (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: