previous next
[p. 41]

The River's death Roll.

MEDFORD has paid her toll to Neptune as often as he has relentlessly demanded, and it has meant the sacrifice of the young and the old, the townsman and the stranger, the great and the humble. It happens whenever and wherever the spirit of human curiosity, ambition, or adventure sets itself against the strength of the god of the waters.

In the following list, compiled by Francis A. Wait, the deaths were in the Mystic river, unless otherwise noted:—

Asyeil, DavidSept. 13, 184618
Beard, Lewis FoundApr. 9, 184938
Blanchard, SamuelMar. 27, 18198
Boffee—s, Thomas June 4, 178514
Bradbury, Henry Wymond Nov. 8, 1810 6
Brill, William S. G. Mar. 3, 1806 10
Brooks, Samuel (‘suposs'd to have been lost at Sea’) 1800
Butterfield, Isaac W. Apr. 4, 1842
Butters, William H. (‘by a fall from Mast head on board the ship James L. Shepard’)1Dec. 3, [1844]
Caldwell, Robert May 16, 804
Fish, Josiah (canal) July 19, 1887 36
Floyd, Edward H. June 27, 1827 13
Goodwin, Winthrop T.Mar. 27, 1849 6-11-17
Hall, John Apr. 9, 1813
Hall, John Nov. 8, 1818 55
Hall, Richard (shipwrecked) Oct. 19, 1798
Hall, Timothy June 29, 1837
Hardy, JohnFeb. 9, 1846 39
Hatch, ReubenApr. 9, 1770
Hathaway, Edward K. July 7, 1844 5-10

Son of A. K. Hathaway, the school teacher, who lived on Ashland street.—F. A. W.

Heyward, Henry Ware Nov. 30, 1838 6
Jacobs, WalterJuly, 1822

[p. 42]

Jewell, Henry W.June 1, 184724-6
Johnson, JohnJuly 25, 18318
Keefe, Patrick (canal)July 5, 184814
King, John FobesOct. 10, 183520

Lost at sea, son of Capt. John King, who lived at the head of Stearns avenue. Capt. George King, another son, was lost at sea.—F. A. W.

Lameul, FrancisSept. 13, 184621
Learned, ThomasDec. 15, 182060
Loring, WilliamSept. 5, 18408
Monson, NathanJune 13, 1817
Pratt, —— Capt.Aug. 31, 180267
Ramsdill,—–July 7, 1803
July 7, 1803
Reed, Captain HenryOct. 12, 182643
Richards, Stephen A. (in canal)June 13, 18423-6
Richardson, JamesJuly 16, 184824
Richardson, John (canal)Feb. 13, 18248
Robbins, JamesApr. 29, 1771
Smith, Francis A.July 6, 182827
Stearns, DanielJuly 2, 182018
Stetson, FrederickMar. 10, 184617-8

Lost at sea, son of Rev. Caleb Stetson—F. A. W.

‘Supposed to have been lost at sea the earlier part of the year 1823. Vessel and company have never been heard of.’ (Was in the slave trade also supposed to have been murdered on the coast of Africa.)

—F. A. W,

Symmes, Hitty (insane, drowned herself)July 4, 180123
Tufts, HutchinsonMay 2, 181720
Tufts, Jonathan, Jr.BuriedMay 21, 181833
Tufts, John June 4, 18048
Walker, JohnJune 29, 1806 35
Walker, WilliamAug. 16, 180310
Wilbur, Roland G.Dec.9, 18441-5
Plato (‘a Negro Servant of Hon. Isaac Royal, Esq.’)June 8, 1768
—— , ‘A young man from Boston.’
    ‘He was washing a horse’
July 31, 1799
StrangerJuly 2, 1820
—— , ‘At black woman drowned in the Canal, not of this town’ BuriedSept. 1, 183565
—— , Male infant (canal)May 19, 1842

It is pathetic to read of little children dying away from home. There were three who were (probably) not children of our towns-people, as the school the child attended is stated each time. William S. G. Brill, mentioned above, [p. 43] was a pupil at Dr. John Hosmer's private school, as was one whose name was not recorded who died March 3, 1806. Lousianna Galluzza, ‘a Native of Havanna Cuba,’ who died September 24, 1838, was a pupil at Mr. John Angier's school. These schools were kept in a house on Forest street, on the site of the one now standing, lately occupied by Joseph K. Manning (No. 37). The last two deaths were not by drowning.

A tragic accident which excited much sympathy in Medford was the death by drowning at Sheffield, Mass., of Gertrude and Mary Lemist, August, 1859. They were children of Mr.Lemist and Mrs. George Lemist, whose first years of married life were spent in this town,2 where they were very well known, Mrs. Lemist being a daughter of Deacon Samuel Train. The family was, at that time, living in New York, and the young girls had been spending the summer months with their uncle, Dr. H. D. Train. With a companion of their own age, who was also drowned, they were bathing in the Housatonic river. It was supposed that Mary, the elder, was on the bank when she heard the cry of the others struggling in the water, and was drawn in when she tried to save her sister.

The bodies were brought to Medford and funeral services were held at their grandfather's house (161 High street). Rev. Dr. William Adams of New York mentioned the sad accident in a sermon and gave a beautiful eulogy, which was printed by permission in the New York Observer. In it he said, ‘Two of these, sisters, ten and twelve years of age, were little less to me than my own children. I had known them from their birth. Special relations had brought them into my intimacy. But recently removed to this city, they had been frequent inmates of my family, as they had been for a season members of our Sabbath School.’

Dr. Adams for many years spent the summer in Medford. He was son-in-law of the elder Thatcher Magoun.


On the second floor of a building setting back from Main street, near Cradock bridge, on the northerly corner was a Total Abstinence Club room. On the end of the building, quite near the water, were outside stairs. Butterfield, coming down these stairs, walked into the river. He was a farm hand at Peter C. Hall's, on Winthrop street.

F. A. W.

2 Her father built for her the house later the home of General Lawrence.

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)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: