previous next

Another Medford myth.

The rum of Medford though no longer made bids fair to be everlasting—at least the memory of its production. A Vermont town history published only three years ago devotes some space to the building of the local meetinghouse, and to the contract for the framing and raising of the same for ‘180 in wheat’ at the current price; and closes with these words.

Ten gallons of rum to be allowed exclusive of above price.

It also records the ‘balancing of Zibe Tute on his head at the end of the ridgepole, swallowing the contents of his flask and descending head downwards to the ground.’

Next follows the Medford myth we refer to.

note .—Ten gallons of rum for building a meetinghouse in St. Johnsbury may be considered a modest allowance; for a similar job in Medford it took five barrels of rum, one barrel of good brown sugar, a case of lemons and two loaves of white sugar. [p. 85]

Medford we infer, could afford to be liberal with her own peculiar product.

While we have no doubt that the ‘peculiar product’ was here used ‘to make the tackle run smoothly’ on that occasion, we feel that the historian of that Vermont town owes it to Medford to furnish ‘documentary evidence’ of the correctness of his statement.

In writing of the raising of the meeting-house in Medford (July 26 to 27, 1769) our historian says:

‘there was no one hurt.’

Our fathers did not put themselves into that condition that invites catastrophies.

and quotes from authentic record of another town (four years later) practically the above invoice, and adds,
A natural consequence followed—two-thirds of the frame fell: many were hurt, and some fatally.

We have searched in vain for authentic record to verify the Vermont historian's fling at old Medford, published by his town. We commend a more careful reading of our own historian's comment. Until thus verified, we must consider it another Medford myth.

Since the above was written we have received from the author alluded to the following:—

I could never have suspected that my quotation from the Boston Transcript would be construed to ‘reflect upon the good people of Medford.’ I was emphasizing the contrast between ‘the good old times’ of that period, and the sober new times of today when distilleries are made into garages.

The above was accompanied by the more than column article, from which this rum, lemon and sugar quotation was taken. In that article, Beverly, Danvers, Dunstable, Medford, Northampton, Pittsfield and Windsor are alluded to under the title of ‘The Puritanic Present,’ and the writer thereof credited practically the whole to Bonfort's Wine and Spirit Circular. As the Vermont historian gives his quotation from the Transcript and not [p. 86] from Mr. Brooks, we are led to infer that he may not have read the latter. But evidently some other had, and none too carefully, and as ‘her own peculiar product’ was famous, Medford got all that was coming to her. We have in years past heard people in the cars of northern trains stopping at West Medford, at the conductor's call of ‘Medford—West Medford,’ remark, ‘This is where they make Medford rum, isn't it?’

But until it can be verified by credible evidence that such fatality as is named really occurred at the raising of Medford's meeting-house, we must consider the same, and Wine and Spirit inspiration of the Transcript article, as added to our list of Medford myths.

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 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.
Charles Brooks (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.
1769 AD (1)
July 26th (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: