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Editorial Comment.

Referring to Mr. Hooper's letter, it is clearly evident that Medford in its corporate capacity never availed itself of the legislative permission to build a grist-mill. In using the caption ‘Medford's First Grist-mill’ it was not our intention to claim any municipal construction or ownership. By interview we find Mr. Hooper is of the opinion that the ‘very suitable place a little above Mistick bridge’ was on the present Armory grounds, because of the peculiar configuration of the land and the creek, the slight remains of which may yet be observed in the rear of the Tufts residence.

Remembering the fact that there was formerly an island nearby, we are quite sure this location is nearly a duplicate of the one up-stream where the remains of that old structure were found. It is also certain that it was later the site of a tanning establishment, but with how much (or little) of power we cannot say. Again, the objections raised by Prout would be stronger against this site than the other.

But it is certain that somebody built a dam at the upper site and on land then (or later) owned by Prout, within a few years after the petition we have quoted, as shown by the following, which is a copy of the deed of [p. 76] Joseph Prout to Jonathan Dunster referred to by Mr. Hooper.1

All that his millstead lying and being on Mistick alias called Medford River att Menotomy with the millyard and orchard within the bounds of Charlestowne containing one acre more or less bounding easterly, south, and westerly by said Dunster's lands and northerly on the river.

Also one acre and three quarters of Medow Land belonging thereto be it more or less lying on the north side of the River and at the end of the Mill Dam bounding on the land of Ebenezer Brooks within the bounds of Medford.

Also another piece of upland containing an acre and a half lying on the north side of the River at the end of the old Dam within the bounds of Medford bounded by the said Brooks his land be the same more or less.

Together with the Dwelling House fences, Trees fruit-trees on said premises with the Banks Damms Streams Wayes wch Mr. Broughton purchased from Mr. Henry Dunster.

Mr. Henry Dunster2 was the first President of Harvard College and father of Jonathan, the grantee named above.

Just here the reader will do well to remember that until 1842 Charlestown extended from the Menotomy River along the Mystic River and lakes and farther on to Woburn line on the high land of Turkey hill in present Arlington. Also let the reader note the order in which Prout conveyed the three parcels of land:

First, the acre (in present Arlington) that was surrounded on the three landward sides by property of the grantee and on the other by the river.

Second, the two parcels in Medford, bounded landward by Ebenezer Brooks and otherwise by the river. Notice the first of these two was meadow (i.e. marsh) land and at the end of the mill dam; the second, upland at the end of the old dam.

Here are two distinct dams mentioned. The latter dam was almost opposite the angle of present Arlington street, and when constructed was across the stream. The former must have been a wing dam perhaps from [p. 77] the two islands then at that point in the river. That particular piece of ‘medow land’ is shown on Plan of Smith Estate in 1870 as of ownership of ‘Cutter,’ and for years later the marsh grass was annually cut there. Having made his enumeration and description of the three parcels, Prout mentioned the various appurtenances thereto belonging, and while specifying a dwelling house, did not mention any mill building on either side the river. Notice, at that time twelve years had elapsed since Medford petitioned the General Court, and fifty-four (or more) since Broughton built his mills, to which in his deed Prout referred not as mill, but as a ‘millstead.’ With the lapse of years, the adverse decision of the court in the Symmes damage case, which must have been attended with loss of power, and the discontinuance of the Woburn road thereto, the Broughton ‘millstead’ must have been decadent. By acquiring of Prout the acre and three quarters of meadow land in Medford, Jonathan Dunster, who lived opposite, by building a mill on this ‘suitable place’ in Medford could supply the needs of Medford people and his mill be ‘a Convenience of places Adjacent.’

We regret that at the time of the unearthing of the remains of that old mill Mr. Hooper was absent from town, and so never saw them. Had he, with his mechanical knowledge he could have explained many things that are beyond our ken, and we know no other to whom we can appeal. At an interview, he furnished us the following from the Middlesex Court File of June, 1679, in case of Prout vs. Dunster, et al.:

I Thomas Gleison aged abt. 66: years do testifie yt when I was tenant to Mr Henr Dunster wch is now neere 20: years past & then occupied his farme house adjoyneing to Cambridge Comon on ye west side winottime the said Dunster told mee yt he had sold a highway for the use of Misticke Mill, and then he told mee that ye said highway was to pass through his land from the Mill to Cambr. Comon, and asked mee whether it were better it should by thorow ye yard adjoyneing to ye sd Gleisons then dwelling-house, or on ye other side of ye Lott next Goodm. Russells lott. Whereupon I told [p. 78] him that unless it were fenced out, it were fare better yt it should by thorow ye yard for yt was in sight, whereupon Mr Dunster thanked mee for my advice, & prayed mee yt people might passe wthout disturbance, wch they did accordingly while I was there, also he told mee yt he had received ten pounds for ye same.

Taken upon Oath, 23, 4, 1676

Before Thomas Danforth, Assistt.

The ‘Cambridge Comon’ in the above was the common or pasturage land of Cambridge, which then included Lexington in its bounds. Referring to Henry Dunster's deed to Broughton (see register, Vol. XIII, p. 10) we find conveyance of

two Rods broad for a highway (from the sd Mills) to go too & fro betwixt the said Mills & Concord way throu all the land of the said Hen. Dunster till it shall come to the publique country highway to Concord,

and that Thomas Gleason was one of the witnesses to the same on March 6, 1656. Evidently this was the ‘Wayes’ mentioned in Prout's deed of 1710 and corresponds to present Winter street in Arlington.

As pertinent to these conveyances and the site of the old Broughton mill we refer to our frontispiece and acknowledge the forethought and interest of Mr. Hooper in securing the two views of the mill site just before obliteration.

1 Middlesex Registry, Book 15, page 201.

2 See register, Vol. XII, p. 10.

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