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Browsing named entities in Historic leaves, volume 4, April, 1905 - January, 1906.

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lnut, chestnut, hemlock, or spruce was growing wild at that time, plentiful as they must have been here originally, and in the opinion of Frank Henderson, Thomas Young, and other old residents, there were more trees in Somerville when it celebrated its semi-centennial in 1892 than there were in 1842. But everywhere was a profusion of those shrubs and low bushes that make so much of the beauty and variety of New England vegetation. From the spice-bush in April to the weird witch-hazel of November was a succession of fair flowers and bright berries, and our country lanes were picturesque, if our hills were barren and our pastures bare of trees. In those years bushels of blueberries and huckleberries were picked every summer in the pastures round Oak and Springfield streets, cranberries grew abundantly in the meadows where the American Tube Works now stand, and everywhere was a wealth of wild roses, which the children gathered by the basketful, to be distilled into rose-water. One o
lly very small. Probably not a walnut, chestnut, hemlock, or spruce was growing wild at that time, plentiful as they must have been here originally, and in the opinion of Frank Henderson, Thomas Young, and other old residents, there were more trees in Somerville when it celebrated its semi-centennial in 1892 than there were in 1842. But everywhere was a profusion of those shrubs and low bushes that make so much of the beauty and variety of New England vegetation. From the spice-bush in April to the weird witch-hazel of November was a succession of fair flowers and bright berries, and our country lanes were picturesque, if our hills were barren and our pastures bare of trees. In those years bushels of blueberries and huckleberries were picked every summer in the pastures round Oak and Springfield streets, cranberries grew abundantly in the meadows where the American Tube Works now stand, and everywhere was a wealth of wild roses, which the children gathered by the basketful, to
e first hard year after their arrival. But we have abundant testimony in the early records that the cattle did thrive marvelously well. Still more conclusive is the fact that in 1637 a large tract of land lying between the Winter Hill road, now Broadway, and Cambridge was divided into rights of pasturage, and after this the main was called the common. But the destruction of the forest was so great that it was early necessary to take steps to prevent the needless waste of trees, and in 1636 it was voted in town meeting that a fine of 5 shillings be imposed for every tree felled and not cut up. But several years later, when one Willoughby was building a ship, the town, to encourage the enterprise, gave him liberty to take timber from the common, without being obliged to cut up the tops of the trees. And so, the primeval forest was cut away, a second growth succeeding, to fall in its turn before the woodman's axe, and the cleared land slowly increased in extent until the Revol
orest was cut away, a second growth succeeding, to fall in its turn before the woodman's axe, and the cleared land slowly increased in extent until the Revolution. During the siege of Boston, when the colonial troops were encamped for nine months on the Somerville hills, the demand for firewood was great, and the last of the forest trees disappeared. The devastation wrought in Somerville during the siege is plainly set forth in a letter by Rev. William Emerson, written in the late summer of 1775. He says: Who would have thought, twelve months past, that all Cambridge and Charlestown would be covered over with American camps, and cut up into forts and intrenchments, and all the lands, fields, orchards laid common,—horses and cattle feeding in the choicest mowing land, whole fields of corn eaten down to the ground, and large parks of well-regulated locusts cut down for firewood and other public uses. General Green, who commanded the troops on Prospect Hill, wrote December 31, 1775: W
this is the growth that abounded when the farming district of Charlestown in 1842 was made into the town of Somerville. The juniper, which grows equally well on dry hills or in deep swamps, and the white birch, which flourishes in the poorest soil, grew freely everywhere; and these, with the elm, the typical New England tree that grows wherever a rich, moist soil receives the wind-blown seeds, were the most common trees. A tract of salt marsh still remained on Washington street, where Lincoln field now is, and from there, through Concord and Oak streets, to Prospect street and the Cambridge line, was a lonesome tract of swampy land covered with low trees and bushes. On Prospect street, which was first called Pine street, was a large grove of pine trees, the last of which were cut down only a few years ago. Polly's Swamp was the largest tract of wild land extending along the valley north of Central street, toward Walnut Hill. Here all swamp-loving trees and shrubs were found, b
Willoughby (search for this): chapter 2
re conclusive is the fact that in 1637 a large tract of land lying between the Winter Hill road, now Broadway, and Cambridge was divided into rights of pasturage, and after this the main was called the common. But the destruction of the forest was so great that it was early necessary to take steps to prevent the needless waste of trees, and in 1636 it was voted in town meeting that a fine of 5 shillings be imposed for every tree felled and not cut up. But several years later, when one Willoughby was building a ship, the town, to encourage the enterprise, gave him liberty to take timber from the common, without being obliged to cut up the tops of the trees. And so, the primeval forest was cut away, a second growth succeeding, to fall in its turn before the woodman's axe, and the cleared land slowly increased in extent until the Revolution. During the siege of Boston, when the colonial troops were encamped for nine months on the Somerville hills, the demand for firewood was grea
William Emerson (search for this): chapter 2
tops of the trees. And so, the primeval forest was cut away, a second growth succeeding, to fall in its turn before the woodman's axe, and the cleared land slowly increased in extent until the Revolution. During the siege of Boston, when the colonial troops were encamped for nine months on the Somerville hills, the demand for firewood was great, and the last of the forest trees disappeared. The devastation wrought in Somerville during the siege is plainly set forth in a letter by Rev. William Emerson, written in the late summer of 1775. He says: Who would have thought, twelve months past, that all Cambridge and Charlestown would be covered over with American camps, and cut up into forts and intrenchments, and all the lands, fields, orchards laid common,—horses and cattle feeding in the choicest mowing land, whole fields of corn eaten down to the ground, and large parks of well-regulated locusts cut down for firewood and other public uses. General Green, who commanded the troops
T. W. Higginson (search for this): chapter 2
five hundred acres, some places more, some lesse, not much troublesome for to cleere for the plough to goe in, no place barren but on the tops of the hills. He also says: The grass and weeds grow up to, a man's face in the lowlands. And the Rev. Mr. Higginson, writing of the settlements on Charles river, speaks of the abundance of grass that groweth everywhere, both very thick, very long, and very high in divers places. From these simple statements, it is not difficult to imagine the aspective best on such dry, glacial soil—oak, chestnut, maple, beech, and birch. The little valleys and the swamps, the tracts of sand and clay offered conditions favorable to the growth of many different kinds of trees, of which pine, according to, Higginson, was the most plentiful of all wood and the most useful to the colonists. Altogether, these formed a primeval forest whose extent and variety and solemn grandeur excited the wonder and the admiration of the newly-arrived Englishmen. But the n
sending great quantities of timber back to England in the ships that brought out supplies to the colonists, coopers and cleavers of timber being sent out by the company in London to prepare it for shipping, soon made an appreciable difference in the character of the main, and from various items recorded in the first decade after the settling of Charlestown, we must infer that the proportion of cleared and grass land was great in Somerville. In the list of the inhabitants of Charlestown in 1633 appears the name of Nicholas Stowers, herdsman, whose duties were to drive the herd forth to their food in the main every morning, and bring them into town every evening. If the main had been an uncouth wilderness, like the country farther back, or even an unbroken forest, the poor cows and goats would have suffered as much from the lack of proper food as did their owners in the first hard year after their arrival. But we have abundant testimony in the early records that the cattle did thri
Frank Henderson (search for this): chapter 2
by the soldiers when quartered on these hills. Rand's woods, on Elm street, below the Powder House, was the only grove of any extent on high land, and this was composed principally of evergreens, pitch and white pines, and junipers, with a few maples and oaks. But the number of forest trees in the new town was really very small. Probably not a walnut, chestnut, hemlock, or spruce was growing wild at that time, plentiful as they must have been here originally, and in the opinion of Frank Henderson, Thomas Young, and other old residents, there were more trees in Somerville when it celebrated its semi-centennial in 1892 than there were in 1842. But everywhere was a profusion of those shrubs and low bushes that make so much of the beauty and variety of New England vegetation. From the spice-bush in April to the weird witch-hazel of November was a succession of fair flowers and bright berries, and our country lanes were picturesque, if our hills were barren and our pastures bare
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