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Henry Putnam of Medford.

Where in Medford did Henry Putnam live? Perhaps the following lines may partially answer this query: After his sale of his farm in Charlestown in 1765 (beyond the upper Mistick pond) Henry Putnam came to Medford and occupied a dwelling. He was then past the age of sixty years. In 1770 he purchased twenty-four acres of pasture land of William Bradshaw, the administrator of Jona Bradshaw's estate. This pasture adjoined no road but was bounded ‘east on Jonathan Patten, north on Ebenezer Brooks, Jr., northwest on heirs of Samuel Brooks, Jr., and west by land lately of the Whitmores.’ The consideration named was £68s16 to reach it, the deed, dated in the tenth year of his majesty's reign, gave him ‘liberty of passing and repassing from the country road [probably Woburn street] to the premises in the usual way he or they shutting gates and bars.’ In the absence of plot or plan it is somewhat of a puzzle [p. 32] to locate this pasture of Henry Putnam's. But a deed of April 20 next following, from the same Bradshaw to Ebenezer Turell, for the consideration of one hundred and fourteen pounds, conveyed twenty acres ‘upland and meadow south by a lane, east partly by a lane and partly by Timothy Newell, north partly by Jona. Patten and partly by Henry Putnam, westerly by lately Whitmores, southwest by country road or any other way reputed to be bounded.’ By comparison we conclude that this country road was Woburn street, and the Turell purchase lay just beyond the present Wyman street, in the angle of the old lane or wood road, still existing and bordered by elm trees extending to Winthrop, formerly Purchase street. The latter laid out and built nearly a century ago was filled to grade with material from Sugar Loaf hill. Noting the bounds of each conveyance, we come to the conclusion that Putnam's twenty-four-acre pasture lay between the present Sarah Fuller home and the grim old stone lion which lies crouched on the hill slope opposite the Sugar Loaf.

So much for his pasture, now for his dwelling. A deed from Samuel Brooks of Exeter, N. H., Gentleman Thomas Brooks of Medford, Gentleman and Edward Brooks of Medford, Clerk (for so the record reads),

for a proper and sufficient consideration have remised released and forever quitclaimed. . . unto Henry Putnam of Medford aforesaid Gentleman in the full and peacable possesion and seizien. . . all just right title and interest and demand whatsoever that we. . . ever had now have or ought to have by any means whatsoever in or to the estate hereafter mentioned namely the one half of a certain piece of land lying in Medford aforesaid and containing in the whole one acre and a half more or less together with the Dwelling House Barn Well &c thereon bounded Southerly by a highway Easterly on Jonathan Watson's land. Northerly on John Bishop's land. Westerly on land of Stephen Hall Esqr.

[Dated Oct. 8. 1770. acknowledged before Simon Tufts J. P. June 2. 1772. recorded Aug. 1774.]

There were but few ‘highways’ in Medford a century and a half ago. For this ‘acre and a half,’ to be thus bounded by ‘a highway’ and by land of persons named, [p. 33] it would seem most probable to lie in the valley of Meetinghouse brook, near and on the same side of the road as the present ‘Home for the Aged.’ At that time there was no Winthrop street. Parson Turell had purchased his house fifty years before, which was between present Rural avenue and Winthrop street. The original portion of the Puffer house (formerly Swan, now the ‘Home’) built in 1689, was till 1872 nearer the street and to the brook, which left a sufficient space between for an acre and a half of narrow frontage (as was also Turell's). It seems more probable, however, that it was farther west on the lower ground, which was well situated for a ‘potter's shop and works,’ mentioned in the mortgage to John Andros. It is a matter of record that there was clay in the land directly opposite, and the high bank now in evidence suggests a probable excavation beside it.

A conveyance (mortgage) of the same bounded land, ‘two acres more or less, Dwelling house, barn, and Potter's shop and works thereon standing,’ was made by Putnam to ‘John Andros of Marblehead, Shoreman, for his Proper Debt.’ At Henry Putnam's request, Andros had become bound with him to Ann Devereaux of Marblehead in the sum of forty pounds, August 24, 1774.

Another of twenty pounds upon the pasture land was given by Putnam to Ebenezer Turell (the Medford minister) whose ‘upland and meadow’ adjoined.

In August, 1773, Putnam sold his pew, ‘number 36,’ in the third meeting-house to Jonathan Patten for six pounds, describing it as the ‘forty-sixth choice.’ He was then sixty-seven years old, and probably for eight years a resident of Medford, and had a son, Eleazer, among the Medford minute-men; and another (Henry, Jr.) in the Danvers company that marched through Medford to Lexington. From his home in Medford (wherever it was) the old veteran of Louisburg, then seventy years of age, followed them to take part in the fray, leaving behind the wife Hannah he so romantically acquired [p. 34] forty-eight years before. He was killed at old Menotomy by the retreating British. His son, Henry, Jr., was wounded and brought to Medford. The Medford wounded man, William Polley (also brought home) died, but Henry Putnam, Jr., recovered.

But wherever the dwelling house, barn and potter's shop may have been in 1774, no trace of them is to be found today. Neither do we know who owned the other ‘moiety,’ or half of the property. Putnam was styled in the pasture deed a ‘yeoman’ of Medford, in the other deeds ‘gentleman.’ As the ‘potter's shop’ is not mentioned in the deed to him, which was so carefully drawn as to include the well, and is in his mortgage to Andros, it would seem that it had been added during his tenure of the property, perhaps by the funds obtained by the mortgages above mentioned. In 1789 the executor of Turell noted among unpaid bonds that of Putnam for twenty pounds. Whether the son Eleazer was a potter by trade is unknown; possibly he was, and that in his declining years his father thus made effort to assist him. If this was the case, and our inference as to location of the Putnam home in Medford is correct, here is another line of business to add to central section of Medford in the Revolution.

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