Mrs. Jane Turell.

by Myra Brayton Morss.
[Read before the Medford Historical Society, October 21, 1901.]

HERE has recently come into the possession of the Medford Public Library a small volume printed at the ‘Rose and Crown’ near the Mansion House, London, in 1741. The title of this book reads as follows:— ‘A Memoir of the Life and Death of the Pious and Ingenuous Mrs. Jane Turell who died at Medford, March 26, 1735, aetat. 27.’ The title-page further states that the material was ‘collected chiefly from her own manuscripts, by her Consort, the Rev. Mr. Ebenezer Turell, M. A., Pastor of the Church in Medford.’

The volume is very small (price 1s. 6d.), and the memoirs are of a most scanty biographical character, but it has seemed, nevertheless, worth while to give place in our gallery of historical portraits to the very slight pencil sketch that we are able to present of this woman, as remarkable in her own time for high mental attainments as for great piety, albeit in an age when excessive piety was the rule rather than the exception.

It is not necessary to more than recall the fact that her husband, the Rev. Ebenezer Turell, was pastor of the Church in Medford from 1724 to 1778, a period of fifty-four years, as his history has been sketched in ‘The Early Ministers of Medford’ by the Rev. H. C. DeLong.

The reasons for publishing these memoirs are thus variously set forth by Mr. Turell:

That my Readers may be charmed into a Love and Admiration of Virtue and Holiness, I now place before their eyes the Picture of my Dear Deceased: The Lines and Lineaments, Colours and [p. 2] Shades laid and drawn by her own lovely Hand, guided by the Spirit of Grace and Truth.

And I present it particularly and in the first Place to her dear and only surviving Sister; and then to her nearest Relatives and Acquaintance, and to all the rising Daughters of New England, that they may understand what true Beauty is, and what the brighter Ornaments of their Sex are, and seek them with their whole Desire; even the hidden Man of the Heart, in that which is not corruptible, the Ornament of a meek and quiet Spirit, which is in the Sight of God of great Price. For Favour is deceitful, and Beauty is vain; but a Woman that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised—And such an one (with some additional Excellencies and Accomplishments) was Mrs. Jane Turell. Born in Boston, New England, February 25, A. D. 1708, of Parents Honourable and Religious. Her Father, the Reverend Dr. Benjamin Coleman (through the gracious Favour of God) is still living among us; one universally acknowledged to be even from his younger Times (at Home and Abroad) a bright Ornament and Honour to his Country, and an Instrument in God's Hand of bringing much good to it. Her Mother, Mrs. Jane Coleman, was a truly gracious Woman, Daughter of Mr. Thomas Clark, Gentleman.

Referring again to ‘The Early Ministers of Medford’ we find that Dr. Coleman was graduated from Harvard College in 1692, and for six months afterward supplied the pulpit of the Medford Church. Six years later he was called from England, whither he had gone for further study, to be the first pastor of Brattle Street Church, which office he held for forty-eight years. Such is the very evident admiration and veneration in which his reverend son-in-law held Dr. Coleman that one feels the Memoirs of Mrs. Jane Turell give much more information regarding her august father than the lady in question (not an altogether unusual occurrence in modern biographies however).

The short and simple annals of Mrs. Turell's life are [p. 3] so much more interesting in the quaint language of the ‘Memoir’ that I shall continue to quote from it.

Mrs. Turell was the third child of ReverendColeman and Mrs. Coleman.

. . . Her Constitution from her early Infancy was wonderful weak and tender, yet the Organs of her Body so formed as not to obstruct the free Operations of the active and capacious Spirit within. The Buddings of Reason and Religion appeared on her sooner than usual. . . . Before her second year was completed she could speak distinctly, knew her Letters, and could relate many Stories out of the Scriptures to the Satisfaction and Pleasure of the most Judicious. I have heard that Governor Dudley, with other wise and polite Gentlemen, have placed her on a Table, and sitting round it, owned themselves diverted with her Stories. Before she was four Years old (so strong and tenacious was her memory) she could say the greater Part of the Assembly's Catechism, many of the Psalms, some hundred Lines of the best Poetry, read distinctly, and make pertinent Remarks on many Things she read. She grew in Knowledge (the most useful) day by day and had the Fear of God before her Eyes. She pray'd to God sometimes by excellent Forms (recommended to her by her Father and suited to her Age and Circumstances) and at other times ex corde, the Spirit of God helping her Infirmities. When her Father, upon a Time enquired of her what words she used in Prayer to God, she answered him that when she was upon her Knees God gave her Expression. Even at the Age of four, five and six she asked many astonishing Questions about divine Mysteries, and carefully laid up and hid the Answers she received to them in her Heart.

Mr. Turell continues,

The most that I am able to collect of her Life from six to ten is general, (and from her) viz. that her Father daily instructed her, and enriched her Mind with the best Knowledge; and excited her to the due Performance of all Duty. And that her tender and gracious Mother (who dy'd about four years before her) [p. 4] often pray'd for, and over her, and gave her the wisest Counsels, and most faithful Warnings; and that she was thankful and grew in Knowledge, and (she hoped) in Grace under them. That she loved the School and the Exercise of it, and made a laudable Progress in the various Kinds of Learning proper to her Age and Sex.

At nine or ten (if not before) she was able to write; for in the Year 1718 I find a letter of her honoured Father's to her wrote in Answer to one of hers. In this letter Dr. Coleman says: “I pray God to bless you and make you one of his Children. I charge you to pray daily, and read your Bible and fear to sin. Be very dutiful to your Mother, and respectful to Everybody. Be very humble and modest, womanly and discreet. Take care of your Health and as you love me do not eat green Apples.”

The latter admonition would seem more suited to a child of nine than his other commands.

Mr. Turell gives a Hymn written by the little Jane in her eleventh year, which is here quoted entire to show her poetical facility at that age.

I fear the great Eternal One above,
The God of Grace, the God of Love;
He to whom Seraphims Hallelujahs sing,
And Angels do their Songs and Praises bring.
Happy the Soul that does in Heaven rest,
Where with his Saaviour he is ever blest;
With heavenly Joys and Rapture is possest,
No Thoughts but of his God inspire his Breast.
Happy are they that walk in Wisdom's Ways,
That tread her Paths and shine in all her Rays.

Her Father was pleas'd to encourage her in this feeble Essay she made at Verse. He condescended to return her Rhymes like her own level to her present Capacity, with a special Aim to keep and fix her Mind on God and heavenly Things, with which she had begun.

A line or two from the Father's ‘Rhymes’ will suffice.

Joy of my Life! is this thy lovely Voice?
Sing on, and a fond Father's Heart rejoice. [p. 5]
'Twas nobly dar'd, my charming Child. A Song
From a Babe's Mouth of right to Heaven belong.
Pleasant thy Wit, but more the sacred Theme,
Such as thy Name and all my Cares beseem.

‘These condescensions of her Father were no doubt of great Use to her, and had in some Measure the Effect proposed, to put her on thinking and writing more and better, and to gain more of his Esteem of Ingenuity and Piety which she was wisely ambitious of: but above all to approve her Heart before God, her Heavenly Father, who sees in secret.’

In her fourteenth year she began a Diary in which were entered ‘solemn and pertinent Prayers to God to deliver her and the Town (Boston) from the Small Pox then threatening it; or to prepare her and his People for the Visitation; also a Meditation and Prayers occasioned by the Death of a Friend.’

Before she was eighteen years of age she wrote a poem to her Honoured Father, on his being chosen President of Harvard College, an office which he did not accept. The General Court refused to confirm the appointment unless he were released by the Church, and this was not done. This poem is dated December 27, 1724, and begins thus:—


An Infant Muse begs leave beneath your Feet
To lay the first. Essays of her poetic Wit;
That under your protection she may raise
Her Song to some exalted Pitch of Praise.
You who among the Bards are found the Chief.

Another poetical attempt of this date is that of ‘Lines written to a Friend on her Return to Boston.’

Thrice welcome Home, thou Glory of our Isle,
On whom indulgent Heaven delights to smile;
Whose Face the Graces make their chosen Seat,
In whom the charms of Wit and Beauty meet.
O with what wond'ring Eyes I on you gaze,
And can't recover from the sweet amaze: etc.

[p. 6]

The extravagant phrases employed in all these verses indicate the literary style of the day, and by no means prove that the poetess was lacking in strict veracity, even when she calls her Father ‘Chief of the Bards,’ and her friend the ‘Glory of our Isle.’

Some paraphrases of the Psalms followed the verses already quoted, upon receiving which her Father wrote to her as follows:—

‘With the Advantages of my liberal Education at School and College I have no reason to think but that your Genius in Writing would have excelled mine. But there is no great Progress or Improvement made in anything but by Use and Industry and Time. If you diligently improve your stated and some vacant Hours every Day or Week to read your Bible, and other useful Books, you will sensibly grow in Knowledge and Wisdom, fine Thoughts and good Judgment from Year to Year. . . . But as to a Poetical Flight now and then, let it be with you only a thing by the by. At your leisure and spare Hours you may indulge your Inclinations this way. But let them not break in either upon the daily Hours of secret Reading or Devotion. So shall you consecrate your Heart and Life, your Muse and your daily Works to the Honour of Christ in the Way of your own Salvation.’

In addition to her poetical effusions Mr. Turell enumerates,

In Prose many things, among them “Some essay to write her own life,” which begins with Thanksgivings to God for distinguishing her from most in the World by the Blessings of Nature, Providence and Grace, which she specifies and enumerates in the following manner:—

1. I thank God for my Immortal Soul, and that Reason and Understanding which distinguishes me from the lower Creation.

2. For my Birth in a Christian Country, in a Land of Light, where the true God and Jesus Christ are known.

3. For pious and honourable Parents, whereby I am favour'd beyond many others. [p. 7]

4. For faithful and godly Ministers, who are from time to time showing me the Way of Salvation.

5. For a Polite as well as Christian Education.

6. For restraining Grace, that I have been with-held from more open and gross Violations of God's holy Laws.

Also among her prose writings are ‘Her Thoughts on Matrimony, with the Rules whereby she resolved to guide herself in that important Affair of Life.’ The rules from which she resolves ‘never to start’ are here given:—

1. I would admit the Addresses of no Person who is not descended of pious and creditable Parents.

2. Who has not the Character of a strict Moralist, sober, temperate, just and honest.

3. Diligent in his Business, and prudent in Matters.

4. Fixt in his Religion, a constant Attender on the publick Worship, and who appears in God's House with the Gravity becoming a Christian.

5. Of a sweet and agreeable Temper; for if he be Owner of all the former good Qualifications, and fails here my Life would still be uncomfortable.

It is rather a comfort to find in Number 5, even this bit of worldly wisdom, and it is to be hoped that the Rev. Ebenezer fulfilled all these exactions.

‘Before she had seen eighteen,’ says the Memoir, ‘she had read and (in some measure) digested all the English Poetry, and Polite Pieces in Prose, printed and Manuscripts in her Father's well furnished Library, and much she borrowed of her Friends and Acquaintance. She had indeed such a thirst after Knowledge that the Leisure of the Day did not suffice, but she spent whole Nights in reading. When I was first inclin'd (by the Motions of God's Providence and Spirit) to seek her Acquaintance (which was about the Time she entered her nineteenth year) I was surpriz'd and charm'd to find her so accomplish'd. I found her in a good measure Mistress of the politest Writers and their Works; could point out the Beauties in them, and had made many of their best Thoughts her own. And as she went into [p. 8] more free Conversation, she discours'd how admirably on many Subjects: I grew by Degrees into such an Opinion of her good Taste, that when she put me upon translating a Psalm or two, I was ready to excuse myself, and if I had not fear'd to displease her, should have deny'd her Request.’

The following letter, now in possession of Mr. Frank Hervey, was written to Miss Coleman just before her marriage to Mr. Turell. It is such a good example of the epistolary correspondence of those days that it seems worth putting on record:—

Medford, March 21, 1726.
dear Madam:—

This is to kiss your hand and to tell you you may if you please be the absolute mistress of the citey of Medford: for our Reverant Turell so admires your person and vertues and excellent accomplishments that had he crowns and scepters he would throw them all at your feet to merit your favouer. Indeed Madam if you wear to be an empress you could not injoy more happenes than the sweet conversation of so excelent a pious and wise man. Madam had I a Daughter that he so much admires as your Ladyship and I could give her ten thousand pounds he might comand both her and that. Dear Madam I have nothing in my present view can make you more happy a this side heaven; the Lord direct you which is the prayer of your most affectionate Aunt and humble Servant

Eliz. Thomas.
My servase to your Reverant Father and the Lady your Mother.

After her marriage, which was on August 11, 1726, her custom was once in a month or two, to make some new Essay in Verse or Prose, and to read from Day to Day as much as a faithful Discharge of the Duties of her new Condition gave Leisure for; and I think I may with Truth say, that she made the writing of Poetry a Recreation and not a Business. [p. 9]

What greatly contributed to increase her Knowledge in Divinity, History, Physick, Controversy, as well as Poetry was her attentive hearing most that I read upon those Heads throa the long evenings of the Winters as we sat together.

From a number of poems written after her marriage I select this one, headed ‘An Invitation into the Country, in Imitation of Horace,’ not so much for its literary merit as that it shows more sprightliness of treatment than the other elaborated and stilted productions, and also gives us a contrast between the Medford of 1730 and that of today.

From the soft Shades and from the balmy Sweets
Of Medford's flow'ry Vales, and green Retreats,
Your absent Delia to her Father sends,
And prays to see him 'ere the Summer ends.
Now while the Earth's with beautious Verdure dy'd,
And Flora paints the Meads in all her Pride;
While leaden trees Pomonia's Bounty own,
And Ceres' Treasures do the Fields adorn,
From the thick Smokes, and noisy Town, O come,
And in these Plains awhile forget your Home.
Thoa my small incomes never can afford,
Like wealthy Celsus, to regale a Lord;
No Ivory Tables groan beneath the Weight
Of sumptuous Dishes, serv'd in massy Plate;
The Forest ne'er was search'd for Food for me,
Nor from my Hounds the timerous Hare does flee:
No leaden Thunder strikes the Fowl in Air,
Nor from my Shaft the winged Death do fear.
With silken Nets I ne'er the Lake despoil,
Nor with my Bait the larger Fish beguile.

No Wine, but what does from my Apples flow,
My frugal House on any can bestow.

But thoa rich Dainties never spread my Board,
Nor my cool Vaults Calabrian Wines afford,
Yet what is neat and wholesome I can spread,
My good fat Bacon and our homely Bread,
With which my healthful Family is fed.
Milk from the Cow, and Butter newly churn'd
And new fresh Cheese, with Curds and Cream just turn'd.

[p. 10] For a Desert upon my Table's seen
The Golden Apple and the Melon green;
The blushing Peach and glossy Plumb there lies,
And with the Mandrake tempt your Hands and Eyes.
This I can give, and if you'll here repair,
To slake your Thirst a Cask of Autumn Beer,
Reserved on purpose for your drinking here.
Under the spreading Elms our Limbs we'll lay,
While fragrant Zephirs round our Temples play.
Retired from Courts, and Crowds, secure we'll set,
And freely feed upon our Country Treat.
No noisy Faction here shall dare intrude,
Or once disturb our peaceful Solitude.

Thoa I no Down or Tapestry can spread,
A clean soft Pillow shall support your Head,
Fill'd with the Wool from off my tender Sheep,
On which with Ease and Safety you may sleep.
The Nightingales shall lull you to your Rest,
And all be calm and still as is your Breast.

Mr. Turell declares that he ‘might add to these some Pieces of Wit and Humour, which if publish'd would give a brighter Idea of her to some sort of Readers; but as her Heart was set upon graver and better Subjects, and her Pen much oftener employed about them, so I chuse to omit them, thoa innocent enough, and to preserve the Memory of her Ingenuity by the foremention'd.’

The phrase ‘some sort of Readers’ is a trifle ambiguous, but I think we would willingly have classed ourselves with them in order to have obtained the ‘brighter Idea’ of Mrs. Turell's genius.

Far from that possibility, however we are now invited to consider ‘Things more serious and profitable, in Prose, thoa many of them very melancholy, being writ under the more immediate Cares and Distresses of her Mind about her Spiritual State.’ And melancholy indeed is the series of letters that follow, also the Diary in which she analyzes her various degress of depression and exaltation of mind, though of the latter there is very little account; as if fearful when in a peaceful frame of being led into deeper transgressions. It is pitiful to [p. 11] think how the iron of the eighteenth century theology entered into this gentle soul. Surely such as she had their Purgatorio on earth and were made ready for their Paradiso straightway they left it. But it is also of interest to note the mental attitude of both her father and her husband at this tile. Sympathetic they undoubtedly were, for the letters of her father gave evidence of deep paternal feeling, but both divines seem to regard her poor frenzied declarations of sinfulness and hopelessness as perfectly natural. One cannot help feeling that they regarded their spiritual patient as an interesting case, of which her father's diagnosis is considered masterly. That Mr. Turell believed her to be a very perfect creature, notwithstanding her own doubts and fears is evident throughout the record; and especially in the summary, (or catalogue of her virtues it might almost be called). After relating her practice of reading the Bible out in course once a year, the Psalms much oftener, besides many chapters and a multitude of verses, he says:

I must own, considering her tender Make and often Infirmities, she exceeded in Devotion. And I have thought myself obliged sometimes (in compassion to her) to call her off, and put her in mind of God's delighting in Mercy more than in Sacrifice. I may not forget to mention the strong constant Guard she plac'd at the Door of her Lips. Who ever heard her call an ill Name? or detract from any Body? When she apprehended she received Injuries, Silence and Tears were her highest Resentments. But I have often heard her reprove others for rash and angry Speeches. In every Relation she sustained she was truly exemplary, sensible how much of the Life and Power of Religion consists in the conscientious Practice and Performance of Relative Duties.

The People, among whom she lived the last eight Years of her Life, both Old and Young, had a Love and Veneration for her, as a Person of the strictest Virtue [p. 12] and undefiled Religion. Her Innocence, Modesty, Ingenuity and Devotion, charm'd all into an Admiration of her.

Her ends this ‘Story of a Short Life,’ for at the age of twenty-seen years Mrs. Turell died after a brief illness, leaving one little son, the last of three children, Samuel, of whom she said, ‘My Desire is that my Samuel be lent to the Lord, and be employed by Him in his Service and in his Church.’ In conclusion Mr. Turell writes, ‘I question whether there has been more Grief and Sorrow shown at the Death of any private Person, by People of all Ranks to whom her Virtues were known; Mourning for the Loss sustained by ourselves, not for her, nor as others who have no Hope. For it is beyond Doubt that she died in the Lord, and is Blessed.’ So these few withered leaves of memory that have lain forgotten for over a century still exhale the delicate perfume of this quiet, studious life; a life circumscribed both in aims and attainments as viewed in the light of today, yet one that made the world a better place for those who have come into the larger liberty of thought and action.

[p. 13]

‘Current events,’ 1724-1734.

Extracts from town Records of Medford.

by Helen T. Wild.
May 25, 1724. Put to vote whether the town will agree to hear Mr. Turell preach two days, and Mr. Lowell preach one day, if they may be obtained, also to adjourn this meeting for three weeks, then the church to make a nomination and call in the town for choice in said nomination. Voted in the affirmative.

At said meeting, voted that Monday the twenty-fifth day of May current be set apart for fasting and prayer that God would please to direct the affair of that day in the choice of a minister.

At a Town Meeting legally convened by adjournment from June the 15 to June the 17th current, Mr. Ebenezer Turell was chosen to settle in the work of the ministry in Medford.

At said meeting voted that the town will give to Mr. Turell when legally settled in the work of the ministry in said town one hundred pounds for his encouragement, one hundred pounds in good bills of credit.

At said meeting voted that the town will give to Mr. Turell when settled as aforesaid ninety pounds per year and strangers money for a yearly salary during the continuance in the work of the ministry in said town.

At a Town meeting legally convened in Medford Septr the 14th day, 1724 . . . Put to vote whether the town will add ten pounds per year to the ninety pounds already granted to Mr. Turell which makes up a hundred pounds per year for his yearly salary. . . . And also to comply with Mr. Turell's other proposal referring to the neighboring inhabitants that in case they be laid to the town to make a reasonable consideration. Voted in the affirmative.

At a Town Meeting legally convened Octr the 26th 1724 . . . Put to vote whether the town will raise [p. 14] twenty pounds money for the charge of the entertainment of the Revd Elders and gentlemen at the ordination of Mr. Ebenezer Turell, and if the twenty pounds be not sufficient to answer the said charge that then the remainder of the money to pay the same be drawn out of the treasury. The said twenty pound rate to be forthwith made, collected and paid in to the Town Treasurer. Voted in the affirmative.

At a Town Meeting . . . assembled Dec. 29th 1724 . . . Voted that the Rev. Mr. Turell's salary do begin September the 14th last past, at which time the town did comply with his proposals in order to his settling in the work of the ministry in said town.

At said meeting, voted that Mr. Turell's salary be paid at two payments.

At said meeting voted that the assessors do forthwith make a list of fifty pounds for Mr. Turell's salary for one half year.

At said meeting, put to vote whether that the inhabitants of the Town of Medford that contribute on the Sabbath days, they marking their money, shall have the same allowed or discounted to them out of their rate to Mr. Turell, by those persons the town shall appoint for that service. Voted in the affirmative.

At a Town Meeting . . . April the 20th 1725 . . . put to vote, Whether the town will make choice of a spot of land now in the possession of Jonathan Bradshaw near his dwelling house in Medford, either on the south side or the north side of the country road, or a piece of land belonging to John Bradshaw Jr. on the south side of said road to build a new meeting house on. Voted in the affirmative.

At a Town Meeting of the Inhabitants of the Town of Medford, legally assembled May the 18th 1725 . . . Voted that they would not send a Representative [to General Court] for this present year. [p. 15]

At said meeting put to vote whether the town will raise any money at this time to build a new meeting house in said town. Voted in the negative.

Nov. 5th 1725. At said meeting Mr. John Bradshaw, Capt. Ebenezer Brooks, Mr. Stephen Hall, Capt. Samuel Brooks, Mr. John Willis, Mr. William Willis chosen a committee to wait on the Honorable the General Court assembled at Boston, to pray that whereas there is a hearing to be on Tuesday the 9th of this inst. November with respect to a petition preferred by a part of Charlestown for a tract of land lying on the north side of Medford that if it may be obtained that ye Honored Court may desist a full determination thereof until the town of Medford may have time to prefer a petition for a part of said land. Voted in the affirmative.

At said meeting, voted that the Town will allow Dea. John Whitmore twenty and five shillings for his service of Town Treasurer out of his rates.

Dec. 9, 1725. Put to vote whether the town will have a writing, reading and ciphering school kept in said town for the space of three months. Voted in the affirmative.

Voted, that there shall be twenty pounds money raised for the defraying the charge of a school and other necessary charges in said town and that there be an assessment forthwith made.

At said meeting voted that Capt. Ebenezer Brooks, Thomas Tufts Esq. and Mr. John Bradshaw be a committee for to agree with some suitable gentleman to keep a school in said town for the time abovesaid.

At a Town Meeting legally convened Jany. the tenth 1725-6 . . . Put to vote, whether the town will purchase the acre of land belonging to Mr. John Albry [Albree] adjoining to Marrabell's Brook [called later Marble and Meeting House Brook] and whether the town will build a new meeting house on said land; and in case the abovesaid vote pass in the affirmative, then, Mr. Thomas Tufts Esq. Peter Saccombe [Seccomb] Mr. John Willis, [p. 16] Mr. John Richardson, Benjamin Willis do give their word to the town to level and raise the said land suitable to build upon, and said land to be levelled and raised so soon as the new meeting house shall be fit to meet in. Voted in the affirmative.

At said meeting the selectmen were chosen a committee to agree with Mr. John Albree for his acre of land above mentioned, and to make report at the next town meeting.

January 24, 1725-6. Put to vote whether the town will pay to Mr. John Albree fifty and five pounds for his acre of land above mentioned to build a meeting house on. Voted in the affirmative.

At said meeting, voted that the trustees for the loan money granted to the town of Medford by the General Court do call the said money in as soon as may be to be improved towards the building of a meeting house in said town.

At said meeting put to vote whether the town will raise two hundred pound money towards the building a meeting house in said town—the one half to be paid into the Town Treasury at or before the first day of May next ensuing, and the other half to be paid in at or before the first day of July following. An assessment be forthwith made and committed to the constable and collector. Voted in the affirmative.

At a legal Town Meeting by adjournment from Monday Jan. 24th to Monday Jan. 31, 1725-6. At said meeting the abovesaid committee did make report. [Referring to item in records of meeting Jan. 24] to the town that it was their mind it would be proper for this town to build a meeting house 52 feet long and thirty-eight feet wide, and thirty-three feet the posts according to the committee's report.

At said meeting put to vote whether the town will build a meeting-house of the dimensions abovesaid. Voted in the affirmative. [p. 17]

March 7th 1725-6. At said meeting put to vote whether the town would have a steeple built to the new meeting house. Voted in the affirmative.

At a Town Meeting August 24, 1727 . . . Put to vote whether the town will meet in the new meeting-house the Sabbath day after next. Voted in the affirmative.

At said meeting voted that the town will pay for the building of a minister's pew in the new meeting house, in the place where the Rev. Mr. Turell shall choose.

Town Meeting October 1, 1734

Voted—That the assessors of said town for the time being shall make inquiry of some of the principal gold smiths in Boston at what rate they purchase their yearly stock of silver in order to their apportioning the Rev. Mr. Turell's yearly salary, or rate according thereunto.

New members.

The following have been added to membership in the Society since April 1st, 1901:—

Mrs. Lizzie D. Ayer.

William S. Beekman.

Andrew Curtin.

Charles E. Finney.

Walter D. Hall, M. D.

Mrs. Eugenie Hatch.

Rev. Elijah Horr.

William B. Lawrence.

Moses W. Mann.

Warren T. Morse.

George B. Preston.

John M. Preston.

Edgar A. Thomas.

Mrs. Edgar A. Thomas.

[p. 18]

Forgotten industries and enterprises.

by Moses W. Mann.
IN almost every town or city may be found traces, faint, perhaps, yet bearing silent testimony of pursuits once followed or perhaps of enterprises abandoned. All such have had their effect, beneficial or otherwise, upon the community; and upon investigation prove of interest, as showing what spirit of improvement has been rife in the past. Medford is no exception, and while the Historical Society is doing good work, in its memorials of the more ancient matters, possibly some of those of the earlier half (or later) of the last century may be forgotten.

The passer-by on Main street sees no trace of the half-mile race track that once occupied the site of the Lincoln School, nor yet the long sheds and brick kilns of thirty years ago that succeeded the track. The cattle sheds and pens extending from ‘Willow Bridge’ to Harvard street, with the lowing cattle and bleating sheep, and the long trains from the north every Tuesday morning are a thing of the past, and the ‘Medford Cattle Market’ is no more.

The ‘Middlesex Horse R. R.’ that once conveyed Medford people to Boston exists only in the memory of the long-suffering passengers who rode in its jolting cars.

Where is the aqueduct in its course from the reservoir to Charlestown? Built forty years ago and later duplicated; are not its mains now in disuse, and what buildings are built over it? What has become of the old reservoirs used by the Fire Department fifty years ago, and where were they located?

Perhaps a century hence someone may unearth the conduit from Mystic Lake through Ward Six, and under Mystic River, and wonder if a sort of Liliputian subway was once operated there.

Those who remember the turnpike will recall the fourand six-horse tandem teams that hauled single logs of mahogany to the mills at Winchester; but they come no more by the old town pump in the square. [p. 19]

Twice was an effort made to connect our northern neighbors with Boston, via the Medford Branch. A summer outing might well be taken to trace the road bed of the original Stoneham Branch, but the defunct Mystic Valley R. R. of later date would not be found within our boundaries, though in sight.

Perhaps the youth of our time, who have worn out ‘Tinkham Brothers' Tide Mill’ (till recently in the Public Library), know that Medford was disguised as ‘Dempford,’ and Arlington as ‘Tamoset,’ by the author.

Whether the destroyers of ‘Wood's Dam’ were in the right is not for the writer to say, but the old mill dependent on the tidal current for its power was a picturesque object, though on the Arlington side of the river.

Of the foregoing scenes the writer has seen but one or two pictures, one being of the Wood's Mill. It is to be regretted that no file of Medford's first or second weekly paper is known to exist. If they do, they elude search for them, and we lose the information they might give us. Now that the camera is popularized, why not ‘snap up’ the interesting things and preserve them for the future, adding some explanation of name and date? What scholar now in the public school is there who would not be pleased in mature life to see the schoolhouse and schoolmates' faces grouped together, with the loved teacher in the midst, and be encouraged to some good work by the remembrance of the old associations?

In the corner stone of one of Medford's churches is a photograph of the interior of its predecessor. It had been carried out of the country, but came back again (five hundred miles), to find a resting place, and await the time when it shall tell the silent story of ‘Harvest Sunday,’ possibly when all who then lived shall be equally silent.

The above is a suggestion to those who may be able to catch and preserve the interesting things in our midst. All enterprises and industries in the past have helped to make our city what it is. Those of today are doing so. Let them not be forgotten.

[p. 20]

Hon. Eleazar Boynton.

At the regular meeting of the society held November 18, 1901, the following resolutions were offered on the death of the late Hon. Eleazar Boynton, a life member of the society:—

The Medford Historical Society desires to put on record the loss sustained by them in the death of Hon. Eleazar Boynton. His was one of the characters that comes so near to a perfect standard that it is but pleasure to express it, and thankfulness, too, that such persons really exist among us. Possessing a well trained mind and warm heart, combined with a vigorous body, he was able to be a true helper when and where it was needed. The home, the school, the church, the city, each bore witness to his loving service, and a more patriotic citizen would be hard to find, so that in each place there is a void that none can fill and a grief is ours that time and eternal grace only can assuage.

Resolved, That the church, in the death of Hon. Eleazar Boynton, has lost an earnest, consistent worker, the business world a merchant of integrity, the community a citizen of broad and liberal views, who has always taken a keen interest in the public welfare, and

Resolved, That the Medford Historical Society has lost one of its valued life members, who has recognized from its inception the value of the work the society is doing; and

Resolved, That the society tenders its sympathy to his family, that these resolutions be spread upon the records of the society and published in the Medford papers.

[p. 21]

Mrs. George Luther Stearns.

The following resolutions were presented to the Society January 20, 1902, and adopted unanimously by a rising vote:—

Your committee are convinced that irrespective of religious belief and political affiliations, the members of the Medford Historical Society unanimously respect the memory of their late honorary member, Mrs. Mary E. Stearns:

Therefore, be it resolved, That the Secretary shall enter this minute in the records of the Society, and transmit a copy to the bereaved family of this truly public-spirited lady.

Mary Elizabeth (Preston) Stearns, the devoted wife and faithful widow of Major George Luther Stearns, whom we are proud to count as a life-long Medford citizen, the friend of John Brown the chain breaker, and the real Moses who pledged his life and fortune, as it were, at the scaffold of Brown, to the enfranchisement and uplifting of the African race in America, and grandly kept his pledge, was a most fit consort for such a man.

She was born at Norridgewock, Me., on January 21, 1821; married Mr. Stearns in 1843, coming to live with him in Medford from Bangor, Me., and died in Medford November 28, 1901, being buried by her request on December 2, the day of execution of John Brown, to whose memory the day had been kept sacred for many years in her household. She was related to Lydia Maria Child, and was of the stock of New England transcendentalists to whom we owe the poets Whittier, Longfellow and Lowell, and also Emerson and Channing, Parker, Frothingham and Margaret Fuller.

Ole Bull, the wonderful violinist, and Emerson, Samuel Longfellow, Frothingham, David A. Wasson, Dr. Hedge, the Hallowells, Frank B. Sanborn, James J. Myers, present Speaker of the Massachusetts House of [p. 22] Representatives, and many other notable persons were frequent partakers of her hospitality, and knew the refined attractions of her home, which kept her husband's heart constantly there, wherever his onerous public duties might call him, for she was a perfect housekeeper, and worshipper of art in all its branches. The radiance of the azaleas in her conservatory in the snow-bound days of February, due to her personal care, is far famed. One of the best pictures of her shows her seated in this bower.

Tuskegee, Hampton, Berea and Calhoun, the colleges devoted to the education of colored students, are indebted to Mrs. Stearns for most liberal yearly contributions of pecuniary aid from the start, nor have her private benefactions been less liberal and judicious.

Tufts College and the Boston Homoeopathic Hospital are handsomely remembered in her will, and this Society is the residuary legatee of portraits of historic value— one of them being that of the builder of this house, Convers Francis—and other appropriate gifts.

Let us therefore say as Whittier did of her noble husband; may she not also—

Hear the blessing,
Good and faithful enter in!

Rev. Ebenezer Turell.

by Helen T. Wild.
Rev. Ebenezer Turell was the son of Samuel and Lydia (Stoddard) Turell. He was born Feb. 15, 1702, and graduated from college in 1721. In 1724, he was ordained and became the pastor of the church in Medford. He married first, Jane, daughter of Rev. Dr. Colman, of Boston; second, Lucy Davenport, Oct. 23, 1735, and third, Mrs. Jane Tyler, a daughter of William Pepperell of Kittery. [p. 23]

Parson Turell died Dec. 8, 1778. He left no children.

His home was afterward known as the Jonathan Porter Homestead, and stood at the corner of Winthrop Street and Rural Avenue. His colleague, Rev. David Osgood, took the place of a son to him, as well as associate pastor. For the last five years of Mr. Turell's life, hardly a day passed which was not brightened by a visit from the young divine.

Society Notes.

Mr. Walter H. Cushing, one of our most active members and instructor in History in the High School, is publishing a series of Medford History Leaflets ‘designed to tell the story of Medford's development from earliest times to the present.’ From the subjects announced for forthcoming numbers these will prove a most interesting and valuable set to those interested in our past history.

Among the many gifts to the society is a model of the Medford-built ship, Cyren, from Miss A. M. Newell of South Boston. It is an exceptionally fine model, enclosed in a glass case on a black walnut table. It also contains a fine collection of shells and coral. It is a valuable acquisition to our collection.

The next number of the Register will contain Mr. Hollis' paper on ‘Grace Church.’ It was given before the society on December 16. Mr. Hollis has collected a remarkable history of one of Medford's prosperous church organizations, and it will be read with interest by all, whether members of the church or not.

The first address in the ‘Saturday Night Course’ was given on December 7 by Mr. Marshall P. Thompson of Boston on ‘Marquis Ito,’ and proved to be of more than usual interest. It is hoped Mr. Thompson can be induced to continue his talk on some future date. [p. 24]

Mr. Charles H. Loomis, who has been on the Publication Committee since the starting of the Register, and a greater part of the time its chairman, has resigned. Mr. Will C. Eddy has been elected to fill the vacancy and to the chairmanship. In the death of Hon. Eleazar Boynton, a life member, Mrs. Matilda T. Haskins, one of our active members, and Mrs. George L. Stearns, our honorary member, the society has sustained a great loss, as all were most interested in its success.

The Committee on Publication needs the assistance of every member of the society to make the coming year of the Register a success financially, as well as otherwise. Will you get a new subscriber?

By the will of the late Mrs. George L. Stearns her valuable home in this city will, after the death of two beneficiaries, go to Tufts College with fifty thousand dollars in money.

The society needs an endowment. Who of our wealthy citizens will be the first to remember it?

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