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The Baptist Church of Medford.

by Mrs. J. M. G. Plummer.
[Read before the Medford Historical Society, Monday, February 16, 1903.]

AS early as 660 the godly people of Medford, although not enjoying, within their own borders, the ministrations of the gospel, nor having any settled preacher, were much stirred by the religious controversy in the neighboring town of Charlestown, over the tenets of the Baptists, or Ana-Baptists, as they were sometimes erroneously called. One Thomas Gould, of that town, was considered ‘a pestilent fellow,’ whose teachings were deemed exceedingly pernicious.

As the years went on, however, the Baptists continued to thrive; and in 1818, before the Second Congregational Church of Medford was organized, much interest was manifested in favor of a Baptist church in that town.

A few Baptists were accustomed to meet in that year, 1818, in a private house, which was one of three small wooden houses on or near the site of the Centre Grammar School, on High street, the home of Miss Polly Blanchard. These people were members of Baptist churches in the vicinity of Medford. They held weekly meetings at the home of Miss Blanchard, organized a Baptist Foreign Missionary Society, and contributed towards the funds of the Baptist Board of Foreign Missions. This little band was the nucleus of the First Baptist Church of Medford.

On May 3, 1820, the first baptismal service was held in the clear waters of the flowing Mystic——Miss Sally Blanchard, a sister of Miss Polly Blanchard, being received into Baptist fellowship in this way. [p. 52]

In 1840, the church organizations existing in Medford were the First Congregational, now known as the Unitarian Church, the Second Congregational, or First Trinitarian Congregational, and the Methodist Episcopal Church. In the last-named, however, services had been discontinued—resumed in 1842.

Among the little band, still holding their weekly gatherings at the home on High street, in 1840, was Moses Parsons, a man then of advanced age, a member of the Baptist Church in Marshfield, who, with others, was impressed with the need of further church privileges. Encouraged by the sympathy of friends, he obtained the use of the Town Hall for public worship, at his own expense, and secured the services of Rev. Lucius M. Bolles, then corresponding secretary of the Baptist Board of Foreign Missions.

Rev. Mr. Bolles preached his first sermon under these auspices to an appreciative audience, August 16, 1840. Public worship was continued in the Town Hall with increased interest, young men from the Baptist Theological Institution at Newton officiating on the Sabbath, morning and afternoon, the Sunday-school assembling at noon, and mid-week meetings, which were characterized by their great harmony and devout Christian spirit, were held at private houses.

On July 7, 1841, twelve of this band—Moses Parsons, Robert L. Ells, Lewis C. Santas, Polly Blanchard, Jane Parsons, Ruth Gardner, Catherine Childs, Sally Blanchard, Mary Gage, Mary H. Ford, Hannah D. Stevens and Eliza J. Blood—assisted by the Rev. N. W. Williams, pastor of the Baptist Church in Malden, formed themselves into a Baptist Church, taking the name, the First Baptist Church of Medford, and adopting the articles of faith known as ‘The New Hampshire Articles.’ The right hand of fellowship was given by Rev. Mr. Williams, and Robert L. Ells was elected deacon, an office which he held until his death in September, 1883. He was a man well known and greatly respected by the community. [p. 53]

At the first meeting after the organization of this church, July 22, the Rev. George W. Bosworth, a then recent graduate of Newton, who, says a chronicle of the day, ‘by his zeal and faithful labors had stolen the hearts of all,’ was called to the pastorate of the infant church. He was a man of marked ability even in his youth, and the people, with great reason, were proud of their young pastor. Rev. Mr. Bosworth began his work August 1, 1841, and by his zeal and faithful efforts secured the undivided interest of all, and gathered many into the church, among whom were Joanna Parker and Charlotte M. Richardson, whose lives, long continued, bore witness to their sincerity and truth.

The public services connected with the recognition of the church and the ordination of the pastor-elect were held, by the courtesy of the Second Congregational Church, in their meeting-house, September 8, 1841, their kindness on that occasion contributing not a little to the encouragement of the new church. Rev. Baron Stow, pastor of the Second Baptist Church, Boston, preached the sermon. The ‘charge’ was given by Rev. Mr. Colver, the ‘right hand of fellowship’ by Rev. Mr. Randall, and the address to the church by Rev. Mr. Williams. The audience was large and appreciative. The letter to the Boston Baptist Association this month reports a membership of seventeen and a congregation of from one hundred and fifty to two hundred. Some of the members of the Bowdoin Square Baptist Church, Boston, presented to this young sister church a table and communion set.

In the fall and winter months of 1841-42, services were continued in the Town Hall, which, however, soon grew too strait for them. The Sunday evening services were attended by throngs of eager listeners. Young People's meetings were held, and at this time were started the meetings—continued without interruption ever since —on the Monday after the first Sunday in January, at 6 A. M. (About thirty were present on January 5 of the present year, 1903.) [p. 54]

The Town Hall was now found to be inadequate to the needs of this infant church. In the spring of 1842, a society called ‘The First Baptist Society of Medford’ was legally incorporated, and a building lot secured on Salem street, where a meeting-house was erected the following summer, and dedicated to divine worship on the seventeenth of September, 1842.

In the archives of the society mention is made of the kindness and generosity of Dudley Hall, in the matter of the land, for which much gratitude is expressed.

The letter to the association, September, 1845, is a paeon of victory, and reports a membership of eighty-seven, a united church, and a happy people, whose fondest hopes and most ardent wishes have been realized.

Rev. Mr. Bosworth labored faithfully here for five years. His home was on the corner of Chestnut and Ashland streets. The house was subsequently removed to Chestnut street, where it now stands. The young pastor's unusual abilities were coveted by a larger church, and he relinquished this field, although he never lost his interest in the people of his first choice. He was succeeded by Rev. B. C. Grafton, who served the church for only about nine months. Rev. G. C. Danforth was settled in August, 1847, and remained a little more than a year. In February, 1849, the church requested Rev. Edward K. Fuller to become its pastor. During his pastorate, which lasted until April, 1854, there was a gain of fortyone, with a membership of one hundred and twenty.

Rev. Thomas E. Keely succeeded Rev. Mr. Fuller, and began his work in October, 1854.

During the years since the formation of the church, there had been much of sunshine and joy for this faithful band. Now, however, financial and other problems became embarrassing, and it seemed best to offer to any member, who desired it, a letter of dismission to any other Baptist church. Those who remained assumed the name of the Central Baptist Church, Medford. Rev. T. E. Keely was installed September 9, 1856, and the [p. 55] former officers of the church were re-elected. Mr. Keely served the church until July 3, 1857. James M. Sanford was elected the second deacon in 1856, and remained in office until he removed from the town, about a year afterward. In October, 1858, James Pierce was elected to the diaconate, an office which he filled until his death in April, 1895.

Early in Mr. Keely's pastorate, Mr.Breed and Mrs. Horace A. Breed came to West Medford, and immediately cast in their lot with this church. Mr. Breed, strong in counsel and liberal in giving, Mrs. Breed, earnest and faithful in every good work, cheered the hearts and strengthened the hands of pastor and fellow-workers, until Mrs. Breed, in March, 1873, and Mr. Breed, in October, 1878, closed their eyes on earthly scenes.

In the spring of 1858, Rev. George M. Preston supplied the pulpit, and after six months the church extended to him a call to become its pastor. Fostered by his sweet and gentle spirit, the church enjoyed a season of remarkable fellowship and unanimity, resumed its original name of the First Baptist Church, and, during this pastorate a society debt of several years' standing was removed.

Impaired health compelled Rev. Mr. Preston to relinquish his charge in June, 1868. After the restoration of his health he held successful pastorates in our own state and farther west. His work here was in the antebellum days and in the exciting years of the civil strife. Always loyal to his country, he stood side by side with his brother clergymen of the town, with whom he counselled and worked. The church right royally fulfilled her obligations to the country, and from church, Sunday-school, and congregation, her children went forth to uphold the flag. Among the names thus enrolled we find Isaac J. Hatch, Jr., Sergeant Samuel M. Stevens, Wm. H. Bailey, Benjamin Bunker, Wm. H. S. Barker, Daniel S. Ells, David S. Hooker, Jr., Sergeant Francis A. Lander, Horatio N. Peak, Jr., Edward F. Crockett, George Thompson, and Danforth Tyler Newcomb. The last-named, [p. 56] who was a member of the church and a young man of much promise, gave up his life at the battle of White Hall, N. C., December 18, 1862.

Rev. Mr. Preston's ten years of loving ministrations, patient service and generous self-sacrifice are still remembered, and today he is the dearly loved and highly honored resident ex-pastor of the flock.

In November, 1868, the Rev. J. C. Hurd of New Brunswick, came to the church. He was a brilliant orator and a highly-esteemed preacher. He resigned in May, 1870. The church was without a pastor until the next May, when in 1871, the Rev. J. G. Richardson of Providence, R. I., succeeded. He was a man of wisdom and marked ability, who, with patience, energy, and enthusiasm led the way to the erection of a new house of worship. A lot was purchased on Oakland street, plans were made, and the work of building was commenced. The architect and builder was chosen from the ranks of the church. To John Brown, who had joined the church by baptism in May, 1843, who had faithfully stood by in all vicissitudes, and who was known also to his townsmen as a master-workman, one needing not to be ashamed, was the work committed.

The corner-stone was laid with appropriate ceremonies on the afternoon of September 2, 1872; and on June 29, 1873, the lower part of the house being completed and comfortably furnished, the lecture-room was occupied. The old house, which had been used for thirty-one years, was sold.

Rev. Mr. Richardson after six years of faithful and unremitting toil, resigned his charge in May, 1877, and was succeeded, in December of the same year, by James Percival Abbott, now Rev. Dr. Abbott of Oshkosh, Wis.

Rev. Mr. Abbott brought to his new field the vigor of a fresh enthusiam. Just graduated from Newton Theological Institution, young, ardent, hopeful, kind of heart, and fervent of spirit, he won his way, beloved of all. His ordination and installation took place in the lecture-room [p. 57] of the church, December 19, 1877. The sermon was preached by Rev. Geo. B. Gow, of Millbury, Mr. Abbott's first Baptist pastor; the ordination prayer was by Rev. Dr. Hovey, president of Newton; the right hand of fellowship was given by Rev. S. W. Foljambe, then of Maiden; the charge to the candidate by Rev. (now Dr.) Henry C. Graves, then of Fall River; the charge to the church by Dr. Lorimer, then pastor of Tremont Temple, and prayer by Dr. Sawtelle, then of Chelsea. There was also a hymn, written for the occasion by one of the members of the church.

Rev. Mr. Abbott's pastorate, so gracefully begun, continued with great success. The church increased in numbers, and on July 10, 1878, the completed church edifice was dedicated to the worship of God, amid general rejoicing. The sermon was preached by Rev. Dr. Bosworth, the first pastor of the church. The total cost of the church property was a little more than thirty-five thousand dollars. Pastor and people had toiled faithfully, yet a considerable debt lay, like an incubus, upon the church.

On April 13, 1880, this debt of over ten thousand dollars was liquidated in the presence of many former pastors and friends, as well as of the church and congregation.

On Sunday, October, 19, 1890, the Bible school celebrated its fiftieth anniversary, and, the next year, on September 6 and 7, the church commemorated its half century's existence. At the Sunday morning service, September 6, Rev. G. M. Preston read the Scriptures, and the pastor, Rev. J. P. Abbott, delivered the Historical Address—a valuable and interesting paper. A hymn was contributed by Henry S. Washburn. In the evening there was a special service of song, including a hymn written for the occasion by one of the members of the church. Rev. Dr. Howe of Cambridge, with his crown of eighty-five years, Rev. James L. Hill, D. D., pastor of the Mystic Church, Rev. L. D. Bragg, of the Medford

Methodist Episcopal Church, occupied the platform. A [p. 58] portion of the Scriptures was read by Deacon C. H. Clark, and a chapter from Baptist Chronicles, the contribution of one of the women of the church, was read by Mr. J. M. G. Plummer. Addresses by the visiting clergymen followed.

On Monday afternoon, September 7, the people assembled in the lecture-room and parlor, and after congratulations and hand-shakings, all sat down to a well spread board, where Deacon William Stetson presided.

Mr. Wm. H. Breed, the worthy son of Horace A. Breed, and a former superintendent of the Sunday-school, who had given his early manhood to the work of the church until his removal from town, Dr. E. Hunt, superintendent of Medford schools, Deacon Wilcox of the Mystic Church, Hon. James M. Usher of the Universalist Church, Mr. S. N. Mayo of the Methodist Church, Rev. W. S. Woodbridge, pastor of the Universalist Church, Rev. James L. Hill, D. D., pastor of the Mystic Church, and many others, added words of cheer.

In the evening further services followed, and the two days celebration—red-letter days in the history of the First Baptist Church of Medford—was brought to a close.

In 1893, the church after due consideration, arrived at the conclusion that its business should be managed, and its interests attended to, by its own members, as any other business interests would be, and accordingly took measures for incorporation under the laws of Massachusetts. This was speedily accomplished, the society became a thing of the past, and the First Baptist Church of Medford (incorporated) went on with its work.

In 1895 a great sorrow came to the church in the death of Mrs. Ellen Wheelock Abbott, the pastor's wife, a woman of sweet and gentle spirit, of whom it might truly be said:—

None knew her but to love her,
None named her but to praise.

In June, 1896, a Baptist Church was formed at West [p. 59] Medford, to which the First Baptist Church contributed thirty of its most loved and valued members.

This child of their love, as also the South Medford Baptist Church, and the Shiloh Baptist Church of like kinship of faith, represent with them today the Baptist interests of Medford.

In January, 1898, at Rev. Mr. Abbott's request, the pastoral relations uniting him and the church he had lovingly and faithfully served for twenty years were severed. Rev. Mr. Abbott, after the farewell reception tendered him by the church, made a tour to the Holy Land, and on his return accepted a call to the large and flourishing First Baptist Church in Oshkosh, Wis.

In September, 1898, the Rev. M. F. Johnson, an independent thinker, a keen and logical reasoner, a man of tender and earnest feeling, assumed the duties of the position, which he retained for two years, resigning in October, 1900, to take charge of the First Baptist Church in Nashua, N. H.

From that date until June, 1901, the ripe experience and rare talents of Rev. Henry C. Graves, D. D., of West Somerville, were dedicated to the service of the church, as acting pastor. On the first Sunday of June, 1901, the loved ex-pastor, Rev. George M. Preston, received into the fellowship of the church the Rev. Maurice A. Levy and wife. Rev. Mr. Levy, just graduated from Newton Theological Institution, had resigned the charge of the Baptist Church at Hingham, Mass., to assume the duties of this pastorate.

Rev. Mr. Levy has already become so well and so favorably known in our community that nothing further need be said of him.

The auxiliary organizations within the church, or subject to its control, are: the Bible School—with its various departments, including the Home Department—the Women's Missionary Circle, the Social Gathering of the Church, the Christian Endeavor Societies, Senior and [p. 60] Junior, and the Farther Lights Society, with its explanatory motto, ‘The light that shines brightest, shines farthest from home.’

The Bible School, as we have shown, began its existence in 1840. Its first superintendent was Robert L. Ells. When in health he was always active in the work of the school, and his interest never abated while his life was spared.

The Social Gathering started October 9, 1856, being preceded by the Ladies' Sewing Circle. Mrs. J. F. Wethern was its first president.

The Women's Missionary Circle was formed in 1875, under the pastorate of Rev. Mr. Richardson, whose wife was its first president.

The Christian Endeavor Society was formed in 1887. Mr. Wm. H. Breed was its first officer. This and all other church work was dear to his heart. His labors were abundant and unceasing in the interests of the church until his removal from town.

The Farther Lights Society was organized in 1890. Miss L. Ella Gilman was its first president.

The pastors of the church since its organization in 1841 have been:—

Rev. George M. Bosworth, D. D.

Rev. B. C. Grafton.

Rev. G. F. Danforth.

Rev. Edward K. Fuller.

Rev. Thomas E. Keely.

Rev. George M. Preston.

Rev. James C. Hurd.

Rev. John G. Richardson.

Rev. James P. Abbott, D. D.

Rev. Millard F. Johnson.

Rev. Henry C. Graves, D. D. (Acting pastor.)

Rev. Maurice A. Levy.

Those who have served the church as deacons:—

Robert L. Ells.

William Stetson.

James Porter.

Timothy Rich.

James Sanford.

James Pierce.

Alonzo E. Tainter. Dana I. McIntire. Calvin H. Clark.

James M. G. Plummer.

Gilbert Hodges.

The superintendents of the Bible School are recorded as follows:— [p. 61]

Robert L. Ells.

William Parsons.

Thomas P. Smith.

James M. Sanford.

Charles A. Elliott.

Charles L. Callender.

Alonzo E. Tainter.

George M. Ritchie.

William H. Breed.

Thomas R. Clough.

Charles A. Newcomb.

Edwin E. Stevens.

Gilbert Hodges.

Arthur E. Fitch.

Andrew Nimmo.

Frank Mason.

Henry A. Cobb.

In the early history of the Bible School it is recorded that on the morning of the first Sunday of April, 1853, in the home of the superintendent, Mr. Thomas P. Smith, there lay in the cold embrace of death the little son, a beautiful boy of seven years—the family circle broken for the first time. When the morning of the first Sunday of the next April (1854) dawned, the father reposed on the same couch, touched by the same icy fingers, and the Bible School mourned the loss of its gifted superintendent.

In the years that have intervened between the far-away time of 1840-41, and the present year of grace, 1903, many bright and beautiful lives have passed out from this church, and many more have been added, so that the roll-call of today numbers three hundred and twenty. In all about one thousand names have been placed upon the list.

The number in the Bible School today, teachers, officers, and scholars is three hunded and ten.

If a list of the honored dead from this church were to be presented, it would include, besides those we have mentioned, many well-known and highly-esteemed in Medford and in the regions beyond. Brightly shine the names of Smith, Ells, Stetson, Gardner, Breed, Pierce, Babbitt, Curtis, Porter, Tufts, Cummings, Cushing, Newcomb, Brown, Hooker—these in the early, many more in the later history of the church.

Of those who joined the church previous to 1850, only two are living today: Miss Elizabeth Healy, who joined the church by baptism in 1842, and who has lived for the [p. 62] greater part of her ninety sweet and gentle years in the home where she is receiving loving compensation for the affection and care she had given nephews and nieces, in the Tucker homestead, Pleasant street court; and Mr. Francis A. Lander, also coming into the church by baptism the same year, whose home is in Cambridge-port, and who, despite his four score years, makes happy pilgrimages to his old church home.

Officers and Committees,

First Baptist Church (incorporated), Medford, Mass.


Pastor, Rev. Maurice A. Levy.

Moderator, Calvin H. Clark.

Clerk, William H. Cummings.

Assistant Clerk, Mrs. J. M. G. Plummer.

Treasurer, Walter F. Cushing.

Assistant Treasurer, J. J. Parry.

Collector, Warren S. McIntire.

Deacons, Dana I. McIntire, Calvin H. Clark, J. M. G. Plummer, Gilbert Hodges.

Standing Committee, Gilbert Hodges, Dana I. McIntire, Ira W. Hamlin, Geo. E. Holbrook, Walter F. Cushing.

Prudential Committee, Pastor and Deacons, J. J. Parry, Wm. H. Cummings, Rev. G. M. Preston, Mrs. J. M. G. Plummer, Mrs. Harriet W. Brown, Mrs. E. P. Mason, Henry A. Cobb.

Auditors, Frank L. Mason, Nathaniel Wheeler.

Ushers, J. M. G. Plummer, Geo. E. Holbrook.

Assistant Ushers, W. S. McIntire, R. H. White.

Music Committee, C. A. Fitch, Mrs. L. F. Millet, Mrs. W. F. Cushing.

Bethel Committee, J. J. Parry, Elisha B. Curtis.

Baptismal Committee, Mrs. J. M. G. Plummer, Mrs. H. W.

Brown, Mrs. J. J. Parry, Mrs. Mary J. Parker, Miss K. C. Thompson, Miss Mattie L. Eames.

Committee on Application for Aid, Geo. E. Holbrook, F. L. Mason, C. H. Clark, F. A. Rugg.

Church Benevolent Committee. The pastor, E. B. Curtis, C. A. Fitch, Arthur S. Howe, James H. Burpee.

Delegate to Boston Evangelical Baptist Benevolent and Mis-

sionary Society, J. M. G. Plummer.

Delegate to State Convention, Elisha B. Curtis.

Superintendent of Bible School, Henry A. Cobb. [p. 63]

Assistant Superintendent, Arthur Gilman.

Superintendent Primary Department, Mrs. Wm. Woodside.

Superintendent Home Department, Mrs. J. M. G. Plummer.

President Brotherhood Class, Walter F. Cushing.

President Social Gathering, Mrs. M. A. Levy.

President Y. P. S. C. Endeavor, Frank A. Rugg.

President Women's Missionary Circle, Mrs. M. A. Levy.

President Farther Lights Society, Miss M. L. Eames.

Organist and Musical Director, Wm. E. Crosby.

Janitor, Charles O. Eames.

In common with other churches of their faith, this Baptist Church has no hard and fast creed, holding as their first tenet the divine right of every man to interpret the Scriptures (which they believe to be the authoritative word of God), according to the light of his own conscience, without the dictation of pope or presbytery.

From their beginning—the day of small things with them—until now, there have heen accorded them the respect and sweet courtesies of the other churches in the city, and, as they believe, the blessing of the Great Head of the Church Universal.

Today, the Baptists of Medford may say—more than said the patriarch, Jacob: ‘Lo, with my staff,’—my little staff of twelve—‘I passed over this Jordan,’— the Jordan of trial and obscurity — in 1841, ‘and now I am become ‘four’ bands.’

The days of hand engines.

By Mr. Charles Cummings.
The steam fire engine did not come to Medford till 1861. In 1847 the town owned four hand engines and one hook and ladder carriage with its appropriate apparatus. These were all located near the centre, as the outskirts had but few buildings to be protected. There was one dwelling house only at Wellington, one south of what is now the Mystic House, and a few at the ‘West End.’ The house of Engine No. 1 (the Governor Brooks) was on Union street, and is now a dwelling [p. 64] house on Summer street. No. 2 (the Gen. Jackson) was kept in the west end of the brick schoolhouse in the rear of the First Parish Church, till a new home was made for it in what is now Grand Army Hall. No. 3 (the J. Q. Adams) was stored in the brick building on Riverside avenue, which is now owned by the Boston & Maine Railroad. No company was attached to this engine and its use was mainly for the watering of ships, for which the builders paid a small fee. No. 4 (the Washington) was located in a corner of the Magoun shipyard till a new house was built for it in 1850 on Park street. The hook and ladder carriage remained under the Town Hall till the new house on High street was built.

The engines were manned by companies of thirty or more. In 1847 there were ninety-six firemen who received as remuneration five dollars each and the abatement of their poll tax.

On hearing a fire alarm the members would rush for the ‘tub,’ and the two or three first arriving would start the machine, which, moving slowly at first, would be accelerated as the hands multiplied on the rope, till at last all would be on the run. Sometimes, especially when the roads were in a bad condition, a horse would be attached to the end of the rope.

Excitement has always attended the movement of fire apparatus. As in these days of the steamer, so in those days of the ‘tub.’ Boys with torches ran in advance of the engine and the men spurred each other on with vociferous exclamations. At the fire the excitement became still more intense, especially if the blaze was at such distance from the reservoir that one company had to draw and pass the water to the tub nearest the fire. The rivalry here was unbounded, and the ‘washing’ (that is, causing an overflow), or the emptying of the tub nearest the fire, called for the loudest of cheers from the victorious company.

Fires were sometimes set by persons who coveted the enjoyment of this rivalry. Of this a notorious instance [p. 65] occurred soon after the completion of the reservoir at the head of Brooks park in 1853. A fire was first set in the stable at the Royall House, and when that was nearly consumed, another was started in a barn on the south corner of Main street and Stearns avenue. Saturday night was chosen for the sport, which did not end till well into Sunday morning.

The most disastrous fire the town ever suffered occurred November 2, 1850, when the buildings, thirty-six in all, on both sides of Main street, from the bridge to South street, were consumed. Fifteen engines came from other towns to supplement the Medford department.

From the Daily Chronotype, Friday, November 22, 1850. Elizur Wright, editor and proprietor.

Great fire in Medford!

Twenty-five buildings burned!
forty families turned out of doors!

$100,000 worth of property destroyed!

Life lost!

A Destructive fire broke out about half past 9 last evening, in Medford, which threatened at one time to lay the town in ashes. The wind was blowing very fresh, and the buildings were mostly of wood. The fire commenced near the bridge and burned all the buildings on both sides of the street up to the Medford House, together with several small buildings standing in the rear.

We did not reach Medford till nearly one o'clock, and the fire was then well under—most of the engines were preparing to leave—but the scene presented on every side was most appalling, and told plainly that the destroying element had been hard at work. Whole families were turned out of doors, and made penniless, who, at sunset, were comfortably situated and well-to-do in worldly matters.

So fast did the flames spread that it was barely possible to escape with life. We heard of several hair-breadth [p. 66] escapes by women who seized their children and hurried with them into the street in their night clothes. One poor child was burned to death.

When the West Cambridge, Malden and Chelsea engines arrived, the bridge spanning the Mystic river was on fire, and they were taken across in scows. The bridge was finally saved by hard labor.

The precise amount of property destroyed, we were unable to learn, but all agreed it would not fall far short of $100,000, with little insurance. The loss falls heavily on young mechanics and men of small means—many of whom have lost every dollar they had, and their families homeless.

Mr. Daniel Lawrence discovered the fire, saved one horse from the stable, and in attempting to save the second, was badly burned, and came near losing his life. He escaped through a sheet of flame, and his whiskers and most of his hair was burned from his head.

The fire departments deserve great credit for their promptness in rallying to the conflagration. Engine No. 10 from Boston, together with the Charlestown, Chelsea, Malden, Reading, Woburn and Cambridge Cos., were on hand, and signalized themselves by their labors to stay the flames.

One out of town fireman had his foot cut open with an axe, but we could not learn his name.

We did not learn of any lives lost, except that of the child mentioned above.

Below will be found a list of the buildings destroyed, and their occupants, as near as we could collect them, for which we are under obligations to Mr. Daniel Lawrence and other citizens of Medford.

The fire was first discovered in the upper story of the Widow Gregg's stable on the west side of Main street, near the bridge.

Mrs. Gregg's whole estate was totally destroyed, consisting of three dwellings and one stable. The houses were principally occupied by Irish families. One yoke of oxen, one horse, one cow and several swine were [p. 67] destroyed with the stable. Next to the Gregg estate was Timothy Cotting's house, blacksmith shop and two stables, totally destroyed. Mr. Nathan Barker occupied part of the dwelling. Mr. George Lynne's1 house, blacksmith shop and stable came next and were also destroyed. The Misses Tufts' dwelling and Richard Tufts' wheelwright shop on the same side were also laid in ashes.

On the opposite side of Main street the fire commenced at the bridge with the dwelling of Nathan W. Wait, and swept down Daniel Lawrence's store and dwelling house Jas. Hyde's dwelling and store, Elias Tufts' wheelwright shop and dwelling, George E. Willis' tinware shop and dwelling, Mitchell's barber shop and dwelling, Benj. Parker's dwelling and stable, Moses Merrill and Son's paint shop, and Hartshorn's harness shop (all in one building). A ten-footer, occupied by an Irish family and three stables, were all totally destroyed.

The conflagration swept on before a strong northwest wind until about twelve o'clock, when it came to the lumber yard of Oakman Joyce, two-thirds of which was destroyed, when its progress was checked. The old Nathan Wait house, nearly opposite the hotel, came near being destroyed, but fortunately, the flames in this direction were stayed.

Mr. John Schwartz' saw factory was destroyed with $300 worth of saws. His furniture and his own and his wife's clothing were all lost.

Some of the houses named above were occupied by James Hyde, Henry Forbes, Aborn, the hatter, on Washington street, Boston. Mr. Lawrence's loss is about $2,500, no insurance. Mr. Joyce had about $5,000 of lumber destroyed.

Accommodating.—We feel under special obligations to Mr. Tarbox of the Revere House Stables, on Hanover street, for the prompt manner in which he furnished us with a carriage last night, at a late hour, to visit Medford. His stables are open all night, and he is always ready to serve the public.

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