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Susanna Rowson.

by Miss Mary E. Sargent.
[Read before the Medford Historical Society, October 19, 1903.]

OUR interest in the subject of this sketch is not only that she represents one of the famous women of her time, but she also appeals to us from her connection with the justly celebrated school for young ladies, which for a brief period was located in the Medford of one hundred years ago. It has been interesting to trace as nearly as possible the fortunes of those of her pupils in whom we have a local interest, and to give a brief outline of the life of one who wielded such an influence upon them.

Elias Nason, her biographer says: ‘Mrs. Susanna Rowson was one of the most remarkable women of her day. Her life is as romantic as any creation of her gifted pen, and is a beautiful illustration of the potency of a large, glowing heart, and a determined will to rise superior to circumstance and achieve success.’ She was in her time famous as an actress, an author, and a teacher; and it is in this latter capacity that she is of especial interest to the people of Medford.

She was the only daughter of lieutenant, afterward captain, William Haswell, of the British navy, and was born in Portsmouth, Hampshire, England, in 1762. Her mother's maiden name was Susanna Musgrave, and she died in giving birth to her infant daughter, whom she named with her own name and baptized with her blessing. The father was appointed to the revenue service on the American station, and sometime afterwards married a second time. He was settled pleasantly [p. 26] in a delightful valley at Nantasket, and desired to bring his little daughter to America to be nurtured by his excellent and pious lady under his own roof. At the age of four years, Susanna, with her father and affectionate nurse, embarked in October, 1766, at Deal, on board a brig bound for Boston. The voyage was long and perilous; having been driven to and fro by wintry storms for many weeks, and enduring the pangs of famine to the last extremity, their hearts were overwhelmed with joy when the cry of ‘land ahead’ was afternoon of January 28, 1767. But a severe trial yet awaited them; the wind arose suddenly, the brig became unmanageable, drifting hopelessly in amongst the rocks and breakers.

The good brig held together, and when the tide receded in the morning, the kind people of the island wading into the sea, and placing a ladder against the side of the vessel, received the passengers, conducting them safely to land. Lieutenant Haswell, not daring to risk his little daughter on the icy ladder, fastened a strong cord round her waist and swung her out over the bulwarks of the brig into the arms of a stout old sailor standing up to his waist in the water to receive her.

Amid such scenes of peril Miss Susanna Haswell was introduced to our American shores. On the day succeeding the shipwreck at Lovell's Island, Lieutenant Haswell and his little daughter reached their home at Nantasket, a large one-story wooden building with a huge chimney in the centre. This house was standing in 1870, styled the Parsonage. It was in this house that Miss Haswell passed the days of her girlhood. Here her mind received its shape and coloring.

Endowed by nature with a lively fancy and a vigorous constitution, she spent most of her young life in sports and rambles over the hills and valleys of Nantasket.

She collected shells and flowers, of which she was most passionately fond. Lieutenant Haswell was a man of liberal culture; his [p. 27] library was for the time extensive, and his books well chosen. It is said of his daughter that she acquired the art of reading as by intuition, and at the age of ten or twelve read Dryden's Virgil, Pope's Homer, Shakespeare and Spenser fluently and understandingly, and her enunciation was remarkably correct and pure. She loved these classic authors, continuing to peruse them with increasing interest to the end of her life. The great drama of the American revolution was now opening, and the position of the Haswell family was at this period extremely perilous. The father had too high a sense of honor to dissemble, consequently his property was confiscated, and he and his family were detained as prisoners of war two years and a half. Part of this time was spent in Hingham and part in Abington. An exchange of prisoners taking place between the British and Americans, they were sent by cartel to Halifax, from whence they embarked for England. Miss Haswell thus refers to their departure. ‘I will not attempt to describe the sorrow experienced in being thus separated from the companions of my early years. Every wish of my heart was for the welfare and prosperity of a country which contained such dear, such valuable friends, and the only comfort of which my mind was capable was indulging in the delightful hope of being at some future period permitted again to revisit a land so beloved, companions so regretted.’

While in London in 1786, she became the wife of Mr. William Rowson, a friend of her father, and a leader of the band attached to the Royal Guards in London. Of Mr. Rowson, Mr. J. T. Buckingham in his personal memories writes in 1852. ‘There are probably many persons who recollect (for no one who heard can ever forget) the sublime and spirit-stirring tones of the old gentleman's trumpet when he played for the Boston Handel and Haydn Society the accompaniment to that magnificent air in the Messiah, “The trumpet shall sound and the dead shall be raised.” One almost might [p. 28] see the graves opening and the dust quickening into life.’ In the same year Mrs. Rowson published by subscription, and under the patronage of her grace, the duchess of Devonshire, then one of the most beautiful and accomplished ladies of England, her first work, entitled ‘Victoria.’ The work is dedicated to her grace, the duchess of Devonshire, and among the subscribers' names are those of Samuel Adams, General John Burgoyne, Mrs. Sarah Siddons, and other celebrities of that day. On the appearance of ‘Victoria,’ the duchess introduced her protege to the Prince of Wales, known afterwards as George IV., and who was so well pleased with the young author and her book as to bestow a pension on her father. Writing, now observes Mrs. Rowson, was her most pleasurable amusement; and she gave to the world in rapid succession the following books: ‘Mary, or, The Test of Honor,’ ‘A Trip to Parnassus,’ ‘The Inquisitor.’ Nason says of them ‘these works exhibit alike fertility of imagination, simplicity of style, and purity of heart.’

In 1790, Mrs. Rowson, then in her twenty-eighth year, published in London that well-known work, ‘Charlotte Temple, or, A Tale of Truth,’ which at once engaged the attention of the public and established her reputation as one of the ablest female writers in the department of literature she had chosen. ‘Charlotte Temple’ is a literary curiosity; twenty-five thousand copies were sold within a few years after its publication, and editions almost innumerable appeared both in England and America. Joseph T. Buckingham says of the book, ‘thousands have sighed and wept, sighed and wept, and sighed again.’ Her biographer, Mr. Nason, in rather flowery language thus refers to it: ‘It has stolen its way alike into the study of the divine, and into the workshop of the mechanic; into the parlor of the accomplished lady and the bed chamber of her waiting maid; into the log hut on the extreme border of modern civilization, and into the forecastle of the whale ship on the [p. 29] lonely ocean. It has been read by the gray-bearded professor after his “divine” Plato; by the traveller waiting for the next conveyance at the village inn; by the school girl stealthfully in her seat at school. A great, warm, loving heart guided the fingers which portrayed the picture, and that is power; and ply the rules of rhetoric as we may, the people feel the power, and they acknowledge it.’

Entering into an engagement with J. B. Williamson, manager of the Federal Street Theatre, the Rowson family came to Boston in 1796. One of the parts taken by Mrs. Rowson was Lady Sneerwell in Sheridan's ‘School for Scandal.’ She wrote a comedy called ‘Americans in England,’ which was performed for her benefit, and for her last appearance on the stage. On leaving the stage, in the spring of 1797, under the patronage of Mrs. Samuel Smith, Mr. Nason writes, ‘Mrs. Rowson began a school in Federal street, and with but a single pupil continued for one whole term. Having been on the stage was prejudicial to her vocation as a teacher, but persevering steadily, she came before the close of the scholastic year to number one hundred pupils on her daily roll, and applications were received for more than she could possibly accommodate; her head, her hands, and heart were given to her school. Finding her accommodations too limited, and desirous of enjoying the freshness and beauty of the country, Mrs. Rowson took a lease, in the spring of 1800, of the beautiful mansion since known as the “Bigelow place,” in Medford; and to this charming spot transferred her school. The house which for more than half a century was owned by the Bigelow family, was built by Mr. Joseph Wyman of Woburn, who had kept the public school; he then opened a private school for boys and girls. He taught only a few years.’ Mr. Usher, speaking of the place, says he can well recollect ‘the two gardens of choice shrubbery in front of the building, the double row of stately trees fringing those gardens, and the long [p. 30] avenue between them, which led from High street to the mansion and to the greenhouse in the rear. Those buildings and most of those trees have disappeared, and the grounds occupied by Mrs. Rowson's school (the most popular, perhaps, at that time in the country), are now in the possession of Mr. J. W. Tufts and the Episcopal Church. The apartment devoted to the Sunday-school of that church being almost upon the identical spot which the schoolroom formerly occupied.’ I quote again from her biographer a description of the location which one would hardly now recognize: ‘the house, near that of Gov. John Brooks, is delightfully situated on the left or eastern bank of the Mystic river, which winds through meadows of the deepest green to meet the sea. Built on the acclivity rising gradually from the margin of the stream, and commanding a charming view of the distant spires of Boston and of Cambridge, it seems intended as the appropriate residence of the muses and the graces. The approach to it from the road which here runs through a beautiful grove is by a long avenue of lofty trees, whose branches, interlacing, form a grateful shade. The ash, the elm, the pine, the linden, and the silver trees display their rich and varied foliage; the clambering vines and wild flowers shed their fragrance on the evening air, and the song birds, unmolested, sing their sweetest melodies. To this retreat Mrs. Rowson drew pupils, not only from this, but other states, and even from the British Provinces. Here she taught them those useful, varied and elegant accomplishments for which the ladies of the ancient regime were so happily distinguished; here she discussed the politics of the country with the eccentric Dr. David Osgood and the courtly John Brooks; here she wrote her pathetic story, “Sarah,” in which her own heart struggles are most touchingly portrayed; here she composed “The choice,” in which her beau ideal of terrestrial happiness is unfolded, and here beneath the arching vines, surrounded by her loving pupils in the summer evenings, she would vividly recount [p. 31] some story of the olden times, or sing to the guitar which she had learned to touch quite skilfully, a song of her own writing, or lead them forth into the mazes of a merry contra dance.’ In referring to the papers of that period, it is found that her charges were thirty dollars per month for board; five dollars entrance each for music and dancing, and then seventy-five cents per lesson for one and eight dollars per quarter for the other. Miss Peggy Swan of Medford was the teacher in penmanship. In discipline Mrs. Rowson was severe and yet not arbitrary, One of her contemporaries wrote of her: ‘such were her accomplishments, her refined and moral principles, and her pious and charitable disposition, that her friends were numerous, and her pupils represented the most respectable families in the community; many of them are now to be seen in the refined circles of the capital of New England.’ She published a dictionary, a geography, and some other elementary books for the benefit of her pupils. A book, entitled ‘A Present for Young Ladies, containing poems, dialogues, addresses, etc., as recited by the pupils of Mrs. Rowson's Academy at the annual exhibition,’ was published in 1811. In the introduction, Mrs. Rowson alludes to them as ‘Bagatelles,’ written for the amusement and information of very young minds. ‘Let not the old and learned look at them with a critic's eye. My chief pleasure arises from being loved, esteemed and applauded by a few; the children whom I have educated, and the friends who are satisfied with my endeavors to please, constitute the few. Conscious of meaning well, I leave to the wit, the scholar and the critic to astonish, correct or satirize, and rest content with the feelings of a heart, grateful for the many blessings it possesses, and devoid of envy for the superior excellence or happiness of another.’

‘A Girl's Life Eighty Years Ago,’ published in 1888, consists of a selection of the letters of Eliza S. Bowne; she was a pupil of Mrs. Rowson, and many of her letters were written from Medford. In a letter to her father, [p. 32] the young lady writes: ‘I am again placed at school under the tuition of an amiable lady, so mild, so good, no one can help loving her; she treats all her scholars with such a tenderness as would win the affection of the most savage brute, thoa scarcely able to receive an impression of the kind. I learn embroidery and geography at present, and wish your permission to learn music. I have described one of the blessings of creation in Mrs. Rowson.’ She then draws a contrast between this school and that of Mr. Wyman in Medford, that she had previously attended. ‘A bell,’ says one of her Medford pupils, ‘was rung at five o'clock in the morning. We then arose and learned a lesson before breakfast. At seven o'clock the bell was rung again for prayers, and when we had assembled, Mrs. Rowson, holding her English prayer book, walked into the room with stately tread, and while the young ladies and assistants stood around her in a circle, read the morning family prayer; we then sat down to breakfast, Mrs. Rowson presiding at the head of one table, Mrs. Haswell, or an assistant, occupying the corresponding seat at the head of the other. At dinner, Mrs. Rowson offered thanks. We were never allowed to go unattended beyond the limits of the grove and garden, or to pluck a flower or fruit without permission of our teachers. Our lessons were reading, writing, geography, drawing, painting and embroidery. Our preceptress was very attentive to our dress and manners. If she noticed any of us sitting or standing in a stooping posture, she would immediately pronounce the name of the forgetful one and assume herself the proper attitude. At nine o'clock in the evening, Mrs. Rowson, arrayed in a dark striped or black silk, and sometimes in a white muslin dress, entered the schoolroom and read a prayer with a clear, impressive voice, and then receiving a parting kiss from her dear pupils, bade them an affectionate good night. On Saturday, at noon, Mrs. Rowson was accustomed to present each pupil with a piece of paper on which was written [p. 33] her standing or deportment for the week, which was called “the character.” The reception of these brief but very expressive words of praise or blame created generally a profound sensation in the seminary, and often caused the tear of joy or sorrow to flow forth. On Sunday, Mrs. Rowson led her school in procession to the meeting-house, where seats in the galleries had been provided by the vote of the town, and where the young ladies listened for the most part with devout attention to the eloquent discourses of one of the ablest divines of the day.’

The anecdote is told that on one Sunday morning the good doctor had given out the hymn, when it was suddenly discovered that the choir, amounting to some forty or fifty, had left their accustomed seats, and that no one appeared to sing a note. In the exigency, Mr. Rowson, with Gen. John Montgomery of Haverhill, N. H., who was then on a visit to the school, rose in his pew below, gave out the tune, and the heavy bass of the one, uniting with the fine tenor of the other, formed a powerful duo, which surprised and delighted the listening congregation. At the close of the service, Dr. Osgood tendered them his cordial thanks, and at dinner invited them to do the singing for him in the afternoon; but when the service opened, every member of the choir was in his or her place.

The Boston Weekly Magazine of October, 1802, gives the following account of one of the examinations at Mrs. Rowson's academy. ‘On Thursday, 14th inst., the public were gratified by an exhibition of drawing, needle work, and other improvements of the young ladies of Mrs. Rowson's academy in Medford. The pupils assembled in Franklin Hall, Nassau (since Common) street, which was decorated with a number of very beautiful specimens of embroidery, paintings and drawings in water color, maps, etc.; a variety of pieces of writing executed in a style of neatness and elegance which did great honor both to the young ladies and their instructress. The ladies were attired with the greatest simplicity—no ornament whatever appearing among them—all pure [p. 34] white, and fit emblem of their own excellence.’ Following this notice is a poem on the ‘Rights of Women,’ by Mrs. Rowson, recited by Miss Mary Warner of Medford, and a prose composition spoken by Miss C. Hutchins. The tickets to her annual exhibitions were fifty cents.

It is said of Mrs. Rowson that during her residence in this country she became acquainted with the great statesman James Otis, and, by her early display of talents, is said to have attracted his particular notice and favor, so much so that he called her his little pupil, and allowed her frequently to share the hours of social relaxation of one of the most powerful and cultivated minds of the age. She was fond of recurring to this intimacy, and regarded the distinction thus bestowed on her childhood as one of the proudest of her life.

Of those connected with Mrs. Rowson's school, who belonged in Medford, I have obtained the following list:

Lydia Bishop.

Rebecca Bishop.

Fanny Blanchard.

Lucy Brooks.

Lucia Gray.

Sallie Richardson.

Ann Rose.

Hannah Swan.

Peggy Swan.

Catherine Thompson.

Fanny Tufts.

Peggy Tufts.

Sarah Wait.

Harriet Wait.

Mary Warner.

Sallie Burgess.

There is also given Mary Lane of Ten Hills Farm, Medford; but I am told Ten Hills Farm belongs to Somerville. Of this number the fullest account is of Miss Hannah Swan, as she considerately kept her own name to the end. Miss Hannah Swan and Miss Ann Rose of London were Mrs. Rowson's assistants.

The former was the daughter of Major Samuel Swan and Hannah (Frothingham) Lamson, and was born August 13, 1785. She died in Medford, August 8, 1862, aged seventy-six years, eleven months. Mr. Abijah Thompson gives the following account of Miss Swan:—

‘My first remembrance of Miss Swan was in my youthful days, 1835-36. While in Woburn, Massachusetts, [p. 35] she made her home in the family of the Rev. Joseph Bennett, pastor First Congregational Church. I well remember attending a children's party with my little sister, given to the children at the parsonage. This was to introduce her preparatory to organizing an infant class. It proved a success, and Miss Swan may be considered the founder of what is today called the Infant Sabbath School in the old society, and of the younger colonies which have branched off from it. In the rear of the choir gallery was a room used for the reception of the choir; it had long, hard seats, and a box stove with a long funnel; and there Miss Swan's youthful children gathered for instruction after church service in the morning. When all were seated her word of caution for quiet went forth while she made a short prayer, after which instruction was given; then singing and good advice from the superintendent, and the short service was at an end. Major Swan lived at one time in a house just south of the Medford hotel, in 1803 occupied by Major Warner. In 1798 he moved to the house which is now (remodelled) owned and occupied by Mr. A. D. Puffer. Miss Hannah Swan occupied the place about a year after her mother's death, 1826. Her father died, 1825.’

Mrs. Rowson ever held the pupils entrusted to her care in affectionate remembrance, and continued in correspondence with many of them to the end of her life. That Miss Swan was a favorite, letters which have been preserved testify. The following acrostic to her appears in her teacher's biography:—

Have you seen the eastern sky
Adorned with streaks of burnished gold.
Now breaking gorgeous to the eye,
Now with a sable cloud enrolled?
And ere the sun could dart his burning ray,
How vapors dank, obscured the face of day?

So joy oft gilds life's early scene,
When, ere fair reason's sun has power,
A sombre cloud will intervene,
Nor pleasure gild the prospect more. [p. 36]
Dear Hannah, may your morn as brightly shine
And your meridian be
From those dark vapors free
Which overshadowed mine.

According to Brooks' ‘History of Medford,’ revised by Mr. Usher, ‘in May, 1811, Miss Ann Rose of London, opened a day school for girls in the brick edifice known as the “Fort” on Governor's Lane; and in November, 1812, she and Miss Hannah Swan of Medford converted it into a boarding school, and soon found their house filled with young ladies from the best families in the state. The good influence of this academy can hardly be overstated. Uniting extensive literary accomplishments with the highest moral qualifications, these ladies performed their legislative and executive duties with dignity and quietness, and labored to give that instruction which develops all the powers for health, usefulness and station. They lived to receive showers of blessings from grateful pupils.’ Ann Rose married Joseph Swan, a brother of Hannah Swan, January 16, 1817; he was a merchant, educated in the counting room of Hon. William Gray. She died November 23, 1860, aged seventy-two. Their home previous to 1829 was the Garrison House, and later the Puffer House.

Another pupil mentioned, Peggy Tufts, was the daughter of Samuel Tufts. She married Samuel Swan, the eldest son of Major Swan. It is supposed that his vessel was wrecked and all on board lost on Cape Cod, March 31, 1823. He was a contemporary and school friend of Col. Alex. S. Brooks and Dudley Hall. For years Mrs. Swan did not give up hope of his return, and during that time never locked the street door at night. She died November 29, 1863, aged eighty-four. Their house was next above the church.

Lydia Bishop was the daughter of John, Jr., and Lydia Holmes Bishop. She married Nehemiah Parsons of Boston, March 9, 1804. In October 12, 1805, appears in the Boston Weekly Magazine the following poem [p. 37] written by Mrs. Rowson on the death of a beloved pupil, Mrs. Lydia Parsons, aged 21 years.

Wealth and youth and beauty join'd
     Cannot sinking nature save;
Lovely form, or lovelier mind,
     Shield the owner from the grave.

Death, remorseless tyrant, stands
     Eager for an early prey;
Breaking nature's tenderest bands,
     Bears his destined prize away.

Lovely form, and lovelier mind,
     Fain we would have kept thee here,
To fill the tender parts assigned,
     And ornament this nether sphere.

New emotions warm'd thy heart,
     Love and joy lead on each day;
The king of terrors hurls his dart,
     The beauteous vision fleets away.

Triumph not thou monster fell,
     Thou canst not her soul retain;
Victorious over death, and hell,
     It shall with its Creator reign.

Though within yon mould'ring tomb,
     Rests that frame, so sweet, so fair;
'Twill rise with renovated bloom,
     To meet its Saviour in the air.

Weeping mourners, dry your tears,
     From that drear mansion raise your eyes;
By faith, behold! the saint appears,
     Ascending to her native skies.

Rob'd in light, in realms of day,
     Safe from sorrow, safe from pain,
Think you hear her spirit say,
     “Do not wish me back again.”

S. R.

[p. 38]

Rebecca Holmes Bishop, her sister, was born October 20, 1785; died, October 26, 1807.

Lucy Brooks, born June 16, 1775, was the daughter of John and Lucy Smith Brooks. She married Rev. George O'Kill Stuart, York, Upper Canada. (Boston Weekly Magazine, October 8, 1803.)

Lucia Gray is given as the daughter of William Gray of Medford, and married Samuel Swett. Her daughter married the artist, Mr. Francis Alexander. The granddaughter of Lucia Gray is Francesca Alexander, the talented translator and illustrator of ‘Roadside Songs of Tuscany.’ It was Ruskin's enthusiastic appreciation of her work that made the name of ‘Francesca’ widely known. She is a cousin of Mrs. Edwin N. Hallowell of Medford.

Catherine Thompson, born June 24, 1784, was the daughter of Ebenezer and Katherine Thompson; married November 15, 1808, to Noah Johnson of Woburn.

Fanny Tufts, born January 14, 1789, was the daughter of James, Jr., and Elizabeth Tufts.

Sarah Lloyd Wait, born November 29, 1785, was the daughter of Nathan Wait; she married, October 19, 1806, Thomas Symmes; afterwards, November 13, 1821, John Howe, and lived where the Centre Grammar School now stands. She has one son living, Mr. George Howe of Lunenburg.

Harriet Wait, her sister, born December 19, 1788; died August 19, 1813.

Of Mary Warner, I find nothing definite, excepting that in Mrs. Rowson's memoirs she is said to be a teacher in the Taunton Academy. There is also a long letter of recommendation from her teacher to the Rev. Simeon Doggett, who was then preceptor of the academy at Taunton.

In a letter to Hannah Swan, Mrs. Rowson refers to Mrs. Gilchrist of Medford. I am told that Mrs. Gilchrist was Susan Wyman, daughter of James Wyman. She was married to James Gilchrist June 10, 1805, and lived in what is called the Train house. [p. 39]

Of Fanny Blanchard, Peggy Swan and Sallie Richardson, I have failed to find anything authoritative.

In the summer of 1803, Mrs. Rowson moved her school from Medford to Newton; in 1807, to Washington street, and in 1811, to Hollis street, Boston. In 1822, on account of her failing health and declining years, after twenty-five years service, she was forced to withdraw. She died on the second day of March, 1824, at the age of sixty-three years. Mr. Knapp, a contemporary, in an obituary said of her, ‘Mrs. Rowson was singularly fitted for a teacher. Such intelligence as she possessed was then rare among those who took upon themselves the task of forming the characters and enlightening the minds of the young. To her scholars she was easy and accessible, but not too familiar. Her manners were polished and dignified, without distance or affectation. Her method of governing her school was strict, cautious, and precise, without severity, suspicion or capriciousness.’

That no good thing is ever lost, but that a noble influence is abiding and far reaching is well illustrated by extracts taken from a book of recent date. I refer to ‘The People of the Whirlpool,’ by the author of ‘Garden of a Commuter's Wife.’ In it I find the following, in Martin Cortright's letter to Barbara, he says:

My mother came of English, not Knickerbocker stock like my father, though both belonging distinctly to New York, and female education being in a somewhat chaotic state between the old regime and the new, her parents, desirous of having her receive the genteel polish of courtly manners, music and dancing, sent her, when about fifteen, to Mrs. Rowson's schoool, then located at Hollis street, Boston. The fame of this school had travelled far and wide, for not only had the preceptress in her youth, as Susanna Haswell, been governess to the children of the beautiful Georgiana, duchess of Devonshire, one of the most accomplished women of her day, and profited by her fine taste, but her own high morals and literary gifts made her tutorship a much sought privilege. [p. 40] While there my mother met the little New England girl, who was long afterwards to become your grandmother. She had also come to study music, for which she had a talent.

My mother related to me, when I was a little lad and used to burrow in her carved old treasure chest and beg for stories of the articles therein contained many fascinating tales of those two school years, a pretty colour coming to her cheeks as she told of the dances learned together, pas-de-deux and minuet, from old “DoctorShaffer, who was at the time second violin of the Boston Theatre, as well as authority in the correct methods of bowing and curtesying.

In a letter dated December 10, 19—, he alludes to a copy of ‘Charlotte Temple,’ which he had recently found in a bookstall in New York. He says: ‘the story had long been a familiar one, and I in common with others of many times my age and judgment, had lingered before the slab that bears her name in the graveyard of old Trinity, and sometimes laid a flower on it for sympathy's sake, as I have done many times since. On my return home, I showed the little book to my mother, and as she held it in her hands and read a word here and there, she, too, began to journey backward to her school days, and asked my father to bring out her treasure chest, and from it she took her school relics—a tattered ribbon watch-guard fastened by a flat gold buckle that Mrs. Rowson had given her as a reward for good conduct, and a package of letters. She spent an hour reading these, and old ties strengthened as she read.’

Many educated by Mrs. Rowson's care might with justice have said—

My soul first kindled by thy bright example,
To noble thought and generous emulation
Now but reflects those beams that flow'd from thee.

[p. 41]

Medford square-1682-1715.

12: feb: 82/83

att a meeting of the Inhabitants it was agreed upon that there be a pound set up at the Barne end next to mistick bridge for the use of the plantation.

Medford Aprill the 1st 1715
We the subscribers by the desire of Some Persons that were aseting up buildings near meadford Bridge we meet to Setle the ways leading to maldin and oborn & we doe think it convenient to be eight feet from each Post at the foot of Sd Bridge & on the north Side of Sd bridge ye way runs from ye Sd eight feet from the post on the north fide of Sd Bridge to the corner of Peter Seccombe Garden fence & soe to sd Seccombs north East Platforme & soe it cuts of part of Sd Seccombs Southerly Platforme and on the South Side of Sd bridge the way runs from ye eight foot below ye South Post below Bridge to A Ceder Stake which stands four Rood from sd Seccombs north east corner & from sd Ceder Stake to ten feet on the north Corner of ye great barn1 the way is to be two Rood & twelue feet wide from the mark on the Barn to Peter Waits South East Corner & as to the way leading to woborn we find it wide enough between mr Thomas —Tufts & mr Peter Secombs & we agree to have ye line Run on the north Side of the way leading to maldin from Peter waits South east Corner a Straight line to that Corner of Beniamin Parkers house yt stands nearest the highway & from Sd Parkers house astreight line to woburn Road at Sd tuftes Corner by his house we have veiwed Sd ways & think ye above mentioned Sufficient entered in ye town Records

Pr order of ye Sellectmen


Stephen Willis Town Clerck John Whitmore Selectmen John Tufts Selectmen Stephen Willis Junr Selectmen

[p. 42]

Strangers in Medford, (continued from Vol. 7, no. 1).

Names.From. Date.Warned out.Remarks.
Hammon, MargaretBoston, June, 1762Negro, age 9 ; dau. of Mary Hammon. In service to wife of Capt. James Hall.
Hancock, HannahNov. 29, 1754
Hancock, SolomonCharlestown, Dec., 1729Mar. 22, 1736-7
  wife and children
Haraden, TimothyAnnisquam, Gloucester, Dec. 23, 1763Dec. 3, 1764In house of Wm. Hall ; came Oct. 6, 1763, to work for Hugh Floyd.
  Mary (wife)
  Jenne2 (dau.)
Hardy, WilliamBoston, July 23, 1765Aug. 26, 1765In house of Richd Penhallow.
  Eunice (wife)
Harris, JohnBoston, Aug. 20, 1762Aug. 30, 1762
Harris, NathanielWatertown, July 10, 1761May 14, 1762In family of Israel Mead.
  Anna (wife)
  Jane children
Hastings, AnnaLexington, July, 1765Feb. 24, 1766
Hatch, SarahWalpole, Sept. 23, 1765Sept. 1766In service to Col. Royall.
Hayden3Tenant of Col. Royall.
Haynes, DorcasMar. court, 1767
Haynes, HannahChelsea, May 20, 1763Feb. 12, 1764Age 10. In family of Samuel Jenks.
Haynes,4 Mrs. HannahBoston, Oct. or Nov., 1766May 16, 1767

[p. 43]

Hays, ElizabethWilmington, June 29, 1759May 5, 1760Single woman. In family of Z. Poole.
Hawley, NoahJan. 30, 1791
Headley, DavidMar. court, 1763
Henderson, NathanielAug. 25, 1744
  Jane (wife)
  Hugh Children
Henderson, NathanielApr. 23, 1750
Hendley, AnnJan. 30, 1791
Henshaw, SamuelCharlestown, Apr., 1754Feb. 26, 1755
  Abigail (wife)
Hewes, JohnLynn, Apr. 7, 1766Single man. Husbandman. Employed by Col. Royall.
  ThomasAug. 31, 1797
Hill (male child)See Elias Robinson
Hodge, AnnaWoburn, May, 1758Daughter of George Hodge. In service to Simon Tufts.
Holden, Anne (?)Jan. 30, 1791
  NathanielCharlestown, May i, 1761In family of Samuel Hall.
  ThomasCharlestown, May i, 1764In family of Samuel Tufts.
Hollon, Ceasar (negro)Billerica, June 1, 1765Employed by Joseph Tufts.
Holmes, FrancesHolden, Aug. 23, 1754Servant in family of Jos. Skinner.
Boston, July 1, 1756

[p. 44]

A Town Meeting, 1847.

Charles Cummings.

WE look first at the building in which the town business was transacted. Erected in 1833, it was partially destroyed by fire in 1839. When repaired and lengthened thirteen feet, it remained without change of condition till it was again partially consumed in 1850. The lower story was occupied by two dry goods stores and the hook and ladder carriage. The hall was furnished with long unpainted seats, with backs, built on an incline from the floor area to the sides of the room. After the second fire, the floor was made level and furnished with settees.

The town meeting of March 8, 1847, was presumably very much like its predecessors, and a fair type of a few subsequent ones, except for the variations demanded by changed circumstances. There were no printed ballots, and very many of those present did not avail themselves of the privilege of voting except when a hand or rising vote was ordered.

The town officials were elected one individual or board at a time, and when one vote was counted and declared, another was called for. First, the Moderator, as a matter of necessity, was chosen; then the Town Clerk; next the Selectmen, and, by vote, the polls were kept open for twenty minutes. Then the Assessors, School Committee, etc., were elected. All were chosen by a majority vote, as the law required, hence several ballotings were necessary when the candidates failed to reach it. The first balloting for School Committee secured five of the seven. The second secured one more. On the third there was no choice. On the fourth the seventh man was elected. The sixth man then declined to serve and the balloting was renewed. The fifth, sixth and seventh resulted in no choice. The eighth was successful. For three Fish Wardens four ballotings were required. Some men did not seem anxious for office and declined to serve when chosen. It took three [p. 45] ballotings to secure three Overseers of the Poor, and two to obtain a Pound Keeper. Ten Field Drivers were chosen and assigned to that number of sections in the town. The Treasurer, Engineers and other town officers were chosen without anyone declining to serve.

A committee of twelve prominent citizens were chosen to enforce the law against the sale of intoxicants, and it was voted to meet any expense they might incur in the discharge of their duty. The heads of departments, according to custom, read their manuscript reports, but at that meeting it was voted that in future their reports should be printed verbatim, and it was understood that the Auditors would print them and have their book distributed through the town some days before the annual meeting.

Salaries were voted as follows: Town Clerk, $50; Town Treasurer(who was to be under bonds for $5,000), $10; Assessors for every ten hours work, $1.75; Highway Surveyor, $2 per day. Voted to have the bell rung at the usual hours.

The man who would collect the taxes for the least pay was to be Collector, if the Town confirmed him after the office was auctioned. There was but one bid and John T. White was, by vote, confirmed. The appropriations for town expenses were $1,765.

After three sessions on the eighth, adjournment was made to the evening of the ninth, and then to a date in April, when the business was completed.

History told by names of streets.

[Continued from Vol. VII., Page 22.]

STREETS laid out within the last forty years have been very generally named for land owners who, at some time in the history of the town, held property in the neighborhood.

Dexter street was named in honor of Samuel Dexter, who, when the Royall farm was broken up into smaller [p. 46] holdings, became the owner of land on both sides of Main street, east of Two Penny brook, so called.

Nathan Tufts bought the land of Mr. Dexter, and bequeathed it to his nephews, the Tufts brothers, for whom William, Joseph and Edward streets are named.

Henry and Alfred streets are named for two sons of Joseph Tufts. Tufts square, honors the family and in particular Mr. George F. Tufts of Charlestown, who gave the land for the Tufts schoolhouse.

Albion street was suggested by the residence of Joseph Tufts, Albion place, Charlestown.

Adams street is named for the Adams family of Quincy, who at one time owned the land in which the street is now situated. This land was devised to Mrs. Abigail Adams, wife of John Adams, President of the United States, by her father, William Smith.

Buzzell's lane, so called, takes its name from John Buzzell & Son, who made bricks in the yard now occupied by Mr. John S. Maxwell, between College avenue and Main street.

Bradbury avenue, Wellington, was named for Captain Wymond Bradbury, who was one of the owners of the farm, subsequently the property of the Wellington family. When Captain Bradbury owned the land it was situated in Malden. (Annexed to Medford, 1817.)

[To be continued.]

Rev. Elijah Horr, D. D.

The earthly life of Rev. Elijah Horr, acting pastor of the Mystic Congregational Church, terminated at his home in Malden, February 14, 1904. His decease was a shock to his people, and a deep grief to the large circle which loved him as a friend and esteemed him for his manly and ministerial qualities.

Dr. Horr was born in Carthage, N. Y., April 20, 1841. He was educated in the institutions of his native state, and the theological department of Boston University. [p. 47] On the completion of his studies, in 1863, he joined a Methodist Conference in northern New York, and filled appointments at various places in the State. He was transferred in 1882 to the New England Conference, being assigned to the Walnut Street Church, Chelsea. He identified himself with the Congregational denomination in 1886, accepting a call to the Maverick Church, East Boston. In 1893 he went to the Piedmont Church, Worcester, remaining there four years. He had been acting pastor of the Mystic Church since 1900.

Dr. Horr was connected officially with a number of religious societies, and was a frequent contributor to ecclesiastical journals, more particularly during his Methodist pastorates.

He was a man of broad outlook in religious affairs; a companionable friend; an attractive pulpit orator. It was an oft repeated remark in connection with his public utterances, that he ‘rose to the occasion.’ Special remembrance is had of his several baccalaureate sermons to the graduating classes of the Medford High School, and his address at the McKinley Memorial Service. On this latter occasion, a wave of applause swept over the audience at the close of his eloquent tribute to the martyred president.

His ministerial brethren bear ample testimony to their appreciation of his sterling worth as a friend and coworker, and their personal loss in his passing from them.

Dr. Horr was a comparatively recent member of the Medford Historical Society, and while his many duties precluded an active membership, he was interested in the society's work and attended its meetings when possible. The society shares with the community at large a feeling of bereavement in the departure of one who was so deeply interested in all that pertained to the religious and civic life of our city.

1 In 1729, Aaron Cleveland sold to Andrew Hall a parcel of land bounded ‘Northerly part on land formerly belonging to the Grate barn.’

2 Jane.

3 Tavern Keeper. See Taylor.

4 Hains.

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