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Some old Medford houses and estates.

The Wilson and Blanchard houses.

by John H. Hooper.
[Read before the Medford Historical Society, January 18, 1904.]

THE Wilson House stood about one-eighth of a mile southeast of the old Wellington farm house, upon land granted by the General Court to Mr. John Wilson. The records of the court holden in Boston, April 1, 1634, say: ‘There is two hundred acres of land granted to Mr. John Wilson, Pastor of the Church in Boston, lying next the land granted to Mr. Nowell on the south, and next to Meadford on the north.’ This house was no doubt built soon after the date of Mr. Wilson's grant. Mr. Charles Brooks, in his History of Medford (1855), says: ‘The cellar of the house was small and deep, the cellar wall of stone, and the chimney was built of brick, laid up with clay.’ The location of this house can still be seen.

The twelfth day of the twelfth month, 1650, Mr. Wilson sold his farm, consisting of two hundred acres of land, with dwelling house and other buildings, to Mr. Thomas Blanchard of Braintree. After the death of Mr. Blanchard his estate was divided among his sons, and under date of August 27, 1657, Nathaniel Blanchard, son of Thomas, deeded to his brother Samuel ‘Ten acres of upland, known by the name of the flax grounds, on which the said Samuel is now erecting a dwelling house.’ This land was bounded westerly by the creek between it and Meadford farm; northeasterly on land of George Blanchard; southerly on land of the said Nathaniel; and northwesterly, partly on a pine swamp, [p. 50] and partly on pasture land of George Blanchard. Here we have the exact date of the erection of the house, now known as the old Wellington farm house, as the above description of the land upon which Mr. Blanchard built his house is the same land upon which the old farm house now stands—a rare instance of our ability to fix upon the age of our old buildings. The pine swamp above referred to was part of the Cradock grant, and was sold by Mr. Edward Collins to Mr. George Blanchard. This lot of land is known by the name of the stump marsh and also as the dike marsh. The stumps of those pine trees are today scattered plentifully in the marsh, both inside and outside of the dike; some of these stumps stand in marshland which is covered by salt water every high course of tides. Does this indicate a subsidence of this land since the settlement of the country? The Wilson and Blanchard houses were originally situated in the town of Charlestown, and are referred to in this paper, because of their immediate connection with Medford estates.

The Peter Tufts houses.

Standing on Riverside avenue at the present time is an old brick house, commonly known as the Cradock house. It takes its name from Mr. Mathew Cradock, a London merchant, who was at one time supposed to have been its owner and builder. Mr. Cradock was the first governor of the Massachusetts Bay Company. (Mr.Cradock never came to New England. He appointed agents for the transaction of his business here.) In March, 1634, the General Court provided that ‘All the ground, as well upland as meadow, lying and being betwixt the lands of Mr. Nowell and Mr. Wilson on the east; and the partition betwixt Mistick Ponds on the west; bounded with Mistick River on the south, and the Rocks on the north, is granted to Mr. Cradock, Merchant, to enjoy, to him and his heirs forever.’ The following year the court endeavored to make the north [p. 51] bounds more definite by providing ‘that the land formerly granted to Mr. Cradock, Merchant, shall extend a mile into the Country from the River side in all places.’ The northerly boundary lines above described were not the northerly bounds of Mr. Cradock's farm as finally agreed upon (see map); it was impractical to make a boundary line to correspond with the bounds as defined by the General Court. As a consequence, under date of October 7, 1640, the General Court voted that ‘Mr. Tynge, Mr. Samuel Sheephard and Goodman Edward Converse are to set out the bounds between Charlestown and Mr. Cradock's farm on the north side of Mistick River.’ It was at this time that the line shown upon the map was definitely settled. About one hundred years later some question arose between Medford and Charlestown as to a portion of the boundary line near Mystic pond, and it was settled by making a new line which is also shown upon the map. In 1687, a committee of Medford and Charlestown settled the boundary line between the two towns on the easterly side of Medford.

Mr. Cradock's heirs sold the estate in 1652 to Mr. Edward Collins of Cambridge. Mr. Collins, by deed dated August 20, 1656, sold to Mr. Richard Russell of Charlestown about 1,600 acres of land, with the mansion house and other buildings. This sale comprised all the land of the Cradock Plantation east of the following described line; viz., ‘On the west, with a White Oak tree marked R. C., standing on the west side of a brook that runs into that part of the marshland which lyeth on the west of the said Mansion house, and from said marked tree by a direct line continued unto another White Oak tree, in like manner marked R. C., the said tree standing on the north line between Charlestown and the said plantation, on the east side of a swamp, the said line being by estimation, north and south, and the brook into which the said brook runs, is the westerly bounds of the said marsh. . . . Excepting from the above, 12 [p. 52] acres of the meadows lying by Mistick River, next unto the land of the said Edward Collins. Also excepting 30 acres of land called the pine swamp, with 4 1/2 acres of upland sold by the said Collins to Mr. George Blanchard.’

The above described line is shown upon the map.

Mr. Russell sold May 26, 166, to Mr. Jonathan Wade of Ipswich, three-fourths part of all the land he purchased of Mr. Collins, with the buildings thereon, reserving one-fourth part, viz., one-fourth part of the upland and one-fourth part of the meadow lying next to Mr. Blanchard's farm, and farthest from the dwelling house.

Jonathan Wade, senior, was of Ipswich in the year 1635, as in that year he was granted lands in that town. One of the parcels granted him was a lot of land of six acres, ‘lying next the meadows, by a Creek, commonly called Labour in vayne.’ Is this the origin of the name of Labor in Vain as applied to that bend in Mystic river at the foot of Foster's court? The Wades probably brought the name from Ipswich to Medford.

Mr. Wade died at Ispwich in the year 1683 (he never resided in Medford), and his will may be found in the Essex County Probate Records, extracts from which are as follows, viz.: ‘I give to my son Jonathan the one half of my farm at Mistick, with the one half of all the stock upon it. Also I give to Nathaniel the other half of said farm at Mistick and one half of the stock upon it, to be equally divided between them.’ Extract from the Inventory of the Estate of Mr. Jonathan Wade of Ispwich (from Essex Probate Records).

An apprisement of the Estate at Mistick which Captain Wade enjoyed.

An old tenement and other buildings£200.00.00
370 Acres of Upland1400.00.00
80 Acres of Salt Marsh480.00.00

[p. 53]

The land and meadow in the improvement of Mr. Nathaniel Wade,

370 Acres of Upland£1000.00.00
80 Acres of Marsh480.00.00

Buildings, meadows and upland at Mistick, £ 3560.00.00 27. 9. 1683 Thomas Wade, Administrator.

It is evident from the above that Jonathan Wade, senior, purchased his farm at Mistick for the use of his sons, Jonathan and Nathaniel, and they no doubt came to live in Medford soon after the purchase, for we find Mr. Jonathan Wade associated with Mr. Edward Collins and others in the laying out of a way from Cambridge to Woburn through Meadford, in the year 1663. The division line of the upland between Jonathan and Nathaniel was at or near Gravelly creek; the division line of the marsh was east of the Marsh islands, below Labor in Vain point.

April 20, 1677, Mr. Russell's son and executor deeded the remaining one-fourth part of the land purchased by his father of Mr. Collins containing about 350 acres, which had thereon ‘one dwelling house and barn’ to Mr. Peter Tufts of Charlestown. Mr. Tufts was in possession of the estate prior to the date of his deed under an agreement for its purchase made with Mr. Russell senior, sometime before that gentleman's decease. It is upon this tract of land that the old brick house now stands. The one dwelling house named in this deed stood about ninety rods distant easterly from the brick house above mentioned. Mr. Tufts, by deed dated November 26, 1680, sold to his son, Peter Tufts, junior (commonly called Captain Peter), one-half part of the land he purchased of Mr. Russell, with housings; the one dwelling house and barn with twenty acres of land lying next to Mr. Blanchard's farm was not included in this sale. Captain Peter Tufts was one of the most [p. 54] prominent townsmen of Medford in his day. He was representative to the General Court in the year 1689, and served the town as a selectman and in other capacities; he was also captain of the military company. His name first appears on the records of the plantation in the year 1676, he having been chosen one of the selectmen for that year. He came to reside in Medford on his father's farm soon after Mr. Peter Tufts, senior, came into possession of it under the agreement before mentioned. The first birth recorded in Medford records (those records that are extant) is that of his daughter Anna, who was born February 25, 1676. He no doubt lived in the one dwelling house, mentioned above, until the new brick house, now called the Cradock house, was built. Mr. Peter Tufts, senior, in his will dated March 1, 1693, bequeathed to his son, Captain Peter, a portion of his estate, viz.: ‘I give to my son Peter 20 acres of upland lying next his house and the dwelling house standing thereon, he paying his brother John for the barn standing upon said land’ (Mr. John Tufts lived upon the twenty-acre lot at that time), ‘the line to run from said Peter's line to George Blanchard's line.’

February 9, 1715-6, Captain Peter Tufts sold to Mr. Peter Eades of Medford, brickmaker, the twenty acres of land with the dwelling thereon, bequeathed to him by his father, Peter Tufts, senior. This land was bounded easterly partly on Jonathan Blanchard and partly on Medford line; southerly on the highway leading from said Peter Tufts' to Joshua Blanchard's; westerly and northerly on said Peter Tufts' own land. A short time prior to his decease, Captain Peter Tufts by deed dated March 17, 1721, conveyed to his son, Peter Tufts, junior, of Malden, forty-five acres of land on the north side of the way to Blanchard's; this land was bounded easterly in part on Mr. Eades' twenty-acre lot. ‘Also the east half of my brick house, as it is divided by the fore door and stairway, the stairway to be in common up chamber and garret, and egress and regress for the [p. 55] east end inhabitants to use the door without doors that leads into the cellar, and one-half of the cellar room and that at the easterly end of it. But my son Peter, his heirs and assigns shall not pass through the north room into the cellar, but shall make a way under the stairs into the cellar for their use.’ Captain Peter also conveyed to his son the northerly half of the barn with land for a cowyard (the barn stood on the south of the way nearly opposite the dwelling house). From the above it will be seen that ‘the door without doors that leads into the cellar’ was at the west end of the house; the door that leads into the cellar from the outside at the present day is at the east end of the house. The passageway into the cellar through the north room, the use of which was forbidden to ‘my son Peter,’ was probably by means of a trapdoor in the floor, a method of reaching the cellar much in use in those days. This westerly outside entrance to the cellar is spoken of as late as the year 1750, when the estate of Mr. Ebenezer Cutter was divided among his heirs. Mr. Cutter at his decease owned the brick house. The west end of the house was set off to his widow, and the easterly end to his eldest son, and it was provided that ‘the eldest son shall have the liberty of putting in casks at the outer cellar door in the widow's part of the house and taking them out as he may have occasion.’ The dwelling house and twenty acres of land sold by Captain Peter Tufts to Mr. Peter Eades was deeded July 14, 1721, by Mr. Eades to Peter Tufts, junior (son of Captain Peter), and on the first day of April, 1728, Peter Tufts, junior, sold to Mr. Edward Oakes of Malden four acres and thirteen poles of land with an old house upon it, this is the same house with a portion of the land bequeathed by Peter Tufts, senior, to his son, Captain Peter Tufts. The estate was described as being near to the said Edward Oakes' now dwelling house upon the highway leading from Medford to Blanchard's farm, bounded westerly and northerly on the said Peter Tufts' land; easterly [p. 56] upon the said Edward Oakes' land; southerly upon the way to Blanchard's. Mr. Edward Oakes, at the time of this purchase, resided in Malden adjoining the Medford line upon land purchased of Mr. Jonathan Blanchard. In 1753, when Edward Oakes died (he then resided in Medford), the inventory of his estate mentioned a mansion house and an old house and barn. When the estate was divided, the westerly half of the mansion house was set off to his widow, and the easterly half to his son, Samuel. Edward Oakes, another son, received twelve and one-half acres of land with the old house thereon; this land was bounded easterly upon the widow's thirds. The mansion house of Mr. Edward Oakes is no doubt the old house now standing on Riverside avenue on land of the New England Brick Company, and was probably built by Mr. Oakes subsequent to the year 1728. The old house set off to Edward Oakes, junior, was situated between the brick house of Captain Peter Tufts and the mansion house of Mr. Edward Oakes, very near to said mansion house, and it was the one dwelling house that stood upon the land when purchased by Mr. Peter Tufts, senior. All traces of this house have long since disappeared, and even the land on which it stood has been manufactured into bricks. The so-called Cradock House was, without doubt, built by Mr. Peter Tufts, senior, between the years 1677 and 1680, and should be called the Peter Tufts House. This house passed through the ownership of many persons down to the present day; it is now in the possession of Gen. S. C. Lawrence.

The Jonathan Tufts house.

In 1691, Mr. Peter Tufts, senior, sold to his son, Mr. Jonathan Tufts (brother of Captain Peter), thirty-nine acres of land, with dwelling house, barn and other buildings. This land is described as beginning at the northerly corner thereof at a point where the boundary lines of Charlestown, Malden and Medford unite, and was bounded northwesterly on the country road from Meadford [p. 57] to Malden, west on land of Peter Tufts, junior, southeast on land of Peter Tufts, senior. The greater part of this thirty-nine acres of land is contained in that part of Medford territory set off to Malden in the year 1877, and the dwelling house (the exact location of which is unknown) probably stood not far from where the Catholic church is now located.

The Major Nathaniel Wade house.

The brick house mentioned by Mr. Charles Brooks in his History of Medford as standing about five hundred feet north of Ship street and about the same distance west of Park street, opposite Mr. Magoun's shipyard, and which he says was taken down many years ago by that gentleman, really stood about fifty feet each way from the above-named streets. It was the homestead of Major Nathaniel Wade, son of Jonathan Wade, senior. Nathaniel Wade married, October 31, 1672, Mercy Bradstreet, and died November 28, 1707. He was one of Medford's foremost townsmen, also captain of the military company and major of the Lower Middlesex Regiment. The first record in Medford's book of records says, ‘The first Monday of February in the year of our Lord, 1674, At a meeting of the Inhabitants of Meadford, Mr. Nathaniel Wade was chosen Constable for the ensuing year.’ He built this house after he came into the possession of his estate under his father's will. In the settlement of his estate his widow received the house as her dower, and after her death, October 15, 1715, it came into the possession of her son, Samuel Wade. Mr. Wade sold to Mr. William Richardson, and Mr. Richardson sold to Mr. Thomas Oakes. Ship street was known for many years as the way from Thomas Oakes' to Blanchard's farm. The westerly boundary of Mr. Oakes' farm was at Cross street. Prior to the laying out of Cross street, the way from Meadford to Blanchard's led across the Salem street common to the landing, known as ‘Noman's-friend’ landing, which is on the river at the [p. 58] southerly end of Cross street. In the year 1710 there was a parcel of land sold that included the site of the common, and the seller ‘reserved the liberty of a highway through said land, from the Country road near to a place called Gravelly Bridge, to Widow Mercy Wade's.’ This house, after passing through the ownership of many different persons, finally came into the possession of Mr. Thatcher Magoun, senior, and Mr. George B. Lapham, Mr. Magoun owning the easterly half and Mr. Lapham the westerly half. The land upon which this house stood was used by Mr. Magoun for the preparation of materials that entered into the construction of his ships.

The Cradock house.

The Cradock farm house and other buildings connected therewith were located in and about what is now known as Medford square. On an undated map, supposed to have been made about the year 1633 (see Med-ford Historical Register, Vol. I, No. 4, Page 121), the way from Mistick ford to Salem is indicated by two dotted parallel lines, and the farm house of Mr. Cradock is located between the way and the river. The word Meadford appears in close proximity to the house; and on the margin, said to be in the handwriting of Governor Winthrop, are the words, ‘Meadford, Mr. Cradock's ferme house.’ We are fortunate in having another map dated October, 1637, representing Governor Winthrop's Ten Hills farm (see Medford Historical Register, Vol. I, No. 4, Page 123), showing the Cradock farm house (and other buildings) as it is located upon the first named map. Mistick bridge is also shown near the farm house. Another landmark to be noted is that the northwest corner of the Ten Hills farm is located exactly at the southeast corner of the bridge; this we know to be correct. The Cradock House was called Meadford, Meadford House and Mistick House. It was the residence of Mr. Cradock's agents. All the business of the [p. 59] plantation was transacted here. It was, without doubt, the meeting house and the tavern. When Major Jonathan Wade's estate was divided, the great barn was spoken of in the division, and it was situated upon that lot of land now owned and occupied by D. W. Lawrence, Esq., on the south side of Salem street. Under date of March 5, 1722-3, Mr. Josiah Waters sold to Captain John Corney, a dwelling house and land. ‘The Homestead being at a place where the Great Barn formerly stood, bounded North upon the Country road to Malden 108 feet. West and South upon land of the said Corney 108 feet. East upon other land of the said Corney 84 feet.’ Another deed of this same lot of land described it as being bounded ‘southwest and south upon the Barnyard;’ still another deed further describes the location of the barn as follows: ‘on the above said Gerrish's from the Country road down toward the marsh 5 Rods 7 feet, to a stake, and from said stake to the south corner of the Barn about 34 feet.’ The Gerrish lot above mentioned is a part of Mr. Lawrence's estate, and the location of the barn was opposite the location of the Mystic Church. Salem street was not as wide then as now, from the testimony of old papers; its width about the year 1700 was not much in excess of two rods. The Great Barn was probably one hundred or more feet in length, and it had a lean — to connected therewith. It was taken down about the years 1722-23, and the northerly end must have stood about ten feet within the limits of the highway at that time (1722-23). This location of the Great Barn agrees with that upon the Ten Hills farm plan, and is, without doubt, the old Cradock barn. Mr. Edward Collins, and also the Wade family, no doubt lived in the old Cradock mansion house. The brick house now standing on the hill back of the Savings Bank building was built by Major Jonathan Wade after he came into possession of his estate under his father's will. In the year 1692-93, Mrs. Elizabeth Wade, widow of Major Wade, petitioned the Court of General Sessions of the Peace for [p. 60] an abatement of the taxes assessed upon the Wade estate by the selectmen of Meadford, claiming that by reason of sickness and also by reason of his (Major Wade's) great charges in building, etc., the personal estate was very much reduced. This would seem to indicate that the great charges were incurred in building the brick house. All of these old buildings were no doubt built of wood. Fine brick buildings such as the Wade and Tufts houses were not built in the early days of the settlement; the necessary materials were not at hand for such purposes. In 1631, Governor Winthrop built himself a house of stone on Winter Hill, and owing to the lack of lime to make mortar the workmen were obliged to use clay to lay up the walls, and during an easterly storm the clay was washed out of the joints of the stonework and the walls fell down. It will be remembered that the chimney of the Wilson house was built of brick, laid up with clay. What more fitting location could Mr. Cradock's agent have selected than the one shown on the maps above mentioned, close to the river and the ford, on the direct route from Salem to Charlestown? In 1637-8, his agent built a bridge across Mistick river near his residence, as his business in that vicinity required better facilities than could be secured at the ford, where a tidal flow of from nine to twelve feet of water occurred twice in twenty-four hours, and where the steep banks of the river made the passage of teams, with even ordinary loads, quite a difficult matter. Mr. Charles Brooks in his History of Medford, says, ‘There could have been no motive for his building such a bridge, at such a time and at his own expense, unless his men and business were in the neighborhood.’

The Major Jonathan Wade houses.

In 1689, when Major Jonathan Wade died, and his estate was divided among his heirs, there were but two dwelling houses spoken of in the division, viz.: the brick house on Brooks lane and the house by Marble brook. [p. 61]

The brick house, as has been before stated, was built by Major Jonathan Wade, and certain parts of it were set off to Major Wade's widow; to his son, Dudley Wade, and to his daughters, Prudence Swan and Elizabeth Wade.

The house by Marble brook was set off to his daughter, Katherine Wyer. This house stood where the Puffer house now stands.

The four houses West of Marble brook.

In 1660, when Messrs. Thomas Brooks and Timothy Wheeler purchased of Mr. Edward Collins the westerly portion of the Cradock farm, consisting of four hundred acres of land, there was but one house mentioned in the deed, and that house stood on the south side of the way to the Weares, directly opposite the Woburn road (Grove street). It was occupied at the time of the purchase by one Golden Moore. It was afterwards occupied by members of the Brooks family until the year 1779, when it was taken down. (See Brooks' History of Medford.)

In 1675, when Mr. Edward Collins sold five hundred acres of land situated between Messrs. Brooks and Wheeler's on the west, and land of Mr. Jonathan Wade on the east, to Mr. Caleb Hubbart, who subsequently sold to Mr. John Hall and his associates, three houses only were spoken of as standing on the land. One of these houses was then occupied by Mr. Thomas Willis, and it stood near the junction of Arlington and Canal streets, probably on the triangular lot of Mr. Lincoln. Mr. Willis had set off to him as a part of his share in the division of the estate sixteen acres of land, with the dwelling house formerly in the possession of Mr. Thomas Eames. Within the limits of this sixteen acres were two acres of clayland belonging to Daniel Markham, also a common landing place and claypits. This sixteen-acre lot was situated on Mistick river, and was bounded easterly on the land of Mr. John Hall, Whitmore's brook, [p. 62] so called, being the dividing line, and it extended southwesterly along the river about eighty rods. At that point were situated the common landing place and claypits. The common highway leading to this landing and to these claypits was what is now Canal street. Daniel Markham's sixty acres of land (afterwards that of Stephen and John Francis) were situated in the northwest corner of the farm, with a dwelling house thereon, occupied by himself. This house stood back from Woburn street on land recently purchased by the city of Medford for an addition to Oak Grove Cemetery, and was reached by a way through land of Mr. John Hall. Mr. John Hall's share in the division consisted of one hundred ninety-eight and one-half acres of land near the middle of the farm, ‘the old dwelling house of Mr. Collins being contained upon it.’ It was then occupied by Mr. Thomas Shepard. The westerly part of the house was set off to Mr. Hall, and the easterly part to Mr. Stephen Willis. (Mr. Willis sold his part of the house in 1683 to Mr. Hall.) This house stood on the north side of the road (High street), and the easterly line of Allston street passes through its location, one-quarter part of the location of the house being within the limits of the street, and the remaining three-quarters in the lot on the easterly side of said street.

On the map is shown a building at the Weares, copied from an old map, made as early as the year 1638. Also the Menotomy Corn Mills, built about the year 1656, which stood in the river on the Charlestown side (now Arlington). The old road from Cambridge to Woburn ran over the milldam.

In addition to the list of old houses above mentioned, there are a few that were built prior to the year 1700 that are worthy of mention. All of these were situated west of Marble brook, for in that part of the plantation most of the new houses appear to have been erected during that period. This is not submitted as a complete list; only such will be named as can be approximately [p. 63] located. For one hundred and fifty years subsequent to the year 1700 the growth of Medford was east of the above-named brook.

The houses of John Whitmore, senior, and of John Whitmore, junior, adjoined, and stood on the north side of High street, near where Usher's block now stands.

The house of Francis Whitmore stood where the brick house on Canal street now stands. It was taken down by the town of Medford, and the present brick house built while the premises were improved by the town as a Poor Farm.

The house of Stephen Willis, senior, stood on the north side of High street, near Warren street.

The house of Nathaniel Hall (son of John Hall, senior) stood where the house of the superintendent of Oak Grove Cemetery now stands on Woburn street.

The house of John Hall, junior, stood near where the house formerly occupied by the late Albert Smith now stands on Woburn street.

The house of Percival Hall (son of John Hall) stood near where the house of Mr. W. C. Craig stands on the easterly side of Woburn street. His barn stood across the street opposite the house.

Stephen and Thomas Hall received the old house of their father, John Hall, senior, as a part of their share of his estate. Stephen received the easterly half and Thomas the westerly half. Stephen built himself a new house just east of the old house. In later years it was known as the Huffmaster House. Thomas' new house stood just west of Allston street.

In 1684, Mr. Stephen Willis sold to Mr. John Bradshaw ten acres of land, including what is now known as Rock Hill. The old house on the corner of Hastings lane and High street was probably built by Mr. Bradshaw prior to the year 1700. It is a very old house.

In 1685, Mr. John Whitmore sold to Mr. Bradshaw three-fourths of an acre of land, ‘the land being that upon which his dwelling house stands.’ This land was [p. 64] bounded east upon the country road; north and south on Thomas Willis. This house stood on the westerly side of Woburn street, near the northerly corner of the ‘Lucy Ann Brooks’ estate.

There was an old house that stood on the corner of High and Grove streets, on land formerly of Captain Timothy Wheeler, and it was sold by his grandson, Mr. Ebenezer Prout, to Messrs. John and Stephen Francis. It subsequently became a part of the Brooks estate. This estate contained sixty acres of land, and was bounded westerly, on Mistick Pond; southerly, on the way to the Weares; easterly, on the road to Woburn, and northerly, on a ditch and hedge. The deed to the Messrs. Francis was dated March 2, 1692.

Mr. Thomas Willis built a house on the northerly side of the way to Woburn, at the foot of the hill known as ‘Marm Simonds' Hill.’ It is supposed to have been built prior to the year 1690, and was used as a tavern.

There were many more old houses that were built about the year 1700, but time and space forbid their mention. Only one more will be herein spoken of, viz.: The Ram Head House, that stood upon that forty acres of land formerly known as Ram Head. This land was situated on Ram Head lane (now Rural avenue), but it must not be confounded with that upon which the observatory stands. The latter is the modern Ram Head; the former, the ancient and original Ram Head.

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