previous next

The 18-18 Boys.

Such was the name by which a little company of Medford men was for many years known. Various have been the reasons for which clubs have been formed, and equally various the conditions requisite for membership. [p. 27] In this, there was but one, the accident of birth, and that not of place, but of time.

And so it came about that ten (and perhaps more) Medford men formed a social club with the above name. At the present time, of the coterie born in the year 1818 but one survives,1 and he ‘in age and feebleness extreme.’ Their names, so far as can now be ascertained, were Asa Law, Marshall Symmes, William B. Thomas, Henry Richardson, Alfred Tufts, Henry Reed, David S. Hooker, Mark Durgin, Samuel F. Woodbridge and John Frost. How many beside Mr. Symmes were natives of Medford is unknown.

Various occupations they had. Mr. Law, who bore the military title of Colonel, was in the engraving business, and also at times officiated as an auctioneer. Mr. Symmes was a farmer, and resided at Symmes' Corner in Upper Medford, in Governor Brooks' birthplace, and when Winchester was incorporated was thus arbitrarily moved out of town. Mr. Thomas was a carpenter, skilled at his trade, and served the town in various offices. Mr. Richardson and Mr. Reed were ship-carpenters in the days when things were lively on the Mystic. Mr. Woodbridge was a Faneuil Hall market-man, and John Frost was a ‘fish man’ whose white head gained him the sobriquet of ‘Jack Frost.’ Mr. Tufts was a wheelwright and Mr. Hooker a blacksmith.

The 18-18 Boys, unlike the other social and fraternal societies, were satisfied with one meeting yearly, which they held at the Medford House and indulged in a spread, called by some a dinner, by others a supper. On these occasions each member invited a son or nephew, and one (Colonel Law), who had neither, invited a Tufts College boy, who entertained the company by singing or otherwise. On these occasions the ‘real boys’ wore badges on which the numerals 18-18 were made by boring holes through the same. Two (Richardson and Durgin) were accustomed to present their contributions to the entertainment in rhyme. Inquiry fails to establish the date [p. 28] when they first met, but probably when they had reached middle life.

One guest was always present and doubtless entertained his hosts with many a good story—George Nichols. But time passed on and Medford's ‘Old Sexton’ (Nichols) could truly say in the words of the song, ‘I gather them in, I gather them in.’

About ten years ago they met for the last time, three (possibly four, as there were but seven) men present on that occasion. They had passed the age of fourscore years, and the memories of the past and their old associations were too much for them to longer gather thus.

This account, meager and perhaps faulty at points, is compiled at the instance of Mr. Francis Wait, who furnishes most of the details. Some are given by Miss Emma, daughter of Colonel Law, and some by Mr. Frederic Symmes, who attended a few meetings, and probably their final one, with his father, who is the only survivor2 of the 18-8 Boys of Medford.

1 See following article.

2 See following article.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

hide People (automatically extracted)
hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
1818 AD (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: