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Women of the ‘Mayflower’ and Plymouth Colony.

by Mary Soule Googins.
[Read before the Medford Historical Society, December 19, 1921.]

THREE hundred years ago there came to these shores a Band of Pilgrims. We call them ‘Pilgrim Fathers’ but there were Pilgrim Mothers and Daughters as well. No other colonies up to this time had ever brought women with them. The Pilgrims were bound to succeed, therefore—they brought the women with them.

They founded homes, homes in the wilderness, homes by the rolling sea, homes hedged in by dark forests, rough and lonely, but they were dear homes.

The precursors of thirty million American homes. These are the gifts of the Pilgrim Mothers and Fathers of three hundred years ago.

The women of the Mayflower—let us look at them now, since all who can ever be called by that name are together on the ship. Mrs. Stephen Hopkins wins regard from all. Her own little daughter Damaris and her step-daughter Constantia add to the girlhood on the boat. Mary Brewster and Susanna White set a shining mark. Mrs. John Carver, her maid and her young ward, Desire MinterMrs. Miles Standish and Mrs. Edward Winslow and Katherine Carver have won the love and admiration of all. Mrs. Christopher Martin, who was scarcely known, as she was among the passengers from London. Two pairs of mothers and daughters—Mrs. Mary Chilton and Mrs. Mullins and Priscilla—engage our attention, as Cupid's entanglements are in this serious adventure (Mary has lost an admirer and Priscilla [p. 26] gained one). Here is a group whom we know far less well—Mrs. Thomas Tinker and Mrs. John Rizdale, Mrs. Francis Eaton—but we feel sure their quality of mind and heart must be the equal of many of their companions. Here are the wives of John and Edward Tilly, each with a young girl to mother. Humility Cooper is cousin to Ann Tilly, and Elizabeth is stepchild to John Tilly's wife. Mrs. Edward Fuller and Anna White are those sailing for another haven, though knowing it not.

From London has come Mrs. John Billington, quite different in style and manner from her companions, yet not lacking in good qualities, and little Ellen More in Mrs. Winslow's care. Mrs. William Bradford (standing in the shadow of tragedy), and Mrs. Isaac Allerton with her two little girls, Remember and Mary, complete the count. Mary Allerton's namesake daughter stands nearest to us of all that company between that day and this. The courage and fortitude and endurance of that band of women can never be described.

To this tossing ship, on a very stormy day, there comes a stranger, promptly called Oceanus, and the Hopkins family becomes of great interest, with its new baby for the women and children to delight in.

One who kept a record of those days wrote: ‘At anchor in Cape Cod Harbor. This day Mistress Dorothy Bradford, wife of Master Bradford, fell overboard and was drowned.’

At last, in a November dawn, land is in sight. With the episode following, the women had no actual part, but with some it was of great interest, as their husbands signed the document drawn up in the cabin, and because of it Katherine Carver was made first lady, as her husband was elected Governor of this Colonial company. The next day new life and animation was among all on board the Mayflower. Hope flung aside the gray veil that had almost enveloped her for many weeks and stood in the radiant garments of expectancy. [p. 27]

A little pool surrounded by juniper trees attracted the eyes of the women, and on that foggy morning of the 23d of November witnessed them going ashore in a small boat with bundles and kettles, the first time they had set foot on the soil of their new country,—and Monday wash-day was established.

One more storm and struggle for the Mayflower— one more disappointing return to the harbor which she desired to leave, then a calm day's sail into a quiet harbor, for they had touched a rock, for them a steppingstone,—they saw it not as a gateway of a mighty nation. Her work nobly performed, her name immortal, she had reached the goal.

The women had more to do, however, than look towards the shore and long for land, for their life on ship was not an idle one for any of them, while strength lasted. As one by one illness attacked them, those remaining well had added cares, assisting Dr. Fuller, attending to the wants of the families of those whose mothers were ill, preparing food for the sick and for the men who went daily ashore to work, keeping the children safe and amused, and, above all, keeping their own faith and hope alive; and it went on as unending as the swell of the sea beneath them.

But the time came for going ashore with costumes so similar it is hard to distinguish where each woman is placed. The children are held from crowding forward as they near the shore. An instant of excitement! The sailors make ready to fasten the boat! It touches the rock! The woman who stood foremost on the way over has sprung from the boat, catching at the hand of the nearest man to steady her on the slippery rock. The keen wind and spray have dashed color to her cheeks, the brilliancy of the sun on the snow is reflected in her eyes. A flashing triumph at being th efirst!—it is Mary Chilton! I like to think of her as Dr. Gordon expressed it, ‘a real sport,’ not perhaps like the sports of today, but a strong humorous girl, full of real happiness. In after [p. 28] years she came to Boston to live and was a member of the Old South Church. In her will she left the Church five English pounds. (It was ‘the widow's mite,’ as she was then ‘Widow Winslow’). In three hundred years that has amounted to $500,000. No wonder Old South is the richest church in Boston!

In less than a week after the first women went ashore, Rose Standish passed to a land of sunshine and flowers. Others soon followed, Ann Tilly, Mrs. Martin, little Ellen More and Mary Chilton's mother. Another month, and Mary Allerton, John Tilly's wife, Sarah Eaton and Mrs. Edward Fuller were numbered with them, and soon Elizabeth Winslow and Katharine Carver slipped away. Their monument is the hill by the seashore on which their graves were made, and their remembrance shall last as long as Mayflowers blossom. It is indeed remarkable that even twelve women and children remained. Humility Cooper and Elizabeth Tilly, Priscilla Mullins and Mary Chilton were indeed truly alone.

On the five women the care and responsibility fell heaviest, though the girls and children had their share in the division of labor. Each served when there was nursing to be done. Cooking was not only a duty but a serious problem in finding something to tempt failing appetites, the women often going hungry that others might have more. Gradually came a lessening of the strain of known evils.

The problem of the Indians had been solved on the day that they heard the word ‘Welcome’ from an unknown voice; and their visits from these strange people became frequent and helpful as well. The day of making another covenant was one marked by color and animation in the doleful life of those early months for the women with just strength enough for interest. They met and entertained the sovereign of the savages to the lively music of drum and trumpet. The green rug on which they sat in one of the unfinished houses must [p. 29] have always brought back that scene to the woman who owned it,—that lasting treaty of mutual friendship and benefit.

It was an April day after the planting that an episode occurred which brings before us for the first time a woman not distinct hitherto in this picture. The Indian squaws occasionally came to Plymouth, and were a help or a bother, according to their personality. Hobomok was the Colony's trusty interpreter, and this afternoon his squaw was teaching a company of mothers the art of moccasin making when Hobomok appeared and took her away, saying the Government wanted her to work, and she proved a valuable spy.

As spring came the children found arbutus and early flowers. Remember and Mary Allerton and Damaris Hopkins played on the beach with Constance, Elizabeth and Humility, and gathered the bright shells in the warm sunshine, until the pink of the shells and arbutus were reflected in their cheeks.

And with the April mildness on land and sea came the last night when the lights of the Mayflower shone to them out of the darkness. Each one has been asked a question, and been given time to consider well: ‘Shall we—shall I—go back?’ Each woman for herself has answered ‘No.’ The venture made in faith should not have been made in vain,—the standard formed of high hope and courage should not go down while they were able in the light of faith to carry it forward.

The September days were busy ones. The spring planting had been successful and their harvest of corn abundant. The wild grapes had been made into wine, corn pounded into meal, each household a hive of workers. The wear and tear on their clothes was repaired and new garments made. But an interval occurred in their routine; it is a picture of the living room in the Brewster house by candle light, which contains all of the women of the colony in earnest discussion. The Governor has suggested that, in view of the fact of their [p. 30] successful harvest and renewed health, a period of recreation should be planned and engaged in by all. Not only preparations for themselves but for guests. Chief Massasoit and many of his warriors were to be invited, with no doubt at all of their acceptance.

It was not a question of what to provide but how much of everything, for more than one hundred were to be provided for over a three days period, and only eleven women and young girls to do it. Who should roast the wild turkeys, who boil the fish and make the sauces and side dishes? Every iron kettle, every long and shortlegged pot and pan, every wooden bowl and leathern bottle, every pewter dish with hooks and trivets were in use, wooden cups or gourds to drink from, and knives. The only forks were long-handled ones for cooking.

The Indians arrived and encamped around the street, thoughtfully bringing a large supply of venison to add to the bill of fare. The great tables were erected in front of the common house, the women and children cleared away, and looked on, now and then sampling the products of their cooking by taking a mouthful as they could, for they were too busy to eat. The long shadows of the third day saw the end of the event and the end of America's first Thanksgiving Day.

Some weeks later we see Mistress Brewster in her kitchen distilling herbs for Dr. Fuller, when all are startled by the sound of a gun from the fort. Another shot. Every wise woman and child knows this is a signal for assembly. A ship has entered Cape Cod harbor, seen by the Indians, who brought word at once to Plymouth. They had been seven months without sight or sound of the world beyond their little settlement. The sails of the Fortune had brought them once again a touch of the outside world. The Fortune remained two weeks, and when she sailed Desire Minter chose to go back in her. This little ship did not receive benefit from her name, for fortune proved unkind. She was captured by a French man-of-war, and all taken prisoners for two weeks. [p. 31]

If Desire Minter had only written of her experiences as a woman of the Mayflower, her experiences in leaving for an English home, with her war adventure as an extra detail, what material she had, and of what value for the world to read! She would have been a rival historian of Bradford and Winslow. But of course such a thought never entered her mind. She was a woman, and a woman could not be independent in that day. About two hundred and fifty years passed before any other point of view was deemed possible.

The kitchen at the Winslow's presents a lively scene this autumn morning. Mrs. Winslow and Mary Becket are in deep preparations for a feast—not an ordinary one. Two important causes may be found for the feast and good spirits. First, the master of the house had just returned from a successful trading trip up the coast, with a great quantity of fur to make who would a fur coat for the winter. As for Mary, why, George Soule had told her last evening that she was the only woman for him, and indeed it would not take her as long as it did Mary Chilton to make up her mind on a like matter. And the feast was to be a supper party. George Soule, who was a noted gunner, had brought home several plump birds and a pair of wild turkeys in compliment to Mary Chilton and John Winslow, as well as George Soule and Mary Becket. And if any of you think you have attended a feast I wish you could read what that one was like. Time forbids my giving it to you, as there are three solid pages of dishes innumerable, and—

After three years of struggle for life and a home in the wilderness Plymouth grew, and this autumn saw one hundred and eighty persons instead of a handful. The new plan of individual division of land, with its planting and care, proved its wisdom. Friendly contests for success began. Mary Chilton and Humility Cooper were each given an acre, and the attention these acres received was not less than any others.

The crops ripening foretold an abundant harvest. [p. 32] The lightening of hearts and promising outlook caused the governor to proclaim a day of public thanksgiving. It was not after the manner of the one two years previous, but more like a day of supplication. The dreaded visitor, famine, was gone, never to return to the fireside of Plymouth. And where the comforts of all the men had depended on the hands of a few women, now many workers made all tasks lighter.

Spinning was a regular occupation. Besides domestic duties the women enthusiastically helped in planting and harvesting. Even while making their evening neighborly calls their fingers would ply the knittingneedles, for even in recreation the women could not afford to be idle. This was the gayest winter Plymouth had yet known.

Now we will observe some passing events which were of special interest to the women.

In the early summer, into John and Priscilla Alden's home came Elizabeth, called the first-born daughter of the Pilgrims. Then came a wedding of special interest. All Plymouth rejoiced when Patience Brewster married Thomas Prence. Destiny had woven for her a beautiful pattern, with childhood in Scrooby, girlhood in Leyden, and womanhood in Plymouth. A bright, particular star in the galaxy of the women of Plymouth colony. Her young husband reached the important place of governor in a few years.

Gray days and golden days passed over Plymouth, each one finding the women busy with the household duties, which did not end with the sunset gun, as the men's labor might. Let us look for a moment at the list of occupations which kept them busy. Candle making; pickling eggs; preserve and cordial making; distilling of herbs; ale or beer making; soap making; laundering and dyeing cloths and yarns; braiding mats of rushes; sweeping and sanding the floors; cleaning wooden and iron utensils; scouring and polishing pewter, brass and silver articles; pounding corn; butter and [p. 33] cheese making; cooking; weaving; spinning; sewing; drying wet shoes by filling them with hot oats; drying storm-soaked clothes by the blazing logs on the hearth; and teaching the boys and girls. Moments of recreation were rare.

Many deaths have occurred, and the procession of brides still lengthens. The opening of another decade in the new world showed great contrasts to the Plymouth women who remembered the first years. Now they were able to see and hear of the experiences of others. If the arrival of the first cows into Plymouth was a neverto-be-forgotten joy to the women of the Mayflower, the entrance of horses into Plymouth life was elation. Remember Allerton married and went to Salem to live. At this time in Boston eggs were three cents a dozen, milk one cent a quart, butter six and cheese five cents a pound, and housekeepers not caring for the higher prices in Plymouth could send to Boston.

One of the weddings of that year was Mary Allerton's. She was last but one of the Mayflower girls to marry. Damaris Hopkins' marriage completed the list.

How I would like to take you to some of their parties and merry-making evenings! I can only speak of one. The swift knitting-needles click in Desire's hands as she watches the progress of the sampler which is being worked by a lovely girl. Betty Alden also is one of the worker's admirers and friends. The sampler was made by Lora Standish, only and much-beloved daughter of the Pilgrim captain. That piece of handicraft is the only specimen of their work that we know of which may be looked at today.

When Mary Chilton-Winslow moved to Boston it could not have seemed more strange to her than Plymouth had come to be to her. As the first death on the Mayflower was that of a woman, Dorothy Bradford, so the last survivor of the Mayflower company was a woman, Mary Allerton-Cushman, who saw all of the life, with its chances and changes, of which we read. [p. 34]

Through the years we may well believe that the womon of the Mayflower, who became the women of Plymouth, and their children, whether in newer homes or remaining in the old, looked back to the early days of their privation, when by their anxieties, their sorrows, their economies, their endeavors, their fearlessness and faith, the foundation of their colony was laid.

Mary Chilton-Winslow lies beside her husband in King's Chapel Burying Ground, Boston. Their names are marked upon a slab at the gate on Tremont street.

Descendants of the women of Plymouth colony are now estimated to number more than a million. We rejoice that we know as much as we do of the women. Recently a plan was made that a chime of bells should be placed in the tower of the Pilgrim monument at

Provincetown, and dedicated to the Women of the Mayflower by their descendants.

More recently still Henry H. Kitson has modeled a statue of a Pilgrim woman for erection at Plymouth in their memory.

We may recall here the noble monument erected by the nation to the Pilgrims. In this design a woman is the exalted figure who holds the book and gazes over the sea. And of the four important but lesser figures, two are women.

Governor Long has said of the heroic figure: ‘Her eyes look toward the sea. Forever she beholds upon its waves the incoming Mayflower. She sees the Pilgrims land; they vanish, but she, the monument of their faith, remains and tells their story to the world.’ Their remembrance is like music. Inspire and love it. Perpetuate it, get precious memory out of it.

Medford statuary.

A letter recently received by a Medford man, from a friend of his school days, suggests our subject. Its writer lived in West Medford several years in the early ‘70s, [p. 35] attending the grammar school there. Like others, he had a curiosity to ‘peek into the old rum distillery, sneak under the fence at the race track,’ and go to the library for books. The library was then in the town house. He wrote, ‘there were some fine places on the way, with statuary in their front yards.’ As none of this latter is now to be seen, a few observations may be of interest. A century ago people of artistic taste and of wealth thus embellished their grounds.

Prominent in Medford were those of Thatcher Magoun, on High street. A substantial fence nearly five feet high adjoined the sidewalk. This, unlike the high board fence before the Gray mansion opposite, was of square palings, all of which passed through the continuous rails; but, at intervals, a paling was of iron, firmly set into the granite base beneath, thus supporting the whole. Thus enclosed, the entire grounds were still visible and attracted much attention. The winding walks were of red gravel in which no grass or weeds could grow, and bordered more or less with box, a close-growing evergreen plant. In spring the flower beds were ablaze with tulips and hyacinths and other flowers in their season, and the shrubbery of various kinds, tastefully arranged and well cared for. Beside the walks were four and on the pedestals of the terrace were two statues of white marble, and at least two marble vases, which sometimes held flowering plants. The grounds sloped away to the river and extended westward to the Tufts estate, and in this portion were several pagodas— or ‘summer houses,’ as people used to style them. In Mr. Magoun's life time these grounds were neatly kept (the statuary had its annual grooming), all in contrast to present condition. It was one of the ‘show-places’ of Medford in those days.

One day (since the twentieth century came in) the writer, going down High street, noticed a hay wagon at the Magoun gateway. Men were bringing out the statuary; each piece stood in a big basket, and somewhat [p. 36] swathed, was roped in and lifted into the wagon, then roped to the top rail for safe riding. It was a grotesque sight (which some others also witnessed), and as the horse-drawn wagon moved down High street it did seem as if Ichabod was written on and about the place.

We have recently tried to ascertain what the statues represented and have only succeeded in one instance,— Esculapius, the patron saint of the medical profession. We had a vague idea that four of the six were ‘the Seasons,’ as one we took to be Winter seemed to be shivering and gathering his robe closely about him. But what became of them? We are unable to answer with certainty. In a Boston daily of June 6, 1907, was a statement that their then owner ‘Offers Art Junk for Lynn's City Lawn,’ i.e., desired to sell them for decorative purpose. The statues were photographed in one group, the illustrative cut being the width of three newspaper columns. The article said, ‘much of the stuff had little value except as oddities.’ Indeed, we have heard similar deprecatory remarks made very recently, to which latter we cannot agree. They could not have been simply ‘plaster casts’ and have remained exposed to the weather the year round for over sixty years; nor is it at all likely that men of wealth and taste, as were these owners, would have surrounded their homes with any inferior specimens of art.

There were also two statues on the elder Magoun's estate, which like those already named, are shown in the steel engravings in Brooks' History of Medford (1855). These, with similar marble vases, are mentioned in the letter of Mr. Magoun to the selectmen, as included in his gift, and are shown in the illustration in the Usher publication of 1886. But where are they today?

On the front lawn of the old Brooks mansion on Grove street, also, were two smaller statues of white marble, on pedestals of darker stone; whether others were beyond the mansion in the extensive grounds we cannot say, neither what these represented. They were at a [p. 37] distance from the street, and were not recognizable, even by an art critic, in the scattered broken limbs, disfigured heads and torsos we found while visiting the partially demolished mansion in 1916, ‘Art junk’ they surely were then, but not when selected by the discriminating owner a century before. But nothing is secure from modern vandalism, as witness the overturning of the statue on Cambridge common within a year, and of Sagamore John's monument nearer home.

Not all Medford statuary was of marble, however. Colonel Royall indulged his aesthetic tastes away back in provincial days. A figure of the wing-footed messenger of the gods, carved from wood, and bearing the caduceus, surmounted the cupola of the octagonal pavilion on the elevation beyond the Royall mansion. Through all the vicissitudes of more than a century it remained in position, defying the elements. A legend of former days is embodied in the following, sent to our sanctum:—

One of the most interesting objects on the Royall estate was the wooden statue of Mercury surmounting the summer house. He stood there poised, a graceful figure, ready for his flight as messenger of the gods. Each day, when he heard the one o'clock bell ring, he lifted his arm; when the sound ceased he lowered the arm to his side.

It is said that some Medford school children were late to school because of watching for the same. Add this to our list of ‘Medford myths,’ if you please.

The remains of this ‘wooden god’ are carefully preserved today among the Royall relics.

The wood-carvers' art was, in early days, much in vogue, and many a Medford ship had a carved figurehead of artistic design and workmanship. One of these, the Mystic Belle, after ploughing the seas for years, found a resting place here in Medford, and note of same was published at the time. Who knows where? Another, the figure of a bird, was for some years near the Fellsway.

At one later time there seemed to be a mania for lawn [p. 38] decorations, some hideous, others ridiculous. On Mystic street (West Medford) Mr. Hastings had the figure of a couchant lion beside the entrance drive, and to make it more realistic a ‘den’ of rocks was built over his leonine majesty. This was a protective measure, as we are told ‘it was a plaster cast.’ This lion at first had a terrifying aspect, which disappeared after a few scrubbings given it, and later the lion also departed.

But ere this was the ‘clergyman's dog’ his master refused to take out license for, a little way up Forest street. The story was, that soon after the first of May the zealous constable was informed thereof and hastened to find the owner. The clergyman, like many other reverend gentlemen, enjoyed a joke (and was probably aware of the conspiracy existing), and firmly refused to save his favorite canine from threatened shooting, and on demand of the officer pointed out the victim's whereabouts. The big iron dog, recumbent beside the walk, had not molested the officer at his excited coming. Perhaps he laughed at his crestfallen departure. Anyway, it is said, the clergyman did, also the ones that put up the game. There may have been others, but this was the only one we know of in Medford during the ‘era of the cast-iron dog.’

Some towns had a whole menagerie (could it have been collected) of lions, deer, dogs of various breed, rabbits, etc., (probably indicating the tastes of the owners) specimens of which may still be found.

Perhaps it was well that Medford never erected a soldiers' monument (other than that at Oak Grove), and so was spared the inferior specimens of statuary inflicted on some towns. Equally as well that the memorial we alluded to (Vol. XIX, p. 79) has not materialized. There is an ‘eternal fitness of things’ in decorative art. A gargoyle requires distance to lend enchantment, but what shall we say of the caryatids in plug hats between which we go to the city offices? They have been taken for effigies of public functionaries, with how much reason we are not saying. [p. 39]

We have not now the space to mention the statuary casts in the various school buildings, and are reminded of the recent acquisition of ‘La Pense’ at the Public Library. Here's hoping that this last may not make an unknown departure thence, as did those the school boy noted a half century ago.

A story of two pictures.

This is not a two-story picture, though our illustration resembles it somewhat. We first used it in the July issue of 1908, in connection with the story of Mystic Hall Seminary, read by the author, Mrs. Jennie (Pierce) Brigham at our meeting of March 7, 1908, a careful reading of which we commend to our present readers.

The acquirement and preservation of each was due to a chance occurrence prior to above date. Both represent the seminary buildings from different points of view, and were found at widely separated places, thus:—

First.—During a summer vacation Miss Flora Lydston, bookkeeper for Joseph E. Ober (West Medford's veteran business man), was on her vacation in Portsmouth, N. H., where she met a lady who told of her attendance at the seminary, and added, ‘I have a picture of it.’ As Miss L. understood it, it was of her drawing while at the school. On viewing it she at once noted the resemblance, and said, ‘Why, that is where I work! My desk is at that window. My employer would like to see it, I know.’ She was allowed its use, and Mr. Ober had a local artist (Hans Schroff) copy it, and (framed) it hangs in his store. From it our cut was made. But ere that a young journalist secured it for a time, and a larger reproduction, with a breezy story of the famous school, appeared in the Medford Mercury, that to which Mrs. B. alluded in her opening sentence.

Second.—While on a visit to Glens Falls, N. Y., we called upon Mr. George K. Hawley, who in 1864 lived in the Mystic Hall tenement, and boarded the bricklayers [p. 40] that built Medford's disused subway.1 (See Vol. XX, p. 1.) During the interview he produced the first year book of the seminary as printed, containing the view entitled School for Young Ladies, which we had not before seen, and kindly allowed us its use.

Thus, from unexpected sources, these ‘views of Medford’ have come. We have been asked by some if we consider them good. This leads us to the following comment, we trust not over-critical, and not unfriendly:

First, remembering that in the early fifties few views were obtained other than by ‘sketching from nature,’ we can overlook the faults, respecting the motive prompting the effort. Concerning the ‘delineator’ of the second-named we have no clue whatever. The point of view must have been from across High street and looking south. As the canal (discontinued in 1852) still had water enough to skate upon (see Vol. XI, No. 3) and the bridge on High street still remained, the artist (perhaps one of the girls) bent it around some to get it into the drawing (at the right), but showed the great willow tree on the farther bank. ‘Mystic Hall’ is in the right position (at the left-hand) but the big poplar was across Harvard avenue. We know, as we cut it down before building the Odd Fellows hall. The legend on that building was, in gilded iron letters, Mystic Hall Seminary, the final word removed in 1870. The S is now in the Historical rooms and the M in our editorial sanctum. The chimney seen in view was a wooden one, ‘only for looks,’ ‘false chimney,’ and common in those days. The curve in the front wall is correct, but the house with the tower should have been farther west (to right). It really was at present 516 High street. The lawn, St. Raphael's church and rectory, are now between its site and Mystic Hall. The two horsewomen are headed toward the big barn, where was the gymnasium and bowling alley, but which is not shown. To have done so would have required about four times the width. But the costumes, [p. 41] the ornamental grounds and gateway also, are suggestive of the time. The granite posts are still there, and the socket holes of the iron hinges, also the granite walls.

This picture the next year yielded place to the other, which shows the three by looking west. While in this the shape of the ‘Mystic Mansion’ and Mystic Hall are correctly given, the alignment is poor. It was with the ‘delineator’ a case of multum in parvo. The farthest house was really as far from High street as is the present 56. The fence around Mystic Hall was there in 1870, but in line with the oval was a willow four feet in diameter, which could not have grown in the fifteen years since 1855. Again, we found in 1870 an unsightly outbuilding, screened somewhat (where the oval is shown), on the walls of which various classic quotations were written. We will quote one:—

Honest man, in the ear of reason, is a grander title than peer of the realm or prince of the blood.

There was also a greenhouse beyond the ‘mansion’ which, with the former-named, was removed in 1870. But that the dormers are too high in the roof and the basement windows also too far from the ground, the artist did well with this house and caught the salient feature of the pilasters of Mystic Hall. The big sycamore behind the mansion is true to form, but we can hardly forgive the omission of the railroad, which lies between them. In this, also, the physical department is in evidence in Canal street—the young ladies with their instructor at the rear, but they don't all ride that way now.

One thing the artist did not show—it was not very prominent—the stone set in the brick wall under the second story middle window. In it is cut 1812, the date of the building's erection by the town as its almshouse.

Old pictures, even if crude, are worth saving.

[p. 42]

Jim Franklin, Ben's big brother

by Rev. Anson Titus.
[Read at a meeting of the Medford Historical Society, May 21, 1923.]

In 1718 James Franklin sailed for London and secured type and printing press and immediately began the printing of pamphlets and books; and soon became the printer of the Boston Gazette, the official paper of the province. In 1721 Franklin established the New England Courant. The Courant began in the midst of one of the greatest small pox epidemics Boston ever had. Doctors Increase and Cotton Mather were ardent advocates of inoculation, and strongly supported by Dr. Zabdiel Boylston. Franklin with great freedom of expression wrote of affairs which brought the wrath of the provincial officials upon him. Franklin printed an item regarding pirate vessels in the vicinity of Block Island, and that Captain Pete Papillion had raised a company and sailed against them. It was an impolitic item to print, but was a scoop on the part of an inexperienced printer. The following day he was brought before the governor on the Speakers' warrant, and spent a month in jail. His younger brother, Ben Franklin, only seventeen years old, became editor for a time, and for legal reasons his name continued as publisher for three or four years. The printshop of James Franklin was on the site of the Old Colony Trust Company. During these years Franklin printed an ‘Arithmetic’; a book on ‘Music’ by Thomas Walter, stated to be the first music printed in bars; also printed astronomical books for Professors Greenwood and Robie of Harvard College, and many sermons by the Doctors Mather. Franklin printed books of superior grade, which did not meet with a sale they deserved. Bankruptcy followed, and in 1727 James Franklin removed to Newport, R. I., where he entered at once upon a more prosperous career. He obtained the printing of the plantation, and several volumes of Bishop Berkley, an annual Almanac, and conducted a short-lived newspaper. James Franklin [p. 43] died February 4, 1738, on his thirty-eighth birthday, leaving widow, a son, James, and at least three daughters. Ann Franklin, during her widowhood of twenty-nine years, conducted the official printing of Rhode Island, established the Newport Mercury, out-lived all her children, and died April 19, 1763.

While James Franklin was in Boston, 1722, he established a library of nigh one hundred volumes, which people were free to visit and read. The library contained a set of ‘The Spectator,’ by Addison, recently published, eminent histories, learned works of recent scholarship, and a copy of Shakespeare's works, said to be the first known copy in New England. This library was not a public or circulating library, was free to any one who desired to come to the print shop to read. This print shop became a gathering place for the literates of Boston of two hundred years ago, and was of the type presented by our publishers of today, who afford a quiet corner where readers can come and browse among their newest publications.

The spiritual heir of James Franklin was Samuel Hall, who, Isaiah Thomas says, married a daughter of the Franklin home. Samuel Hall entered at once upon the affairs of the printshop in Newport, and his obituary of Ann Franklin would show her to be among the queens of American womanhood. Samuel Hall afterwards established the Essex Gazette, Salem, and at the outbreak of the Revolutionary War printed newspapers and official proclamations for the army and the province. He established a bookstore, printshop and book bindery in Boston. He became the printer of the Massachusetts Historical Society, and was regarded as one of the most correct compositors and proof-readers in Boston. He died in 1807, leaving a second wife, and ‘next of kin,’ Elizabeth, wife of William Barnes of Brookfield, who was without doubt the granddaughter of James and Ann Franklin. Samuel Hall was born in Medford, 1740; he and a brother, Jonathan, were, early in childhood, [p. 44] orphans. The brother Jonathan died in young manhood. They were brought up among their mother's relatives, the Fowle family, who were printers.

James Franklin, Boston born and bred, whose wife, Ann Smith, was also Boston born and bred, had real success in Boston; but Boston failed to recognize it; transplanted to Newport, ever famed for its generous spirit, he not only gained success, but held it to the last, giving credit not only to the Franklin name, but to a generous and liberty-loving plantation.

Comment and contrast.

A high school graduate of ‘73 tells in a recent Mercury of his classmates, and gives a ‘glimpse’ of fifty years ago. Eight of the eighteen still live, six in Medford. Mr. Buss' story suggests our headline, as he tells of that school in part of present Centre schoolhouse, a teaching staff of three, with occasional music teacher.

While Medford's population has increased seven times, the high school teachers are now twenty times and its graduates over thirteen times as many.

Then the two steam railroads gave good service to Boston, but there was no public conveyance within and to adjacent towns.

South Medford was mainly brickyards and trotting park, East Medford sparsely settled, and Wellington only a farm. A swamp lay beyond Dudley street; the Fellsway unthought of.

No telephone then, no electric light or power, no library building, no parkways or Fells reservation.

But Medford had then two military companies, two brass bands, a big lumber yard, the old tide-mill, famous rum distillery, town hall,—also a low tax rate.

Automobiles, motor boats, movies and radio, heavy taxes—costly luxuries—are of today.

Let our Medford readers finish for themselves our contrasts and comments, here begun. [p. 45]

1 We have heard he was time-keeper on that work.

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