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town required that each cask should be examined by a committee, and, if well made, then marked with a double M. Coopering now became an extensive and profitable branch of business. It was begun, before the Revolution, by the agency of Mr. Benjamin Hall. Charles Henley, of Boston, was his foreman, and superintended it till 1802. Andrew Blanchard, Joseph Pierce, and James Kidder were apprentices in Mr. Hall's establishment.
Mr. Benjamin Hall was among the first and the most active of the Medford merchants. He not only carried on the distilling business, but had a large store for wholesale barter. It was not uncommon for him to receive a hundred barrels of pearl-ashes per day, and five hundred tierces of flax-seed per year. He also carried on the “ beef business," having seven hundred head of cattle slaughtered each year. Mr. Ebenezer Hall had an equal number slaughtered; and they made all their tallow into candles. The drovers were glad to take their pay in sugar, molasses, iron, tea, rum, &c.
How different this from the course of trade in England, where a man was forbidden by law to carry on two mechanic trades or different pursuits! A tanner could not be a shoemaker. These monopolies and legal restrictions had no place in New England; and their absence was a prime cause of our great prosperity. It made every free man a free trader. The British Parliament tried to put on the handcuffs of restriction ; but the colonists would not wear them. Gallatin says, “ No cause has contributed more to the prosperity of this country than the absence of those systems of internal restriction and monopoly which continue to disfigure other countries.” .
Mr. Jonathan Porter opened a store of English goods previous to the Revolution, and gradually enlarged his business till he sold all the heavier articles of inland commerce. There are those now living who remember when from twenty to thirty “country pungs” were gathered about the doors of these Medford traders, discharging and taking in their loads. These pungs were drawn by two horses each, and started as far north as Montpelier, Vt., and Lancaster, N.H. With three large distilleries in full action, and many sloops and schooners navigating the river, Medford became one of the most active and thriving towns in the Commonwealth. Distillation was then esteemed by most persons not only lawful and right, but a highly respectable business. With rapid strides, Medford rose in wealth and increased in numbers; and, in 1805, there were many stores opened, where the necessaries and conveniences, and even the ornaments and luxuries, of life could be obtained at as cheap a rate as in Boston.
The fourth period of trade in Medford extends from 1805 to the present time. The ship-building, the introduction of steam, the Middlesex Canal, the immigration of Bostonians to this place, — these all helped to open new avenues to wealth, and increase the facilities of supply. Within this period, more than half the present number of houses have been built; and there are now five public highways where there was one fifty years ago. The whole course of trade has changed from barter to cash payments or credits; and one trader now can do as much in a year as three could at the beginning of this century. The number of gentlemen who reside here, and do business in Boston, is very large, and they are multiplying every month. The cars on both railroads are filled every morning, — the earliest with laborers, the next with merchants, and the last with ladies.
. During the embargo, in 1808, an old black schooner came up Mystic River with a deck-load of wood and bark. A custom-house officer from Boston took possession of her as a suspected smuggler. The captain invited the officer to take supper with him in the cabin. They sat and ate together; and the captain asked to be excused a moment while he gave an order to his men. No sooner had he arrived on deck than he turned and fastened the cabin door. Extempore Indians were ready to unload the hold of the schooner, which was full of English goods, wire, &c., from Halifax. During half the night, horse-wagons were passing to Boston from the old wharf, owned by Francis Shed, below the ship-yard. Some teams went to Malden, and some to West Cambridge. The amounts were very large, and the goods of the costliest kinds. The planting of that night produced a rich harvest. The goods were never discovered ; but the vessel was condemned and confiscated. How soundly the officer slept is not known.
Of these Medford has never had many, in the modern acceptation of the term. Among the first settlers, every house was, in one sense, a factory; for almost every one had a spinning-wheel and loom. For the early ship-building, there must have been extensive iron-works; and much weaving of cotton and wool must have been necessary to supply the large numbers of fishermen and brick-makers. Much wool was cleaned, carded, and rolled at the mill of Mr. John Albree, who was a manufacturer of starch and pomatum. Leaving out brick-making, ship-building, and distilling, we have little to record. Wooden heels were made by Mr. Samuel Reeves, 1750; and specimens of his work are yet among his great-grandchildren in Medford. Candles and hogsheads were extensively made, about the same time, by Messrs. Benjamin and Ebenezer Hall. Saltpetre was made in considerable quantities by Mr. Isaac Brooks. Wheelwrights carried on their business to a large extent. Mr. James Tufts and Son carried on for many years the pottery business. Tanning was vigorously pursued, with a great outlay of capital, by Mr. Ebenezer Hall, on land a few rods south-west of the Episcopal church; and by Mr. Jonathan Brooks, on land near Marble Brook, now owned by Mr. Noah Johnson. The first tan-yard in Medford was on the corner lot southeast of Whitmore's Bridge. It was bounded on the east by the brook, on the west by Lowell Street, and on the north by High Street. It was last owned by Mr. Nathan Tufts and Mr. Jonathan Brooks, in company. When they sold it, Mr. Tufts moved to Charlestown, and became the most extensive manufacturer of leather in the State.
At Baconville, now in Winchester, Medford had a factory, first owned by Mr. Josiah Symmes. About forty years ago, a company of Boston gentlemen purchased the water-power of Mr. Symmes, for the purpose of setting in motion a new machine for spinning yarn for the manufacture of broadcloth. This project, introduced by a Frenchman, failed; and the mill-power was then applied to the manufacture of wood screws, by a machine entirely new. This would have succeeded; but, the war of 1812 with Great Britain having ended, wood screws were imported from England so cheap as to render competition ruinous. John L. Sullivan, Esq., the chief agent, afterwards sold the establishment to Mr. Stowell for $4,000, through whom it came into possession of its present owner, Robert Bacon, Esq. He has built three factories and two dwelling-houses, which have been burned ; three in 1840, the last in 1843.
Since writing the above, we are called to record another destructive fire at Baconville of the factories there. They were burned Sunday evening, April 8, 1855.
Mr. Bacon brought his machinery from Boston to Medford in 1824, and manufactured hat-bodies, feltings, &c., employing eighteen or twenty men. Once only he counted ; and in that year he formed 83,000 hat-bodies. This work was done by the use of Silas Mason's patent, and T. F. Mayhew's improved machine. He also planked many thousands yearly ; which operation was by the use of Macomber's patent, and his own improvement. He also blowed the hair from fur, by the use of Arnold Buffom's patent blowing-machine. This process was truly ingenious. It was accomplished by placing the fur on the apron, which was drawn upon a cylindrical picker, revolving at the rate of five thousand times a minute; thence it was thrown'to a fan revolving at nearly the same speed ; this sent it through a trunk sixty feet long into a closet. The bottom of the trunk was lined with coarse cloth; the hair, being heaviest, fell and stuck to the cloth : the consequence was that the fur was almost entirely cleared of the hair, and thus the hats were finer. This business he continued till 1848, when he resigned it to his son, who has changed the business to the manufacture of all kinds of feltings and lambs’-wool wadding. Among the feltings he has invented a new kind, called sheathing felt, used for covering the bottoms of ships : it can also be placed under the copper, and is much used in covering steam-boilers and pipes.
The making of linseed oil was carried on by Mr. George L. Stearns, on land about fifty rods south of Mystic Bridge. He imported his seed from Calcutta. A convention of manufacturers of this oil was held at New York in 1841; and they agreed to send a committee to Washington, to induce Congress to shape the tariff of 1842 so as to protect them. The committee succeeded; and Mr. Stearns was one of them. The effect was the opposite of what they expected : it induced so many new men to begin the business that it ruined it. From 1835, the manufactory in Medford continued in operation to 1845, when it suspended activity. It resumed work for a year, when the building was burned in 1847.
The factory of Messrs. Waterman and Litchfield, for the making of doors, blinds, window-sashes, &c., is a large and flourishing establishment, near the entrance of Medford Turnpike. It is operated by steam-power, and is extensively patronized by house-carpenters for planing boards.
The mechanics and artisans of Medford, in their various departments, have excellent reputation, and much property.
The large deposits of valuable clay within the town of Medford early directed the attention of the enterprising inhabitants to the manufacture of bricks; and those made in 1630 for Mr. Cradock's house were the first. · Bricks were made on Colonel Royal's estate. Clay deposits were found between his mansion-house and the river. A most extensive and profitable business was carried on in these yards for many years. At a later date, say 1750, bricks were made on land directly north of Dr. Tufts's house. The steep bank now in front of Mr. George W. Porter's house marks the place. This land, called Brick-yard Pasture, was owned by Rev. Matthew Byles, of Boston, and sold by him to Dr. Simon Tufts, March 26, 1761.
Nov. 14, 1774, the town passed the following vote: “ That this town does disapprove of any bricks being carried to Boston till the committees of the neighboring towns shall consent to it.”
In 1785, Stephen Hall willed “ the brick-yards now in the occupation of Thomas Bradshaw, and Samuel Tufts, jun." About this time, Captain Caleb Blanchard and his brother Simon made bricks in a yard near Mr. Cradock's house, in the eastern part of the town; and afterwards in a yard on land opposite the Malden Alms-house, just on the borders of East Medford.
The bricks used for the construction of the six tombs first built in the old burying-ground were made in a yard owned by Thomas Brooks, Esq. That yard was near Mystic River, about half-way between Rock Hill and the Lowell Railroad Bridge. In that yard, Samuel Francis made bricks as early as 1750, and sold them at ten shillings per thousand (lawful money). Mr. Brooks carried on the manufacture in 1760, and sold them at fifteen shillings. Mr. Stephen Hall was the next occupant of that yard, which has been discontinued since 1800. In 1795, the price was four dollars.
Captain Caleb Brooks made bricks on the land occupied