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by the second meeting-house. The banks remain visible at this time.
A bed of clay was opened, in 1805, about forty rods east of the Wear Bridge, on land belonging to Spencer Bucknam, lying on the north side of the road. Only one kiln was burned there.
Fountain-yards. — These yards, which were near the “Fountain House,” about eighty rods east of “Gravelly Bridge,” were early in order of age. Messrs. William Tufts, Thomas Bradshaw, Hutchinson Tufts, Benjamin Tufts, and Sylvanus Blanchard were the manufacturers in that locality. These yards have been discontinued within our day.
Yards near the “Cradock House" were opened in 1630. Mr. Francis Shedd occupied them in 1700.
“ Sodom-yards." — As the familiar and improper sobriquet of Sodom was early given to that part of Medford which lies south of the river, the brick-yards, opened by the brothers Isaac, Jonathan, and Ebenezer Tufts, obtained the local name. After these gentlemen came Seth Tufts, who, with his son Seth, carried on the business till recently. These yards were situated near Middlesex Canal and the river, about south-south-east from Rock Hill.
The next in order of age were the yards opened in 1810 by Nathan Adams, Esq. They were situated each side of the old county road, leading from Medford over Winter Hill, and were about half a mile south of the “Great Bridge,” in the small valley on the borders of Winter Brook. From the first kiln, Captain Adams built the house now standing on the right side of the road, twenty rods north of the kiln, as an advertisement; and the bricks show the goodness of the clay and the skill of the workmen. These yards were next occupied by Mr. Babbitt, but have been discontinued for ten or fifteen years.
We presume that bricks have been made in many places now unknown to us; for nearly the whole of Medford seems to have a deep stratum of pure clay under it.
The facility of procuring pine, chestnut, and hemlock-wood by the Middlesex Canal made this branch of business profitable ; but when steam navigation could bring bricks from Maine, where wood was half the price it bore here, the Medford trade was fatally curtailed. The bricks were carted to Boston at great cost, which gave the yards in Charlestown an advantage over ours. If they were taken in “ lighters,"
by the river, this did not much lessen the expenses of transportation, but increased the risks of fracture. The high price of labor, of wood, and of cartage, rendered competition unwise; and the manufacture of bricks has ceased.
Governor Winthrop sailed from Cowes, in England, on Thursday, April 8, 1630. On Saturday, June 12, he reached Boston Bay; and, on the 17th of that month, he makes the following record : “ Went up Mistick River about six miles.”
To this heroic and Christian adventurer belongs the honor of building the first vessel whose keel was laid in this part of the Western World; and that vessel was built on the bank of Mystic River, and probably not far from the governor's house at “ Ten Hills." There is a tradition that it was built on the north shore of the river, and therefore within the limits of Medford. The record concerning it is as follows: “ July 4, 1631. The governor built a bark at Mistick, which was launched this day, and called • THE BLESSING OF THE Bay.'”
“Aug. 9, the same year, the governor's bark, being of thirty tons, went to sea."
It cost one hundred and forty-five pounds. The owner said of it, May 16, 1636, “ I will sell her for one hundred and sixty pounds.”
There was something singularly prophetic in the fact that the first vessel built “at Mistick” should have so increased in price after five years of service. Our day has seen the prophecy fulfilled ; as it is no marvel now for a Medford ship to command a higher price after having had a fair trial at sea.
The second year (1632) witnessed another vessel built by Mr. Cradock on the bank of the Mystic, whose register was a hundred tons. . In 1633, a ship of two hundred tons was built; and another, named “Rebecca,” tonnage unknown: both built by Mr. Cradock. Mr. William Wood, in 1633, writes : “Mr. Cradock is here at charges of building ships. The last year, one was upon the stocks of a hundred tons: that being finished, they are to build twice her burden.” There is reason to believe that Mr. Cradock's ship-yard was that now occupied by Mr. J. T. Foster,
That large vessels could float in the river had been proved by the governor, who may be called the first navigator of our narrow and winding stream. The long passages made by these schooners prove to us, that their form and rig were not after the model and fashion of our day. One of them was “six weeks going to Virginea.” The build and rigging, now so peculiarly American, have no superiors in the world; and Medford has long stood among the leaders in improved naval architecture.
There is a tradition, probably founded on fact, that small sloops, called lighters, fit for the river navigation, were built in very early times at the “ landing " near “Rock Hill," in West Medford. At a later day, one of these was built there by Mr. Rhodes, of Boston, and called the Mayflower, in honor of that vessel of one hundred and eighty tons which came across the Atlantic freighted to the full with religion and liberty, and which landed our Pilgrim Fathers on the Rock of Plymouth. The registers of this small craft are lost, if they ever existed; as no trace of them can be found in the records of the Custom House at Boston, or in those of the Secretary of the Navy at Washington. This business of shipbuilding, beginning in 1631, and increasing annually for several years, required many men, who required houses and food within the town.
The origin of the name of schooners is thus given in the Massachusetts Historical Collection. Mr. Andrew Robinson, of Gloucester, Mass., built and rigged a small vessel having two masts. At the moment of launching, a bystander cried out, “Oh, how she scoons!” Robinson instantly replied, “ A schooner let her be.” And thus they named her. The first bark built in Plymouth colony was built by private subscription; and the paper bears date of January 24, 1641. It was about fifty tons, and cost two hundred pounds.
That modelling is the difficult point in ship-building, is proved by the fact that science has so slowly approached that form which will safely carry the largest burden in the shortest time. From Noah's ark, which was not built for sailing, to the last improved clipper of our day, the science of modelling has produced strange results. How far the ark was a lifepreserver of the arts of the antediluvians, we know not; but we cannot suppose it has done much more for ship-building than the shell of the nautilus or the sternum of the duck. That some arts are lost, there can be no doubt. We cannot embalm as did the ancient Egyptians, nor lift as they did the stones of their pyramids; we have not the petrifying cement