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burying-ground.” This custom of burying the dead in tombs grew so fast and strong that almost every family had a tomb, or part of one. This prevented the erection of gravestones, and thereby deprived posterity of all the knowledge derived from these authentic records. It was the custom, in the earlier times, for a family to choose the spot in the buryingground where they would gather their dead ; and for others to invade this spot was considered an outrage on social rights and Christian feelings. In the old burying-ground, there are many remains of this arrangement; and we trust that no sacrilegious hand will now be laid on these sacred relics. In the south-west corner of that ground, the slaves were buried ; but no monumental stones were raised! Are there as many gravestones now standing within the old burying-ground as were there fifty years ago? We think not. Where are they? Can the mouths of the tombs answer ?
There were six tombs built in 1767 by private gentlemen. Benjamin Floyd was the builder. They are those nearest te front gate, on its western side, and are under the sidewa'k of the street. The bricks of which they are built were made in the yard west of Rock Hill. The common price of a tomb has been one hundred and two dollars.
Though many new tombs had been built, ani some little additional space secured in the old burying-ground, still there was need of further accommodations for buria; and the town therefore voted, May 11, 1812, to request the selectmen to consider what further provisions could le made. This led to the appointment of a committee ir May, 1813. A new burying-place seemed to be necessary, and the committee so reported. No definite action was hd until May, 1816, when another committee reported, that the land which the town had purchased in Cross Street, near M. Turner's ship-yard, for the position of an alms-house, had better be used as a buryingground. The town acceded and then ordered that the land be laid out in lots, that a roper fence be built around it, and that trees be planted in uch number and order as to make the enclosure appear as such a place should.
March 7, 1853: Vyted to remove the pound on Cross Street, and extend the burial-ground to the line of said street, and build thereor a suitable iron fence, with stone basement.
The next novement for another burying-ground was March 6, 1837, when the town passed the following: “Voted
in the attention and intern wall ofnitely postinground,
that the article relative to purchasing land for a burial-ground, in the easterly part of the town, be indefinitely postponed.”
For many years, the eastern wall of the old burying. ground was broken and insufficient. The writer of this directed the attention of the Hon. Peter C. Brooks to the subject in 1846: the consequence was an offer of five hundred dollars from that gentleman to the town, for the purpose of building a granite wall, reaching from the Baptist meeting-house through the whole eastern front of the ground. The town accepted the offer, and voted thanks, Nov. 8, 1847. There was a strip of land, twenty feet or more, added here to the old limits; and the new granite wall encloses it. This strip was laid out in lots, and sold at auction Aug. 3, 1848. Mr. Brooks had a lot reserved for him; and he chose the central one, and urged a relative to purchase the one contiguous on the north, that we might be near our early ancestors, who are buried a few feet west of these enclosures. We trust that future generations will cherish so much reverence for antiquity as will secure the ashes of their ancestors from removal or neglect.
The Etablishment of the cemetery of Mount Auburn has created in this neighborhood a strong preference for such burial-places; and Medford resolved to have one. The following was passed, Nov. 13, 1848: “Voted that the subjectmatter of the fish article in the warrant, relative to procuring additional land fo. burial purposes, be referred to a committee of five, to examine locations, obtain prices, &c., and to report at the next March meting.”
Nov. 12, 1849: The committee reported it expedient to buy ten and a half acts of land, at fifty dollars per acre, of Leonard Bucknam. The town concurred, and empowered the committee to make the burchase.
March 4, 1850: “Voted 1 choose a committee to lay out and otherwise improve said lew burying-ground.” Also · voted to expend five hundred dolars accordingly.
After further examination of this land, the committee recommended an abandonment of thèqbove plan: and, March 10, 1851, the town voted to build in alms-house on said land.
July 19, 1852: The subject came behre the town; and Messrs. George W. Porter, Robert L. LUs, Paul Curtis, John B. Hatch, and Sanford B. Perry, wen chosen a committee “ to purchase land for a cemetery.” These gentlemen
examined several spots, and finally recommended one owned by Mr. Edward Brooks, situated nearly opposite the head of Purchase Street, in West Medford, and containing twelve acres. It has a varied surface of hill, valley, and plain ; is well covered with young oaks and beautiful forest-trees; its soil is dry, and not liable to injury from rain; the absence of ledges will make digging easy; and its retired and accessible position renders it peculiarly fit for such a sacred appropriation. The committee had obtained the consent of the owner to sell; and the price was five thousand dollars. They recommended the purchase ; and the town accepted and adopted their report, Aug. 16, 1852. Thus an extensive and beautiful cemetery is secured to future generations.
The committee declined further service; and Messrs. Sanford B. Perry, Paul Curtis, Edmund T. Hastings, George T. Goodwin, and James R. Turner, were chosen to attend to all further business connected with the subject. March 7, 1853, the town instructed the committee to build a receiving-tomb, to lay out roads and paths, to erect fences, and make such improvements as they see fit.
Oct. 13, 1853: The committee made their first report. They recommended that it be called Oak Grove CEMETERY. Among the rules and regulations are the following:
“ The cemetery shall be under the care of the selectmen, who shall appoint a superintendent. Any citizen, who may become the owner of a lot, must submit to the conditions : Fences appropriate to the place may be built to enclose lots. No lot can be used for any purpose, except the burial of the dead. No tree shall be cut down without the consent of the Cemetery Committee. Any funeral monument or structure may be erected, except a tomb. Trees, shrubs, and flowers may be planted and cultivated. Any improper structure or offensive inscription shall be removed by the committee. No tomb shall be built within the cemetery, except by special vote of the town. No burials for hire. No disinterment, except by permission.
“The town-clerk shall be clerk of the Cemetery Committee. All deeds shall be executed in behalf of the town. The lots shall be apprized; numbered, and recorded, and the right of choice sold at public auction. Lots may afterwards be sold by the selectmen. Duplicate keys of the gates and receiving-tomb shall be kept by the officers. No dead body shall remain in the receiving-tomb, during warm weather, more than twenty days. No grave for any person, over twelve years of age, shall be less than five feet deep. All burials in the free public lot shall be in the order directed by the committee. No body shall be disinterred without permission of the committee. No carriage shall be admitted within the grounds, unless by permission, or when accompanied by the owner of a lot. No refreshments, smoking, unseemly noise, discharge of fire-arms, or disorderly conduct, allowed. Vehicles admitted must be driven no faster than a walk. All writing upon or defacing of structures, all breaking of trees or gathering of flowers, forbidden. No individual shall be the proprietor of more than two lots. The town of Medford will for ever keep in good repair the fence, gates, carriageways, and footpaths of the cemetery, and make a secure place of burial for the dead, and an attractive resort for the living."
This brief abstract of the report of the committee shows the town anxious to make the most generous appropriations for this sacred and cherished object.
March 6, 1854: The town accepted and adopted the report of the committee appointed to direct the preparation of the cemetery for use. The items of their bill of costs will sufficiently explain the very beginning of the noble work. They are as follows: Paid for land . . . . . . . . . . . $5,000.00
„ labor on streets . . . . . . ... 774.89
- $7,130.60 Due Mr. Wadsworth, for plan, &c. .. $275.00
Denis and Roberts, for iron gates .. 60.00
$7,510.60 The place was solemnly consecrated by religious services, performed within the enclosure, Oct. 31, 1853; and then the lots were offered for sale at public auction. Thirty-one lots were sold on the first occasion for $634.50; and the highest price given for choice was $15; and the lowest, $1. The highest price fixed upon the best lots was $20; and the lowest price for a lot, $5.
February, 1855: The whole number of lots sold is fifty. one; and their cost was $1,025.
Several who bought commenced immediately the preparation of their grounds, and erected fences, and planted flowershrubs and evergreens. Though just opened, there are already indications of good taste and costly expenditure. We trust that the inhabitants will be disposed to build a chapel, of Christian architecture, within twenty years; and surround the land, not with an iron fence, but a granite wall, eight feet high. Medford has faithfully performed a sacred duty in procuring this rural cemetery. The place must ere long become populous; and, as one after another goes there to claim his tenantry in the dust below, may each surviving mourner be comforted in the assurance, that mortality is swallowed up of life!
CRIMES AND PUNISHMENTS.
We trust, that, for the honor of Medford, records under this head will not be found numerous. We must tell the whole truth, let honor or infamy be the consequence; and we regret to learn that our plantation was so soon the scene of a mortal strife. In the Colony records, we thus read, Sept. 28, 1630: “A jury of fifteen were impanelled, concerning the death of Austen Bratcher" (Bradshaw). “ Austen Bratcher, dying lately at Mr. Cradock's plantation, was viewed before his burial by divers persons. The jury's verdict: We find that the strokes given by Walter Palmer were occasionally the means of the death of Austen Bratcher; and so to be manslaughter.” Palmer was bound over to be tried at Boston for this death ; and, on the 9th of November, the jury bring in a verdict of “Not guilty.”
At a court held at Watertown, March 8, 1631, “ Ordered that Thomas Fox, servant of Mr. Cradock, shall be whipped for uttering malicious and scandalous speeches, whereby he sought to traduce the court, as if they had taken some bribe in the business concerning Walter Palmer.” This Thomas Fox was fined four times, and seems to have been possessed by the very demon of mischief. He left the plantation without his benediction.
June 14, 1631: “At this court, one Philip Radcliff, a servant of Mr. Cradock, being convict, ore tenus, of most foul, scandalous invectives against our churches and government,