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first manufactory in Medford. They are very large, very badly made, and burned to the hardness of granite. Thus fixed, in the most favorable position, Gov. Cradock's men passed the first winter; and were ready to proceed to business in the spring of 1631.
As we sit in our safe and comfortable homes, how difficult is it for us to estimate the perils and labors of our ancestors ! How faintly do we appreciate those daily toils by which they rescued from the forest the fields we now reap! How inadequate is our measurement of those multiform deprivations through which they secured to us our present abundance ! Above all, how imperfect is our appraisement of those anxious endeavors to establish the civil institutions by which we are protected, and to cement those social relations in which we are blessed! Theirs were the labors of sowing; ours, the joys of harvest. In their life's great picture, poverty and suffering were the dark clouds prepared as the background for the exhibition of their Christian graces. They had made up their minds on the duties of their mission, and they “endured' as seeing Him who is invisible.” They did not expect that a natural Virginian bridge would be thrown over all the deep gulfs of human life. They meditated, prayed, resolved, acted, and conquered. Honor virtutis præmium.
We confess to hear with small patience some of the fashionable and flippant denunciations of our pilgrim ancestors. They are uttered sometimes by those who should know better, and sometimes by those who are sumptuously feeding from tables which these ancestors have spread for them. If we disregard the early education and conventional habits, the peculiar exposures and straightened circumstances of our forefathers, it may then be very easy, judging them by our rules, to impugn their motives, criticize their plans, ridicule their errors, and magnify their faults ; but we think it would show our wisdom and magnanimity much better if we should do for posterity, in our situations, as much as they did for it in theirs.
To illustrate the peril supposed to exist in the early settlement, we copy the following order of the General Court. Sept. 3, 1635: “It is agreed, that hereafter no dwellinghouse shall be built above half a mile from the meetinghouse, in any new plantation, without leave from the Court."
Our Medford ancestors kept a jealous eye upon new com
ers, and enforced the following order, passed Sept. 6, 1638 : “ Ordered, That constables shall inform of new comers, if any be admitted without license."
That the Company in London had fixed firmly one point, the following extract from their second letter, May 28, 1629, will sufficiently prove: “The course we have prescribed of keeping a daily register in each family will be a great help and remembrance to you and to future posterity, for the upholding and continuance of this good act, if once well begun and settled, which we heartily wish and desire as aforesaid.” This referred to a spiritual espionage which they had resolved should be held over every family.
It will be interesting here to see how the heirs of Mr. Cradock disposed of his large estate, and to trace how it came into the hands of Medford settlers.
Mr. Cradock's widow, Rebecca, married Richard Glover, who, March 1, 1644, rented to Edward Collins one-half of his land “in Medford in New England ;” viz.,“ houses, edifices, buildings, barns, stables, out-houses, lands, tenements, meadows, pastures, findings, woods, highways, profits, commodities, and appurtenances."
Mr. Cradock's widow married her third husband, Rev. Benj. Whitchcot, D.D., in 1652. Damaris, Mr. Cradock's daughter, married Thomas Andrews, leather-seller, of London. Samuel, his brother, was elder of Chapleton, and had three sons. By instruments, dated June 2 and Sept. 6, 1652, they quit-claim to Mr. Collins "all that messuage, farm, or plantation, called Meadford in New England” by them owned.
Aug. 20, 1656: Mr. Collins, after residing twelve years on his farm in Medford, sells to Richard Russell of Charlestown, sixteen hundred acres of it, with his mansion-house and other buildings. This track was bounded by Mystic River on the south, by Charlestown line on the north, by trees standing near a brook on the west, and by the farms of Nowell and others on the east. “ Collins covenants to save Russell harmless from all claims from the heirs of Cradock, unto whom the said plantation was first granted” by the Court. No specification is given of the number of “cattle” or of “tenements.” At this time, Mr. Collins deeds other portions of his farm to other persons.
May 25, 1661: Richard Russell, who had occupied the “mansion-house" five years, sold it, with twelve hundred acres of his land, to Jonathan Wade, who lived near the
bridge on the south side of the river. After the death of Mr. Russell, his heirs sold three hundred and fifty acres to Mr. Peter Tufts. The deed is dated April 20, 1677. This tract is now the most thickly settled part of Medford.
The names of early settlers are found in their deeds of land. Oct. 20, 1656: James Garrett, captain of the ship “Hope,” sells, for £5, to Edward Collins, “forty acres of land on the north side of Mistick River, butting on Mistick Pond on the west.”
March 13, 1657: Samuel Adams sells “to Ed. Collins forty acres of land; bounded on the east by Zachariah Symmes, south by Meadford Farm, on the south and west by James Garrett.” Paid £10.
Ed. Collins sells to Edward Michelson five and a half acres on the highway to the “oyster-bank” and “long meadow.”
March 13, 1675: Caleb Hobart sells to Ed. Collins, “ for £660, five hundred acres in Meadford, now in possession of Thomas Shepherd, Daniel Markham, Thomas Willows, (Willis); bounded by Charlestown northerly, Mistick River southerly, Mr. Wade's land easterly, and Brooks's and Wheeler's lands westerly.”
March 29, 1675: Ed. Collins sells “a piece of land to Daniel Markham ; bounded by the river on the south, by Joshua Brooks on the west and north, and by Caleb Hubbard on the east.”
Jan. 3, 1676: Ed. Collins sells thirty acres of land to George Blanchard. Ed. Collins was now seventy-three years old.
The “ Blanchard Farm” was a large one, and is frequently mentioned in the records.
Mr. Nicholas Davison, the mercantile agent of Mr. Cradock, and who lived near Mr. Wade, petitioned the General Court, in the name of Mrs. Cradock, for £676, which she said was due to her estate. The Court replied, that “the government were never concerned in Mr. Cradock's adventure," and therefore could not allow any such claim. Another attempt was made in 1670, and met with a similar fate. It was not long afterwards that the General Court took into consideration the munificent “disbursement of Mr. Cradock in planting the Colony," and resolved to show their grateful estimate of his worth; and accordingly gave his widow, then Mrs. Whitchcot, one thousand acres of land; and they relinquished all further rights.
1658: "In answer to a petition of the inhabitants of Mistick, the Court, Oct. 19, decided that they should have half proportion with the rest of the inhabitants of Charlestown in the commons lately divided, unless Charlestown leave the inhabitants of Mistick and their lands to Malden, and the latter accept them.”
We have here the names of the first persons who purchased of Mr. Cradock's heirs; viz., Edward Collins, Richard Russel, Jonathan Wade, and Peter Tufts. These laid out new lots and made many sales; and, being added to the settlers already on the ground, the town may be said to have thus had two beginnings. The descendants of Mr. Tufts became the most numerous family in Medford ; those of Mr. Wade were few, but rich: he came over in June, 1632. The names of Collins and Russell survived only a short period. The first bounds of lots cannot now be traced.
The Squa Sachem, residing in Medford, Aug. 1, 1637, gives lands to Jotham Gibbon, aged four, son of Ed. Gibbon. Jotham was born in 1633, and afterwards lived in Medford. For the deeds of these lands, as proofs of legal possession, see our account of “Indians."
Edward Collins, who bought so much land of Mr. Cradock's heirs and resided in Medford a long time, was the first specimen of a genuine land-speculator in the Massachusetts Colony. Besides his frequent purchases and sales in this neighborhood, we find him making investments elsewhere : for example, Dec. 10, 1655, he sells to Richard Champney five hundred acres in Billerica. In 1660 he sold four hundred acres for £404, in West Medford, to Thomas Brooks and Timothy Wheeler. These lands, held under the old Indian deed, have continued in possession of the Brooks family to the present day.
Jonathan Wade, who for several years paid the highest tax in Medford, bought land on the south of the river, near Mystic Bridge. Oct. 2, 1656, he bought four hundred acres of Mathew Avery, then living in Ipswich.
The purchasing of land was the most important business transacted by our early fathers. As a specimen of their keen appetite and steady perseverance, we give a list of purchases by Mr. Peter Tufts, chiefly on “ Mystic Side: ”1664, June 22. Bought of Parmelia Nowell.
commons, 24 1674, Sept. 2%. Benjamin Bunker . 17 cow-commons.
1677, April 20. Bought of Richard Russell
350 acres. 1679, Nov. 16. A. Shadwell
32 1681, Sept. 20. S. Rowse .
87 1684, June 8.
» Christopher Goodwin 16 Dec. 13.
Isaac Johnson .1 cow-common. 1685, June 20.
. 3 cow-commons. 1687, April 21.
3 acres. 1691, Oct. 5.
4 cow-commons. 1693, Aug. 20. J. Frost.
104 acres. 1694, May 17.
101 1696, Nov. 3. John Melvin
73 Dec. 8.
„ John Cary (Walnut Tree Hill)31 1697, April 15.
. three pieces. May 10. John Dexter
9 acres. 1698, May 30.
1680, Jan. 30. To S. Grove, in Malden
20 acres. 39 12} ,
Mr. Peter Tufts, born in England, 1617, was the father of the Tufts family in Medford. He died May 13, 1700, aged 83. He was buried in Malden, where his tomb may now be seen. Joseph Tufts writes thus of him :
“But he who sleeps within this sacred grave,
He felt the tyrant's sting. Deep in his soul
Here placed him free, beyond a king's control.” The old histories speak of “God's blessing on the endeavors of the first twenty years. The first settlers had “ houses, gardens, orchards; and for plenty, never had the land the like; and all these upon our own charges, no public hand reaching out any help.