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made perhaps the scene of a noble tragedy by some gifted writer; and, above all, it would then be a proper monument to the memory of Medford's first friend and founder.
The other old brick house, built probably about the same time and by the same persons, was not large. It stood about five hundred feet north of Ship Street, and about five hundred feet west of Park Street, opposite Mr. Magoun's ship-yard, and was taken down many years ago by that gentleman.
The third house was built by Major Jonathan Wade, who died 1689. It was sometimes called, like the other two, a “Fort,” and is yet standing in good repair, and used as a comfortable residence. It is seen from the main street as we look up the “Governor's Lane.” Its walls are very thick, and it is ornamented with what have been called “port-holes." When first built, it was only half its present size: the addition was made by Benjamin Hall, Esq., about seventy-five years ago.
That Medford is rich in monuments of its early history is a gratifying fact, saddened only by one circumstance, which is, that we have lost our first records. We must therefore rely on our early records which are not written with ink. From Pine Hill, south-westerly, to Purchase Street, there are scattered remains of houses, now almost lost in the forest, which prove that there were living in this region many families. The cellars are, in some places, so near together as to show quite a social neighborhood. When some of the “Scotch Irish,” who settled Londonderry, N. H., in 1719, became dissatisfied with that place, they came into this quarter; and many of them settled in Medford. They built some of the houses, whose cellars yet remain among us, and introduced the foot spinning-wheel and the culture of potatoes. They were as scrupulous about bounds and limits in these wilds as they had been in Scotland; hence the remarkable stone walls which still stand to testify to their industry. They were Scotch Presbyterians in religion ; and the Rev. Mr. Morehead, of Boston, frequently came to preach to them. Some of them migrated to the District of Maine ; and there was recently living a General Jacob Auld, of that district, who was born about a mile north-east of Medford meetinghouse, whose father was Irish, and left Londonderry about 1730. These people kept up many of their European customs; and tradition says, that once, when a young child died among them, they held a genuine “ Irish wake ; ” a conse
quence of which was so much drunkenness and fighting that the civil authorities were obliged to interpose. A few of these adventurers remained, and became good citizens; and among their descendants we may name the Fulton, Wier, Faulkner, and McClure families. The mother of the late Mrs. Fulton was a Wier.
There was a “Pest-house,” so called, erected in 1730, near the “ Bower,” south of Pine Hill, where remains of a cellar mark the spot, and near which three graves of those who died of the small-pox are still visible. The land was owned by John Bishop, Esq.
These oldest ruins of Medford may not be so interesting as those of Delphi or the Roman Forum ; but they serve to show that a part of our town, long since covered with wood, was formerly the abode of an industrious and thriving population.
The three brick buildings, mentioned above and called forts, having descended to us as specimens of ancestral architecture, may well compare with any specimens left in the neighboring towns. They show that the style of building here was ample and strong ; which style has been fashionable ever since. The house of Col. Royal was the most expensive
in Medford. Built by his father, after the model of an English nobleman's house in Antigua, it has stood a tempting model to three generations. Mr. Thomas Seccomb's large brick house, on the north side of the market-place, was the first copy of Col. Royal's. Rev. Mr. Turell's house, now owned by Jonathan Porter, Esq., is a good example of another style; also the one now owned and occupied by Gorham Brooks, Esq. The old dilapidated mansion of the late Dr. Simon Tufts, south-east corner of High and Forest Streets, is one of the oldest and best specimens of the second fashion which prevailed in New England. It has three stories in front, and the large roof behind descends so as to allow of only one story in the rear. It seems to lean to the south, to offer
Dr. Simon Tuft's House, 1725. 1
its back to the cold storms of the north. One enormous chimney in the centre of the building serves every need, and keeps the house steady in high winds. The house so long occupied by Gov. Brooks, and in which he died, is a newer specimen of the same model. The next fashion, introduced as an improvement upon these, was the broken or "gambrelroofed ” houses, many of which still remain. See a specimen at the end of this volume. These soon gave place to the present models, which are importations from distant ages and all civilized countries, not excepting Egypt and China.