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indefinitely applied. It was afterwards the intention of some to unite Mr. Cradock's, Mr. Winthrop's, Mr. Wilson's, and Mr. Nowell's lands in one township, and call it Mystic.
Medford, until 1640, was surrounded by Charlestown, which embraced Malden, Stoneham, Woburn, Burlington, Somerville, a part of Cambridge, West Cambridge, and Medford. At à Court holden at Boston, April 1, 1634 : “ There is two hundred acres of land granted to Mr. Increase Nowell, lying and being on the west side of North River, called Three-mile Brook” (Malden River). “There is two hundred acres of land granted to Mr. John Wilson, Pastor of the Church in Boston, lying next the land granted to Mr. Nowell on the south, and next Meadford on the north.” Medford bounds would have run to Malden River, had not these four hundred acres of land intervened. Outside of this narrow strip were the first boundaries of Medford on the north-east. The north and north-western bounds were the “Rocks;” that range of granite hills, of which Pine Hill forms a part. The line ran north of Symmes' Corner, and struck Symmes' river. The Pond and Mystic River formed the southern and western boundaries.
As proof of these statements, we have the following records: General Court, July 2, 1633. — “It is ordered that the ground lying betwixt the North River and the Creek on the north side of Mr. Maverick's, and so up into the country, shall belong to the inhabitants of Charlestown.” “General Court holden at Newtown, March 4, 1634. All the ground, as well upland as meadow, lying and being betwixt the land of Mr. Nowell and Mr. Wilson, on the east, and the partition betwixt Mystick bounds on the west, bounded with Mistick River on the south and the Rocks on the north, is granted to Mr. Mathew Cradock, merchant, to enjoy to him and his heirs for ever.”
General Court, March 3, 1635. — “Ordered, That the land formerly granted to Mr. Mathew Cradock, merchant, shall extend a mile into the country from the river-side in all places.”
General Court, March 3, 1636. — “Ordered, That Charlestown bounds shall run eight miles into the country, from their meeting-house, if no other bounds intercept, reserving
the propriety of farms granted to John Winthrop, Esq., Mr. Nowell, Mr. Cradock, and Mr. Wilson, to the owners thereof, as also free ingress and egress for the servants and cattle of the said gentlemen, and common for their cattle on the back side of Mr. Cradock's farm.”
General Court, Oct. 7, 1640. — “Mr. Tynge, Mr. Samuel Sheephard, and Goodman Edward Converse, are to set out the bounds between Charlestown and Mr. Cradock's farm on the north side of Mistick River" (Stoneham and Malden).
"Mystick Side” was the first name of Malden ; " Mystick Fields” the name of the land on the south side of Mystic River from Winter Hill to Medford Pond.
April 13, 1687. — The inhabitants of Medford appointed three gentlemen, who, in conjunction with three appointed by Charlestown, were directed to fix the boundaries between the two towns.
That Committee report as follows: “We have settled and marked both stakes and lots as followeth: From the Creek in the salt marsh by a ditch below Wilson's farm and Medford farm to a stake and heap of stones out of the swamp, then turning to a savin-tree and to three stakes more to heaps of stones within George Blanchard's field with two stakes more and heaps of stones standing all on the upland, and so round from stake to stake as the swamp runneth, and then straight to a stake on the south side of the house of Joseph Blanchard's half, turning then to another oak, an old marked tree, thence to a maple-tree, old marks, thence unto two young maples, new marked, and thence to three stakes to a creekhead, thence straight to the corner line on the south side of the country road leading to” – (Malden). How soon must such marks and bounds be effaced or removed!
Oct. 23, 1702. — Medford voted to petition the General Court to have a tract of land, lying in the south of Andover, (two miles square) set off to it.
May 24, 1734. — Medford voted, “ That the town will petition for a tract of land beginning at the southerly end of Medford line, on the easterly side of said town, running there eastward on Charlestown to the mouth of Malden River, there running nearly northward on the said Malden River to the mouth of “ Creek Head Creek," there running with said creek to Medford easterly line. And also a piece of land on the northerly side of said Medford, bounded easterly on Malden line, northerly on Stoneham and Woburn line, westerly on the line betwixt Mr. Symmes’ and Gardner's farm, running there northward to Mystic Pond, with the the inhabitants thereof."
March 31, 1735. — Voted “to choose a Committee to join with the Committee of Charlestown, to settle the bounds of the said town on the north-westerly part of said bounds, which have been disputed.”
May 14, 1744. — Voted to choose a Committee to settle with Charlestown the bounds between the two towns “near the place called Mystic Pond.”
“March 7, 1748. — Put to vote to know the mind of the town, whether they will choose a Committee to use their best endeavors to have the lands with their inhabitants, now belonging to Charlestown, added to this town, which now are on the southerly and northerly sides of this town.”
This was not successful; but, May 14, 1753, the effort was renewed ; and the town asks for 2,800 acres, and was successful.
The bounds, mentioned in the petition to the General Court, were as follows: “On the southerly side, those that the town petitioned for in the year 1738; and those on the northerly side, bounded northerly on Stoneham, on the town of Woburn and by the northerly bounds of Mr. William Symmes' farm, and easterly on Malden.” The bounds designated in the petition of March 6, 1738, are as follows: "The southerly tract lying in Charlestown bounded northerly with the (river) ... westerly with the westerly bounds of Mr. Smith's, Mr. Joseph Tufts' and Mr. Jonathan Tufts' farms, and then running from the southerly corner of Mr. Jonathan Tufts' farm, eastward straight to the westerly corner of Col. Royal's farm ; again westerly with the westerly bounds of Col. Royal's farm ; again southerly with its southerly bounds, and then running from the south-easterly corner thereof eastward straight to Medford River.”
The action of the Legislature is thus recorded : “ April 18, 1754. John Quincy, Esq., brought down the petition of the town of Medford, as entered the 17th December last, with a report of a Committee of both houses. Signed — Jos. Pynchon.”
“Passed in Council ; viz.: In Council, April 17th, 1754. Read and accepted, with the amendment at A; and ordered, That the lands within mentioned, together with the inhabitants thereon, be and hereby are set off from the town of
Col. Royakunning fradford Riveire is thus down the ember last,
Charlestown to the town of Medford accordingly. Sent down for concurrence. Read and concurred.”
Thus on the 17th of April, 1754, Medford was enlarged by all its territory now lying on the south side of the river.
March 13, 1771. – A committee was chosen by the inhabitants of Medford, “to run the lines anew between Charlestown and Medford, and set up some monuments between the towns." A joint Committee met, and set up twenty-two posts as metes. For present bounds, see Walling's map.
Nov. 11, 1647. — The town shall be perambulated once in three years.
Medford Pond. — This beautiful sheet of water, though cousin-german to the sea, is as quiet and retired as if it never received a visit from the Atlantic waters. It is about three miles in circumference, half a mile in width, and nowhere more than eighty feet in depth. It is divided into nearly equal parts by a shoal called the Partings, where was a road used by several persons, some of whom are yet living. The lands on each side are slightly elevated, and in future times will doubtless be filled with country seats. A brook, originating in Lexington and flowing through West Cambridge, enters the south pond at the western edge; and another, flowing through Baconville, enters the north pond at the north: these are all the fresh-water tributary supplies of which it can boast. Every twelve hours, it is raised from two to six inches, by the inflowing tide through Mystic River; said river finding its source in the bosom of these waters, and its end in the sea.
On the Medford side dwelt the Indian chief; and that place was a favorite resort of the tribes visiting the sea-shore, or fishing for shad and alewives.
Spot Pond. — “Feb. 7, 1632. The Governor, Mr. Nowell, Mr. Eliot, and others, went over Mistic River at Medford; and, going N. and by E. among the rocks about two or three miles, they came to a very great pond, having in the midst an island of about one acre, and very thick with trees of pine, beech [birch]; and the pond had divers small rocks standing up here and there in it, which they therefore called Spot Pond. They went all about it upon the ice. From thence (towards the N. W. about half a mile) they came to the top of a very high rock, beneath which (towards the N.) lies a goodly plain, part open land and part woody, from whence there is a fair prospect; but, it being then close and rainy, they could see but a small distance. This place they called Cheese Rock, because, when they went to eat somewhat, they had only cheese (the Governor's man forgetting, for haste, to put up some bread)."
Cheese Rock may be easily found on the west side of Forest Street, half a mile N. W. of the northerly border of Spot Pond.
This river is felt to belong to Medford ; for we may almost say that it has its beginning, continuance, and end within the limits of our town. Where or why it obtained its name we know not. It presented the decisive reason to our ancestors for settling on this spot. We apprehend it is very much to-day what it was two hundred years ago. The tide rises about twelve feet at the bridge, and about eight at Rock Hill; but it rises and falls so gently as not to wear away the banks, even when ice floats up and down in its currents.
The first record we have concerning it is Sept. 21, 1621. On that day, a band of pilgrim adventurers from Plymouth came by water “to Massachusetts Bay ;” and they coasted by the opening of our river. In their report they remark: “Within this bay the salvages say there are two rivers ; the one whereof we saw (Mystic) having a fair entrance, but we had no time to discover it.”
Johnson says: “ The form of Charlestown, in the frontispiece thereof, is like the head, neck, and shoulders of a man; only the pleasant and navigable river of Mistick runs through the right shoulder thereof."
Rivers were the first highways; and, as it was easier to build a canoe than open a road, trade took the course of navigable streams. The building of small barks on the banks of Mystic River, as early as 1631, shows its superior claims to other places. Trade with Boston commenced before 1645, and the river was the thoroughfare. Long open boats were used for transportation, and they substituted the tide for oars
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