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the lands granted in our patent, we pray you endeavor to purchase their title, that we may avoid the least scruple of intrusion.”
Although our Medford ancestors took every precaution to conciliate their copper-colored neighbors, and although hostilities did not commence between the settlers and the natives till Philip's War, nevertheless the chiefs felt jealous of the whites. Of this there is as little doubt as there is that they sometimes had reason for it. The erection of forts in this plantation, and the placing of palisades about their houses, testify to the apprehensions of our fathers. Is it not natural to suppose that between the red men and the whites there might be suspicion? The Indians led lives of hunting and war, and they saw the white men banded together for trade and self-defence. What so common in a savage breast as suspicion? The English appeared to the Indians to be dangerous intruders; and every new act was misconstrued into a premeditated encroachment. Philip's War (1675), as it brought the great question of supremacy to its crisis, gave form to the feelings of both parties, and settled the terms of future companionship. Six hundred whites were slain, which was one man in every eleven; six hundred buildings were burned, and twelve towns utterly destroyed. The Indians believed that they were called to fight for their wives and children, their homes and hunting-grounds. They felt themselves to be great, as they knew themselves to be brave. They held themselves to be chieftains of the rivers and the waterfalls, lords of the mountain-pass and the mountain-peak, owners of the illimitable forests, and conquerors of the panther and the bear; and they felt that all was held by a titledeed, which ran back farther than human dates and parchment registers. For such men, with such a faith, to succumb to foreign intruders they felt to be worse than death.
Philip's army numbered three thousand five hundred; and our town furnished its quota of men and money to oppose it. Not a soldier nor a penny was furnished by the mother country to protect or aid the whites in that eventful struggle.
To the honor of the first settlers, of Medford be it said, that they followed the advice of Mr. Cradock; and no instance of injustice or oppression towards the Indians can be traced in our history. The town often passed laws touching those who dwelt among them; but those laws were executed with kindness. There were some here as slaves ; for
the General Court in early times passed a law that any Indian convicted of crime, or taken in war, should be sold as a slave. The law of 1646 gave them some trouble. It ran thus: “It is ordered and decreed that no Indian shall, at any time, pow wow, or perform outward worship of their false gods, or to the devil, in any part of our jurisdiction.” Penalty £5. In 1698, there were four thousand one hundred and sixtyeight Indians in Massachusetts; and there were enough in this neighborhood to keep our fathers wide awake. It was common to go armed to the ploughing field ; and Mac Fingal, in his way, gives us the following history of those times :
“For once, for fear of Indian beating,
Wood describes the Indians of this region thus:
“ First, of their stature; most of them being between five and six feet high, straight-bodied, strongly composed, smooth-skinned, merry-countenanced, of complexion somewhat more swarthy than Spaniards, black-haired, high-foreheaded, black-eyed, out-nosed, broad-shouldered, brawny-armed, long and slender-handed, outbreasted, small-waisted, lank-bellied, well-thighed, flat-kneed, handsome grown legs, and small feet. In a word, take them when the blood brisks in their veins, when the flesh is on their backs, and marrow in their bones, when they frolic in their antique deportments and Indian postures, and they are more amiable to behold (though only in Adam's livery) than many a compounded fantastic in the newest fashion. It may puzzle belief to conceive how such lusty bodies should have their rise and daily supportment from so slender a fostering; their houses being mean, their lodging as homely, commons scant, their drink water, and nature their best clothing.”
Remnants of the Indian tribes were common till the beginning of the present century. In Medford they lived in “ Turkey Swamp.” So late even as our day, farmers in Medford have ploughed up stone arrow-heads, stone drills, and other Indian weapons and tools. No Indian necropolis has yet been discovered, though one probably exists on the borders of our pond. The last Indian here was “ Hannah Shiner,” a full blood, who lived with “Old Toney," a noble
souled mulatto man, who lived on the Woburn Road, in West Medford, opposite where the town schoolhouse once stood. Hannah was kind-hearted, a faithful friend, a sharp enemy, a judge of herbs, a weaver of baskets, and a lover of rum. Toney was once well off; and on Thanksgiving Day, when he was to give a rich dinner to a dozen of his colored friends, his house took fire, and was wholly consumed. They, of us, who remember the old liberated slaves, remember how much they suffered from winter's coldness. The black man's skin is made to bear the heat, the white man's to bear the cold; and both races flourish best by regarding the law. “Deb Saco” was another specimen whom many remember, and who died about twelve years ago. “Sulk and Lucy" were the last couple in West Medford of the liberated slaves. They lived near the road leading to West Cambridge, in a small building, whose roof was turf, and which obtained the title of “Salt Box.” We know that all these persons were tenderly cared for by their neighbors, and their last days made comfortable and happy.
We fear that the modern scheme of gathering all the Indians within the limits of one free state, and that state to be wholly theirs, with all the powers and privileges of other states, will not succeed. It will be found extremely difficult to persuade all the chiefs to abdicate and destroy their crowns; to annihilate the deadly hostilities of ancient tribes; to change the established habits of hunting, and substitute hard labor, and to reconcile the opposing religious beliefs.
This noble and peculiar people seemed doomed to retreat, before the resistless march of the Anglo-Saxon race, till they reach the shores of the Pacific; and we can imagine the last Indian, the sole survivor on this western continent, standing on a lofty crag, which overhangs the sea, and there calling to mind the sad and eventful histories of his wasted countrymen. He thinks of the time when the wigwams of his brethren were scattered over the entire region, from the spot where he stands to the borders of the Atlantic coast, and each wigwam filled with a happy and prosperous family. He thinks of their ancestral rights and their traditional glories, their feats in the hunt and their valor in the fight, their calumet of peace and their dance of victory. He remembers the deeds of his father and the love of his mother, the sweet devotion of his wife, and the noble promise of his children ; and he sees now that all these have vanished. He sees that
all those joys are over, those battles fought, those councilfires extinguished, and those hopes prostrate in the dust ; and, instead thereof, he sees the white man, who has wrought all these desolations, rushing towards him. For a moment he forgets himself. The avenging ire of the Indian rises within him, the blood crimsons his manly cheek, and he seizes with convulsive grasp his tomahawk and bow; but the next instant tells him it is too late. All is lost. He drops his tomahawk on the ground, shoots his last arrow towards the east, lifts his right hand in adoration of the Great Spirit, and then, all unconquered, leaps from the precipice into the stormy sea, and closes the history of his race.
Medford owes its first settlement to the influence of Governor Cradock and Governor Winthrop. The first gentleman was the richest individual attached to the New England Company; and he gave his money with the freedom of an enthusiast. In vol. ix., No. 2, of the New England Genealogical Register, is the genealogy of Gov. Cradock. He lived in Swithin's Lane, London, near London Stone; and “had a house furnished at Rumford, in Essex.” The first that we hear of him is as a distinguished merchant, taking a deep interest in the Puritan cause and in the settlement of New England. He was especially instrumental in forming the
Company of Massachusetts Bay,” whose organization was the first systematic effort for the permanent settlement of this Colony. To obtain a charter was a primary object; and he was among the foremost in petitioning the king. The boon was finally granted by Charles First, March 4, 1628–9, and called the “Charter of the Massachusetts Bay in New England.” In this important document, the king says: “And for the better execution of our royal pleasure and grant in this behalf, we do, by this present, for us, our heirs and successors, nominate, make, and constitute our well-beloved the said Mathew Cradock, to be the first and present Governor of the said company." The Governor was to be chosen annually; and, May 13, 1629, Mr. Cradock was elected to that office. Whenever a “Court” was held in London (and they were held very often), the Governor presided. The Court consisted of the Governor, Deputy-Governor, Secretary, and Assistants. They were the government of the
company, which was a commercial establishment in England, not vested with political power as rulers. Oct. 20, 1629 : Mr. Cradock was chosen an Assistant. In all subscriptions for helping the Colony, he gave the largest sum; and to show how extensively he loaned for special purposes, we find the Court of Assistants, at London, Nov. 20, 1629, voting to pay him £800, to reimburse what he had paid for sailors' wages and other incidental expenses. In the annual Registers he was styled the “first Governor of the Colony ;” but he had not the full legislative and executive powers afterwards granted to Gov. Winthrop; for he did not need them.
July 28, 1629: On this day Mr. Cradock brought before the Court the important proposition, namely, to transfer the government of the Colony from London to New England. This bold measure, which would change an English commercial corporation into an organized transatlantic government, was second only, in importance, to the coming of the “ Mayflower.” The company say, in 1629: “ The propagation of the gospel is the thing we do profess above all to be our aim in settling this plantation." How rapidly does the mind travel from this prophetic fact to its natural consequences! We see a positive provincial government, secured by a royal charter, taking root among Anglo-Saxon Puritans, three thousand miles distant from arbitrary masters; and we readily infer that self-government will gradually strengthen till national independence is evolved. To Mr. Cradock belongs the honor of this movement in London; and that honor is not lessened by the fact that he was not going to America. His zeal in the project is proved by his subsequent labor and contributions to promote it. Two of the ships which sailed with the "Arbella” belonged to him. They were the “ Ambrose” (Capt. John Lowe) and the “ Jewel ” (Capt. Nicholas Hurlston); and in these vessels came Mr. Cradock's fishermen, coopers, and shipwrights; and in them, doubtless, came most of the first settlers of Medford from Suffolk and Essex.
We will here give a copy of a letter which will be read with deep interest :
Letter from Mathew Cradock, Governor of the Company; addressed
to Mr. John Endicott, then in New England. Worthy sir, and my loving friend: All due commendations premised to yourself and second self, with hearty well-wishes from