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oughness of research. These English writers gleaned all that was practically known of the early period in their own country. I name a few titles:
"The History and Antiquities of the Town and County of the Town of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, including an Account of the Coal Trade of that place, and embellished with engraved views of the Publick Buildings, &c." By John Brand, M. A., London, 1789. Two vols.
“A Descriptive and Historical Account of the Town and County of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, including the Borough of Gateshead.” By E. Mackenzie. Newcastle-upon-Tyne, 1827. Two vols. bound in one.
"The Beauties of England and Wales; or, Original Delineations, Topographical, Historical, and Descriptive, of each County.” By John Britton and Edward Wedlake Brayley. London, 1801-1818. 18 vols., and several additional parts.
"The Beauties of Scotland: containing a clear and full account of the Agriculture, Commerce, Mines, and Manufactures; of the population, cities, towns, villages, &c., of each County”. By Robert Forsyth. Edinburgh, 1805-08. 5 vols.
“The Beauties of Ireland: being Original Delineations, Topographical, Historical, and Biographical, of each County." By J. N. Brewer. London, 1825-26. 2 vols.
"Historical Collections, being General Collections of Interesting Facts, Traditions, Biographical Sketches, Anecdotes, &c., relating to the History and Antiquities of Every Town in Massachusetts, with geographical descriptions.” By John Warner Barber. Worcester, 1839. "A Gazetteer of Massachusetts, containing descriptions of all the Counties, Towns, and Dis
tricts." By John Hayward, Boston, 1846. The “New England Gazetteer”, by the same author (1839), is practically an earlier edition of the above work.
The town and city of Charlestown, before it was set off to Boston, was the oldest town in Middlesex county, Massachusetts, and was settled directly by English immigrants under the leadership of Governor John Winthrop. It included originally within its bounds Somerville, Malden, Everett, Stoneham, Winchester, Woburn, and Burlington, and a large part of Arlington and Wilmington. Latterly its limits were confined to the peninsula bearing the name of Charlestown, and now it has lost its identity in that of Boston, and has been annexed to Suffolk county.
James F. Hunnewell, an authority on the subject of architecture, in his “Century of Town Life”, a history of Charlestown, Massachusetts, from 1775 to 1887, has given an account, among many other things, of the old houses of that place. The town was burned in 1775 by the British, but it had had a history from 1629. In the matter of buildings before the conflagration of 1775, Hunnewell says: “We can feel pretty sure that, according to the Provincial way, English fashions were followed as far as means allowed, and that the town was not better than one in England made during the earlier
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half of the (eighteenth) century, when the style of building in such was plain, or at best quaint, and the structure apt to be small.” The people were mainly Congregationalists in religion, and with few exceptions English in origin. There was little of the fashionable element of that day among them. The richest were the few engaged in commerce; next the distillers; next the bakers, etc.
Mr. Hunnewell in a dozen pages describes a variety of old houses, mostly built of wood, of the following style of architecture: (1) houses two stories high, with narrow windows, a huge chimney in the middle, and low rooms having plastered ceilings crossed by stout painted beams (a specimen of architecture that dated as far back almost as 1688); (2) houses of wood, two stories high (built after 1775); (3) an oblong house of two or three stories, with an end at the sidewalk of the street,-at the inner end a wing, generally of two stories; (4) another form was a square structure of the same height, with a similar wing, the front door being usually on the street. There were structures of this sort later of brick.
Thomas B. Wyman, writing at a period about the year 1879, says of Charlestown: “There were, fifty years ago, four large mansions, square and two stories high, of the same general outline, with extensive grounds (1) James Harrison's; (2) Nathan Adam's; (3) Nathan Bridges; (4) Nathan Tufts'. Thomas Bellows Wyman, “Genealogies and Estates of Charlestown," (Boston, 1879) p. 8.
Mr. Hunnewell's “Century of Town Life", and the “Bibliography of Charlestown and Bunker Hill”, by the same writer, contain much of value to one who has an interest in Old Charlestown; and Mr. Timothy T. Sawyer's book with the title "Old Charlestown”, also contains much concerning the old houses.
As one rides through its streets, here and there may be seen a house of the earlier type, but these, owing to modern changes, are, alas, rare; and none of these structures are old, in the stricter sense; for many towns in Middlesex county have to-day to their credit, houses which in comparison are really ancient. Let us pass, therefore, to the next oldest town, which is Watertown.
The planting of Watertown was made the subject of an article by Dr. Henry Bond, in Appendix I. of his "Genealogies of the Families and Descendants of the Early Settlers of Watertown, including Waltham and Weston”, published in the year 1855. This monumental work is familiar to the antiquaries of the older generation now living. Sir Richard Saltonstall and the Rev. George Phillips were the leaders of the company of about forty male English immigrants who in 1630 proceeded about four miles up the Charles, river, and made the first settlement of Watertown. On the seventh of September, 1630, it was incorporated. It was the first of the inland towns of that day. It was occupied by its planters before any attempt was made to settle Cambridge (“The New Town”), and its limits at that time were considered indefinite, since Charlestown and Watertown territory were at first considered to be contiguous, and regarded as embracing all that territory which now constitutes Cambridge, Arlington and Lexington, since nothing was then, or as yet, defined or specially granted. This is rendered extremely probable by the language of the early authorities. The lines of Watertown, when matters were a little more settled, were like those of Charlestown, and later of Cambridge, to "run eight miles into the country from their meeting-house, within the lines already set out." The next action on the matter was that “Watertown eight miles shall be extended upon the line between them (Watertown) and Cambridge, so far as Concord bounds give leave." The river bounds of Watertown “shall also run eight miles into the country in a straight line, as also the river doth for the most part run”, to take in “all the land of that (north) side of the river, which will not fall into the square five miles granted to Dedham”, etc. This complicated matter, more fully explained
in the article by Dr. Bond, settled itself by 1635 into the limits of an area embracing the present towns of Watertown, Waltham, Weston, the largest part of Lincoln, and that part of Cambridge lying east of Mount Auburn Cemetery, between Fresh Pond and Charles river. Watertown later was one of the smallest townships in the State, having been reduced by repeated excisions to its present dimensions.
In Watertown, where there was comparatively more room when the settlement was made, the lands were distributed in homestalls and homelots. These were collectively called the small lots and they were scattered over nearly the whole of the present territory of Watertown. There were within these limits a few tracts of land, of uncertain dimensions, called commons, devoted to the common use or benefit. With them was the meeting-house lot of forty acres, called sometimes the meeting-house common. A small lot on the river was reserved for a public landing. With a few exceptions of grants by the court, the lots appear to have all been granted and allotted by the freemen of the town. It is probable that none of those allotted to the first planters exceeded sixteen acres, and they varied from this to one acre, their average being probably about five or six acres.
Next followed the general grants of lands, called the great dividends, the land being divided into four divisions, each division being 160 rods in breadth. Another name for these four divisions was "the squadrons." These divisions began next to the small lots, and thus began the nuclei of the later farms.
Dr. Bond names the following houses as standing in the year 1855: The Nathaniel Bright house, built in the latter part of the seventeenth century, and in 1855 probably the oldest one in the town, its descent as to ownership passing through four Nathaniel Brights to Samuel Bright, and later to Nathaniel Francis Bright. It had an immense chimney in the centre, and was of the sort described by older writers as of “two stories in front and one story in rear.” The house of Captain Abraham Browne, with the exception of the ancient "Nathaniel Bright" house, was probably in 1855 considered older than any other in the town. Concerning this house Dr. Bond said, “The 'new part', next the road, was built and occupied by Captain Abraham Browne, when he relinquished the old or south part to the use of his son Samuel.” For a view of this house, see Bond's “Watertown”, p. †126.
Authorities: Bond, Henry, “Genealogies of the Families and Descendants of the Early Settlers of Watertown", 1855; second edition, 1860. Francis, Convers, “Historical Sketch of Watertown”, 1830. Harris, W. T., “Epitaphs from the old Burying-ground in Watertown”, 1869. Nelson, C. A., in his “Waltham, Past and Present”, gives an historical sketch of Watertown, 1630-1738. Watertown, “Centennial Celebration”, 1876; “Watertown Records" (first and second books of town proceedings, etc.) 1894; game (third book of town proceedings) 1900; same (fourth book, ditto) 1904; same (precinct affairs, etc.) 1906. Whitney, S. F., "Historical Sketch of Watertown" (275th anniversary) 1906.
BY MARGARET L. SEARS
Authorities: Article by Mr. William H. Savage, in "New England Magazine", April, 1892, called, “Annals of an Ancient Parish”. Scrap Book, by Rev. Mr. Rand. Mr. Alberto Haynes.
The Coolidge House was kept by Nathaniel Coolidge from 1764 to 1770, and afterwards by “Widow Coolidge”, during the Revolutionary times. Washington spent the night here on his way to take command of the Continental forces about Boston. He wrote: “We lodged in this place (Watertown) at the house of Widow Coolidge, near the Bridge, and a very indifferent one it is".
The Brown House on Main street, near Hersom, is probably the oldest house in Watertown, and was built in 1623. Abraham Brown was one of the early settlers, and was a trusted and useful citizen and land surveyor. The house is occupied by his descendants. The inner walls are of brick. Jonathan Brown was a representative of the town in Provincial Congress.
The Marshall Fowle House.formerly stood on Mount Auburn street, corner of Marshall street, and was removed to Marshall street. Rumor says that General Warren slept here the night before the battle of Bunker Hill. Martha Washington came here “in high state in her own carriage and four, her colored postilions arrayed in gorgeous liveries, making Mount Auburn street the scene of a right royal parade. At the Fowle House, Mrs. Warren received and entertained her for two hours, when she proceeded to the Headquarters of the army at Cambridge”.
The Cochrane House was built about 1725, and is on the river road, known as the Waltham road. Some of the wounded at the Concord fight were taken here April 19, 1775.
The birthplace of Ann Whitney, the sculptress, has been removed to Water street. Ann Whitney made the statue of Leif Ericson, and belonged to the same family as Eli Whitney, maker of the cotton gin. The latter was of Watertown stock. The house is now inhabited by the poorer classes.
The Bemis House was built before the Revolution. The boy Nathaniel Bemis, and other boys, helped themselves to the first guns they could find and went to the battle of Lexington, without being enrolled. Theodore N. Russell, of the United States Arsenal, formerly occupied the house.
The Segar House was built by Elizabeth Segar, in 1794. Connected with it in the rear is an extensive brick shop where in 1820 the New England Lace Company had their factory. The street was called Lace Factory Lane. In 1823 the factory was removed to Ipswich. The originators of the factory, with their workmen, came from Nottingham, England, as their factory there had been broken up by those who were opposed to lace being made by machinery, instead of by hand, under the Heathcote patent. Subsequently the property belonged to Stephen Perry, and was the boyhood home of William Stevens Perry, Episcopal bishop Iowa. In this house the first services of that denomination in Newton and the parish of Grace Church were organized.
The Bird Tavern on the point of land between Belmont and Main streets, near Mount Auburn Station, is over two hundred years old, and was for many years the residence of Joseph and Horace Bird. In Revolutionary times it was known as the Richardson Tavern, and later as Bird's and Bellows'. The interior was quaint and rambling, and included a ball room and large old-fashioned fireplaces. It is now an apartment house.
The Cushing Mansion is one of the notable houses of Watertown, and was built in 1844 and 1845. Mr. James Sharp furnished the mansion and Mr. Cushing sent him to Europe to purchase part of the furniture.
The Haunted House owned by General Winthrop.
A distinct municipality from its early congeners, Charlestown and Cambridge, since 1630, Medford was first known as Mistick, which as early as 1631 was named by its early settlers Meadford. Its first settlement was evidently attempted in 1630, and that year is gernrally given as the date of its formal establishment. Governor Matthew Cradock, the first governor of Massachusetts Bay Colony, started a plantation there as early as that date, for the purpose of fishing and to plant and cultivate the soil. The town records, however, go no further back than 1673, and the previous pages are lost. The greater part of Medford was owned by Cradock, and its situation in regard to its title as a town was accounted “peculiar” even by the General Court. Ship-building was early introduced upon the Mistick river, and this industry was a source of prosperity and honor to Medford from about 1800 to 1873. To Governor John Winthrop belongs the honor of building the first ship whose keel was laid in the Massachusetts Colony, and that vessel was built on the banks of the Mistick, probably not far from the Governor's house at the Ten Hills. It was called the "Blessing of the Bay", and launched July 4, 1631. Another feature of the place was brick making; another was ardent spirits. The plantation at Medford flourished until 1641, when the majority of the Cradock planters sought other fields, and the number left were so 'few and poor that it was difficult to maintain the town. It was not, under these conditions, practicable for the town to maintain a church till 1713.
In view of the original and unusual conditions of its settlement, it was never incorporated & town. Although some speak of it as incorporated in 1630, that is an error. After 1715 its numbers increased, and its population performed its part in the different wars of the eighteenth century A view of the principal street in 1839 shows many buildings of the provincial character, many of them of the pre-Revolutionary period. A large number of these houses still remain in Medford, and form a characteristic feature of the place. One hundred years ago it was a small town still, numbering about one hundred houses, "pleasantly situated”, near to which was the fine “country seat belonging to Isaac Royall”, it being at that date “one of the grandest in North America." To-day it is a lively and progressive city, with a population of nearly twenty-one thousand inhabitants.
For many years the most direct route of land travel from the north to Boston was through the town of Medford and over Mistick Bridge. The amount of travel was large and taverns in Medford were plenty, and many of them of high reputation, even as early as 1686, when the famous John Dunton visited one of them and commented on its excellent provisions for his welfare and entertainment. In other respects, in that year there was little else remarkable to be
seen in Medford, which, in the words of Dunton, was (1686) "but a small village consisting of
few houses.” One of the most famous taverns was the Fountain Tavern, which had an existence as far back as 1713. It derived its name from being described as “at a place formerly called the Fountain." This was before the year 1751. The old building was eventually taken down. The property was once owned by the ancestor of Senator Benjamin F. Wade.