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The present work, "Historic Homes and Places, and Genealogical and Personal Memoirs Relating to the Families of Middlesex County, Massachusetts," presents in the aggregate an amount and variety of genealogical and personal information and portraiture unequalled by any kindred publication. It contains a large amount of ancestral history never before printed. The object, clearly defined and well digested, is threefold:
Firstly: To present in concise form the history of Middlesex County Families.
Secondly: To preserve a record of the prominent present-day people of the county. Thirdly: To present through personal sketches, linked with the genealogical narrative, the relation of its prominent families of all times to the growth, singular prosperity and widespread influence of Middlesex County.
There are numerous voluminous narrative histories of the county in one form or other, making it unnecessary in this work to even outline its annals. What has been published, however, principally relates to the people in the mass. The amplification necessary to complete the picture of the county, old and nowaday, is what has been supplied in large degree by these Genealogical and Personal Memoirs. In other words, while others have written of "the times," the province of this work is to be a chronicle of the people who have made Middlesex County what it is.
Unique in conception and treatment, this work constitutes one of the most original and permanently valuable contributions ever made to the social history of an American community. In it is arrayed in a lucid and dignified manner important facts regarding the ancestry, personal careers and matrimonial alliances of those who, in each succeeding generation, have been accorded leading positions in the social, professional and business life of the county. Nor has it been based upon, neither does it minister to, aristocratic prejudices and assumptions. On the contrary, its fundamental ideas are thoroughly American and democratic. The work everywhere conveys the lesson that distinction has been gained only by honorable public service, or by usefulness in private station, and that the development and prosperity of the county of which it treats has been dependent upon the character of its citizens, and the stimulus which they have given to commerce, to industry, to the arts and sciences, to education and religion -to all that is comprised in the highest civilization of the present day-through a continual progressive development.
The inspiration underlying the present work is a fervent appreciation of the truth so well expressed by Sir Walter Scott, that "there is no heroic poem in the world but is at the bottom the life of a man." And with this goes a kindred truth, that to know a man, and rightly measure his character, and weigh his achievements, we must know whence he came, from what forbears he sprang. Truly as heroic poems have been written in human lives in the paths of peace as in the scarred roads of war. Such examples, in whatever line of endeavor, are of much worth as an incentive to those who come afterward, and such were never so needful to be written of as in the present day, when pessimism, forgetful of the splendid lessons of the past, withholds its effort in the present, and views the future only with alarm.
Middlesex County offers a peculiarly rich and interesting field for such research as is here undertaken. Its sons "native here, and to the manner born,"-have attained distinction
in every department of human effort. An additional interest attaches to the present undertaking in the fact that, while dealing primarily with the people of this county, this work approaches the dignity of a national epitome of genealogy and biography. Owing to the wide dispersion throughout the country of the old families of Middlesex, the authentic account here presented of the constituent elements of her social life, past and present, is of far more than merely local value. In its special field it is, in an appreciable degree, a reflection of the development of the country at large, since hence went out representatives of historical families, in various generations, who in far remote places-beyond the Mississippi and in the Far West -were with the vanguard of civilization, building up communities, creating new commonwealths, planting, wherever they went, the church, the school house and the printing press, leading into channels of thrift and enterprise all who gathered about them, and proving a power for ideal citizenship and good government. And, further, the custodian of records concerning the useful men of preceding generations, of the homes and churches, schools, and other institutions, which they founded, and of their descendants who have lived honorable and useful lives, who have aided in placing such knowledge in preservable and accessible form, have performed a public service in rendering honor to whom honor is due, and in inculcating the most valuable lessons of patriotism and good citizenship.
It is to be regretted that indifference or unwise prejudices on the part of a very few have interfered with a proper representation of their families, but it is confidently asserted that this work covers all that can be reasonably expected from finite efforts. No matter has been printed that was not first submitted to persons most interested, for revision and correction, and many articles have been submitted to several individuals in order to secure most complete criticism and revision. In some cases family traditions have been put forward, and in these there is sometimes conflict; where such was the only authority, effort has been made to reconcile as far as possible.
The County of Middlesex, Massachusetts, was incorporated in the year 1643, the same year with the counties of Essex and Suffolk, and, up to the year 1655, included eight towns -Charlestown, Cambridge, Watertown, Sudbury, Concord, Woburn, Medford, and Linn Village, or Reading-with, at the utmost, a few thousand souls. The population to-day is over 565,000, included within forty-three towns and eleven cities, with a territorial area of eight hundred square miles.
Charlestown, the oldest town in the County, and one of the oldest in the State, was set'tled in 1628, and was incorporated in 1635.
The settlement of Cambridge was begun in 1631, and it was originally designed to be made the chief town or city of the Colony.
Watertown began to be settled in 1630, the same year with the settlement at Boston.
Sudbury was settled in 1638, and incorporated in 1639.
The settlement at Concord was begun in the fall of 1635.
Woburn was incorporated as a town in 1642.
Medford was given her official name in 1630.
Reading was incorporated in 1644.
Within these historic towns were early clustered a considerable portion of that representative class of Puritan pioneers who planted the Colony that has figured so prominently in moulding and shaping this illustrious Nation.
Concord, Lexington, Cambridge, and Charlestown, are names quite familiar to the student of the early history of this country.
The descendants of those early settlers are especially proud of their ancestry; for, whatever the part allotted them, even the most trivial service rendered should command respect and admiration, and those now residents of Middlesex County should esteem it a precious
privilege to have their names associated with such an illustrious group of families. Such an honorable ancestry is a noble heritage, and the story of its achievements is a sacred trust committed to its descendants, upon whom devolves the perpetuation of the record.
The courage, fortitude and activity displayed by those hardy pioneers during the early settlement of Massachusetts and New England, were most remarkable. And, when the struggle for National Independence came, the sons and daughters of their illustrious sires were not wanting in patriotism and devotion, freely sacrificing comforts, life and property, that they might bequeath, to the generations that should follow them, a free and liberal government, "of the people, by the people, and for the people."
The people of Middlesex County were, from the beginning, prime leaders in every patriotic movement, and in all events working for the elevation of humanity. It was within this very territory of Middlesex that the opening scenes of the War of the American Revolution were enacted. Here it was that the contending armies met upon the field of battle, when the terrible struggle began. And it was of the men of Middlesex County that Captain Isaac Davis said, when it was proposed to dislodge the British at the Old North Bridge at Concord, on that famous nineteenth day of April, “I haven't a man that is afraid to go." The men of Middlesex on that eventful day conducted themselves like heroes. And, after the battle, the Provincial Congress, convened at Watertown to take measures "for the salvation of the Country," and, on the twenty-third day of April, voted "that an army of thirty thousand men be immediately raised, and that thirteen thousand six hundred be raised by this Province." It is the deeds and lives of such men, and of their descendants, that form the thrilling and enchanting portion of our country's history.
It is the consensus of opinion of gentlemen well informed and loyal to the memories of the past and the needs of the present and future, that the editorial supervision of William Richard Cutter, A. M., has ensured the best results attainable in the preparation of material for the proposed work. For more than a generation past he has given his leisure to historical and genealogical research and authorship. He was the author, with his father, of "History of the Cutter Family of New England," 1871-1875; and "History of Arlington, Massachusetts," 1880; and also edited Lieutenant Samuel Thompson's "Diary While Serving in the French and Indian War, 1758," 1896. He also prepared a monograph entitled "Journal of a Forton Prisoner, England," sketches of Arlington and Woburn, Massachusetts, and many art on subjects connected with local historical and genealogical matters for periodical literature. He prepared a "Bibliography of Woburn," which was published, and he has been engaged as editor of various historical works outside of his own city. For many years he has been associated with Mr. Arthur G. Loring in the preparation of genealogies which have been published in the "New England Historical and Genealogical Register." In the present work, he has contributed a valuable chapter on "Historical Homes and Places in Middlesex County." Grateful acknowledgment is here made to him for his services, which have been in the nature of a labor of love. Similarly, Mr. Arthur G. Loring is entitled to gratitude for much painstaking work.
It is believed that the present work will prove a real addition to the mass of literature concerning the families of historic old Worcester County, and that, without it, much valuable information contained therein would be inaccessible to the general reader, or irretrievably lost, owing to the passing away of many custodians of family records, and the consequent disappearance of material in their possession.