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The Story of Somerville is not intended 
to be a comprehensive or a detailed history of 
Somerville. It is composed of a few facts and 
incidents, written with affectionate interest, in 
the hope that those who read it may love our 
city, and feel a just pride in its past and pres- 
ent, and bright anticipations for its future. 

Thanks are due to Mr. Charles D. Elliot for 
historical data and revisions ; to Mr. Charles C. 
Farrington for facts and helpful suggestions; 
to Mr. William H. Hills for valuable assistance 
in literary methods ; to Mr. William E. Brig- 
ham for an account of the Brigham family, and 
to the Somerville Journal for the use of cuts 
for illustration. 

The authorities consulted in this work are: 
Drake's " Old Landmarks of Middlesex 
County," Drake's '^ History of Middlesex 


County/' Frothingliam's '^ History of Charles- 
town," ^' The Memorial History of Boston,'^ 
" Somerville Past and Present/' Potter's '^ His- 
tory of ISTarragansett," and the Reports of the 
School Committee, from 1812 to the present 

time. M. A. H. 

June, 1903. 


I. The Beginning . 

II. Early Settlers . 

III. The Hills of Somerville 

IV. Early Customs . 
V. The Powder House . 

VI. Trouble with England . 

VII. Old Homesteads 

VIII. Concord and Lexington . 

IX. Bunker Hill 

X. Revolutionary Fortifications 

XL The Streets 

XIL The Burning of the Convent 

XIII. The Schools 

XIV. Separation from Charlestown 
XV. Companies in the Civil War 

XVI. The Railroads . 

XVII. Libraries .... 

XVIII. The City Charter . 

XIX. The New Charter . 

XX. The Industries of Somervill 

XXI. Eminent Residents . 

XXII. The Churches . 

XXIII. Newspapers 

XXIV. The Historical Society . 
XXV. Great Storms . 

References .... 




























The Story of Somerville 


ISToT many years ago a queer little girl lived 
in Boston, and like all Boston girls she liked the 
study of history. Her teachers gave her the 
history of the United States. After she read 
it she said : ^' This is not the beginning." Then 
they gave her English history. When she fin- 
ished that she said : '' This is not the begin- 
ning." ^^ Well, then you must go back to the 
Garden of Eden." 

In our story of Somerville we shall go back 
farther than the Garden of Eden, back to the 
time when the earth was too cold to have a 


garden. There was an age when " the earth 
was without form and void." The surface 
gradually hardened, and after centuries a coat 
of ice covered the greater part of it. The same 
little girl one day made a visit to Tufts Col- 
lege and there she saw a large flat stone covered 
with fine parallel lines. She asked how the 
stone happened to be marked in that peculiar 
way, and one of the professors told her that the 
scratches were made by the stones embedded in 
a slowly moving ice-river coming from the Arc- 
tic regions. After hundreds of years the ice 
melted, and left these stones all over the coun- 
try. It was a long time before the. ice-cap 
melted, and the climate slowly changed, and 
the land on which we now live became suitable 
for the habitation of man. 

We think different races lived here, but we 
know very little about any of them, except the 

" The English nation by right of prior dis- 
covery acquired possession of a large extent of 
land in N'orth America. The Government gave 
this land to those of its citizens who were ven- 


turous enough to undertake the settlement of 
an almost unexplored wilderness. Priority of 
discovery gave them no right over the inde- 
pendent natives, or to the soil until they had 
fairly acquired it of its possessors." ^ 

In April, 1606, King James I. divided the 
country in America, claimed by England, into 
two portions. The south half he allotted to a 
London company, the north to a company estab- 
lished at Plymouth, in the west of England, 
and called, in 1620, the Council of Plymouth. 
The north part, as regranted in 1620, included 
the land between 40° — 48°, north latitude, and 
from ocean to ocean. 

In 1614, John Smith sailed up the Charles 
River. He saw about three thousand straight- 
haired, copper-colored Indians, called Aber- 
ginians. These Indians called their homes 
Mishawum. Their chief business was war, but 
the E'ew England Indians were civilized 
enough to plant corn-fields and build villages. 
" These villages could be built in a day and 
removed in an hour." ^ 

Captain Smith made a map of the neighbor- 


hoad, and the Prince of Wales, afterward 
Charles I. of England, looked over this map 
and gave English names to many points on 
the New England coast. " Only three of his 
names have held their original places on our 
shore. They are Plymouth, Cape Ann, and 
Charles Kiver." ^ 

Smith's map was the first on which the name 
of 'New England appeared. 

In March, 1628, the Plymouth Council gave 
a grant of land, including the territory of 
Somerville, to the Massachusetts Bay Company. 

In the same year a party of settlers from 
Salem came to a place, on the north side of the 
Charles River, full of Indians. They settled 
here, and built several houses, one of which was 
the Great House. Others soon followed. They 
called the place Charlestown, from the river. 
Charlestown included the peninsula, the isth- 
mus, and the mainland beyond. 

In the early records the peninsula is men- 
tioned as the ^' N"eck," and the mainland as 
" Without the Neck." 

" In the following year a hundred settlers 


began to build a town. Sagamore, the good and 
gentle Indian, gave them his free consent to 
form a settlement." * 

"The two Indian nations that owned this 
land were the Massachusetts and the Paw- 
tuckets. The great sachem of the Pawtuckets 
was Nanepashemet, or the New Moon. He was 
killed in 1619, on the banks of the Mystic River, 
by the Tarrantines, who were the enemies of 
the Massachusetts Indians. Squa-Sachem, his 
widow, continued the government. She afterward 
married Webcowit, the priest of the tribe 

In 1639, Squaw-Sachem and Webcowit deeded 
to Charlestown the territory now called Somei- 
ville, for twenty-one coats, three bushels of corn 
and nineteen fathoms of wampum. This deed 
is recorded in the Middlesex records and in the 
town records. 

In buying land in those times, according 
to an old English custom, the owner and the 
purchaser met upon the ground, and an actual 
bit of turf and a twig from a tree were given 
to the purchasers, in token that the purchase 
was complete. Sales "by turf and by twig 


were common in those days, and Somerville 
was perhaps bought with this form. 

" Wampum is the kind of money that the 
Indians used in trading with the whites and 
with each other. This money was made from 
the purple and white parts of the quahaug shell ; 
round, about a sixteenth of an inch thick, and 
a quarter of an inch in diameter, with a hole 
in the middle for stringing on strings of bark 
or hemp, the purple and white alternating on 
the string. The purple was of double the value 
of the white, and the whole was valued at five 
shillings per fathom." ^ The colored pieces 
were sometimes taken from the periwinkle. 
Strings of this wampum may be seen in Pil- 
grim Hall in Plymouth. 

A fathom is six feet in length. 

Among the early visitors to Somerville was 
Miles Standish. 

" The Memorial History of Boston " says : 
" On the afternoon of Wednesday, the twenty- 
ninth of September, 1621, a large open sail- 
boat, or shallop, as it was then called, entered 
Boston Harbor, coming up along the shore from 


the direction of Plymouth. In it were thirteen 
men, — ten Europeans, with three savages act- 
ing as their guides. The whole party was under 
the immediate command of Captain Miles 
Standish, and their purpose was to explore the 
country in and about Massachusetts Bay. Early 
the next morning the party made ready to 
extend their explorations to the mainland. The 
Sachem Obbatinewat then undertook to guide 
the party to Squaw Sachem, who lived some- 
where on the Mystic. The party did not reach 
her home. They landed and explored the 
country in the neighborhood of Medford, found 
ISTanepashemet's deserted wigwam, and a pali- 
sade enclosure within which he was buried, and 
bought some skins from some Indian women, 
but were obliged to return without having made 
a treaty with any one save Obbatinewat, who 
was equally afraid of the Squaw Sachem and 
the Tarrantines.'' 



Among the early settlers of our town were 
John Woolrich, — an Indian trader who built 
a house and fenced in a small portion of land 
about a mile and a half from Charlestown 
Neck, probably in the vicinity of Dane Street, 
— Richard Palsgrave, the first physician in 
Charlestown, and Edward Jones. 

Rev. Abner Morse, in his ^^ Brigham 
Genealogy,'' claims Somerville as the residence 
of Thomas Brigham, the Puritan. He says: 
^' In 1648, there were laid out to him seventy - 
two acres ^ on the rocks ' upon the Charlestown 
line. In 1648, he bought of William Hamlet 
ten acres in Fresh Pond meadow, on the north- 
east side of the great swamp. Of these he took 
immediate possession, and built upon the 
former. By the help of Peter B. Brigham, Esq., 


of Boston, the rocks have been found, and the 
place of his lost habitation has been identified. 
It is now in Somerville, about one-third of a 
mile south of Tufts College and one hundred 
rods east of Cambridge Poor House. On the 
southwest side of it is an uplift of clay slate, 
about seventy feet in height, overlooking Fresh 
Pond, one and one-half miles at the south. A 
few rods southwest of this there is another 
uplift, of the same formation and of about the 
same size and altitude, but the rock does not, 
as in the former, crop out. Yet it was doubtless 
one of 'the rocks' which constituted a well- 
known ancient landmark. For Thomas Dan- 
forth, as if connected with Thomas Brigham, 
inmiediately after the above assignment, pur- 
chased of Nicholas Wyeth forty-eight acres 
^ upon the rocks near Alewife meadow, having 
Thomas Brigham on the north.' This lot must 
have included the site of the Poor House, and 
probably the southwest rock, and by its bound- 
aries it contributes to the identification of 
Brigham's location, which had been ascertained 
from other evidence. 


^^ Here lived Thomas Brigham, contented 
with his portion of good things, with which the 
millionaire is not. Here he read his Bible and 
communed with his Kedeemer. Here he inter- 
ceded for his race, completed his victory, and 
left for his coronation. Hallowed be the place ! 
Hallowed be his memory! Here let his chil- 
dren assemble, to praise and to pray, to know 
and be known, and build up a friendship as 
enduring as ' the rocks.' " 

It should be said that while Mr. Morse be- 
lieves that Thomas Brigham lived in Somer- 
ville, other authorities say that he lived just 
across the line in Cambridge. 

John Winthrop, the first Governor of the 
Massachusetts Bay Colony who came to 
America, was granted the Ten Hills Farm in 
1631. It extended from Cradock Bridge, near 
Medford Centre, along the Mystic Kiver, nearly 
to Convent Hill, and included all the land 
between Broadway, as far as the Powder House 
on the south and the river on the north. 

^^ This was the Governor's Farm, where he 
lived, built, planted, raised cattle, and launched 


the first ship in Massachusetts, The Blessing 
of the Bay, July 4, 1631.'' ^ 

The Blessing of the Bay was built for trad- 
ing purposes, but soon after its launching it was 
armed, and was used as a patrol boat for the 
ISTew England coast. Hence it is .regarded as 
the beginning of our American navy. 

To show how lonely the place was at that 
time, the story is frequently told of Governor 
Winthrop's losing his way in the woods only a 
half-mile from his home. " He wandered about 
till, darkness coming on, he spent the night 
walking about and singing psalms, for he did 
not dare to go to sleep, for fear of wild beasts." 

Wild beasts were indeed plenty, for different 
travellers have mentioned lions, bears, moose, 
deer, porcupine, and raccoons. 

Ten Hills Farm became after a while the 
Governor's summer residence only. His friend, 
Mr. Blackstone, persuaded him to spend his 
v/inters in Boston, because there he could find 
a spring of pure water. 

It is nearly three hundred years since then, 
and some of the people of Boston have recently 


tried to induce the authorities to open for public 
use the old spring that furnished Governor 
Winthrop with pure water. The Old South 
Meeting-house stands on what was the Govern- 
or's lawn. 

The house at Ten Hills Fann in which Cap- 
tain Robert Temple lived is thus described: 
^' The mansion has a spacious hall and generous 
provision of large square rooms. As you ascend 
the stairs in front of you, at the first landing 
is a glass door, opening into a snug little apart- 
ment which overlooks the river. The wainscot- 
ing and woodwork were in good condition in 
1877 '' — the year in which the old mansion 
was torn do^vn. 

At the death of Governor Winthrop, in 1649, 
the property descended to his son, John, the 
Governor of Connecticut. 

In 1686, the Royal Charter was suspended, 
and it was announced that all lands reverted 
to the Crown, and that the owners must take 
out "' patents of confirmation " from the new 
government. The pastures were seized, and 
given to the supporters of Governor Andros. 


Many farms were taken from their owners and 
given to the friends of the new Governor. 
Ten Hills, however, had already become the 
property of a family named Lidgett, friends 
of Andros. A portion of it afterward was sold 
to Sir Isaac Royall. Five hundred and 'four 
acres of it are in Medford. The remainder, 
which is in Somerville, two hundred and fifty- 
one acres, was sold to Captain Robert Temple. 
After this it passed through several hands, till 
it became the property of Colonel Samuel 

All the owners of Ten Hills Farm have been 
governors, or relatives of governors, including 
the present owners of the land, the heirs of 
Governor Ames. 

^' Colonel Jaques was in habits and manners 
the type of the English country gentleman. 
At Somerville he had a deer park and a pack 
of hounds. He often wakened the echoes of 
the neighboring hills with the note of his bugle 
or the cry of his pack.'' 

The Governor's house was perhaps a mansion, 
but most of the " houses were built of hewn 


logs, with mortar made of mud and sand, and 
covered on top by beams and rafters, on which 
was fastened a thatching of reeds and boughs. 
This thatching was apt to catch fire from sparks 
flying out of the chimney/' ^ So dangerous was 
this mode of roofing that in 1633 it was agreed 
that all houses should be covered with slate or 
shingles, instead of thatch. 

Governor Winthrop was not contented with 
his large farm '^ on the Mistick," for in the 
early records we read that " April 3, 1632, the 
island [in Boston Harbor] called Conant's 
Island, with all the liberties and privileges of 
fishing & fowleing, was devised to John Win- 
throp, Esq., the p'sent Gov'n, for the terme 
of his life for the ffine of fforty shillings." 

The Governor was also required to plant an 
orchard and a vineyard there, and the island 
became kno^vn as the Governor's garden. 

In 1640, the title of the island was conveyed 
to the Winthrops, on condition of their paying 
two bushels of apples a year to the governor and 
the General Court. In 1696, a fort was built on 
it; it was aftenvard rebuilt and is now called 


Fort Winthrop. This is the island on which a 
powder-magazine exploded September 7, 1902, 
and in the explosion two citizens from Somer- 
ville lost their lives. 



The hills of Somerville were : — 

Convent Hill, or Mount Benedict, on the 
north side of Broadway, near Franklin Street. 
It is sometimes called Ploughed Hill, because 
the custom was to plough it, in a circle around 
the hill, turning the furrows always down the 
slope. This hill has been recently levelled, and 
the land has been laid out in lots. 

Asylum Hill, sometimes called Miller's Hill, 
or Cobble Hill, was situated in the southern 
part of the present city. It was bounded in 
later years on two sides by the Boston and 
Lowell railroad, and on the other two sides by 
the Fitchburg and the Grand Junction rail- 



Winthrop Hill was on the Ten Hills Farm. 
Very little of the hill remains. 

Winter Hill, the summit of which is on 
Broadway, near Central Street, has changed 
veiy little in shape and height. The origm of 
the name is unknown. 

Walnut Tree Hill, now College Hill, is un- 
changed. From its summit twenty-two cities 
and towns are plainly visible. 

Wild Cat Hill was on the border of Alewife 
Brook. It is easy to divine the origin of this 

name. ^, , t, j 

Quarry Hill is the site of the Old Powder 

House. . 

Strawberry Hill is mentioned once m the 
old records. It is supposed to be the high land 
near Kent Street. ' Professor Charles Eliot 
Norton's grove, just over the Cambridge line, 
is a part of it, and the part, in Somerville was 
cut away in the construction of Beacon Street. 

Central Hill is the site of the high schools. 
This land is called Middle Hill on some of the 
old maps of Eevolutionary times. 

Prospect Hill, on the east of Walnut Street, 


has been cut down to fill Miller's River. The 
city has taken the land for a public park, and 
on the summit is being erected a lofty tower, 
which shall be a memorial of the historic events 
connected with the hill. 

'^•From Charlestown Neck the marshes ex- 
tended to the shores of Miller's and Mystic 
Rivers, and from the foot of Prospect Hill to 
the foot of Convent and Winter Hills. Asylum 
Hill was a peninsula at high tide. Several 
creeks and brooks flowed from the higher land 
across these marshes to the river. Chief of 
these was Miller's River, named after Thomas 
Miller, who lived near it. This stream had 
its beginning in Cambridge, near Kirkland 
Street. A branch of Miller's River began its 
course on Highland Avenue, near Spring Hill 
Terrace, crossing Central Street near Cambria, 
and School Street near Summer Street, joining 
the main stream not far from Union 
Square. " ^^ 

In later years Miller's River became a very 
unpleasant stream, and by order of the city 


authorities it was filled with the earth taken 
from Prospect Hill. 

Alewife Brook, our western boundary, . then 
called by its Indian name, Menotomy River, 
is the outlet of Fresh Pond. It empties into 
Mystic River. 

The northerly side of Highland Avenue, be^ 
tween Albion, Lowell, and Central Streets, was 
once a bit of marsh called Polly Swamp. Here 
started a small stream, called Winthrop Brook. 
It flowed northeasterly, crossing Broadway, near 
the railroad bridge and Medford Street, in 
Medford, finding its way to the Mystic River. 

Farther on was Two-Penny Brook, probably 
so called on account of its insignificance. It 
rose on Broadway, opposite the Simpson estate, 
and flowed through the college estate, under the 
Lowell railroad, to the river. 

'' The main highways were laid out as early 
as 1630. The first road in Somerville was 
Washington Street, extending from the I^eck to 
Cambridge. The next was the easterly part 
of Broadway, called the road to Mystic, con- 
necting as early as 1637 by trail over, or 


around, Ten Hills Farm, with the ford and 
bridge then built at Medford Centre. 

^^ Broadway was extended many years later, 
over Winter Hill to Menotomy, or, as it is now 
called, Arlington. 

^^ Middle, or Barberry Lane, now Avon Place, 
ran from Cross Street into what is now High- 
land Avenue. At School Street it turned 
northerly ten rods, then continued westerly 
and ended in Central Street." ^^ 

The first inhabitants built on Town Hill, near 
Charlestown City Square. They had little 
gardens near their homes, but the grazing 
ground for their cattle was Somerville, which 
was called '' Cow Commons " and later '^ The 
Stinted Common." It remained a cow pasture 
till 1685. 

" As early as 1632, a herdsman had charge 
of the cows. He blew his horn from Town 
Hill every morning, from April to October, to 
collect the herd and to drive them to the best 
places on the Common. His salary for the 
year was fifty bushels of Indian corn." 

In 1685, the Stinted Common was divided 


into strips a fourth of a mile wide with num- 
bered rangeways between them. 

The first rangeway is now Franklin Street ; 
the second, Cross Street ; the third, Walnut ; the 
fourth, School; the fifth, Central; the sixth, 
Lowell ; the seventh. Cedar ; and the eighth, Wil- 
low Avenue. There were three others, running 
from Broadway, beyond Elm Street, into Med- 
ford. The land between these highways was 
cut up into famis. East Somerville was a large 
farming tract. These rangeways were origi- 
nally two rods wide, but the one corresponding 
to Cross Street was three rods wide, and there- 
fore was called '' Three-Pole Lane." (The old 
arithmetics used to teach, ^^ sixteen and one-half 
feet make one rod, perch, or pole.") 

Central Street has been called Eand's Lane; 
Lowell Street, White Street; Willow Avenue, 
Irving Street. 

The territory thus laid out extended from 
Washington Street, Bow Street, and Somerville 
Avenue to Broadway, and from the present 
Charlestown line to Elm Street. 


One of the early writers, speaking of this 
part of the country, says : — 

"It is very beantiful in open lands, mixed 
with goodly woods, and again open plains, in 
some places five hundred acres; some more, 
some less, not much troublesome for to clear, or 
for the plough to go in; no place barren but 
on the tops of the hills. The grass and weeds 
grow up to a man's face on the lowlands, and 
by fresh rivers abundance of grass, and large 
meadows, without any tree or shrub to hinder 
the scythe." 



The colonists had many customs that may 
seem very peculiar in our day. 

The Town Messenger watched all visitors, 
and gave notice to the Selectmen of their 
names, whence they came, and where they 

" The night-watch with great-coats, dark 
lanterns, and iron-shod staffs went their rounds, 
to warn all wayfarers to their beds, admonish 
the people who might chance to be abroad, or 
arrest evil doers." 

The watchman had an ancient custom of 
crying, " AlTs well ! " and the hour of the night, 
as he went his rounds, at the same time striking 
his staff upon the pavement. 

Doctor Bentley, of Salem, inquired through 


a newspaper if it would not be better ^' to cry 
out when all was 7iot well and to let well enough 
alone.'' ^^ 

In the meeting-house the women and men sat 
in separate seats. Clocks must have been scarce 
in those days, for the Town Messenger stood near 
the pulpit and turned the hour-glass to deter- 
mine the length of the service. 

They had some very curious laws, too. 

'^ If men took tobacco publicly, or privately 
in their homes before acquaintances or 
strangers, they were obliged to pay a fine. 
Young women were not allowed to wear short 
sleeves, or very wide ones. For profanity, one 
man had his tongue put into a cleft stick aiid 
kept there for half an hour. Church bells used' 
to ring at five in the morning and at eight in 
the evening, and people were obliged by law to 
be in their houses at nine." ^^ 

The hour must have been changed afterward, 
for in many old tOTVTis in New England, the 
church bells are rung at nine o'clock in the 
evening, and at noon. 

For wrong-doing the same punishments that 


were customary in England were used here: 
The Stock, the Gag, and the Ducking-Stool. 
The Stool was a chair, into which the victim 
was fastened, being then dipped three times in 
some convenient place of fresh, or salt, water, 
as the Judge decided. The Stocks stood in the 
Market Place. The prisoner sat here, exposed 
to the public view, with hands and feet fastened 
in an uncomfortable position. 

The most common method of travelling was 
on horseback, or by stage-coach. 

The wealthy families owned one or more 
slaves. In 1678, a vessel brought about fifty 
into Boston, mostly women and children, who 
were sold at prices varying from $50 to $100 
each. ^-^ 

The first general post-ofiice was established 
in 1710. 

All kinds of business and trades flourished 
here. In 1645, a mill was built at Charlestown 
E'eck, opposite Miller's Eiver. Among the vari- 
ous trades carried on here between 1630 and 
1650 were: Farming; fishing; coopering; tile 
making; brewing; rope and anchor making; 


charcoal burning ; the manufacture of salt ; and 
various kinds of mill work. 

A Town government was very early organized 
and local laws were enacted. The Town officers 
were the ^' Seven men, or Selectmen, Constables, 
Highway Surveyors, Town Clerk, Herdsman, 
Overseers of the Fields, and Chimney Sweep- 
ers." 15 

Every house had to be provided with ladders 
as a precaution against fire. Coal mines had 
not been discovered in this country at that time, 
and wood was the chief fuel. This caused a 
great deal of soot, which was apt to settle on 
the inside of the chimneys, and was very in- 
flammable. For this reason the law required 
the chimneys to be swept once a month in 
winter, and once in two months in summer. As 
the chimneys were often narrow, little boys were 
employed to get inside of them and sweep out 
the soot. 

'' In 1633, the town gave liberty to any of its 
inhabitants to build outside the Neck, and in 
1634, ten persons were granted ^ planting- 
ground ' on the south side of New Yowne High- 


way. New Towne Highway was the road to 
Cambridge, or Washington Street." ^^ 

'' In 1643, the Colony of Massachusetts Bay 
was divided into four shires, or counties, of 
which Middlesex, named after that county in 
England which includes London, was one. 

'^ It is the most populous [1873] of all the 
counties of the Old Bay State, and embraces 
within its limits the earliest battlefields of the 
Revolution, the first seat of learning in the 
English colonies, and the manufactures which 
have made American industry known' in every 
quarter of the globe." '^'^ 

Very few people know anything about the 
old canal, which was once the great water road 
between Boston and the falls of the Merrimac. 

The remains of the Middlesex Canal can be 
seen [1903] in the towns of Medford and 
Wobum, and some portions probably exist just 
north of Mystic Avenue, near the Charlestown 

In 1793, the construction of the canal was 
begun, but it was not wholly finished till 1804. 


Its starting-place in Boston was in the vicinity 
of Haymarket Square. 

When the railroad between Boston and 
Lowell was built, and trains could cross in an 
hour the distance for which the canal-boats re- 
quired twelve hours, the usefulness of the canal 
was over, and it was finally abandoned. 



One of the ancient landmarks in Massachu- 
setts is the Powder House. It ornaments the 
heading of our local newspaper, and is an 
important feature in the badge of the Heptorean 
Club. It stands on a little hill near the old 
quarry, close to the road leading from Winter 
Hill to Arlington. 

^' For solitary picturesqueness, in all 'New 
England, only the Old Mill in I^ewport can 
rival it. Long before you reach the spot its 
venerable aspect rivets the attention. Its novel 
structure, its solid masonry, no less than the 
extraordinary contrast with everything around 
it, stamp it as the handiwork of a generation 
long since forgotten." ^^ 

The hill on which the Old Powder House 


stands was awarded to Sergeant Richard 
Lowden, about nine or ten acres in all. After 
his death the estate was sold in 1703-4 to Jona- 
than Foskett, who sold it to Jean Mallet, a 
shipwright, afterward a miller, who probably 
built the curious old mill. Mallet died in 
1722-3, and he left the property to his son, 
Michael, who, in 1747, sold it to the State for 
a powder magazine. 

" The walls of the mill are two feet thick, with 
an inner structure of brick,, the outside of which 
is encased in a shell of blue stone, quarried 
probably near by. Within, it had three stages, 
or lofts, supported by oaken beams of great 
thickness, with about six feet of clear space 
between. The edifice is about thirty feet 
high, with a diameter of fifteen feet at its 
base." 1^ 

The view from the southwest door is a most 
charming one. ^ear the mill stood the farm- 
house, where the miller dwelt. The farmers 
for many miles around sent their corn to be 
ground at this mill. 

The Powder House is connected with one of 


the first hostile acts by General Gage in the 
Kevolutionary War, namely, the seizure of the 
powder belonging to the Province. The Major- 
General of the Massachusetts militia, William 
Brattle, suggested to General Gage that it would 
be well to gain possession of the powder stored 
in the old mill, x^bout half -past four on the 
morning of September 1, 1774, two hundred 
and sixty soldiers, under the command of Lieu- 
tenant-Colonel Madison, embarked from Long 
Wharf, in Boston, in thirteen boats, sailed up 
the Mystic Kiver, landed at Ten Hills Farm, 
marched to the Powder House, and removed all 
the powder in it. Some authorities say that 
it contained two hundred and fifty half -barrels, 
others that it had two hundred and twelve half- 
barrels. The powder was conveyed to Castle 

When the Province bought the Old Mill, only 
a quarter of an acre of land belonged to it. 
More than seventy years ago it was sold to 
I^athan Tufts. His children gave it, and sixty- 
five thousand feet of land, to the City of 
Somerville, in 1890. The City purchased sev- 


eral thousand feet additional, and it is now a 
delightful park. 

We may imagine the Kevolutionary heroes 
visiting this mill and listening to the legend 
connected with it. 

One dark evening, the miller heard the 
trampling of a horse near the door, and a faint 
voice crying '' Halloo ! " He rushed to the door, 
and saw a boy on horseback. The lad seemed 
weary, and the horse looked as if it had been 
driven very hard. It was not uncommon for 
farmers to give rest and shelter to belated 
travellers, so the miller kindly invited the boy 
to come in. He gave him a seat at the table 
where the family were at supper. The boy, 
however, had no appetite, and, after tasting 
a few mouthfuls, shrank into a corner near 
the fire. 

When supper was over and the farmer's wife 
sat down with her knitting, she tried to discover 
something about the boy's home, but he an- 
swered reluctantly and seemed very stupid. 

Soon bedtime came, and the farmer told the 
stranger to go up-stairs with his oldest son and 


share his room, but the boy implored the farmer 
to let him sit by the fire, unless he could have 
a room to himself. The farmer was angry, and 
thought the boy might have bad companions 
who wished to rob the family, so he told him 
if he felt too proud to sleep with any one he 
might sleep in the mill with the rats. The 
boy eagerly accepted the proposal, and the 
miller, carrying a lantern through the darkness 
and the mist, led the way. The youth climbed 
up the ladder to the first stage. The miller 
locked the door, and hurried away. The boy 
looked about him in the gloom and shivered. 
When he heard the rats rushing over the floor 
he burst into tears. Kneeling on the floor, he 
prayed for help and protection, and then, 
stretching himself on the hard boards, he sobbed 
till he fell asleep. 

In the middle of the night he was awakened 
by the clanking of keys and the sound of voices. 
' He seemed frantic at the sound. He hastily 
drew up the ladder by which he had ascended, 
and climbed to the upper loft. Soon the miUei 
appeared below, with a lantern. With him was 


another man. " Come down, Josephine," he 
called, ^' and I'll forgive yon for running away. 
I'll promise not to touch you." 

Josephine crept into the darkest corner and 
remained motionless. 

" Bring another ladder ! " screamed the en- 
raged stranger, ^' and I'll bring her down, or 
break her neck for the chase she has led me ! " 

With the help of another ladder, he climbed 
to the loft. He groped about to find the girl, 
but, unused to the place, and with so dim a 
light, he could scarcely see; but he could hear 
her creeping away from him, and he tried to 
seize her. He missed her, and fell against the 
edge of the opening. In his fright he grasped 
the rope that set the mill wheels in motion. 

'^ Let go the cord ! " cried the miller, ^' or 
you are a dead man ! " 

It was too late. The wheels could not be 
stopped in an instant, and when they were at 
rest, the man was taken out, injured beyoifd 

Josephine was an Acadian girl who had been 
entrusted to his care by the Government. He 


beat her, and treated her cruelly in many ways. 
When she could endure her suffering no longer, 
she disguised herself as a boy and ran away 
from him. As she was bound to him by law till 
she was of age, no one could take her away from 
him, or give her help if it were known who 
she was. 

Before noon the man died. The girl, who 
had no parents or near relatives, found a happy 
home with the miller and his wife. 

Such is the legend of the Powder House, as 
it has come down to us. It is based, however, 
on tradition, and not on historical authority. 



The rivers flowed peacefully to the sea. 
Fields of waving corn and golden grain lay 
in the autumnal sunshine. Rosy apples gleamed 
amid the green leaves in the orchard, and 
yellow pumpkins brightened the hillsides. 
The hardy, happy farmers, laboring in the 
fields, gathered the fruit, vegetables, and grain, 
looking forward to a winter of plenty and rest. 
Suddenly rumors filled the air. Men gathered 
in groups, to discuss the situation. Some talked 
of war, others counselled peace and submission 
to the mother country. 

This trouble had not been wholly unexpected. 
Some of the laws passed by Great Britain had 
been very oppressive, and the long-suffering 
people determined not to submit to them. 
Many of the colonists sided with the British 


government. They were called Tories. Mem- 
bers of the opposing party were usually called 
Americans, sometimes Yankees. 

The several towns had been quietly collecting 
arms and ammunition for a contest which all 
hoped would never take place. 

September 1, 1774, the powder was removed 
from the Powder House in Somerville, by the 
command of General Gage, and this act was the 
signal for a general revolt. 

'' Fifty thousand ' well-armed ' men had re- 
sponded to this alarm ; ' the whole country was 
in arms ' ; they came not only from Middlesex 
and the adjacent counties, but from the western 
part of the State, and even from Connecti- 
cut." 20 

The King's officers were astonished and 
troubled at the turn of events. They endeav- 
ored to allay the excitement of the people, and 
to pacify them; they said they were sorry to 
carry out laws so offensive to the colonists, and 
immediately resigiied their positions. The 
people, seeing no cause for further alarm, dis- 
banded and returned to their homes. 



The houses in Somerville at the time of the 
Revolution were as follows : — 

The Locke place was on Broadway, near the 
Charlestown line. The residence of the late 
Fitch Cutter was opposite. His house was 
moved to the corner of Sycamore and Forster 
Streets, where it now [1903] stands. There 
was a house on the southwest corner of Cross 
Street and one on the northeast corner of Tem- 
ple Street. On the summit of Winter Hill 
stood Joseph Tufts's house, now moved to 
Lowell Street. Daniel Tufts lived in a house 
which was, until recently, a part of the mansion 
on the north side of Broadway, opposite the 
Powder Magazine. The home of Oliver 
Tufts was owned and occupied by John Tufts. 


David Wood had a country house on Three-Pole 
Lane, near the northeast corner of Pearl Street. 
On the road from Charlestown to Cambridge 
was the house of Joseph Miller, on the eastern 
comer of Franklin Street. It is still standing. 

The second story of Mr. William Walker's 
house was one of the old dwellings. Fifty 
yards east of Mystic Street is the house where 
Mrs. Debby Shedd lived. It is still standing. 
There was a house on the southeast corner of 
Prospect Street. Pythian Block occupies the 
site of Ben Piper's Tavern. Samuel Choate's 
house was on the western side of Bow Street. 

Samuel Tufts occupied the old homestead 
still standing on the west side of Somerville 
Avenue, near Laurel Street. The widow Kand 
lived on the northeast corner of Central Street. 

Samuel Kent lived in the low hip-roofed 
house now standing at the corner of Garden 

^N'ear Willow Avenue is the residence of 
Timothy Tufts. ^' The house stands unchanged, 
though more than a hundred years old, and is 
still occupied by a Timothy Tufts." ^^ 


The John Tufts house on Sycamore Street 
stood on the edge of the road. It has recently 
been moved back a few feet, and a porch and 
steps have been added to the front entrance. It 
is now leased to the Somerville Historical 
Society. Meetings are held there, and many 
valuable souvenirs, either given, or loaned to 
the Society, are kept there on exhibition. The 
house is owned by Mrs. Annie Fletcher, the 
daughter of Oliver Tufts, and the wife of W. 
K. Fletcher, M. D. 


1 M^^ . 



"DuRmG tlie winter of 1YY4-5 England 
passed an act forbidding the importation into 
the colonies of arms and munitions of war. 
This act caused much alarm, and the Americans 
began to conceal and protect the supplies al- 
ready on hand. These were placed in different 
towns, one of which was Concord. General 
Gage discovered this, and determined to cap- 
ture the stores, and the Americans were equally 
determined to prevent the capture. A company 
of thirty men arranged with one another to 
watch 'two and two' the movements of the 
British. They found out that the British in- 
tended to start April 18 for Concord, to cap- 
ture the powder, and Paul Revere was sent by 
way of Charlestown to warn the inhabitants." ^^ 


He left Boston about ten o'clock Tuesday 
night, April 18, 1775, and paddled across tlie 
bay to Charlestown, where a friend was waiting 
with his horse. When the signal lights in the 
belfry of the old North Church told of the 
approach of the British, Paul Kevere rode 
swiftly to the Market Place in Charlestown, 
which is now City Square. Turning to the 
left, he went up what is now Cambridge Street, 
to the corner of Crescent Street, Somerville. 
Here he saw two men talking. They were on 
horseback. They were British officers. He 
turned his horse quickly, and galloped to Sulli- 
van Square, Charlestown, and from there rode 
up Broadway to Winter Hill, over the hill into 
Medford. He was pursued by the horsemen. 
One endeavored to head him off by crossing the 
fields, but he fell into a clay-pit, thus enabling 
Revere to escape. From Medford he proceeded 
to Arlington, then to Lexington and beyond, 
where he was captured, but not till he had 
alarmed the country. It was on this journey 
that some one opened a window and reproved 
him for making so much noise. *^ ^N'oise ! " 


exclaimed Kevere. "You'll have enough of 
it before morning. The British are coming! " 

" Through the gloom and the light, 
The fate of a nation was riding that night ; 
And the spark struck out by that steed in his flight 
Kindled the land into flame with its heat." 

" It was after eleven o'clock when Colonel 
Francis Smith, with eight hundred men, landed 
at Lechmere's Point from the boats of the men- 
of-war. It was a fine moonlight night. Pickets 
had been stationed on the road, by General 
Gage's order, and if Kevere had not met with 
two of these patrols he would have been caught 
by the main body of troops." ^^ 

The column moved silently through Cam- 
bridge, past the old tavern on the corner of 
Beech Street and Massachusetts Avenue. The 
peaceful inhabitants were roused from their 
beds by the ringing of bells and beat of drum, 
when the Americans realized that the foe was 
approaching. The men arming and hastening 
to the scene, women crying, children weeping 
and clinging to their parents, — all made a 
scene of terror impossible to describe. 



'' On the march to Concord the British troops 
passed through Somerville. The residents were 
awakened by the noise and heard them call 
Piper's Tavern, which stood where Pythian 
Block now stands in Union Square. An old 
house, occupied by the Widow Smith, stood on 
the east side of the present Wesley Park. Here 
the troops halted and drank at the well, and 
were seen by the people living in the house. 
The Widow Band, who lived on the northwest 
corner of Central Street, heard the tramp of 
men and ran in her night-clothes to the house 
of Samuel Tufts, who was too busy making bul- 
lets in his kitchen to attend to street noises. 
He saddled his horse instantly, and galloped 
across to Cambridge, to tell the news. Then 
they came to Timothy Tufts's house on Elm 
Street, near Beech, stopping there for water." ^"^ 

Mr. Tufts's dog awoke and barked. This 
aroused the family, and looking out they saw 
the moving points of eight hundred bayonets, 
glittering above a moving mass, disappearing 
into Beech Street. 

Of the struggle and defeat of the Kegulars 


at Concord it is not necessary to speak. We all 
know that. " It was six in the evening when 
they returned, almost on a run. They came 
through Beech Street into Elm Street. The 
Americans fired upon them, and some were 
killed, who now lie buried in Mr. Tufts' s lot, 
just inside the wall. 

'' Lord Percy, who tried at every point to 
check the pursuers, fired on the Americans from 
the northerly slope of Spring Hill. The troops 
continued to retreat down Elmx Street and Som- 
erville Avenue, one man being killed near 
Central Street, at which point a volley was 
fired into Mr. Eand's house. 

" There was an old pond at the foot of Laurel 
Street, and the soldiers threw themselves into 
it and drank eagerly, ^ear Walnut Street 
another soldier fell. Down Washington Street 
they ran, passing around the foot of Prospect 

'' The only Somerville citizen who fell in this 
battle was James Miller. He, with others, 
was firing on the British from the slope of 
Prospect Hill, when the flankers surprised 


them. The rest fled, but Miller, still firing, 
stood at his post, and when urged by his com- 
rades to fly, answered : ' I am too old to run ! ' 

" On the north side of Washington Street, 
near Mystic Street, is the house then owned by 
Thomas Shed. A British soldier entered it, 
and while rummaging a bureau was shot. This 
bureau, or ' high-boy ' as it is called, with 
its bullet-holes, is now in the possession of the 
family of :N'athan Tufts." ^5 

The battle of Lexington ended in Somerville, 
and in its glory, as well as in its horror, Somer- 
ville has a share. 



King George wished to collect all the money 
he could from the Colonists. He claimed a 
certain part of the cargoes in their ships. If 
the Colonies traded with one another, there was 
a tax for that. If goods were brought into this 
country, they were taxed. If people seemed 
unwilling to pay, soldiers were sent to live in 
their houses until they were glad to pay some- 
thing, to get rid of their unwelcome visitors. 
Then the Colonies resisted. They refused to 
pay the tax on tea sent over here in English 
ships. The King was firm ; so were the people. 
They resolved not to be taxed without their 
consent. The king sent an army and war-ships 
to America. 

More troops were sent here, and soldiers were 


constantly on the streets, and the Colonists 
determined to drive the troops out of Boston. 

Yonng men left their work in the fields, and 
became soldiers. Meetings were held, and com- 
panies were formed, until the Americans had a 
large army, under General Ward. The plan 
was to drive the British out of Boston into their 
ships, which were lying in the harbor. So they 
besieged Boston, and formed a line of entrench- 
ments, to cut the British off from food and 
other necessities. Charlestown was selected for 
the point of attack, because it was nearer Bos- 

On April 20, 1775, General Ward took com- 
mand of the American forces, and established 
his headquarters at Cambridge. 

The enlistment of soldiers went on rapidly, 
and in a few days thirty thousand men were 
gathered. A great part of them came from 
New Hampshire, Ehode Island, and Connecti- 

Washington Street skirts the base of Pros- 
pect Hill, leaving the McLean Asylum on the 
south, and conducting straight on to the col- 


lege in Cambridge. By this road the Americans 
marched to and retreated from Bunker Hill. 

The second road proceeded by Mount Bene- 
dict to the summit of Winter Hill, where it 
divided, one branch turning northward to 
Medford, while the other pursued its way by 
the Powder Magazine to Arlington. 

Besides these, there were no other roads lead- 
ing to Boston. The shore between was a marsh, 
unimproved except for the hay it afforded. A 
causeway from the side of Prospect Hill and a 
bridge across Miller's Eiver gave access to the 
farm at Lechmere's Point. 

Mount Benedict is the first point, after pass- 
ing Charlestown ^eck, where we encounter the 
American line of investment during the siege 
of Boston. ^' The hill was within short cannon 
range of the British Post on Bunker Hill." ^^ 

Before the battle of Bunker Hill, earthworks 
were thrown up near Union Square, command- 
ing Washington Street. '' On June 16, General 
Ward ordered Colonel William Prescott, with 
three Massachusetts regiments and a battalion 
of Connecticut troops, about a thousand or 


twelve hundred in all, to proceed that night to 
Charles town, and seize and fortify Bunker Hill. 
The troops were paraded on Cambridge Com- 
mon, and after a prayer by Doctor Langdon, 
president of Harvard College, at about nine 
o'clock in the evening, began their march toward 
Bunker Hill, passing through Somerville by 
way of Washington Street and Union Square, 
down to, and across, the Neck. Colonel Pres- 
cott, with two sergeants carrying dark lanterns, 
led the way. 

" General Israel Putnam and Colonel Kich- 
ard Gridley, the engineer of the army, accom- 
panied the expedition, and following were 
wagons, with entrenching tools. 

" Colonel John Patterson's regiment of Berk- 
shire men had been stationed at the redoubt near 
the foot of Prospect Hill, where they probably 
remained throughout the day. All other Massa- 
chusetts troops and those of New Hampshire 
and Connecticut were ordered to the front. A 
great part of them never arrived there, the furi- 
ous cannonading from the fleet across the Neck, 
and into East Somerville, rendering any attempt 



to reach the peninsula perilous. Yet it was 
over this Neck and through this storm of shot 
and shell that the terror-stricken people fled 
into Somerville from their burning homes in 

^^ Somerville beheld vivid scenes of war that 
day: incessant marching of troops toward the 
front, over Washington Street and Broadway; 
citizens fleeing here and there from their burn- 
ing town ; officers galloping to and fro between 
the battle-field and Cambridge; artillery bom- 
barding the fleet from Asylum Hill; shot and 
shell from the frigates mercilessly raking the 
easterly part of the town; fugitives and 
wounded soldiers, on litters or on the shoulders 
of their comrades, hurrying to places of safety ; 
and finally the retreating army, who, victorious 
in defeat, planted themselves on Prospect and 
Winter Hills, expecting a renewal of the battle 
and prepared for it." '^'^ 

" It is worthy of remembrance that the orders 
to take possession of the hill were issued on the 
same day that Washington was officially notified 
of his appointment to command the army." ^^ 


After the battle of Bunker Hill, the Ameri- 
cans began to fortify Prospect and Winter 
Hills. The works on Prospect Hill were super- 
intended by General Putnam. The New Hamp- 
shire men, under General Folsom, were actively 
constructing fortifications on Winter Hill. 

" Mount Benedict was fortified by General 
Sullivan under a severe cannonade, the working 
party being covered by a detachment of rifle- 
men, posted in an orchard and under the shelter 
of stone walls. 

" The Continental advanced outpost was in 
an orchard in front of Mount Benedict. In 
summer the poor fellows were not so badly off, 
but in the inclement winter they needed the 
great watch-coats which were every night issued 


to them before they went on duty, and which 
the poverty of the army required them to turn 
over to the relieving guard. Here, as at Boston 
Neck, the pickets were near enough to each 
other to converse freely, a practice it was found 
necessary to prohibit." ^^ 

On Prospect Hill General Greene had his 
Ehode Islanders, and on Winter Hill were the 
men of ^N'ew Hampshire. 

" In a letter to the Committee of Safety, 
General Sullivan lamented extremely that the 
New Hampshire forces were without a chap- 
lain and were obliged to attend prayers with the 
Ehode Islanders on Prospect Hill. 

" On a little promontory which overlooks the 
Mystic, could long be seen the remains of a 
redoubt erected by General Sullivan [now gone, 
1903] . At this point the river makes a westerly 
bend, so that a hostile flotilla must approach for 
some distance in the teeth of a raking fire from 
this redoubt. This was fully proved when the 
enemy brought their floating batteries within 
range to attack the working party on Ploughed 
Hill [Mount Benedict] and enfilade the road. 


A nine-pounder mounted in this redoubt sank 
one of the enemy^s batteries and disabled the 
other, while an armed vessel which accompanied 
them had her foresail shot away and was obliged 
to sheer off. 

" Leaving the redoubt, a hundred yards higher 
up the hill, we find traces of another work, with 
two of the angles quite clearly defined." ^^ 
These traces no longer exist. 

July 2, 1775, there arrived in camp General 
Washington, accompanied by General Charles 
Lee, second in command, and Horatio Gates, 
adjutant-general of the army. General Lee's 
headquarters w^ere in the John Tufts house on 
Sycamore Street. 

" All the State organizations on July 4 were 
taken into the service and pay of the United 
Colonies and reorganized, and on July 22 were 
formed into three divisions, viz. : — 

" The left wing was composed of two bri- 
gades, one at Winter Hill under General Sulli- 
van, the other at Prospect Hill, under General 
Greene; the centre, two brigades, one com- 
manded by Heath ; the right also was composed 


of two brigades. The left held the line from 
Mystic Eiver to Prospect Hill ; the centre from 
Prospect Hill to Charles Kiver ; the right from 
Charles Kiver to Koxbury JSTeck. The entire 
left wing and perhaps half of the centre were 
within Somerville limits, and her hills were 
crowned with the strongest and most elaborate 
works of the whole line, among which were: 
The redoubt on Ten Hills Farm ; ' Winter Hill 
Fort ' ; the ' French Redoubt ' on Central Hill ; 
the 'Citadel' on Prospect Hill; the strong 
entrenchments on Ploughed Hill ; ' Fort 
Number Three/ near Union Square ; and Put- 
nam's 'Impregnable Fortress/ on Cobble 

Hill." 31 

'' The principal fortification of the left wing 
was thrown up directly across the road leading 
over the hill, now Broadway, at the point where 
the Medford road diverges. 

" A hundred yards in advance of the fort 
were outworks, in which guards were nightly 
posted. When Central Street was made, the 
remains of the entrenchment were exposed and 
are remembered by some of the older people." ^^ 


" July 6, 1775, the Continental Congress is- 
sued a declaration setting forth the grievances 
of the Provinces and reasons for taking arms; 
July 15, this was read at Cambridge, and July 
18, to the army on Prospect Hill, and was re- 
ceived with patriotic enthusiasm. A prayer 
was offered by the Keverend Mr. Langdon, can- 
non were fired, and the Connecticut flag, re- 
cently received by Putnam, was unfurled. On 
one side it bore the motto, ' An Appeal to 
Heaven,' and on the other, ^ Qui transtulit sus- 
tinet.' [He who has transplanted will sustain.] 
On the night of October 22, General Putnam 
took possession of Cobble Hill [Asylimi 
grounds] and began fortifying. 

" December 28, an endeavor was made by a 
detachment from Winter Hill to capture the 
enemy's pickets near the N'eck. They attempted 
to cross on the ice just south of Cobble Hill, but 
one of the men, slipping, fell and discharged 
his musket, thereby alarming the British, and 
the expedition was abandoned. 

" From Prospect Hill, January 1, 1776, the 
new flag of the United Colonies was unfurled 

Evolutionary fortifications 57 

to the breeze. It had thirteen stripes, alternate 
red and white, but the field contained, instead 
of stars, as now, the crosses of Saint George 
and Saint Andrew. A year and a half later, 
stars took the place of crosses. A tablet has 
been erected on the hill in memory of this flag- 

'^ In February, Colonel Knox arrived with 
the captured Ticonderoga cannon and stores. 
These increased immensely the strength of the 
Americans, and a little later enabled them to 
carry into execution that daring feat, the seizing 
and fortifying of Dorchester Heights. This 
successful movement so seriously threatened 
the British army and shipping, that after vari- 
ous threatening manoeuvres, on Sunday, March 
17, they embarked and left Boston forever." ^^ 

The British planned a campaign along the 
banks of the Hudson River under Generals Bur- 
goyne and Howe. Burgoyne surrendered to 
General Gates at Saratoga October 17, 1777. 
In Burgoyne's army were nineteen hundred 
Germans. They were brought to Winter Hill, 


and given quarters in the tents and barracks 
formerly used by the American soldiers. 

These Germans were hired by the British 
from the Landgrave of Plesse, the Duke of 
Brunswick, and the Count of Hanau. They 
were promised free passage to England, and 
were brought to Somerville in order to embark 
from Boston. 

'' The camp of the prisoners was encircled by 
a chain of outposts. The officers, who were 
permitted to go beyond the camp, were obliged 
to promise in writing, on their word of honor, 
to go no farther beyond it than a mile and a 

^^ The camp was located on a height, which, 
to a distance of eight miles, was surrounded 
with woods, thus presenting a splendid view of 
Boston, the harbor, and the vast ocean. '^ ^^ 

The Hessians remained here a year, and then 
were moved to Virginia. 

This ended Somerville's share in the Eevolu- 
tionary War. 



War ended, peace declared, freedom and 
independence established, the farmer could now 
change his sword for a scythe, and devote his 
energies to cultivating the soil and improving 
his home. 

In the part that is now called Somerville, 
the houses were few and far between. 

There were few streets, also. Along the 
marsh below Union Square berry bushes grew 
in abundance, and the pink petals of the marsh- 
mallow waved like rosy banners in the August 
breeze. Apple orchards were plenty, and the 
boys had free access to them. The old canal 
was new then, and carried passengers and 
freight from Boston to Lowell. On the hills 
picnic parties gathered under the sheltering 


trees in summer, and young people enjoyed the 
pleasure of coasting down their slopes in winter, 
without danger to themselves, or to the '^ grown- 
ups/' who had room enough to get out of the 

Very few of the streets bear the names now 
that they were called by in the beginning of 
the last century. Somerville Avenue was called 
Milk Row, on account of the number of milk 
dealers who lived on it. Mystic Avenue, laid 
out about 1803, was called the Medford Turn- 

A Turnpike Road is a road closed by toll- 
gates or crossbars. The toll collected from 
carriages, teams, and foot-passengers, whenever 
the gates are opened, is used to defray the ex- 
pense of keeping the road in order. These toll- 
gates are quite common in the rural districts 
of England, and we imported the custom from 
that country. 

Beacon and Hampshire Streets were laid out 
in 1800, and were called '^ the Middlesex Turn- 
pike.'' Broadway has been called by nine dif- 
ferent names, and Washington Street by ten. 


Many of the modern streets were named for 
trees which probably grew on the spot. We 
have Willow Avenue, Cherry and Cedar Streets, 
Linden Avenue, and Beech Street. The latter 
street begins on Somerville Avenue, runs north 
for some distance, then west, and ends in Spring 
Street. The part running from Somerville Ave- 
nue was originally called Oak Street, but some 
real estate owner near Union Square opened 
a longer street, and the name of little Oak 
Street was changed to Beech Street To make 
it still more confusing, the extension of this 
street from the Martin W. Carr School to Cen- 
tral Street is called Atherton Street. 

Continuing, we have Laurel, Cypress, Maple, 
and Poplar Streets. We have also Elm Street, 
Garden Court, and Walnut and Vine Streets. 
One short street bore the very pretty name of 
Chestnut Court. It has had several aliases, as 
Chestnut Place, Harvard Place, York Terrace, 
and is now [1903] called Monmouth Street. 
Other streets are named in honor of the old 
families who have been active in town affairs; 
as, for instance, Vinal Avenue and Aldersey 


Street are reminders of the Vinal family, whose 
members have always occupied an honorable 
position in the history of Somerville. Stone 
Avenue is a memorial of another old family. 
Tufts Street, Temple Street, Craigie Street, 
Munroe Street, and Jaques Street, among others, 
are identified with the names of the early set- 

In order to perpetuate the memory of the 
historic deeds of our ancestors, the city in 1890 
erected various tablets throughout the city. The 
inscriptions are as follows : — 

On Abner Blaisdell's house, Somerville Ave- 
nue : " Headquarters of Brigadier-General 
IN'athaniel Greene, in command of the Khode 
Island Troops during the siege of Boston, 

On the Oliver Tufts house, Sycamore Street : 
" Headquarters of Major-General Charles Lee, 
commanding left wing of the American Army 
during the siege of Boston, 1775-6." 

On the stonework of the battery. Central Hill 
Park : " This battery was erected by the city 
in 1885, and is within the lines of the * French 


Redoubt,' built by the Eevolutionary Army in 
1775 as a part of the besieging lines of Boston. 
The guns were donated by Congress, and were 
in service during the late Civil War." 

On Prospect Hill : '' On this Hill the Union 
Flag with its thirteen stripes — the emblem of 
the United Colonies — first bade Defiance to 
an Enemy, January 1, 1776. Here was the 
Citadel, the most formidable work in the Amer- 
ican Lines during the Siege of Boston: June 
17, 1775, to March 17, 1776." 

On Elm Street, corner of Willow * Avenue : 
" A sharp fight occurred here, between the 
Patriots and the British, April 19, 1775. This 
marks British Soldiers' graves." 

On Washington Street, corner of Dane Street : 
" John Woolrich, Indian Trader, built near this 
place in 1630 — the first white settler on Som- 
erville soil." 

At the junction of Broadway and Main 
Street : " Paul Revere passed over this road, 
on his midnight ride to Lexington and Con- 
cord, April 18, 1775. Site of the Winter Hill 


Fort, a stronghold built bj the American Forces 
while besieging Boston, 1775 - 6." 

On Washington Street, opposite Rossmore 
Street: '' On this Hillside, James Miller, Min- 
ute-man, aged sixty-five, was slain by the Brit- 
ish, April 19, 1775. — ' I am too old to run.' " 

The report of the Historical Society for 1901 
has the following : — 

" The marking of the many historical places 
in Somerville is one of the things to which the 
Historical Society is giving its attention. Last 
year, on its petition to the city, the outline of 
the famous French Redoubt on Central Hill 
was designated by granite monuments set in 
the ground; a tablet showing the form of the 
work, etc., was placed alongside of the one 
descriptive of the present battery, but by some 
oversight the fact that the marking was done 
on petition of our society does not appear on 
the tablet. 

" This year the society has again petitioned 
for the permanent marking of quite a number 
of other interesting places. This petition was 
quickly referred to a committee, and the proper 


order passed to carry out the suggestion. The 
list of places is as follows : — 

On Masonic Block, Union Square : " Site of recruit- 
ing stand for Union soldiers in Civil War." 

On Asylum Hill (Cobble Hill) : <' Site of ' Putnam's 
impregnable fortress,' 1775." 

On Convent Hill (Ploughed Hill): "Fortified and 
bombarded in 1775-76. Site of Ursuline Convent, 
founded 1820, and opened 1826 ; burned 1834. Hill 
dug down 1875 to 1897." 

On south side Mystic Avenue (nearly opposite coal 
wharf : " Old fort. Extreme left of American army, 
1775-76. Commanded Mystic River." 

In Broadway Park : " Route of Middlesex Canal. 
Chartered 1793; opened 1803." 

At Somerville and Charlestown line on Washington 
Street: "Paul Revere, on his famous ride, April 18, 
1775, was iirtercepted here by British officers, and 

On Ten Hills Farm : " Site of the mansion of Robert 
Temple, afterward Colonel Jaques." 

On old wharf, east of Middlesex Avenue, near new 
bridge, south shore Mystic River : " Ancient wharf. 
Here Govertior Winthrop launched the ' Blessing of 
the Bay,' the first ship built in Massachusetts, July 4, 
1631. The British landed here in their raid on the 
Powder House, September 1, 1774." 

On Prospect Hill : " Site of old wind mill." 



The hills that were admired by the residents 
of adjacent towns and villages are now de^ 
molished, with a few exceptions. 

A slight eminence shows where Winthrop 
Hill stood, but all traces of its former beauty 
are gone. 

" Asylum Hill/' " Miller's Hill/' or " Cobble 
Hill/' is very much changed. In 1816 it was 
sold to the Massachusetts General Hospital, 
and the grounds were laid out with care, and 
commodious buildings were erected for the com- 
fort and treatment of the insane. Patients 
from all parts of the country, rich and poor, 
were sent to the asylum. It was named after 
John McLean, a generous man whose great de- 
sire was to help the unfortunate. Doctor Luther 


V. Bell, for whom the Bell School is named, 
was the second superintendent. The asylum 
has been moved to Waverley, and the beautiful 
lawns, gardens, and terraces have been to a 
great extent ground down by the tracks of the 
Boston & Maine railroad. 

"Ploughed Hill," "Convent Hill," or 
" Mount Benedict," is now demolished. Those 
who have had the pleasure of standing upon 
its summit can never forget the magnificent 
view from every side. 

An unfortunate record is connected with this 

In 1826 a convent was built here, to be used 
as a boarding-school, under the supervision of 
the Ursuline nuns. The nuns were a body 
of religious women who had devoted their lives 
to the care of the sick and the teaching of 
girls. They were members of the Eoman Cath- 
olic Church. 

They occupied a house on Ploughed Hill, 
and changed the name to Mount Benedict. The 
convent, built of stone and brick, was finished 
in 1828. "It was a four-story building, eighty 


feet long, facing toward the east. A long flight 
of steps led up to it from the street. Two 
large wings were added later. It was the most 
imposing structure of its kind in Massachu- 

'^ The grounds were laid out in an attractive 
manner. The southern slope was arranged in 
three terraces, on which were reared vines, trees, 
and shrubs. A driveway, shaded by handsome 
trees, led up in a diagonal direction from the 
southeast corner of the enclosure, and wound 
around a circular flower-bed in front of the 
house. The Bishop's lodge and the stable were 
also upon the southern slope. On the northern 
face of the hill were grass land, a vegetable 
garden, and an orchard. 

^^ The school flourished for seven years, but 
many people complained because it was not open 
to visitors as freely as public schools were, 
and there was a feeling that the teaching tended 
to make Roman Catholics of the Protestant 

" A Miss Eeed, the daughter of a respectable 
family living in Somerville, became interested 


in the work of the nuns. The more she learned 
about them, the more fascinated she became 
with them and their mode of life. Finally 
she decided to become a Roman Catholic and 
a nun. She made known her wishes to the 
Bishop and the Superior of the convent, and 
against the wishes of her parents entered the 
convent, with the intention of becoming a nun. 

^' A few months' trial showed her that she 
had mistaken her calling; she did not like 
the plain food, the hard couch, the difficult 
work, and the routine of daily worship. She 
felt that she must return to her home. 

" Fearing that the nuns might try to per- 
suade her to remain, or perhaps dreading to 
say farewell to those who had treated her kindly, 
or disliking to witness their disappointment 
when told of her decision, she secretly climbed 
over the fence and returned to her family and 
to her early religion. Her escape created some 
excitement at the time, but it soon died out. 

" Some time after this, another event hap- 
pened to excite the people in the neighborhood 
of the convent. 


^' One of the nuns, a Miss Harrison, who 
had been a teacher of music there for several 
years, became very nervous and partly insane. 
She ran away from the convent and sought ad- 
mission to the house of Mr. Cutter, who lived 

'' She told him she was tired of living shut 
up in a convent, away from all her friends, 
and wished never to return to it. 

" She talked very calmly, and a Mr. and 
Mrs. Runey came in and took her to Arlington, 
to the parents of a former pupil. She did 
not show any signs of insanity. The Bishop and 
the Superior were told where she was, and 
they induced her to go back to the convent, 
and promised her that she might leave it again 
whenever she wished. She asked the Runeys 
and Cutters to visit her at the convent, and 
if they did not see her at the end of ten days 
she wished them to go to the convent and ask 
for her. 

'^ As she did not appear within the ten days, 
they went to the convent and asked for her. 
They were told that Miss Harrison was ill, 


had no desire to see them, was perfectly sat- 
isfied with her present life, and wished to re- 
main in the institution. 

^^Keports were circulated that a nun was 
kept against her will, and that there were under- 
ground cells where the nuns were shut up, and 
that subterranean passages led from the convent 
to the Bishop's lodge, and that there were 
abuses too dreadful to tell. 

'' Public indignation spread, handbills were 
posted, and threats were uttered against the 
institution. The Superior was a very haughty 
person, and instead of meeting the people half- 
way and showing them that everything was 
perfectly open and correct, she met the Select- 
men, who went in kindness to help her, very 
coldly, and told them she would not permit any 
search of the premises. 

" On the night of August 4, 1834, at dusk, 
little knots of men began to gather about the 
vicinity of the convent grounds. At nine 
o'clock the crowd had increased. A great part 
were strangers to the residents, who knew 


neither whence they came nor their object in 

'' Some of the crowd started a bonfire on 
land near the convent. This brought the fire 
companies from Boston, and Engine Thirteen 
came up the convent avenue. When it reached 
the building, a volley of stones was fired, yells 
were uttered, and an attempt was made to 
batter down the doors. Finally, disregarding 
the remonstrances of the Selectmen and the 
entreaties of the Superior, the rioters forced 
their way into the building, and for an hour 
they ransacked the premises. Everything was 
broken open and rifled. Pianos, harps, and 
books were thrown from the windows. All 
the symbols of worship were removed and des- 

^' The frightened inmates of the institution, 
numbering in all about ten nuns and forty- 
seven pupils, sought refuge near the tombs, till 
they were taken to places of shelter. The rioters 
at last set fire to the building, and did not leave 
the place till daylight. 

" A few days later a meeting was held in 


Faneuil Hall, and addresses were made by 
prominent citizens, who condemned the outrage 
in the strongest terms. On the fifteenth of the 
month, Governor Davis offered a reward of 
five hundred dollars for the discovery of the 
perpetrators, and called upon all classes for 
help. Although the better class of people de- 
sired to have the rioters caught and punished, 
the only one who was convicted was a boy of 
seventeen, and he was set at liberty after an 
imprisonment of seven montlis." ^^ 

For nearly fifty years the blackened ruins 
stood as a memorial of the dark stain on the 
honor and good government of Massachusetts. 
The Koman Catholics have tried several times 
to have the Legislature pass a bill compensating 
them for the destruction of their property, but 
their efforts never met with success. 

" Walnut Tree Hill " is now '' College Hill.'' 
The Universalist denomination wished to erect 
a college in the United States. Several desir- 
able situations were considered, but the nearness 
of College Hill to Boston and the gift of twenty 
acres of land on its summit by Mr. Charles 


Tufts secured the location of the College. It 
began with three students in 1854. Hosea 
Ballon Avas its first president. 

Charles Tufts lived on the northerly side of 
Washington Street, west of the Lowell Eailroad. 
The house is still there. 

The most interesting building to young people 
in Tufts College is the Barnum Museum, which 
was built in 1883 by the late P. T. Barnum. 
He also gave a fund for the support and mainte- 
nance of this museum. The College is indebted 
to Mr. Barnum also for a large zoological col- 
lection. It contains many skeletons and mounted 
skins of animals. Among the latter is that of 
Jumbo, the children's favorite elephant. 

" Until within a few years the remains of 
old forts and breastworks were visible; those 
on Central Hill Park were dug away in 18Y8, 
regardless of protests. On the southern slope 
of Prospect Hill Revolutionary traces still re- 
main — tradition says they are the old tent- 
holes of 1775, or perhaps of the Burgoyne 
prisoners." ^^ These have now [1903] been 
dug away. 



IisT the early days of the New England settle- 
ment schools were few, but the children's edu- 
cation was not neglected. The men and women 
who had left a beloved country to struggle with 
the hardships of a new and unknown land could 
not be ignorant or illiterate. 

There is an old story of a minister who 
called on one of these courageous women and 
found her at the washtub, rocking the baby's 
cradle with her foot, and listening to her boy 
who was reciting his Latin verbs. 

Children were usually taught at home. There 
were few school-books, and the Bible and other 
religious books were as useful in teaching read- 
ing as many of the books of the present day. 

When the Indians sought larger hunting- 


grounds, and peace was declared with England, 
the attention of the people was directed to the 
necessity of schoolhouses. 

Schools were not free in colonial times. Each 
family paid a certain sum toward the school, 
in proportion to the number of children sent 
to school. 

At first the only schoolhouse in Somerville 
was at the " N^eck," but some years later one 
was built on Milk Row, on land adjoining 
the present cemetery. It was a small school- 
house, consisting of one room. 

In 1814, seventeen pupils were enrolled. In 
that year the trustees opened a summer school at 
Winter Hill. 

The schoolhouse near the cemetery was 
destroyed by fire in 1817. In 1819, a new 
building was erected on the spot where the 
old one stood. It was of wood, the sides filled 
in with brick, finished in a plain neat style, 
with two coats of paint on the outside. The 
new school cost seven hundred dollars. 

The little children had to walk some distance 
to attend school, for these were the limits of 


the district " No. 3 " given by the school trus- 
tees : — 

" This district commences in Cambridge 
Road, sweeps around Cambridge line, runs 
across Milk Row by Isaac Tufts's house to 
Winter Hill, by the house of Joseph Adams, 
to Mystic River, down to the cluster of houses 
near the entrance to Three-Pole Lane and over 
to the place of beginning. It contains sixty- 
one families and one hundred and six children 
from four to fourteen years of age." 

In this year a list of the holidays was given 
out. They were as follows : Every Wednesday 
and Saturday afternoon of each week; the 
afternoon of the annual training in May ; four 
days in general election week; commencement 
day and the day following; the day of the 
military review when held in Charlestown; 
from Wednesday noon immediately preceding 
the annual Thanksgiving to the Monday morn- 
ing following; Christmas day. 

Only twelve holidays in the whole year! 
Five years later the list was increased by the 
addition of '' The first Monday in June ; re- 


mainder of the week after Commencement ; the 
Seventeenth of June ; Fourth of July ; and the 
day next following the semi-annual visitation." 

This gave twenty holidays during the entire 
year. There is no mention of a summer vaca- 
tion, and there was no ringing of bells for '' ^"0 
school " on stormy days. With our new vaca- 
tion schools we seem to be going back to the 
customs of our ancestors. 

In 1825, the Pound Primary School was built 
on the corner of Broadway and Franklin 
Street. It was so named because it was opposite 
the Pound. 

In 1843, the Lower Winter Hill Schoolhouse 
was built at the corner of Broadway and Frank- 
lin Street. This probably replaced the Pound^ 
Primary. This school is often called the Pres- 
cott Schoolhouse. It is the one that was moved 
to Beacon Street, in 1847. 

The Upper Winter Hill School was built 
in 1840, on the west side of Central Street, 
near Broadway. This schoolhouse was moved 
to the present site of the Prescott School in 1855. 
In 1856, it was moved to Prospect Street and 



was called the Union School. In 1891 it was 
discontinued as a school. 

The Union School has been facetiously called 
'^ The Itinerant Knowledge Box." 

In 1836, a schoolhouse was built to accom- 
modate those living near Prospect Hill, then 
forming a part of the Milk Row District. 

In 1839, the Prospect Hill Grammar School 
was established, adjoining the Prospect Hill 
Primary, in what is now Central Square. In 
1818, it was called the '' Medford Street 
School." It was used as a schoolhouse till 1861. 
It is now in the possession of the Somerville 
Water Committee, and is on the corner of Somer- 
ville Avenue and Prospect Street. 

In 1818, the present Prospect Hill School- 
house was built. It accommodated two hundred 
and sixty-four pupils and was opened December 
25. This building contained four rooms at first, 
but was enlarged by the addition of two rooms in 

In 1813, the Walnut Hill Schoolhouse was 
built on Broadway, near the foot of Walnut, or 
College Hill. This school was started some 


time before in a private house, and was taught 
by a man in the Avinter and by a woman in the 
simimer. ^' In 1854, Miss Susanna C. Kussell 
was appointed teacher for the entire year, and 
she continued in the position till the spring of 
1867. Under her instruction pupils passed 
through all the primary and grammar grades, 
and were fitted for the High School/' In 1867, 
this school was discontinued, but in 1868 it was 
moved to Cedar Street, and called the " Cedar 
Street School." It was enlarged in 1873, and 
discontinued in 1898. 

In 1846, the Franklin Schoolhouse was built, 
on the corner of Milk Row and Kent Street. 
This was a two-roomed building. Two rooms 
were added in 1862. In 1898, the building of 
the M. W. Carr School rendered the Franklin 
School unnecessary for school purposes, and it 
was torn down. It stood on a large tract of land 
shaded by noble trees under whose sheltering 
boughs hundreds of children enjoyed their 
recesses. The spot by itself was a most de- 
lightful one, but the whistling of the locomotives 
in the rear, and the noise of horse-cars in front 


interfered sadly with recitations. The city has 
wisely given the land for a public park. 

In 18^9 the Milk Row Primary was set on 
fire and entirely destroyed. It was not rebuilt, 
and its site became a part of the cemetery. 

The school report for 18-1:6-7 says: '^ On 
December 25, 1846, a new school was opened 
in the Prescott District. A suitable lot has 
been purchased on Beacon Street, near Cam- 
bridge Street, and the schoolhouse formerly oc- 
cupied by the Prescott Grammar School was 
moved upon it and refitted for the occupation 
of the new occupants. It was called the Har- 
vard Primary.'' It was enlarged in 1861 and 
burned in 1871. 

The Prescott Schoolhouse was burned in 1856. 
It was a wooden building, containing two rooms. 
A brick building, consisting of seven rooms, was 
built on Pearl Street in 1857. This was des- 
troyed by fire in 1866, and a brick building of 
ten rooms and a large hall was erected in 1867. 
It was named in honor of William Hickling 
Prescott, the historian, who was born in Salem, 
Mass., May 4, 1796, and who died January 


28, 1859. He was the son of Judge William 
Prescott, and grandson of Colonel William 
Prescott, who commanded at Bunker Hill. He 
was graduated from Harvard College with 
honor, and intended to study law, but a great 
misfortune obliged him to change his plans. 
At a college dinner a student threw at random 
a crust of bread. It struck young Prescott 
in the left eye, severely injuring it. In time 
the other eye became affected, and for years 
he was unable to read. He was obliged to make 
use of " the eyes of another." In wi'iting he 
employed a writing-case made for the blind. 
Under such difficulties he wrote the com- 
prehensive and fascinating works, '^ The History 
of Ferdinand and Isabella," " Conquest of 
Mexico," ^' Conquest of Peru," '' Eeign of 
Philip II.," and ^'Life of Charles V." A 
foreign biographer says of him : " He was gay, 
good-humored and manly ; most gentle and affec- 
tionate to his family; kind and gracious to all 
around him. Thus loving and beloved; happy 
and bestowing happiness; he is honored and 
lamented in death, and his name shall be held 


in grateful remembrance in all future gen- 

With his portrait before their eyes and his 
name daily on their lips, what greater example, 
humanly speaking, can young people have of 
noble living and an heroic spirit that overcame 
all obstacles, however gTeat might have been 
the discouragements ! 

^' Had his family given only him to the 
Kepublic it had been much ; but so long as the 
sword, the ermine, and the pen are connected 
with the story of American civilization, so long 
shall the memory of three generations of Pres- 
cotts be dear to the hearts of the American 

In 1871 the Edgerly School was built on 
Cross Street. It contained four rooms. In 
1882 four rooms were added; in 1892 four 
more were found necessary. The school was 
named in honor, of John S. Edgerly, who was 
born in Meredith, N. H., Xov^mber 30, 1804. 
In 1836 he removed to Somer^^ille. He was one 
of the Selectmen for fourteen years, a member 


of the School Committee, and one of the Over- 
seers of the Poor. He died January 20, 1872. 

In 1850, the Spring Hill Primary School 
was established in Elm Place. This was a 
one-room building. It was torn down in 1897, 
to make room for the M. W. Carr School. 

In 1851, a small schoolhonse was built on the 
west side of Cherry Street, and was called the 
Bell School, in honor of Doctor Luther V. Bell, 
the first Chairman of the School Board. In 
1867 it was moved to the rear of the Franklin 
School. In 1871 the Harvard Primary School 
was burned, and the Bell School was moved to 
Beacon Street and renamed the Harvard Pri- 
maiy School. The building was sold in 1899, 
for sixty dollars, and is now used as a store. 

In 1852, the first High School was built. 
In 1872 the building was vacated, and has sinc« 
been used as a City Hall. An addition to the 
side and rear of the building was made in 1899. 
In 1854 the Forster School on Sycamore Street 
was built. It contained four schoolrooms. It 
was partly burned in 1866. In 1867 the 
present brick building was erected. It origi- 


nally had eight rooms and a large hall, which 
was used for exhibitions, town meetings, and 
public entertainments. It was named aiter 
Charles Forster, a philanthropic citizen of Som- 

Charles Forster was born in Charlestown, 
June 13, 1798. From 1845 to 1863 he lived 
at the corner of Sycamore Street and Broadway. 
He died in Charlesto^Ti, September 1, 1866. 

" He occupied a place second to none in the 
hearts and affections of the people of Somerville, 
and left behind him a reputation that any man 
might envy — the reputation of a man who. 
by the purity of his life and character, his 
sweetness and kindliness of disposition, his un- 
ostentatious benevolence, the years of a long 
life devoted to charity toward the poor and 
suffering, had endeared himself to all who 
knew him and grown deep into their hearts.'' 

In 1861, the Brastow Schoolhouse was built 
near the junction of Medford Street and High- 
land Avenue. It was a two-room building, and 
was named for George O. Brastow, who was bom 
in Wrentham, September 8, 1811. He came 


to Somerville in 1838. He was one of the 
Selectmen in 1845 and in 1867. He was a 
member of the School Committee for ^yq years ; 
a member of the General Court for six years; 
the first Mayor of Somerville; one of the 
founders of the Middlesex and Somerville horse 
railroads. He died suddenly in Canandaigua, 
K Y., November 20, 1878. 

The site of the Brastow School is covered 
by the Central Fire Station. The building waa 
sold and is now used as a stable. 

In 1866, the Lincoln Schoolhouse was built 
on Elm Street. It contained four rooms. It 
was named in honor of Charles S. Lincoln, 
who was born in Walpole, N. H., April 20, 
1826, and died in Somerville, April 4, 1901. 
He came to Somerville in 1852, as Principal 
of the Prospect Hill School, and afterward 
served the city well in various ways as a member 
of the School Committee ; trustee of the Public 
Library; member of the General Court; a 
member of the Board of Health; and Over- 
seer of the Poor. This schoolhouse was moved 


to Clarendon Hill in 1881, and was destroyed 
by fire in 1881. It was rebuilt in 1885. 

In 1868, the Bennett School was built on the 
corner of Joy and Poplar Streets. It was a 
four-room building. It was named in honor of 
Clark Bennett, who was born in Londonderry, 
Vt., November 3, 1810, and died in Somerville, 
January 6, 1882. He was a member of the 
Board of Aldermen for three years ; for eleven 
years a member of the School Committee, a part 
of the time its chainnan ; and town treasurer 
for several years. The use of the building as 
a school was discontinued in 1902. 

In 1867, the Franklin District had more 
pupils than could be accommodated in the 
schools already established there, and a room 
over a tin-shop was hired, to receive the over- 
flow. The tin-shop was on the corner of Milk 
Row and Park Street, and the school was called 
the Park Street School. The room had been 
originally used for a church, and in the little 
dressing-rooms were the stained glass window- 
panes which were put there when the room was 
used for religious purposes. This school was 


moved to the Franklin building in 1869. The 
tin-shop was moved a few feet down Milk Row 
and is still standing. It has a stairway on the 

The Webster School was built on Webster 
Avenue in 1868, and was named in honor of 
Daniel Webster. His life, like Benjamin 
Franklin's, is too well-known to be given here. 
This building was destroyed by fire December 
14, 1893. 

The Morse School, on the corner of Summer 
and Craigie Streets, was built in 1869. It 
originally contained four rooms and a hall. In 
1889 six rooms were added. It was named in 
honor of Enoch R. Morse. He was born in 
Attleboro, Mass., July 25, 1822. He was a 
member of the School Committee for nine years, 
served as Selectman, and was a member of the 
State Legislature in 1876. 

The High School, erected in 1852, was now 
far too small for the number of yearly appli- 
cants, and in 1871 a new building on Highland 
Avenue was erected. It contained a large hall, 
a chemical laboratory, two large schoolrooms, 


and four recitation-rooms. The rooms were 
changed in 1883, and further changes were 
made in 1888. 

Among the first church buildings was one 
on Beech Street. It was practically a union 
meeting-house for all denominations, but even- 
tually became the Spring Hill Baptist Chapel. 
It was purchased by the city in 1872, for a 
schoolhouse. The price paid was -Q-ve thousand 
dollars. The building had a long room, heated 
by a furnace, and with inside blinds to the 
windows. The chimney was in the rear. A 
partition was put in, to make two schoolrooms, 
and a large stove was placed in each room. 
The stovepipe in the front room passed through 
the partition and across the rear room and dress- 
ing-room to the chimney. The building was 
demolished in 1897 to make room for the M. 
W. Carr School. 

The Prospect Hill School had become far 
too small for the demands upon it, and in 1874 
the Luther V. Bell school was built. It con- 
tains twelve schoolrooms. 

Luther V. Bell was born in Chester, IN". H., 


December 20, 1806. He died February 11, 
1862. He was a prominent physician, Super- 
intendent of the McLean Asylum, member of 
the School Committee, member of the Executive 
Council, and surgeon of the Eleventh Regiment 
of Massachusetts Volunteers. 

In 1880, the Highland School was built on 
the corner of Highland Avenue and Grove 
Street. It originally contained but eight rooms. 
In 1890, another story was added, thus giving 
four extra rooms. 

In 1884, the Cummings School was built on 
School Street. It has four rooms. This school 
was named in honor of John Addison Cum- 
mings. He was born in Nelson, !N". H., January 
16, 1838, and died January 6, 1887. He was a 
Lieutenant in the Sixth Regiment of the 'New 
Hampshire Volunteers, and Major of the First 
New Hampshire Cavalry. He came to Som- 
erville in 1871. He was a member of the 
Board of Aldermen and Mayor for four consec- 
utive years. 

In 1886, the Burns School on Cherry Street 
was built of brick, with four schoolrooms. It 


was named in honor of Mark F. Burns, who 
was born in Milford, IST. H., May 24, 1841, 
and died in Somerville, January 16, 1898. 
He was a member of the Somerville Common 
Council, a member of the Board of Aldermen, 
a trustee of the Public Library, and Mayor of 
the city for four successive years. In 1897 the 
Burns School was enlarged by the addition 
of four rooms. 

In 1884 the Davis School was built on Tufts 
Street. It contains four rooms. It was named 
in honor of Joshua H. Davis, who was born at 
Truro, JSTovember 4, 1814. He came to Somer- 
ville in 1854, '^ and was for twenty-five years 
identified with the educational interests of our 
city.'' He was a member of the School Com- 
mittee, Superintendent of Schools for twenty- 
two years, and a member of the State Legisla- 
ture for two years. 

In 1886, the Bingham School was built on 
Lowell Street. It contains four rooms. It was 
named in honor of !N'orman Williams Bingham, 
who was born in Derby, Vt., May 19, 1829. 
He came to Somerville in 1869. He was a 


member of the School Committee for fifteen 
consecutive years. 

In 1889, the Knapp School was built, on 
Concord Square. In 1894, more rooms were 
added, making thirteen in all. It was named 
in honor of Oren S. Knapp. He was bom in 
Boston, July 16, 1829, and died November 4, 
1890. He came to Somerville in 1853, and was 
elected Principal of the Prospect Hill School, 
which position he retained for eleven years. He 
was a member of the School Committee, and 
for one year was Superintendent of Schools. 

In 1891, the Charles G. Pope School was 
built, with twelve schoolrooms. It was named 
in honor of Charles G. Pope, who was born in 
Hardwick, Mass., ^vember 18, 1840. In 1864, 
he came to Somerville and became Prin- 
cipal of the Forster School. He was a member 
of the Common Council, member of the Gen- 
eral Court, a trustee of the Public Library, a 
trustee of Tufts College, and Mayor for three 
successive years. He died April 24, 1893. 

In 1891, the Jacob T. Glines School was 
built. It had eight schoolrooms in the begin- 


ning, and in 1896 five more were added. It 
was named in honor of Jacob T. Glines, who was 
born in Moultonborough, N. H., July 20, 1817, 
and died August 3, 1882. He was a member 
of the last Board of Selectmen; Chairman of 
the first Board of Aldermen ; a member of the 
General Court; and member of the City Gov- 
ernment for several years. 

In 1894, the Durell School was built on 
Beacon Street, near Kent Street. It has four 
rooms. It was named in honor of Kev. George 
Wells Durell, who was born in Kennebunkport, 
Me., and died August 25, 1895. He came to 
Somerville in 1866, and became rector of Em- 
manuel Parish. He was afterward rector of 
St. Thomas' Parish. He was a member of the 
School Committee for thirteen years. 

In 1895, the English High School was built 
on Highland Avenue, adjoining the former 
High School. It had fourteen class-rooms, to 
which others have been added, and it is still 
too small. It contains chemical, physical, and 
biological laboratories, a lecture-hall, a library, 
four rooms for manual training in the base- 


ment, and other small rooms. The name of 
the former High School was changed to the 
Latin School on the completion of the English 
High School. 

In 1896, the William H. Hodgkins School 
was built on Holland Street. It has twelve 
rooms. It was named in honor of William H. 
Hodgkins, who was born in Charlestown, Mass., 
June 9, 1840. He was Major in Company B, 
Thirty-sixth Regiment of Massachusetts Volun- 
teers. He came to Somerville after the war 
was over. He was a member of the Common 
Council for two years, and Mayor of the city 
for four years. He was also a member of the 
Senate. He was made Brevet Major for dis- 
tinguished services at Fort Stedman. 

In 1897, the Sanford Hanscom School was 
completed. It is located on Webster Street, at 
the corner of Rush Street. It is constructed 
of red brick, with granite trimmings, and con- 
tains six schoolrooms. It is named in honor 
of Doctor Sanford Hanscom, who was born in 
Albion, Me., January 28, 1841. He rendered 
active service in the Civil War, was twenty 


years a member of the School Committee, and 
six years a Trustee of the Public Library. 
'^ Through the generosity of tlie gentleman for 
whom the school was named, the walls of the 
hallways and schoolrooms are adorned with ap- 
propriate pictures, which constantly teach to 
the pupils lessons of patriotism or duty, and 
appeal to the love of what is beautiful and 

In 1898, the Martin W. Carr School was 
erected on Beech Street, on the site of the old 
Chapel. " It is the largest grammar school- 
house in the city, and contains fifteen class- 
rooms.'' It is well ventilated and well lighted, 
each class-room having six large windows. It 
is named in honor of Martin W. Carr, who was 
bom at Easton, Mass., March 9, 1829, and died 
in Somerville March 28, 1902. He was a direct 
descendant of Eobert Carr, Governor of Khode 
Island in 1692. Mr. Carr came to Somerville 
in 1864, and served the city two years as a 
member of the Common Council, and two years 
as alderman. He was also a member of the 
Water Board, a member of the School Com- 


mittee for seventeen years, and a director of the 
Somerville Hospital. The stairways and halls 
of the school are adorned with beautiful pic- 
tures, the gift of Mr. Carr. 

In 1899, the Albion A. Perry School was 
erected on Washington Street. It is a brick 
building and contains six class-rooms. It is 
named in honor of Albion A. Perry, who was 
born in Standish, Me., January 26, 1851. He 
came to Somerville in 1869. He has been a 
member of the School Committee, of the Com- 
mon Council, and of the Board of Aldermen. 
He was President of the Water Board for two 
years. "In 1895 he was elected to the office 
of Mayor, after one of the warmest political 
contests ever held in this State; was reelected 
in 1896 and 1897, and filled the office with 
an ability that commanded the respect of every 

In 1901, the George L. Baxter School was 
erected on Bolton Street. It contains six class- 
rooms. It is named in honor of George L. 
Baxter, who was born in Quincy, Mass., Octo- 


ber 21, 1842. He has been Principal of the 
Somerville High School for thirty-five years. 

In the same year the Benjamin G. Brown 
School was erected on Willow Avenue. It is 
similar in construction to the Baxter School. 
It is named in honor of Professor Benjamin G. 
Brown, who was born in Marblehead, February 
22 1837. He has been connected with Tufts 
College as instructor and professor for forty 
years. " He served upon the School Committee 
of Somerville seventeen years and three months, 
between 1872 and 1894. In this connection 
he rendered valuable services to the city, his 
education and training admirably fitting him 
for the work. The excellence of our schools 
may be in a large measure attributed to his 
counsel and influence." 

In 1901, the Jackson School, on the corner of 
Poplar and Maple Streets, was demolished to 
make room for a new twelve-room building. The 
old Bennett School is discontinued and the new 
building is known as the Clark Bennett School. 
The schoolholise on Morrison Street was com- 
pleted in 1903 and named in honor of Martha 


Perry Lowe. Mrs. Lowe was born in Keene, 
N. H., ]!^ovember 21, 1829, and died in Somer- 
ville, May 10, 1902. Her husband, Charles 
Lowe, had been a member of the School Com- 
mittee, and she, as well as her husband, was 
interested in the progress and welfare of the 
schools. At the dedication of schoolhouses and 
teachers' conventions in Somerville she was al- 
ways present with a poem or a speech. 

The Superintendents of Schools in Somer- 
ville have been as follows: Eeverend George 
H. Emerson, from 1857 to 1865; Oren S. 
Knapp, 1865 to 1866; Joshua H. Davis, 1866 
to 1888; Clarence E. Meleney, 1888 to 1893; 
Gordon A. Southworth, the present Superinten- 

It is impossible to read the history of our 
schools without a strong feeling of respect and 
admiration for those who have had charge of our 
educational interests. Their courage, energy, 
and thrift have been unequalled. IN'o other town 
records such destruction from " the torch of 
the incendiary," yet every building that rose 


upon the ashes of its predecessor was superior 
to the one it replaced. 

We may smile at the perambulating school- 
houses, but there was a principle underlying 
all the plans of our ^' school committee men/' 
viz., that nothing should be wasted that could 
be utilized, and that the town's property is as 
sacred as the private purse. 

We have always been fortunate in one re-, 
spect: that our public schools are so satisfac- 
tory that private schools cannot succeed here. 
Several have been started, but they have not 
continued for any length of time. 

There are two parochial schools in Somer- 
ville, in St. Joseph's Parish, Union Square. 
The school for girls was opened in 1880, and is 
under the charge of the Sisters of IN'otre Dame. 
There are, at present, seven hundred and fifty 
pupils. The school for boys was opened in 
1893. Eight hundred boys attend, and they are 
taught by the Xaverian Brothers. The build- 
ings were erected under the supervision of 
Kev. C. T. McGrath, the pastor of St. Joseph's 
Church. The schools are free, and are supported 
by voluntary contributions. 



March 3, 1842, the residents " Without the 
Xeck " succeeded in obtaining the passage of 
an act of separation approved by the Governor, 
and eleven days afterward the inhabitants met 
at the Prospect Hill Schoolhouse and elected 
town officers as follows: Selectmen, Nathan 
Tufts, John S. Edgerly, Caleb W. Leland, 
Luther Mitchell, and Francis Bowman; Town 
Clerk, Charles E. Oilman; Treasurer and Col- 
lector, Edmund Tufts. 

For many years the people in this part of 
Charlestown had been dissatisfied with the 
treatment they had received from those in au- 
thority. The residents beyond the Neck had 
paid their share of the taxes, but they had 
received very little in return — five poor school- 


houses, a cast-off fire-engine, and roads very 
much in need of repair. When the citizens 
could bear it no longer they petitioned the Leg- 
islature to " set them off." 

A committee was appointed to decide upon 
a name for the new town, and Mr. Charles 
Miller suggested '' Somerville." He thought it 
was a pretty name, and at that time there was 
no other Somerville in ^ew England. The 
committee unanimously adopted the suggestion. 

The first business of the town was to provide 
good streets. As our soil was chiefly clay, and 
our ledges slate, gravel was brought from other 
places over the railroads to make firm roadbeds. 

"When the town was incorporated, it con- 
sisted chiefly of farms, brickyards, and marshes. 
Some land in East Somerville had been lotted 
and put on the market, but little, if any, else- 
where. Soon, however, there was great activity 
in real estate, so that by 1855 land valued in 
1843 at only fifty or one hundred dollars an acre 
had advanced to two or three thousand dollars an 
acre, and some to ten thousand; and flourishing 
settlements began, not only in East Somertdlle, 


but near Union Square and on Prospect, Spring, 
and Winter Hills, each a little village of itself." 

In 1892 the City celebrated the fiftieth anni- 
versary of its incorporation as a separate town. 
The Somerville Journal Company issued a Sou- 
venir number with bits of history, poems, and 
photographs of residents and of old houses. 

There was a procession which required two 
hours to pass a given point, with representations 
of the leading industries. A mammoth tent 
was erected on Central Hill, in which the lit- 
erary exercises were to be held. A violent 
thunder-storm arose just before the hour for 
assembling, and the tent was demolished. Three 
days later another was erected, and the original 
programme was carried out. Speeches were de- 
livered by Hon. George A. Bruce, Major Will- 
iam H. Hodgkins, Eev. George W. Durell, and 
others. Mrs. Martha Perry Lowe recited an 
original poem, and Mrs. Bailey sang the " Star 
Spangled Banner." The widow and daughter of 
Charles Miller, who gave the city its name, were 
invited, as guests of honor, to sit on the plat- 


In fifty years " in the matter of growth, 
Somerville's career has been remarkable, if not 
phenomenal. In the whole sixty years of its 
existence, the gain in population has averaged 
1,000 per year. In 1842, the year of the town's 
incorporation, there were not many more than 
1,000 souls within its borders; the census of 
1900 shows that we were then over 61,000 in 
number. From a farming town whose fertile 
acres were dotted here and there with houses, 
and whose rangeways were traversed as much 
by cattle and sheep as by people, we have grown 
to be a compact community of 65,000 people, 
11,000 dwellings, and ninety miles of streets." 
[Mayor Glines.] 


When- the Civil War occurred in 1860, Som- 
erville was ready with her share of troops. 

Among the companies which replied to Pres- 
ident Lincoln's call were: The Somerville 
Light Infantry, Company B, under command of 
George O. Brastow; Company E, under com- 
mand of Captain Ered K. Kinsley; Company 
B, under command of William E. Kobinson. 

In the cemetery on Somerville Avenue is a 
monument, erected in 1863, commemorating the 
valor of the men who died in the defence of 
the Union. This is the first memorial in honor 
of Union soldiers erected after the Civil War. 

The inscription on the monument is as fol- 
lows : — 



C. C. Walden, U. S. Navy. Lost in the Brig 

Caleb Howard, 58th Mass. Sept. 30, 1861. 
Mich'l Driscoll, U. S. Navy. Texas, Sept. 8, 


Patrick Sheridan, 26th Mass. N. Orleans, 

July 1, 1864. 

Elias Manning, 22nd Mass. May 15, 1864. 

Wm. Connellon, 28th Mass. Hospital, Md., 
June 12, 1864. 

Capt. Willard Kinsley, 39th Mass. City 
Point, April 2, 1865. 

S. P. Kollins, 39th Mass. Poolesville, Nov. 
22, 1862. 

E. F. Keniston, 39th Mass. Somerville, 

April 28, 1863. 

Fred A. Glines, 39th Mass. Salisbury, Jan. 

6, 1865. 

David Gorham, 39th Mass. Prison, Dec. 10, 


John E. Horton, 39th Mass. Prison, Jan. 6, 


Geo. H. Hatch, 39th Mass. Prison, Feb. 1, 



Chas. G. Jones, 39th Mass. Prison, Nov. 23, 

David Kendrick, 39th Mass. Prison, March 
10, 1865. 

Eugene B. Hadley, 39th Mass. Petersburg, 
Feb. 7, 1865. 

Richard J. Hyde, 39th Mass. Prison, Aug. 
13, 1864. 

Francis J. Oliver, 39th Mass. Prison, Oct. 
10, 1864. 

James Moran, 39th Mass. Washington, Aug. 

7, 1865. 

Augustus Benze, 39th Mass. Utica, Sept. 6, 

J. W. Whitmore, 39th Mass. Prison, Oct., 

Washington Lovett, 39th Mass. Prison, Sept. 

8, 1864. 

Robert T. Powers, 39th Mass. Wilderness, 
May 7, 1864. 

Wm. D. Palmer, 39th Mass. Wilderness, 
May 7, 1864. 

Samuel O. Felker, 39th Mass. Wilderness, 
May 7, 1864. 



Somerville Guard. 
Entered U. S. Service for three years, 1862. 

Geo. W. Ayers, 24th Mass. Dec, 24, 1864. 

E. H. Kendall, 13th Mass. Dec. 1, 1863. 

John W. Coffee, 26th Mass. April 19, 

Edwin D. Cate, 1st Mass. Cav. Prison, Jan. 
13, 1864. 

L C. Whittemore, 18th Mass. Lincoln 
Plant'n, Me., April 10, 1865. 

Michael Clifford, 1st Mass. H. A. April 22, - 

Lt. J. Kafferty, 9th Mass. Malvern Hill, 
July 1, 1862. 

M. Haseltine, 12th Mass. 

J. Millen, 22d Mass. Gaines Mills, June 22, 

J. McGuire, 9th Mass. Gaines Mills, June 
27, 1862. 

H. McGlone, 9th Mass. Malvern Hill, July 
1, 1862. 

A. E. Mitchell, 12th Mass. Bull Run, Aug. 
19, 1862. 


^. Haseltine, 12th Mass. 

Lt. W. Berry, 2 2d Mass. Antietam, Sept. 
17, 1862. 

C. Young, 29th Mass. Craney Island, Sept. 
17, 1862. 

E. McDonald, 21st Mass. Somerville, Sept. 
6, 1862. 

W. Blackwell, 99th N. Y. :N'orfolk, Oct. 12, 

T. H. Pitman, 22d Mass. Annapolis, Feb. 
27, 1863. 

. K Davis, 31st Mass. Baton Rouge, Mar. 27, 

A. G. Lovejoy, 2nd Mass. Batt'y. Baton 
Ronge, Mar. 27, 1863. 

J. W. Langley, Somerville, Jan. 10, 1863. 

J. Ducey, 38th Mass. Port Hudson, May 27; 

Sgt. I^. W. Wilson, 11th Mass. Gettysburg, 
July 4, 1863. 

F. McQuade, 38th Mass. Oct. 16, 1863. 
Leonard F. Purington, 15th Mass. George- 
town, July 22, 1865. 


Entered U. S. Service for nine months. 
Sept. 19, 1862. 
North Carolina. 

Fred A. Galletly, 23d Mass. Aug. 5, 1864. 

John Holland, 15th Mass. July, 1863. 

James McLaughlin, 28th Mass. Dec, 1862, 

John O'Brien, 12th :Nr. Y. Cav. Somerville, 

Wm. McDonald, 21st Mass. Roanoke Island. 

Henry McVey, U. S. :N'avy. Salisbury, July 
31, 1864. 

E. Franklin Hanaford. Bull Eun, July 21, 

W. Frank Moore, Washington, July 31, 1861. 

Lieut. Edward Brackett, 10th Me. Antietam, 
Sept. 18, 1862. 

Samuel G. Tompkins, New Bern, June 22. 

N. Fletcher Nelson, 23d Mass. Eichmond, 
June 11, 1864. 

Lieut. T. J. Vande Sande, 115th N. Y. Ft. 
Monroe, Sept. 3, 1864. 


Entered U. S. Service for three months, 

April 19, 1861. 

Washington, D. C, and Va. 

*^ Their warfare is over. 
They sleep well.'' 

Wm. Plant, 28th Mass. Fredericksburg, 
Dec. 13, 1863. 

Frank Doherty, 56th Mass. Spottsylvania, 
May 12, 1864. 

Lieut. W. W. Warden, 1st Mass. Cav. Kich- 
mond. May 28, 1864. 

Patrick McCarty, 16th Mass. Fair Oaks, 
June 18, 1862. 

Patrick Hayes, 5th Mass. Somerville, 1862. 

Alonzo W. Temple. New Orleans, July 7, 

Erected by the Somerville Light Infantry 
with the balance of a fund generously contrib- 
uted by their fellow citizens in aid of the 


company on entering the U. S. Service for three 
months, April 19, 1861. 

In memory of all from this town who have 
fallen in the service of their country. 

S. L. I. 

Incorporated A. D. 1853. 



In 1835, tJie first railroad through Somer- 
ville was opened. It ran from Lowell to Boston. 

The Fitchburg Railroad Company was in- 
corporated in 1842, and the road connected 
Charlestown and Waltham. ''Until 185Y it 
crossed the Lowell at grade, but it was then 
lowered, and the Lowell was raised and bridged 
over it.'' 

In 1845, the Boston & Maine Railroad was 
extended through Somerville to Boston. 

'' In 1849, the Grand Junction Railroad was 
planned, and was continued from the Eastern 
and the Boston & Maine to the Fitchburg, and 
afterward was extended across Cambridge and 
the Charles River to the Albany Railroad." 

In 1854, the Eastern Railroad was built, 


through Somerville, to Boston. These railroads, 
except the Grand Junction, which is owned by 
the Boston & Albany, are now under one system, 
that of the Boston & Maine. 

'' Previous to 1858, steam-cars and omnibuses, 
or ^ hourlies,' were the only conveyances to Bos- 
ton. In this year two lines of horse railroad 
were opened into the town, one over Broadway 
to Winter Hill, the other up Washington Street 
to Union Square, then through Milk Street 
[Somerville Avenue] and Elm Street to West 
Somerville. They were built along the sides 
of the streets, near the gutters, and were laid 
with sleepers and a T-rail like those of a steam 

^' The second street railway in the world was 
the Cambridge road, between Harvard Square, 
Cambridge, and Bowdoin Square, Boston." 

In 1880, the Charles River Railway Com- 
pany built a street railway extending from 
School Street through Cambridgeport to Boston, 
and one on Beacon Street, from Boston to North 
Avenue, Cambridge. The cars were all drawn 
by horses, and for many years the earlier lines 


ran but two cars an hour. 'Now [1903] all the 
cars are moved by electricity, and on Summer 
Street, during the middle of the day, there are, 
in one hour, four cars to Koxbury, two to Bow- 
doin Square, and three to the Subway, in Bos- 
ton. Earlier and later in the day, the cars run 
more frequently. 

In 1872, the country was visited by a great 
affliction, called the epizootic, or horse disease. 
Electric cars were not known then, and people 
who lived at a distance from stores, schools, and 
theatres, were obliged to remain at home. One 
could walk with perfect safety in the middle 
of any street in Boston. Business was almost 
at a standstill. Somerville was an exception. 
Wi'th five lines of steam-cars from different 
parts of the city, the stopping of the horse-cars 
was but a slight inconvenience. 


The first circulating library in Somerville 
was started in a drug-store on the corner of 
Somerville Avenue and Kent Street, about 1868. 
Some years later, the Public Library was 
started, with the money received by the city 
from the dog tax. A small room in the back 
part of the present city hall was engaged for 
the purpose. Isaac Pitman was the librarian 
for three years, giving his services without sal- 
ary. Miss H. Augusta Adams was his first 
assistant. The Library contained two thousand, 
three hundred and eighty-four volumes. Seven 
hundred and fifteen books had been presented 
to the Library. 

Miss Adams succeeded Mr. Pitman as libra- 
rian. She was succeeded by John S. Hayes, 


during whose term of office the library became 
one of the foremost in the State. 

Nothing else in our history has grown so 
rapidly as the Library, and, apart from the 
churches and schools, nothing is so dear to the 
heart of the public. In contrast with its very 
humble beginning we now have the beautiful 
building, with all the modern conveniences and 
comforts, one might say luxuries. A circula- 
tion of ninety-three thousand volumes has in- 
creased to one of nearly two million volumes 
annually. This does not include the large num- 
ber and variety of magazines and newspapers. 

A few years ago, Mrs. Harriet M. Laughlin, 
the daughter of Mr. Pitman, gave one thousand 
dollars to the Library in memory of her father. 
This is the only large sum given to the Library, 
and it reflects great credit on our community 
that it can start and maintain a Library, un- 
aided, which compares more than favorably with 
those of other cities of equal wealth. 

The " Children's Eoom " is a favorite resort. 
An assistant is always at hand to give aid to 
the little ones who may need it. The room 


is lined with bookcases, and the children arc 
allowed to handle the books and make their own 

Under the administration of Mr. Sam Walter 
Foss many noted improvements in the Library 
have been made. Each grammar school can be 
supplied with a set of books, sufficient to give 
one to each pupil. There are also different 
Library stations throughout the city; and a 
house-to-house delivery can be had upon the 
payment of a small fee. 


'^ On April 14, 1871, the act establishing the 
City of Somerville was approved and accepted 
by the voters at a town meeting held for that 
purpose on April 27. On December 4, the first 
city election occurred, resulting in the choice of 
George O. Brastow as Mayor, and of a Board of 
Aldermen and Councilmen." 

The city was divided into four wards. Erom 
each ward there were chosen two aldermen, 
four common councilmen, and three members 
of the school committee. 

" The most important measure that demanded 
the attention of the first city government was 
the abatement of the nuisance in that part of 
Miller's Eiver which extended from the Boston 
& Lowell Eailroad, at the Cambridge and Som- 
erville line, to the rear of the Union Glasshouse, 


on Webster Avenue." This river received the 
drainage from two slaughter-houses and several 
factories, as well as house drainage, and the 
odor from it was so bad that people living in 
the vicinity could not sleep, and the buildings 
near it were discolored by the offensive gases 
which came from it. The cities of Cambridge 
and Somerville united in their efforts and, 
sharing the expense, caused the river to be filled 
and a sewer to be constructed. 

Under the first city government brick side- 
walks were laid. 

In 1875, Milk Street, formerly Milk Kow, 
was renamed Somerville Avenue. This historic 
road has on it many beautiful elms of unknown 
age. They were in full vigor at the time of the 

In 1875, the Broadway Park was laid out 
It was formerly a marsh ^' so soft and deep that 
a timber structure on piles was built to sustain 
the curbing of the pond." It was a very expen- 
sive piece of work for the city, and a great 
affliction to the taxpayers for many years. Now 
it is a beautiful park. 


* In 1896, a portion of land near Washington 
Street, called " Wyatt Pits," was purchased by 
the city, laid out in lawns and walks, and named 
" Lincoln Park." 

Another spot favored by the children in Ward 
Four, now Ward Six, was the pond called 
Pine Island Pond, on the Dickinson estate, sit- 
uated on Elm Street, between Charles and Moss- 
land Streets. It was an artificial pond, with an 
island in the centre, and on the island stood a 
lonely pine-tree. This island was often used 
as an illustration by the teacher of geography. 
In winter the children found the pond a delight- 
ful place for skating and sliding. The pond was 
filled in 1900. 

In 1902, the city purchased the Clarendon 
Hill Ledge for a Public Park. 

In 1893, the City Hospital on Crocker Street 
was begun. Miss Martha R. Hunt gave a gen- 
erous sum toward its establishment, and the 
citizens contributed an equal amount. 


In 1900, the City Charter was changed. The 
Common Council was abolished; the city was 
divided into seven wards, with two members 
of the school committee to be chosen from each 

The Mayors of Somerville to the present time 
have been as follows : — 

George 0. Brastow . 

. 1872 


William H. Furber . 

. 1874 


Austin Belknap . . 

. 1876 


George A. Bruce . . 

. 1878 


John A. Cummings . 

. 1881 


Mark F. Burns . . . 

. 1885 


Charles G. Pope . . 

. 1889 


William H. Hodgkins 

. 1892 




Albion A. Perry . . . 1896-98 
Geo. O. Proctor . . . 1898-1900 
Edward Glines .... 1900- 

Mr. Glines is the present mayor > [1903] 



The industries of Somerville are many and 
varied. In size and extent the Xorth Packing 
& Provision Company stands first. In 1902, it 
paid a tax amounting to more than twenty-eight 
thousand dollars. The packing-house covers 
thirteen acres of land, and is the most complete 
one in the world. Its business is to supply 
fresh and cured meats to all parts of the world. 
It employs more than twelve hundred men. 

The American Tube Works, for the manufac- 
ture of brass tubing, began operation in Somer- 
ville in 1851. It employs nearly a thousand 
men, and pays an annual tax of five thousand 
dollars. It is situated on Somerville Avenue. 

The Fresh Pond Ice Company has a very 
extensive business. It is located near Wash- 


ington Street and the Fitchburg Eailroad. The 
ice is brought in refrigerator cars from Brook- 
line, :n^. H. 

The Union Glass Company was organized in 
1854. The works are situated on Webster Ave- 
nue, near Union Square. Here are manufac- 
tured lamp chimneys, gas globes, lamps, and a 
great variety of cut glass and decorated glass- 
ware. The firm employs about two hundred 

Brick making was one of the early indus- 
tries of Somerville. The region below Union 
Square is called ^' Brick Bottom," because of 
the brick business once carried on there. In an- 
other part of the town is a district called ^' The 
Patch,'' which shows traces of the early works. 
" The size of the brick was regulated by Charles 
I., hence the name statute-bricks. The first 
vessels which arrived at Salem had bricks 
stowed under their hatches, which were doubt- 
less used in the erection of some of the big 
chimney-stacks that still exist there. Bricks are 
more durable than stone. The sun-dried bricks 
of Mneveh and Babylon are still in existence, 


while the Roman baths of Caracalla and Titus 
have withstood the action of the elements far 
better than the stone of the Colisemn or the 
marble of the Forum." The only brickmaking 
business now in Somerville is at Ten Hills 
Farm, conducted by William A. Sanborn. 

In 1874, the Sprague & Hathaway Portrait 
Copying House was established in West Som- 
erville. Here the business of framing pictures 
is carried on quite extensively. 

In 1881, the Derby & Kilmer Desk Company 
was organized. A few years later the company 
removed to Somerville. The works are situated 
on Vernon Street, near the Somerville Railroad 
Station. The company is now the Derby Desk 

In 1821, the Middlesex Bleachery and Dye 
Works was established. It employs a large 
number of men. Some years ago one of the 
buildings caught fire, and the principal of 
one of the grammar schools and his pupils be- 
came so interested in helping the people move 
their possessions from the houses near by that 
they forgot to start for school until it was too 


late to do so. Then the principal sent word that 
there would be no school. The message was 
unnecessary, for although the teachers were 
present, the pupils were all at the fire. 

Carpet cleaning, repairing of furniture, and 
the remaking of mattresses is carried on at 
Broadway, East Somerville. 

William M. Armstrong conducts a large 
cooperage business on Somerville Avenue. 

On Elm Street and Somerville Avenue are 
the carriage manufacturing establishments of 
Leavitt & Henderson. 

In the rear of the Bleachery on Someryille 
Avenue is a distillery. New England rum is 
made here by Daniel E. Chase & Company. 

The manufacturing business of M. W. Carr 
& Company, in West Somerville, is very exten- 
sive and interesting. All kinds of jewelry, 
badges, and other novelties are made and electro- 
plated here. 

The I. H. Brown Moulding Company occu- 
pies the building at 289 Washington Street. 
This firm makes mouldings, sashes, brackets, 


etc., but a special branch is the making of cab- 
inets for schools and museums. 

In 1855, John P. Squire bought a tract of 
land on Miller's Kiver, a part of it in East 
Cambridge and a part in Somervalle, and 
started a pork-packing business. The business 
has increased greatly, and now the company 
known as John P. Squire & Company ranks 
third in the United States. 

There are many other industries in Somer- 
ville, but mention is made here of only the 
oldest or the most extensive ones. 


emi:n'ent eesidents 

SoMERviLLE has been the home of many dis- 
tinguished persons, — artists, musicians, and 

Among musicians are: Mrs. Walter C. 
Bailey, Miss Gertrude Edmands, Miss Annie 
Lord (Mrs. S. Henry Hooper), Mrs. H. M. 
Smith, Miss Evangeline Houghton (Mrs. Alex- 
ander Crerar), Miss Kuby Cutter, Laurence E. 
Brine, S. Henry Hadley, for many years teacher 
of music in the schools, and his sons, Henry K. 
Hadley and Arthur Hadley. 

There are many others in the rising genera- 
tion who bid fair to win fame for themselves 
as well as for our city. Among the latter are : 
Albert A. Densmore and Miss Eleonora M. 
Bragdon. Both have unusual voices, and are 
ranked among professionals. 



Among authors and writers who have lived 
in Somerville are : — 

Elbridge S. Brooks, the children's friend, who 
wrote such charming stories as '^ In Leisler's 
Times," ^'Century Book of Famous Americans," 
" Historic Boys," '' Historic Girls," and many 

His daughter. Miss Geraldine Brooks, who 
has written '' Dames and Daughters of the 
Young Republic." 

Sam Walter Foss, whose verses are attractive 
to old and young alike, and who has given us 
" Back Country Poems," " Whiffs from Wild 
Meadows," " Dreams in Homespun," and other 

Miss Anna C. Brackett, for many years a 
contributor to the leading magazines. 

Gordon A. Southworth, author of a series 
of Arithmetics, and also, with the assistance 
of the late Farley Goddard, of Harvard Univer- 
sity, author of some text-books on language, 
" First Lessons in Language," and ^' Elements 
of Composition and Grammar." All these 
books are used in our schools, and are help- 


fill to the teacher and interesting to the pupil. 
Mr. Southworth was born in Vermont. He has 
tanght in 'New Hampshire, and in Maiden, and 
for twenty years was principal of the Prescott 
School. In 1893 he was elected to the office 
of Superintendent of the Somerville schools. 

Martha Perry Lowe, author of ^' The Olive 
and the Pine," the '^ Memoir of Charles Lowe," 
and other books. 

Douglas Frazar, author of " Perseverance Is- 
land," '' Log of the Maryland," etc. 

Mrs. E'ancy T. Munroe, a constant contribu- 
tor to the press and author of occasional poems. 

Isaac P. Shepard, a writer of poems. 

Frank M. Hawes, author of '^ Poems." 

Wyzeman Marshall, writer of prose and 

Edwin D. Sibley, author of '' Stillman Gott." 

Harold C. Bailey, author of '^ My Lady of 
Orange " and " Karl of Erbach." 

Charles H. Taylor, manager of the Boston 
Globe, and former editor and founder of the 
American Homes Magazine — the first ten-cent 


magazine in this country. The office was burned 
in the Boston fire of 1872. 

Kobert Luce, journalist and lecturer, author 
of "Electric Railways," ''Writing for the 
Press," and '' Going Abroad ? " 

William H. Hills, journalist, publisher, and 
editor of The Writer. 

Albert E. Winship, lecturer, author, and edi- 
tor of the Journal of Education. Mr. Winship 
has written many educational works. 

Edwin M. Bacon, author of "• King's Diction- 
ary of Boston," and of several other books of 
like interest. 

M. J. Canavan, author of " Ben Comee " and 
other books for boys. 

Charles D. Elliot, author of " Somerville's 
History " and lecturer on historical subjects ; 
former president of the Somerville Historical 

Lewis C. Flanagan, author of "Essays in 
Poetry and Prose." 

George Russell Jackson, originator of the 
"' Pencillings " column in the Somerville Jour- 
nal, and a contributor to the leading magazines. 


Mrs. E. A. Bacon, editor of the Ladies' Re- 

Mrs. Mary A. Pillsbury, author of '' The 
Legend of the Old Mill/' and other poems. 

Miss Helen J. Sanborn, author of a book on 

Mrs. Barbara ~^. Galpin, author of '' In For- 
eign Lands " and '' History of Somerville Jour- 

George W. D'Vys, novelist and verse-writer, 
author of ^' A Life's Sacrifice," ^^ Dr. Fanny 
Evans," ^' Jean O'Connell," and other stories. 

C. W. Willis {'' Allan Eric "), author of '' A 
Yankee Crusoe," and other books. 

Dr. Edward C. Booth is an authority on 
local history, and wrote the chapter on Somer- 
ville in the Middlesex County history. 

John S. Hayes wrote much about local his- 
tory, and also published a pamphlet, " A Souve- 
nir of Winter HilL" 

J. T. Trowbridge, author of " Cudjo's Cave " 
and other novels once lived in Somerville. 

At the jimction of Broadway and Main 
Street stands a house which is supposed to have 


been built in 1805. Edward Everett, the fa- 
mous preacher and writer, lived here between 
1826 and 1830. 

There have been many other literary folk in 
Somerville, but the limited scope of this work 
will not permit an extended list. A little inci- 
dent, however, may be interesting to the young. 

When Rev. Mr. Durell was conducting 
an examination in the Prospect Hill Grammar 
School, he noticed that two little girls in the 
graduating class were uncommonly bright. He 
was so much impressed by their recitation that 
he asked their names, and was told that they 
were sisters, and that their name was Saxe. 
Then he asked the name of the father, and was 
pleased to hear that it was John G. Saxe, the 
well-known writer of humorous verse, who, wish- 
ing to be near Boston for a while, had taken a 
house in Somerville, and sent his children to 
the public school. 

The dearest person to the child mind and 
child heart was the heroine of " Mary Had a 
Little Lamb." Everybody knows the story of 
Mary and her little lamb; but not every one 


knows that Mary E. Sawyer, who was born near 
Worcester, Mass., was the heroine of the poem.. 

When Mary was a little girl she found a 
new-bom lamb nearly dead with hunger and 
cold. She tenderly nursed it back to life, and 
became devotedly attached to her gentle charge. 
The lamb was her constant companion and play- 
mate, and was to her what a doll is to most 
children. For hours she would dress her lamb 
and '' make believe " it was her baby. One 
day her brother suggested that she take her 
lamb to school with her. The thought so de- 
lighted Mary that she started earlier than usual 
for the schoolhouse, reached there before the 
other scholars, and put the little lamb under 
her seat, where it lay contentedly. 

When Mary's turn came for her recitation the 
lamb ran do^vn the aisle after her, to the intense 
delight of the scholars and the surprise of the 
teacher. The lamb was put outside, and it 
waited on the door-step for Mary and followed 
her home. A young man named John Roulston 
chanced to be a visitor at the school, and the 
pathetic incident led him to compose the famous 


stanzas, which he presented to the owner of the 
lamb. Some years afterward Miss Mary Sawyer 
was married to Mr. Cohimbus Tyler. 

When the lamb was old enough to shear, 
Mary's mother knit her two pairs of stockings 
of the wool; and Mrs. Tyler kept these stock- 
ings until she was eighty years old. When the 
Old South Church of Boston was raising money, 
she unravelled a pair of the stockings, and 
wound the yarn on small cards, upon which she 
wrote her autograph ; and these cards were sold 
for upward of $100. Mrs. Tyler died in Decem- 
ber, 1889. 

Mr, and Mrs. Columbus Tyler built a beauti- 
ful house on Central Street, which is now the 
parsonage of the Unitarian Church. Mrs. 
Tyler loved all children and all who knew her 
loved her. 

Tribute should be paid to those who by their 
heroism have saved lives in the face of certain 

Captain Francis M. Howes, the Commodore of 
the line of steamers controlled by the Merchants 


and Miners Transportation Company, has saved 
fifteen crews from drowning. 

Captain Alfred Sorensen has received many 
medals in recent years for the bravery displayed 
in saving the lives of seamen. His latest medal 
came from the Massachusetts Humane Society 
for saving the lives of seventeen men, the crew 
of a tug which struck on Mt. Desert Kock, 
December 15, 1902. 


In 1844, the First Congregational [Unita- 
rian] Society was organized, and the corner- 
stone of a church was laid near the site of the 
English High School. This society was started 
in 1842, by Miss Elizabeth P. Whittredge, a 
teacher in the public schools, who had devoted 
her Sunday mornings to giving religious in- 
struction to the children in her school. Rev. 
Richard M. Hodges, of Cambridge, preached the 
first sermon. 

The first church was dedicated in 1845. This 
church was destroyed by fire, and a new one 
was built on its site in 1854. This church 
also was burned, and a third one was built in 
January, 1869. In September, 18Y0, during 
a fierce gale, this building was unroofed. A 


lady who happened to be looking in that direc- 
tion said that the wind lifted the roof as if it 
were a blanket^ and dropped it on the ground. 
At that time many chimneys were blown down 
and trees were uprooted on Summer Street, but 
no other damage was done. In 1893, the third 
building, with the land about it, was sold to 
the city for forty-five thousand dollars. Land 
was purchased on the opposite side of High- 
land Avenue, and the present church was 
erected, at a cost of eighty thousand dollars. 
It is built of stone, and is more commodious 
than the old building. In the rear, but con- 
nected with the church, is a smaller building, 
which has a Hall and a Sunday-School room, 
besides smaller rooms. The Hall is used for 
the meetings of the Heptorean Club and other 
entertainments. The different pastors have 
been : — 

Eev. John T. Sargent, Eev. Augustus K. 
Pope, Kev. Charles Lowe, Rev. Henry H. 
Barber, Eev. John S. Thomson, and the pres- 
ent incumbent, Eev. William H. Pierson. 

The parsonage on Central Street is the gift 


of Columbus Tyler, who was always a generous 
friend of the church. 

The Second Unitarian Church was organized 
in 1891 on Elm Street, West Somerville. The 
pastor in charge is Kev. Albert H. Spence, Jr. 

In 1852, thirty persons organized the First 
Baptist Church. The services were held in a 
chapel on Beech Street, which was afterward 
sold to the city, to be used as a schoolhouse. 
In 1873, a new church was erected on Behnont 
Street. This church has had nine pastors in 
forty years. The present pastor is Kev. Kichard 
Otis Sherwood. 

In 1890 - 91, the vestry of this church was 
used as a schoolroom for the three higher grades 
of the Morse School. 

The Perkins Street Baptist Church, on Cross 
Street, was organized in 1845. In 1864, the 
building was enlarged, and two years later it 
was destroyed by fire. A new building soon 
took the place of the old one, and in 1873 was 
still further enlarged. In 1892, the congre- 
gation divided, a part remaining in the church 
on Perkins Street, and a part building another 


edifice on Cross Street, but retaining the old 
name. In 1902, this building was partially 
burned, but in a few weeks it was ready for 
occupancy again. The present pastor is Rev. 
John K. Gow. 

In 1854, the First Universalist Church was 
organized. The present building at the corner 
of Cross and Tufts Streets was built in 1869. 
In forty-three years this church has had only 
seven pastors. The present pastor is Rev. H. 
D. Maxwell. 

In 1855, the First Methodist Episcopal So- 
ciety in Somerville was started by a few persons, 
in Franklin Hall, near Union Square, under 
the charge of Rev. Rufus Gerrish. The present 
building on Bow Street was erected in 1874. 
It has the largest auditorium in the city, and 
the graduating exercises of the public schools 
are held here. The present pastor is Rev. 
George Skene. 

Emmanuel Parish was organized in 1862, 
in a small hall over a tin-shop at the corner of 
Somerville Avenue and Park Street. Rev. N. 
G. Allen had charge of the first services. 


The hall was afterward used as a school. In 
three instances in Somerville schools have fol- 
lowed churches. 

In 1866, the building on the corner of Cen- 
tral and Summer Streets was occupied. The 
present rector is Rev. Nathan K. Bishop, who 
was installed in 1877. 

In August, 1863, the Sunday-School con- 
nected with the Broadway Congregational 
Church was formed. In 1864, the church was 
organized, and a new building was dedicated, 
at the corner of Broadway and Central Street. 
In 1866, the building was destroyed by fire. 
In 1868, a new chapel was built on Sycamore 
Street. In 1871, another building Avas erected 
on the site of the first one. The church members 
divided in 1879. After the division the Broad- 
way Congregational Church went to Sycamore 
Street. The present pastor is Rev. H. H'. 

The other members of the church now 
constitute the Winter Hill Congregational 
Church. The present pastor is Rev. Charles 
L. Noyes, who is an active member of the Asso- 


ciated Charities and very much interested in 
the Stamp Saving System which has been re- 
cently introduced into the schools. The church 
has a fine stone building on the corner of Broad- 
way and Central Street. 

The Flint Street Methodist Church was or- 
ganized in 1868, in the Tufts Street Chapel, 
then occupied as a place of worship by St. 
Thomas Parish. In July, 1871, a chapel was 
built on Flint Street, which served as a place 
of worship until the present building was 
erected. The pastor now is Rev. Philip Frick. 

The Church of St. Thomas was built on 
Somerville Avenue in 1870, under the rector- 
ship of Rev. George W. Durell, formerly rector 
of Emmanuel parish. The present rector is 
Rev. Silas B. Duffield. 

The parish of St. James was organized as 
a Mission Chapel in 1875. The building was 
erected on IN'ewbury Street, in 1876. In 1885, 
the building was moved to the corner of Broad- 
way and Clarendon Avenue. 

The Park Avenue Methodist Episcopal 
Church was'formed in 1872, under the charge of 


Rev. W. F. Lacoimt. In 1873, a chapel was 
built, and the first pastor. Rev. A. E. Winship, 
was installed. The present building was dedi- 
cated in 1883. It is situated on the corner of 
Ehn Street and Park Avenue. The present 
pastor is Rev. Arthur Page Sharp. 

The Broadway Methodist Church was formed 
in 1873, through the efforts of Rev. J. Benson 
Hamilton, pastor of the Flint Street Church. 
After some time the one-story brick building 
at the corner of Broadway and Marshall Street 
was erected by the society, and in this services 
were held until the new church building was 
erected on Broadway, in 1882. Within a few 
years this building has been removed to Grant 
Street, and enlarged and improved. The present 
pastor is Rev. George H. Clarke. 

In 1874, the West Somerville Congregational 
Society was organized. In 1876, the present 
building was dedicated. The first pastor was 
Rev. C. L. Mills. Rev. E. E. Braithwaite is 
now pastor in charge. It is called the Day 
Street Church. 

The West Somerville Baptist Church was 


formed in 1874. The first settled pastor was 
Rev. J. R. Haskins. The present church was 
completed in 1890. The pastor now is Rev J. 
Vanor Garton. 

September 15, 1853, the First Orthodox Con- 
gregational Society was legally organized. The 
church edifice on Franklin Street was dedicated 
in 1855. In 1867, this edifice was burned, and 
the present building on the original site was 
built in 1868. Rev. Benjamin Judkins was 
the first pastor. The present pastor is Rev. 
W. Sherman Thompson. 

The Second Advent Society began holding 
meetings in 1878, and in 1879 a chapel was 
built on Bow Street at the junction of Somer- 
ville Avenue. Elder Charles Goodrich was the 
first pastor. In 1887, the society was incor- 
porated, and the present chapel was built on 
Putnam Street. Rev. Charles W. Dockham is 
now the pastor. 

In 1879, the Winter Hill Universalist Church 
was organized. In 1888, a church was built on 
the corner of Evergreen Avenue and Thurston 


Street. The present pastor is Eev. Alonzo 
Francis Gray, formerly of Nashua. 

In 1886, the Union Square Presbyterian 
Church was organized. The present church 
was purchased from the Congregational Society. 
It is situated on Warren Avenue. Kev. Lewis 
V. Price has recently resigned the pastorate. 

In 1881, the Third Universalist Church was 
organized in West Somerville. In 1884, the 
church on the corner of Elm and Morrison 
Streets was completed. The present pastor is 
Eev. William Couden. 

The East Somerville Baptist Church was 
organized in 1890. The building is on Perkins 
Street, opposite Pinckney Street. The first 
pastor was Kev. C.^ L. Khoades. Eev. F. S. 
Boody, of Agawam, has just accepted a call 
to this church. 

The Eandall Memorial Baptist Church occu- 
pies an edifice on New Cross Street. This 
church has had six pastors since 1873. The 
present pastor is Eev. Welbee Butterfield. 

The Highland Congregational Church was 
organized in 1894, In 1895, the new building 


on Highland Avenue was dedicated. The church 
has had but one pastor, Rev. George S. K. 

In 1874, the Prospect Hill Congregational 
Church was organized. In 1876, the building 
on Warren Avenue was dedicated. In 1889, the 
handsome brick building on Bow Street was ded- 
icated. This church has had but three pastors: 
Eev. A. E. Winship, Rev. Edward S. Tead, and 
Rev. Richard C. Woodbridge. 

The Union Square Baptist Church holds its 
services in an attractive building on Walnut 
Street. This building was erected in 1896. 
Rev. C. S. Scott was the first pastor. Rev. 
W. B. C. Merry has just resigned the pastorate. 

In 1881, the Winter Hill Baptist Church was 
organized. In fifteen years this church has had 
fifteen pastors. The first one was Rev. L. H. 
Abrams. Rev. W. J. Day resigned the pastorate 
June 7, 1903. 

In 1881, St. Ann's Church was dedicated 
and Rev. John R. Galvin was installed as pas- 
tor. In 1894, the church was burned, but two 
months later the building was ready again for 


divine service. St. Ann's now has a new build- 
ing, one of the finest in the city. 

In 1869, the Parish of St. Joseph was or- 
ganized. For two years the congregation wor- 
shipped in Hawkins HalL The present bnikl- 
ing was dedicated in 1874. Eev. C. T. McGrath 
is the pastor. 

The Parish of St. Catharine was organized 
in 1891, and the chapel on Summer Street 
was dedicated in 1892. The pastor is Rev. 
James J. O'Brien, the son of the late Mayor 
Hugh O'Brien, of Boston. 

The parsonage connected with this church was 
once the residence of Isaac Pitman, our first 
Librarian. A spacious greenhouse covered the 
present lawn. The flowers were sent to brighten 
many homes in Somerville and other places. 
Mr. and Mrs. Pitman were the centre of a 
cultivated and literary circle. John G. Whit- 
tier was a constant visitor. Lucy Larcom gave 
a series of talks on literature to the favored 
few. Men and women eminent in Cambridge 
and Boston frequently met there. Mrs. Har- 
riet M, Laughlin, the daughter, was a member 


of the School Committee for two years. Mrs. 
Pitman inherited the property from her brother, 
Charles Minot. In his will he left a fortune 
to a young friend. On the death of this young 
man the money became the property of Harvard 
College. For this reason the family received 
many privileges from the University. 


Since 1861, fifteen newspapers have been 
published in Somerville. The two which had 
the longest existence were the Somerville Jour- 
nal and the Somerville Citizen. 

The Somerville Citizen was started in 1888. 
Its office was in the Stickney Building on Pearl 
Street; later, it was moved to Oilman Square. 
It was an excellent paper, representing high 
ideals, and giving to its readers clean and in- 
teresting matter. It was united with the Som- 
erville Journal in 1901. 

The first number of the Somerville Journxil 
was printed December 3, 1870. It represents 
all local interests, and is a welcome visitor in 
every household. The Woman's Page, con- 
ducted by Mrs. Barbara N. Galpin, contains 


notices of women's clubs, household hints, fash- 
ions, and whatever may be interesting to women. 
The office is in the brick building, owned by the 
Somerville Journal Company, at 8 Walnut 

The Somerville Reporter has recently come 
under the management of Wesley P. Maynard. 
It is published in West Somerville. 


The Somerville Historical Society was or- 
ganized in 1897, with Hon. Geo. A. Bruce as 
its first president. It was incorporated in 1898, 
with Charles D. Elliot as president. Its present 
president is John E. Ayer. 

The headquarters are at the old Tufts home- 
stead, No. 78 Sycamore Street. Stated meet- 
ings are held four times a year, and there are 
semi-monthly meetings, when essays and talks 
are given on historical subjects. 



Besides the storm that unroofed the Unita- 
rian Chnrch, Somerville has suffered from two 
other visitations of nature. 

A writer in the Radiator, the High School 
paper, gives a graphic description of the storm 
of January 17, 1867. The High School was in 
the building now used as a City Hall. The 
upper part was the High School, and the lower 
room, a Grammar School. 

It began to snow early in the morning, and 
the flakes were so fine and thick that the houses 
on one side of the street were hardly visible 
from the other side. Mr. Babcock, the Prin- 
cipal of the High School, commended the pupils 
for their punctuality and attendance on such 
a day. 



Before the hour for closing the school, all 
but three of the children had been sent for. 
Twelve Grammar School children shared their 
lunch with the High School girls. The son of 
a neighbor brought provisions, and he, with 
two other neighbors and the janitor, kept guard 
during the night. Two teachers remained also. 
The boys and men occupied one room, and the 
girls another. Wraps were the only bed cover- 
ings, boots and iimbrellas the only pillows. The 
next morning all but three of the children were 
taken away in sleighs, but owing to the high 
drifts many were unable to reach their homes, 
and w^ere obliged to stop at the nearest house. 
The three who were left feared they might have 
to spend another night in the building. When 
the snow-plough came, the three girls followed 
it until it " stuck " in a drift. They went into 
the nearest house till a sleigh came for them. 
One of the girls lived on Belmont "Street, the 
other two on Vine Street. They rode back 
past the High School to Union Square, then to 
Belmont Street, where they all expected to 
pass the night. No paths were shovelled, and 


they stopped twice at different houses. In some 
places the drifts were from six to eight feet 
high. After supper the brother of the young 
girls who lived on Vine Street called for them. 
A path had been made across the field from 
Park Street. In this way, marching in single 
file, they reached their home without difficulty. 

At the Spring Hill School there were only 
primary pupils, and when the hour for dismissal 
arrived anxious parents called for their children 
and were dismayed to see a white wall several 
feet high against the schoolhouse door. One 
energetic parent drove a grocer's team under 
one of the windows, and the little ones were 
handed out to him, and transferred to the arms 
of their parents. This happened before the 
days of the ^' Ko School " signal. 

July 30, 1887, a small cyclone, a few feet in 
width, appeared in Somerville. It did little 
damage, except in one locality. Its greatest 
strength was exercised in its passage between 
Mrs. Frost's house and Mr. Raymond's house, 
on Laurel Street. It seized a large poplar-tree, 
the tallest one on the place, wrenched it from 


its place, and flung it into the street. The roots 
of the fallen tree were twelve or fourteen feet 
long. It was so great a curiosity that photo- 
graphs of it were made and distributed among 

" A city set upon the hills, 

For all to see, like ancient Rome ; 
The one our classic memory thrills, 
The other speaks to us of home. 

" The one is old, and sad, and gray. 
The other is so bright and young. 
It seems as if 'twas in a day 
Our city into being sprung. 

'<It stretches north, and east, and west, — 
The world is lying at our feet ; 
Each one believes his view the best, 
And makes the harmony complete." 

— Martha Perry Lowe, 


1. Potter's History of ^N'arragansett. 

2. Moore's Puritans and Pilgrims. 

3. Moore's Puritans and Pilgrims. 

4. Frothingham's History of Charlesto^vn. 

5. Drake's History of Middlesex County. 

6. Davis, 58. 

7. Somerville Past and Present. 

8. Young, 177. 

9. Somerville Past and Present. 

10. Somerville Past and Present. 

11. Somerville Past and Present. 

12. Drake's History of Middlesex County. 

13. Froth ingli am. 

14. Frothingham. 

15. Somerville Past and Present. 

16. Somerville Past and Present. 

17. Drake's Old Landmarks. 

18. Drake's Old Landmarks. 



19. Drake's Old Landmarks. 

20. Somerville Past and Present. 

21. Drake's History of Middlesex County. 

22. Somerville Past and Present. 

23. Drake's Old Landmarks. 

24. Drake's History of Middlesex County. 

25. Drake's Old Landmarks. 

26. Drake's Old Landmarks. 

27. Somerville Past and Present. 

28. Drake's Old Landmarks. 

29. Drake's Old Landmarks. 

30. Drake's Old Landmarks. 

31. Somerville Past and Present. 

32. Drake's Old Landmarks. 

33. Somerville Past and Present. 

34. General Piedesel's Memoirs. 

35. Drake's History of Middlesex County. 

36. Somerville Past and Present. 



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