Historical Sketch of Cambridge, MA
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THE settlement of Cambridge commenced in 1631. It was originally intended to make it the metropolis of the province of Massachusetts. Governor Winthrop, Deputy Governor Dudley. and the assistants, having examined the territory lying in the vicinity of the new settlements, upon a view of this spot all agreed it a fit place for a beautiful town, and took time to consider further about it.” On Dec. 29, 1630, after many consultations about a fit place to build a town for the seat of government, they agree on a place N. W. side of Charles river, about three miles W. of Charlestown ; and all except Mr. Endicot and Sharp (the former living at Salem, and the latter purposing to return to England) oblige themselves to build themselves houses there the following spring, and remove their ordnace and munition thither. and first call the place Newtown." The town was laid out in squares, the streets intersecting each other at right angles; one square was reserved and left open for the purpose of a market. According to agreement, the governor and other principal gentlemen, in the spring of 1631, began to erect their houses. On some considerations, however, “which at first came not into their minds, “the governor took down the frame of his house and removed it to Boston. which he intended to make the place of his future abode, much to the disappointment of the rest of the company, who were still resolved to build at Newtown.

In 1632 the court ordered “that £60 be levied out of the several plantations, towards making a palisado about the New Town.” This fortification was made; and the fosse which was then dug about the town (says Dr. Holmes in his History of Cambridge) is in some places visible to this day. in some of the first years, the annual election of the governor and magistrates of the colony was holden in this town. “The people on these occasions assembled under an oak tree on the northerly side of the common, which long remained a venerable monument of the freedom, the patriotism, and the piety of the ancestors of New England.” A considerable accession appears to have been made to this place in August, 1632, by the arrival of Mr. Hooker's company. Messrs. Hooker, Stone, and Haynes, the three principal fathers of the Connecticut colony, came over in 1633. The Rev. Mr. Hooker and his assistant, Rev. Samuel Stone, were the first settled ministers at Cambridge. The fame of the removal of these eminent men to America induced great numbers of the Puritans to come over, and the number of inhabitants so increased at Newtown, that Mr. Hooker and the whole of his church and congregation, in 1636, emigrated to Hartford, on Connecticut river. Their houses and lands at Newtown were purchased by the Rev. Thomas Shepherd and his company, who thus had the advantage of entering a settlement furnished with comfortable accommodations.

In 1636, the general court contemplated the erection of a public school at Newtown, and appropriated four hundred pounds for that purpose; which laid the foundation of Harvard college. In 1838, the Rev. John Harvard,* of Charlestown, endowed the public school with about eight hundred pounds. Thus endowed, this school was exalted to a college, and assumed the name of its principal benefactor; and Newtown, in compliment to the college. and in memory of the place where many of our fathers received their education. was now denominated Cambridge.

Cambridge is a half shire town, and may be divided into three parts. Old Cambridge, the seat of the University, is three miles from West Boston bridge, which divides Cambridge from Boston; Cambridgeport is a compact, flourishing village, about half way between the University and the bridge. East Cambridge, formerly Lechmere Point, is of newer growth, and is a very flourishing place. It is the seat of the county courts, and is connected with Boston by Canal bridge and the viaduct of the Boston and Lowell railroad over Charles river. There are three banks in the town: the Middlesex Bunk, with a capital of $150,000, is located in East Cambridge; the Charles River Bank (capital $100,000) is located in the ancient village; the Cambridge Bank (capital $100,000) is located in Cambridgeport.

The following is a south eastern view of East Cambridge as seen from the Warren bridge, leading into Charlestown. The glass manufactories are seen on the right, with part of the bridge connecting the place with Charlestown; part of the viaduct on which the cars pass into Boston is seen on the left, beyond which is seen one of the churches and. the court-house. One of the glass manufactories in this place produces some of the finest specimens of cut glass ware manufactured in this country. The soil in this part of Cambridge being of a clayey kind, large quantities of bricks are annually made.

The following list of articles manufactured in this town, their value, and the number of hands employed, is taken from the Statistical Tables published by the state in 1837.







Boots and Shoes,






Chairs and Cabinct Ware,



Tin Ware,



Carriages, Harnesses, &c.,









Carpenters' Rules and Rods,






Brass and Britannia
Ware finishing,






Ropes and Twine,









Varnish. &c.,






Paper: stamped andstained;



Glue, &c.,






Stoves and Sheet Iron,



Leather tanned, &c.,



The population of the town in 1837 was 7,631.

The college buildings stand on an enclosed plain of fourteen acres, around which, except in front, forest trees are planted. These buildings are large and commodious, which have been erected at different periods, as the accommodations. of the officers and. students required. Most of them are of brick; the most modern are of granite; they bear the names of various patrons of the institution. The building seen on the right of the engraving is Massachusetts Hall, the most ancient of the present buildings; was built in 1720. Harvard Hall, the building with a cupola, was built in 1765. The University Hall is seen in the distance, standing between Massachusetts and Harvard Halls; this was built in 1814, of Chelmsford granite, the color of which approaches nearly to white. It measures 140 by 50 feet, and is 42 feet in height. Hobworthy Hall was erected in. 1812; Hollis Hall in 1764; and Stoughton Hall in 1804.

Harvard University is the most ancient and best endowed of any scientific institution in the United States, and has flourished for two centiries. It has received numerous and large donations from individuals, and has received the protection and munificence of the state. The funds at the present time exceed half a million of dollars. The library of the college contains forty two thousand volumes, and is the largest in the United States; its philosophical apparatus, chemical laboratory, anatomical museum, and cabinet of minerals, are all very valuable. A botanical garden is attached to the institution; the sciences of theology, law, and medicine, have each distinct departments, and courses of lectures on those subjects are annually given. It is governed by a corporation and board of overseers. The medical lectures commence in Boston on the first Wednesday in November. A course is given at the college between the first of April and last of July. There are three vacations: the first, of two weeks, from the Wednesday preceding the 25th of December; the second, of two weeks, from the first Wednesday in April; the third, of six weeks, next preceding commencement, the last Wednesday in August.

The following curious document relative to the commons of the students is preserved in the archives of the state. One Mr. Nathaniel Eaton and his wife were, it appears, brought before the general court at Boston, to answer for their misdemeanors. Eaton was accused of cruelty towards his usher, and likewise for keeping the students on poor diet, &c., and being proved against him, he was removed from his office. His wife was also examined before the court. Some overseer of the college, probably, either magistrate or minister, wrote it from the confession or dictation of the accused lady. It shows that trouble on account of college commons is not confined to any particular period. Mrs. Eaton confessed thus:

"For their breaktfast, that it was not so well ordered, the flower not so fine as it might, nor so well boiled or stirred, at all times that it was so, it was my sin of neglect, and want of that care that ought to have been in one that the Lord had intrusted with such a work. Concerning their beef, that was allowed them, as they affirm, which, I confess. had been my duty to have seen they should have had it, and continued to have had it, because it was my husband's command; but truly I must confess, to my shame, I cannot remember that ever they had it. nor that ever it was taken from them. And that they had not so good or so much provision in my husband's absence as presence, I conceive it was, because he would call sometimes for butter or cheese, when I conceived there was no need of it; yet, forasmuch as the scholars did otherways apprehend, I desire to see the evil that was in the carriage of that as well as in the other, and to take shame to myself for it. And that they sent down for more, when they had not enough, and the maid should answer, if they had not, they should not, I must confess, that I have denied them cheese, when they have sent for it, and it have been in the house; for which I shall humbly beg pardon of them, and own the shame, and confess my sin. And for such provoking words, which my servants have given, I cannot own them, but am sorry any such should be given in my house. And for bad fish, that they had it brought to table, I am sorry there was that cause of offence given them. I acknowledge my sin in it. And for their mackerel, brought to them with their guts in them, and goat's dung in their hasty pudding, its utterly unknown to me; but I am much ashamed it should be in the family, and not prevented by myself or servants, and I humbly acknowledge my negligence in it. And that they made their beds at any time, were my straits never so great, I am sorry they were ever put to it. For the Moor, his lying in Samuel Bough's sheet and pillow-bier, it hath a truth in it: he did so one time, and it gave Samuel Hough just cause of offence; and that it was not prevented by my care and watchfulness, I desire #to# take the shame and the sorrow for it. And that they eat the Moor's crusts, and the swine and they had share and share alike, and the Moor to have beer, and they denied it, and if they had not enough, for my maid to answer, they should not, I am an utter stranger to these things, and know not the least footsteps for them so to charge me; and if my servants were guilty of such miscarriages, had the boarders complained of it unto myself. I should have thought it my sin, if I had not sharply reproved my servants, and endeavoured reform. And for bread made of heated, sour meal, although I know of but once that it was so, since I kept house, yet John Wilson affirms it was twice; and I am truly sorry, that any of it was spent amongst them. For beer and bread, that it was denied them by me betwixt meals, truly I do not remember, that ever I did deny it unto them; and John Wilson will affirm, that, generally, the bread and beer was free for the boarders to go unto. And that money was demanded of them for washing the linen, it's true it was propounded to them, but never imposed upon them. And for their pudding being given the last day of the week without butter or suet, and that I said, it was miln of Manchester in Old England, its true that I did say so, and am sorry they had any cause of offence given them by having it so. And for their wanting beer, betwixt brewings, a week or half a week together, I am sorry that it was so at any time, and should tremble to have it so, were it in my hands to do again."

There is in this place a printing establishment, called the University Press, which has become celebrated for the beauty and accuracy with which it sends out classical books in the various ancient and modern languages. This establishment may be considered as the most ancient printing establishment in America. In 1639, says Winthrop's Journal, "A printing house was begun at Cambridge, by one Daye, at the charge of Mr. Glover, who died on sea hitherward. The first thing printed was the freeman's oath; the next was an almanack made for New England by Mr. William Peirce, mariner; the next was the Psalms newly turned into metre." Mr. Glover was a worthy and wealthy non-conformist minister. He contributed liberally towards a sum sufficient to purchase printing materials, and for this purpose solicited the aid of others in England and Holland. He gave to the college "a font of printing letters, and some gentlemen of Amsterdam gave towards furnishing of a printing press with letters forty-nine pounds and something more."- Records of Harvard College.

The above is an eastern view of the Washington elm, now standing near the westerly corner of the common in Cambridge. The following, descriptive of this tree, its antiquity. &c., is from the 3d vol. of the American Magazine; p. 432.

"The Washington elm stands in the westerly corner of the large common near Harvard University, in Cambridge, Massachusetts; and is probably one of the trees that belonged to the native forest. Amid the changes which have taken place in the world, and particularly in America and New England, it has stood like a watchman; and if it could speak, it would he an interesting chronicler of events. The early settlers of this country had hardly finished their rude loghouses before they proposed to make the village in which it stands the metropolis of the country; and but few years elapsed before they laid the foundation of Harvard University, so near that it may almost be shaded by its branches. Not far from it was the spot where the public town meetings were held; and also the tree under which the lndian council fires were lighted, more than two hundred years ago. When the drum was used in Cambridge, instead of the bell, to summon the congregation to the place of worship, or to give warning of savage enemy, the sound floated throughout its trailing limbs; and when the officers of the college discharged the duty of inflicting corporal punishment on young men with their own hands, who knows but their lugubrious lamentations may have mingled with the breezes that disturbed its foliage? Of how many college sports and tricks might it tell; such deeds, too, as no one who had not been educated in the halls of Old Harvard would ever have dreamed of? Among the graver subjects of which it might make report, are the lessons of truth and piety which fell from the lips of Whitfleld, when he stood in its shade and moved a vast multitude by his eloquence. And sub. sequently, it seems, it has been heralding war and liberty; for the revolutionary sot. diers who stood shoulder to shoulder, -blessings be on their heads, -tell us that when Washington arrived at Cambridge, he drew his sword as commander in chief of the American army, for the first time, beneath its boughs, and resolved within him self that it should never be sheathed till the liberties of his country were established Glorious old tree, that has stood in sight of the smoke of Lexington and Bunker's Hill battles, and weathered the storms of many generations, -worthy of reverence. Though, in the spirit of modern improvement, guideboards may be nailed to thy trunk, thou pointest to the past and to the future. All around are scattered memorials of what has been. Generations of men have died and been buried, and soldiers of the revolu. tion sleep near thee. Thou lookest down upon monuments in the churchyard, robbed of their leaden armorial bearings that they might he converted into musket balls m the day of our national poverty and struggle; and the old spikes still fastened into the beams of Massachusetts Hall, tell of suspended hammocks where the weary soldier took his rest. Across the river, where one Blackstone lived, and where Governor Win. throp took up his residence, because he found a good spring of water there, the forest has been cut away, the Indian wigman has disappeared, and a city grown up, containing more than 80,000 inhabitants, whose sails whiten every sea, whose merchants are princes, and whose traffickers are the honorable of the earth. May no unkind hand mar the last tree of the native forest. Though it may have stood century after century, like a sentinel on duty, defying the lightning and the storm, still let it stand, an interesting and sacred memorial of the past and the present, and continue to be associated, for many years to come, with the history of our country. And let the illustrious name which it bears, and which it derives from one of the most important events in the life of the father of his country, preserve it to remind the coming generations of his invaluable services and labors."

The above Egyptian gateway is the principal entrance to Mount Auburn, at the commencement of the central avenue, on the main road. It has two lodges at its sides, and bears the folling inscription: "Then shall the dust return to the earth, as it was; and the spirit unto God who game it." This hollowed spot dedicated Sept. 24th, 1831, has become the retired cemetery for many families residing in Boston and the vicinity. The beauty, novelty, and great variety of scenery of this p1ace, it is believed, far exceeds any thing in this country. It was formerly known as "Sweet Auburn," and was long a favorite walk for the students of Harvard and other inhabitants of Cambridge, being but about one mile and a quarter from the university. The following account of this cemetery is taken from the American Magazine, vol. i. page 9:

"The cemetery of Mount Auburn, justly celebrated as the most interesting object of the kind in our country, is situated in Cambridge and Watertown, about four miles from the city of Boston. It includes upwards of one hundred acres of land, purchased at different times by the Massachusetts Horticultural Society, extending from the main road nearly to the banks of Charles river. A portion of the land next to the road, and now under cultivation, constitutes the experimental garden of the society. A long water course between this tract and the interior woodland forms a natural boundary, separating the two sections. The inner portion, which is set apart for the purposes of a cemetery, is covered, throughout most of its extent, with a vigorous growth of forest trees, many of them of large size, and comprising an unusual variety of kinds. This tract is beautifully undulating in its surface, containing a number of bold eminences, steep acclivities, and deep shadowy valleys. A remarkable natural ridge, with a level surface, runs through the ground from south-east to north-west, and has for many years been known as a secluded and favorite walk. The principal eminence, called Mount Auburn, in the plan, which has been published, is 125 feet above the level of Charles river, and commands from its summit one of the finest prospects which can be obtained in the environs of Boston. On one side is tne city in full view, connected at its extremities with Charlestown and Roxbury. The serpentine course of Charles river, with the cultivated hills and fields rising beyond it, and the Blue Hills of Milton in the distance, occupies another portion of the landscape. The village of Cambridge, with the venerable edifices of Harvard University, are situated about a mile to the eastward, On the north, at a very small distance, Fresh Pond appears, a handsome sheet of water, finely diversified by its woody and irregular shores. Country seats and cottages in various directions, and especially those on the elevated land at Watertown, add much to the picturesque effect of the scene. It is proposed, at some future period, to erect on the summit of Mount Auburn a tower after some classic model, of sufficient height to rise above the tops of the surrounding trees. This will serve the double purpose of a land-mark, to identify the spot from a distance, and of an observatory, commanding an uninterrupted view of the country around it. From the foot of this monument will be seen in detail the features of the landscape, as they are successively presented through the different vistas which have been opened among the trees; while from its summit a magnificent and unbroken panorama, embracing one of the most delightful tracts in New England, will be spread out beneath the eye. Not only the contiguous country, but the harbor and the bay of Boston, with their ships and islands, and, in a clear atmosphere, the distant mountains of Wachusett, and. probably, even of Monadnock, will be comprehended within the range of vision.

The grounds of the cemetery have been laid out with intersecting avenues, so as to render every part of the wood accessib'e. These avenues are curved and variously winding in their course, so as to be adapted to the natural inequalities of the surface. By this arrangement, the greatest economy of the land is produced, combining at the same time the picturesque effect of landscape, gardening. Over the more levet portions, the avenues are made twenty feet wide, and are suitable for carriage roads. The more broken and precipitous parts are approached by footpaths, six feet in width. These passage ways are smoothly gravelled, and will he planted on both sides with flowers and ornamental shrubs. Lots of ground, containing each three hundred square feet. are set off, as family burial places, at suitable distances on the sides of the avenues and paths. The perpetual right of inclosing and of using these lots, as places of sepulture, is conveyed to the purchasers of theta, by the Horticultural Society."

The annexed engraving is a representation of the monument erected over the remains of Dr. Spurzheim, the celebrated phrenologist; it is about the first object that meets the eye after entering the cemetery. It is constructed of polished Italian marble, and is made after the model of Scipio's tomb at Rome. Dr. Spurzheim was born in Prussia, and educated at Treves. He afterwards studied medicine at Vienna, where he became acquainted with Dr. Gall, and entered with zeal into the doctrines of that professor. in 1807, Dr. Gall, assisted by Spurzheim, delivered his first public lectures on phrenology in Paris. Dr. Spurzheim afterwards delivered lectures in various places in Europe, and received the honors of a number of literary institutions. He arrived in New York Aug. 4th, 1832. After giving a series of lectures in Boston and Cambridge, he died of a fever, Oct. 10th, 1832. His body was embalmed, and a cast of his head taken. Appropriate services were performed at the Old South meeting house, in the midst of an immense concourse of spectators, and from thence his body was conveyed to Mount Auburn.

(some monument inscriptions in Laten follow the above and may be added later.)

* A monument to his memory has been erected in Charlestown by the subscriptions of the graduates of Harvard college, in small sums. It is constructed of granite, in a solid shaft of fifteen feet elevation, and in the simplest style of ancient art. "On the eastern face of the shaft, the name of John Harvard is inscribed, with the following lines: 'On the 26th of September, A. D. 1828, this stone was erected by the graduates of the University at Cambridge, in honor of its founder, who died at Charlestown, on the 26th of September, 1638. On the western side of the shaft is an inscription in Latin, of the following purport: 'that one who merits so much from our literary men, should no longer be without a monument, however humble. The graduates of the University of Cambridge, New England, have erected this stone, nearly two hundred years after his death, in pious and perpetual remembrance of John Harvard.'" At the erection of this monument, Gov. Everett, who is considered one of the best scholars educated at Harvard college, delivered an appropriate and eloquent address.

Historical Collections Relating to the
History and Antiquities of
Every town in Massachusetts with
Geographical Descriptions.
By John Warner Barber.
Published by Warren Lazell.


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