Friday, February 29, 2008

Plug That Leak!

This entry is an excerpt from the Half Century Sermon of Minister Thomas Gray of the Congregational church, now the Unitarian Universalist at Centre and Eliot streets. The sermon was published in 1842, and this particular paragraph refers to a short-lived mill at Jamaica Pond. Presumably, it sat between Jamaica and Ward's ponds. Water runs down hill, so the owner must have cut a channel across today's Perkins street to provide the drop that turned the wheel. The only other reference to a mill I'm aware of comes from the old name of Bussey brook that flows through the Arboretum. Old maps name the same stream Sawmill brook, but I've never seen any metion of the mill itself. In this case, you have to wonder how much water the mill was taking out of the pond for it to affect the local wells.

"In September, 1788, a difficulty first arose in respect to the waters of Jamaica Pond being drawn off for the supply of a corn mill, so far as to affect the wells of the inhabitants of the Plain, who considered then as altogether supplied by the pond. This difficulty terminated in a lawsuit; John Marston, owner of the mill, plaintiff, and Martin Brimmer, David S. Greenough, and Capt. Daniel McCarthy, defendants (unsuccessful.) Afterwards, in 1795, Mr Marston sold his mill and privileges in the waters of the pond, which had been granted by the town of Roxbury for said mill, to the Aqueduct Corporation, for supplying the town of Boston with Jamaica Pond water."

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