Hayward’s United States Gazetteer (1853) page 288

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within its chartered limits, yet all its ancient en-
virons upon the main land, embracing Charles-
town, Chelsea, Roxbury, Dorchester, Brookline,
and Cambridge, with a large margin still more
remote, to which the railroads, like arteries from
a great heart, carry a daily and hourly circula-
tion of life — all the towns and villages of this
broad area, occupied to a great extent by a pop-
ulation whose business and means of wealth are
within the city, and who really constitute a com-
ponent part of its people, being associated with
it in all its commercial, manufacturing, literary,
and social relations, as much as the inhabitants
of Greenwich, Manhattanville, and Haerlem with
New York, or those of the districts contiguous
to Philadelphia with that city, have hitherto re-
mained distinct towns; three of them, indeed,
being now flourishing cities; and this large over-
flow of population is consequently never repre-
sented in any-statement of the population of Bos-
ton. The peninsula on which Boston proper
is built is connected with the main land of Rox-
bury on the S., from w'hich it extends in a direc-
tion a little E. of N., about 3 miles, having an
average breadth of about a mile. The isthmus,
or Neck, as it is commonly called, is something
over a mile in length, and is nearly all included
within the limits of Boston. It was originally
quite narrow, and so low that parts of it were
frequently overflowed by the highest courses of
the tides. The waters of the harbor, flowing up
into the bay of Roxbury, on the E. side of the
Neck, and those of the Charles River, spread-
ing out over the flats upon the W., formed a broad
but shallow cove upon that side, between the
isthmus and the main land of Brookline. Until
1786, 156 years after the settlement of Boston,
the only passage into the town was over the Neck.
It has "been much elevated in being improved
and built upon, and additions to its width are
continually made by filling up the flats, especial-
ly upon the W. side. There are now four broad
avenues passing over the Neck from Roxbury to
the city: Harrison Avenue, Washington Street,
Suffolk Street, and the Tremont Road. — The
main body of the peninsula, which was thus near-
ly surrounded by the waters of the harbor and
of Charles River, comprised within its natural
limits about 700 acres of land. In three points it
swelled into hills of considerable elevation ; one
being on its S. E. angle, and presenting a bold
barrier to the waters of the ship channel; anoth-
er being at its N. extremity, looking off towards
Chelsea and Charlestown^ and the third, which
was more central, with a very much broader
base, extending its N. and W. slopes nearly
to the banks of Charles River. This was the
most elevated of the hills, being 138^ feet
above the level of the sea: and its summit
was cleft into three conical peaks, which, being
near the original centre of the town, led at first
to the adoption of the name of Tremont, or
Trimountain, for the town itself. This name,
however, was soon dismissed for its present
name, which it received on the 7th of Septem-
ber, 1630, in honor of the Rev. John Cotton, the
second minister of the first church, who came
from Boston, in England. The Indian name of
the peninsula was
Shawmut.— There is extant
a very accurate description of Boston in 1633,
by William Wood, the author of New England
Prospect, which Snow, a writer of high authori-
ty on this subject, remarks, “could hardly be
amended." — “ Boston," says Wood, “ is two miles
N. E. of Roxbury. Its situation is very pleasant,
.being a peninsula hemmed in on the S. side by
the bay of Roxbury, and on the N. side with
Charles River, the marshes on the back side be-
ing not half of a quarter of a mile over; so that
a little fencing will secure their cattle from the

wolves......It being a neck, and bare

of wood, they are not troubled with these great
annoyances, wolves, rattlesnakes, and mosquitoes.
Those that live here upon their cattle must be
constrained to take farms in the country, or else
they cannot subsist, the place being too small to
contain many, and fittest for such as can trade
into England for such commodities as the coun-
try wants, being the chief place for shipping and
merchandise. This neck of land is not above
four miles in compass, in form almost square,
having on the S. side, at one corner, a great
broad hill, whereon is planted a fort, which can
command any ship as she sails into the harbor
within the still bay. On the N. side is another
hill, equal in bigness, whereon stands a windmill.
To the N. W. is a high mountain, with three lit-
tle rising hills on the top of it, wherefore it is
called the
Tramount. From the top of this moun-
tain a man may overlook all the islands which
lie within the bay, and descry such ships as are on
the sCa-coast. This town, though it be neither
the greatest nor the richest, yet is the most noted
and frequented, being the centre of the planta-
tions, where the monthly courts are kept. Here
likewise dwells the governor. This place hath
very good land, affording rich cornfields and
fruitful gardens, having likewise sweet and pleas-
ant springs. The inhabitants of this place, for
their enlargement, have taken to themselves farm
houses in a place called Muddy River, [Brook-
line,] two miles from the town, where there is
good ground, large timber, and store of marsh
land and meadow. In this place they keep their
swine and other cattle in the summer, whilst the
corn is in the ground at Boston, and bring them
to town in the winter."

The original conformation of the ground was
such that the N. part of the peninsula was almost
severed from the other by the coves or inden-
tations of the shore which ran in around the
base of Copp's Hill on the S., both from the har-
bor on the E., and from Charles River on the
opposite side, so as nearly to meet at their ex-
treme points. When the tides were highest, this
part of Boston, and the central part, which would
also be nearly or quite cut off from the continent
by the flowing of the waters across the Neck,
presented the appearance of two islands, rather
than that of a peninsula. The tide ran up on
the E. to where Dock Square now is, and in a
northerly direction almost to Hanover Street at
a point a little E. of Union Street. From
Charles River, on the opposite side, a broad
cove came up to a point only a few rods N. W.
of Hanover Street, leaving but a narrow neck
of land for the connection between tne centre
and the north end of the town. By the erection
of a causeway where Causeway Street now is,
this cove was subsequently converted into a ca-
pacious mill pond, and by means of a short canal
cut through the neck by which its waters were
separated from the harbor, they were made avail-
able for a tide mill at this place. This was long
known as Mill Creek, and constituted the divid-
ing line between the centre and the north end.

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