Milton’s Centennial

By Muriel Bristol (Transcriber) | September 14, 2018


Events of the Day

The centennial celebration of the town of Milton, held August 30, 1902, was in honor of the one hundredth anniversary of the first town meeting. This meeting convened at the tavern of Lieut. Elijah Horne, August 30 1802, only a short time after the charter, which gave Milton its independent existence, had been signed by Governor Gilman. This instrument had been granted at the June session of the legislature of New Hampshire at the petition and largely through the efforts of Capt. Beard Plumer, one of the representatives from Rochester, who, with others, felt that the time had come for Milton to sever the ties which bound her to the mother town.

At the annual meeting held in March, 1902, it was voted to celebrate in an appropriate manner the closing of the first century of the town’s existence. An appropriation was made and a general committee selected. As a result of the able and painstaking efforts of this committee, together with those chosen to assist, the observance of the centennial was made eminently fitting to mark the close of the first century of Milton’s history.

Saturday, August 30, 1902, was a beautiful day; there was scarcely a cloud in the sky and the temperature was ideal for the purposes of the occasion. Sunrise was accompanied with the ringing of bells and a cannon salute of thirty-three guns. One hundred guns were fired during the day, a second thirty-three at noon and the remainder at sunset. Although the celebration had practically begun on Friday night with the huge bonfire on the summit of the historic Mt. Teneriffe, it was not until Saturday morning that the guests commenced to arrive in large numbers.

Every incoming train was heavily laden and hundreds came in teams from surrounding towns. It was the largest crowd that Milton ever saw being variously estimated by the press at from seven to ten thousand.

From 8.30 to 10 o’clock field and water sports were held; from 9 to 10 o’clock the Hanson American band of Rochester gave a concert on the Upper square. Then came the street parade. This was a fine feature of the day, including many beautifully trimmed floats and private teams, bicycles, and not a few grotesque and humorous make-ups. The marshal was Major Charles J. Berry, Milton Mills, N.H.; assistant marshal James F. Reynolds, Wakefield, Mass.; aides, Clifford A. Berry and Charles Manser, Milton Mills; Walter Holden, Wakefield, Mass.; Scott Ramsdell, Samuel E. Drew, and Fred S. Hartford, Milton.

Following the parade a good old fashioned New England dinner was served in large tents, on the Nute High School grounds, to over two thousand people. It was at high noon, also, that the new town clock in the Congregational Church was officially started. This was presented to the town of Milton by Mr. Albert O. Mathes of Dover, N.H., as a memorial to the Rev. James Doldt, who was pastor of the Congregational Church from 1850 to 1871.

Promptly at two o’clock the commemorative exercises began in the grove, on the Nute High School grounds, Hon. Elbridge W. Fox, of Milton Mills, Ex-Senator from this district, presiding as President of the day. In addition to those upon the official programme, Mayor Bradley of Rochester spoke in behalf of the mother town and Mr. Edward P. Nichols of Lexington, Mass., treasurer of the Great Falls Manufacturing Company, delivered a short address. The violin used as an accompaniment to the singing was played by Miss Annie B. Kimball, of Milton, while the old violincello which took the place of the church organ in the early days of the town, was restrung and played by Mr. Sumner Hodsdon of Dover, N.H.

One of the most attractive and appropriate features of the day was the collection of antiquities in the old Worcester House, itself past one hundred years in age. These rare and valuable articles, from 75 to 200 or more years old, and gathered from many sources, by Mr. Albert O. Mathes of Dover N.H., were intimately connected with the early history of the town. Many of the interesting buildings in the village had placards placed upon them, giving the date of their erection and other matters of interest. Among these were the following: The home of Dr. Stephen Drew, 1820-1873, built by John Bergin in 1773; the house in which Lewis W. Nute was born; the building formerly the Union meetinghouse, 1838-1859; John Fish’s house, 1794, where was located the first post-office in 1818; the site of the first tavern built in 1787 by Benjamin Palmer; the house of Thomas Leighton, 1810-1860; the site of the house of Gilman Jewett, first town clerk, 1800; the site of the first tannery, owned by John Bergin, 1773.

The celebration was in every respect an unqualified success, and reflected the greatest credit upon all concerned. All of those present, whether natives of the town or friends, felt that the observance was in every way worthy of the occasion and of Milton.

See also Report of the Milton Centennial Committee


Mitchell-Cony Co. (1908). The Town Register Farmington, Milton, Wakefield, Middleton, Brookfield, 1907-8. Retrieved from

Author: Muriel Bristol

"Lady drinking tea"

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