By Muriel Bristol (Transcriber) | December 23, 2018
Milton buildings burned frequently. It had partly to do with their construction methods and materials, everything being made of wood, including wooden roof shingles, and partly to do with heating with fires. Heat was provided by open hearth fires, then the more efficient but more intensely-hot wood stoves, and, later, coal fires.
FIRE AND LOSS OF LIFE. A correspondent of the Bee at Rochester, N.H., writes that a fire broke out on the 17th at Milton Three Ponds, which consumed the new and excellent yarn mill of Messrs. A.S. Howard & Co. – Loss about §12,000, and no insurance. A very worthy young man, the son of John H. Varney, who was a watchman in the mill, was burnt to death (Baltimore Daily Commercial, November 24, 1845).
The mills at Milton, (N.H.,) owned by Messrs. A.S. Howard & Co., and occupied for the manufacture of cotton yarn, were entirely destroyed by fire last week. Loss $12,000. A man who was asleep in the loft was burnt to death (Columbian Fountain (Washington, DC), November 27, 1845).
Fires. A correspondent of the Boston Bee, writing from Rochester, N.H., states that a fire broke out on the 17th at Milton Three points, which consumed the new and excellent yarn mill of Messrs. A.S. Howard & Co. Loss about $12,000, and no insurance. A very worthy young man, the son of John A. Varney, who was a watchman in the mill, was burned to death (Daily National Pilot (Buffalo, NY), November 27, 1845).
Except for the death of the unfortunate young watchman, Caleb Varney, this was a relatively routine fire by Milton standards. And Milton was not alone in experiencing such “conflagrations.” Dover lost a whole block of wooden storefronts in 1847, and its railroad station in 1848, just to name a few. Rochester and Portsmouth suffered very severe fires over the years.
Algernon Sidney Howard was born in Tamworth, NH, October 17, 1796, son of David and Rebecca (Whitman) Howard. He died in Sangerville, ME, August 5, 1859.
In 1834 the “Mechanics Company” was incorporated consisting of Algernon S. Howard, Richard Kimball, Joseph Anthony, and their associates, all of Great Falls. They built the [Rochester] “Lower Mill,” where they made blankets for six or seven years, when they failed, having sunk their whole capital, and paid no debts (McDuffie, 1892).
McDuffie, Franklin. (1892). History of the Town of Rochester, New Hampshire, from 1722 to 1890. Retrieved from books.google.com/books?id=RY0-AAAAYAAJ&pg=PA247