Milton in the News – 1864

By Muriel Bristol (Transcriber) | January 20, 2019

The Second NH Regiment began their year at Point Lookout, in St. Mary’s County, MD, and Miss M. Augusta Berry recommended a health clinic. (This was also the year of the Vulpes letter of January 1864 and the US Excise Tax of May 1864).

As this year began, the Second NH Regiment, in which a number of Milton men had enlisted, was guarding Confederate prisoners.

There is every reason for believing that Gen. Butler will negotiate an exchange of all Union prisoners now at Richmond. He will send in exchange the rebel prisoners at Point Lookout, where there are more than eleven thousand under charge of Gen. Gilman Marston. The New Hampshire brigade, which guards the prisoners, received last week over five hundred recruits, and the 2d New Hampshire is now over one thousand strong (New England Farmer (Boston, MA), January 2, 1864).

Actually, there was almost no reason to expect an exchange of prisoners to take place. The Confederate government refused to exchange black prisoners and, in response, President Lincoln had issued General Order 252, on July 30, 1863, which suspended the Dixon-Hill Cartel for prisoner exchange until the Confederates relented.

Miscellaneous Items. We learn that the infantry force which accompanied the cavalry in the late raid into Virginia from Point Lookout, Md., numbered three hundred men from the 2d, 5th, and 12th New Hampshire regiments, under command of Lieut. Col. R.E. Cross, now commanding the 5th Regiment New Hampshire Volunteers, and brother of the lamented Col. E.E. Cross. Among the rebel officers captured was a paymaster with $40,000 in his possession (New England Farmer (Boston, MA), January 30, 1864).

Miss M. Augusta Berry of Milton, N.H., was one of thirty-five guests, or patients, at Dr. William T. Vail’s Granite State Health Institute who signed a sort of testimonial that was published in the newspapers in June 1864.

GRANITE STATE HEALTH INSTITUTE! Hill, N.H. To invalids: The physician to the Granite State Health Institute desires to say to invalids, that he has now kept a health establishment for a dozen years, during which time he has restored many hundreds of cases of the worst forms of chronic disease to perfect health. He uses no drugs nor poisons of any kind in his treatment, but devotes himself to the development of the innate powers of the system itself, and cures disease by developing health and strength in the organism. This mode is successful in thousands of cases where the patient utterly fails by the drug poisoning mode. Patients who come here for treatment no matter how bad their disease, or how long they have been sick, are, almost without a single exception, greatly pleased with the result. We append a commendation from our last summer’s patients, simply by way of showing the state of feeling, and sentiment which usually prevails, among the patient of the institute:

newton inn
“Newton’s Inn, c1897, was located on Main Street in Hill village. It was a fine brick building that was owned by Dr. William T. Vail from 1859 to 1870. It was known far and wide as ‘Dr. Vail’s Water Cure.’ Mary Baker Eddy frequently came to drink of this ‘cure for all ills'” (Harvey, 2001).

The undersigned, at this date guests at the Granite Slate Health Institute, Hill, N.H., take pleasure in commending this establishment to the attention of invalids throughout the country.

Dr. W.T. Vail, the conductor of the establishment, is a gentleman of experience and skill, having been educated to the medical profession by a long course of personal suffering in early life, as well as by collegiate instruction, and has now been the successful conductor of an establishment for nearly a dozen years. His reputation is growing, and his house for the present season has been crowded to its utmost capacity, and he has been obliged to lay under contribution all the spare house room in the village. He contemplates enlarging his establishment the coming season, and greatly improving his conveniences.

Invalids placing themselves under his direction will find themselves under the care of a gentleman, who has a living faith in the system he practices, and a confidence that he understands his business, who will look after his patients attentively, prescribe for them with care, and require of them somewhat imperatively that they follow his prescriptions.

Mrs. E.M. Vail has charge of the female department, for which her qualifications admirably fit her, and fills for the present the office of female physician in the establishment with acceptance.

The dietary arrangements of this establishment are of the first order. Miss S. Davis, the intelligent and experienced lady who presides over this department, thoroughly understands the magic art of producing the most palatable dishes from the simplest materials, which contributes in no small degree to the good success of the treatment administered here.

The vegetarian theory is adopted at this Institute as the true theory of human dietetics; yet meat is allowed two or three times a week for such as are not prepared to break off suddenly from the use of animal food, and this course is commended as being the wisest for many, especially for those somewhat advanced in life and long accustomed to stimulating food. The administration of the treatment in the ladies’ department is under the control of Mrs. Lucy C. Wheeler – an old patient – a lady gifted with qualities which eminently fit her for the position. Her skill, genial good nature, and uniform kindness will not soon be forgotten by any one who has been under her care.

The moral influences of the establishment are good. The Doctor is a man who aims at nothing short of a correct life, morally and spiritually as well as physically, and this is the spirit and tone which pervades the whole establishment. There is a morning exercise daily, which includes a short lecture upon some medical, physical or moral topic, reading the Scriptures, music and prayer, which secures a good attendance. Patients who are feeble and unable to walk much for exercise, are carried to ride each day one mile and back, free of expense, a feature peculiar to this institution, so far as we know, and, as we think, of much value to the patient. The arrangements of the house are all made and carefully carried out for the benefit of the sick; and believing this establishment affords important facilities for the recovery of lost health, with terms more moderate for value received than most others of the kind, we think we may be doing good service to the sick and suffering of our race by recommending it to their notice.

(Signed by) J.A. Robertson, Sloans Station, Ohio, H.B. Cross, Orfordville. N.H., Edward A. Jones, New York, Mrs. G.C. Littlefield, Newton, Mass., Miss M. Augusta Berry, Milton, N.H., Mrs. Thomas N. Wood, Sharon, Mass., Mrs. Kimball Eldridge, Chatham, Mass., Mr. A.M. Strobridge, New Durham, N.H., Mrs. Mary E. Thurston, Lebanon, N.H., Lessie M. Goodel, Amherst, Mass., Mrs. E. Lathrop, Parkersburg, Va., Mrs. Julia Knight, Stanstead, C.E., Harriet E. Burrell, Roxbury, Mass., Mary A. Morse, [Roxbury, Mass.], Elizabeth H. Morse, Sharon, [Mass.], Lura A. Howard, Hyde Park, Vt., Chester E. Parsons. Coventry, [Vt.], Edwin J. Cowell, Great Falls, N.H., Maria Louisa Cummings, Roxbury Mass., Maria Bowes, Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, Julia T. Noyes, Henniker, N.H., T.O. Davis, Stanstead, C.E., Mary D. Boswell, Hill, N.H., Eva D. Angell, Salt Point. N.Y., Mrs. Mary E. Jones, Williamsburg. N.Y., Mrs. Ellen M. Goodenough, Derby Line, Vt., Mrs. B.H. Goodall, Littleton, N.H., Mrs. L.A. Davis, Stanstead, C.E., L.C. Wheeler, Waitsfield, Vt., Abbie M. Everett, Hill, N.Y., David T. Averill, Northfleld, Vt., Ira Goodall, Littleton. N.H., Daniel Stevens, Newton, N.H., Mrs. Daniel Stevens, [Newton, N.H.], Rufus A. Fogg, Gorham, Me. Hill, August 10th, 1863.

P.S. Persons wishing further information, will please enclose stamp for circular (Lamoille Newsdealer (Hyde Park, VT), June 29, 1864).

Mary Augusta “Augusta” Berry was born in Milton, N.H., April 22, 1835, daughter of James and Eliza G. (Jewett) Berry. She died in Milton, NH, January 10, 1923, aged eighty-seven years (per town records; her gravestone has it a year earlier).

James Berry, a farmer, aged seventy-five years, headed a Milton Mills household at the time of the Tenth (1880) Federal Census. His household included his wife, Eliza G. Berry, aged sixty-nine years, his daughter, Mary A. Berry, a milliner, aged forty-five years, and his mother-in-law, Nancy Jewett, at home, aged ninety-two years. (The household of James Berry’s eldest son, Charles J. Berry, clerk in a store, aged forty-three years immediately preceded that of James Berry in the enumeration).

Mary A. Berry ran a fancy goods and millinery store in Milton Mills in at least the years 1870, 1871, 1880, 1881, 1882, 1884, 1887, and 1889. She appears there as both Miss Mary A. or M.A. Berry, for her fancy goods listing, and Augusta Berry, for her millinery listing.

Fancy goods may be defined as small decorative items or knick-knacks, while millinery is the design, manufacture, and sale of hats and other headgear, usually women’s hats.

Mary A. Berry, of Milton Mills, N.H., lost the substantial amount of $256 in Mrs. Sarah E. Howe’s Ladies’ Deposit  bank swindle of 1879-80 (Boston Globe, May 25, 1881).

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Find a Grave. (2013, August 12). Mary A. Berry. Retrieved from

Harvey, Janice Hugron. (2001, September 1). Around Newfound Lake. Retrieved from

Wikipedia. (2018, November 12). Point Lookout State Park. Retrieved from

Wikipedia. (2018, July 22). Sarah Howe (Fraudster). Retrieved from

Author: Muriel Bristol

"Lady drinking tea"

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