Milton in the News – 1866

By Muriel Bristol (Transcriber) | January 25, 2019

Milton appeared several times in the newspapers of the first post-Civil War year. The first item concerned the sad suicide of a visiting teenager. After this there appeared accounts of Milton’s boy veteran pensioner, a mill pond drowning death, advice on fruit tree varieties, and a religious revival at Milton Mills.

SUICIDE BY A BOY. Monday morning last, Frank Bachelor, in his sixteenth year, hung himself in a barn at Acton. He lived with Mr. Wm. F. Cutts at Milton Mills, N.H., and was a son of the Rev. O.R. Bachelor, a Freewill Baptist Foreign Missionary in India. There is no apparent reason for his committing such a deed (Bangor Daily Whig and Courier, [Friday,] March 19, 1866).

Frank Bachelor was born in Orisa, India, circa 1849-59, son of Rev. Otis R. and Sarah P. (Merrill) Bachelor. His parents were there as Freewill Baptist missionaries. The family returned to the US in 1852. They resided in New Hampton, NH, in 1860, but it would seem that Frank was left with Mr. Cutts in Milton Mills when his parents returned once more to India.

William F. Cutts, a farmer, aged thirty-nine years, headed a Milton Mills household at the time of the Ninth (1870) Federal Census. His household included Mary A. [(Sanborn)] Cutts, keeping house, aged thirty-five years, Ora E. Cutts, at school, aged ten years, Charles W. Cutts, at school, aged seven years, Fred H. Cutts, at school, aged five years, and Julia A. Cutts, aged forty years. William F. Cutts had real estate valued at $5,500 and personal estate valued at $435, and his sister, Julia Cutts, had personal estate valued at $3,300.

William F. Cutts’ farm was said to be “2 miles south of Milton Mills.” W.F. Cutts and Luther Hayes were elected as Milton’s two NH State Representatives in March 1877. They were both Republicans (Boston Globe, March 14, 1877).

The following story of Milton’s fourteen-year-old Civil War veteran pensioner was very widely copied across the United States. (This was the nineteenth century equivalent of a story going “viral”).

NEWS SUMMARY. Chas. A. Cook, of Milton, N.H., entered the army as a volunteer, and of course passed muster, before he was twelve years of age. He served about one year, was wounded four times, and now at fourteen years he draws a pension of ninety-six dollars a year. So says the Rochester Courier (Courier-Journal (Louisville, KY), May 22, 1866).

It is difficult to expand upon this without more details. He may have enlisted and served under an alias. Such a young soldier was not impossible, or even unlikely, as one in five Civil War soldiers were under eighteen years of age. The youngest soldiers were generally auxiliaries of some sort, such as musicians, messengers, etc. One famous instance is that of Drummer John Clem. He shot a Confederate officer at the Battle of Chickamauga and was promoted to Sergeant. He was then eleven years old.

Local and General News. At Milton, N.H., on the 25th ult., Mr. James Barry was drowned while bathing in a mill-pond. His body was recovered after considerable exertion (Orleans Independent Standard (Irasburgh, VT), July 6, 1866).

This was carried twice on the same page as having happened on both the 25th inst., i.e., July 25, and the 25th ult., i.e., June 25. Further details do not seem to be available.

John Copp, of Wakefield, NH (Milton Mills P.O.), contributed occasionally to the New England Farmer newspaper. Here he identifies fruit tree varieties he thought suitable for our climate and offers some for sale.

CLAPP’S FAVORITE PEAR. I HAVE young trees of this celebrated variety, which will be sold at reasonable rates – a few fine ones, two years old from the scion, grafted on strong stocks. Also, Dana’s Hovey, Flemish Beauty, Urbaniste – the hardiest pear in this climate I have ever found – Howell, Buffum, and several other varieties. have also a good stock of Apple trees, fine, thrifty, and healthy, selected with special reference for Northern culture, and grown without extra manuring. J. COPP, Wakefield, N.H. P.O. address, Milton Mills, N.H. (New England Farmer (Boston, MA), October 6, 1866).

John Copp was born in Wakefield, NH, February 4, 1809, son of George W. and Sarah (Palmer) Copp. He died in Rowley, MA, September 4, 1898, aged eighty-seven years and seven months (Rowley VRs). He is buried in the Lovell Lake Cemetery, Sanbornville, Wakefield, NH.

In the Fall, the Rev. Caleb F. Page took up the position of minister of the Milton Mills Congregational church.

VARIOUS ITEMS. The Christian Mirror reports an interesting revival at Milton Mills, a village on the line between Maine and New Hampshire. The church edifice is in Milton, N.H., and the parsonage across the river, in Acton. Rev. Mr. Parsons has supplied the pulpit for a few Sabbaths and preached every evening for two weeks, but with the aid of the New Hampshire Missionary Society, Rev. C.F. Page has now been scoured as a stated supply. The congregation is composed of open communion Baptists, Congregationalists, and a few Methodists and Presbyterians. Dr. Buck has given a parsonage worth $1,000 (Vermont Chronicle (Bellows Falls, VT), October 20, 1866).

NEW HAMPSHIRE. Rev. Caleb F. Page has removed from Colebrook, to Milton Mills (Vermont Chronicle (Bellows Falls, VT), December 22, 1866).

Caleb F. Page graduated from Bowdoin College in 1820. He supplied the pulpit at the Limington, ME, Congregational Church between 1823 and 1833. He was at Bridgton, ME, between 1833 and 1850.

Rev. Caleb F. Page, of Bridgton, ME, married in Wakefield, NH, August 13, 1844, Mrs. Mary R. (Dow) Coddington, of Wakefield, NH.

Rev. Caleb F. Page, “formerly of Bridgton,” ME, was “installed over” the First Congregational Church in Granby, CT, October 16, 1850 (Hartford Courant, October 26, 1850). He resigned from Granby in April 1854. There seems to have been some sort of dispute.

Rev. Caleb F. Page was the “stated supply” at Granville, MA, 1855-57, and served at Tolland, MA, 1858-62.

Caleb F. Page, Con. clergyman, aged sixty-two years, headed a Tolland, MA, household at the time of the Eighth (1860) Federal Census. His household included Mary B. Page, aged fifty-one years, Sarah L. Page, aged twenty-two years, and Albert F. Page, aged ten years. Caleb F. Page had personal estate valued at $300.

Rev. Caleb F. Page supplied the pulpit in Colebrook, NH, in 1863-66, from whence he transferred to Milton Mills. He appeared in Milton business directories of 1867-68, 1869-70, 1871, and 1873, and 1874 (and, somewhat inaccurately, in 1876).

Caleb F. Page, a clergyman, aged seventy years (born ME), headed an Acton, ME, household at the time of the Ninth (1870) Federal Census. His household included Mary R. Page, keeping house, aged sixty-two years (born MA), and Sarah L. Page, at home, aged thirty-two years (born ME). Caleb F. Page had personal estate valued at $350.

Rev. Caleb F. Page died in Milton Mills, NH, December 6, 1873.

Previous in sequence: Milton in the News – 1865; next in sequence: Milton in the News – 1867


Find a Grave. (2012, June 17). John Copp. Retrieved from

Find a Grave. (2013, August 7). William F. Cutts. Retrieved from

Wikipedia. (2018, December 17). John Clem. Retrieved from

Author: Muriel Bristol

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