Milton in the News – 1889

By Muriel Bristol (Transcriber) | April 11, 2019

In this year, we encounter two Vermont ladies seeking work, a dreadful child, some horse trading, a grocery bankruptcy, the Carricabe paper mill restarting, and a Gloucester ice shortage being supplied at Milton.

(This was also the year of the Milton Mills Shoe Strike of 1889).

Here we find two Vermont ladies seeking work as “factory girls” in Milton. It might be that they were drawn by the Varney & Lane factory opening in Milton Mills at this time.

TUNBRIDGE. Miss Carrie Drew and Della Corliss have gone to Milton, N.H. to work in a shop ((Randolph, VT) Herald and News, January 2, 1889).

Della Corliss, at least, did not remain here. (Perhaps because of the strike). She went on to Massachusetts. She returned to her North Tunbridge, VT, home “for a while,” in August 1893, due to the financial Panic of 1893.

Several are coming here [North Tunbridge] from Massachusetts, on account of the shutting down of the factories (Randolph Herald & News, August 10, 1893).

Curious Condensations was this Pennsylvania paper’s standard heading for out-of-the-ordinary stories, of which this nationally-copied article was just one.

CURIOUS CONDENSATIONS. A mischievous youngster in Milton, N.H., saturated the tail of the family dog with kerosene and then applied a match. The dog ran off frantically, and, rubbing against a haystack, $150 worth of property was burned (Pittsburgh Dispatch, February 21, 1889).

Curious indeed, but “mischievous” hardly tells the tale. Horrible or monstrous would be more like it.

Milton farmers had always an eye for a good horse. Hiram V. Wentworth was taxed as a retail horse dealer and Enoch W. Plummer was taxed for his somehow-special stallion in Milton’s US Excise Tax of May 1864.

HORSE GOSSIP. Points from Track and Stable About Noted Flyers and Drivers. H.H. Berry, Milton Mills, N.H., has sold to F.H. Smith, Cambridge, Mass., the horse Forestwood, by Redwood, dam by Coupon (Burlington Free Press, May 3, 1889).

Hiram Hussey Berry was born in Milton, NH, in October 1853, son of Jonathan and Eliza W. (Hussey) Berry.

Hiram H. Berry, a farmer, aged twenty-six years (b. NH), headed a Milton household at the time of the Tenth (1880) Federal Census. His household included his wife, Mary J. [(Hanson)] Berry, keeping house, aged twenty-nine years (b. NH).

Milton horses are mentioned occasionally in accounts of agricultural fairs and stake races.

They Are Trotting at Saco. Saco. Me., June 19. The June races of the Saco Driving Association began this afternoon. Out of the 13 entries in the 2.50 class there were five starters. The bay gelding Barney L., owned by P.H. Lennon of Portland, won; bay mare Misfortune, owned by M. Leonard of Providence, was second; Kate R. of Biddeford was third; Blacksmith of Rochester was fourth; Iron Age of Milton Mills was distanced. Best time 2.40. There were five starters in the 2.35 class. Harry D. of Dover. N.H., won in three straight heats; Frank A. of Cornish second; Kite of Portland third; Gray Bunker of Portland fourth; Fannie W. of Falmouth fifth. Time 2.39. 2.36¾, 2.40. Tomorrow afternoon the 2.40 and 2.26 classes will be trotted (Boston Globe, June 20, 1889).

The following troubled Milton Mills grocery business (Pettingell & Brown) was not listed in any of the Milton business directories. There may have been a good reason for that. One of its partners at least, Henry A. Pettingell, seems to have been a peddler.

Henry Augustus Pettingell was born in Dedham, MA, January 13, 1854. son of Augustus T. and Sarah D. (Snell) Pettingell. He married in West Roxbury, MA, September 15, 1875, Phebe Bartlett Bailey Vinal.

Henry Pettingill, a dry goods peddler, aged twenty-six years (b. MA), headed a Dedham, MA, household at the time of the Tenth (1880) Federal Census. His household included his wife, Phoebe Pettingill, keeps house, aged twenty-eight years (b. MA), and his daughter, Mary D. Pettingill, aged three years (b. MA). Phoebe Pettingill was suffering from the “disability” of being “pregnant.” (Their second child, Theodore T. Pettingill, would be born in August).

A peddler (or pedler or pedlar), as opposed to a storekeeper, would travel about the countryside in his wagon. (The guests at the Milton Mills Hotel in 1860 were nearly all pedlers). Here follow several contemporary advertisements for such rigs as they would have used.

PEDLAR’S TEAM – Bay French horse, good pattern, excellent worker, 8 years old, weighs about 1000 pounds, stands without tying, and is free from tricks, with light Concord express wagon, made for a pedler, without boxes, and harness (Boston Post, 1880).

FOR SALE. Light express wagon, suitable for grocery or pedler. 818 Shawmut av. (Boston Globe, November 18, 1889).

Daughter Mary D. Pettingell died in Weymouth, MA, October 6, 1886, which suggests that the family still lived in Norfolk County as late as that. However, the fourth child, Ralph D. Pettingell, was born in Acton, ME, August 8, 1889.

Pettingell’s partner, Mr. Brown, has not been identified. Their business was probably active in Milton Mills and vicinity between about 1887 and 1889. Mr. Pettingell resided in Acton, ME.

Business Troubles. Firms Forced to Assign Under Stress of Financial Storms. Pettingill & Brown, grocers, Milton Mills, N.H., have failed. They owe $4500; assets $2100 (Boston Globe, May 7, 1889).

PRESSED FOR TIME AND MONEY. Financial Embarrassments of Firms and Individuals. Pettengill & Brown of Milton Mills write THE GLOBE that the report of their failure is false (Boston Globe, May 9, 1889).


BUSINESS TROUBLES. Financial Difficulties Reported in Various Trades. The Boston creditors of H.A. Pettingell of the firm of Pettingell & Brown, grocers, Milton Mills, N.H., held a meeting in this city yesterday at the New England Furniture Exchange. The committee reported the liabilities as $4180. Assets, varied and uncertain. Mr. Pettingell made an offer of 25 cents on a dollar, and the committee recommended its acceptance. All present signed the composition paper (Boston Globe, June 6, 1889).

Henry Pettingell and family were back in Dedham by the time of the Twelfth (1900) Federal Census, in which his occupation was given as grocery clerk. He died in Dedham, MA, in 1927.

John M. Carricabe’s Milton paper mill was running night and day in November 1888. After which it appears to have shut down for several months.

NEW ENGLAND NEWS. The paper mill at Carricabe’s works, Milton, N.H, will start again soon, after having been shut down several months (Londonderry Sifter (South Londonderry, VT), June 27, 1889).

A thumbnail sketch of Mr. Carricabe appeared in our last – Milton in the News – 1888 – to which one might refer for further details. He would be “remembered as the pioneer of the leather-board industry” (Nickelson, 1921).

Here we learn of yet another ice company, the Fernwood Lake Ice Company of West Gloucester, MA, obtaining a supply of ice at Milton.

ICE SCARCE IN GLOUCESTER. Dealers Obliged to Get Their Supply In New Hampshire. Gloucester, Nov. 15. There is a scarcity of ice in Gloucester. It is estimated that over 25,000 tons are taken from here each year by the fishing fleet and fresh fish houses, and at least 10,000 tons more are purchased in various parts of the maritime provinces. The demand is increasing and the sales this year have been greater than ever before. The Fernwood Lake Ice Company, with a house at West Gloucester having a capacity of 40,000 tons, has about 100 tons of ice in stock and are supplying their trade with ice from Milton, N.H. Inquiry at the office of Nathaniel Webster, who, with the Fernwood company, furnish the entire supply of the town, shows that Mr. Webster’s stock on hand is about 1000 tons, 300 of which is thick ice. This is the first time since the Fernwood company has been in business that the stocks have been so low. Within a few weeks it is probable that there will not be a pound of Cape Ann ice remaining unsold (Boston Globe, November 16, 1889).

The Kimball Brothers did not take up the proffered free Milton Mills factory in November 1888. The Varney & Lane company set up there instead.

MALE HELP WANTED. CUTTERS wanted on grain and gl. grain piece work, at VARNEY & LANE’S, Milton Mills, N.H.; also 3 good closers-on; come ready for work (Boston Globe, May 30, 1889).

Charles Wesley Varney was born in North Berwick, ME, July 30, 1838, son of Calvin and Eliza (Nowell) Varney.

He married Ellen N. Lane. She was born in Exeter, NH, November 17, 1840, daughter of Elbridge G. and Elizabeth M. (Moses) Lane.

Charles W. Varney, a shoe manufacturer, aged forty-one years (b. MA [SIC]), headed a Lynn, MA, household at the time of the Tenth (1880) Federal Census. His household included his wife, Ellen N. Varney, at home, aged thirty-eight years (b. NH); his children, Louise N. Varney, at school, aged sixteen years (b. NH), Lucia D. Varney, at school, aged thirteen years (b. NH), Fred L. Varney, at school, aged nine years (b. MA), Ada M. Varney, at school, aged six years (b. MA), and Ralph W. Varney, at home, aged ten months (b. A); his brother-in-law, Elbridge G. Lane, a clerk in store, aged thirty years (b. NH); his boarder, Ida Lane, at home, aged twenty-eight years (b. ME); and his servants, Sarah Willey, a servant, aged sixty-five years (b. NH), and Maggie Healey, a servant, aged twenty years (b. Ireland). They resided at 7 Commercial Street in Lynn, MA.

The Milton Mills Shoe Strike of 1889 commenced against Varney & Lane in November 1889.

Charles W. Varney died in Westborough, MA, March 30, 1915. Ellen N. (Lane) Varney died in Winnetka, IL, February 17, 1928.

Previous in sequence: Milton in the News – 1888; next in sequence: Milton in the News – 1890


Find a Grave. (2010, February 21). Charles Wesley Varney. Retrieved from

Find a Grave. (2014, August 1). Henry A. Pettingell. Retrieved from

Find a Grave. (2006, March 8). John M. Carrecabe. Retrieved from

Nickelson & Collins. (1921). Leather & Shoes. Retrieved from

Milton in the News – 1888

By Muriel Bristol (Transcriber) | April 7, 2019

In this year, we encounter the sale of a Milton Mills fish market, Rev. C.E. Hurd’s call to the Milton Mills Free-Will Baptist Church, the death of Lewis W. Nute, the Carracabe paper mills running full steam, an unfortunate drowning death, and the first “encouraging” offer of a free mill building.

Milton Mills had two fish markets. After all, it was a lively place. The one offered for sale here had the option also of team of horses, which would presumably be used to pick up the fish and oysters at the Union railroad station.

FISH AND OYSTER MARKET for sale, in a lively town in N.H.; doing good business; will sell with or without team; good reasons for selling; will sell cheap. “F.J.W.,” box 232, Milton Mills, N.H. (Boston Globe, March 9, 1888).

The advertiser used pseudonymous initials, but this was likely E. Trefethen.

E. Trefethen appeared as a Milton Mills fish merchant in the Milton business directories of 1880, 1881, 1882, 1884, and 1887, but not thereafter. The competing fish store, run by John F. “Frank” Archibald, continued.

(See also the Milton Mills Oyster Fritters Recipe of 1895).

Rev. Charles E. Hurd took up the pulpit of the Milton Mills Baptist Church in this year.

He was born in Gilmanton, NH, May 1, 1838, son of Caleb and Judith C. (Allen) Hurd. He married in Gilmanton, NH, February 25, 1859, Anna A. Drake. She was born in Chichester, NH, December 28, 1843, daughter of Josiah W. and Eunice D. (Lake) Drake.

He enlisted in Company D of the 4th NH Regiment, September 13, 1861, and remained with them until mustered out, August 23, 1865.

Religious Intelligence. Rev. C.E. Hurd of North Tunbridge has accepted a call to the Free Baptist church at Milton Mills, N.H. (Burlington Free Press, April 9, 1888).

He would go next to Limerick, ME, in 1890. Anna A. (Drake) Hurd died in Windsor, VT, May 21, 1908. He died in Windsor, VT, January 26, 1911.

Milton’s famous benefactor, Lewis W. Nute, was born in West Milton, NH, February 17, 1820, son of Ezekiel and Dorcas (Worster) Nute.

Lewis Worster Nute was a namesake for his maternal uncle, Lewis Worster, who was born in Milton, NH, April 4, 1815, and died there as an infant, December 18, 1815. Another maternal uncle, Isaac Worster, Jr., was an early and ardent Milton abolitionist. His maternal grandfather, Isaac Worster, was a proprietor of the Milton Social Library.

Nute, Lewis W. - Detail
Lewis W. Nute

It was said of him that he was “… not highly favored as regards educational privileges, being permitted to attend school only about six weeks each winter. He was so studious, however, and made such use of the limited opportunities offered that at the age of nineteen he engaged in teaching, continuing that occupation during two terms” (Hurd, 1882).

He died on what is now the Nute Ridge Road, in West Milton, NH, October 20, 1888, aged sixty-eight years, nine months, and three days.

LEWIS W. NUTE DEAD. Boston’s Big Leather Dealer Expires at His Home. Dover, N.H., Sept. 5. Lewis W. Nute died this morning at the homestead at Milton. When a young man Mr. Nute went to Boston to work for the leather firm of Potter & Co. He worked there several years, when be was taken sick and nearly died. When he recovered he found all his bills paid and he was a silent partner in the firm. He was considered the best judge of leather in Boston. Shortly afterwards the name of the firm was changed to Nute, Potter, White, & Bailey. He stayed with them some years then sold out and went into business for himself with an office in Boston and manufactory in Natick, and five years ago he started the shop in Dover (Boston Globe, September 5, 1888).

TELEGRAPHIC SUMMARY, ETC. The late Lewis Nute, of Milton, N.H., left $25,000 for building a schoolhouse at that place, and $100,000 as a permanent fund for maintaining the school, in addition to numerous other public bequests (Baltimore Sun, November 6, 1888).

John M. Carrecabe was born in France, in October 1838, son of John M. and Rose Carrecabe.

John M. Carracabe, a morocco dresser, aged twenty-seven years, married in Lynn, MA, June 29, 1872, Louisa Potter, aged eighteen years, both of Lynn. She was born in Nova Scotia, in 1854, daughter of Polonius and Ellen M. Potter.

John M. Carracabe, a junk dealer, aged thirty-six years (b. France), headed a Lynn, MA, household at the time of the Tenth (1880) Federal Census. His household included his wife, Annie L. Carracabe, keeping house, aged twenty-five years (b. Nova Scotia), his children, John A. Carracabe, aged five years (b. MA), Mary E. Carracabe, aged three years (b. MA), Arthur M. Carracabe, aged two years, and <blank> Carracabe, aged one month, and his servant, Hannah Cahill, a domestic servant, aged fifteen years (b. Ireland). They resided on High Rock Avenue.

NEW ENGLAND NEWS. The Carricabe paper works in Milton, N.H., are being run day and night (Essex County Herald, November 2, 1888).

The Carricabe paper mill would suspend production for some months in early 1889.

John M. Carracabe, a leather dealer, aged sixty-one years (b. France), headed a Lynn, MA, household at the time of the Twelfth (1900) Federal Census. His household included his wife, Annie L. Carracabe, aged forty-five years (b. Canada (Fr.)), his children, Mary E. Carracabe, aged twenty-three years, Espert W. Carracabe, a clerk, aged twenty years, Sabrina J. Carracabe, at school, aged eighteen years, and Annie L. Carracabe, at school, aged sixteen years, and his brother-in-law, Frederick Potter, a shoe stock fitter, aged nineteen years (b. MA). They resided at 324 Western Avenue.

John M. Carrecabe died in Lynn, MA, in 1918. In 1921, he was “remembered as the pioneer of the leather-board industry” (Nickelson, 1921). Annie L. (Potter) Carrecabe died in 1934.

Robert L. Knight was born in Milton, NH, in 1848, son of Stephen H. and Louisa (Clarey) Knight. He married in Rochester, NH, December 28, 1867, Marilla M. Leighton. She was born in Lebanon, ME, July 18, 1849, daughter of Lewis L. and Lucinda J. (Jones) Leighton.

Robert Knight, works on shoes, aged thirty-two years (b. NH), headed a Milton (“Milton 3-Ponds Village”) household at the time of the Tenth (1880) Federal Census. His household included his wife, Marilla Knight, keeping house, aged thirty-one years (b. ME), and his children, Wilbur C. Knight, at school, aged nine years (b. NH), and Addie F. Knight, at school, aged five years (b. NH). They shared a two-family dwelling with the household of Adelbert Leighton, works on shoes, aged twenty-eight years (b. NH). His household included his wife, Mary P. Leighton, keeping house, aged twenty-eight years (b. MA), and his parents, Lewis L. Leighton, runs pegging machine, aged fifty-four years (b. NH), and Lucinda J. Leighton, keeping house, aged fifty-eight years (b. ME). The census taker enumerated their dwelling between those of Daniel Jenness, a farmer, aged seventy-four years (b. NH), and Stephen Twombly, works on shoes, aged forty years (b. NH).

NEW ENGLAND NEWS. Robert L. Knight of Milton, N.H.. a shoemaker, left his home recently to visit Great Falls. His body was found in the river about 200 feet north of the bridge. There were no marks of violence on the body, and nothing in its appearance to indicate foul play. It is quite evident that he accidentally fell into the river and was drowned (Londonderry Sifter (South Londonderry, VT), November 22, 1888).

Marilla M. (Leighton) Knight married (2nd) in Dover, NH, September 28, 1898, Jeremiah Mahoney, she of Milton and he of Dover. They were living in Salem, MA, in 1900.

The Kimball Brothers company had factories in Lynn and Haverhill, MA, as well as Gardiner, ME. (They were one of the Lynn factories against whom the Lynn Knights of Labor initiated a shoe strike in 1885).

NEW ENGLAND NEWS. Kimball Bros., among the oldest and best known of Haverhill, Mass., shoe manufacturers, contemplate moving a portion of their business, at least, to Milton, N.H., and have under consideration the offer of a three-story factory building there. If they make the change it will effect a great saving in the amount of wages, rent, taxes, power, etc., and would probably ultimate in the removal of their entire business from Haverhill (Londonderry Sifter (South Londonderry, VT), November 22, 1888).

The Kimball Brothers firm did not end up moving their entire business to Milton, nor even a portion of it. It would be the Varney & Lane company that moved a portion of their business to Milton Mills in the following year. (They were offered the additional inducement of ten years without taxation). (See also the Milton Mills Shoe Strike of 1889).

Previous in sequence: Milton in the News – 1887; next in sequence: Milton in the News – 1889


Find a Grave. (2006, March 8). John M. Carrecabe. Retrieved from

Find a Grave. (2010, May 3). Rev. Charles Edwin Hurd. Retrieved from

Find a Grave. (2011, February 28). Robert L. Knight. Retrieved from

Hurd, D. Hamilton. (1882). History of Strafford County, New Hampshire. J.W. Lewis & Co.: Philadelphia, PA

Luce & Bridge. Twenty Thousand Rich New Englanders: A List of Taxpayers who Were Assessed in 1888 to Pay a Tax of One Hundred Dollars or More. Retrieved from

Nickelson & Collins. (1921). Leather & Shoes. Retrieved from


Milton in the News – 1887

By Muriel Bristol (Transcriber) | April 4, 2019

In this year, we encounter NH’s House Judiciary Committee investigating the alleged “corrupt methods and attempted bribery” associated with the so-called Hazen Bill (HB 28) of the prior year. That bill permitted consolidation of State-granted NH railroad leases.

NH Governor Charles H. Sawyer had vetoed the Hazen Bill (HB 28) in October of the prior year. His veto message remarked that

To my mind it has been conclusively shown that there have been deliberate and systematic attempts at wholesale bribery of the servants of the people in the legislature. It matters not that both of the parties are probably equally guilty.

Here we find John W. Sanborn, superintendent of the Northern Division of the B&M Railroad, testifying before the House Judiciary Committee. He explains that about forty members of the legislature had been “under pay” of the railroad. He began by identifying several committee members, including Rep. Luther Hayes of Milton, as not having been one of those “under pay.”

HUNTING FOR BRIBES. Testimony Showing How Various People Profited by the Fight. Concord, N.H., Oct. 18. – The judiciary committee of the house appointed to investigate the charge of bribery of members of the legislature met this afternoon. John W. Sanborn was sworn: I am superintendent of the Northern division, Boston & Maine railroad; can’t give names of all parties that have been in the employ of the Boston & Maine during the session of the Legislature to secure the passage of the Hazen bill; there have been several here who have not been under pay; among these are John W. Wheeler of Salem, A.A. Woolson of Lisbon, Luther Hayes of Milton and others whose names I do not recall; I told Mr. Sulloway that if he knew anybody that would help us, to ask them to come: I think we have had some 40 under pay, perhaps more; not many more, however; we have not had a quarter as many as the Concord road; I told Newton Johnson of Portsmouth he might employ one or two men; Mr. Johnson has reported to me the names of those he has employed; Mr. Sulloway has not; I employed Edgar Aldrich and his partner, Mr. Drew and his partner, Mr. Briggs, John P. Bartlett, and Charles H. Bartlett of Manchester; George A. Ramsdell of Nashua; John Kivel and J.C. Caverly of Dover; Aaron Young and Newton Johnson of Portsmouth; James R. Jackson of Littleton; Paul Lang of Oxford; James A. Wood of Acworth; George B. French of Nashua; Frank G. Clarke of Peterboro; Charles B. Gaffney of Rochester; these men were employed to advocate the Hazen bill in every way; there were others engaged, whose names I cannot give now: they were expected to discuss railroad questions with members; Manahan of Hillsboro was one of those employed; Kirk D. Pierce was never employed; am not aware Colonel Cochrane of Nashua has assisted any; don’t know that Frank H. Pierce has been employed; don’t know that General White has rendered any services; don’t know either Postmaster Flinn or Mr. Cadwell, agent of the Jackson Manufacturing Company of Nashua; the expenses of this contest, on the side of the Boston & Maine is paid by that corporation as I understand it; I am employed by the Boston & Maine, and have charge of the legislation: am not aware that any newspapers have been returned by the Boston & Maine; have told the proprietors of certain papers that we should want them to publish certain articles for which we expected to pay: among these papers are the Manchester Union and Manchester Mirror; don’t know that any other papers have been employed to publish articles in our interest; we have engaged the Mirror and the Union to publish speeches and reports of committees; I know that articles have been published by other papers, but don’t know who secured their publication; have employed the Boston Journal to publish some articles, and have paid the regular advertising rates, have retained no paper in or out of the State; have employed no correspondents during the fight, shall pay the papers whatever is right, can’t say what our expense has been so far; don’t think it would be $250,000; should not pay any such amount; have had 16 rooms at the Phoenix Hotel; have been in Mr. Jones’ room considerable; representatives have visited my, room during the session, but can’t give names of all of them, the canvass was looked after generally by Mr. Gaffney and Mr. Wood; we had a pretty full canvass before the first vote was taken; I saw Colonel Thomas P. Cheney before the Legislature met; we had a general talk with H.M. Putney about the railroad legislation we proposed to ask for, we didn’t go into any particulars; I saw him in company with Mr. Sulloway didn’t see any other members of the railroad committee before the assembling of the Legislature; the composition of the railroad committee was not discussed; have met Colonel Cheney since the report of the committee; bad no talk with him while the matter was before the committee; have had a general conversation with H.M. Putney regarding railroad legislation: never submitted the Hazen bill to Mr. Putney; be told me that he should take no active part in the matter during the session on account of his official position: cannot tell how many passes we have issued during the session, but don’t believe we have given near as many as the Concord road; complaint has been made that we did not give passes enough; it was said that the Concord lobbyists carried blank passes and filled them in with pencil; I said that I would give passes to members and families, but I did object to giving them to their constituents; can’t say that I refused anybody, but have objected; we give none over the Boston & Maine across the State line; have given none to Canada; the Boston & Maine never gives passes over any other line, nor does it allow other roads to issue passes over its line; ever since we have been here asking for legislation in years past we have always given members and their families trip passes; we started in that way this year; by the indiscriminate and lavish use of passes by the Concord road we were compelled to issue them in greater number; we gave to friend and foe alike; don’t think that anyone was influenced by it; know there is a statute against giving passes. but it is a dead letter; have heard a great deal of loose talk about buying and selling votes on the railroad question this season; I know of no money being offered to anybody to influence his vote; I came here to get this legislation in a proper way; I have done nothing improper, and have never countenanced anything of the kind; no man has reported to me that he could get a vote by improper means; it has never been suggested in my presence that any member of the Legislature could be bought. (Boston Globe, October, 19, 1887).

Previous in sequence: Milton in the News – 1886; next in sequence: Milton in the News – 1888


Chandler, William E. (1908). Railroad Reform in Mew Hampshire, Ancient, Modern and Future. Retrieved from

NH Railroad Commissioners. (1888). Annual Report of the Railroad Commissioners of the State of New Hampshire. Retrieved from

NH Senate. (1888). Journal of the Senate of New Hampshire, 1888. Retrieved from

Wikipedia. (2019, January 24). Charles H. Sawyer. Retrieved from

Skies Over Milton, April Edition

By Peter Forrester | April 2, 2019

Greetings on this fine sunny day! (I wish I could call it “warm”!)

Here are your monthly skywatching events, including one that already occurred. Note: all times are in US Eastern Daylight Savings Time (EDT) unless otherwise noted, which is 4 hours less than Universal Time (UT). Note: not all of these events occur at a time where the sky in Milton will be dark enough to see them.

Tuesday, April 2: Moon near Venus, 3:00 am EDT. Also Moon near Mercury, 10:00 PM.

Friday, April 5: New Moon at 4:51 AM. This is the start of “Lunation 1191” (a lunation is about 29.53 days, or the time between one new moon and the next. The exact length of a lunation varies a little bit, see the reference on “New moon” for more information).

Monday, April 8: Moon near the Pleiades at 7 pm.

Tuesday, April 9: Moon near Mars at 6 am (evening sky). Moon near Aldebaran (brightest star in constellation Taurus) at noon (in evening sky).

Friday, April 12: First Quarter Moon at 3:05 PM.

Sunday, April 14: Mars near Aldebaran at 9 pm.

Friday, April 19: Full Moon at 7:11 AM.

Monday, April 22, Lyrid Meteor Shower peaks at 8 pm. It is visible from the 14th to the 30th. 10 – 20 fast, bright meteors per hour during the peak, unfortunately the Moon’s brightness well make these meteors harder to see. The meteors can be seen all over the sky, but the radiant (point of origin) is between the constellations Lyra and Hercules.

Tuesday, April 23: Moon near Jupiter, 9:00 AM.

Thursday, April 25: Moon near Saturn at 9:00 AM (occultation, which means the nearer object passing in front of the other and therefore blocking light from it, will occur. In this case, the occultation will only be visible in parts of Australia, New Zealand, and South America).

Friday, April 26: Last Quarter Moon at 6:18 PM.

For more of these events, or to check out other skywatching tips, be sure to visit

Until my next, enjoy the skies, and this glorious spring which is now upon us (at least in the Northern Hemisphere)!

Previous in series: Skies Over Milton, March Edition


Thalassoudis, Kym. (2000-19). Skymaps. Retrieved April 2, 2019 from

Wikipedia. (2019, March 25). Lyrids. Retrieved from

Wikipedia. (2019, January 10). New moon. Retrieved from

Wikipedia. (2019, March 10). Occultation. Retrieved from

Milton in the News – 1886

By Muriel Bristol (Transcriber) | April 1, 2019

In this year, we encounter a West Milton farmer nearly freezing to death, Milton’s notably fine butter, the destruction by fire of Milton’s oldest building, a bi-coastal bigamy scandal, a purported centenarian, an orphan heading west, news of Rev. Doldt’s passing, and an employment opportunity.

“March comes in like a lion, but goes out like a lamb.”

There was no Henry Thurston, as such, but there was a Hananiah C. Thurston, who may well have preferred to go by “Henry.” (Can you blame him?) As his mother, Apphia (Sleeper) Thurston, preferred to go by “Effie.”

SUNBEAMS. Henry Thurston, a West Milton, N.H. farmer, was caught out in the fierce storm of last Friday, and got his horse fast in a snow drift. Before they were released the horse’s ear and side were frozen so that the skin came off, and the man’s face, hands, and legs were frozen so badly that he nearly died ((NY) Sun, [Wednesday,] March 10, 1886).

Benjamin Thurston, a farmer, aged seventy-seven years, headed a Milton household at the time of the Tenth (1880) Federal Census. His household included his wife, Effie Thurston, keeping house, aged seventy years. He shared a three-family dwelling with the households of [his son,] Hananiah Thurston, a farmer & works on shoes, aged forty-four years (and his wife, Caroline Thurston, aged forty years); and [Hananiah’s son,] Charles H. Thurston, works on shoes, aged nineteen years (and his wife, Cora Thurston, keeps house, aged eighteen years, and his child, Herbert Thurston, aged one month (born May).

Hananiah Thurston survived his encounter with the fierce storm of March 1886, and died many years later in Milton, NH, October 27, 1922.

In this Vermont piece on the butter industry, a Milton creamery belonging to E. Whiting & Company is mentioned for its notably fine butter.

No Market for Bad Butter. St. Albans, April 5, 1886. Editor Message: Having spent few days in Boston last week looking up the market in the interest of our creamery here. I thought perhaps a few words in regard to the conditions of the market, etc., might be of interest to some of your readers. Found the market very bare of fine butter. Dealers say that for many years they have not seen the market so well cleaned up and so bare of fine butter as at present. But still there is no activity in the market, for it is heavily supplied with oleomargarine which takes the place of all butter except the best grade. For instance, a customer came in and asked a dealer for a tub of good fine butter for cooking; he showed him a tub of dairy butter that was a little off in flavor, but cost 26 cents in the country; the customer thought the price too high for the quality, and asked the dealer if he would not go out and get him a tub of butterine: so he stepped into the next door and bought a tub of butterine for 11½ cents, and brought it in and compared it with the butter, and it appeared better in every respect; and he took it at 12½ cents and was satisfied. It is a plain case that dairymen have got to take more pains than ever to make a good article, and the buyer has got to discriminate closer in buying than ever before. The demand for creamery butter is steadily increasing and the best marks are sought after at good prices. I had no trouble in placing our make of butter with well-known dealers in northern creamery and dairy butter who are anxious to secure our goods, provided we succeed in making a flue thing – which we are bound to do. We are sparing no pains or expense in fitting up, and shall begin operations the first of May. Whiting's MilkWhile gone I visited several creameries, among them one at Milton, N.H., noted in Boston for its fine butter, run by Mr. E. Whiting & Sons, who have been in the business for several years. At present they are making about 800 lbs per day, which sells in Boston at 35 to 38 cts per lb. Winter dairying is the rule in that section of the state, and they think it strange that Franklin county should be so far behind the times. They think it much more profitable to make butter during that part of the season when it is comparatively high. Think the dairymen of this section would find it greatly to their advantage to turn their attention more to the production of milk in winter. Dealers in Boston report the outlook for the season not very encouraging, but think perhaps that butter will do a little better than last year. And the only alternative for the butter maker is to make the best article possible, and get all he can for it (St. Alban’s Messenger, April 7, 1886).

Whiting’s Milk became ubiquitous all over New England. Their business model favored dairy locations close to railroad lines. Their business “collapsed” finally in 1961 and was taken over by H.P. Hood in the 1970’s.

The Runnell (or Runnells) House burned down on Monday, May 3, 1886. It was said to be Milton’s oldest building.

New England Notes. The oldest building in Milton, N.H., the RunneIl House, was burned Monday; loss. $500 (Boston Globe, [Wednesday,] May 5, 1886).

No Runnells heads of household have been identified at Milton’s “oldest” period, such as in the 1790, 1800, or 1810 Federal census records. Several Runnells families did reside in neighboring Farmington at early dates, but none are known to been in Milton until at least the 1830s, or thereafter, at which time the Runnells name may have become associated with an already extant “oldest building.”

Paul Runnels headed a Milton household in 1840. Alvah Runnells, a blacksmith, headed a Milton Mills household in 1860.

His son, Samuel Runnells, also a blacksmith, headed a “Milton Mills Village” household in 1880. And Israel Runnells, a felt mill worker, also headed a “Milton Mills Village” household in 1880.

Orin Varney triggered a widely-reported bi-coastal bigamy scandal, which must surely have raised quite a few eyebrows in Milton (and Oakland, CA).

Orin Varney was born in Lebanon, ME, August 15, 1849, son of John B. and Almira S. (Clark) Varney. He married (1st) Annie Leighton. Their daughter, Hattie M. Varney, was born in Milton in 1867. They were divorced in Strafford County Court, December 22, 1870.

He married (2nd) in Milton, August 7, 1871, Annie M. (Hayes) Kimball. (Rev. Ezra Tuttle of Milton’s Free-Will Baptist Church performed the ceremony). She was born in Farmington, NH, June 30, 1836. daughter of Richard R. Hayes. She had married (1st) in Farmington, NH, July 15, 1855, Alvah M. Kimball, who died in Rochester, NH, July 2, 1869. (Alvah M. and Annie M. (Hayes) Kimball had three children).

Orin Varney, works on shoes, aged thirty years (b. NH), headed a Milton (“Milton 3-Ponds Village”) household at the time of the Tenth (1880) Federal Census. His household included his wife, Annie M. Varney, keeping house, aged forty-three years (b. NH); his children, Hattie M. Varney, at school, aged thirteen years (b. NH), and Charles E. Varney, at school, aged nine years (b. NH); his step-son, George A. Kimball, at school, aged fifteen years (b. NH); and his brother, Albion F. Palmer, works on shoes, aged twenty-six years (b. ME).

Annie M. Varney reported that her husband left Milton, in 1882, and went to Boston seeking work. He took up residence there and they gradually became estranged. We next find him in Oakland, CA.

MARRIAGE RECORD. List of Marriage Licenses Recorded During the Week Ending May 21, 1886. March 18. Orin Varney, a native of New Hampshire, aged 35, resident of Oakland, and Pollie Elizabeth Boardman, a native of England, aged 26, resident of Oakland; by Rev. John Eliot Benton (Oakland Tribune (Oakland, CA), May 22, 1886).

NAUGHTY VARNEY. A Too-Much Married Railroad Engineer. He is Arrested for Bigamy – Tries to Break Away, but is Successfully Lodged in Jail. Qrin Varney, a railroad locomotive engineer, was arrested at Sixteenth street station, this morning by Constable Teague, on the arrival of the Southern overland train, and now languishes in the County jail, charged with bigamy. A complaint, charging Varney with the crime of bigamy, was issued out of Justice Nusbaumer’s Court yesterday afternoon, at the instance of a young woman signing herself Mary Elizabeth Boardman Varney. The complaint recited in substance that Orin Varney did on the 18th day of March, of the present year, commit bigamy willfully, maliciously and feloniously, by marrying the complainant; that he was at that time a married man, and the husband of one Annie M. Varney to whom he was married August 7, 1871, at Milton, in the State of New Hampshire. The complaining Mrs. Varney was formerly Miss Mary Elizabeth Boardman, of this city; her father residing at 1687 Twelfth street, corner of Willow, is an employe in a powder factory near Oakland. VARNEY’S ARREST. The warrant for Engineer Varney’s arrest was placed in Constable Teague’s hands, and that officer was promptly on hand at the arrival of the Southern overland train this morning. When the train drew up at. the Sixteenth street station, Mr. Varney stepped off of the platform of one of the passenger coaches and began to fish in his pockets for the checks for his baggage. Constable Teague somewhat surprised Mr. Varney, by inviting him to take a ride in the officer’s buggy. Varney declined with thanks, but the constable would not be denied the honor, and insisted that the much-married engineer should accompany him. The latter was shown the official authority for his arrest, and he acquiesced at once. On the way to the County jail Varney grew loquacious, and exhibited papers and documents showing that he had been divorced from a prior wife. He affected to make light of the incident of his arrest. Arrived at the jail, Mr. Varney quite suddenly and unexpectedly broke away from the constable, passed through the small gate leading from the jail steps into the Court House yard and ran toward the other gate near the steps on the north side of the Court House. Varney evidently labored under the impression that he was in charge of a reformed policeman, but he reckoned unwisely, for Constable Teague took after him – with the fleetness of a greyhound. Before fifty yards had been traversed by the fleeing bigamist he felt the cold muzzle of a pistol crammed up against his neck, and a command thundered out: “STOP! OR I’LL KILL YOU!” Mr. Varney put on his air-brakes with considerable force at that moment and brought himself to a sudden halt. “Throw up your hands!” was the next command. Varney raised his hands as if he wanted to touch the sunlit sky. “Now you show any more foolishness like that and you will get cold lead in you!” observed Teague, who conducted Varney, now very meek, into the jail. “What did you want to run away for?” asked the Constable. “I – I – that is, I wanted to go show my wife my divorce papers.” The prisoner was searched, and then locked up: It appeared from the divorce papers found in his possession, that he was divorced in 1883 from a wife, but the second figure “8” seemed to have been changed from a “6.” A small sum of money, a memorandum-book and his trunk-checks were taken from him. THE INJURED WIFE’S STORY. From attorney Brown the story of his client, the alleged victim of Varney’s bigamous act, was obtained. It appears that after her marriage to Varney they went to live in Arizona, where he was employed as an engineer on the Southern Pacific, running from Tucson. Some person connected with Wentworth’s shoe factory at Sixteenth street station learned that Varney had a wife living in New Hampshire. Communication was had with her, and she forwarded official documents showing that she was married to Orin Varney in 1871 and had never been divorced. Also, that Varney had been previously married and divorced, and, that wife No. 1 had, after the divorce, died. Wife No. 2, Mrs. Annie M. Varney, is a talented and a highly respected school-marm in Milton, New Hampshire. She was a widow with four children when she married with Varney, who then had two children, one of whom, a daughter, is now married. These facts were communicated to Mrs. Varney No. 3, nee Miss Boardman, and a bogus telegram was also sent, informing her that her mother was dying, and to return home at once. She arrived here two or three weeks since, and then the problem was to get the bigamist here. He was written to relative to accepting the position of engineer in Wentworth’s shoe factory, and it is presumed that he came up intending to accept such position. He is tall, dark complexioned, wears a light mustache, and is 37 years old. An application will be made on behalf of Mrs. Varney No. 3 to annul her marriage with Varney, and he will be prosecuted criminally on the charge of bigamy. Varney was called upon this afternoon by a TRIBUNE reporter, but declined to say anything relative to the cause of his arrest (Oakland Tribune, June 2, 1886).

PACIFIC COAST NOTES. CULLED FROM WESTERN EXCHANGES. Orin Varney, a locomotive engineer at Oakland, Cal., was arrested June 3d, on a charge of bigamy. The complaint is made by his second wife, who, since their marriage, has discovered that Varney had another wife and several children living at Milton, N.H. (Deseret Evening News, June 8, 1886).

Varney was released on $1,000 bail, but did not show up for trial. The sheriff was seeking “strenuously” for him in September 1886. At the time of his son’s 1898 marriage, Orin Varney was said to be an engineer, residing in “Mexico.”

Annie M. (Hayes) Kimball divorced Varney in 1888 and reverted to her first married name. Annie M. Kimball of Milton, NH, appeared as the widow of a veteran in the surviving veterans’ schedule of the Eleventh (1890) Federal Census. (Her first husband, Alvah M. Kimball, had been a 1st Lieutenant in the 15th NH Regiment in 1862-63).

Annie M. Kimball died in Milton, NH (forty-eight years residence), December 10, 1917.

Abigail “Abby” Bean was born in Shapleigh, ME, November 14, 1789, daughter of William and Susan (Gilbert) Bean.

She married in Shapleigh, ME, October 1814, Joseph Remick. He was born in Acton, ME, June 22, 1791, son of Timothy and Ann (Bean) Remick.

Joseph and Abigail “Abby” (Bean) Remick resided in Acton, ME, in 1850 (she was 61); Somersworth, NH, in 1860 (she was 70); and Milton, NH, in 1870 (she was 81). He died in Milton, NH, August 29, 1870, aged seventy-nine years.

Despite the following newspaper items, she would have been ninety-five years of age had she lived to November 14, 1886.

GENERAL AND PERSONAL. Mrs. Abigail Remick, of West Milton, N.H., will be 105 years old if she lives until December 21. She lives with her son, Timothy Remick, aged 84 (Nebraska State Journal, August 8, 1886).

Yankee Notions. Mrs. Abigail Remick of West Milton, N.H., will be 105 years old if she lives until December 21. Her hearing is very good and her sight fair. She can tell interesting stories of the stirring scenes of 1812, when she accompanied her husband to the defence of Fort Constitution in Portsmouth harbor (Boston Globe, August 21, 1886).

Timothy Remick, a painter, aged fifty-one years (b. ME), headed a Milton household at the time of the Tenth (1880) Federal Census. His household included his mother, Abby Remick, keeping house, aged ninety-two years (b. ME).

Dies at the Age of 102 Years. Milton, N.H., August 23. Mrs. Ruth [SIC] Remick, aged 102 years, died Saturday evening. She was in remarkably good health up to a few days of her death. She leaves a son and daughter, aged 81 and 79 respectively (Boston Globe, August 24, 1886).

Abigail (Bean) Remick died in Milton, NH, August 19, 1886, aged one hundred and one years (per her Milton death certificate), but actually aged ninety-four years.

It proved difficult to expand much upon the following story. There is nothing to indicate the age or birthplace of the absent John Wendell. The unnamed Wendell son would have been born about 1870-71, but not in Milton, although he had unnamed relatives here, at least at first.

William Jenness, a farmer, aged sixty-five years (b. NH), headed a Rochester household at the time of the Tenth (1880) Federal Census. His household included his wife, Joanna Jenness, keeping house, aged sixty-seven years (b. NH), and his servant, Clarence Wendell, at school, aged nine years (b. Unknown).

PERSONAL AND GENERAL. TWELVE years ago John Wendell went West, leaving his three-year old boy with relatives in Milton, N.H. Nothing being heard of Wendell, the boy was finally sent to the almshouse until he was twelve years old, when he was bound out to a farmer. A few weeks ago a letter was sent from Lincoln, Ill., to Milton, saying that Wendell had died there, leaving $25,000 to be divided between a daughter; by a second marriage and his son in New Hampshire. On Monday the boy started West to look after his legacy (Pittsburgh Daily Post, [Saturday,] September 11, 1886).

There are (or were) two places called Lincoln, Ill., and the Eleventh (1890) Federal Census has not survived.

Rev. James Doldt had been minister of the Milton Congregational Church between 1848 and 1870. He left Milton for Canterbury, NH, where he was minister until 1886. He retired from the Canterbury pulpit due to illness and went to live with his daughter in Orange, NJ.

NEW HAMPSHIRE NEWS. Rev. James Doldt of Canterbury died on Sunday at Orange, N.J., whither he went a few days ago for the benefit of his health. He was born in Groton, Mass., Sept. 30, 1809, was graduated from Gilmanton theological seminary in 1841, and was ordained to the Congregational ministry, Sept. 21, 1843. His first settlement was in Wolfboro, N.H., and afterwards he was in Effingham, Milton and Canterbury, where he was pastor of the Congregational church until his resignation a few weeks ago (Vermont Journal (Windsor, VT), [Saturday,] November 6, 1886).

Advertisements of this period often sought employees that “understood” processes, rather than ones that had “experience” of them.

FEMALE HELP WANTED. WANTED – Immediately, a woman that understands both rough and finish hosiery mending. Address, stating terms, Riverside Mfg. Co., Milton Mills, N.H. (Boston Globe, November 11, 1886).

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Find a Grave. (2016, August 23). Alvah Mansur Kimball. Retrieved from

US Congress. (1891). United States Congressional Serial Set, Volume 2885. Retrieved from