Milton in the News – 1894

By Muriel Bristol (Transcriber) | May 10, 2019

In this year, we encounter another bumper ice crop, Post-Panic work resuming at the Shipley Company, a farm situation being wanted, an Odd Fellows traveler, Post-Panic work resuming at the Townsend factory, the Milton station agent seeing something, the Joanna Farnham story is reprised, burglars “blew” the safe at the Milton Mills post-office, a concert review excerpt from the Milton Journal, a Milton Mills druggist attends a veterans’ reunion, and a factory expands.

ICEMEN HELP UNEMPLOYED. WAKEFIELD, Jan. 14. – The ice on Lake Quannapowitt is eleven inches thick and as soon as it becomes fourteen the Boston Ice Company will put a large gang of men at work. If the cold weather continues the company expect to commence in a week, and about two hundred men will be put to work and about 75,000 tons housed. The Boston Ice Company commenced cutting ice at Milton. N.H., yesterday and have excellent ice fourteen inches thick. They commenced cutting ice at North Chelmsford today, where the ice is twelve Inches thick, about one hundred men and fifty horses being at work. Local dealers In Wakefield and Melrose will commence cutting and filling their ice houses this week. This ice is about eleven Inches thick and good quality (Boston Post, January 15, 1894).

PLENTY OF ICE TO CUT. Crop All Over New England Will be Ready to Harvest Soon. There need be no concern among the consumers of ice about the crop for next season. To be sure, the ice cut so far this season has not been up to the standard of last year, but it is of fairly good quality, and the supply will be sufficient for the demand. Work of harvesting ice at Milton pond, N.H., was begun yesterday, and the ice is of good quality and more than a foot thick. At North Chelmsford, where a great deal of ice is cut each winter, the crop is not yet quite thick enough for cutting, but another cold snap will set the scrapers and groovers in motion. The ice on Jamaica pond is about 10 inches thick, but about one-fifth of this is snow, so that there must be another season of cold weather before work can begin there. Usually about 50,000 tons are gathered at this pond, but this year it is not likely that more than 25,000 or 30,000 tons will be taken, as the company has now but one house there. The Drivers Union company does practically all its cutting at Wolfboro Junction, N.H., and the usual crop is 100,000 tons. No trouble is expected this year in getting that crop, and although it is believed the crop will not be quite as good as last year’s, it probably will be far above the average. Work has already begun at Wolfboro, the men going out upon the lake a day or two ago. Union ice company, as well as the Boston ice company, cuts at Milton. N.H. It has already begun work and thinks that the crop will be good. This company also has ice from Wilmington, Mass, but the pond in that town is not, yet ready for the work. It is expected that this company will cut 40,000 tons this year; about the same amount as last. The Winkley & Maddox ice company of Charlestown began cutting two days ago on a pond at Newton Junction, and expects to be able to continue for three or four weeks if the weather holds good. Fifty thousand tons is about the amount of the season’s cutting, and it is thought that this amount can be obtained all right with another cold snap. The local crop, with the usual full harvest that is expected on the Kennebec, will give Boston and all New England, for that matter, plenty of cooling material for next summer. With the next cold snap the dealers will, in the vernacular of the times, “cut considerable ice” (Boston Globe, January 19, 1894).

The Maine Legislative Manual for 1894 listed the “Shipley Hosiery and Dyeing Co, hosiery and dyeing,” in Acton, ME, i.e., right across from Milton Mills, on the Maine side of the river.

MILL NOTES. The Shipley knitting and hosiery co., at Milton mills, N.H., will resume operations next week (Vermont Record (Fair Haven, VT), February 2, 1894).

But not for long. A textile publication of the following year described the Shipley Hosiery & Dyeing Company, of Acton, ME, as being “out of business.”

SITUATIONS WANTED. EXPERIENCED farmer and gardener wants situation on gent’s farm, good milker, wife good cook and butter maker, best of references. Box 148, Milton Mills, N.H. (Boston Globe, March 9, 1894).

Francis J. “Frank” Busch was born in Lowell, MA, in 1854, son of Francois J. and Roseanne (Farrell) Busch.

Francis J. Busch, Jr., works in woolen mill, aged twenty-six years (b. MA), headed a Milton (“Milton Mills Village”) household at the time of the Tenth (1880) Federal Census. His household included his wife, Ellen N. Busch, aged twenty-five years (b. ME), his father, Francis J. Busch, a woolen goods finisher, aged fifty-nine years (b. France), and his brothers, James T. Busch, works in woolen mill, aged twenty-one years (b. MA), John A. Busch, at school, aged fourteen years (b. NH), Charles W. Busch, at school, aged twelve years (b. NH), and Frederick Busch, at school, aged ten years (b. NH). They resided very close to Asa A. Fox (and his store), appearing between the household of Abram Sanborn, a harness maker, aged fifty-eight years (b. NH), and that of Benjamin G. Adams, superintendent of the woolen mill, aged fifty-seven years (b. NH).

FROM LOCAL FIELDS. Frank J. Busch, of Milton Mills, N.H., visited Harmony lodge last night. Mr. Busch is traveling in the interests of an Odd Fellows chart company and has visited over 4,000 lodges throughout the country (Hamilton Evening Journal (Hamilton, OH), March 14, 1894).

The Milton Mills Manufacturing Company resumed work after the Panic of 1893.

MILL NOTES. At Milton, N.H., the Townsend blanket mill has again started up, giving employment to about 40 hands. New shafting and other machinery has been placed in the mill (North Troy Palladium (North Troy, VT), April 12, 1894).

A burglary suspect was thought to have been seen in Milton.

NEWMARKETS BURGLAR. Excitement Runs High Over Saturdays Affray. One Man Held by the Malden Police Who Answers Description. Another Seen at Milton, N H, Who Will be Arrested Today. NEWMARKET, N.H., April 16 – The excitement is still intense here over the death of Clarence Dame and the assault on Dr. C.A. Morse Saturday night. No one has been arrested as yet, but tonight parties will go to Malden to see if the man arrested there can be identified. C. Griffin left this morning for Hampton, where a chum of the missing man is at work in a sawmill, thinking the wanted man might be there. A jury consisting of W.W. Durell, C.V. Doe and Joseph Pinkham have been summoned by Coroner A.L. Mellows, and the inquest over the death of Dame will take place this noon. The funeral of Clarence Dame will be held at the Baptist church Wednesday morning. The two friends of the missing man who were arrested yesterday are still held in the lockup. The missing man went under the name of William Guarantee. A telegram was received at 11 this morning from the station agent at Milton, N.H., stating that a man answering the description of the man wanted, as given in The Globe, bad just passed the station there on the track. Orders were sent to hold him (Boston Globe, April 16, 1894).

Here we find a revival of the tale of Miss Joanna Farnham’s trunks. The original stories appeared after her death in 1877.

HAD NOTHING TO WEAR, But Owned 89 Costly Frocks, 114 Pair of Silk Stockings, Etc. New York Sun. “What do you think of a woman who was the owner of eighty-nine dresses of the very finest of silk, satin, velvet and other expensive dress goods. 106 skirts of every conceivable texture and fabric, 111 pairs of silk hose, nineteen rich and costly shawls, and undergarments of the finest linen by the trunk full, and yet had never worn a single one of these dresses, skirts, shawls, undergarments or pairs of hose?” said a well-known Boston woman. “It seems Incredible, but those things were some of the articles of wearing apparel that belonged to Miss Joanna Farnham, of Milton, N.H., although no one ever knew it but herself until she died. She wore the cheapest clothing all her life, and her common remark was that she had nothing to wear. “Miss Farnham was eighty years old when she died. Although she went from Milton to Boston when she was a young girl and lived there until her death, she always called Milton her home. She was for years an employe of Boston hotels, and made no intimate acquaintances. When she died it was not known that she had even enough to give her more than a decent burial, but in her old trunk in her room at the hotel were found $5,000 in good securities, a bank book showing that she had nearly $2000 on deposit in a savings bank, and a key wrapped in a piece of paper. On the paper was written ‘This key will unlock a trunk at my cousin Ann’s house in Milton.” The trunk was found there and the key unlocked It. It was packed full of such things as I have mentioned, and contained another key wrapped In a paper, with information on the paper that this key would unlock another trunk at another place. That trunk was found with a like result, with a third key for a third trunk in still another place. This went on until twenty large trunks belonging to the eccentric dead woman had been found. Besides the wearing apparel already spoken of, valuable china ware, jewelry and silverware, large quantities of the very finest table and bed linen, the best English table cutlery, and many pieces of choice bric-a-brac were found In the trunks. This precious storage made a load that it took two yokes of oxen to haul out of Milton. Miss Farnham’s heirs agreed to sell the whole of these valuables by auction in Boston, and they netted more than $10,000, nowhere near their actual value.” (Indianapolis Journal, April 16, 1894).

Thomas Murray, a wool sorter, aged sixty-plus years (b. Ireland), headed a Milton (“Village of Milton Mills”) household at the time of the Tenth (1880) Federal Census. His household included his wife, Sarah A. [(Earnshaw)] Murray, keeping house, aged forty-five-plus years (b. England), and his children, Richard Murray, a tin peddler, aged twenty-five years (b. NH), James W. Murray, a tin peddler, aged twenty-four years (b. NH), Daniel Murray, a tin man, aged twenty-two years, and Mary A. Murray, at home, aged fifteen years (b. NH).

The Murray Brothers appeared as proprietors of a stove and tin-ware store in the Milton (Milton Mills) business directories of 1880, 1881, 1882, 1884, 1887, 1889, 1892, 1894, and 1898.

Burglars dynamited the Milton Mills post office safe in the early hours of Wednesday, May 16, 1894. As was then usual, the post office did not have its own dedicated building. It occupied some space in the Murray Brothers’ stove and tin-ware store. One of the brothers, J.W. Murray, was the postmaster.

Milton Mills Postoffice Robbed. MILTON, N.H. May 16 – Shortly after 3 o’clock this morning the safe in the postoffice at Milton Mills was blown open and rifled of $400 in money and stamps (Boston Globe, May 16, 1894).

NEWS OF THE WEEK. Thursday, May 17. The postoffice at Milton, N.H. was robbed of $400 (Swanton Courier, May 18, 1894).

New Hampshire. A safe in the postoffice in Murray Brothers’ store at Milton Mills was blown open Wednesday morning of last week. Three men were seen leaving the store, but the robbers made good their escape. They secured about $400 in money and stamps. It is thought to be the work of the same gang that has been operating in New Hampshire and Maine for several months past and has blown safes in 12 or 15 postoffices (Bellows Falls Times, May 24, 1894).

Richard and James W. Murray removed to Berwick, ME, before 1900. Richard Murry, a dealer in stoves and groceries, aged forty-five years (b. NH), lodged in the Berwick, ME, household of Alamanda Page, a tailoress, aged fifty-one years (b. NH). He died in Berwick, ME, November 16, 1909, aged fifty-five years and five months.

Nancy Doe, tailoress, aged fifty-two years (b. NH), headed a Berwick, ME, household at the time of the Twelfth (1900) Federal Census. Her household included her sister, Fannie E. Doe, a stitcher in a shoe factory, aged forty-three years (b. ME). They shared a two-family dwelling with the household of J.W. Murray, stoves and hardware, aged forty-four years (b. NH), his household included Nancy Doe’s sister, Mary A. Murry, keeps house, aged thirty-five years (b. NH). [Note that the census enumerator appears to have confused Mary A. Doe and Fannie E. (Doe) Murry].

James W. Murray married in Berwick, August 9, 1900, Frances E. “Fannie” Doe. James W. Murray died in Berwick, ME, November 8, 1922.

Daniel Murray had still the Milton Mills store in 1901 and 1904. He appeared also as a plumber. His wife, Mrs. Helen Murray, kept a fancy goods and toy store.

A Milton Journal review of Boston’s Apollo Quartette is here featured in an advertisement for a concert to be held in Poultney, VT.

A MUSICAL TREAT. A Coming Musical Event – Poultney to be Treated to a Fine Concert – All Will Wish to Attend of Course. The academy has secured for commencement concert, June 20, the Apollo quartette of Boston. Each of the four gentleman who compose this quartette is a solo artist of reputation. The Haverhill Gazette says of Byron F. Noble, first tenor: “Mr. Noble, the tenor, has one of the clearest, sweetest and fullest male voices heard in this city this season. Of Robert Bruce the Rutland Herald says: “Mr. Bruce sings with such melody and finish that it is obvious he has been trained in the best school. Not often is the public privileged to enjoy such faultless renditions of classical selections as he gave.” Of Francis Woodward, the baritone, the Keene Republican says: “Mr. Woodward possesses one of the most manly baritone voices it has been our privilege to listen to in many a day; deep, rich and sympathetic, over which he exercises perfect control.” The Chatauqua Assembly Herald says of the quartette: “The Apollo quartette of Boston have thoroughly established themselves as Chautauqua favorites. Their voices are very evenly balanced and mate sweet harmony in quartette work, while as soloists they are exceptionally fine.” Milton, N.H. Journal says: “The four voices blend in such harmony that many good judges have pronounced them the best they ever heard.” The Providence Journal comparing them with the once most famous Boston quartette says: It was a question in the minds of the large assembly whether or not the Apollo quartette was not better than the late Ruggles Street quartette. Its singing, certainly, seemed faultless and in want of nothing which could improve it. The melody of the four voices was of the sweetest nature, rivaling the tenderest tone that the most delicate instruments could produce.” The company will be supported by a cornet and violin soloists and by the champion elocutionists of the school. This will be the great musical event of the year, and is sure to receive a generous patronage. Tickets will be sold at the very low price of 35 cents. All seats will be reserved. Sale of seats will begin Saturday, June 16. The tickets will be found at M. J. Horton’s store (Poultney Journal (Poultney, VT), June 8, 1894).

Unitarians Meet at Pepperell. LOWELL, June 7. Lowell Unitarians in large numbers attended the convention in Pepperell today. The participants in the exercises were Rev G.S. Shaw of Ashby, Col. Daniel Needham of Groton, Rev T.E. Allen of Grafton, Mrs. H. Bernard Whitman of Boston, Rev F.T. Porter of Littleton, Mrs. George Whiting of Milton, M.F. Patch of Boxboro, Charles F. Coburn of Lowell, Miss Lulu Blanchard of Milton, N.H. The next meeting will be in Groton (Boston Globe, June 8, 1894).

Benjamin Burr Sloan was born in Barre, VT, circa 1870, son of David and Hannah (Willey) Sloan.

B.B. Sloan had been successively a corporal and then a sergeant in Captain O.D. Clark’s Company H (the Montpelier Capitol Guards) of Colonel J.J. Estey’s First Vermont National Guard Regiment in 1889 (Rutland Daily Herald, August 14, 1889; Army and Navy Journal, 1889).

MONTPELIER MERE MENTIONS. Benjamin B. Sloan, the well-liked clerk in the store of Lester H. Green, is to go to Farmington, N.H., January 1, where be has an excellent position in a drug-store. “Ben” would have to count some time to enumerate all the friends he has in Montpelier and vicinity who will wish him enlarged success in his new field Argus and Patriot (Montpelier, VT), December 30, 1891).

He married (1st) in Farmington, NH, September 13, 1892, Adelaide C. Waldron, both of Farmington. She was born in Milton, NH, circa 1871-72, daughter of John and Adelaide C. Waldron. He was a druggist, aged twenty-two years, and she was a lady, aged twenty years. Rev. W.H. Waldron of Farmington performed the ceremony.

B.B. Sloan appeared as proprietor of a Milton Mills drug store in the Milton [Milton Mills] business directory of 1894.

MONTPELIER MERE MENTIONS. B.B. Sloan, of Milton, N.H., was in Montpelier last Saturday and Sunday. He assisted Company H, of which be was formerly a member, at the muster last week (Argus & Patriot (Montpelier, VT), August 22, 1894).

Greene's Syrup of TarHe seemed to be back in Montpelier and working for the Greene’s Syrup of Tar company by early 1895. Per the label on its bottle, Greene’s Syrup of Tar contained alcohol, heroin, and chloroform “compounded in proportions and by processes known only to its proprietors” (Vermont Historical Society, 2015).

MONTPELIER MERE MENTIONS. Benjamin B. Sloan, who has been engaged by the Greene Syrup of Tar company, left last Saturday morning tor Clinton, Mass., where be has a position in a drug establishment (Argus & Patriot (Montpelier, VT), December 4, 1895).

Adelaide C. (Waldron) Sloan divorced her husband in Strafford County in February 1896. He was then named as Benjamin B. Sloan of Montpelier, VT. She alleged “treatment seriously impairing health.” (Before no-fault divorces, one had to allege something). Perhaps he gave her some Greene’s Syrup of Tar.

He married (2nd) in Newton, MA, December 15, 1899, Lillian B. Henderson, he of Littleton, NH, and she of Newton. He was a druggist, aged twenty-nine years, and she was an artist, aged twenty-five years. She was born in West Newton, MA, circa 1874, daughter of Francis G.L. and Fannie (Wheelock) Henderson.

Benjamin B. Sloan, a druggist, aged twenty-nine years (b. VT). and Lillian C. Sloan, aged twenty-five years (b. NH), were boarders in the Littleton, NH, household of Nelson Parker, a soap manufacturer, aged fifty-five years (b. NH), at the time of the Twelfth (1900) Federal Census.

N.B. Thayer’s shoe company took over the factory closed by the Burley & Usher Company after the Panic of 1893.

TO START ANOTHER FACTORY. Shoe Industry Likely to Boom the Town of Milton, N.H. MILTON, N H. Oct 23. – W.H. Thayer & Co. today purchased the shoe factory formerly occupied and operated by Burley & Usher, which has been idle for nearly a year. The new purchasers are at present operating a factory in this town and employ nearly 40 hands, and steps will at once be taken to connect the two factories and largely increase the number of employes (Boston Globe, October 24, 1894).

Note that there was no Federal “stimulus” in the wake of the Panic of 1893. The more viable firms survived, while those that had overextended themselves gave way to better management.

Previous in sequence: Milton in the News – 1893; next in sequence: Milton in the News – 1895


Army and Navy Journal. (1889). The United States Army and Navy Journal and Register of the Regular and Volunteer Forces. Retrieved from

Find a Grave. (2013, July 31). Daniel Murray. Retrieved from

Find a Grave. (2013, August 15). Thomas Murray. Retrieved from

McGraw-Hill. (1895). Textile World. Retrieved from

Vermont Historical Society. (2015). “Twill Cure Your Cold”: Vermont-Made Patent Medicines. Retrieved from

Author: Muriel Bristol

"Lady drinking tea"

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