Milton in the News – 1895

By Muriel Bristol (Transcriber) |May 12, 2019

In this year, we encounter some hiring by a mill superintendent, the demise of a former mill superintendent, children for adoption, a would-be housekeeper seeking employment, several out-of-town visitors, the departure of an original Nute High School teacher, and Miss Merrill’s “miracle” cure.

Vermont native William T. Rockwell was the Varney & Lane shoe factory superintendent during the Milton Mills Shoe Strike of 1889. During which event he and his wife were allegedly threatened by the strikers.

Here he we find him recruiting factory help for a successor shoe factory (perhaps the W.T. Thayer [N.B. Thayer] company, whose proposed expansion was announced in 1894, or perhaps the Gale Shoe company, who leased the Varney & Lane factory at Milton Mills in this year).

SHOE FACTORY HELP WANTED. In factory just starting at Milton Mills, N.H., operators on all machines in making room, lasters and stitching room help; also first-class bottom finisher, to take job by case; also first-class stock fitter, to take job by case. Address W.T. ROCKWELL (Boston Globe, February 13, 1895).

William T. Rockwell removed to Burlington, VT, by 1899, where he became superintendent of the Lakeside Shoe Company (and thereafter to Pittsfield, MA).

William Rockwell, a shoe manufacturer, aged forty-nine years (b. VT), headed a Burlington, VT, household at the time of the Twelfth (1900) Federal Census. His household included his wife (of twenty-one years), Carrie Rockwell, aged forty-six years (b. VT), and her parents, [Narcise] Nelson Milete, aged seventy-two years (b. Canada), and Louise Milete, aged sixty-two years (b. Canada). They resided in a rented house on Park Avenue. Her parents were resident aliens, who had entered the country in 1870.

William T. Rockwell died of general paralysis (six months duration) at the NH Soldiers’ Home in Tilton, NH, September 28, 1906, aged fifty-five years, ten months, and twenty-six days. He had been resident there for two years; his previous residence was Pittsfield, MA. (He was born in Middleton, VT, November 2, 1850).

TROY. A telegram has been received announcing the death of William T. Rockwell, son of Mr. and Mrs. Anson Rockwell of this place. Mr. Rockwell had been in poor health for several years, and his death occurred at the Soldiers’ Home at Tilton, N.H. At the breaking out of the civil war he was attending school at Westfield and although only fourteen years of age walked to Hyde Park and enlisted. After his return from the war he learned the shoemaker’s trade, becoming very proficient, and had held some excellent positions. Mr. Rockwell leaves a wife, father and mother, and ten brothers and sisters. This is the first break in the family, of which Mr. Rockwell was the oldest child (Orleans County Monitor (Barton, VT), October 8, 1906).

The Pittsfield City Directory of 1906 listed Rockwell, Carrie A., wid. William T., h. 3 Forest pl. (She had removed to California by 1910).

Caroline A. (Milete) Rockwell died in Lakeport Village, Laconia, NH, May 21, 1935, aged eighty-one years, one month, and nineteen days.

The following obituary of Joseph Robinson tells his rags-to-riches life story. John Townsend employed him as his mill superintendent at the Milton Mills Manufacturing Company in the early 1850s.

Joseph Robinson was born in Hunslet, Yorkshire, England, May 9. 1812, son of James and Mary S. (Aspin) Robinson.

He married in Leeds, March 26, 1833, Frances Ann Lewis. She was born in Yorkshire, November 16, 1814, daughter of Thomas and Isabella (Theakston) Lewis.

Joseph Robinson, a dyer, aged twenty-five years, headed a Leeds, Yorkshire, England household at the time of the UK Census of 1841. His household included Frances Robinson, aged twenty years, Mary Robinson, aged seven years, Frances Robinson, aged three years, and Thomas Robinson, aged one year. (The UK Census of 1841 used five-year age ranges for adults: Joseph and his wife were aged 25-29 and 20-24 respectively). They resided on York Street, near its intersection with Morton Row.

TWO CENTS TO WEALTH. Joseph Robinson Started on a Small Capital. Lived to Enjoy Prosperity, the Oldest Maine Manufacturer. Was Father of 15 Children All of Whom Were Brought Up in Mill. OXFORD, Me., March 6. Joseph Robinson, Maine’s oldest woolen manufacturer, died at 7 this morning; after an illness of several weeks. Mr. Robinson was born In Leeds, Eng. in 1810, and at the early age of 9 years was apprenticed to the woolen manufacturing business, beginning as a bobbin boy, piecing and plugging bobbins behind a spinning jack. After serving his apprenticeship he went to Hamburg, thence to Reichtenburg, finally returning to Hamburg. He spent six years in these cities, working in woolen factories. Before leaving England he fell in love with a pretty English lass, Frances Lewis, and during his sojourn in Germany and in Austria their courtship was carried on by letters. When 27, with his young wife and infant son, he landed in Boston. His entire worldly possessions at that time consisted of the clothes upon his back and two copper pennies in his pocket. He kept those big old fashioned English pennies during his life-time, and was very fond of showing them to visitors and of relating how he began life in Boston upon a capital of two cents. He obtained work enough to earn the money to take him to Ballardvale, in which place there was then a small woolen factory. As he thoroughly understood the manufacture of woolens he readily obtained employment. Soon after John Townsend engaged the young Englishman to act as superintendent and dyer of his woolen factory at Milton Mills. N.H. A few years later the Norway Plains woolen mills at Rochester, N.H. advertised for a superintendent, and Robinson saw the situation. He lived in Rochester for a number of years and was able to save a little money. This he invested in a small woolen factory at Mill Village, Wolfboro, N.H. He soon had an opportunity to sell his interest in this factory; and moved to Oxford, Me, 36 years ago, and purchased the old Craige woolen mill of John Halt. The old Craige woolen mills are among the oldest, if not the oldest, in New England. After a long series of experiments Mr. Robinson succeeded in producing a more beautiful and permanent shade of blue than any other dyer had attained. With a roll of his peerless blue cloth under his arm. he went to Boston and called upon the largest wholesale house in that city. He was offered $2.50 a yard for all of the same kind of cloth that he could manufacture for three years. But the manufacturer was not satisfied with this offer, and went on to New York, calling upon, among others, A.T. Stewart. That far-seeing merchant at once closed a bargain with Robinson. “Jim” Fisk, then a peddler, came very near buying out Joseph Robinson at this time, and was only prevented from doing so by the fact that he could not raise sufficient money to close with Robinson’s offer. Some idea of the way Joseph Robinson drove his business at that time may be gathered from the fact that common spinners were able to earn $130 a month in this factory before the war, probably the highest wages ever paid tor this class of work. Early In 1862 the Robinson manufacturing company was incorporated, consisting of H.L. Libby, a Portland millionaire, and Mr. Robinson. The latter retained 60 percent of the stock. The working capital was increased to $300,000, and during war times the factory was driven to its utmost capacity. Most of the soldiers who went from New Hampshire were arrayed in the “fadeless Oxford blue.” The most remarkable fact connected with Joseph Robinson’s life is that during the many years in which he was engaged in making woolen cloth, he never had a single labor trouble of any kind. As he once said, since he had a factory of his own he moved among his hands more like a father among his children than a superintendent. Most of his employes have worked for him the larger portion of. their lives, some of them for 35 years. When the agitation favoring a 10-hour law began Joseph Robinson was the first large manufacturer in Maine to place his signature on a petition in favor of such a movement, though he claimed the law ought to be a national one. In personal appearance he was light complexioned, with the very red cheeks peculiar to Englishmen He was about 6 feet in height, with shoulders perfectly erect, in spite of his size, and with a thick-set, massive figure indicative of health and unusual strength. He was the father of 15 children, and he outlived all except six of them. His children were all brought up to earn their daily bread by daily labor, and the most of them have at some period of their lives worked as day laborers in their father’s factory. (Boston Globe, March 7, 1895).

Gilman Jewett, a postmaster, aged seventy-three years (b. NH), headed a Milton household at the time of the Seventh (1850) Federal Census. His household included Ann Jewett, aged fifty-nine years (b. NH), Joseph Sharp, a manufacturer, aged forty years (b. England), Hannah Sharp, aged twenty-five years (b. England), Benjamin Sharp, a manufacturer, aged twenty-five years (b. England), Susan A. Hubbard, aged sixteen years (b. ME), Susan S. Nutter, aged forty years (b. NH), John McDonald, a tailor, aged thirty-five years (b. Scotland), and Joseph Robinson, a manufacturer, aged thirty-six years (b. England). They lived in close proximity to the households of John Townsend, agent of the Milton Mills Manuf’g Co., aged forty-three years (b. England), and Benjamin Hubbard, a Baptist clergyman, aged thirty years (b. ME).

John Bailey Robinson, son of Joseph and Frances A. (Lewis) Robinson, was born in Milton, NH, August 16, 1852.

Joseph Robinson, a manufacturer, aged forty-eight years (b. England), headed an Oxford, ME, household at the time of the Eighth (1860) Federal Census. His household included Frances M. Robinson, a housekeeper, aged forty-six years (b. England), Frances A. Robinson, works in factory, aged twenty-one years (b. England), Emily Robinson, works in factory, aged sixteen years (b. England), Louisa Robinson, aged twelve years (b. MA), Lucretia Robinson, aged ten years (b. MA), John Robinson, aged seven years (b. NH), Celina Robinson, aged five years (B. NH), Henrietta Robinson, aged three years (b. NH), and Albert Robinson, aged one month (b. ME). His real estate was valued at $6,000 and his personal estate was valued at $200.

Joseph Robinson, a woolen manufacturer, aged fifty-eight years (b. England), headed an Oxford, ME, household at the time of the Ninth (1870) Federal Census. His household included Frances A. Robinson, keeps house, aged fifty-six years, Emily Robinson, at home, aged twenty-six years (b. England), Louisa Robinson, works in wool mill, aged twenty-one years (b. MA), Lucretia Robinson, works in wool mill, aged nineteen years (b. MA), John Robinson, works in wool mill, aged sixteen years (b. NH), Salina Robinson, at home, aged fourteen years (b. NH), Henrietta Robinson, at school, aged twelve years (b. NH), Albert Robinson, at school, aged eight years (b. NH [SIC]), and Mary Fry, works in house, aged twenty-two years (b. NH). His real estate was valued at $25,000 and her personal estate was valued at $2,500.

Frances A. (Lewis) Robinson died in Oxford, ME, November 9, 1890. Joseph Robinson died in Oxford, ME, May 8, 1895.

The Robinson Manufacturing Company mill, in Oxford, ME, remained open (and in the family) until 2004.

For Adoption. FOR ADOPTION. – Two pretty American female children, respectable parentage, one 1 years, one 16 months. For further particulars address box 23, Milton, N.H. 2t* ap25 (Boston Globe, April 26, 1895).

Miss Bartlett sought a housekeeping position. Note that she did not wish to be alone in the house with the widower (and his children). Presumably for propriety’s sake. Without more information, it is difficult to say much more about the competent Miss Bartlett. (She does not appear as such in the Twelfth (1900) Federal Census).

Situations Wanted. SITUATION wanted as housekeeper in widower’s family where other help is kept, by a competent lady of 23 years. Address Miss BARTLETT. box 30. Milton. N.H. (Boston Globe, May 31, 1895).

This advertisement might be compared with that of the husband and wife team that sought work on a farmstead in 1894, or the former teacher that sought either bank, office work, or to act as a ladies companion in 1893.

Elmer I. Hapgood was born in Hudson, MA, June 24, 1871, son of Wilbur and Maria E. (Mills) Hapgood.

Wilbur Hapgood, a farmer, aged forty-two years (b. MA), headed a Milton household at the time of the Tenth (1880) Federal Census. His household included his wife, Maria E. Hapgood, keeping house, aged thirty-nine years (b. MA), his children, Willie G. Hapgood, at home, aged sixteen years (b. MA), Elmer I. Hapgood, aged nine years (b. MA), [his mother,] Sally [(Wetherbee)] Hapgood, keeping house, aged seventy-two years (b. MA), and her grandchild, Leslie Felton, at home, aged thirteen years (b. MA).

Elmer Hapgood married in South Royalton, VT, August 16, 1891, Mary L. “May” Woodward. He was a shoe laster (possibly displaced by the Milton Mills Shoe Strike of 1889). She was born in South Royalton, VT, August 15, 1875, daughter of John W. and Melissa M. (Ellsworth) Woodward.

South Royalton Notes. Elmer Hapgood and wife are visiting friends at Milton Mills, N.H., during his vacation (Herald and Courier (Randolph, VT), August 8, 1895).

South Royalton. Mr. and Mrs. Elmer Hapgood returned from Milton Mills, N.H., last Saturday after spending two weeks at his father’s (Landmark (White River Junction, VT), August 23, 1895).

John W. Woodard, a house painter, aged sixty-one years (b. VT), headed a Royalton, VT, household at the time of the Twelfth (1900) Federal Census. His household included his wife, Melissa M. Hapgood, aged fifty-three years (b. VT), and his boarders, Charles W. Marston, a general store merchant, aged forty years (b. NH), and Thomas Arnold, a general store clerk, aged twenty-two years (b. VT). Woodard owned their farmstead free-and-clear, without any mortgage. He shared his two-family dwelling with the household of Elmer Hapgood, a shoe factory McKay stitcher, aged twenty-eight years (b. MA), and his wife, Mary L. Hapgood, aged twenty-four years (b. VT). They were renters.

Elmer I. Hapgood’s sister, Carrie M. Hapgood, died in Milton, NH, June 22, 1902, and his father died here, November 6, 1908.

Summer visitor Alma Giduz was born in Germany, in February 1878, daughter of Bernard and Laura (Russack) Giduz. Her family emigrated to the United States in 1882.

Local Lines. Miss Elma Giduz will spend a few weeks in Milton Mills, N.H. (Boston Globe, August 18, 1895).

Bernard Giduz, a grocer, aged fifty-one years (b. Russia), headed a Boston, MA, household at the time of the Twelfth (1900) Federal Census. His household included his wife (of twenty-five years), Laura Giduz, a bookkeeper, aged forty-six years (b. Germany), his children, Hedwig, a houseworker, aged twenty-four years (b. Germany), Alma, a piano teacher, aged twenty-two years (b. Germany), and Hugo Giduz, at school, aged seventeen years (b. Germany), and his brother, Adolph Giduz, a cigar maker, aged forty-six years (b. Russia). They shared a two-family dwelling at 105S Lamertine Street with the household of Martin Gatley, a wagon driver, aged thirty-eight years (b. Ireland).

We hear of Miss Giduz next in Butte, MT, where she advertised as a teacher of pianoforte from about 1910. Her brother, Hugo Giduz, accompanied her, both to Montana and on the violin.

SOCIETY. BUTTE WELCOMES A MUSICIAN. Butte musicians are fortunate in being able to introduce Miss Alma Giduz, a recent arrival from Boston, Mass., where she was prominent in musical circles for a number of years and has had great success as a teacher of the piano. Miss Giduz has had splendid opportunities and a thorough musical education. She studied at the New England Conservatory of Music under professors Charles Dennee; and Rudolph Carpe. Mr. Dennee is especially remarkable for his beautiful compositions. Miss Giduz also studied at Radcliffe, where she took theoretical work with Professor Spaulding of Harvard University. At college Miss Giduz took an active part in musical organizations. She is a graduate of the American Institute of Normal Methods, Boston, Mass. Apparently there is always room in Butte for musicians and Miss Giduz has received a warm welcome from many friends here who knew her previously and will be glad to see her remain here and make Butte her home (Butte Daily Post (Butte, MT), January 8, 1911).

Miss Giduz went on to teach piano for another fifty years.

Alma Giduz, Piano Teacher, Dies in Brookline. Alma Giduz, a piano teacher in Boston for many years died at her home on Babcock st., Brookline. A graduate of the New England Conservatory of Music, Miss Giduz had taught music previously in Simsbury, Ct., and Butte, Mont. During World War I, she served as a Y.M.C.A. entertainer at army bases. She leaves a niece, Bernice G. Schubert, of Maryland, and a nephew, Roland Giduz of North Carolina. Funeral services will be private (Boston Globe, [Monday,] July 24, 1961).

Here we hear a glowing report of Miss Sarah L. Benson’s literary lecture in North Conway, NH, and her departure for the Framingham Normal School. She was one of the original teachers at Milton’s Nute High School. She taught there for four years, between the 1891 and 1895.

BRATTLEBORO. The following highly complimentary mention of Miss Sarah Benson of Brattleboro is from the North Conway correspondence of a New Hampshire paper: “The fine lecture on Whittier, given Friday evening at the residence of Rev. W.B. Allis by Miss Benson of the Nute High school, Milton, was a rare treat and most thoroughly enjoyed by those who were brave enough to disregard the horrible traveling and attend the meeting of the Young People’s Literary club, before which it was given. Miss Benson is an easy speaker and her vivid and sympathetic pictures of the Quaker poet were charming. The lecture was interspersed with numerous selections and short quotations from Whittier’s works” (Vermont Phoenix (Brattleboro, VT), April 19, 1895).

PERSONAL. Miss Sarah Benson, who has been a teacher in the Nute High school at Milton, N.H., for several years, has gone to Framingham, Mass., where she will take a special one year’s course in the normal school (Vermont Phoenix (Brattleboro, VT), September 13, 1895).

(See Milton Teacher of 1891-95 for a sketch of her life).

Sarah M. “Sadie” Merrill was born in Acton, ME, July 20, 1861, daughter of George W. and Rebecca S. (Downs) Merrill.

She lost her voice around Thanksgiving 1894. Here we find her featured in an advertisement for Boston physician Dr. J. Cresap McCoy’s “Almyr System” that she claimed restored it.

TEN MONTHS DUMB. Miss Merrill Had Not Spoken Since Last Thanksgiving Now She Testifies With Joy to the Restoration of Her Voice.

Merrill, Sadie M.jpgHearing restored can seem to the deaf no more like a miracle than the voice restored seems to one who has been for a long time without the power of speech. At least so says and so thinks Miss Sadie M. Merrill, who came to the Almyr offices yesterday with a face beaming with joy. She said: “I can talk and tell you all about it if I don’t break down with either laughing or crying. You have given me back my voice. I just came from Mrs. Farnham’s and I left that lady laughing and crying by turns. I have just written to my father and the family at our home at Milton Mills, N.H., and I don’t know whether they will laugh or cry when they get my letter.

“For ten months, until this morning, I had not uttered a sound.

“You may publish my story, of course you may, and perhaps the newspapers containing it will reach my relatives and friends before my letters will reach them. I live at Milton Mills, N.H. For many years I had suffered from severe catarrhal trouble, and last Thanksgiving day it culminated in the entire loss of my voice. From that time on, during the ten months past, I could not speak at any time above a whisper. I determined to come to Boston and be treated by you, and on the 26th of August I went to you. I arranged to stay while in the city with Mrs. H.A. Farnham, a relative, at 73 Dale St., who was also under your care and loud in your praises. I was treated by you steadily since the 26th of August. Today my voice is restored and I am an overjoyed, happy woman, and I want all the world to know it, but especially I want all my friends and all my relatives in New England to know about it.”

This is the statement of Miss Sadie M. Merrill of Milton Mills. N.H. She will remain some time at 73 Dale St., before going back to her home, and she says:

“Tell every one who is interested that they can come and see me, and that I will not have to write out my answers to their questions, as I might have had to a few days ago, but that I can tell them in a good. clear voice all about the wonderful skill which has wrought this change” (Boston Globe, September 20, 1895).

Despite Miss Merrill’s endorsement, Dr. J. Cresap McCoy, and his cures, were likely not efficacious. His practice tended to move from city to city: Harrisburg, 1883; Delaware, 1884; St. Louis, 1885; Kansas City, 1886; St. Paul, 1887; Philadelphia, 1889; Minneapolis, 1892; Baltimore, 1893; Boston, 1895; Washington, DC, 1897, etc. The Illinois Board of Health revoked his medical certification in 1885. It characterized him then as a “professional mountebank and fraud.”

Sadie M. Merrill married in Acton, ME, November 25, 1903, Charles L. Stevens. He was born in 1857.

Charles L. Stevens died in 1923. Sarah M. (Merrill) Stevens died in Milton, NH, October 8, 1942.

Previous in sequence: Milton in the News – 1894; next in sequence: Milton in the News – 1896


Find a Grave. (2015, November 9). Dr. John C. McCoy. Retrieved from

Find a Grave. (2012, August 30). Elmer Irving Hapgood. Retrieved from

Find a Grave. (2012, January 17). Florence Blanchard Amadon. Retrieved from

Find a Grave. (2015, September 12). Joseph Robinson. Retrieved from

Find a Grave. (2013, August 13). Sadie M. Merrill Stevens. Retrieved from

Find a Grave. (2013, August 14). Wilbur Hapgood. Retrieved from

Illinois State Board of Health. (1885). Annual Report of the State Board of Health of Illinois. Retrieved from

Wikipedia. (2019, February 13). Catarrh. Retrieved from

Wikipedia. (2019, February 7). John Greenleaf Whittier. Retrieved from

YouTube. (2016, August 5). Why Aye Man. Retrieved from

YouTube. (2015, January 9). Hartland Shoe Repair: Using McKay Stitcher. Retrieved from


Author: Muriel Bristol

"Lady drinking tea"

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: