Milton in the News – 1897

By Muriel Bristol (Transcriber) | May 30, 2019

In this year, we encounter another Nute High School teacher, a Milton Mills farm for sale, and some visiting rusticators.

(This was also the year of the Preacher and Druggist, and the Jones Poisoning Murder).

Here we have another early Nute High School teacher, Miss Lillian A. McAllister, who taught here for at least the 1896-97 academic year, and, if she stuck to her decision mentioned here, the 1897-98 academic year.

Lillian A. McAllister was born in Moriah, NY, October 28, 1874, daughter of Rev. Dr. William C. and Angela M. (Bronson) McAllister.

NEWBURY CENTER. Miss Lillian McAllister, daughter of Rev. N.C. McAllister of Manchester, N.H., was highly complimented a short time ago by being tendered a position at Columbia University. Miss McAllister was a graduate from Vassar college last June, and is now instructor in French and mathematics in the Nute Endowed High School in Milton, Mass. She has recently been invited to become an assistant in the astronomical observatory of Columbia University, New York City. Naturally Miss McAllister feels highly complimented as the invitation came entirely unsought through the recommendation of the Faculty at Vassar. Her record as a student was such that she was selected out of quite a number. She has just become adjusted to her present surroundings and finds them very agreeable and feeling a moral obligation to the school where she is now employed, Miss McAllister has decided to remain m Milton (United Opinion (Bradford, VT), February 23, 1897).

THE TATTLER. Miss Lillian McAllister has declined an invitation to become an assistant in the observatory of Columbia university. Miss McAllister graduated in June from Vassar and is now teaching French and mathematics in the Nute Endowed High school in Milton, N.H. (Springfield Recorder (Springfield, VT). April 16, 1897).

William C. McAllester, a [Baptist] clergyman, aged fifty-one years (b. NY), headed a Randolph, MA, household at the time of the Twelfth (1900) Federal Census. His household included his wife (of twenty-six years), Angela M. McAllester, aged forty-nine years (b. NY), and his children, Lillian McAllester, a school teacher, aged twenty-five years (b. NY), Ralph W. McAllester, a student, aged twenty-two years (b, NY), and Grace E. McAllester, at school, aged fourteen years (b. NY).

Miss McAllister spent most of her teaching career in Gloucester, MA. (For a fuller account of her life, see Miss Benson’s Successors, 1895-14).

We encountered the Hapgood family previously when their son visited their Milton farmstead from his home in South Royalton, VT, in 1895. Here we find Mr. Hapgood putting the family farm on the market.

Wilbur Hapgood was born in Hudson, MA, October 29, 1837, son of Moses and Sally (Weatherbee) Hapgood.

Wilbur Hapgood came from Hudson, MA, to Milton (Milton Mills), NH, circa 1875-76.

Real Estate. FOR SALE – 108-acre southern N.H. farm, pleasant location, buildings in fair repair, good grass land, cuts 2 tons hay, lots of wood, some lumber, plenty of fruit, milk retails at village, 1 mile from P.O., graded schools, churches, manufactories, good neighbors, good place for summer boarders; price $2500. For further particulars, inquire of WILBUR HAPGOOD, Milton Mills, N.H. (Boston Globe, June 9, 1897).

Wilbur Hapgood, a farmer, aged sixty-two years (b. MA), headed a Milton household at the time of the Twelfth (1900) Federal Census. His household included his wife (of thirty years), M. Elizabeth Hapgood, aged fifty-nine years (b. MA), and his daughter, Carrie M. Hapgood, aged eighteen years (b. NH). He owned his farm free-and-clear. They appear in the enumeration between the households of Reuben J. Wentworth, a carpenter, aged sixty-seven years (b. NH), and William F. Mills, 2d, a house painter, aged forty years (b. NH).

Daughter Carrie M. Hapgood died in 1902. Wilbur Hapgood died in Milton Mills, November 6, 1908, aged seventy-one years, and eight days.

The Sunshine of Paradise Alley was a popular song of 1895. John W. Bratton wrote the music, Walter H. Ford the lyrics. The sheet music sold for 20¢ at a music store, but was published also in the Boston Globe issue of Sunday, September 15, 1895. (You may hear it sung by Fred Field, accompanied by a player piano).

Sunshine SceneIn the following year, September 1896, a musical play of that same name appeared at Boston’s Tremont Theater. Phila May, a member of the Verdi Quartet of singers, who appeared in the musical, as well as in a Boston bicycle parade.

THE THEATER. Conspicuous in the bicycle parade yesterday was the Verdi Quartet of “The Sunshine of Paradise Alley,” which is to open the season at the Tremont tomorrow night. They were Blanche Edwards, Marie Blanchard, Lizzie Farrell and Phila May, four of the prettiest girls awheel in the entire procession, and they sang as they pedalled gracefully along (Boston Globe, August 30, 1896).

In the summer of 1897, the play’s business agent, Louis Miller, and his wife, Phila May, visited Milton as rusticators.

Foyer and Greenroom Gossip. Louis Miller, business representative of “The Sunshine of Paradise Alley,” and Mrs. Miller (Phila May) are at Milton, N.H., during the heated term. They will entertain Mr. and Mrs. Ryer the first two weeks in August (Boston Globe, July 25, 1897).

George W. Ryer and Denman Thompson were the playwrights of The Sunshine of Paradise Alley.

Miller, Louis and Phila May-2.jpg
Phila May (Griffin) and Louis P. Miller, c1890 (Photo: Jim Griffin)

Phila May Griffin was born in Berlin Falls, NH, May 20, 1864, daughter of Charles H. and Charlotte D. (Washburne) Griffin.

As a child, Phila, also called the “Songbird of Milan [NH],” grew up on the old Henry Holt homestead. Phila had her first lessons in music by Jesse Tuttle of Berlin, a Civil War veteran who was the postmaster at that time. Her first public appearance was a concert in the church in Milan when she was just six years old. At the age of 16, Phila went to Boston, Mass. to continue her studies under the supervision of John O’Neal (Berlin, n.d.).

Phila May Griffin married on Boston, MA, November 24, 1886, Louis Paul Miller, he of Boston and she of Berlin Falls, NH. He was a vocalist, aged twenty-eight years, she was aged twenty-two years. He was born in Boston, June 29, 1858, son of Gustavus A. and Caroline M. Miller.

Louis Miller, a public singer, aged thirty-three years, applied for a passport for his wife and himself in Boston, MA, May 25, 1891. She is said to have formed an opera company that performed in Europe, principally Germany. This tour might have happened either before (and thus the passport) or after the theatrical run of Sunshine of Paradise Alley. (It ran at least five seasons (1896-00)). Their absence from the 1900 census might have been due to them being in Europe.

Louis Miller, a theater manager, aged forty-nine years (b. MA), headed a Manhattan, New York, NY, household at the time of the Thirteenth (1910) Federal Census. His household included his wife (of fifteen years), Phila Miller, aged thirty-nine years (b. NH). They resided in an apartment building at 20-22 West 98th Street.

Louis Miller died in Daytona Beach, FL, December 9, 1938. She was living, in Daytona Beach, FL, as late as 1940.

The following assorted rusticators came also to Milton from the greater Boston area.

Table Gossip. Mr. and Mrs. Daniel E. Chase, Miss Emma Grimes, Miss Florence Arnold, Mr. and Mrs. W.H. Ralph, Miss H. Florence Ralph, Mrs. F.O. Arnold, Miss Jessie Mansfield, Mr. and Mrs. Osmond Park, Mrs. Joseph H. Metcalf and Mr. and Mrs. A.A. Tapley and daughter are at camp Oasis, Milton, N.H. (Boston Globe, August 1, 1897).

Daniel E. Chase was a Charlestown distiller; Miss Florence Arnold was his niece. Miss Emma Grimes was a Chase family housekeeper. William H. Ralph was a Somerville retail provisioner; H. Florence Ralph was their daughter. Osmond F. Park was a Boston optician. Joseph H. Metcalf was a Charlestown policeman. Albert A. Tapley was a Chelsea salesman.

What this eclectic gathering appears to have had in common was membership in the Masons (or the Eastern Star).

Previous in sequence: Milton in the News – 1896; next in sequence: Milton in the News – 1898


Berlin, New Hampshire History. (n.d.). Biographical Sketches. Retrieved May 29, 2019 from

Find a Grave. (2015, September 9). Lillian A. McAllester. Retrieved from

Find a Grave. (2015). Wilbur Hapgood. Retrieved from

YouTube. (2017, March 9). Sunshine of Paradise Alley (1895). Retrieved from


Author: Muriel Bristol

"Lady drinking tea"

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