Milton in the News – 1898

By Muriel Bristol (Transcriber) | June 2, 2019

In this year, we encounter a Mystic sorority forming in Milton Mills, burglars afoot at Milton, another cooking opportunity at the Milton Hotel, and a disastrous fire at the Waumbeck mill.

(Milton got its first telephones in this year, two years after the first four were installed at Milton Mills).

Social societies first appeared in the Milton Business Directory of 1898, although some were certainly active long before that date.

The Independent Order of Odd Fellows (IOOF) had their lodge above Asa A. Fox’s Milton Mills grocery store, until that burned in 1876. The IOOF’s Miltonia Lodge, No. 52, at Milton Mills, and Woodbine Lodge, No. 11, in Farmington, were offshoots of Rochester’s Motolinia Lodge.

The Daughters of Rebekah were the women’s auxiliary of the IOOF. Their lodge was established at Milton Mills on Wednesday, March 30, 1898.

THE MYSTIC ORDERS. Sunrise Rebekah lodge will be instituted at Milton Mills, N.H., Wednesday afternoon by the New Hampshire grand officers (Boston Globe, [Sunday,] March 27, 1898).

The Eastern Star Lodge, Daughters of Rebekah, appeared subsequently in the Milton [Milton Mills] Business directories of 1901 and 1904.

(Edward J. Brierly, Asa A. Fox, Charles H. Hayes, John E. Leach, John Lewis, John E. Marsh, Oscar F. Marsh, John Meikle, Ira Tibbetts, John F. Titcomb, Oliver C. Titcomb, Lewis B. Twombly, all of Milton; George S. Dore of Wakefield, NH; William J. Mattison, of Wolfeborough, NH; H.E. Anderson, M.D., of Acton, ME, and Charles B. Albee, of Sanford, ME, were all members of the IOOF’s Miltonia Lodge at various times).

Burglars robbed two Milton stores. These seem to have been lesser burglars than those that burgled money, watches, and revolvers in 1885, or the gang that dynamited the Milton Mills post office safe in 1894.

Burglars at Work in Milton, N.H. MILTON, N.H., April 19. The stores of H.F. Mason and W.T. Wallace were entered by burglars last night. At Mason’s a quantity of boots, shoes and clothing was taken, and at Wallace’s a small amount of change from the money drawer (Boston Globe, April 19, 1898).

Henry F. Mason, a clothing trader, aged thirty-four years (b. NH), headed a Milton household at the time of the Twelfth (1900) Federal Census. His household included his wife (of eight years), Alice D. Mason, aged twenty-nine years (b. NH). He owned their house free-and-clear.

William T. Wallace, a grocer, aged thirty-nine years (b. NH), headed a Milton household at the time of the Twelfth (1900) Federal Census. His household included his wife (of fifteen years), Sarah F. Wallace, aged forty-three years (b. NH). He owned their house free-and-clear.

W.T. Wallace’s grocery store appeared in the Milton Business directories of 1892 and 1894. His grocery store and H.S. Mason’s general store both appeared in those of 1898, and 1901, while H.S. Mason’s general store appeared (without Wallace) in that of 1904.

Milton had a summer repertory company or, at least, it had a summer repertory company manager.

Dramatic. YOUNG JUVENILE WOMAN wanted for summer repertoire co., singer preferred. Manager, Milton, N.H. (Boston Globe, June 8, 1898).

This same advertisement, or one very much like it, appeared previously in 1896. It would seem that the Milton Hotel (or Hotel Milton) was either replacing the cook it had hired then or adding a second one.

Female Help Wanted. WANTED – First-class cook at once, dollar a day. Milton Hotel. Milton. N H. 2t jy20 (Boston Globe, July 20, 1898).

The peculiar little code that follows the advertisement tells the Boston Globe typesetters that it should be printed two times from July 20.

The Waumbeck woolen mill at Milton Mills suffered a major fire on September 11 of this year. The factory building was a total loss.

English immigrant John Townsend purchased an existing factory around 1846. He converted it to the production of woolen cloth. His woolen mill had a major fire in 1861. after which he had rebuilt a larger plant (which opened in 1863).  He sold out to Mudge, Sawyer, & Company, of Boston, MA,  by 1865, who later sold to the Waumbeck Company, before 1875. (See also Milton Water Power in 1885 and Milton Water Power in 1901).

The Waumbeck Company joined 916 other corporate woolen concerns in petitioning the US Senate in April 1892. Their petition sought continuance of McKinley’s woolen duties, i.e., tariffs, on foreign wool imports. (They had been in place since 1878). The Waumbeck company (J.A. Bugney, Supt.) appeared in the list of petitioners as having 10 sets of cards, i.e., 10 carding machines.

The Waumbeck Company mill suspended production for six months during the Panic of 1893. (See Milton in the News – 1893).

NOTHING LEFT. Waumbeck Woolen Mills Are Destroyed. Buildings at Milton Mills, N.H., Mass of Smoking Ruins. Thought Loss Will Reach $100,000.  Regarded as Disastrous Blow to Town. Operations Were to Have Been Resumed Today. MILTON MILLS, N.H., Sept 11. – The Waumbeck woolen mills were totally destroyed by fire between the hours of 2 and 3 this morning. The loss is $100,000, insured for $70,000. These mills had been idle for some time, and there was general rejoicing when, a few weeks ago, it was announced that the plant had been purchased by Messrs. Pratt and Whipple, president and agent of a large woolen concern. Mr. Whipple had been here for some time getting the plant in readiness to resume operations, and expected to start with a full complement of help, numbering 300 hands, on Monday morning. The fire was discovered in the picker room by night watchman Charles Williams, at 2.15 a.m., and he immediately gave the alarm by ringing the factory bell. He then attempted to return to the engine room and start the fire pump, but the heat had become so intense that he was unable to do so. The village fire department responded promptly and did everything in their power to save the structure, and by energetic effort did succeed in keeping the flames away from the office. The factory was a three-story structure with basement, 150 feet long and 50 feet wide. This was the chief industry of the town, and the loss is regarded as a disastrous blow. The origin of the fire is unknown. but is supposed to have been spontaneous combustion (Boston Globe, September 12, 1898).

Policies Placed Only Sept 3. The loss by fire of the Waumbeck woolen mills, Milton, N.H., yesterday, was unwelcome news for Insurance Inspectors here, for the risk was looked upon very favorably, and its equipment of automatic sprinkler was supposed to make a heavy loss a remote contingency. There was $83,000 insurance on the mill and the policies were only placed on Sept 3 this year. The companies carrying the line are as fellows: National of Hartford. $10,000, and these companies $5000 each: Ætna of Hartford, Granite State of Portsmouth, Insurance company of North America, Capital of Concord, Springfield fire and marine, Agricultural insurance company of Watertown, Merchants insurance company of New Jersey, Queen insurance company of America, Greenwich insurance company of New York, Commercial Union of London, Caledonian insurance company of Scotland, London and Lancashire insurance company of England, Palatine insurance company of Manchester. Niagara fire insurance company of New York. Boston marine insurance company of Boston (Boston Globe, September 12, 1898).

John Townsend’s son, Henry H. Townsend, bought the Waumbeck mill land in 1900. The Waumbeck  Company was dissolved officially on January 27, 1904.

Previous in sequence: Milton in the News – 1897; next in sequence: Milton in the News – 1899


US Congress. (1892). US Congressional Serial Set, Issue 2907. Retrieved from

Wikipedia. (2019, May 4). Independent Order of Odd Fellows. Retrieved from

Wikipedia. (2019, April 24). International Association of Rebekah Assemblies. Retrieved from

Author: Muriel Bristol

"Lady drinking tea"

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