Milton in the News – 1901

By Muriel Bristol (Transcriber) | June 13, 2019

In this first year of the twentieth century, we encounter a Milton Mills headwaiter as victim of a larceny, Principal Wiggin of North Troy, VT, as the new Nute High School principal, a trolley line proposed, shoe lasters wanted by the Milton Shoe Company, the Medford death of an ante-bellum Milton teacher, and denials of a Lynn “Ice Trust.”

This year marked Milton’s true centennial year – its hundredth year – despite the fact that all of the centennial celebrations would take place in the following year of 1902. (The year 1902 was actually the first year of Milton’s second hundred years, as the founding year 1802 had been the first year of its first hundred years).

You may see this same logic working – or being confused – with birthdays (and in cemeteries). Someone who has reached their hundredth birthday, say in June, 1901, might be said then to be “aged” one hundred years. (Or, on old gravestones, “aetas” or “aet.,” which is Latin for “aged”). Prior to their next birthday, they might be said also, and with equal validity, to be “in” their hundred-and-first year.

The US Geological Survey issued its report on Milton Water Power in 1901. (Which may be compared with the earlier US Census Bureau report on Milton Water Power in 1885).

This was also the year in which Mary H. “May” (Shields) Bogan, and her daughter, the four-year-old poet-laureate-to-be, Louise B. Bogan (1897-1970), moved from Livermore Falls, ME, and took up residence in the Hotel Milton (or Milton Hotel).

Milton Hotel Adv - 1902The Hotel Milton sent a horse-drawn carriage to meet passengers at the train station, and Louise remembered riding in this carriage the day she and her mother arrived, seeing the name of the town set out in coleus and begonia beds as they rode into Milton. In the distance she saw “a long high blue mass … above the trees.” “Is it the sea?” she asked her mother. “No,” May replied, “it is the mountains” (Frank, 1986).

The Bogans left Milton for Ballardville, MA, in 1904. (They were in Boston by 1910).

Boston police inspectors Patterson and Rooney arrested a Salem, MA, man for a larceny that took place in Milton Mills, NH.

Will Return to Milton Mills. N.H. Inspectors Patterson and Rooney arrested in the North End last night Edward P. Abbott, aged 21, of Salem, who is wanted at Milton Mills, N.H., on a charge of the larceny of $38 from Crosby H. Prescott last Thursday. Abbott says he will return without requisition papers (Boston Globe, January 27, 1901).

The alleged thief, Edward P. Abbott, was born in Bethlehem, NH, July 28, 1879, son of Charles S. and Arabella (Nourse) Abbott. He married in Salem, MA, August 2, 1900, Martha M. Newport, both of Salem. He was a railroad brakeman and she a shoeworker.

Sentences Imposed at Dover, N.H. DOVER, N.H., Feb 18. – In the supreme court this morning these sentences were imposed by Judge Young: James Burke of Dover, for larceny, one year at hard labor in state prison; James Friell of Somersworth, for obstructing an officer who was attempting his arrest, six months in jail, sentence suspended during good behavior; Edward P. Abbott of Milton, larceny, one year in jail, sentence suspended during good behavior; John Stanton of Somersworth, larceny and obstructing an officer, six months in jail, sentence suspended. Harry Benson of Biddeford, Me, indicted for the larceny of carriage robes and blankets, valued at $15, from D. Frank Hanson of Somersworth. retracted his plea of not guilty and pleaded guilty to larceny of $9. He was represented by counsel on the question of sentence. The case was continued for sentence (Boston Glover, February 18, 1901).

The victim, Crosby Hanson Prescott, was born in Acton, ME, October 7, 1850, son of Sewall W. and Marilla M. (Hersom) Prescott. He married in Rochester, NH, October 15, 1885, Annie F. Hurd, both natives and residents of Acton, and both aged thirty-five years. He was a waiter.

C.H. Prescott was proprietor of Prescott House (and a livery stable) in the Milton (Milton Mills) directory of 1889. He was proprietor of the Hotel Prescott, on Main street in Milton Mills, in the directory of 1892, and of an unnamed Summer Boarding House, in Milton Mills, in the directories of 1894, 1898, and 1901. (He was not so listed in 1904).

Crosby H. Prescott, a hotel head waiter, aged forty-nine years (b. ME), headed a Milton (“Milton Mills Village”) household at the time of the Twelfth (1900) Federal Census. His household included his wife (of fifteen years), Annie F. Prescott, aged forty-five years (b. ME), and his children, Lillian R. Prescott, at school, aged fourteen years (b. ME), Marion M. Prescott, at school, aged twelve years (b. NH), and Ruth H. Prescott, at school, aged eight years (b. NH), and his boarders, Clara A. Perkins, closing on shoes, aged twenty-six years (b. ME), and Nellie B. Pike, a shoe-lining maker, aged twenty years (b. MA). Annie F. Prescott was the mother of four children, of whom three were still living.

Crosby H. Prescott moved to Farmington, NH, where he was a shoe treer in a shoe factory, aged fifty-nine years, in 1910, and a school janitor, aged sixty-nine years, in 1920. He died in Farmington, December 8, 1921.

Arthur D. Wiggin came to Milton as Nute High School’s third principal. He remained for two academic years.

Barton. Arthur D. Wiggin, who has for two years taught the North Troy high school, has been unanimously elected to the principalship of the Nute high school at Milton, N.H. This is an institution endowed with one hundred and twenty-five thousand dollars. Mr. Wiggin’s salary will be $1200.00 per year (Orleans County Monitor (Barton, VT), July 1, 1901).

We should note that his unanimous election was one of the Nute trustees and not that of any Town board.

There were some preliminary discussions and survey work in this year about connecting Milton and Milton Mills to Sanford, ME, with an electric trolley line.

STATE NEWS. Milton Mills hopes to be on an electric line in the near future (Portsmouth Herald, July 5, 1901).

PROPOSED NEW ROAD TO ROCHESTER. Rochester, Dec. 26. – There is a movement on foot to build a trolley line from Sanford to this city in the early spring. Civil engineers have already been engaged to survey for the road as much as possible during the winter months. There are two routes under consideration, one to run from Springvale to Milton Mills and Milton, and then to Rochester. The other route is through Lebanon and East Rochester (Boston Globe, December 26, 1901).

If either route ever came to fruition, it did not last for long. A trolley timetable of 1912 mentioned electric trolley lines between Springvale and Sanford, ME, from which connections to Portsmouth and Dover, NH, and Biddeford and Kennebunk, ME, might be made. Rochester, NH, connected by electric trolley with East Rochester, as well as with Gonic, Somersworth, and Dover.

There was no mention of any connections from Springvale, ME, to either Milton Mills, or Milton, nor was there any alternate route from Lebanon, ME, to East Rochester. Nor did Rochester connect with Milton, except by Milton’s Railroad Line.

For those with an economic turn of mind, the following contemporary item regarding the Portsmouth livery business vis-à-vis their new electric trolley line might be of interest.

PICKUPS AT RANDOM. “The trolleys have well nigh killed the livery business for us,” said a [Portsmouth] stable man on Tuesday, to a reporter. “I believe that every stable keeper in this city, if truthful, would admit that he has weathered the winter at a net loss. Funerals and boarders are about all that is left us for revenue. However, I look for a change. As the trolley novelty wears off, the people who are fond of a drive will desire to keep away from the beaten track of the electrics, and some of us are brightening up and adding to our stock to appeal directly and especially to this class” (Portsmouth Herald, March 27, 1901).

This is an instructive example of the “creative destruction” inherent in free market processes. The creation or adoption of a new innovation, in this case electric trolley lines, necessarily involves the destruction or replacement of the prior paradigm, in this case local travel by horse-drawn livery carriages.

Despite the hopes of the Portsmouth stable man, his horse-drawn livery business had largely had its day in the sun. Some industries, when faced with such developments, turn to government for protective restrictions and subsidies. Obviously, that is a “political” solution – application of government force – rather than a free market one.

The NH Legislature allowed the Milton Shoe Company to incorporate in 1901. It appeared in the Milton business directory of 1901 (although not in that of 1904). Milton Shoe Company help-wanted advertisements may be found from June 1901 through February 1914.

Male Help Wanted. WANTED. Some good pullers-over on lasting machine, also a few good shoemakers on other parts; no trouble; steady work, good prices. Milton Shoe Co., Milton, N.H. (Boston Globe, July 21, 1901).

Pair of Wooden Lasts
Pair of wooden shoe lasts (Photo: Noemi Singer)

Lasts were foot-shaped wooden forms (usually a pair of them). A laster (or puller-over) would stretch or pull a pre-cut and sewn leather upper over the last with pliers and tack it down. The innersole and sole would be sewn (or glued) then to the leather upper.

More efficient shoe-lasting machinery had come into use in the 1880s and replaced the hand-lasting process.

The Milton Fibreboard Company purchased the Milton factory and water-power privileges, formerly operated as the Milton Shoe Company, in 1916.

Milton native Benjamin Brackett Dorr died in Medford, MA, August 31, 1901, and the Boston Globe obituary called him, evidently in error, Dudley B. Dorr. [A Dudley A. Dorr did exist somewhere]. Benjamin B. Dorr was born in Milton, circa 1815, son of Benjamin and Mary H. “Polly” (Brackett) Dorr.

Benjamin Dorr was a storekeeper in Milton in 1850, and a shoe manufacturer in New Hampton, NH, in 1860, prior to becoming a clothing salesman in Medford, MA, in or after 1862.

Death of Dudley B. Dorr. MEDFORD, Sept 1. This city lost another of its old and respected citizens last evening in the person of Dudley B. Dorr, 86 years old. He was born in Milton, N.H., where be was engaged for many years in educational work. Coming to Medford 40 years ago he became a clothing salesman and was well known in the Boston trade. He leaves a wife [Mary H. “Polly” (Ward) Dorr] and four children, Frederick Dorr, Henry Dorr, Mrs. Chas. R. [Annette W.] Drew, and Mrs. B.B. [Mary A.] Savary. He was a member of the Masonic fraternity of this city. The funeral will take place at 4 p.m. Monday (Boston Globe, September 2, 1901).

Medford’s Mt. Herman lodge of Masons initiated Benjamin B. Dorr, April 10, 1862; passed him May 22, 1862; and raised him, June 26, 1862. His membership dated from October 1862.

What must be interesting for Milton readers is the information that Dorr “was engaged for many years in educational work” in Milton, NH. It would seem from this statement that Dorr was a Milton district school teacher of an early period (sometime in the 1830s through 1850s). (That is, a generation or two after the Milton Teacher of 1796-1805).

An artificial ice manufacturer, the Commonwealth Hygienic Ice company, is here said to have been trying to “corner” the ice market at Lynn, MA. The Lynn Ice Company (as well as Z.J. Chase), was mentioned as a natural ice supplier, who cut most of its supply as a part of Milton’s Ice Industry.

DENY THAT A DEAL IS ON. Lynn Ice Dealers Say That They Do Not Intend to Sell Out, as Intimated, to the Trust. LYNN. Dec 27. The Commonwealth hygienic ice company. with plants for the making of artificial ice in Boston and Providence, is endeavoring to gain control of the different ice companies in this city, and it is reported that it has options on every concern with the exception of one. Fred E. Baker of this city is the local representative of the new concern and has conducted all the negotiations. even going so far as to secure options on land in different parts of the city where the new plant may be located if all the deal goes through. One of these locations is at the foot of Commercial st., and the other at the foot of Washington st., at Lynn beach, on the Heffernan and Woodbury property. The promoters of the new scheme have held many meetings and last night Dr. Fuffman of Boston, who is at the head of the company in that city, was in this city discussing affairs. None of the local icemen was present at the conference and all deny that there is a deal on foot  or that they will sell out and join an ice trust. Representatives of the Lynn ice company, Spring pond ice company, McGregor & Bacheller, Independent ice company, Z.J. Chase and Coolidge & Marshall say that while there has been talk of forming a new company it has all been on the side of the promoters, and that they have not given an option on their plants. All these concerns deal in natural ice and cut their supply from ponds in this vicinity, with the exception of the Lynn ice company. which gets the most of its supply from Milton. N H. (Boston Globe, December 27, 1901).

Although the artificial ice suppliers would prevail in the end, that would not be for some years to come.

“I cannot believe that the inscrutable universe turns on an axis of suffering; surely the strange beauty of the world must somewhere rest on pure joy!” – Louise Bogan

Previous in sequence: Milton in the News – 1900; next in sequence: Milton in the News – 1902


Find a Grave. (2017, April 4). Benjamin Brackett Dorr. Retrieved from

Find a Grave. (2004, December 6). Louise Bogan. Retrieved from

Frank, Elizabeth (1986). Louise Bogan: A Portrait. Retrieved from

New England Street Railway Club. (1912). Trolley Wayfinder. Retrieved from

Wikipedia. (2019, February 25). Louise Bogan. Retrieved from


Author: Muriel Bristol

"Lady drinking tea"

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