Milton in the News – 1904

By Muriel Bristol (Transcriber) | June 23, 2019

In this year, we encounter some cutters wanted at a shoe factory, another masked ball at the A.O.U.W. hall, some Arctic weather, the Milton & Lebanon Building Association founded, another table girl wanted, a wife wanted, a fireside quilt completed, puppies for sale, a suspicious death, and a smoke-filled room.

The N.B. Thayer & Company’s shoe factory was hiring.

MALE HELP WANTED. TAP CUTTER – Wanted, first-class tap cutter, Walker dies. N.B. THAYER & CO., Milton, N.H. SSu (Boston Globe, [Saturday,] January 3, 1904).

MALE HELP WANTED. CUTTERS – Wanted, 2 first-class outside cutters for box calf and vici. N.B. THAYER & CO., Milton, N.H. (Boston Globe, [Sunday,] January 3, 1904).

One may note again the typesetter’s notation or code to themselves [SSu] concluding the first advertisement: this advertisement was to be printed in both the Saturday and Sunday editions. Remember too that the typesetters would be reading their own notation, as well as everything else, in reverse.

Here we have another masked ball at the A.O.U.W. [Ancient Order of United Workmen] hall in Milton, this one sponsored by the Milton dramatic club.

ANNUAL MASQUE BALL. Entertainment Given at Milton, N.H., by Dramatic Club of That Place. MILTON, N.H., Jan. 8. – The Milton dramatic club gave its second annual masked ball at A.O.U.W. hall tonight. There were 92 couples in the march, which was led by Mr. and Mrs. Fred S. Hartford. The ball officers were Fred S. Hartford, chief marshal; Samuel E. Drew, Frank S. Norton, aids; George A. Gilmore, George V. Paey, Samuel Swett, assistants. Among those present were:

Mr. John Hartigan, Mr. Charles Parker, Mr. Herbert Finnegan, Mr. W. Wentworth, Mr. & Mrs. E. Looney, Mr. Herbert Willey, Mr. Harry Page, Mr. William Elliott, Mr. Frank Burke, Mr. Fred Downs, Miss Alice Brock, Miss Annie Marcoux, Miss Annie Young, Miss Clara Hurd, Miss M. O’Loughlin, Miss Florence Dore, Mr. Frank Cassidy, Mr. Ernest Leighton, Miss Mary Varney, Miss Grace Pike, Miss Grace Stone,

Mrs. Piercy, Mr. & Mrs. C. Wingate, Mr. & Mrs. J. O’Loughlin, Mr. Frank Jones, Mr. Philip Irish, Mr. Walter Randall, Mr. James Howard, Mr. William Dore, Mr. & Mrs. Leslie Hayes, Mr. Scott Randall, Miss Effie Howard, Mr.  & Mrs. J. Marcoux, Miss Blanche Tnfts, Mr. Charles Drew, Mr. & Mrs. Charles Page, Mr. Herbert Dow, Mr. Fred Emery, Mrs. John Daniels, Mr. & Mrs. Fred Horne, Miss Lizzie Stead, Miss Blanch Dore (Boston Globe, January 9, 1904).

This event may be compared with that held in the same hall by the Milton social club in 1899.

Milton may be considered to be in the northern part of the south, for weather reports affecting the seacoast, but also in the southern part of the north, for weather reports affecting the White Mountains.

ARCTIC N.H, SECTIONS. From 14 to 18 Below in Portsmouth – Conway Has It 46, West Ossipee 41 and Wolfboro 30. PORTSMOUTH. N.H., Jan 19. Today is the coldest of the present season in this city, the mercury this morning ranging from 14 to 18 degrees below zero, and all outdoor work is practically suspended. Reports from points along the northern division of the Boston & Maine railroad are as follows: Conway 46 degrees below, West Ossipee 41 degrees below, Union 35 degrees below, Wolfboro 30 degrees below, Milton 19 degrees below, Conway Junction 20 degrees below (Boston Globe, January 19, 1904).

In this case, Milton seems to have been comparatively lucky in experiencing weather more akin to the northern part of the south, while Arctic weather affected the White Mountains to its north so severely.

A number of prominent men founded the Milton & Lebanon Building Association.

Maine Corporations. AUGUSTA, Feb. 28 – The following companies filed articles of incorporation last week.

Milton & Lebanon Building Association, Lebanon. Capital – $10,000. Promoters, F.H. Thayer, Boston; Joseph H. Avery, B.B. Plummer, J. Gardner Alden, Milton; Ira W. Jones, Lebanon (Boston Globe, February 28, 1904).

The table girl sought here either replaces or supplements the one hired by the Milton Hotel in December of the previous year.

FEMALE HELP WANTED. WANTED – Experienced table girl, permanent position and good wages. Milton Hotel, Milton. N.H. (Boston Globe, March 13, 1904).

If one has a farm, but is not a farmer, one might want to hire a farm couple to run the place.

MALE HELP WANTED. WANTED – Couple on farm, to do general farm work, 3 miles from village; state wages wanted. Address E.L.S., Milton, N.H., Box 229 (Boston Globe, March 18, 1904).

There were no “state wages,” as minimum wages were still many years in the future and even then usually exempted farm labor. The advertiser E.L.S. meant simply that they would like applicants to declare or state what wages they would consider to take the job.

MATRIMONIAL. WIFE WANTED – A strictly temperate man of 85 wants a kind and loving wife. Address H.P. CURTIS, Box 69, Milton, N.H. (Boston Globe, August 20, 1904).

“There may be snow on the rooftop, but there is fire in the furnace.”

Cyrus Frink Hart was born in Milton, June 3, 1821, son of John and Elizabeth (Nutter) Hart. He married in Milton, September 12, 1845, Mary Lydia “Lydia” Witham. She was born October 25, 1823.

Cyrus F. and Lydia M. (Witham) Hart had a farm at Milton Mills.

Cyrus F. Hart, a farmer, aged seventy-eight years (b. NH), headed a Milton (Milton Mills Village”) household at the time of the Twelfth (1900) Federal Census. His household included his wife (of sixty-four years), Lydia Hart, aged seventy-six years (b. NH). She was the mother of six children, of whom only one was still living. They owned their farm free-and-clear, without any mortgage. Their household appeared in the enumeration between those of Hiram Young, a farmer, aged forty-six years (b. ME), and Hiram Wentworth, a carpenter, aged fifty-six years (b. NH).

Cyrus F. Hart died in Milton Mills, July 27, 1902. Here we find his widow, Mrs. Lydia (Witham) Hart, having completed her fireside quilt, just in time for the winter of 1904-05.

Odd Items from Everywhere. Mrs. Lydia Hart, of Milton Mills, N.H., aged 82 years, has just completed what she calls a “Fireside quilt,” which she has pieced entirely with her own hands (Boston Globe, October 19, 1904).

Lydia (Witham) Hart died in Milton Mills, February 1, 1907.

Fred M. Chamberlain, proprietor of the Phoenix House hotel (next to depot), advertised a litter of puppies for sale.

DOGS, CATS, ETC. FOR SALE – 1 extra good rabbit dog, $25; others, not so good, for sale. Write F.M. CHAMBERLAIN, Phœnix house, Milton, N.H. (Boston Globe, October 30, 1904).

Shove Shannon Symonds was born in Salem, MA, September 19, 1848, son of Jonathan S. and Elizabeth G. (Nichols) Symonds.

Shove S. Symonds, a painter, aged fifty-two years (b. MA), headed a Salem, MA, household at the time of the Twelfth (1900) Federal Census. His household included his wife, M. Estelle Symonds, aged thirty-seven years (b. MA). He owned the two-family dwelling at 113 North Street, which they shared with the household of George Spence, a machinist, aged fifty years (b. ME).

S.S. Symonds appeared at the Milton A.O.U.W. “smoke talk” as a visiting speaker from the A.O.U.W. Massachusetts Grand Lodge’s Committee on Laws.

ANCIENT ORDER OF UNITED WORKMEN. Strafford lodge of Milton, N.H. will have a smoke talk Tuesday evening. S.S. Symonds of the law committee will be the speaker (Boston Globe, November 27, 1904).

Shove S. Symonds was still a member of A.O.U.W. Committee on Laws in 1920. He died in Salem, MA, in 1928.

Here we learn of the suspicious death in Rochester, NH, of Herman C. Dyer of Milton.

Charles Dyer, a farmer, aged fifty-seven years (b. ME), headed a Milton household at the time of the Twelfth (1900) Federal Census. His household included his wife (of thirty-two years), Martha A. [(Drew)] Dyer, aged fifty-six years (b. NH), and his children, Herman C. Dyer, a paper mill operative, aged thirty-one years (b. NH), Annie M. [(Dyer)] Bailey, a shoe shop vamper, aged twenty-nine years, Benjamin Dyer, a farm laborer, aged twenty-six years (b. NH), Hattie M. Dyer, a button-hole finisher, aged twenty-four years (b. NH), and [her twin], Nettie M. Dyer, runs button-hole machine, aged twenty-four years (b. NH). Their farm appeared in the enumeration between the households of Charles A. Ricker, a farmer, aged forty-five years (b. NH), and Kimball S. Goodall, a farmer, aged sixty-eight years (b. NH).

THINK MAN, NOT TRAIN, KILLED HIM. Richard Farrell Arrested on Suspicion of Concern in Dyer’s Death. ROCHESTER. N.H., Dec. 4. – As the result of an investigation of the death of Herman C. Dyer, whose body was found shortly after 6 last night – between the rails of the northern division of the Boston & Maine about halfway between the Portland-st and Winter-st crossings. Richard Farrell is under arrest on suspicion of being concerned in Dyer’s death.

Tracks Between Portland and Winter
Halfway Between the Portland-st. and Winter-st. Crossings

The investigation is being conducted by the medical referee, Dr. John H. Neal, who today made an autopsy on the body with Drs. M.B. Sullivan and Harry O. Cbesley of Dover. It was thought at first that Dyer was struck and killed by either the 5:55 train or the 6:08 train, both southbound, but after the body had been examined, indications of possible violence were discovered.

The body had been found in the track by Harry Hoyt, who stumbled over it in the darkness. A careful examination of the spot where the body lay, which was about 300 yards from the station, showed that the body had been dragged to the middle of the track from outside the rail. A pool of blood partly inside and partly outside the rail was found about 20 feet away. The body rested face up on ties at a switch, which are higher than those near it. The fact that the injury was on the back of the head, instead of the face, is considered a suspicious circumstance. The place is a dark one, some distance from the electric lights.

There were two Harry Hoyts in Rochester: one aged nineteen years and the other aged seventeen years.

Later in the night the police were notified by R.M. Perkins, who lives nearest the place where the body lay, that he heard a pistol shot a little after 6 in the direction of the railroad.

Ironically, R.M. Perkins was a manufacturer and dealer of marble monuments and headstones. His shop stood opposite the G.F. & C.R.R. [Great Falls & Conway Railroad] station in Rochester. His house was at 15 Heaton street.

Meantime it had been learned that Dyer had been in company during the day with Farrell, that they had visited several saloons together and had also driven in a livery team to a roadhouse on the Farmington road. It was reported that Dyer had a considerable sum of money with him. When his clothing was searched only 46 cents was found.

Farrell was arrested in Central sq., about 12:30 by Asst. City Marshal Albert F. Wilkinson and locked up. He was told that he was suspected of murdering Dyer, but he denied all knowledge of the alleged crime. He admitted having been with Dyer during the day. The charge against Farrell will depend upon the nature of the report Medical Referee Neal will make tomorrow forenoon to County Solicitor Scott of Dover.

Dr. Neal declined to make a statement tonight as to the result of the autopsy, as Solicitor Scott had requested that the details be withheld until tomorrow. Dr. Neal would neither confirm nor deny the report that a bullet had been extracted from Dyer’s head nor say whether the discolorations found on the side of the head last night, and supposed to be coal dust or sand, were powder marks. The absence of a large portion of Dyer’s skull, extending from the base of the brain to near the top of the head, is expected to bear out the theory that he was shot at close range or was clubbed to death.

The officials are now confident that Dyer could not have been hit by any train. It is learned that he was seen in the vicinity walking along the track after the 6:08 train had gone, and his body was found and removed before the 6:34 north-bound train arrived from Somersworth.

Mrs. Charles Dyer, the dead man’s mother, was seen at her home in Milton today. She said that Charles Chesley, a Milton man, informed her today that he went to Rochester last night, arriving there on the 6:08 train, and that he saw her son near the Portland-st crossing and spoke to him. She did not learn from Chesley whether another man was with Dyer. Mrs. Dyer said that her son left Milton for Rochester Saturday morning at 8:30. She asked him when he would return.

Charles Chesley, a farm laborer, aged twenty-eight years (b. NH), had resided in the Milton household of his uncle, Laraila [?] Chesley, a farmer, aged eighty years (b. NH), at the time of the Twelfth (1900) Federal Census.

“You’ll see me when I come back,” he said, an answer he was wont to give, his mother stated. As to the amount of money Dyer had when he left, Mrs. Dyer said that before going he paid her the board money he owed her, and that he had more than $19 beside. She thought he must have had about that sum on leaving town.

Dyer had been employed at the Milton leather-board mill 19 years. He was accustomed to take liquor occasionally, but has borne a good reputation. He was 35 years old. He is survived by his parents and three sisters, Mrs. Nettie Ellis and Mrs. Jacob Legro of Milton, and Mrs. Annie Bailey or Boston. The family is grief-stricken over the tragedy.

The Milton Leather-board company established itself in Milton around 1885. Dyer would have been one of its earlier employees. (He was an “operator,” i.e., he operated a machine). Its mill in Milton had burned down in January 1902, but had been rebuilt rather quickly.

Farrell is 30 years old. He came to this city from Lowell five years ago. He has no regular occupation, except that he is often employed as a piano player at road houses. Farrell was taken to the office of City Solicitor Felker today and closely questioned by Solicitor Felker and City Marshall Allen. Later he was questioned by County Solicitor Scott, who was present also at the autopsy (Boston Globe, December 5, 1904).

Farrell’s arrest for “a suspicion of a concern” seems rather slim in terms of “probable cause.” He has not left much in the way of a documentary record in either Lowell, MA, or Rochester, NH. Perhaps that is part and parcel of being a piano player in a succession of roadhouses.

FOUL PLAY SUSPECTED. Rochester, N.H., Dec. 5. Because the body of Herman C. Dyer of Milton, N.H., which was found on the tracks of the Boston and Maine railroad Saturday evening, showed little of the usual mutilation attending a railroad fatality, the police arrested Richard Farrell of Lowell, Mass, by occupation a musician, on suspicion of being concerned in Dyer’s death. An autopsy was held, the result of which the authorities would not disclose (Fitchburg Sentinel (Fitchburg, MA), December 5, 1904).

KILLED BY FALL. Belief Now Held in the Dyer Case at Rochester – Charges Against Farrell Likely to be Dropped. DOVER, N.H., Dec. 7. – County Solicitor Scott was asked today what effect the story of Mrs. Guptill and Miss Ellis of Somersworth, concerning the man whom they saw board the down train from Rochester, last Saturday evening, and jump off after it had got well under way, and who is thought to have been Herman C. Dyer, would have upon the murder charge against Richard Farrell. Mr. Scott replied: “That will probably be the end of it. A hearing will be held at 2 o’clock this afternoon at Rochester, when the state’s charge against Farrell will probably be dropped. There is now practically no doubt that Dyer was killed by falling off the train” (Boston Globe, December 7, 1904).

The Rochester Town Clerk, H.L. Worcester, recorded Dyer’s December 3rd death in Rochester, NH, somewhat belatedly, on December 31, 1904, as informed by [Dr.] John H. Neal, medical referee. The cause of death given was “Accident on Rail Road.” For the duration of the illness, usually more relevant for some ailment or disease, Neal laconically answered “Short.”

“They afterwards took me to a dancing saloon [in Leadville, CO,] where I saw the only rational method of art criticism I have ever come across. Over the piano was printed a notice: PLEASE DO NOT SHOOT THE PIANIST. HE IS DOING HIS BEST. The mortality among pianists in that place is marvelous.” – Oscar Wilde, Impressions of America

Previous in sequence: Milton in the News – 1903; next in sequence: Milton in the News – 1905


Find a Grave. (2011, February 28). Herman C. Dyer. Retrieved from

Find a Grave. (2013, July 29). Lydia Witham Hart. Retrieved from

Wikipedia. (2019, June 9). Don’t Shoot Me, I’m Only the Piano Player. Retrieved from


Author: Muriel Bristol

"Lady drinking tea"

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