Milton in the News – 1905

By Muriel Bristol (Transcriber) | June 27, 2019

In this year, we encounter a grisly accidental death in South Milton, the candidacy of a former Milton resident, the alleged Jones poisoning murderer imprisoned still – for debt, vampers wanted, a Milton school teacher hired in Quincy, the Strafford Savings Bank embezzler being released, a stolen horse and carriage, and a frigid football game.

Here we find a horrible accidental death in what must surely be a contender for worst job interview ever.

Head Battered by Fly Wheel. Rochester, N.H. – Jan. 25. Lawrence Chauvette, 35 years old, fell against the fly wheel of the engine in Drew’s sawmill at South Milton and was instantly killed. His head was crushed to a pulp. Chauvette is said to have been drinking, but he visited the mill in search of work (North Adams Transcript, January 25, 1905).

Milton vital records put the Canadian native’s age at “about” forty years. Dr. M.A.H. Hart, of Milton, certified the accidental death in a saw mill of this teamster. Dr. Hart gave intoxication as the contributing cause. Chauvette was buried in the Milton Town Farm cemetery, January 24, 1905, by A.A. Fox, undertaker, of Milton Mills.

“The use of alcohol and drugs may adversely affect the ability of a person to work in a safe manner.”

Charles R. Morse, one of seven candidates for three vacant seats on the Winthrop, MA, Board of Selectmen, had resided in Milton as a child, between circa 1857 and 1865.

Darwin Morse, a farmer, aged forty-seven years (b. NH), headed a Milton household at the time of the Eighth (1860) Federal Census. His household included Phoebe A. [(Huntress)] Morse, aged thirty-three years (b. NH), Charles R. Morse, aged nine years (b. NH), William Huntress, a gentleman, aged eighty-one years (b. NH), and Dorcas [(Dore)] Huntress, aged sixty-six years (b. NH). Darwin Morse had real estate valued at $10,000 and personal estate valued at $30,000.

(The Federal government assessed Phoebe A. Morse’s brother (and Charles R. Morse’s maternal uncle), William H. Huntress, for his hotel, livery stable, horse and carriage, and liquor license in Milton’s US Excise Tax of May 1864).

Charles R. Morse is a lawyer and is prominent in town affairs. Born in Natick In 1851, where the first six years of his life was spent, moving with his parents to Milton, N.H., where farm work occupied his attention during his boyhood, attending school during the winter time at Wolfboro academy. In 1865 he returned to Natick. and in 1871 entered the law office of F.F. Hurd, brother-in-law to Gen. B.F. Butler, and in whose office a portion of the next seven years were spent in the study of law. Mr. Morse located permanently in Boston in 1877, and has been a resident of Winthrop since 1890 (Boston Globe, March 23, 1905).

Charles Ruel Morse died in Dorchester, Boston, MA, October 8, 1925.

Here we find Milton’s alleged poisoning murderer of 1897 still confined in the Strafford County jail for debt.

HE PREFERS JAIL, A.W. Jones Won’t Take Debtor’s Oath. Milton, N.H, Man Petitioned Court, Then Refused to Appear. DOVER, N.H., May 16. – Alfred W. Jones of Milton, who petitioned the superior court from the Strafford county jail where he has been confined six years for debt, for release from imprisonment, refused at almost the last moment to appear before the commissioners appointed by the court to hear his petition, and so will continue to live behind jail bars. The hearing on the Jones petition was set for today at the county courthouse before Hon. William P. Nason and Robert Doe as commissioners. Jones sent word last evening to his counsel. James McCabe, that he had changed his mind and did not wish to press his application for release. The hearing accordingly did not take place (Boston Globe, May 27, 1905).

The “debtor’s oath” or “poor debtor’s oath” was a sort of bankruptcy. Taking the oath was an admission of insolvency and would permit liquidation of the debtor’s assets to at least partially satisfy his creditors. After which the debtor would be freed to start over.

Refusing to take the oath might preserve the debtor’s assets, but would also ensure his continued residence in jail.

N.B. Thayer & Company sought two female vampers for its Milton shoe factory.

Podiatry Today
Parts of a Shoe, including the Vamp (Diagram: Podiatry Today)

A vamp is the part of a shoe that covers the forepart of the foot, possibly including the toe and instep (depending upon the style of shoe). The vampers sought here were female workers that made vamps. Similar advertisements mention vampers as operating two-needle Singer sewing machines.

FEMALE HELP WANTED. VAMPERS – Wanted, 2 first-class cylinder vampers on boys’ shoes. N.B. THAYER & Co., Milton, N.H. dSu7t Je20 (Boston Globe, June 23, 1905).

We see again the typographer’s code at the conclusion. This advertisement was to run both daily and Sunday, for seven times, from June 20.

Here another Milton school teacher (and principal) is identified. Walter Harold Bentley was born in Brookline, MA, May 24, 1878, son of David B. and Esther A. (Boyden) Bentley.

David B. Bentley, a school teacher, aged sixty-eight years (b. Canada (Eng.)), headed a Bridgewater, MA, household at the time of the Twelfth (1900) Federal Census. His household included his wife (of thirty-eight years), Esther A. Bentley, aged fifty-nine years (b. MA), his son, Walter H. Bentley, a day laborer, aged twenty-two years (b. MA), and his boarders, Rachel Parker, a servant, aged twenty-three years (b. Canada (Eng.)), Howard H. Stiles, a shoe shop rounder, aged twenty-one years (b. NY), Frank C. Weeks, water works superintendent, aged seventy-four years (b. VT), Ethel E. Thomas, a school teacher, aged twenty-five years (b. ME), Nancy J. Westgate, a school teacher, aged twenty-four years (b. MA), Edna L. White, a school teacher, aged twenty-six years (b. MA), and Archie C. Osborne, a druggist, aged thirty-two years (b. NH).

Mr. Bentley’s tenure as a Milton school teacher would have been brief, only a year or two, likely beginning around the 1900-01 academic year. (His obituaries say he was a principal in Milton, probably at the Grammar School). He taught next in Dover, NH, and was principal of the Walnut-sq. grammar school in Haverhill, MA, by the 1903-04 academic year (Boston Globe, June 16, 1904).

A number of [Quincy, MA] grammar schools will have new teachers. Walter H. Bentley is principal of the Coddington school, vice Miss Mary A. Dearborn, who resigned after a service of over 30 years. Mr. Bentley is a graduate of the Bridgewater normal school, class of 1900, and has taught at Milton. N.H., Dover, N.H. (Boston Globe, September 11, 1905).

[The “vice” above is Latin for “in place of.” Coddington’s Principal Dearborn was replaced by Principal Bentley].

Walter H. Bentley, a public school teacher, aged thirty-one years (b. MA), headed a Quincy, MA, household at the time of the Thirteenth (1910) Federal Census. His household included his wife, Harriet A. Bentley, aged twenty-three years (b. MA), and his father, David Bentley, a widower, aged seventy-seven years (b. Canada (Eng.)). They resided in a mortgaged house at 104 Underwood Avenue.

Walter H. Bentley resigned his principalship at Quincy’s Coddington school at the close of the 1910-11 academic year (Boston Globe, April 26, 1911). He was subsequently proprietor / teacher of a boys’ camp, resident in Winchester, MA, in 1920; a camp director, resident in Winchester, MA, in 1930; and a camp director, resident in Winchester, MA, in 1940.

Some 25 years ago [circa 1941-42], Walter H. Bentley of Winchester, who taught at Gov. Dummer Academy and other schools and started a boys camp at Wolfeboro, N.H., in 1909, wrote a letter on this subject. It was printed in a pamphlet to parents, and the letter is quoted in the last publication of the camp, now conducted by his son, Bradford M. Bentley, also of Winchester. Said the founder in part: “Wyanoke is like a big family. It is made up of boys – little fellows of 8 or 9 who need constant and sympathetic care and understanding; sturdy, active youngsters of 12 or 13, who need plenty to do and steady, wise direction; big, growing youths of 15 and 16, who are beginning to think of what life means, and who need inspiration and the daily comradeship of mature men who understand them. All of these boys benefit greatly from the community life of the camp. Many campers come from small families. At camp they learn that everything, even fun, is to be shared, and that the duties well done and consideration for others bring satisfaction and friends. Boys like and need to ‘run with the pack’ and a Summer home cannot fill this need as a camp does” (Boston Globe, April 30, 1967).

Walter H. Bentley died in Winchester, MA, January 30, 1945.

Deaths and Funerals. Walter H. Bentley. WINCHESTER, Jan. 30. Walter H. Bentley, 66, of 24 Central St., founder of several Summer camps for boys and girls, died today at his home. A graduate of Bridgewater Normal School, he was principal of schools in Milton and Dover, N.H., Haverhill and Quincy, and was associated for a time with Governor Dummer Academy. In 1904 he helped found the Medomak Camp for Boys and in 1909 he opened Camp Wyanoke, Wolfeboro, N.H., now directed by his son, Bradford M. Bentley. He also founded Camp Winnemont for Girls, West Ossipee, N.H. Besides his son he leaves a wife. Funeral services will be held in the Ripley Memorial Chapel of the First Congregational Church Thursday at 2:30. Burial will be in Wolfeboro, N.H. (Boston Globe, January 31, 1945).

Camps Founder Dies in Massachusetts. Boston, Feb. 1 (AP) – Walter H. Bentley, 66, a pioneer in the founding of children’s summer camps, died Tuesday. A resident of Winchester, Bentley was principal of schools in Milton, Dover, N.H., Haverhill and Quincy during his early years as an educator. He operated his own camps, Wyanoke for boys at Wolfeboro, N.H., and Winnemont for girls at West Ossipee, N.H. Burial will be in Wolfeboro, N.H. (Portsmouth Herald, February 1, 1945).

The Dover bank embezzler of 1903 served out two years of his two-to-three-year sentence and was released.

MATHES IS RELEASED. Ex-Treasurer of Stafford Savings Bank of Dover, N.H., Returns to That City. CONCORD, N.H., Oct. 21. – Albert O. Mathes of Dover, one time treasurer of the Strafford savings bank in that city, was released from the state prison in this city today, having completed the minimum term of an indeterminate sentence imposed upon him two years ago for the embezzlement of the funds of his institution. Gov. McLane and his council gave Mathes a pardon at their last meeting, the effect of which was to annul the parole feature of his sentence and to restore him at once to the full privileges of citizenship. Mathes went from this city to Dover, where old friends are said to have secured a position for him (Boston Globe, October 21, 1905).

Albert O. Mathes died in Dover, NH, July 20, 1907.

Rev. E.W. Churchill of Milton Mills gave an address before a Freewill Baptist quarterly meeting held in West Lebanon, ME.

FREE BAPTISTS IN SESSION. New Durham Quarterly Meeting on at West Lebanon, Me. WEST LEBANON, Me, Oct 25. – The New Durham, N.H. quarterly meeting of Free Baptists is in session at the Free Baptist church here. Today’s program began at 9:30, with a testimony and prayer meeting, led by Rev G.L. Lowell of Northwood, N.H. The conference sermon was preached at 11 by Rev. Hibbert Lockhart of Rochester, N.H. This afternoon the woman’s missionary society met, Mrs. Flora L. Hill presiding. The reports showed the society to be in a flourishing condition. Rev E.W. Churchill of Milton Mills, N.H. gave an address. There was a solo by Mrs. Lura J. Bagley of East Rochester. An evangelistic service was held this evening by Rev. Walter J. Malvern of Gonic. Tomorrow amendments to the constitution will be discussed, among them being a change of name of the association, and a change of the time of the annual meeting (Boston Globe, October 26, 1905).

At Milton. N.H., last Wednesday, a dark bay horse of 1100 pounds and one white hind foot, attached to a Kimball open buggy and wearing an open bridle, was stolen. Any information will be gladly received by the local police (Fitchburg Sentinel, [Monday,] November 27, 1905).

No indication of owner or whether the horse and buggy were recovered.

How cold was it?

EDITORIAL POINTS. It was so cold Thanksgiving day that a football game at Milton, N.H., was cancelled, and the brutal feature of the game which forces delicate women to sit for hours slowly freezing to death was thus abolished (Boston Globe, December 4, 1905).

Previous in sequence: Milton in the News – 1904; next in sequence: Milton in the News – 1906


Find a Grave. (2017, August 31). Walter Harold Bentley. Retrieved from

Author: Muriel Bristol

"Lady drinking tea"

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