Milton in the News – 1909

By Muriel Bristol (Transcriber) | July 25, 2019

In this rather full year, we encounter an offer of Porter ice fresh from the pond, a Federal income tax proposed, a poverty ball, a fire at the Salmon River Paper mill, Ralph Farnham freshly remembered, a shoe magnate’s will proved, a power-boat injury, the Milton Shoe company resuming work, lady sales agents wanted, a realtor’s advertisement, a Boston Ice company conflagration, shoe stitchers wanted, a Women’s Relief Corps inspection, a backstabbing on a state highway road-gang, penstock boilermakers wanted, and a beer arrest (with that name confusion again).

This was also the year of Milton and the Eastern Route – 1909.

Milton ice merchant John O. Porter offered a discount price for ice taken directly from the pond.

ICE. BEST QUALITY, now loading from water; price right; large or small contracts. JOHN O. PORTER, Milton, N.H. (Boston Globe, February 22, 1909).

This option would save him the storage costs, which his client would then take upon himself, thus allowing Porter to sell his ice with the “price right.”

At the national level, Democrat U.S. Senators decided in this year to put forward a constitutional amendment that would authorize Federal income taxation.

DEMOCRATS’ TARIFF VIEWS. Want the Income Tax and Reduction on the Necessaries of Life. Washington, April 15. – For more than four hours the Democratic members of the senate conferred in an effort to agree upon a policy toward tariff legislation. At the end of that time it was announced that they had decided to support an income tax amendment and would present a solid front against any Republican opposition to an income tax for raising revenue. The conference also went on record favoring a general reduction on tariff schedules, particularly those relating to the necessaries of life (Portsmouth Herald, April 15, 1909).

Ironically,  their announcement came on April 15. It was proposed originally to “touch” only a handful of millionaires. We all know how that has “progressed” over time.

A Poverty Ball was a low-cost social event to which attendees were expected to wear their old clothes. Such costume balls were common from the 1890s through the 1930s. (“Terpsichorean” means dancing).

Odd Items from Everywhere. At a poverty ball given by the Terpsichorean club of Milton, N.H., the dancers were obliged to copy the order on plain baggage tags from a poster on the wall. All the refreshments the tired couples got during the intermission was cold water and ice cream. The ice cream was served on paper plates, and there was but one plate to a couple (Boston Globe, June 5, 1909).

The most ragged couple at a poverty ball might win a prize. People dressed too well might be fined. In this case, other frills have been omitted too. There were no dance cards: attendees are using baggage tags. (Might it have been held at the train station?) Refreshments were minimal and served on paper plates.

THE COUNTRY DANCE. The dance held at country homes, or the small summer or winter resort begins at an earlier hour than the dance in the city, and is more informal. In summer men often wear flannels and girls simple little evening dresses. The whole affair, including supper, is laid along simple lines, although, of course, in the matter of invitations, as well as the principles of etiquette, a dance in one place is the same as a dance in another. Special features, and, consequently, greater fun, are more possible at the country dance than at the formal city affair. The barn dance, the masquerade, a “Poverty Ball” where even the family dog questions ragged but picturesque costumes, the Mother Goose party, Calico Ball – all these are possible to the country hostess and may be entirely impromptu. Refreshments should be correspondingly simple (Lutes, 1923).

William S. Lowe was born in Missouri, circa 1855. He married in St. Luke’s Church in Denison, TX, August 6, 1878, Margaret E. “Maggie” Hughes. They lived in Texas, as late as 1880, Missouri, circa 1882-83, Ohio, circa 1884-85, and Lima, Missouri, in 1900.

William S. Lowe was president of the Salmon River Paper Company, in Milton, NH, from about 1905. He took up a paper mill described (in 1909) as having been established “about thirty years” before. (The Milton Manufacturing Co. appeared as a paper manufacturer in the Milton business directories of 1887, 1889, 1892, 1894; the Strafford Paper Co. so appeared in 1898; C.D. Brown & Co. in 1901; and the United Box Board and Paper Co. in 1904 (where our sequence currently ends)).

SALMON RIVER PAPER CO. (W.S. Lowe, Pres. and Treas.; M.H. Lowe, Vice Pres.; C.L. Lowe, Sec.) S.P., at mill. Two 800-lb., two 1200-lb., and one 2800-lb. Beating and three Jordan engines; one Four Cylinder and forty-seven Dryers. Water and Steam. Widest trimmed sheet, 75 inches. 48,000 lbs., 24 hours. High Grade Patent Whites and Colors, Single and Double Lined Manilas for Lithographic Work and Clay Coating; also Paraffined, Waxed and Waterproof Boards (Vance, 1908).

Note that the Salmon River Paper Company’s Vice President was Lowe’s wife, Maggie Hughes Lowe, and its Secretary was his middle daughter, Clara Louise Hughes.

W.S. Lowe was one of many manufacturers that lobbied a Congressional committee for a removal or reduction of wood tariffs in November 1908.

MILTON, N.H., November 16, 1908.


GENTLEMEN: Regarding the tariff on mechanical and chemical wood pulp, this company is very much opposed to any increase of the duty; it would work an unnecessary hardship on consumers. We are paying now $42 for unbleached sulphite, the highest price I can remember. The duty on mechanical pulp should be taken off entirely. The price of this commodity is not regulated by duty but entirely by the water supply, and the ability of the grinders to operate. A drought creates high prices; plenty of water power, low prices. It is a low-priced product normally and the high freight rates from Canada and elsewhere makes a sufficiently high natural duty to always give domestic pulp an advantage of from $2 to $4 per ton. Yours truly, W.S. LOWE, Treasurer (U.S. House, 1908).

Fire destroyed the Salmon River Paper company on the night of Friday, June 10, 1910.

PAPER MILLS BURN. Salmon River Plant Loss Will Be $100,000. Fire at Milton, N.H., Due to Boiler Room Chimney. ROCHESTER, N.H., June 10 – One hundred employes were thrown out of employment and a property loss of $100,000 was caused by the destruction by fire of the Salmon River paper mills in the town of Milton, eight miles from this place, tonight. The blaze is supposed to have started about the chimney in the boiler room of the factory, which was a two-story wooden building. A heavy rain had wet the roofs of adjoining buildings and saved them from catching. W.S. Lowe of Portsmouth was the proprietor of the plant. The business was the manufacture of paper novelties. Mr. Lowe had partial insurance on the property (Boston Globe, June 11, 1909).

Fire Destroys Paper Mills. Milton, N.H., June 11. – One hundred hands were thrown out of employment and a property loss of $100,000 was caused by the destruction by fire of the Salmon River paper mills The blaze is supposed to have started in the boiler room {Portsmouth Herald, June 11, 1909).

MIGHT BUILD IN PORTSMOUTH. If the Water Power Supply Was Right for His Needs. W.S. Lowe, proprietor of the Salmon River Paper company’s plant at Milton, stated to a Herald reporter this morning that [it] is doubtful if he rebuilt his plant there. Said he: “I wish Portsmouth had water power near at hand. I should like to build my mill here as I would have a good labor market which is a question at Milton.” The fire started in the oil and waste house. The plant which was burned at Milton on Thursday night, was built about thirty years ago, and had been several times repaired. The equipment, however, was up to date, the paper machine having been installed six years ago at a cost of over $40,000. There were six beater engines and jordans in the mill. The power was mostly water, but there were two engines, one about 200-horse power, the other of half the size. The large one ran the paper machine, the small one helped in times of low water. About forty men were employed in two shifts, fifteen on the night shift, the others by day, with a pay roll of 500 to $800 per week (Portsmouth Herald, June 12, 1909).

W.S. Lowe did not rebuild. He returned instead to Missouri before year’s end. William S. Lowe, a paper manufacturer, aged fifty-five years (b. MO), headed a Kansas City, MO, household at the time of the Thirteenth (1910) Federal Census. His household included his wife (of thirty-two years), Margaret Lowe, aged fifty-one years (b. Canada (Eng.)), his children, Clara Louisa Lowe, aged twenty-eight years (b. MO), and Edna Lowe, aged twenty-six years (b. OH). Margaret Lowe was the mother of three children, of whom three were still living. They resided in a rented house at 2615 Forest Street.

MEANS A NEW MILL. Clash is Averted Between Two Big Companies. Great Falls and Spauldings Settle Water Privileges. MILTON. N.H., Aug. 9. – The threatened legal clash between the Great Falls manufacturing company of Somersworth and the J. Spaulding & Sons Co. of North Rochester, over the water privilege at the old flume, just below where the mill of the Salmon river paper company was burned last May [June], has been averted by the leasing of the water privilege by the Spauldings from their upper mill to the site of the burned mill. As a result the Great Falls company this morning called off its crew that was set at work last month to build a dam for a proposed electric power station. On this site the Spauldings will erect a leather board mill that will employ 500 hands. They are also negotiating for the water privileges held by the United boxboard and paper company under a lease from the Great Falls manufacturing company that runs until 1923. These rights include the site of the burned paper mill. As the paper company has no further use for the privilege it is understood that it will shortly sublet it to the Spaulding company. This will mean another mill for Milton. The Great Falls company owns the entire water privileges of the river from its mills at Somersworth to the Milton ponds (Boston Globe, August 10, 1909).

A Milton revolutionary soldier, Ralph Farnum – who had been the last living veteran of the Battle of Bunker Hill – was freshly remembered in a queries column of the Boston Globe, as he had been in articles printed during his final Boston visit in 1860, in which he had an audience with the King of England.

Last Survivor of Bunker Hill. To the Editor of the People’s Column – In answer to your request in the Globe of June 22, the last survivor of the battle of Bunker Hill was Ralph Varnum. A number of people of Milton, N.H., saw him take the team at that time, and one of them was named Samuel T.W. Duntlly. Ralph Varnum is buried in Acton, Me., and Eli Wentworth post 80 [89], G.A.R. places a flag on his grave every year. Milton, N.H. George I. Jordan (Boston Globe, June 29, 1909).

Farnum “took the team” in the sense that he served in the revolutionaries’ baggage train.

Then shall our names, Familiar in [their] mouths as household words, … Be in their flowing cups freshly remember’d. – Shakespeare, Henry V, Act IV, Scene III

Publication of probate information, even that of ordinary decedents, was a commonplace in newspapers of the past. In this case, the legatee in question was N.B. Thayer, founder of the N.B. Thayer & Co. shoe firm, which had a factory at Milton.

Noah Blanchard Thayer was born in Weymouth, MA, January 6, 1830 son of Nicholas and Thais (Shaw) Thayer. He married Lucy M. Newcomb. She was born in Randolph, MA, August 2, 1833, daughter of Samuel and Lucy L. (Blanchard) Newcomb. She died in 1895.

N.B. Thayer & Co. shoe manufacturers appeared in the Milton business directories of 1892, 1894, 1898, and 1904 (where our sequence currently ends).

Noah B. Thayer was one of six men who stood as sureties for the Weymouth tax collector’s $30,000 bond in March 1893. That tax collector paid off his mortgage, put all his property in his wife’s name, and skipped town with the remaining tax money. A “Bad Check Was Left Behind as Souvenir” (Boston Globe, December 5, 1894).

Noah B. Thayer, a shoe mfr., aged seventy years (b. MA), headed a Weymouth, MA, household at the time of the Twelfth (1900) Federal Census. His household included his daughter, Carrie McBride, a widow, aged thirty years (b. MA), his grandchildren, Edwin T. McBride, at school, aged six years (b. MA), and Margarie McBride, aged four years (b. MA), and his servant, Julia Keefe, a servant, aged twenty-four years (b. MA).

N.B. Thayer & Co., Inc., had “big” shoe factories at East Rochester and Milton, N.H., which were said to be “among the busiest in the country” in 1908 (Boot & Shoe Recorder, 1908). He died in Weymouth, MA, June 29, 1909.

WILL OF NOAH B. THAYER. Weymouth Man Leaves Bequests of $3000 for Son and Daughter. DEDHAM. July 10 – The will of the late Noah B. Thayer of Weymouth has been filed with the Norfolk registry of probate. The will was drawn April 27, 1906, and an accompanying codicil was drawn Sept 6, 1906. By the will $3000 is left to one son, Frank H. Thayer. To one daughter, Carrie M. McBride, is left $3000, and all the household goods and furniture. The remainder of the property is left to the children, Frank H. and Elmer F. Thayer and Carrie M. McBrlde. Frank H. Thayer is suggested for executor (Boston Globe, July 10, 1909).

Power-boats would have been a relatively recent development on the Three Ponds. It would seem that the injury was received inside the boat.

Boy Hurt in Power Boat. MILTON, N.H., Aug. 9 – While going from Northeast pond to Milton station early this morning Chester Batchelder, aged 12, of Lynn, caught his leg under the propeller shaft of the power boat and had the flesh badly torn and the bones broken. He was taken to the Lynn hospital (Boston Globe, August 10, 1909).

Ralph C. Bachelor, a shoe shop foreman, aged forty-two years (b. MA), headed a Lynn, MA, household at the time of the Thirteenth (1910) Federal Census. His household included his (second) wife (of eleven years), Bertha J. Bachelor, aged thirty-nine years (b. MA), and his children, Chester F. Bachelor, aged sixteen years (b. MA), and Everett B. Bachelor, aged fourteen years (b. MA). They resided at 20 Rand Street, which home they owned free-and-clear.

The Milton Shoe Co. appeared in Milton business directories of 1901, but not in that of 1904 (where our sequence currently ends). Here they are resuming production after a long hiatus.

HAD LONG BEEN IDLE. Factory of the Milton, N.H., Shoe Company Resumes Operations. MILTON, N.H., Aug. 13 – The large factory of the Milton shoe company, which has long been idle, has resumed operations. About 400 persons are employed (Boston Globe, August 13, 1909).

MALE HELP WANTED. WANTED – Two first-class vampers; steady work and extra good pay. Apply to MILTON SHOE CO., Milton, N.H. (Boston Globe, September 13, 1909).

Charles C. Keene may have been superintendent at the factory at this time. (He resigned from that position in August 1912 (Boot & Shoe Recorder, 1912)). The Milton Shoe Company, of Milton, N.H., manufacturers of children’s shoes, reportedly went into receivership in 1915.

The Warranty Shoe Manufacturing Company, at Milton Mills, sought lady shoe sales agents. These advertisements appeared in newspapers published in Norwich, CT, Boston, MA, and Barre, Burlington, Montpelier, and Rutland, VT.

WANTED. LADY AGENTS wanted. Hustlers earn $15 to $18 per week. Write us. Warranty Shoe Mfg. Co., Milton Mills, N.H. (Burlington Free Press, August 18, 1909).

A Milton realtor sought to sell property of all sorts, including even livestock, anywhere in New Hampshire. Apparently, it was to be done by mail.

THE REAL ESTATE MARKET. If you have a Store, Farm, Timber Lot or Live Stock anywhere in N.H., for sale, address Box 75, Milton, N.H. (Boston Globe, October 3, 1909).

Sparks from a passing B&M railroad locomotive caused a serious fire at the Boston Ice Company during the evening of Saturday, October 9.

Here we learn that the Boston Ice Company had also tenements for its employees, as did other firms in town. The ice company’s ice houses, stables, and tenements were situated at modern Utah Way.

NEW ENGLAND BRIEFS. The plant of the Boston ice company at Milton, N.H., with 13 houses, a stable and four loaded railroad cars was destroyed by fire last night. Treas. F.J. Bartlett in Boston last night estimated the loss to be about $75,000. Employes in nearby tenements had hard work to save their homes (Boston Globe, October 10, 1909).

One hopes that the horses (if any there were) got out of the stable. Rebuilding began soon after the fire.

The Andrews-Wasgatt Company, of Everret, MA, shoe manufacturers, who had advertised in the prior year for vampers, were seeking stitchers.

FEMALE HELP WANTED. STITCHERS on all parts of misses’ shoes. ANDREWS, WASGATT CO, Milton Mills, N.H. (Boston Globe, October 28, 1909).

Mrs. Emily E. “Emma” (Miller) Looney, acting in her capacity as Department President of the [Women’s] Relief Corps, was to inspect the State Relief Corps. The Women’s Relief Corps was the women’s auxiliary of the Grand Army of the Republic (G.A.R) Civil War veterans’ organization. (Her husband, the Hon. Charles H. Looney, had died in Milton Mills, April 23, 1902).

Personals. Department President Mrs. Emma E. Looney of Milton, N.H., will inspect the State Relief Corps on Friday afternoon, at G.A.R. hall (Portsmouth Herald, October 29, 1909).

Emma E. Looney, a widow, aged fifty-six years (b. NH), headed a Milton [“Milton 3-Ponds”] household at the time of the Thirteenth (1910) Federal Census. He household included her children, Walter Looney, a clerk at Central House, aged thirty-two years (b. NH), Robert M. Looney, a grammar school teacher [principal of the Milton Grammar school in 1905], aged thirty years (b. NH), Harry N. Looney, a shoe factory cutter, aged twenty-seven years, and John H. Looney, aged twenty-four years (b. NH). She owned their house free-and-clear, without any mortgage. [They resided at 54 South Main street in 1905].

A state road-gang laborer on the new Eastern route state highway perpetrated a serious assault upon another laborer.

STABBED IN THE BACK. Man Known Only as Philip, from Boston, Victim of Row at Milton, N.H. – Police Seek Joseph Crapna. MILTON, N.H., Nov 23. As the result of a row among laborers employed on the new state highway, a man who is known only by his first name, Philip, is suffering from a stab in the back, inflicted, it is alleged, by Joseph Crapna, aged 30, who escaped after the encounter, and who is being sought by Chief of Police James Rines. The affray occurred late Sunday night at lodgings in the Hart building. It is said that liquor flowed freely, and that the principals became excited over some old trouble. Philip had only recently joined the men, coming here from Boston. During the altercation Crapna suddenly pulled a stiletto, it is said, and stabbed Philip in the upper portion of the back, making an ugly gash near the shoulder blade. Crapna quickly disappeared. The victim bled profusely, but it is reported he will recover (Boston Globe, November 23, 1909).

There do not seem to have been any follow-up articles, so it might be that Joseph Crapna was never apprehended.

Penstock work would be work upon the sluice gate or water intake structures of a dam, of which Milton had several.

MALE HELP WANTED. TWO BOILERMAKERS wanted at once for penstock work at Milton, N.H. L. DOUGHTON, Milton, N.H. (Boston Globe, December 16, 1909).

Mr. L. Doughton has proven somewhat difficult to pin down. He may have been a mill superintendent or possibly an out-of-town dam contractor of some sort.

As we have seen, several factories in Milton had their own tenements, or residences, on their grounds for worker housing. A number of Italian and Greek immigrant workers were so domiciled in South Milton. (We encountered them previously helping the victim of Milton’s Murderous Lover in 1907).

On this occasion, we encounter an Italian immigrant factory worker running afoul of New Hampshire’s restrictive liquor licensing. We may recall that their factory housing was situated two miles out from Three-Ponds village. He had some bottles of beer, which he either vended or gave away to some of the other workers with whom he resided. For that he was arrested for “keeping liquor for sale,” which violated several aspects of the liquor law.

(If one were working a ten to twelve-hour workday, six days a week, and marooned in a workers’ tenement in the woods of South Milton, one might consider it a beneficial service, rather than otherwise, to have access to a bottle of beer after a hard day’s work).

Beer Seized at Milton, N.H. ROCHESTER, N.H., Dec. 23. Deputy Sheriff Frank I. Smith and Deputy Sheriff Elmer Clark of Dover and Deputy Sheriff William Hartford and policeman Harrison Rhines of Milton raided the boarding house of Demarta Odberton at Milton Tuesday night and seized a quantity of beer. Yesterday, before Judge Lawrence V. McGill, he was charged with keeping malt liquor for sale and was held in $200 bonds for the superior court (Boston Globe, [Thursday,] December 23, 1909).

Apart from the absurdities attendant to the liquor laws, we may again experience the hilarity arising from the various officials’ utter inability to comprehend the accused’s Italian name. The accused’s name was definitely not Demarta Odberton, nor anything like that.

We shall encounter the unfortunate Mr. Odberton, under yet other names, as he passes through the various court proceedings of the following year.

Previous in sequence: Milton in the News – 1908; next in sequence: Milton in the News – 1910


Chilton Company. (1908). Boot & Shoe Recorder. Retrieved from

Chilton Company. (1912). Boot & Shoe Recorder. Retrieved from

Find a Grave. (2008, October 5). Noah Blanchard Thayer. Retrieved from

Lutes, Della T. (1923). The Gracious Hostess: A Book of Etiquette. Retrieved from

U.S. House of Representatives. (1908). Pulp and Paper Investigation Hearings, April 25, 1908. Retrieved from

Vance Publishing Corp. (1908). Lockwood’s Directory of the Paper and Stationary Trade. Retrieved from

Wikipedia. (2019, January 24). Henry B. Quinby. Retrieved from

Wikipedia. (2019, July 12). Penstock. Retrieved from


Author: Muriel Bristol

"Lady drinking tea"

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