By Muriel Bristol | July 28, 2019
In perusing the Thirteenth (1910) Federal Census schedules for Milton, as I am wont to do, I came across a rather unusual enumeration from a leather-board factory in South Milton.
The census enumerator, Bard B. Plummer, visited the site on April 23, 1910. He passed from the household of “Henery” B. Hayes, a farmer (home farm), aged fifty-six years (b. NH), to that of the mill superintendent. (Recorded on Page 3 of 32 Milton pages).
William A. Dickson, a leather-board mill superintendent, aged thirty-five years (b. MA), headed a Milton [“Milton-Town”] household at the time of the Thirteenth (1910) Federal Census. His household included his wife (of sixteen years), Hattie Dickson, aged thirty-four years (b. MA); his children, Marion I. Dickson, aged fourteen years (b. MA), Hazel M. Dickson, aged five years (b. NH), and Carolyn P. Dickson, aged two years (b. NH); and his in-laws William V. Newell, aged sixty-six years (b. MA), and Lucy H. Newell, aged sixty-six years (b. MA). The Newells had been married forty-six years, during which time she had been the mother of five children, of whom four were still living.
So far so good. Mr. Plummer passed next to a sort of worker’s hotel, dormitory, or barracks. Some forty leather-board mill laborers “boarded” there. They were all recorded as Alien immigrants, i.e., they were not yet Naturalized citizens. None of them spoke English. He gave their non-Yankee names a serious mangling.
[Ed. note: Recording the citizenship status of alien immigrants in the census was neither new nor unusual].
Plummer enumerated first the head of household, Thomas Peatri, aged thirty-four years (b. Greece). He had been longest in the U.S., having arrived in 1900. Under the CITIZENSHIP column, he was classed still as an Alien, i.e., not yet Naturalized. One supposes he had acquired in ten years some English and knew our little ways, and that was why he was taken to be “Head.” The others were all “Boarders.”
Next came nine other Greeks, also Aliens who had arrived between 1906 and 1909. Their names were mangled as Alec Porpas, aged twenty years (b. Greece), Uperslatey Kenaser, aged thirty years (b. Greece), John Punplato, aged thirty-eight years (b. Greece), Alcano Yunjar, aged nineteen years (b. Greece), George Stocklin, aged thirty-seven years (b. Greece), Spenta Chacton, aged eighteen years (b. Greece), John Delussule, aged forty years (b. Greece), Apostola Dumas, aged twenty-four years (b. Greece), and James Prapleton, aged twenty-six years (b. Greece).
Plummer hit a brick wall when he recorded the next twenty-six leather-board mill workers. Where he should have continued with the “NAME of each person whose place of abode on April 15, 1910, was in this family,” he instead wrote down their distinguishing numbers, #1 through #26, as issued them by the mill, and the explanation:
Impossible to get any thing from them more [-illegible-] for their names or any thing else.
They were all recorded as Aliens, who had immigrated between 1908 and 1910. A different and presumably later hand, perhaps that of Plummer’s census supervisor, noted that
These Greeks could not be enumerated better as they are only known as numbers in the factory and are going and coming every few days.
Finally Plummer enumerated four Italian workers who had names, although he recorded mangled versions of them: Antonio Dumnrio, aged twenty-five years (b. Italy), Giuseppe Palmapo, aged twenty-one years (b. Italy), Sauda Oamfans, aged eight years (b. Italy), and Aemelio De Bartolemo, aged twenty-two years (b. Italy). They too were all recorded as Aliens, who had immigrated between 1906 and 1908.
Previously, we have seen these Greek mill laborers – or some others using their numbers – when they aided the victim of Milton’s Murderous Lover – 1907. (The newspapers gave different versions of her French Canadian name in nearly every article).
We should note in closing that one of New Hampshire’s early settlers was “John Ammisoone the Greek,” who was at Great Island [now New Castle], NH, as early as 1659. God only knows his true name. His many descendants go by the name Amazeen.
My mother Thetis tells me that there are two ways in which I may meet my end. If I stay here and fight, I will not return alive but my name will live forever: whereas if I go home my name will die, but it will be long ere death shall take me. – Homer, the Illiad
Noyes, Sybil, Libby, Charles T., and Davis, Walter G. (1991). Genealogical Dictionary of Maine and New Hampshire. Baltimore, MD: Genealogical Publishing Company