Milton in the News – 1932

By Muriel Bristol (Transcriber) | November 7, 2019

In this year, we encounter Charles J. Berry’s ninety-fifth birthday, Mr. Morrison’s retirement, a Milton firemen’s strike, episodes of a mill superintendent’s long-distance relationship, a policeman’s holiday, a memory slip, situations wanted still, Mr. Amory’s retirement cut short, and a Milton Mills store for sale.

Charles J. Berry of Milton Mills celebrated his ninety-fifth birthday in Wollaston, MA, as he had his birthdays in 1927, 1928, 1929, 1930, and 1931. He is here identified as one of the last three members of Milton’s Eli Wentworth Post of the Grand Army of the Republic (G.A.R.) Civil War veterans’ organization.

CHARLES J. BERRY MARKS 95TH BIRTHDAY IN QUINCY. QUINCY, Feb. 14 – Surrounded by a few relatives and friends, Charles J. Berry, one of the three surviving members of Eli Wentworth Post, G.A.R., of Milton, N.H., observed his 95th birthday today at the home of his daughter, Mrs. William M. Burrell, 114 Beach st., Wollaston. Mr. Berry served during the Civil War in Troop G, 1st New Hampshire Cavalry, and was in many decisive battles. His command was scouting along the Potomac River the night President Lincoln was shot and was moved into Washington to be prepared for eventualities. After the war Mr. Berry was a street car conductor in Boston, serving on two routes, one from Boston to Cambridge and one from Scollay sq. to the Bunker Hill monument. He was conductor on the last runs out of the city of these cars. For a time Mr. Berry ran a restaurant in Newspaper Row, Boston. Despite his years, Mr Berry stands as straight as an arrow. He believes in walking as an exercise and may be seen on the streets of Wollaston every day. Mr Berry is president of 1st New Hampshire Cavalry Association and has not missed a reunion in 50 years at The Weirs. On the occasion of the last reunion he went for an airplane ride. He has two sons, Clifford A. Berry of Weymouth and Arthur L. Berry of Portland, as well as a daughter, Mrs Burrell. He makes his Winter home with her, as he has been doing for the past 20 years. He is the oldest resident of Milton Mills, N.H. (Boston Globe, February 15, 1932).

It might be that nonagenarian Charles J. Berry’s time spent as a restauranteur on Boston’s “Newspaper Row” explains the Boston Globe’s annual interest in his birthdays.

We last encountered Charles L. Morrison in June 1929, as the B&M flagman with an appetite for ice cream.

SANBORNVILLE. Charles Morrison, now of Milton, who has received a gold-piece from the Boston and Maine for his faithful service, was for some time a resident of this village. He built a house here and was a brakeman at that time (Farmington News, March 25, 1932).

Here we find him receiving a gold piece, rather than a gold watch, on the occasion of his retirement from the Boston & Maine railroad.

The denomination of the gift was not specified. The U.S. Mint produced then gold coins in “quarter eagle” (⅛ oz. ($2½)), “half eagle” (¼ oz. ($5)), “eagle” (½ oz. ($10)), and “double eagle” (1 oz. ($20)) denominations.

Morrison might not have had his gold piece for very long. In the following year, under the supposed authority of the unrepealed wartime “Trading with the Enemy Act” of 1917, President Franklin D. Roosevelt issued Executive Order 6102 on April 5, 1933. Under its terms,

… all persons are to deliver on or before May 1, 1933, all gold coin, gold bullion, and gold certificates now owned by them to a Federal Reserve Bank, branch, or agency or to any member bank of the Federal Reserve System.

The Federal Reserve bank returned its fiat paper currency in exchange for the gold, at the rate of $20.67 per ounce. Gold had been a check on unrestrained inflation of the currency supply, such as we have experienced in the intervening years.

The gold of a pre-1933 $20 double eagle would have now at least the gold “spot” value of $1,500 in fiat currency (and possibly, depending upon its condition, the greater numismatic value of between $1,700 and $2,100). The gold market is a manipulated one, many analysts claim that the actual value of gold is much greater, and the value of a fiat dollar much smaller. (See also What I Took as Change Yesterday).

For some reason, Milton’s fire department appropriation does not seem to have been approved – or even voted upon – at the town meeting of Tuesday, March 8. It may have been simply omitted from the warrant list.

The selectmen consulted a Rochester, NH, attorney, and then funded salaries at what their lawyer said was the highest level permitted by state statutes. That solution failed to satisfy the volunteer firemen, who went out on strike.

FIREMEN STRIKE WHEN PAY IS CUT. Old Hand Tub Placed in Commission at Milton, N.H., as Emergency Measure. MILTON, N.H., April 15 – Incensed because their pay has been cut to S3 a year and 50 cents an hour fighting time, the 15 members of the Milton Fire Department, with the exception of Chief Frank McIntire, have walked out on strike. Chief McIntire has announced his intention of joining the strikers tomorrow and, until the bitter differences between the firemen and the Selectmen have been ironed out, the town will be virtually without protection. No one in Milton, save the three engineers who are out on strike, knows how to operate the new combination chemical pump and the Selectmen, in desperation, have ordered the old hand tub out of retirement.

[Fire Chief] Frank B. McIntyre, a fibre mill laborer, aged sixty-one years (b. NH), headed a Milton household at the time of the Fifteenth (1930) Federal Census. His household included his wife, Grace M. [(Downing)] McIntyre, aged fifty-four years (b. NH), and his children, George McIntyre, a fibre mill laborer, aged twenty years (b. NH), and Frank McIntyre, aged fifteen years (b. NH). Frank B. McIntyre owned their house on South Main Street, which was valued at $1,800. They had a radio set.

Taken From Barn Loft. It was resurrected from a barn loft today. The cobwebs were dusted off and it was put in readiness for immediate use. From the ranks of the older townsmen a crew of volunteers, familiar with the working of the hand-tub, was recruited and in an emergency they will be called upon to perform yeoman service. The Selectmen have found plenty of volunteers who are willing to help and the town, as a whole, feels confident that it will be able to handle the situation until the salary problem has been amicably settled. At present the firemen and Selectmen are deadlocked on the issue. Neither group will give way an inch in the conflict which had its inception at the town meeting on March 8 when no provision was made for the firemen who have always received $20 a year and 50 cents an hour fighting time. The Selectmen claimed to have found, upon consulting the statute books of the State, that, unless other provisions were made, the yearly salary of firemen in small towns was to be fixed at $3 a year and 50 cents an hour for actual firefighting.

Consult Attorney. They also claimed that the town records include no law calling for a special appropriation for firemen’s salaries and that, therefore, they could not legally pay the firemen more than the stipulated $3 a year. The Board of Selectmen, comprised of Charles Philbrick, chairman; Louis Tibbetts and Leroy Ford, notified the firemen, all of whom, with the exception of Chief McIntire, are call men, that henceforth they would receive only $3 a year for keeping Milton safe from the ravages of the brush fire and the house fire. A protest was made at once and the Selectmen were asked to reconsider their action. They hastily consulted a lawyer in Rochester, who informed them with legal emphasis that every dollar over $3 a year that you pay those firemen will have to come out of your own pockets.

[Selectman] Charles Philbrick, a general farming farmer, aged sixty-nine years (b. NH), headed a Milton (“Milton Mills Village”) household at the time of the Fifteenth (1930) Federal Census. His household included his wife (of thirty-nine years), Jennie H. [(Applebee)] Philbrick, aged sixty-five years (b. NH). Charles Philbrick owned their house on Jug Hill Road. They did not have a radio set.

[Selectman] Louis Tibbetts, a general farming farmer, aged twenty-five years (b. NH), headed a Milton household at the time of the Fifteenth (1930) Federal Census. His household included his wife (of three years), Thelma [(Peabody)] Tibbetts, aged twenty-five years (b. MA). Louis Tibbetts rented their house on Plummer’s Ridge, for $15 per month. They had a radio set.

[Selectman] Leroy J. Ford, a general farming farmer, aged thirty-eight years (b. NH), headed a Milton household at the time of the Fifteenth (1930) Federal Census. His household included his wife (of fifteen years), Ella M. [(Bliss)] Ford, aged forty-five years (b. CT), and his boarder, William Court, an odd jobs laborer, aged seventeen years (b. NH). Charles Philbrick owned their house on Tenerife Mountain Road. They had a radio set.

Extra Precautions. When this ultimatum was delivered to the firemen they walked out of the station. Their formal resignations were handed to the Selectmen with a notice that they were to become effective at once. Chief McIntire also tendered his resignation but stated that it would not become effective until tomorrow. The Selectmen cannot see how under the law they can make any concessions to the firemen and the latter will not listen to any proposition which does not sound like $20 a year. In the meantime, all townspeople are expected to take extra precautions against fire that might endanger the safety of Milton’s 1200 or more residents The last serious fire in the town destroyed the Milton Ice House last Summer. The firemen did good work on that occasion but the townspeople believe that, given a less threatening fire, the volunteers and their trusty hand-tub will do as creditably (Boston Globe, April 16, 1932).

MILTON TO HOLD SPECIAL TOWN MEETING ON FIREMEN. The resignation of Chief Frank McIntire from the fire department, which he gave the selectmen last week, when the rest of the department, 14 men, struck because their wages were cut, became effective last Saturday night, leaving the town without adequate fire protection. The selectmen have decided to hold a special town meeting May 3, to elect an engineer and two assistants, and to decide what pay the firemen will receive yearly, and hourly while actually fighting fire. Last year the call men received $20 a year and Chief McIntire received $40. When the citizens at the town meeting March 8 failed to appropriate money for the maintenance of the department, the selectmen found under the law, they could only legally pay $3 a year. Firemen refused to work for this amount and quit (Farmington News, April 22, 1932).

MILTON FIREMEN WIN THEIR STRIKE. Town Had Been Without Service Six Weeks. Special Dispatch to the Globe. MILTON, N.H., May 3 – Milton’s embattled firemen won their strike today when a special town meeting voted to pay them an annual salary of $20 a year plus 50 cents an hour for firefighting time, the same salary they received up to late in March, when the Selectmen declared that $3 a year plus fighting time was the legal rate. The chief, first and second engineers and firemen promptly handed In their badges and went on strike for the old salary, and for six weeks Milton has been without a Fire Department but there haven’t been any fires. Selectmen Charles Philbrick, Louis Tibbetts and Leroy Ford have been firm in their stand to obey the law, which they claim sets the legal rate at $3 per year, with any amount per hour that may be voted for fighting time. The Selectmen have had charge of the fire apparatus, and would have been able, of course, to call volunteers if a fire broke out. But the regular Fire Department had no intention of answering duty calls. There has been considerable controversy since the March 8 town meeting, when the firemen claimed that an appropriation for the Fire Department was voted. But the records of Town Clerk Harold Avery show that the article was not considered. Then the Selectmen set the new wage scale. At the meeting today the old officers, Chief Frank McIntire, First Engineer Charles Wilson and Second Engineer Fred Savoie, were reelected to office. The annual salary was set at $20 a year for firemen, $25 for the second engineer, $30 for the first engineer and $40 for the chief (Boston Globe, May 4, 1932).

[First Engineer] Charles W. Wilson, a gravel co. foreman, aged forty-one years (b. ME), headed a Milton household at the time of the Fifteenth (1930) Federal Census. His household included his wife (of twenty years), Florence [(Blake)] Wilson, aged thirty-eight years (b. ME), and his children, Phyllis G. Wilson, aged seventeen years (b. ME), Charles W. Wilson, [Jr.,], aged twelve years (b. ME), Dorothy M. Wilson, aged ten years (b. NH), and Robert M. Wilson, aged three years (b. NH). Charles W. Wilson rented their house on School Street, at its intersection with Farmington Road, for $12.50 per month. They had a radio set.

[Second Engineer] Fred Savoie, a fibre mill overseer, aged thirty-one years (b. NH), headed a Milton household at the time of the Fifteenth (1930) Federal Census. His household included his wife (of eight years), Ruby H. [(Ellis)] Savoie, aged twenty-four years (b. NH), and his children, Jacqueline Savoie, aged five years (b. NH), Maurice Savoie, aged three years (b. NH), and Elaine Savoie, aged two years (b. NH). Fred Savoie owned their house on South Main Street, which was valued at $1,600. They did not have a radio set.

FIREMEN’S STRIKE CLOSES AT MILTON. The 15 members of the Milton fire department who resigned in the middle of last month because the selectmen reduced their yearly salary from $20 to $3, went back to work Tuesday, after the selectmen at a meeting, had voted to return the firemen to the scale held before they went on strike. While the town was without its fire department, unemployed men were given work at 50 cents an hour whenever fires took place. At the meeting on Tuesday, the selectmen voted to adopt the Australian ballot for all future elections (Farmington News, May 6, 1932).

One may note that the three named volunteer firemen dwelt all in Three Ponds village, i.e., proximate to the village and its fire station, while the three selectmen were farmers that dwelt all outside Three Ponds village.

The usual appropriation process involved a show of hands at a town meeting. Ultimately, it did take a show of hands at a special town meeting to correct the omission from the regular town meeting. The so-called Australian Ballot “adopted” by the Milton selectmen for all future elections involved using secret paper ballots.

It is said that history does not repeat itself, but that it does rhyme. The current selectmen neglected to seek ballot authority for their recent sale of this very same fire station building. They chose not to call a special town meeting, as did their predecessors, nor did they wait for the next regular town meeting. They sought instead to have the NH legislature exempt them from the requirement that they seek proper authority from the citizenry under the law. (See NH SB 154 Amended and NH SB 154 on the House Floor).

George A. Stevens of Northfield, VT, took a job as superintendent of the Miltonia Mill in Milton Mills. His wife, Martha A. (Miller) Stevens, did not accompany him at this time, but visited him several times through the remainder of the year.

George A. Stevens, a woolen mill foreman, aged sixty-two years (b. ME), headed a Northfield, VT, household at the time of the Fifteenth (1930) Federal Census. His household included his wife (of forty years), Martha A. Stevens, aged sixty-two years (b. ME). George A. Stevens owned their house on Main Street, which was valued at $6,000. They did not have a radio set.

NORTHFIELD FALLS. George Stevens has accepted a position as superintendent of the Miltonia Mill at Milton Mills, N.H., and will take up his new work at once (Burlington Free Press, May 14, 1932).

NORTHFIELD FALLS. Mrs. G.A. Stevens went to Milton Mills, N.H., last week to visit her husband, who has a position as superintendent of a mill there (Burlington Free Press, July 13, 1932).

Cambridge, MA, Police Chief McBride spent much of his July in Milton as a summer rusticator. For him, that involved motorboating and playing quoits.

CAMBRIDGE. Chief of Police John J. McBride spent a restful holiday week-end at Milton, N.H. (Boston Globe, July 5, 1932).

CAMBRIDGE. Chief of Police McBride is vacationing in Milton, N.H., for a few days (Boston Globe, July 13, 1932).

CAMBRIDGE. Policeman John J. McBride qualified as an expert helmsman yesterday when he piloted a motor launch around Three Ponds, Milton, N.H., where he is on a vacation (Boston Globe, July 18, 1932).

CAMBRIDGE. Malcolm McBride, son of Police Chief John J. McBride, won the annual quoits tournament at Milton, N.H., yesterday, held under the auspices of the Cambridge-Milton Vacationists’ Club. He defeated Oscar Macintosh of Kittery, Me. (Boston Globe, July 25, 1932).

Mrs. Martha A. (Miller) Stevens of Northfield, VT, broke her wrist while visiting with her husband at Milton Mills, where he was employed as superintendent of the Miltonia Mill.

NORTHFIELD FALLS. Mrs. G.A. Stevens has returned from a five weeks’ visit with her husband In Milton Mills. N.H. (Burlington Free Press, August 10, 1932).

NORTHFIELD FALLS. Mrs. George Stevens has returned from an extended visit with her husband in Milton Mills. N.H. Mrs. Stevens broke one wrist while she was away, and the injury is still painful (Burlington Free Press, August 18, 1932).

The following piece is akin perhaps to forgetting why one has come into a room. The prominent club woman does appear to have gotten back on track.

Odd Items from Everywhere. A very prominent club woman of Milton, N.H., went to her bed chamber to dress for an evening affair in town, after removing her house dress, etc., she calmly slipped Into her nightgown and got into bed for the night before it occurred to her what she had intended to do (Boston Globe, August 15, 1932).

The middle-aged Protestant couple of the previous year advertised, either again or still, for a residential situation.

SITUATIONS WANTED – MALE. COUPLE, middle age, Americans, Protestants, wishes work, wife cook, man work inside or outside, on a small country place, moderate wages. G. TOWNSEND, Milton Mills. N.H., c/o J. Roberts (Boston Globe, August 24, 1932).

Mrs. Martha A. (Miller) Stevens brought her grandson, George Stevens, as well as John W. and Martha H. (Abel) Ford, to spend the weekend at Milton Mills with her husband, George A. Stevens.

NORTHFIELD FALLS. Mr. and Mrs. J.W. Ford, Mrs. G.A. Stevens, and grandson, George Stevens, spent Sunday and Monday with G.A. Stevens at Milton Mills, N.H. (Burlington Free Press, September 8, 1932).

Henry F. Amory resided in Melrose, MA, as late as 1920, when he was a widowed traveling grain salesman, aged sixty-two years (b. MA).

Henry F. Amory, an odd jobs laborer, aged seventy-two years (b. MA), headed a Milton (“Milton Mills Village”) household at the time of the Fifteenth (1930) Federal Census. His household included his [second] wife (of two years), Mary L. [(Grandfield)] Amory, aged forty years (b. VT). Harry F. Amory owned their house on Union Road, which was valued at $1,500. They had a radio set.

MELROSE. Henry F. Amory, many years a resident of Melrose, died in his home, Milton Mills, N.H., yesterday. The funeral services will take place there tomorrow afternoon (Boston Globe, September 13, 1932).

Current residents may find themselves bemused at the suggestion that a property owner might “finish off living quarters” over their own Milton Mills general store, and even take up residence there, without so much as a by-your-leave from Town authorities and boards.

THE REAL ESTATE MARKET. COUNTRY STORE IN THE HEART of a New Hampshire village, aged owner retiring; always did a very profitable business, handling all kinds general merchandise; if desired one could finish off living quarters over the store; no chain store competition; only $2200, $1000 down. Shown by ERNEST A. EATON, 95 Main st., Box 12, Sanford, Maine; tel. Milton Mills, N.H., 9-4; CHAMBERLAIN & BURNHAM, Inc., 294 Washington st., Boston (Boston Globe, September 21, 1932).

The absence of chain-store competition was due to economic factors, rather than political restrictions. (Remember that both of Milton’s pharmacies sold Rexall chain-store products). Note too the interesting proposal of a seller-financed mortgage.

George A. Stevens and his wife were able to enjoy the Thanksgiving holiday together in Milton Mills.

NORTHFIELD FALLS. Mrs. George Stevens leaves Friday for Lebanon, N.H., where she will stop with friends, and go by automobile from there to Milton Mills, N.H., to spend Thanksgiving with her husband. Mr. Stevens has a position as superintendent in the Miltonia Mills at Milton Mills (Burlington Free Press, November 18, 1932).

NORTHFIELD FALLS. Mrs. George Stevens returned Monday from Milton Mills, N.H., where she spent Thanksgiving with her husband. Mrs. Emma Hubbard kept house for her while she was away (Burlington Free Press, December 8, 1932).

Previous in sequence: Milton in the News – 1931; next in sequence: Milton in the News – 1933

Mr. S.D. Plissken contributed to this article.


Crazy Star Band. (1932). The Policeman’s Holiday. Retrieved from

Wikipedia. (2019, October 12). Executive Order 6102. Retrieved from

Wikipedia. (2019, September 23). Quoits. Retrieved from

Wikipedia. (2019, September 19). Secret Ballot. Retrieved from


Author: Muriel Bristol

"Lady drinking tea"

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