Milton in the News – 1934

By Muriel Bristol (Transcriber) | November 14, 2019

In this year, we encounter further episodes of the mill superintendent’s long-distance relationship, the deaths of Milton natives John R. Swinerton and Capt. George A. Ham, a housekeeper situation wanted, a retirement to Milton Mills, the death of Milton native Capt. Frank I. Jones, Miss Nutter teaching at Nute High School, some cats enjoying fresh milk, N.B. Thayer & Co. going out of business, some audacious pignappers, and Robert E. Jones’ birthday.

Miltonia Mills superintendent George A. Stevens was ill enough to draw his wife from their home in Northfield, VT, to his work-residence at Milton Mills.

NORTHFIELD FALLS. Mrs. G.A. Stevens was called to Milton Mills, N.H., Monday by the illness of her husband G.A. Stevens (Burlington Free Press, January 25, 1934).

Milton native John Robinson Swinerton died in Newport News, VA, February 8, 1934, aged ninety-three years. He was the son of early Milton Mills doctor and postmaster, John L. Swinerton and his wife, Anna A. (Robinson) Swinerton. Dr. Swinerton died in Wakefield, NH, November 2, 1882.

John L. Swinerton, a physician, aged forty-five years (b. ME), headed a Milton household at the time of the Seventh (1950) Federal Census. His household included Anna A. Swinerton, aged forty-seven years (b. NH), Ann F. Swinerton, aged twelve years (b. NH), and John R. Swinerton, aged ten years (b. NH). Dr. Swinerton had real estate valued at $800. The census enumerator recorded their household between those of Bray U. [“B.U.”] Simes, a trader, aged forty-nine years (b. NH), and Charles Pinkham, a farmer, aged thirty years (b. NH).

Swinerton, John R - DP340209Dies At Age 93. SWINERTON RITES TO BE AT 4 TODAY. Body of City Pioneer Will Be Taken to Union, N.H., Old Home, In Spring. Funeral services are to be held at 4 this afternoon for John Robinson Swlnerton, vice president of the First National Bank and one of the city’s pioneers, at the family residence. Death came yesterday morning to the widely known bank and hotel man at the residence he built before the turn of the century at 2115 Chestnut Avenue slightly less than two months after he had celebrated his 93rd birthday, Dec. 18. His health had not been good for a year or more, but his mind had retained with clarity incidents of the early days In Newport News. He came into this city from Old Point in a wagon with two other men Jan. 2, 1883 to become manager of the old Lafayette Hotel, then on Lafayette Avenue (now Huntington) and Twenty-seventh Street. Shipping of walnut logs and staves to Europe was the town’s main industry at that time, he said recently. A few months after he came here Henry P. Stevens, his first wife’s father, acting for the Old Dominion Land Co., opened the Warwick Hotel. Stevens left soon after the opening and Swinerton assumed management of both institutions. The Lafayette later became a hospital and after that a business building was erected. He was a member of the Pioneers of Newport News and Unity Lodge, No. 62, A.F. &A.M., of Union, N.H., where interment will be made in the spring. The body will be placed in the vault at Peninsula Memorial Park Cemetery temporarily. He was the son of the late Dr. and Mrs. John L. Swinerton of Danvers; and was born Dec. 16, 1840 at Milton, N.H. He spent his boyhood in Boston, spent some time in New York, and then came to Newport News. His ancestors in America date from 1628, when Jobe Swinerton settled at Salem, Mass. The funeral services today will be conducted by the Rev. E.T. Wellford, D.D., pastor of the First Presbyterian Church, assisted by the Rev. T.H. Dimmock, pastor of the Second Presbyterian Church. The family has asked that flowers be omitted. Active pallbearers will be: Dorsey L. Downing, H.W. Chandler, B.G. Roy, Homer L. Ferguson, Jr., J.C. Watson, Harvey T. Parker. William S. Parker and Willard M. Marks. Pioneer Club members and friends will be honorary pallbearers. His second wife, formerly Miss Annie H. Newton of Greenfield, Mass., and niece, Mrs. Thomas A. Tirrell, Lynn, Mass., survive. His first wife was Miss Mary R. Stevens, also of Greenfield. Mr. Swinerton was a charter member of the Pioneers Club, and a member of the First Presbyterian Church since it was organized in 1884. He assisted in organizing the First National Bank in 1891 and has been a vice president since 1895. He also was a vice president of the Security Trust and Savings Bank during its existence (Daily Press (Newport News, VA, February 9, 1934).

NORTHFIELD FALLS. Mrs. George A. Stevens returned home from Milton Mills, N.H., on Monday, where she was called four weeks ago on account of the illness of her husband. He has sufficiently recovered to resume his work (Boston Globe, February 24, 1934).

Ham, George A - BP031227Milton native Capt. George A. Ham died in Braintree, MA, March 4, 1934. He was renowned for his 1903 rescue of thirty-one crewmen from their sinking ship during a winter gale.

Mark Ham, a blacksmith, aged thirty-two years (b. NH), headed a Milton household at the time of the Seventh (1850) Federal Census. His household included Mary A. Ham, aged twenty-eight years (b. NH), Martha A. Ham, aged eleven years (b. NH), Mary E. Ham, aged nine years (b. NH), George A. Ham, aged four years (b. NH), Charles E. Ham, aged one years (b. NH), and Mary A. Carter, aged nineteen years (b. VT).

FUNERAL OF CAPT. HAM WEDNESDAY. Services for Sea Hero at East Braintree. BRAINTREE, March 5 – The funeral of Capt. George A. Ham, who rescued the crew of the steamer Kiowa in 1903, and who was later honored by Boston for his feat of seamanship, will take place at the home of his daughter, Mrs. Asa L. Phelps, 6 Atherton st., East Braintree, Wednesday afternoon, at 2. He died last night. Burial will be in Eliot, Me. Capt. Ham was born in Milton, N.H. His wife, the late Ellen J. Tucker, died several years ago. The rescue for which Capt. Ham was honored occurred Dec. 26, 1903, in a howling gale, which caused the city tug Cormorant, which Capt. Ham commanded, to stand on her beam ends. Capt. Ham was proceeding up the harbor with a barge in tow when he heard the distress cry of the Kiowa. He found the doomed vessel inside Thieves’ Ledge rammed by the Dewey, a steamer in the Jamaica trade. Although encumbered by a tow, the tug ran along the lee side of the sinking vessel and the crew jumped from the rail of their craft to the deck of the tug. Capt. Ham was given a gold watch by the Clyde Line, a letter of commendation by the late Mayor Patrick A. Collins and a gold medal by the Massachusetts Humane Society. He retired 15 years ago (Boston Globe, March 5, 1934).

Rockingham County Superior Court granted a divorce for Mrs. Margaret O. (Newell) Corbett, of Newington, NH, from her husband of twenty-six years, June 30, 1933. Here she sought a housekeeper’s position, using the Milton address of her brother-in-law, Charles O. Stillings.

WANTED. WANTED. Housekeeper’s position for middle-aged man. No objection to 1 or 2 children. Mrs. Margaret Corbett, Box 75, Milton, N.H. Care C.O. Stillings. 1w m19 (Portsmouth Herald, March 19, 1934).

Charles O. Stillings, a fibreboard mill oiler, aged sixty-seven years (b. NH), headed a Milton household at the time of the Sixteenth (1940) Federal Census. His household included his wife, Susie [(Newell)] Stillings, aged sixty-four years (b. Nova Scotia), his children, Harold A. Stillings, a fiberboard mill sample clerk, aged twenty-seven years (b. NH), and Elmer E. Stillings, a machine tender, aged twenty-seven years (b. NH), and his sister-in-law, Margaret O. Corbett, a private home house maid, aged fifty-seven years (b. Canada). Charles O. Stillings rented their house, for $13 per month.

Milton Mills acquired Boston’s oldest hay and grain broker when he retired and bought a retirement home there. His recollections include interesting details of how horse-drawn stage-coaches operated in a snow-covered landscape.

Herbert P. Nickerson, a hay and grain salesman, aged seventy-two years (b. NH), headed a Boston, MA, household at the time of the Fifteenth (1930) Federal Census. His household included his [second] wife, Mabel E. Nickerson, aged fifty-eight years (b. NH). He rented their part of a two-family house at 11 Teele Avenue, for $45 per month. They had a radio set.

Nickerson, Herbert P - BG340424HERBERT P. NICKERSON, SOMERVILLE, RETIRES. Herbert P. Nickerson of 11 Teele av., Somerville, the oldest man in Boston who has been actively connected with the hay and grain brokerage business, retired from service last Saturday. He was born in Madison, N.H., Nov. 21, 1857, and came to Charlestown in 1876, where he engaged in various pursuits. In 1882, he was employed by J.H. Hawthorne to drive one of the old stages. His route started at Northampton st., to Washington, Court, Scollay sq. Causeway, Warren Bridge, Main st., Charlestown to Salem st. He was required to work 16 hours a day, and received $1.50 for his day’s work. In Winter the stage was placed on runners, and rode on top of the snow. Then it was not an uncommon thing to see a stage tipped on its side in the gutter. Two horses were usually used on the stage, except in the Winter, when a spiked team with a leader horse was used. In 1884 he went to work for Gilman Cheney & Co, 35 Congress st., brokers in hay and grain, where he had charge of the Boston end of the business for six years. In 1890 he became connected with Lord & Webster, brokers in the same line of business, and had been connected with them until last Saturday, 43 years of continuous service, and approximately 50 years in that kind of business. Many of his customers from far and near came to express their regrets at his retirement, but he felt that a man who has reached his age should cease to be actively engaged in business. Mr. Nickerson, a deacon in the Advent Christian Church of Somerville, and Mrs. Nickerson, a deaconess, were presented with an electric clock and a floor lamp by the church group in a surprise at the home of Dr. I.F. Barnes, pastor of the church. Mr. Nickerson has purchased a small farm in Milton Mills, N.H., and will make his residence there (Boston Globe, April 24, 1934).

Herbert P. Nickerson, a six-year resident of Acton, ME, died in the Goodall hospital in Sanford, ME, June 13, 1939, aged eighty-one years, six months, and twenty-two days. Mabel E. ((Lovell) Durrell) Nickerson, a fifteen-year resident of Milton Mills, died in Portsmouth, NH, December 29, 1950, aged seventy-nine years.

West Lebanon-native Capt. Frank Irwin Jones, who had worked for many years in the Boston Police Department, died in Boston, MA, and was buried in Milton.

Jones, Frank I - BG120713FUNERAL IN MILTON, N.H., OF CAPT JONES. Commanded Back-Bay Station Four Years. Capt. Frank I. Jones, retired from the Boston Police Department as commander of the Back Bay division in the Summer of 1912, was buried today at Milton, N.H. Funeral services were conducted yesterday afternoon by Rev M.F. Allbright, pastor of the Allston Congregational Church. Capt. Jones was born in West Lebanon, Me., came to this city, was appointed a policeman in 1881 and did work at Brighton. His efficiency was quickly brought to the attention of his superiors and he was promoted to sergeantcy in 1898, remaining at Brighton. The following year he was transferred to Back Bay and later served at La Grange st. In 1901 he was made lieutenant and continued at La Grange st. until Feb. 8, 1908, when he was promoted to captain and given command of the Back Bay Division. The manner in which he protected the property of the people in that section won for him many commendations. His insistence on constant patrol of the alleys in the Back Bay stopped the breaks in that section, which were numerous when he took command. He was the proud possessor of a bronze medallion presented him by His Eminence William Cardinal O’Connell for the manner in which he handled the centennial celebration of the Archdiocese of Boston. In the Summer of 1912, he retired from the Police Department. He was suffering from a stomach ailment at the time and it was feared that he would not live long. However he was 76 years of age at the time of his death. Recently he lived at 332 Center st. in Jamaica Plain (Boston Globe, May 21, 1934).

George A. Stevens and his wife, Martha A. (Miller) Stevens, continued to visit back and forth between Northfield, VT, and Milton Mills, as they had for a couple of years. But Mrs. Nellie (Coburn) Greenwood was taking care of the Northfield side of things.

NORTHFIELD FALLS. George Stevens, who is working in Milton Mills, N.H., was at home over Memorial Day (Burlington Free Press, June 1, 1934).

NORTHFIELD FALLS. Mrs. George A. Stevens went to Milton Mills. N.H., on Monday to visit for a time with her husband and sister in that place. Mrs. Nellie Greenwood is keeping house for her (Burlington Free Press, July 7, 1934).

NORTHFIELD FALLS. Elwin Stevens and John and Howard Lyon went to Milton Mills, N.H., Tuesday (Burlington Free Press, July 19, 1934).

NORTHFIELD FALLS. George A. Stevens and grandson, Elwin Stevens, of Milton Mills, N.H., were in town over the week-end. Mrs. Stevens, who has been visiting in Milton Mills for the past month, returned home with them (Burlington Free Press, August 2, 1934).

NORTHFIELD FALLS. Mrs. George A. Stevens was called to Milton Mills, N.H., Tuesday to attend the funeral of her sister’s husband, Charles Rhodes (Burlington Free Press, August 9, 1934).

Leroy J. Ford, a 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). Leroy J. Ford owned their house on the Teneriffe Mountain Road. They had a radio set. And cats, prior to the fire, they had two Angora cats.

TWO MILTON, N.H., CATS RECEIVED MILK DIRECT. The Ford farm here in Milton, before the recent fire caused by lightning which completely wiped out the entire stand of farm buildings, was before that lamentable occasion the scene at milking time of an unusual and amusing daily occurrence. Mr. Ford, who is, incidentally, one of the most progressive farmers in this vicinity, keeps a large herd of cows and does a thriving retail milk business. His place was formerly equipped with a private electric lighting plant, which not only furnished lights for his buildings, but had provided current for operating his milking machines and for other uses. Mr. Ford has a decided fondness for animal pets and had supported, before his misfortune, several cats, two of whom, it is understood, were of the Angora breed. These two cats, said to have been lost in the fire, were endowed with unique and interesting characteristics and were a source of much amusement and pleasure to their owner and others. As is customary, after the milking by machinery had been done, the process was completed by “hand stripping.” Each evening, while the milkman was engaged in this finishing process, one of the two cats referred to, which may be here designated as cat No. 1, would approach near the scene of action, and, raising itself on its haunches, with rapid movement of its paws, would “beg” for a share of the fruits of the milkman’s efforts. Such a display of animal intelligence and implied requirement was not lost on the milkman, who would promptly and with dexterity born of experience, direct a stream of the life-giving fluid into the cat’s open mouth, the cat, meanwhile, maintaining its erect position. When its appetite had been amply satiated, cat No. 1 would retire to a nearby point, where it would proceed to neatly perform its ablutions, when cat No. 2, who had been a patient observer of the aforesaid operation, would come to the front and perform the same act of solicitation as had its predecessor, and it would also receive its portion of sustenance in a like manner. Reader can you beat it? – Rochester Courier (Boston Globe, August 15, 1934).

Leroy J. Ford appeared also in the Milton directory of 1930, as a milk farmer. One of the most “progressive” farmers in the vicinity would have been one that used the latest methods and machinery. Note that the cats are farm machines of a sort too, although less progressive. They earned their keep through their prowess as mousers. Their names, assuming they had names, were not mentioned.

NORTHFIELD FALLS. G.A. Stevens and grandson, Elwin, and Scott Bumford of Milton Mills, N.H., were in town Saturday, returning home Sunday. They brought Mrs. Stevens home from attending the funeral of a relative (Burlington Free Press, August 16, 1934).

Miss Beatrice M. Nutter joined the staff of Nute High School for the 1934-35 academic year.

Nutter, Beatrice - The Granite, 1933 - Detail
Beatrice Nutter

Beatrice Nutter of Rochester, NH, appeared in the University of New Hampshire yearbook of 1933. She was a graduate of Rochester High School, a member of the Kappa Delta, the Commuters’ Club, and for two years of the Riflery Club. She was a “cadet” teacher at New Ipswich, NH, during the 1933-34 academic year.

NEW IPSWICH. Mr. and Mrs. Lester Smith returned from Rochester, N.H, to be ready for the opening of school today. Miss Beatrice Nutter, who was cadet teacher last year, will teach in Milton, N.H., high school this year (Fitchburg Sentinel, September 4, 1934).

Chester C. Nutter, a farmer, aged fifty-three years (b. NH), headed a Rochester, NH, household at the time of the Sixteenth (1940) Federal Census. His household included his wife, Catherine F. [(Quinn)] Nutter, aged fifty-two years (b. NH), his daughter, Beatrice M. Nutter, a high school teacher, aged twenty-eight years (b. NH), and his sister-in-law, Margaret A. Stevens, a shop factory fancy stitcher, aged fifty-nine years (b. NH). Charles C. Nutter owned their farm at 60 Leonard Street, which was valued at $4,000.

NORTHFIELD FALLS. G.A. Stevens and grandson, Elwin Stevens of Milton Mills, N.H., were at home over the week-end and holiday (Burlington Free Press, September 7, 1934).

The N.B. Thayer & Co. shoe factory in East Rochester closed its doors and the company itself went out of business.

ROCHESTER SHOE PLANT TO CLOSE. Rochester, Sept. 10 – A record of 28 years in the manufacture of shoes in this city and 62 years in New England will be closed within a fortnight when the N.B. Thayer Shoe Co. at East Rochester will go out of business. Real grief was shown by employes Wednesday when many of the workers, including women, cleared up their benches and cleaned the machines in the factory preparatory to leaving. Others will complete their duties soon and all will look for employment in other shops. The company was founded in 1872 by Nathaniel [Noah] B. Thayer and was later conducted by his son, Frank H. Thayer, who moved the business from Roxbury, Mass., to Milton, N.H.. in 1887. Mr. Thayer died several years ago after turning the business over to a stock company, which he formed. The factory has been operated in East Rochester since 1906. Competition became keen in the retail trade in which the factory supplied goods and recent reduction in the retail price, with a corresponding reduction in the manufacturing price, caused the Thayer company to decide to retire. Ross Harrison, president of the company, severed his connection last week, and Wednesday John Conathan, superintendent for several years, left for St. Louis, where he has secured a position. Several companies are reported to be seeking the factory, which will be sold to the highest bidder (Portsmouth Herald, September 10, 1934).

NORTHFIELD FALLS. G.A. Stevens and grandson, Elwin Stevens, who have employment in Milton Mills, N.H., were at their home over the week-end (Burlington Free Press, October 5, 1934).

Snatch-and-grab thieves stole Walt Cheney’s pet pig from his Plummer’s Ridge farm. His children must have been inconsolable.

Walter L. Cheney, a fibre mill laborer, aged thirty-two years (b. NH), headed a Milton household at the time of the Fifteenth (1930) Census. His household included his wife (of eight years), Velena [M. (Ellis)] Cheney, aged twenty-five years (b. NH), and his children, Mary Cheney, aged six years (b. NH), Phyllis Cheney, aged five years (b. NH), Alice Cheney, aged four years (b. NH), and Robert Cheney, aged two years (b. NH). Walter L. Cheney rented their house on Plummer’s Ridge, for $10 per month. They had a radio set. The census enumerator recorded their household between those of George W. Ellis, a laundryman, aged sixty-seven years (b. NH), and Rolf A. Osterman, a theatrical house manager, aged thirty-nine years (b. MA). (See Milton and Ye Ragged Robin Tea Shop).

Flashes of Life. MILTON, N.H. – This little piggy went – nobody knows where. The pig pet of Farmer Walt Cheney was cavorting in the yard when strangers drove up and asked for some water for their car. Cheney gave them the water and went into the house. As he closed the door he heard a squeal and turned. Both the pig and the strangers were gone (Brownsville Herald (Brownsville, TX), October 13, 1934).

Shortly after this Walter L. and Velena M. (Ellis) Cheney moved to Lebanon, ME. That is to say, they chose a location less accessible to White Mountain Highway-men.

NORTHFIELD FALLS. Elwin Stevens is at home for ten days from his work at Milton Mills, N.H., the mill there being closed for repairs (Burlington Free Press, November 8, 1934).

Jones, Robert E - Dramatic ImaginationThe forty-seventh birthday of Milton-native and well-known theatrical designer was noticed in various papers around the country.

Fred P. Jones, a lumberman, aged sixty years (b. NH), headed a Milton household at the time of the Fourteenth (1920) Federal Census. His household included his wife, Emma C. [(Cowell)] Jones, aged sixty years (b. ME), and his children, Charles Jones, YMCA Physical education work, aged thirty-four years (b. NH), Robert E. Jones, a theatrical costume designer, aged thirty-two years (b. NH), Elizabeth Jones (b. NH), aged twenty-five years (b. NH), and Alice V. Jones, aged twenty-three years (b. NH). Fred P. Jones owned their farm on the Plummer’s Ridge Road. The census enumerator recorded their household between those of Charles E. Perkins, a lumberman teamster, aged fifty-three years (b. NH), and Bard B. Plummer, a farmer, aged forty years (b. NH).

Today’s Birthdays. Robert E. Jones, New York theatrical designer, born at Milton, N.H., 47 years ago (Kokomo Tribune (Kokomo, IN), December 12, 1934).

NORTHFIELD FALLS. G.A. Stevens was home over the week-end from his work in Milton Mills, N.H. He and his grandson, Elwin Stevens, returned to Milton Mills Christmas day (Burlington Free Press, December 28, 1934).

Previous in sequence: Milton in the News – 1933; next in sequence: Milton in the News – 1935


Find a Grave. (2011, May 28). Capt. George A. Ham. Retrieved from

Find a Grave. (2012, February 20). John Robinson Swinerton. Retrieved from

Find a Grave. (2017, June 30). Leroy Jacob Ford. Retrieved from

Find a Grave. (2002, November 6). Margaret O. “Maggie” Newell Corbett. Retrieved from

Find a Grave. (2017, April 18). Walter Leon Cheney. Retrieved from

Wikipedia. (2019, September 11). Robert Edmond Jones. Retrieved from

Author: Muriel Bristol

"Lady drinking tea"

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