Milton in the News – 1937

By Muriel Bristol (Transcriber) | November 24, 2019

In this year, we encounter the Salem Shoe company in a labor negotiation, an auto fatality, a Townsend club meeting in West Milton, a drowning death, a Salem Shoe company factory purchase, some volunteer assistance, Rev. Frank H. Snell accepting a call, and relocation of the Town Pound.

Unionized shoe shops in Salem, MA, including the Salem Shoe company, faced again the same union 15% wage increase demanded in 1935. Milton’s branch of the Salem Shoe company was an “open” shop, i.e., a non-union shop, which the Salem union planned to picket if Easter work were redirected here.

NINE SHOPS HOLD UP SHOE PAY INCREASE. Four in Lynn, Five in Salem Still Negotiating. Five shoe shops in Salem and four in Lynn, which have not granted a flat 15 percent increase to their employees, were still dickering with William B. Mahan, general organizer of the United Shoe and Leather Workers’ Union, last night. The wage increase has been granted in other unionized shops. The conference with the Salem Shoe Company was postponed until Monday after the workers were reported to have refused a compromise offer of 7½ percent now and 7½ more July 1. Meanwhile the union officials were considering a rumor that the Salem Shoe Company, which operates an open shoe shop plant in Milton, N.H., might be able to complete its Easter orders at the New Hampshire factory. Plans were under discussion for picketing the New Hampshire plant if the company should inaugurate such a move. The Maxwell Shoe Company in Lynn indicated yesterday that it might go out of business but if enough orders are on hand, the shop will run, granting the workers the flat 15 percent increase (Boston Globe, February 27, 1937).

SALEM SHOE FIRM GIVES 10 P.C. RAISE. SALEM, March 13. The Salem Shoe Company today granted a 10 percent wage increase to 275 workers, who had returned to work 19 days ago, following the general leather strike. Arbitration proceedings are now going on in three other companies here, the Becket, Tarlow and Harbor Shoe Companies. It is reported that employees of those firms are seeking a 15 percent raise. They have been offered a 10 percent increase now and 5 percent in July. Those three concerns employ some 105 persons (Boston Globe, March 13, 1937).

Spaulding mill laborer Napoleon “Paul” Marcoux died in a head-on collision with a truck during a snowstorm. The collision occurred in Rochester, NH, on April 2, “on road from Milton to Rochester,” i.e., on the White Mountain Highway in north Rochester.

Napoleon O. Marcoux, a fiber mill laborers, 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 six years), Hazel M. [(Downs)] Marcoux, aged twenty-two years (b. NH), his children, Edna Marcoux, aged six years (b. NH), Archie Marcoux, aged five years (b. NH), and Joseph Marcoux, aged three years (b. NH); his father-in-law, Fred Downs, an odd jobs laborer, aged fifty-two years (b. NH), and his brother, Alcid Marcoux, a fibre mill laborer, aged twenty-two years (b. NH). Napoleon O. Marcoux rented their house on Spaulding Avenue, for $8 per month. They did not have a radio set.

Napoleon O. Marcoux appeared as a Spaulding employee, with a house in Milton, in the Milton business directories of 1930 and 1936-37. His wife Hazel Marcoux appeared with him.

New England Briefs. Milton, N.H., April 3 (AP) – Nine children were left fatherless today with the death of Paul Marcoux, 39, mill worker, instantly killed when his auto and a heavy truck collided during a snowstorm (North Adams Transcript, April 3, 1937).

Rochester death records gave the cause of his death as a “fractured skull caused by collision of his automobile with an auto truck.”

(See below the November article in which forty-four Milton men helped his widow with house repairs).

Townsend PlanOne of Boston’s Townsend Clubs traveled by bus to West Milton for a lunch outing at the Canney Farm.

Dr. Francis E. Townsend was founder of those clubs, which had a national membership. (There is no known connection with the Townsend family of Milton).

Francis E. Townsend, a lecture hall pension lecturer, aged seventy-three years (b. IL), headed a Los Angeles, CA, household at the time of the Sixteenth (1940) Federal Census. His household included his wife, Minnie [(Aldrich)] Townsend, aged seventy years (b. WI), his son-in-law, James E. Shevling, a gas station manager, aged fifty-two years (b. SD), his daughter, Irene Shevling, aged forty-nine years (b. NE), and his granddaughter, Heloise Shevling, aged twenty-one years (b. CA). Francis E. Townsend owned their house at 227 New Hampshire Street, which was valued at $5,700.

Dr. Townsend proposed an elaborate scheme of an Old Age Revolving Pension Plan that would be funded by a Federal sales tax. He put forward the usual wild claims of economic stimulus to be expected from increased spending (drawn from decreased savings). Townsend clubs formed as social and political organizations in and after 1935 to advocate for Federal old age pensions. Their number would grow to 4,552 clubs.

TOWNSEND CLUB OF BOSTON ON WEST MILTON OUTING. WEST MILTON, N.H., July 5. Members of the Townsend Club No. 2 of Boston held their second annual mass meeting and outing this afternoon at the Canney farm here, and the gathering was also attended by members of the organization from New Hampshire. The Boston club members came here in busses, and despite the intense heat had an enjoyable time. Among the speakers were Rev. Thomas Laite of Nashua, general manager for New Hampshire, and John Doyle Elliott of Boston. Luncheon was served at the conclusion of the speaking program (Boston Globe, July 6, 1937).

A version of Dr. Townsend’s Old Age Revolving Pension Plan would be implemented in 1937 as the Social Security benefit program. Dr. Townsend was dissatisfied with the basic pension amount of $35, and other features of the Social Security Act. He was accused, probably unfairly, of profiting personally. (The Federal Department of Justice prosecuted him successfully for Contempt of Congress in 1936).

Social Security’s funding mechanism was certainly inadequate. It set up a sort of Ponzi scheme, whereby active workers paid for retired workers (whether those retired workers had ever paid into the system or not). It assumed that the growth in numbers of active workers would outpace always the growth in retired workers. That assumption was incorrect and unsustainable. The Social Security system is scheduled to outpace its Ponzi funding mechanism by 2035.

The U.S. Treasury Department issued the first Social Security benefit check, in the amount of $22.54, to Ida May Fuller of Brattleboro, VT,  on January 31, 1940. (She had paid into the system for three years only). Her check would have a current value of about $413.18.

A South Eliot, ME, guest of the Portsmouth Fire Department drowned while attending their Milton outing.

Herman P. Dixon, a Navy Yard plumber, aged twenty-seven years (b. ME), headed an Eliot, ME, household at the time of the Fifteenth (1930) Federal Census. His household included his wife (of four years), Alice M. Dixon, aged twenty-three years (b. ME), and his child, Lois Dixon, aged two years (b. ME). Herman P. Dixon owned their two-family house on Main Street, which was valued at $3,000; his tenant, William E. Gerry, a plumber’s shop plumber, aged twenty-three years (b. ME), rented the other portion of the two-family house, for $15 per month.

Drowned at Milton, N.H. At Milton, N.H., the fourth drowning within two weeks in that vicinity occurred yesterday afternoon when Herman P. Dixon, 38, of South Eliot, Me., lost his life in the channel connecting Depot and Town-house Ponds. Company 2 of the Portsmouth Fire Department was having an outing there and Dixon was their guest. He went for a swim and when he did not appear, a search was made. Staton Curtis found the body and brought it ashore. Efforts to revive Dixon failed. He was employed at the Portsmouth Navy Yard, and is survived by a wife and two children. Two prostrations were reported to the Boston police. One was that of Frederick Parker, 13, of 6 Baxter place, Quincy, who collapsed from the heat in the grandstand at the double-header at Fenway Park. He was removed to the City Hospital where he was later discharged. Charles Baxter, 63, of Newport, R.I., collapsed from the heat in the Hay-market subway station while on his way to the ball game at Fenway Park. He was treated at the Hay-market Relief Hospital and released (Boston Globe, August 9, 1937).

Polish native and Salem Shoe company president John A. Kuczun purchased the former Kennebunk Manufacturing company factory in Milton, after an occupancy of two years.

SALEM SHOE COMPANY PURCHASES MILTON FACTORY. The purchase of the large shoe factory at Milton by the Salem Shoe Manufacturing Company Inc which took place recently furnishes gratifying news not only to the town of Milton but to surround communities where the occupancy of the purchasers for the past two years has contributed one of the most important employment resources of the region. The new owners acquire title from the Milton Holding Corporation. The Salem Shoe Company is no experiment in its field of enterprise and has demonstrated at this very location its ability to manufacture shoes. This concern has been on a steady production basis nearly all of the time it has occupied the Milton factory. The organization In its present form is recognized as one of the pioneer manufacturers of American welt dress shoes of men and boys and is at present maintaining a daily production basis of about 2,000 pairs. Figures of the organization best known to the people and interests of this locality are John Kuczun, president and owner, and Charles Moren, general manager (Farmington News, August 27, 1937).

John A. Kuczun, a shoe shop foreman, aged forty-two years (b. Poland), headed a Salem, MA, household at the time of the Fifteenth (1930) Federal Census. His household included his wife (of eleven years), Antonina Kuczun, aged thirty-three years (b. Poland), and his children Chester J. Kuczun, aged ten years (b. MA), Bertha C. Kuczun, aged eight years (b. MA), and Olga L. Kuczun, aged three years (b. MA). Both John A. Kuczun and his wife were naturalized aliens, who had immigrated to the U.S. in 1913. John A. Kuczun owned their house at 49 Dunlap Street, which was valued at $10,000. They did not have a radio set.

Spaulding Brothers supplied materials and forty-four Milton men volunteered to repair the modest home of Mrs. Hazel M. (Downs) Marcoux, whose husband Paul had died in an automobile accident in April (see above).

Odd Items from Everywhere. Mrs. Marcoux of Milton, N.H., was left a widow with nine children last Spring when her husband was killed in an automobile accident. Her modest home was sadly in need of repairs until last week when 44 Milton men got together and with material furnished by the local plant where her husband had been employed shingled the roof and walls, attached 11 storm windows and installed a new door. Then just to give good measure, they cut nine cords of wood enough for the entire Winter and piled it neatly in the shed (Boston Globe, November 16, 1937).

Rev. Frank Herbert Snell of the Milton Mills Baptist church accepted a call to the Green Street Baptist church in Melrose, MA. (He had auditioned unsuccessfully for such a call in other places in 1935).

Melrose. Rev. Frank H. Snell has assumed the pastorate of the Green Street Baptist Church, succeeding Rev. Frank M. Holt, who retired recently. Mr. Snell is the son of Mr. and Mrs. Lysander F. Snell, Tiverton, R.I., and received the degree of BD from Gordon College. For seven years he has been pastor of the Milton Mills, N.H., Baptist Church. He is married and has a 4-year-old daughter, Joan Mildred (Boston Globe, December 4, 1937).

Frank H. Snell, a church minister, aged thirty years (b. MA), headed a Melrose, MA, household at the time of the Sixteenth (1940) Federal Census. His household included his wife, Doris H. Snell, aged thirty-three years (b. NH), his child, Joan M. Snell, aged six years (b. NH), his mother-in-law, Florence Hapgood, retired, aged fifty-one years (b. NH), and his grandfather-in-law, Coleman Kelly, retired, aged sixty-nine years (b. NH). They resided at 14 Farwell Avenue. They had all resided in Acton, ME, in April 1935, except Florence Hapgood, who had resided in Whitefield, ME.

The Milton Town Pound was formerly closer to the White Mountain Highway and the original townhouse than it is now.

ODD ITEMS From EVERYWHERE. Early in the 19th century, when the town of Milton, N.H., was incorporated, a town pound was established opposite the town meetinghouse, but now, to make way for the straighter roads of progress, the pound has been removed backward 25 feet from its original location (Boston Globe, December 10, 1937).

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Find a Grave. (1999, May 1). Francis Everett Townsend. Retrieved from

Find a Grave. (2012), January 28). John A. Kuczun. Retrieved from

Find a Grave. (2013, November 12). Joseph Etienne Napoleon Marcoux. Retrieved from

Phoenix Masonry. (2015). Townsend Clubs. Retrieved from

Social Security Administration. (n.d.). The First Social Security Beneficiary. Retrieved from


Author: Muriel Bristol

"Lady drinking tea"

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