Milton in the News – 1939

By Muriel Bristol (Transcriber) | December 8, 2019

In this year, we encounter volunteer woodsmen, a police investigation, a winter carnival, a cottage for rent, an auto stalled on the tracks, a possible ice cream venue, mice in the radiator, a two-family house for sale, a fatal fire, a coed colonel, a Milton Mills lodge for ski travelers, and Christmas bonuses.

This was the year of the Horne murder, in which John H. Howland murdered Milton-native Maude F. Horne, on Friday, February 3, 1939.

This was also the year in which the Second World War began, when National Socialist (Nazi) Germany invaded Poland, on September 1, 1939. (Let us not forget the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (U.S.S.R.), which invaded Poland from the other side, and murdered 22,000 Polish officer prisoners and civilians in or near the Katyn forest).

Eighteen men and four horses gathered at the Nute Chapel woodlot in West Milton to clear away wind-blown timber. It might have been freshly damaged timber, but more likely it had been brought down in September by the Hurricane of ’38.

ODD ITEMS from EVERYWHERE. Eighteen men recently gathered at the parsonage woodlot of Nute Chapel, West Milton, N.H., and worked with four horses to salvage the blown-down timber, while the women of the community did their part in the kitchen, preparing winner for the toilers (Boston Globe, January 11, 1939).

HERE and THERE. Eighteen men gathered a short time ago at the parsonage woodlot of Nute Chapel at West Milton and worked with four horses to salvage the blown-down timber, while the women of the community did their part in the kitchen, preparing a dinner for the workers (Portsmouth Herald, January 11, 1939).

One wonders what the dinner might have been. Something both wholesome and toothsome, no doubt.

Here follows some additional details regarding John H. Howland’s February murder of Miss Maude F. Horne (beyond those set out already in Milton and the Horne Murder – 1939).

Milton’s then Police Chief Downs had appointed the felon Howland as a special or reserve police officer during the Hurricane of ’38. The Chief had supplied him at that time with a coat and a heavy flashlight. The same flashlight is discussed here as possibly having been the murder weapon. George McKeagney replaced Chief Downs at the March election.

Seek to Question Pal. MILTON, N.H., Feb. 6. After questioning scores of townspeople in the new Nute High School at Milton, N.H., during the day, Strafford County Solicitor John F. Beamis announced tonight that an appeal would be broadcast for information on Edwin (Buddy) Howard, pal of John N. Howland, missing suspect in the case, who assisted the suspect in writing several pieces of music. Beamis appealed to Howard to come forward and submit voluntarily to questioning. The solicitor said that the state officials were seeking additional information about Howland. Beamis also said that the state officers now have corroborative testimony that Howland and his 15-year-old girl friend were seen near the home of the murdered woman, at about the time the murder occurred. Last Saturday, a neighbor, Mrs. Charlotte Garyait, placed the young man and girl in Miss Horne’s home at the approximate time of the crime. The latest evidence, Beamis said, places the pair on the Farmington road [now Elm Street], a few hundred feet away from the Horne residence. He would not reveal the identity of his informants.

Kept Little Cash in House. To assure full cooperation from the 1200 farmers and mill workers who live in Milton, Atty. Gen. Thomas P. Cheney issued a circular today which was distributed to every home, calling upon anybody with information to get in touch with investigating officials. The townspeople were also asked if they had any recent conversations with any of the three. That the murderer obtained less than $35 from Miss Horne’s purses was ventured by Beamis. He said that the murdered woman was not in the habit of having much money in the house despite the fact that her uncle, who died four months ago, left her $3322 in cash as part of his estate. The uncle’s estate was valued at more than $10,000. Mrs. Ina Shaw of West Lebanon, Me., a former resident of East Rochester, told the authorities that she called on Miss Horne Friday and she was in good spirits. She said she showed her around the house and even went to the garage where the car, which is now missing, was located. The mother of Howland, Mrs. Rose Abrams of Reading, Mass., who has been residing in a one-story house on Main st., went to Boston last Wednesday, Beamis stated. She did not know where her son was while in the city. She returned here after the crime. Howland is a parolee from an Ohio prison to which he had been sentenced from one to 20 years for the larceny of an automobile. He served as a special police officer in Milton, during the weeks immediately after the hurricane last September, Chief Downs asserted. At that time he borrowed one of the Chief’s police coats and also five-call flashlight, neither of which were ever returned. The medical examiner has been asked to report whether or not a heavy flashlight could have caused the wound to the murdered woman’s head (Boston Globe, February 7, 1939).

John W. Shaw, a private shop barber, aged seventy-three years (b. England), headed a Lebanon, ME, household at the time o the Sixteenth (1940) Federal Census. His household included his wife, Ina M. [(Blaisdell)] Shaw, aged sixty-three years (b. ME). John M. Shaw rented their West Lebanon house, for $5 per month. (They had lived in Rochester, NH, as late as April 1, 1935).

Milton held a winter carnival Friday and Saturday, February 11-12.

Week-End Events. SATURDAY AND SUNDAY. Milton, N.H. – Carnival (Boston Globe, [Friday,] February 10, 1939).

The Portsmouth owner of a Milton beach-front cottage offered it for rent. It had several attractive amenities.

FOR RENT. FOR RENT – Furnished cottage Milton, N.H. Fireplace, sleeping porch, conveniences. Sandy beach with boat. Tel. Ports. 2732-14. 3t J5 (Portsmouth Herald, June 6, 1939).

An automobile driven by Mrs. Elizabeth (Bronson) Maxfield, wife (since July 1938) of Rev. Leland Maxfield, stalled on the railroad tracks, at Porter’s crossing in Milton. She and one of her two passengers were seriously injured when the automobile was struck by a northbound train.

Two Women Hurt as Train Hits Car at Milton, N.H. MILTON, N.H., July 8 (A. P.) – Two women were injured critically and a man escaped with cuts and bruises today when a Boston to North Conway railroad train struck an automobile stalled across the tracks a mile beyond Milton. The injured were listed as Mrs. Elizabeth Maxfield of Milton, driving a car owned by the Milton Red Cross Chapter, and two passengers, Mr. and Mrs. Harry Large of Lebanon, N.H. Names of the two women were placed on the danger list at Rochester Hospital. Doctors said Mrs. Maxfield had several broken ribs and internal injuries and Mrs. Large suffered a fractured leg and probable internal injuries (Boston Globe, July 8, 1939).

Mrs. Large never fully recovered from her injuries. She died three years later in July 1942.

Harry D. Large, no occupation given, aged sixty-six years (b. NH), headed a Lebanon, ME, household at the time of the Sixteenth (1940) Federal Census. His household included his wife [of thirty-six years], Alberta G. [(Shorey)] Large, aged sixty-four years (b. NH). Harry D. Large owned their house, which was valued at $1,500. They were said to have lived in the “same house” in 1935. (They had resided in Malden, MA, in 1930).

Prior to this accident, trains struck motorcars at Milton level crossings in June 1917, August 1920, and December 1927.

Miss Meredith E. Corkins, aged about twenty-six years, put aside her apron at her brother’s Green Shutters ice cream parlor in Wilmington, VT, in order to put on another at The Ice Box in Milton, NH.

Wilmington. Miss Meredith Corkins, who has been assisting at the Green Shutters for several weeks, has left for Milton, N.H., where she will be employed for two or three weeks at The Ice Box (Brattleboro Reformer, September 9, 1939).

When it opened in May 1935, the Green Shutters was described in the Bennington, VT, newspaper. The paper provided few details of the parlor’s menu, but its description of the color scheme was quite complete.

WILMINGTON. The “Green Shutters” opened last Saturday under the management of Mr. and Mrs. Ray Corkins. The outside has been newly painted white with green shutters. The interior is attractive in red and cream. A modern soda fountain has been installed with novel lighting effects. The booths are finished in mahogany. The waitresses, Louise Ray and Lilla Shultz, are dressed in green and white (Bennington Banner, May 10, 1935).

Milton’s “The Ice Box” ice cream parlor has proven somewhat elusive, assuming it existed in Milton at all. Editors, reporters and typesetters sometimes mistook Milton for Wilton. In looking for it, one finds that the newspapers were overflowing with offers to take one’s old ice box in partial trade for a new electric one, and overflowing too with many, many recipes for ice box cakes and cookies. Both of which made searching for “Ice Box” like looking for a needle in a haystack.

One remembers Charles L. Morrison, the Boston & Maine Railroad gate tender mentioned in 1929 as having a large appetite for ice cream.

Mice fled the radiator of a wood-sawing machine when it was filled with water. It might have been their mousey descendants that built a nest in the air duct of my automobile.

Probably it was the same instinct which causes rats to leave a sinking ship that made mice leave the radiator of a wood-sawing machine at Milton, N.H., when the owner began to pour in water preparatory to starting operations. The mice had built a nest inside the radiator and it blocked passages in the cooling system so that nearly a full day was required to make repairs on the system. That’s something for Ripley to work on (Burlington Free Press, October 6, 1939).

Here we find advertised an offer of a seller-financed mortgage. The owner wanted 25% down, and would apparently negotiate payment terms for the other 75%. (Other sellers on the same page offered to finance fifteen or twenty-year mortgages).

THE REAL ESTATE MARKET. BARGAIN! – $1500 buys my Milton, N.H., 2-family; fully rented, $26 monthly; cost $6000. OWNER, P 414. Globe (Boston Globe, October 25, 1939).

The $6,000 price would have today the spending power of $109,757. Few would consider that to be much spending power when buying current two-family houses.

One might almost suppose that government guarantees of mortgages, like its guarantees of student loans, and guarantees of other things, actually causes a greater rate of inflation in those “guaranteed” markets.

David Knight Pinkham, also known as David Knight, died when the “one-room board camp” in which he was sleeping “burned to the ground.”

NEW HAMPSHIRE MAN DIES IN FIRE AT CAMP. MILTON, N.H., Nov. 20 (AP). David Knight, 52, perished in a fire which during the night destroyed a woods camp on Jones river, five miles from Milton. Medical Referee Forrest L. Keay reported death was accidental. Knight formerly lived at South Berwick, Me., and at Dover and had served in the navy (Rutland Herald, November 21, 1939).

His Milton death record explained that “His charred remains [were] found in camp of Bard B. Plummer near Jones River at northeastern part of Teneriffe Mt., Milton, N.H.” The camp was described also as a “wood chopper’s camp.” The unfortunate Mr. Knight was buried on the Milton Town Farm.

Identify Victim of Milton Fire. Milton, Nov. 24 – The body of a man tentatively identified as that of David “Knight,” aged about 53, discovered as the victim of death by burning Sunday evening, Nov. 19, at a lumberman’s camp on the northeast side of Teneriffe Mountain in this town, has been identified as that of David Pinkham, Both names belong to the same man. From investigation by Deputy Sheriff Lyman Plummer, whose father owns the land on which camp is located, it was learned that the name “Knight” was that of man’s step-father, Fred Knight. He has a daughter by the name Beatrice J. Pinkham, born May 1922, in Dover, but her whereabouts is unknown. Unable to locate any relatives, Deputy Plummer and Chief of Police George McKeagney of Milton buried the remains in the town cemetery here (Portsmouth Herald, November 24, 1939).

Ruth Phyllis “Phyllis” Iovine of Milton, a Boston University student in the Class of 1940, was a leading candidate for coed colonel of the annual B.U. military ball.

Co-Ed Colonel Candidates - BG391214B.U. Co-Ed Colonel Candidates. Phyllis Iovine, Milton, N.H., at left, and Georgianna Harris, Carlisle, Penn., are leading candidates for coed colonel at the annual Boston University Military Ball, Friday night, in the main ballroom of the Hotel Statler. The affair is sponsored by the university chapter of Scabbard and Blade (Boston Globe, December 14, 1939).

Ruth Phyllis Iovine, of Milton, NH, a schoolteacher, married in St. Thomas (Episcopal) Church in Dover, NH, October 27, 1946, Robert Samuel Boak, Jr., of Portsmouth, NH, a radio announcer.

Boston doctor and pharmacist Fred M. Drake opened a vacation lodge at Milton Mills.

Fred M. Drake appeared in Boston directory of 1939, as running a retail drug store at 54 Fairmount av. in the Hyde Park district of Boston, MA. He and his wife, Marjorie F. [(Folger)] Drake, resided in the Squantum district of Quincy, MA.

WINTER SPORTS. Dr. Fred M. Drake, formerly of Hyde Park, has opened a vacation lodge at Milton Mills, N.H., and is recommending it as a stop-over for snow parties en route further north. It’s 100 miles from Boston, north of Rochester off Route 16 (Boston Globe, December 15, 1939).

Dr. and Mrs. Drake do not appear in the Boston directory of 1940, nor in the Sixteenth (1940) Federal Census. One supposes they were in Milton Mills. However, Fred M. Drake appeared in the Boston directory of 1941, as an osteopathic physician, at 15 Fairmount av. in the Hyde Park district of Boston, MA. He and his wife, Marjorie F. Drake, resided at 475 Washington street in Dedham, MA.

The Spaulding Fibre company, having considered its financial situation, chose to give out Christmas bonuses to its employees ten days before Christmas.

The $2.50 rate it gifted to someone having worked in any month would have today the spending power of about $45.75. (The six-month bonus would have the modern spending value of $274.50, and the full-year bonus would be worth $549.00). Ho, ho, ho.

Rochester, N.H., Dec. 15 (AP) Employes of the five mills of the Spaulding Fibre company, owned and operated by the former New Hampshire governors, Huntley N. and Rolland H. Spaulding, received Christmas bonuses today. All employes of record last December, who worked part of each month in 1939, received $30; those who worked in six months received $15, and others received $2.50 for each month. The mills are in Townsend Harbor, Mass., Rochester, North Rochester and Milton, N.H. (Bennington Evening Banner (Bennington, VT), December 15, 1939).

Rolland Spaulding, a fibre manufacturer, aged sixty-seven years (b. MA), headed a Rochester, NH, household at the time of the Sixteenth (1940) Federal Census. His household included his wife, Vera G. [(Going)] Spaulding, aged fifty-seven years (b. MA), his children, Virginia Spaulding, aged nineteen years (b. MA), and Betty Spaulding, aged seventeen years (b. MA), and his servants, Alice Beckingham, a private family maid, aged thirty-one years (b. NH), and Eleanor Higgins, a private family cook, aged thirty-eight years (b. NH). Rolland Spaulding owned their house at 76 Wakefield Street, which was valued at $45,000.

Huntley Spaulding, a fibre manufacturer, aged seventy years (b. MA), headed a Rochester, NH, household at the time of the Sixteenth (1940) Federal Census. His household included his wife, Harriet [(Mason)] Spaulding, aged sixty-three years (b. MA), his servants, Ina [(Brown)] Wood, a private family cook, aged thirty-eight years (b. NH), and Wendell Wood, a private family chauffeur, aged forty-five years (b. MA). Rolland Spaulding owned their house at 78 Wakefield Street, which was valued at $35,000. (Joshua Studley, a greenhouse proprietor, aged forty-two years (b. MA), resided at 82 Wakefield Street).

Those interested in orthography may note that the news article used still the original French spelling of employé or employe, with a single trailing “e.” Also that the company name features the British spelling “Fibre,” rather than the more American “Fiber.”

Previous in sequence: Milton in the News – 1938; next in sequence: Milton in the News – 1940


Wikipedia. (2019, December 1). Hyde Park, Boston. Retrieved from,_Boston

Wikipedia. (2019, December 7). Katyn Massacre. Retrieved from

Wikipedia. (2019, November 2). Orthography. Retrieved from

Wikipedia. (2019, December 2). Robert Ripley. Retrieved from


Author: Muriel Bristol

"Lady drinking tea"

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