Milton in the News – 1944

By Muriel Bristol (Transcriber) | December 26, 2019

In this year, we encounter wasted lumber, book drive suggestions, hiring at Spaulding Fibre Company, a clubwomen’s convention, a camp for sale, the Silver Slipper dance hall, bean advice, a camp counselor, a fire at the Lebanon Academy, West Milton activities, and clubwomen at Fort Devens.

This was also the year in which the tide of war turned against the Axis powers. The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (U.S.S.R.) relieved the 872-day siege of Leningrad (in which a million people starved to death). The Allies invaded France (June), while at the same time (June) the U.S.S.R. destroyed its nemesis, the National Socialist (Nazi) German Army Group Centre. The US invaded the Japanese-held Marianas and Palau (June-November), Saipan (June), Peleliu (September), and the Philippines (October). The year closed with a Nazi German counterattack on the western Allies at the Battle of the Bulge (December).

West Milton farmer Horatio Butters wrote a letter to the editor of the Boston Globe opposing the use of spruce trees rather than balsam trees for Christmas trees.

What People Talk About. Letters from the Editor’s Mail. Wasted Lumber for 1000 Homes. To the Editor – I visited Boston’s market district two days before Christmas and found, to my surprise, massive piles of evergreen trees brought in for the Christmas trade promiscuously thrown into the street just as though no one cared. But the greatest shock came when, upon closer inspection, it developed that a great preponderance of those trees were baby spruce. For many years the balsam fir has been the standard Christmas tree. Why are these young spruce trees being slaughtered? When there is such a demand from our government for more and more timber, why not preserve these baby spruces and let them grow into sawable timber? It is safe to say that the greater part of these trees came from our own New England states, and that the farmer received the prodigious sum of 10 or 15 cents each. Wrapped up in those spruce trees were a potential million feet of timber enough to keep a large woodworking mill busy for three months or enough finished lumber to build approximately 1000 pretty homes. It is a well-known fact that while a few of the early speculators in Christmas trees gouged plenty out of defenseless citizens, many of them lost heavily. Let’s not have our forests denuded by speculators. May I suggest that the six New England Commissioners of Agriculture, especially Commissioners Webster of my own Massachusetts and Felker of New Hampshire, where my farming operations are carried on, contact their Legislatures and have laws enacted to prohibit the cutting of spruce trees until they are ready for the saw. HORATIO BUTTERS. Watertown and Milton, N.H. (Boston Globe, January 17, 1944).

Horatio Butters, a farmer, aged seventy-one years (b. ME), headed a Milton household at the time of the Sixteenth (1940) Federal Census. He owned his farm on the Nute Ridge road, which was valued at $2,900.

Mrs. Myrtle McLellan of Milton Mills had some suggestions to improve book drives for service men.

What People Talk About. Books for Service Men. To the Editor – I have been reading of the discouraging results of the drive to get books for our boys. It seems to me it is too impersonal, this asking for books and the donor knowing not where they are going or who will read them. Why not ask each parent, wife, relative or friend of a service man to give him a book. They know or should know the type of book he likes to read. In the books they select they may write the name and address of the man it is for, and all books will then be left at stated places, as in the past book drive. Books can then be forwarded to the proper addresses. If a man’s name is on the flyleaf I doubt if many “Alice in Wonderlands” are found among the gifts. The books would become the property of the camps to which they are sent, not of the individual. After the war they could be turned over to service hospitals. Why not a campaign to buy books for this purpose? And I feel sure a personal book drive would be a success. To do for one we love sends us out on winged feet. MRS. J.T. McLELLAN, Milton Mills, N.H. (Boston Globe, February 2, 1944).

Myrtle McLellan, aged forty-three years (b. ME), headed a Wrentham, MA, household at the time of the Sixteenth (1940) Federal Census. Her household included her husband, John T. McLellan, a restaurant manager, aged forty-five years (b. MA), and her son, John T. McLellan, Jr., aged fourteen years (b. MA). Myrtle McLellan rented their house at 243 East Street, for $25 per month. (They had resided in Belmont, MA, in 1935).

John Theodore McLellan of Milton Mills registered for the WW II military draft, August 4, 1943. He was aged eighteen years (born in Belmont, MA, August 4, 1925), and was employed by the South Portland Shipbuilding Company. He was 6′ tall, weighed 170 pounds, with a light complexion, blonde hair, and blue eyes.

Spaulding Fibre Company sought to hire workers not engaged in essential or locally needed activities at their highest war useful skill level. It expected to continue its activities after the “present emergency.”

EMPLOYEES NEEDED. MEN AND WOMEN. We need additional employees to maintain our production of War and Essential Civilian Products. We have been in business for many years and expect to continue operating after the present emergency is over. SPAULDING FIBRE CO., INC., NORTH ROCHESTER, N.H. Apply at our plants at North Rochester or Milton. (Workers now engaged in essential or locally needed activities at their highest war useful skill will NOT be considered) (Farmington News, March 31, 1944).

Mrs. Grace C. (Fletcher) Willey, president of the NH Federation of Women’s Clubs, represented New Hampshire at the triennial national convention of the Federation of Women’s Clubs.

N.E. Clubwomen Leave for Parley. A group of New England clubwomen, delegates to the national convention of the Federation of Women’s Clubs, holding its triennial conclave this week at St. Louis, left here yesterday. The transportation chairman, Mrs. William R. Walsh, of Bridgewater, was in charge. Mrs. Herbert F. French of Braintree, president of the Massachusetts State Federation, and General Federation director for Massachusetts, was accompanied by Mrs. Edwin Troland of Malden, dean of directors, and vice president; Mrs. Lewis C. Stevens, of Worcester, vice president; Mrs. Ralph G. Swain, of Brockton, secretary: Miss Vera F. Gould, of Swampscott, director, and Mrs. William A. Robb of Wollaston, senior sponsor; Mrs. J. Herbert Willey, of Milton, N.H., president of the New Hampshire Federation, and a group of delegates and alternates from all sections of the New England area. Miss Marjorie A. Burns of Roslindale. chairman of junior membership, and her staff were on hand to bid bon voyage to Elizabeth Powers of Stoughton and Marion Fillmore of Arlington, winners in the junior scholarship travel contest, who are to be guests at St. Louis (Boston Globe, April 24, 1944).

James H. Willey, a drug store druggist, aged sixty-five years (b. NH), headed a Milton household at the time of the Sixteenth (1940) Federal Census. His household included his wife, Grace F. [(Fletcher)] Willey, aged forty-four years (b. ME), and his children, Herbert F. Willey, aged nineteen years (b. NH), and Frances Willey, aged fourteen years (b. NH). James H. Willey owned their house in the “Milton Community,” which was valued at $2,000. They had all resided in the “same house” in 1935.

(For further details of J. Herbert Willey’s drugstore, see Milton in the News – 1913).

REAL ESTATE FOR SALE. Houses for Sale. 120. FOR SALE – Camp at Milton, N.H., location on the waterfront. Phone 815. 3t a25 (Portsmouth Herald, April 25, 1944).

Red’s Music Makers had reopened the Silver Slipper dance hall in Milton in November 1943. Their tenure would seem to have been brief, as Jack Howard is here reported to have opened it for the 1944 season.

JACK HOWARD OPENING SILVER SLIPPER AT MILTON. The dance fans of this vicinity will follow Jack Howard to Milton this Friday night, May 5, when he will open the Silver Slipper ballroom for weekly dances. His famous All Ace band will be the musical feature and it is expected that the hall will be packed. The well known Silver Slipper always has been a popular amusement resort and Jack Howard has the biggest dance following of any amusement promoter over a wide area. These attractions without question will overflow the house on every open date (Farming News, May 5, 1944).

Jack Howard of Farmington, NH, had been a proprietor of the Frolic Haven dance pavilion in its later years, as well as a restaurateur and dance promoter in Farmington, NH, and other locales.

Horatio Butters here offered his advice on the relative merits of pole beans versus bush beans.

Pole Vs. Bush Beans. To the Editor – A Globe reader inquires about the comparative production of pole and bush beans. As an experienced farmer I submit the following calculation. To acquire the highest production of quality beans, poles for same should be set four feet apart each way., to admit sun and air, thus requiring 16 square feet for each hill of four beans. With plenty to eat and thorough cultivation that hill will produce one quart of dry beans. In the same space you would have 1 1-3 rows three feet long with eight stalks of bush beans, which’ under good treatment will produce one pint of dry beans. In a nutshell, on 16 square feet of land planted to pole beans one would expect one quart of dry beans, but on the same area the bush beans will return one pint of dry beans. On a small lot this difference seems trivial but on a larger space the difference is astounding. For instance, on one acre there would be 2722 hills of pole beans, consequently that number of extra pints, which amounts to 45 bushels of dry beans. The current price of 13 cents per pound shows a gain of $403 of pole beans over the bush variety. The great drawback in planting pole beans is the high price of the poles, which are hard to procure, and the labor required to set them in the ground. HORATIO BUTTERS. Milton, N.H. (Boston Globe, June 17, 1944).

Miss Werna Ross of New York, NY, took a summer job as a counselor at Camp Colonies in Milton.

CAMP INSTRUCTOR. WARRENSBURG. Miss Werna Ross, who has been spending two weeks with her mother, Mrs. Nina Ross, has left for Camp Colonies, Milton, N.H., where she will be a councillor. Miss Ross has completed her second year in the Brooklyn College. At Camp Colonies she will act as tutor and give swimming instruction (Post Star (Glen Falls, NY), June 30, 1944).

Anne Kirwin, a telephone operator, aged thirty-seven years (b. NY), headed a New York, NY, household at the time of the Sixteenth (1940) Federal Census. Her household included her children, Clinton Kirwin, aged thirteen years (b. NY), and Anne Kirwin, aged ten years (b. NY). It also included her lodgers, apparently in a separate unit. They were lodger Nina Ross, aged forty-seven years (b. NY), and her lodger’s children, Lionel E. Ross, a NYA student, aged twenty-four years (b. NY), Ryburn Ross, aged nineteen years (b. NY), and Werna Ross, aged eighteen years (b. NY). Anne Kirwin rented their house at 552 Dean Street, for $45 per month.

The Sanford, ME, Rochester, and Milton, NH, fire departments helped put out a fire near the Lebanon Academy in West Lebanon, ME.

WATER CARRIED TO FIRE. 900 Gallons Trucked 14 Miles to Fight Blaze In Maine. WEST LEBANON, Me. (AP) Nine hundred gallons of water were rushed 14 miles over the road yesterday to help battle a blaze which damaged historic Lebanon Academy. West Lebanon has no fire protection and the water had to be brought from Sanford, Me. Booster pumps came from Rochester and Milton, N.H., as townsfolk fought the fire with water in washtubs and boilers. The amount of the damage was not determined Immediately (Brattleboro Reformer, July 15, 1944).

Here we find war news of several West Milton residents and the activities of the Nute Ridge Grange.

WEST MILTON. Fred McGregor. Sgt. George Bigelow, U.S.M.C., who is having a furlough after two years service in the various battle areas of the Pacific, has been visiting his uncle, Rev. E.L. Bigelow. Norma Nute, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Ray Nute, will soon qualify as a cadet nurse. Horace Wentworth has been on the sick list and in care of a physician. Norris Anderson was recently inducted into the U.S. Army and assigned to Camp Devens. At the regular meeting of Nute Ridge Grange, Friday, July 28, plans were announced for an open meeting in the near future to be in the form of a “Community Servicemen’s Night.” The highlights of the literary program consisted of an essay, “Agriculture,” by Mrs. Florence Gerrish, and as a thought stimulant for our boys in Normandy, singing of the National Anthem of France (Farmington News, August 4, 1944).

Mrs. Grace C. (Fletcher) Willey of Milton, and other clubwomen, lived as WACs (Women’s Army Corps) for a day at Fort Devens, in Ayer, MA.

WAC for a Day - BG440910New England Clubwomen Have Day as WACs at Ft. Devens. By RUTH LYONS. Special Dispatch to the Globe. FORT DEVENS. Sept. 9 – They were the adopted children of a WAC detachment at Fort Devens for a day of military life . . . the first group of women from the New England Council of the Federation of Women’s Clubs to be guests of the Army. They stood reveille at 5:30 in the morning, learned how to make a GI bed, ate in the mess hall, inspected barracks, slept in Army bunks, rode in jeeps, changed tires, learned how and when to salute ranking officers . . . all the things that make a good WAC. The group making the tour, in the interests of WAC recruiting, comprised: Mrs. James C. Calmark, Providence, R.I., president of the New England Council; Mrs. Edward Troland of Malden, president of the Massachusetts Federation of Women’s Clubs; Mrs. Wilfred Bodine, Bellows Falls, Vt,; Mrs. J. Herbert Willey, Milton, N.H.; Mrs. Leroy Folsom, Augusta, Me.; Mrs. Charles F. Towne, Providence, R.I., and Mrs. Raymond Andrews, Hamden, Conn. WAC officers accompanied the group, with the Boston Globe reporter, to the fort, where they were greeted by Maj. Anne Cowan, chief of WAC recruiting for the 1st Service Command, and Maj. Elizabeth W. Stearns, WAC director of New England. We were taken to the barracks, assigned to our bunks, given toilet articles and an extra blanket. At the officers’ day room, we were greeted by Col. Howard M. Estes, commanding officer of Fort Devens, who sketched the program of activity. WAC enlisted officers took us to the mess hall for our first meal. At the post chapel, Maj. James Kenealy, a Catholic chaplain, explained the religious activities of the men and women. At the post exchange we enjoyed soft drinks and went to the motor pool where the Army cars are kept. Then followed a tour of the reception center where the overseas boys are processed and back to the mess hall for supper. In the evening we were taken to a movie and to the service club where a variety show was in progress. Eleven o’clock found us in our bunks after a strenuous day as skirted soldiers of the Army. Reveille sounded at 5:30, but no one heard it so five minutes later we were awakened by a WAC sergeant. We were a sad-looking bunch of women that half-slid down the stairs and outdoors for roll call. After breakfast we were taken to Lovell General Hospital and spent the entire morning walking through corridors, through the laboratory, the clinics, X-ray department and then into the wards where Mrs. Troland talked with several Boston boys. Pfc. Orland L. Giannatonio of 56 Dean st., Everett told us about the birthday party that the hospital staff gave him Friday. Then there was Pvt. Murray Ward of 113 Lanark road, Boston, who wore several decorations including the Purple Heart. He was being discharged later in the day. They were all cheerful, glad to be home and alive. Speaking for the visiting club women, Mrs. Calmark remarked that “now we have been WACs for a day . . . and are convinced that there is a great need for more young women in the medical detachment. These boys need our help, and so every possible aid must be given in obtaining WAC recruits to help in this great work.” (Boston Globe, September 10, 1944).

Previous in sequence: Milton in the News – 1943; next in sequence: Milton in the News – 1945


Find a Grave. (2013, August 9). Grace Fletcher Willey. Retrieved from

Find a Grave. (2015, March 17). Horatio Butters. Retrieved from

Find a Grave. (2016, May 9). Werna A. Ross. Retrieved from


Author: Muriel Bristol

"Lady drinking tea"

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