Article #2: Milton’s Bloated Slush Fund

By S.D. Plissken |  February 29, 2020

A recent post (January 31) on local social media asked a very good question regarding the so-called “fund balance.”

Last year (2019) the Milton Operating Budget was defeated and the Town operated under a Default Budget. The December Expenditure Report shows a surplus of $739,128.00. Will this be used to offset taxes. or will it be used to fund Warrant Articles in 2020?

Audience members at the Deliberative Session asked related questions. For those who did not already know, the official replies tell quite a tale.

The term “fund balance” might suggest that this amount is only what is left over when the necessary budget categories are covered – a sort of rounding error or spare change. That is only partly true.

The NH State Department of Revenue Administration (DRA) “recommends” that Towns collect a tax overage, above and beyond the tax amounts necessary to cover the Town budget. In replies to audience questions, it emerged that the DRA recommendation was formerly to collect an additional 5% to 15%. This year’s proposed budget is $4,562,047.

So, following the DRA’s recommendation would have the Town collecting this year additional funds above the Town budget of between $228,102 (at 5%) and $684,307 (at 15%). In a town with about 2,300 tax properties, that would be an average tax overage of between $99 and $298 per property.

It emerged also that the DRA has in recent years narrowed their recommended tax overage range to something that tops out at about 8%. This narrower range has been implemented already in various other NH towns, towns whose governments are better than ours.

At the Milton Deliberative Session the various members of the Board of Selectmen (BOS) amended any and all articles that gave an estimated tax impact. They replaced those tax impact estimates with – let us not mince words – the same tired old lie about there being no tax impact or, as former Selectman Lucier preferred it, no additional tax impact, as the money would come magically from the unexpended fund balance.

I am not dim enough to fall for that – at least not more than once – but are you? Just as the fictional Soylent Green foodstuff was found ultimately to have been made out of people [!], we discovered last year that fund balances are made out of taxes [!!]. They are simply the DRA’s recommended tax “overages” from last year, over-collected and never returned.

Now, the thing about “recommendations” is that you need not adopt them. Town officials with any concern whatsoever for the taxpayers they supposedly represent would operate always at the lower end of the DRA’s recommended range. They might even disregard the DRA’s bad advice all together. But we have instead $739,128 worth of Soylent Green in our fund balance.

Obviously, we need to elect officials that put our interests – and particularly our ability to pay – before the fevered dreams of Town departments. We have for many years been disappointed by the various boards and committees, perhaps even feeling something akin to betrayal.

The answer to the social media question above – and the whole point of their removing the tax impact language from the various warrant articles – is “YES, this BOS absolutely intends to spend ‘your’ fund balance on warrant articles and not on tax relief.” But only if you are dim enough to vote for their warrant spending.

Despite the stated rationales when it was created, profligate spending is the entire point of having a CIP plan and of overtaxing us to fill magic fund balances. Remember, by definition, government has no “capital,” as such, with which to “plan.” Everything they spend is removed from your pocket.


Calloway, Cab. (1931). Minnie the Moocher. Retrieved from

Heston, Charlton. (1973). Soylent Green Is People! Retrieved from




Celestial Seasonings – March 2020

By Heather Durham | February 29, 2020

Hi there everyone and welcome to the March Edition of Celestial Seasonings 2020! March is the month during which we transition from winter into spring. We will change the time on March 8, and spring will begin on March 19. As I sit here writing this today in late February, the Sun is shining brightly and my thermometer says 55 degrees. Time to put down my tech gadgets and go outside for a Sunday afternoon stroll.

Happy reading my friends and I hope you find the many delights offered to us well worth the wait and astronomical show. Now let’s begin our journey into the night skies of March 2020 …

March 2. LC2602, an open star cluster from the Constellation Carina will display. The Moon phase will be the first quarter.

March 6. M44, our prolific Beehive Cluster will closely approach the Moon.

March 8. Clocks are to Spring forward at 2 AM (or before you go to bed Saturday, March 7, or after you wake up Sunday, March 8). Neptune may be seen at the opposite side of the Sun from the Earth in the evening (Wikipedia, 2019).

March 10. NGC3532, from the Constellation Carina is also referred to as the Pincushion, Football, or Wishing Well open cluster will be visible (Wikipedia, 2019).

March 11. The Moon will orbit its furthest point from the sun.

March 14. y-Normid meteor shower from the Constellation Norma will be visible.

March 15. Asteroid 27 Euterpe, a minor planet designation will reach its highest point in the sky close to midnight.

March 16. This date will bring the last quarter of the Moon.

March 18. The Moon, along with Mars, Jupiter and Saturn will rise closely to one another.

March 22. Half of Mercury will be visible.

March 23. Mars and Pluto will rise together and be close to each other.

March 24. Venus will go to its furthest point from the sun. There will be a new moon which may appear smaller then normal for it will be at it’s farthest point from the Earth.

March 26. Venus will reach its highest point in the evening sky. 136472 Makemake, a minor planet designation will be visible most notably near midnight. Half of Venus will be visible. (, 2020).

March 27. Mercury will be as far away from the Sun as it ever goes.

March 28. The Moon and Venus will rise close to each other.

Previous in sequence: Celestial Seasonings – February – 2020; next in sequence: Celestial Seasonings – April 2020

References: (2020) Makemake. Retrieved from

Wikipedia. (2020, February 24). Daylight Saving Time in the United States. Retrieved from

Wikipedia. (2019, December). NGC3532. Retrieved from

Wikipedia. (2019, October). Solar Conjunction. Retrieved from


Milton’s 2020 Presidential Primary Election Results

By S.D. Plissken | February 25, 2020

The Presidential Primary election took place on Tuesday, February 11, 2020. 1,239 Milton voters took either a Democratic or Republican primary ballot.

As is usual, None-of-the-above won the election, in that about 60% of Milton’s registered voters gave the primary election a good leaving-alone and did not vote for any of the proffered candidates (nor did they write-in any other person).

Democratic Primary Ballots

696 Milton voters took a Democratic Party ballot. Of those, 195 (28.02%) voted for Bernie Sanders, 156 (22.42%) for Pete Buttigieg, 145 (20.83%) for Amy Klobuchar, 40 (5.7%) for Joseph R. Biden, 39 (5.6%) for Elizabeth Warren, 35 (5.03%) for Tulsi Gabbard, 33 (4.74%) for Tom Steyer, 17 (2.44%) for Andrew Yang, 6 (0.86%) for Deval Patrick, 3 (0.43%) for Michael Bennet, 2 (0.29%) for Julian Castro, 2 (0.29%) for Kamala Harris, 1 for Cory Booker, 1 (0.14%) for Ben Gleib Gleiberman, and 1 (0.14%) for Tom Koos.

In the Write-In category, 11 (1.58%) voted for Donald J. Trump, 6 (0.86%) for Mike Bloomberg, 2 (0.29%) for Mitt Romney, and 1 (0.14%) for Barack Obama.

The Democratic Party candidates in the 1-2-3 positions (bolded) received vote totals in a range that might get them a seat on the Milton Board of Selectmen in a Town election.

Republican Primary Ballots

543 Milton voters took a Republican Party ballot. Of those, 483 (88.95%) voted for Donald J. Trump, 29 (5.34%) for Bill Weld, 3 (0.55%) for Mary Maxwell, 2 (0.37%) for Larry Horn, 2 (0.37%) for Stephen B. Comley, Sr., 1 (0.18%) for Matthew John Matern, 1 (0.18%) for Eric Merrill, 1 (0.18%) for William N. Murphy, and 1 (0.18%) for Joe Walsh.

In the Write-In category, 17 (3.13%) voted for Bernie Sanders, 3 (0.55%) for Joseph R. Biden, 2 (0.37%) for Elizabeth Warren, 1 (0.18%) for Pete Buttigieg, 1 (0.18%) for Amy Klobuchar, and 1 (0.18%) for Tom Steyer.

Donald J. Trump received vote totals that would definitely get him a seat on the Milton Board of Selectmen, but the others not so much.

Why Are We Paying for This?

As usual, one might well question this exercise’s rationale. In the prior election cycle, the Democratic National Committee (DNC) argued in Federal court that they were a private organization that was not bound by the actual election results. That is to say, they could select whomever they wanted as the Democratic candidate, regardless of who won any actual primary elections. The Republicans had made similar arguments years earlier in refusing to seat Ron Paul delegates.

All of which begs the question: If these are just private club elections, as argued by the DNC, whose results the private clubs are not bound to respect, exactly why are these private club elections being conducted at public expense?

President George Washington, as well as other founding fathers, argued in his Farewell Address against having any political parties at all, let alone publicly funding their private club elections.

However [political parties] may now and then answer popular ends, they are likely in the course of time and things, to become potent engines, by which cunning, ambitious, and unprincipled men will be enabled to subvert the power of the people and to usurp for themselves the reins of government, destroying afterwards the very engines which have lifted them to unjust dominion (Washington, September 17, 1796).

Can Milton send an invoice for its primary election expenses to the respective parties’ “cunning, ambitious, and unprincipled” functionaries? On behalf of Milton’s 60% majority, that is, who might wish to free themselves from subsidizing those parties’ “unjust dominion.”

You see things; and you say, ‘Why?’ But I dream things that never were; and I say, ‘Why not?’ (George Bernard Shaw).


Milton Town Clerk. (2020, February). State Milton Results, Feb. 11, 2020. Retrieved from

The Snoopers’ Dream

By Ian Aikens | February 24, 2020

Is there no limit to the lengths school administrators will go to undermine families?

Judging by House Bill 1459, a bill I recently weighed in against in a public hearing in Concord, their nerve shows no bounds. Under current law, parents have to give written permission for their children to fill out non-academic surveys. HB1459 would change parental permission needed from “opt-in” to “opt-out,” thus placing the burden on all parents to deny permission, rather than on school bureaucrats to obtain permission.

Why such a big deal over some innocuous questions in a survey? Under the law’s definition of a “non-academic survey or questionnaire,” it is “designed to elicit information about a student’s social behavior, family life, religion, politics, sexual orientation, sexual activity, drug use, or any other information not related to a student’s academics.” First and foremost, what business is it of busybody school administrators to pry into students’ and their parents’ family lives? Where I come from, we call that snooping, pure and simple. These are extremely personal areas—and definitely not in the province of school officials. In case they’ve forgotten what they get paid for, it is teaching the basics like the 3R’s, literature, history, science, and maybe a pinch of The Constitution once in a while, not probing into private lives.

The information the nosey parkers are going out of their way to obtain should be extremely alarming to any parent. Just think about the questions that could be asked in these surveys. Are there firearms in your house? Do your parents ever hit or spank you or your siblings? Do your parents ever leave you alone in the house? Have you ever seen marijuana or other recreational drugs in your house? Have you ever tried to kill yourself?* When you have sex, how often do you and/or your partner use a birth control method such as birth control pills, Depo-Provera shot, an implant, ring, patch, male or female condom (rubber), foam, diaphragm, or IUD?* How many adults have you known for two or more years who do things that are wrong or dangerous?* What political parties are your parents registered under? Who will your parents vote for in the next presidential election? Do your parents smoke or vape? By including the text “or any other information not related to a student’s academics,” the surveys could legally ask just about anything. Whatever happened to privacy and all those millions of privacy forms we see all the time that are supposed to protect our privacy? If it’s wrong for big corporations and private companies in the voluntary sector to share our data without our permission, why is it OK when government school bureaucrats do it? It is well documented that when government employees get hold of personal information, they sometimes misuse the information for nefarious personal purposes. And, even if not for personal misuse, can you just imagine what overzealous Child Protective Services bureaucrats would do with the survey data if it got into their overreaching hands?

(*Questions excerpted from a survey given to students as young as 5th graders).

All the survey results are supposed to be anonymous and kept confidential, but especially with declining student enrollment and smaller populations in many of New Hampshire’s rural towns, it wouldn’t be difficult for the snoopers to figure out where the responses came from—and possibly pay a surprise visit to a child’s home to check up on his “family life.” Data collection is one of the favorite ways for government bureaucrats to justify expanding their “services” in order to obtain more funding and personnel. Judging by the number of special interest groups who testified in favor of the bill, clearly they were looking for more business if only the schools could provide more data.

So how would the system of getting permission work under HB1459? Right now, if the school doesn’t receive the signed permission slip back from the parents, it’s a no go for the survey to be given to the student. Under HB1459 however, all the school would need to do is send written notice home to the parents via the student, and no signed permission slip would need to be returned. There was much ado by the bill’s proponents that the problem now is permission slips get lost in the shuffle of paperwork and never make it back to the school. The implication is that parents want to grant permission but logistics get in the way. From raising my own son, who always managed to lose not only papers being sent home but even the folder that contained the papers (“No homework, Dad!”), I can definitely agree with the proponents that indeed papers do get lost. However, their solution to the vanishing papers issue doesn’t solve the problem because the permission slip might never make it home in the first place; thus, by default the parents will be deemed to have given permission without ever having seen the permission slip.

Here is a real-life example how this scheme works in practice and enables bureaucrats to pull the wool over the public’s eyes. When I lived in San Francisco, the city was pushing its own government-owned electricity supplier CleanPowerSF over Pacific Gas & Power. Of course, they wanted enough rate payers to choose CleanPowerSF to make it financially feasible, so they have been “opting in” the entire city, one neighborhood at a time, over the last few years stealthily. When the issue happened to surface, a friend of mine who is a certified political junkie and in tune to what goes on at City Hall confessed that he didn’t even notice that he had been “opted in” to CleanPowerSF. He quickly opted out once he realized what happened, but considering that he is well read and generally informed, can you just imagine how little of the general public would even be aware of what had occurred right under their noses? In the olden days, when phone companies used to switch people over to their company without their permission, this was called “slamming” and was widely condemned. If it was wrong for “evil” corporations to pull this shenanigan, why is it suddenly OK when government officials do it? Where is the outrage now?

Also worth mentioning are comments made during the hearing I attended. One committee member noted that he heard from past similar surveys that older students weren’t taking them seriously and were filling in bogus answers. After all, if you’re taking drugs or sleeping around, would you really want to take a chance of your parents finding out, even though the results are supposed to be anonymous? So, after wasting limited resources to gather this data, even if the snoopers didn’t misuse it, it might not even be accurate in the end. Another point was brought up by the only other person to oppose the bill: who is vetting these surveys before subjecting the students to them? The lack of oversight really concerned her over the inappropriateness of some of the questions.

Lastly, should there be any question as to the motivation and purpose of the bureaucrats, one of the letters sent home to parents announced that the survey itself would be available for viewing during school hours at the school. Of course, most parents are at work during school hours, so why not just send the survey home for parents to view it themselves before granting permission? OK, for those concerned with wasting taxpayer dollars on hard paper costs, why not just post it online for all parents to see? In fact, parents complained about not being able to take the survey home for review, and some had to file several Right-To-Know requests to get hard copies. The breathtaking depth of the snoopers’ nosiness is surpassed only by their zeal to deceive and circumvent parents.

The bill is currently pending in the NH House Education Committee. If it makes it out of committee to the floor, I will keep an eye on how Milton’s representatives and senator vote on it. It and the shameful surveys are further evidence that something has gone really awry at government schools.


Bamforth, Annabelle. (2014, April 9). School Misleads Parents On Survey Questions For Students. Retrieved from

Legiscan. (2020). HB1459: Relative to non-academic surveys administered by a public school or a chartered public school to its students. Retrieved from

Ross A. Lurgio Middle School. (2014, March 31). Dear Parent or Guardian. Retrieved from

School Choice for NH. (2016, February 16). Dear State Senators: Open Letter from Kathy Dunton. Retrieved from

School Choice for NH. (2017, January 7). Non-Academic Surveys in the Classroom. Retrieved from

Search Institute. (2012). Profiles of Student Life: Attitudes & Behaviors. Retrieved from

Article #3: The School-to-Prison Pipeline

By S.D. Plissken | February 23, 2020

The bad ideas prevalent elsewhere have begun to arrive on Milton’s doorstep. Cash on delivery.

In this warrant article, Article #3, the Milton School Board, the Milton Board of Selectmen, and the Milton Police favor hiring a School Resource Officer (SRO), i.e., a police officer, for the Milton school system. They propose to split the cost between them. That is to say, the taxpayers will foot the entire bill, but partly in their School taxes and partly in their Town taxes. This article concerns only the Town portion of the costs.

Article 3: School Resource Officer

To see if the Town will vote to raise and appropriate the sum of Eighty-nine Thousand Seven Hundred Sixty Dollars ($89,760) to be added to the Milton Police Department General Operating Budget to Fund a School Resource Officer. This sum will be for half a year for 2020 and will then become a full year position in 2021 and will become a new line in the Police Department General Operating Budget. This sum will be for salary, FICA, Retirement, Medicare, Workers’ Comp, and Insurance cost. (Majority Vote Required).

Estimated tax impact is $0.18 (Eighteen Cents).

Recommended by the Board of Selectmen (3,0,0).

Recommended by the Budget Committee (6,1,0).

The division between budgets, as well as errors made in calculating the correct amounts, make it difficult to state the actual bottom line for this innovation. Between salary, benefits, pensions, etc., it would seem to be well north of $100,000. That is to say, it will be at least double the average salary of a Milton taxpayer. The “million dollar” Police department price tag, of which so many have complained, will become the 1.1 million dollar Police department. Some might think that enough on its face to reject this article.

In recommending it, it was said that it would allow for a revival, potentially even an expansion, of the Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE) program. An audience member pointed out that there have been literally hundreds of academic studies of this program. Nearly all of them rated it as having been completely ineffective, and many claimed it was actually counter-productive, in that it actually induced greater drug involvement.

Our results confirm the findings of a previous meta-analysis indicating that Project D.A.R.E. is ineffective. This is not surprising, given the substantial information developed over the past decade to that effect. Critics of the present analysis might argue that, despite the magnitude of our findings, the direction of the effect of D.A.R.E. was generally positive. While this is the case, it should be emphasized that the effects we found did not differ significantly from the variation one would expect by chance. According to Cohen’s guidelines, the effect size we obtained would have needed to be 20 times larger to be considered even small. Given the tremendous expenditures in time and money involved with D.A.R.E., it would appear that continued efforts should focus on other techniques and programs that might produce more substantial effects (West, et al., 2004).

Another advantage put forward was the opportunity to foster a relationship of trust between students and police. That would seem to be a very poor lesson to learn at school, compared with what lawyers tell us. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled, long ago, that the police may lie to you (Frazier v. Cupp), and that they are under no obligation whatsoever to either help or protect you (Warren v. District of Columbia; DeShaney vs. Winnebago; Town of Castle Rock vs. Gonzales). That same audience member pointed out that any good attorney would advise you to never even speak to the police, let alone trust them.

Milton Police Facebook Banner
Milton Police Facebook Banner

The Milton Police Facebook site has for years featured a Thin Blue Line flag as its header, which might tell you something about their culture. It supposedly signifies that they are all that stands between society and chaos. However, in many places, Thin Blue Line displays are regarded instead as a kind of “gang” colors. For that reason, many departments prohibit their display on uniforms, vehicles, Facebook displays, etc. It does not project a relationship of trust, quite the contrary in fact. We stick together against you. (Desecrating a U.S. flag in this manner is not a crime, although the U.S. Congress has tried several times to make it so. (It would take a constitutional amendment to criminalize flag desecration)).

One is reminded of the shenanigans that took place a couple of summers ago. One or more Milton police officers disappeared off the payroll amidst a flurry of secret 91-A meetings. In the final meeting, the records were unsealed, but only for the police chief, so that he might include some of its information in his personnel records. The taxpayers are not to know what happened, we are not to be trusted with that information. The Thin Blue Line.

The audience member mentioned the many readily available videos of school resource officers assaulting students. This is true, it has happened many times. It is not necessary to belabor this point, but by way of proof here is a single one chosen at random: NBC Nightly News: North Carolina School Officer Fired After Video Shows Him Body-Slamming A Student.

The final argument in favor of a SRO was that that officer would be on hand to better document any incident. That is to say, they would be better prepared to move a student into the criminal justice system: the School-to-Prison Pipeline.

The Milton Board of Selectmen recommended this unanimously, as is their usual practice.


Duane, James J. (2012, March 1). The Right to Remain Silent: A New Answer to an Old Question. Retrieved from

Regent University School of Law. (n.d.). Don’t Talk to the Police. Retrieved from

West, Steven L., et al. (2004, June). Project D.A.R.E. Outcome Effectiveness Revisited. Retrieved from

Wikipedia. (2018, November 23). DeShaney v. Winnebago County. Retrieved from

Wikipedia. (2019, October 18). Frazier v. Cupp. Retrieved from

Wikipedia. (2020, January 1). School-to-Prison Pipeline. Retrieved from

Wikipedia. (2020, February 23). Thin Blue Line. Retrieved from

Wikipedia. (2019, August 28). Town of Castle Rock v. Gonzales. Retrieved from

Wikipedia. (2020, January 6). Warren v. District of Columbia. Retrieved from


Article #23: Global Climate Subsidies

By S.D. Plissken | February 23, 2020

The Milton Town warrant has upon it several articles with competing ideas that cannot be reconciled. This one concerns forcing most taxpayers to subsidize the particular “hobby horse” of a few.

The world is not on fire, nor is it going to end in ten or eleven years. These are false notions that can be denied, both easily and truthfully.

Who can even say what the “correct” temperature is or should be? It has been within quite a wide range during humanity’s tenure. There is a strong natural bias towards the temperature prevailing “now” as being the ideal one, but that is all it is, just a bias. I believe they call it a normalcy bias: a bias in favor of that with which one is familiar.

The Roman empire encountered what might be called adverse climate change in the late fourth and early fifth centuries. In Roman Britain, the warmer trend prevailing up to that time had allowed for an expansion of farming to formerly marginal upland areas. They even had viniculture, which requires warmer temperatures. Its population boomed, as did that of the Roman empire in general.

Then the climate cooled. Yes, temperatures cooled towards what they are now. The Romans were not best pleased with the change. It became harder to sustain populations that had expanded under what the Romans had regarded as “optimal” conditions. The barbarians became restless and advanced across Roman frontiers. The Romans pulled out of Britain in 409 A.D. They left a nice note, advising the Britons to take care of themselves.

The same thing happened later with the Greenland Viking settlements. They established settlements there that lasted for hundreds of years. Then the prevailing temperatures cooled, again towards the ones experienced now. The Viking settlements struggled against this cooling trend, but their populations dwindled and finally they just “winked out.” Current temperatures were just too cold for them.

Article #23 seeks to socialize the expense of owning so-called “Green” technologies. It might be more accurate to say that it seeks to “further” socialize them, to the Town level, as the Federal government is already subsidizing them to the tune of 30% off. State governments are on the bandwagon too.

Article 23: Optional Tax Exemption: Solar, Wind-Powered, Wood Heating Systems (Submitted by Petition).

To see if the town will vote to adopt the provisions of RSA 72:61 through RSA 72:72 inclusively, which provide for an optional property tax exemption from the property’s assessed value, for property tax purposes, for persons owning real property, which is equipped with solar energy systems, wind-powered energy systems or wood heating systems intended for use at the immediate site. Such property tax exemption shall be in the amount of 100% of the assessed value of qualifying equipment under these statutes. (Majority vote required).

Estimated tax impact is $0.74 (Seventy-four Cents).

Not recommended by the Board of Selectmen (0,3,0). [Amended to 2,1,0, Chairman Thibeault and Selectman Rawson voting to recommend that Milton taxpayers subsidize these energy systems, while Vice-Chairwoman Hutchings declined to do so].

Not Recommended by the Budget Committee (0,4,3).

The “estimated tax impact” is a bit deceptive. (But no more than the amounts estimated by the Town in general). That would be the estimated tax impact at the current numbers of such systems. Were those numbers to increase, then the tax impact would increase correspondingly.

Town taxes are as high as they are due to excessive Town budgets. Do not be sidetracked by variations in rates and valuations. Those are factors only in covering ever-increasing Town budgets. Despite what some Selectmen have put forward, it is not an accomplishment to lower the rate slightly while increasing the valuation greatly. (Be sure to ask “The Question” (of last year) of any and all candidates).

The Town taxes anything not nailed down, literally. People have been heard asking about structures on wheels. Why would two Selectmen recommend that “Green” systems be exempted from valuation and, therefore, exempted from their taxation?

One might answer that 1) this does not affect them: their Town budgets can still increase despite this measure, and 2) they believe in Global Warming (or its necessary rebranding as Global Climate Change) or, at least, they would like to “signal” that they do.

This measure absolutely does not reduce taxes by the value of these energy systems, it merely “redistributes” those taxes onto the backs of those that do not have them. Those who do not believe that the earth is on fire will be forced to subsidize the “Green” energy beliefs of those who do.

If one does believe in Global Climate Change, one should put one’s own money where one’s mouth is, rather than forcibly appropriating the money of others for that purpose.

“There are two fundamentally opposed means whereby man, requiring sustenance, is impelled to obtain the necessary means for satisfying his desires. These are work and robbery, one’s own labor and the forcible appropriation of the labor of others.” – Franz Oppenheimer


Fall of Civilizations. (2019, March 25). 4. Greenland Vikings – Land of the Midnight Sun. Retrieved from



Milton Mills and the Soap Salesmen

By Muriel Bristol (Transcriber) | February 23, 2020

Here we find a 1916 recollection of two competing industrial soap salesmen – “No. 34” and “Jim” – and their sales trip to Milton Mills.

Based upon the manufacturers, hotelier, and storekeeper mentioned, it would seem that the sales trip described must have taken place in or around 1877. The Waumbeck Company had its origins in the early 1870s; Ira Miller (1826-1902) had by this time transferred his Central House hotel to Crosby B. Remick (1849-1919), and opened his eponymous store, as he did in 1877; and Edward Brierly (1817-1878) was still living. David H. Buffum (1820-1882), a principal at the Great Falls Manufacturing Company, has not yet arrived on the scene. John Townsend (1807-1891), founder of the Townsend blanket mill, was then about seventy years of age, while his son, Henry H. Townsend (1842-1904), was then about thirty-six years of age.


In my early days in the soap trade, there seemed to be a broader field than there is to-day. True, there were fewer salesmen on the road selling mill soaps. As I recollect, there were two of us in New England territory, representing large houses, and, occasionally, a small maker of soap among the competitors would go out himself, and sell some mill. But the bulk of the trade was handled by my competitor and myself, I will call him Jim. There surely ought to have been trade enough for both of us. One morning I met him on the Eastern Division of the Boston & Maine Railroad, coming from Boston. He was not very amiable, rather out of sorts with me. For the truth was, I had been rather busy with the mills on that division. I had been to Great Falls the day before and sold them. The son of the owner had told me that his father had gone to Milton Mills, together with Mr. Briarly, superintendent of a felt mill he owned there to Briarly’s camp at East Pond on a fishing expedition. This is in explanation of what happened after Jim and I reached Milton Mills. We both got off at Union, N.H., and took the stage over to Milton Mills. Jim rode on the inside, I on the outside. He


and I, after one or two attempts to converse with him, subsided. The facts were that on a previous trip I had been to the mills and sold the Waumbec Company a car and sold a sample five-cask lot to Briarly Felt Mills; also sold Townsend a sample order, I have forgotten the number of packages, and had run over the month before and got encouragement from Briarly that my soap was proving very satisfactory and that he expected to give me a car order, which was my errand on the day Jim and I were on the way to Milton Mills. We arrived about dinner time, went in to dinner together. We had begun to eat when Jim started up from the table and said he had a bad attack of the toothache and could not eat. I finished my meal, while Jim walked down to the Briarly mill at least one-half mile from the hotel. Before he came back I had interviewed Henry Townsend, whom I saw coming across the square, and sold him. This left nothing for Jim except a possibility of changing Briarly


to me. Jim came back, hot and mad clean through. “Why couldn’t you have told me Briarly was down to East Pond fishing,” he said, and “saved me this walk?” It was a very hot day In August. I asked him how long he supposed I was running his business. He made me no answer, but turned to Remick, the hotel proprietor, and said, “How many horses have you got in the barn?” Remick said, “Six.” “I want them,” said Jim, “and I want you and the fastest one of the lot to drive me to Briarly’s camp.” I had not been on the road long, but I had learned a little forbearance against pushing business on a mill man when he was on a pleasure hunt away from his mill. So I began to remonstrate with Jim against going to the camp. He just laughed at me. I tried to get one of the six horses that Jim had commanded, but Remick reminded me that I had heard Jim hire the whole bunch. I told Remick that would be the last time he would have the pleasure of my company, and was making a few other


to him. When a salesman for a dye-stuffs house who was at dinner with me and had driven in from Sanford, Me., saw the fix Jim had me in, he stepped up and said it was his first trip to this country, that he had no acquaintance, and if I would introduce him to the owner of the felt mill I might ride with him. I gladly accepted his invitation. Meanwhile, Jim and Remick had started for East Pond. The dye man drove a piebald horse, not any snap to him. When he got opposite Briarly’s mill, he balked up. I sprang over the wheel, saying to my friend that his horse couldn’t do me any good. I ran all the way back to the village, and entered a grocery store kept by Ira Miller. I will say that, before going on the road to sell soap, I was eight years in a wholesale grocery store in Boston. Miller had been a customer, and when he came in to buy goods, he was always boasting about the fine horses he had. I had not him for three or four years. As soon as I got my breath, I said, “Ira, have you got a good horse?” “The best in the state,” he replied. 


and drive me to East Pond.” That horse was harnessed and put in a rig in very quick time. As we rode along, I explained to Ira the trouble I was in. That was a grand horse of Ira’s. We overtook friend Jim and Remick about five miles out. I said, “That is what I am after, Ira,” pointing to Jim. They were moping along, thinking they had done me up, I suppose. When I spoke to Ira, he said, “Hang on to the seat,” and like a shot we went by them. I looked back, and Jim had the reins away from Remick, and the whip in his hand, and was lashing that horse into a run, but that horse was not in it with Ira Miller’s animal. We left them out of sight and drove into the lake shore. “Change sides,” said Ira, who rose up and I slipped under him. At the camp I found Mr. Briarly, booked his order for a car of soap, just as he had promised me, when Jim and his friend drove into the woods. I told Ira to drive me to Wolfboro Junction, which he did. Pretty soon Remick left Jim there. But he would not fraternize with me, and staid up at the end of a long platform away from me. I had mischief enough left in me to go to the telegraph office and wire in the order I had taken. No 34.


American Wool and Cotton Reporter. (1916, May 11). American Wool and Cotton Reporter. Retrieved from

Find a Grave. (2013, August 12). Edward Brierley. Retrieved from

Find a Grave. (2013, August 12). Henry H. Townsend. Retrieved from