By Muriel Bristol | February 9, 2020
The Milton Grammar School was built in 1892, and not in 1882 as has sometimes been reported. This may be confirmed through an examination of the 1888 “birds-eye view” map of Milton (see References below). Neither the Grammar school nor the Nute High school appear in this map, as they had not yet been built. The error apparently arises out of a misreading of the dedication as it appears in photographs of the front of the building.
Construction of the “New School House” in 1892
MILTON. A school meeting was held Saturday afternoon, and it was voted to raise the sum of $5500 to build a new school house. It is to be ready by September 5 (Farmington News, April 1, 1892).
The $5,500 cost of the school house would be equivalent to $158,442 in modern inflation-adjusted dollars. By way of comparison, Derry, NH, spent $9,000 on its school house, which it claimed was the finest in the state (Farmington News, December 7, 1894).
The architect’s name has not come to hand. Ms. Sarah Ricker identified its type as the Victorian Stick style (see References below).
Building contractors S. Knox & Son erected the new school building. That firm’s partners were carpenters Simeon P. Knox and his youngest son, Ulysses S. Knox, both of Farmington, NH. (Simeon P. Knox appeared in the surviving Civil War Veterans Schedule of the Eleventh (1890) Federal Census. The son was a namesake for General Ulysses S. Grant).
A newspaper account of an extensive 1887 renovation to the multi-story Farmington store of E.T. Wilson concluded with a mention of Simeon P. Knox’s involvement in the project.
The carpenter work will be under the supervision of S.P. Knox, which insures a good job, speedily completed (Farmington News, October 7, 1887).
Construction of the new Milton Grammar school began shortly after the vote appropriating its costs.
MILTON. Work has begun on the new school house (Farmington News, April 22, 1892).
MILTON. Work is progressing rapidly on the new school house. It will be a handsome building and an ornament to the town when finished (Farmington News, May 6, 1892).
MILTON. The Milton school house which has been erected by the well-known builders, S. Knox & Son, approaches completion (Farmington News, August 19, 1892).
MILTON. The new school house has been painted (Farmington News, September 9, 1892).
MILTON. Work has been resumed on the new school house and it will be completed in a short [while] (Farmington News, October 14, 1892).
MILTON. The new school house is receiving its second coat of paint (Farmington News, November 25, 1892).
MILTON. Shed being built at new school house. Boiler to be set up this week (Farmington News, December 23, 1892).
Simeon P. Knox, a carpenter, aged sixty-nine years (b. NH), headed a Farmington, NH, household at the time of the Twelfth (1900) Federal Census. His household included his wife (of forty years), Sarah E. [(Bickford)] Knox, aged sixty-five years (b. NH), and his aunt-in-law, Abigail R. [(Rumery)] Drew, a widow, aged eighty-five years (b. NH). They shared a two-family dwelling with the household of Ulysses S. Knox, a carpenter, aged thirty-seven years (b. NH). His household included his wife, Addie E. [(Whitehouse)] Knox, aged thirty-three years (b. NH), and his children, John E. Knox, in school, aged seven years (b. NH), Harry Knox, in school, aged six years (b. NH), and Mildred Knox, aged three years (b. NH).
LOCALS. Mrs. Abbie Drew, at the age of four-score and four years, could not be outdone easily by the young girls, in the clever making of a patchwork quilt. In exactly one week from the day on which she had bought print in three patterns, Mrs. Drew had cut and had put together, in an original design, 1029 pieces, marked off by six strips of one kind of print, each way of the quilt. The sewing is very even and neat, and was done entirely by hand. This was only one of several quilt-covers which Mrs. Drew has made to present to friends or near relatives. Mrs. Drew is an aunt of Mrs. Simeon P. Knox, with whom she makes her home (Farmington News, September 15, 1899).
S.P. Knox & Son subsequently erected a “set” of buildings for H.F. Howard at Rochester, NH, beginning in October 1897 (Farmington News, October 8, 1897). They had made a great improvement to the fine old Hurd place in New Durham, NH, in July 1900 (Farmington News, July 27, 1900).
Simeon P. Knox died in Farmington, NH, August 17, 1918, aged eighty-seven years, four months, and seventeen days. His son and partner, Ulysses S. Knox, died in Farmington, NH, May 25, 1923, aged fifty-nine years, three months, and seven days.
A Graded School
The Milton Grammar school’s greater size allowed for it be set up as a “graded school,” i.e., a school in which the students were separated into classes, grades or age cohorts, as opposed to the one-room schoolhouses still operating elsewhere in town. Graded schools were an educational innovation or fad of this period.
Farmington touted its graded school system in December 1894, Freedom considered a $3,000 appropriation for a graded school at its March 1895 town meeting, Alton thought it was losing for lack of one in March 1899. A Milton Mills real estate advertisement of 1897 mentioned Milton’s graded schools among the attractive features and conveniences of the town.
There was opposition to the establishment of graded schools. For many, transportation was a problem (in the days before school buses). That is to say, many pupils had to travel lengthy distances from their outlying homes to a centrally-located graded school.
Alfred W. Jones complained of transporting children by wagon to the village grammar school. He was concerned about the quality of both wagons and drivers, especially drivers. In fact, there were occasions when Milton school wagons full of students tipped over.
Costly Economy. Mr. Alfred W. Jones of Milton, N.H., complains of the new school law in that state. By the provisions of the law, school boards are authorized to convey children in sparsely settled districts to the village schools. Mr. Jones complains that in carrying out this law some school boards practice an improper economy in furnishing poor teams and incompetent drivers. In some cases the drivers are worse than incompetent, being men of low class, given to drink, vulgarity and profanity. He says “I would rather go back to the old law than to have our children receive more schooling and be ruined.” (New England Farmer (Boston, MA), February 20, 1892).
(While one might take Jones’ point about the risks of transporting pupils to school by wagon, his characterization of the drivers’ supposed moral failings might be taken with a grain of salt, as he would himself go on to become Milton’s poisoning murderer of 1897).
Some young students (and teachers) boarded in Three Ponds village in order to be near the centrally-located grammar school. They might see their parents only on weekends, and not necessarily every weekend.
WEST MILTON. Miss Hazel Perkins was home from her studies at Milton village and spent Sunday with her parents. Harry Perkins and Jack O’Connor spent the week-end on a fishing trip at Merrymeeting pond (Farmington News, March 27, 1914).
MIDDLETON. Ethel Whitehouse, who is attending school at Milton, was the week-end visitor of her parents, Mr. and Mrs. Harvey Whitehouse (Farmington News, February 3, 1911).
Some questioned the very “Graded School” system itself.
For an all-round primary school you can’t beat the little country schoolhouse, ten or more little folk and a sweet woman to teach them. Every child may represent a separate class, but that doesn’t matter. Each child has the patient, careful aid in his studies which is so largely denied him when attending the larger and graded school (Portsmouth Journal, February 1902).
An affectionate remembrance of the district school in the “Contributors Club,” in the April Atlantic, acknowledges certain wants not well supplied by every such school in past years, but the brief article says this, and it is true: “The district school is peculiarly friendly to ideas.” This is the secret of much of the success that has attended both men and women whose education was begun in a district rather than in a graded school. But there are teachers who are friendly to ideas, who give culture and refinement to them, in modern schools, although the “System” must “roll safely on its way.” Individuality has a hard time now-a-days, in this era of precise machineries for men and things, but there still is something about every soul that allows of discrimination on the part of the observer, and when one strives towards that “top” where there is always room, one develops character, and character counts, sooner or later, – sometimes too late, for all save that which is to come after us (Farmington News, April 10, 1903).
The Milton Grammar school was known also as the Milton Village school, the Milton Town school, or the Milton graded school [Primary and Intermediate], in order to distinguish it from its smaller predecessor, whose bell it retained, as well as from the other one-room schoolhouses dotted still around town: Hare Road, West Milton, South Milton, Plummer’s Ridge, etc.
This school building stood for nearly twenty-two years before it burned down on Saturday, April 4, 1914. It would be replaced by the present Milton Elementary School building. (A school made of bricks replaced a school made of sticks).
Milton Grammar School Principals
The name of the Milton Grammar School’s principal, if any there was, from its 1893 completion through the 1899-00 academic year remains unclear at present. (This will be updated if further information comes to hand).
Milton Grammar School teachers of this period included Miss Lucas, Miss Abbie M. Sanger, Miss Lillian B. Hanscom, Mrs. Winnifred E. (Allen) Kimball, Miss E. Maude Garland, and Miss Lillian W. Kane. One or more of them might have been the “principal” teacher.
The principals of the Milton Grammar school thereafter were Walter H. Bentley (1900-01), and Robert M. Looney (1902-14).
Walter Harold Bentley – 1900-1901
Walter H. Bentley was born in Brookline, MA, May 24, 1878, son of David and Esther A. (Boyden) Bentley.
David B. Bentley, a schoolteacher, aged sixty-eight years (b. Canada (Eng.)), headed a Bridgewater, MA, household at the time of the Twelfth (1900) Federal Census. His household included his wife (of thirty-eight years), Esther A. Bentley, aged fifty-nine years (b. MA), his child Walter H. Bentley, a day laborer, aged twenty-two years (b. MA), and his boarders, Rachel Parker, a servant, aged twenty-three (b. Canada (Eng.)), Howard H. Stiles, a shoe shop rounder, aged twenty-one years (b. NY), Frank C. Weeks, a water works superintendent, aged thirty-two years (b. VT), Ethel E. Thomas, a schoolteacher, aged twenty-five years (b. ME), Nancy I. Westgate, a schoolteacher, aged twenty-four years (b. MA), Edna L. White, a schoolteacher, aged twenty-six (b. MA), and Archie C. Osborne, a druggist, aged thirty-two years (b. NH). Esther A, Bentley was the mother of two children, of whom two were still living. They resided in a rented house.
NEWS OF THE STATE. Walter H. Bentley, principal of Milton grammar school during the past year, has been elected principal of the Sawyer grammar school at Dover at a salary of $900 (Farmington News, July 12, 1901).
W.H. Bentley was then principal of Dover high school, in Dover, NH, for the 1901-02 and 1902-03 academic years.
LOCAL. The twentieth meeting of the Strafford County Teachers’ Association will be held at the Rochester high school building, this Friday, beginning at 8.20 o’clock in the forenoon. Superintendent M.E. Bennett of Sanford, Me., will speak at ten o’clock, with the discussion following to be opened by W.H. Bentley, principal of Dover high school. Other speakers are Superintendent M.C. Metcalf of Winchester, Mass., and the Rev. Edgar Blake of Lebanon. Dinner will be served at noon in the Methodist vestry, for twenty-five cents a plate. The dinner is meant to be a source of good cheer and real sociability, and few short speeches will be in order after the meal (Farmington News, February 27, 1903).
A “prudential committee” chose him to be principal of the Walnut-sq. grammar school in Haverhill, MA, for the 1903-04 academic year (Boston Globe, June 16, 1904).
NEW TEACHERS CHOSEN. Haverhill School Board Takes Steps Toward the Building of a New High School. HAVERHILL, June 16. The school board last evening approved the action of the prudential committee in recommending to the city council the purchase of a site for a new high school building. Four new teachers for the high school were chosen, the successful candidates being Miss Mabel Watson of Peabody. Miss Frederica Van Benschoten and Miss Margaret Bennshoten, both of Bloomfield, N.J., and Miss Harriet Webster of this city. The following other new teachers were elected: Herman W. Williams of Boston as an instructor in the manual training school, Hope R. Mudge of Newton as a teacher of cooking, G. Chandler Russell of Merrimac as an instructor in sloyd [see References below], Misses Ida Swift of this city, Alice Weirnan of Marblehead and S. Belle Lean of Westfield, to have charge of the kindergartens, Misses Edna McKeigue, Jessie McMillan and Bertha Marshall, all of this city. Hiram O. Marble was reelected as truant officer, and the Carlton scholarship medals in the high school were awarded, to Bernice I. Tasker and Harold M. Goodwin. The committee of teachers of the high school recommended Frank J. Tuck for this honor, but it was shown that Goodwin obtained the higher percentage, which appeared to be the only question involved, and the vote was unanimously in favor of the latter. The salaries of Principal Files and Assistant Principal Town of the high school were increased $100 each, as were the salaries of Principals Ernest W. Bentley. Walter H. Bentley and W.F. Sayard of the Currier, Walnut-sq. and Cogswell grammar schools respectively (Boston Globe, June 16, 1904).
A number of [Quincy, MA] grammar schools will have new teachers. Walter H. Bentley is principal of the Coddington school, vice [Latin: in the place of] Miss Mary A. Dearborn, who resigned after a service of over 30 years. Mr. Bentley is a graduate of the Bridgewater normal school, class of 1900, and has taught at Milton, N.H., Dover, N.H. (Boston Globe, September 11, 1905).
Walter Harold Bentley married in Haverhill, MA, August 28, 1909, Harriet Adelia “Hattie” Morrill, he of Quincy, MA, and she of Haverhill. They were both teachers. She was born Haverhill, MA, June 10, 1886, daughter of William E. and Hattie E. (Davis) Morrill.
Some 25 years ago, Walter H. Bentley of Winchester, who taught at Gov. Dummer Academy and other schools, and started a boys camp at Wolfeboro, N.H., in 1909, wrote a letter on this subject [circa 1941-42]. It was printed in a pamphlet to parents, and the letter is quoted in the last publication of the camp, now conducted by his son, Bradford M. Bentley, also of Winchester. Said the founder in part: “Wyanoke is like a big family. It is made up of boys – little fellows of 8 or 9 who need constant and sympathetic care and understanding; sturdy, active youngsters of 12 or 13, who need plenty to do and steady, wise direction; big, growing youths of 15 and 16, who are beginning to think of what life means, and who need inspiration and the daily comradeship of mature men who understand them. All of these boys benefit greatly from the community life of the camp. Many campers come from small families. At camp they learn that everything, even fun, is to be shared, and that the duties well done and consideration for others bring satisfaction and friends. Boys like and need to ‘run with the pack’ and a Summer home cannot fill this need as a camp does” (Boston Globe, April 30, 1967).
Walter H. Bentley, a public school teacher, aged thirty-one years (b. MA), headed a Quincy, MA, household at the time of the Thirteenth (1910) Federal Census. His household included his wife (of zero years), Harriet A. Bentley, aged twenty-three years (b. MA), and his widowed father, aged seventy-seven years (b. Canada (Eng.)). Walter H. Bentley owned their house at 104 Woodward Avenue, with a mortgage.
Walter H. Bentley resigned his principalship at Quincy’s Coddington school at the close of the 1910-11 academic year (Boston Globe, April 26, 1911).
Walter Harold Bentley registered for the WW I military draft in Ossipee, NH, September 12, 1918. He had two addresses and occupations: he was a teacher at Dummer Academy in So. Byfield, MA, but also a summer camp director, at Wyanoke Camp, Wolfeboro, NH. He was forty years of age (b. May 24, 1878). He was of a tall height, medium build, with brown eyes and gray hair. His nearest relation was his wife, Hattie A. Bentley, of Wolfeboro, NH.
Walter H. Bentley, a teacher & proprietor of a boys’ camp, aged forty-one years (b. MA), headed a Winchester, MA, household at the time of the Fourteenth (1920) Federal Census. His household included his wife, Harriet M. Bentley, aged thirty-three years (b. MA), and his child, Bradford M. Bentley, aged six years (b. MA). Walter H. Bentley owned their house at 24 Central Street, with a mortgage.
He was subsequently a camp director, resident in Winchester, MA, in 1930; and a camp director, resident in Winchester, MA, in 1940.
Walter H. Bentley died January 30, 1945, aged sixty-six years. Harriet A. (Morrill) Bentley died in Winchester, MA, March 18, 1973, aged eighty-six years.
Deaths and Funerals. Walter H. Bentley. WINCHESTER, Jan 30. – Walter H. Bentley, 66, of 24 Central St., founder of several Summer camps for boys and girls, died today at his home. A graduate of Bridgewater Normal School, he was principal of schools in Milton and Dover, N.H., Haverhill and Quincy, and was associated for a time with Governor Dummer Academy. In 1904 he helped found the Medomak Camp for Boys and in 1909 he opened Camp Wyanoke, Wolfeboro, N.H., now directed by his son, Bradford M. Bentley. He also founded Camp Winnemont for Girls at West Ossipee, N.H., Besides his son he leaves a wife. Funeral services will be held in the Ripley Memorial Chapel of the First Congregational Church Thursday at 2:30. Burial will be in Wolfeboro, N.H. (Boston Globe, January 31, 1945).
Camps Founder Dies in Massachusetts. Boston, Feb. 1 (AP) – Walter H. Bentley, 66, a pioneer in the founding of children’s summer camps, died Tuesday. A resident of Winchester, Bentley was principal of schools in Milton, Dover, N.H., Haverhill and Quincy during his early years as an educator. He operated his own camps, Wyanoke for boys at Wolfeboro, N.H., and Winnemont for girls at West Ossipee, N.H. Burial will be in Wolfeboro, N.H. (Portsmouth Herald, February 1, 1945).
Robert Miller Looney – 1902-14
Robert M. Looney was born in Milton, June 10, 1880, son of Charles H. and Emily E. (Miller) Looney.
LOCALS. Robert Loony, son of C.H. Loony, a graduate of Nute school in Milton will attend Philips Academy at Exeter the coming term (Farmington News, August 28, 1896).
MILTON. Miss Helen Miller, Robert Barker and R.M. Looney, all of Boston, were visitors in town last week (Farmington News, April 27, 1900).
LOCALS. Walter H. Looney and Robert M. Looney, sons of the Hon. C.H. and Mrs. Looney of Milton, and graduates of the Nute school, attended the dance and reception of the class of MCM , last Friday evening (Farmington News, June 29, 1900).
MILTON. Robert M. Looney gave a very successful Bohemian party at the home of his parents, Hon. and Mrs. C.H. Looney, last Thursday evening. The home was decorated with vines and flowers. About forty guests were invited. Mamie Dickey and Maude Clements won the prizes at whist, and were crowned and seated upon the throne. Mark Dickey and Minnie Hussey received the booby prizes and sat at the feet of the more fortunate couple. The costumes were in true Bohemian style (Farmington News, September 13, 1901).
Robert M. Looney appeared in the Milton directory of 1902, as a student, boarding with C.H. Looney, So. Main street. His father appeared as the Hon. Charles H. Looney, custom house, Portsmouth, NH, with a house at 54 So. Main street, near Tappan street. (Charles H. Looney died April 23, 1902).
MILTON. The funeral services of Elsie Avery were held at the home of her parents last Saturday at one o’clock. Miss Avery was a graduate of the Nute high school, under Prof. [Arthur T.] Smith, and this was her second year at Vassar college, from which she was brought home about two weeks ago, very ill with typhoid fever. She was young, bright and interesting, and had been given every advantage that money could procure. She was the youngest daughter of Postmaster J.H. Avery, and the only child by his second marriage. Everything that faithful nursing and the care of a physician could do was done to save her but without avail. The blow to her parents is indeed a hard one and many a home is saddened by her death. Several of the N.H.S. alumni were present at the service, among whom were Robert M. Looney and Helen Miller of Boston, Mass., [and] Maurice Dickey of Worcester, Mass. Prof. Smith came Wednesday evening before her death, which occurred Thursday morning, Feb. 6, at 6 o’clock, and remained until Sunday morning. There was a profusion of beautiful flowers from many friends. The bearers were Maurice Dickey, Bert Horne, Bard Plummer, and Walter Looney. Rev. M.P. Dickey conducted the burial service. The body was arrayed in her graduating dress of white lansdowne. Among the flowers were many lovely roses of different shades (Farmington News, February 14, 1902).
PERSONAL. Principal R.M. Looney of the Milton grammar school, and Mrs. E.F. Looney, were in town Sunday, visiting the parents of the latter, Mr. and Mrs. John Waldron (Farmington News, June 12, 1903).
Robert M. Looney appeared in the Milton directory of 1905, as principal of the Milton Grammar School, boarding with Mrs. C.H. Looney, at 54 South Main street.
New Hampshire. DOVER. At the meeting of the Strafford County Teachers Association at Dover on May 22 the following officers were elected for the ensuing year: President, W.B. Sprague, Durham; vice president, B.S. Mooney, Somersworth; secretary, Miss Annie L. Ricker, South Berwick; treasurer, E.A. Pugsley, Salmon Falls; executive committee, Miss Annie Rollins, Rochester, Robert M. Looney, Milton, Miss Elsa W. Regestein, Farmington; member of educational council, Dr. A.J. Keyes, Dover (Boston University, 1905).
PERSONAL. Principal R.M. Looney of the Milton grammar school was a guest over last Thursday of Mr. and Mrs. E.F. Thayer and attended with them the Caveny entertainment at the opera house. He also visited the grammar school in the afternoon (Farmington News, January 3, 1908).
(J. Franklin Caveny of Chicago, IL, described as a cartoonist, clay modeler, and chalk talker, gave a lecture at the Rochester opera house on that Thursday night, January 2, and another before the Women’s Club in Somersworth, NH, January 4, 1908).
Robert M. Looney appeared in the Milton directory of 1909, as principal of the Milton Grammar School, boarding with Mrs. C.H. Looney, at 54 South Main street.
MILTON. R.M. Looney went to Boston Friday afternoon, returning Sunday evening (Farmington News, May 7, 1909).
Emma E. Looney, a widow, aged fifty-six years (b. NH), headed a Milton [“Milton 3-Ponds”] household at the time of the Thirteenth (1910) Federal Census. He household included her children, Walter Looney, a clerk at Central House, aged thirty-two years (b. NH), Robert M. Looney, a grammar school teacher, aged thirty years (b. NH), Harry N. Looney, a shoe factory cutter, aged twenty-seven years, and John H. Looney, aged twenty-four years (b. NH). She owned their house free-and-clear, without any mortgage. [They resided at 54 South Main street in 1905].
Robert M. Looney appeared in the Milton directory of 1912, as principal of the Milton grammar school, boarding with Mrs. C.H. Looney, at 54 South Main street.
The Milton Grammar School burned to the ground on Saturday morning, April 4, 1914. (It was replaced by the current Milton Elementary School).
WEST MILTON. The residents of this side of the town were shocked to learn of the disastrous fire which consumed the grammar school building at Milton village at an early hour last Saturday morning (Farmington News, [Friday,] April 10, 1914).
WEST MILTON. Miss Lula V. Grace who, by the courtesy of Mr. Looney, principal of the Milton village grammar school, acting in conjunction with the school board and superintendent, participated in the exercises and received her diploma with Mr. Looney’s class at Milton last Friday evening, is the first pupil to receive this distinction since the school has become graded. A delegation of the scholars, accompanied by their teacher and many friends from this part of town, witnessed the exercises which have gained a well-deserved prominence under Mr. Looney’s efficient instruction. The exhibition hall at the Nute high school building, where the grammar school has been in session since the burning of the schoolhouse, was occupied to the last available inch. The execution of some of the most difficult subjects of original composition and essay by the members of the graduating class was truly wonderful for pupils of this grade, while the choral and orchestral numbers from the leading operas were very cleverly rendered and were accorded unanimous acclamation of favor. Miss Hazel Perkins of this district was a member of the graduating class at Milton, having attended that school this past year (Farmington News, June 26, 1914).
Robert M. Looney appeared in the Milton directory of 1917, as principal of the Milton grammar school, boarding with Mrs. C.H. Looney, at 54 South Main street. (This would seem to be a copy-and-paste from the prior directory).
Robert Miller Looney of Milton, NH, registered for the WW I military draft in Boston, MA, September 12, 1918. He was a salesman for H.K. Miller & Co. of 170 Summer Street, Boston, MA, aged thirty-eight years (b, June 10, 1880). His nearest relation was Mrs. Charles H. Looney, Milton, NH. He was of a medium height, and a slender build, with blue eyes, and light hair.
Emily E. Looney, a widow, aged sixty-five years (b. NH), headed a Milton household at the time of the Fourteenth (1920) Federal Census. Her household included her children, Walter E. Looney, Customs House deputy collector, aged forty-one years (b. NH), Robert M. Looney, a broker, aged thirty-nine years (b. NH), and Harry H. Looney, a shoe shop shoe cutter, aged thirty-seven years (b. NH). Emily E. Looney owned their house on Lower Main Street, Milton Village, free-and-clear. They lived near or next to S. Frank Dawson, a mnfy [manufactory] owner, aged forty years (b. MA).
Robert M. Looney, a cotton goods broker, aged forty-nine years (b. NH), was one of one hundred eighty-three lodgers at the Stag Hotel (Technology Chambers) at 5-9 Botolph Street in Boston, MA, at the time of the Fifteenth (1930) Federal Census. He paid $35 per month for his hotel suite.
Robert M. Looney died in Newtonville, Newton, MA, July 22, 1932, aged fifty-two years, one month, and twelve days.
IN MEMORIAM. ROBERT LOONEY. Many friends in this vicinity learn with sincere regret of the death of Robert Miller Looney, the last member of one of Milton’s oldest and most prominent families, which occurred in Newtonville, Mass., on July 22. The end came quietly after a protracted period of suffering, the last two years of which he was deprived of almost every resource of physical independence, yet the bright and sunny disposition with which he met and made numberless friends during the varied contacts of a useful and energetic life, was never surrendered until the end. He was a native of Milton and 52 years old, the third son of the late Hon. Charles H. Looney and Emily (Miller) Looney. He received his education in the public school of Milton, was graduated with the first class of Nute high school and later attended Bryant & Stratton Business college of Boston. For a time he was engaged in the personnel of hotel management in the last named city but left it to become principal of the Milton grammar school in which capacity he achieved unprecedented success, carrying the interests of the school into the community as no other institution or similar influence has been able to do. Later, until his retirement on account of ill health, he was associated with the cotton brokerage business. He was a member of the “Square & Compass Club” of Boston, the Old South Club, the Boston City Club, an active member of the New Old South church and a member of Fraternal Lodge, No. 71, A.F. and A.M., of Farmington. Of his immediate family he was the last and his closest relatives surviving are Mrs. Archibald Campbell Jordan of Winchester, Mass., Looney’s sister-in-law, Mrs. Walter Looney of Boston, both of whom were tenderly devoted to him through his long illness. Funeral services were held at Waterman’s chapel, Boston, for the benefit of his Boston friends, and on the Sunday afternoon following his death services were held in the Union church at Milton and interment was in the cemetery at Lebanon, Me. (Farmington News, August 5, 1932).
The last will of Robert Miller Looney of Milton devised personal effects and furniture to his cousin, Antoinette M. Straw of Bedford, MA; his sister-in-law, Elizabeth G. Looney of Boston, MA; Edith S. Balfour of Bedford, MA; William L. Young, principal of the Horace Mann school of Everett, MA; and aunt Helen M. Jordan of Winchester, MA. He devised $25 each to Dr. M.A.H. Hart of Milton; Dr. Roger W. Graves of Boston, MA; Dr. Cecil W. Clark of Newtonville, MA; and [former Nute High principal] Arthur Thad Smith of Winchester, MA. He devised to the town of Milton:
… the parcel of land with buildings thereon constituting my family home in said Milton to be used by said town of Milton for the benefit of the whole town in any manner in which said town of Milton desires to use the same.
He devised the rest, residue and remainder to his friend, William L. Young; his sister-in-law, Elizabeth G. Looney; and his cousin, Antoinette M. Straw, in equal shares. He named his sister-in-law, Antoinette M. Straw as executrix. The will was dated May 18, 1931, and proved in Strafford County Court, August 9, 1932.
The Milton Town warrant for the town election of March 14, 1933 contained an article regarding the Looney homestead:
[Article] 24. To see if the town will vote to accept a bequest under the will of the late Robert Miller Looney, and if so to determine what shall be done with the property and pass any other vote or votes relative thereto.
[Article 25 on the same ballot concerned buying the Old Fire Station lot for $1].
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