Milton Leatherboard Mill – 1884-1932

By Muriel Bristol | March 1, 2020

French immigrant John M. Carrecabe, of Lynn, MA, who would later be remembered as the pioneer of the leatherboard trade, lost his North Shapleigh, ME, satellite mill to a fire in 1884. He erected the Milton Manufacturing Co. paper mill, which adjoined Mill No. 2, a leatherboard mill, alongside the Salmon Falls River in Milton, in that same year. He produced paper and leatherboard there for some eight years prior to selling out to Seth F. Dawson, of Lawrence, MA, in 1892.

English immigrant Seth F. Dawson ran his mill operation as the Milton Leatherboard Company. He was its president, visiting Milton two days a week, until he placed it in charge of his son and namesake, Seth F. Dawson, Jr., around 1908-09. The son took up residence in Milton and presided over the mill for much of his life. The elder Dawson continued as Treasurer.

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, leatherboard is an artificial leather made by a pulping and compressing process, typically from scrap leather or fibrous materials (as waste paper and wood pulp). Leatherboard replaced pure leather as a cheaper and tougher substitute in the making of shoe heels.

Power is a big factor in making leather board, as leather is a very hard stock, and in consequence leather board mills are situated where water power is available. A small leather board mill uses more power than would be required to run a large shoe factory. Proximity to centers where leather is cut is necessary and low priced coal is a factor. Sole leather pieces and skivings from sole leather are used but no upper leather waste. The leather is defiberized in large beating engines, a process which takes many hours. When the material leaves these engines it is in the form of a fibrous pulp. This pulp is formed into sheets on a machine which is an adaptation of a paper machine and these sheets are then dried. After the sheets are thoroughly dry they are rolled and finished (Shoe and Leather Facts, 1913).

LOCALS. A large quantity of old newspapers and papers of various kinds was shipped from this station to the leatherboard mill at Milton last week where it will be used in the production of leatherboard (Farmington News, July 27, 1894).

John M. Carrecabe – 1884-93

John M. Carrecabe was born in Laas, France, October 16, 1838, son of John M. and Rose Carrecabe.

Near the end of his life, John M. Carrecabe told the story of his origins to the American Shoemaking periodical of Boston, MA.

John Carrecabe of Lynn has had a remarkable career. He was born in Laas, France, 77 years ago. He ran away when ten years old and became an apprentice to a tanner. His father wanted him back home, but the tanner asked that he be allowed to stay. After serving a few years as an apprentice, his father gave him money. He went to London and then to Barcelona, from where he took a ship to South America. He worked in a tannery in Brazil for a while. Next he went to Cuba to visit a cousin. This cousin was killed by lightning and young Carrecabe took charge of his tannery and ran it until 1866. Then came an insurrection and his tannery was burned and he felt lucky to escape with his life and $3,000 in gold which he had inside of his belt. He came to New York and called on some Lynn men, with whom he had done business. They induced him to come to Lynn.  He got work in the Tapley tannery, after much difficulty, for he was so small the tanners didn’t want to hire him. He was promised $5 a week, but he showed that he knew about leather exceptionally well, and $15 was put in his pay envelope. He tried to return it thinking a mistake had been made. Forty years ago he and his associates engaged in the manufacture of leatherboard. He has continued to make leatherboard and leatherboard products ever since. He built mills in Maine and in Milton, N.H., and he was among those who started the O.K. Shank Co. He recently started a shop at 460 Union street, Lynn, for making leatherboard products (McLeish, 1915).

John M. Carracabe, a morocco dresser, aged twenty-seven years, married in Lynn, MA, June 29, 1872, Annie Louisa Potter, aged eighteen years, both of Lynn. She was born in Annapolis, Nova Scotia, Canada, September 3, 1854, daughter of John P. “Polhemus” and Ellen M. (Balcolm) Potter.

[Ed.: Morocco leather was made from goatskin; a morocco dresser was one who tanned such leather].

LYNN, At 1.40 yesterday afternoon a blaze was discovered on the roof of an L of the house [at the] corner of Washington and Union streets, occupied by John M. Carrecabe, and owned by F.E. Abbott of the firm of R.A. Spalding & Co., Market street. The damage was very slight, but a small hole being burned. Sparks falling from the chimney of a shop adjoining caused the trouble (Boston Globe, March 13, 1879).

John M. Carracabe, a junk dealer, aged thirty-six years (b. France), headed a Lynn, MA, household at the time of the Tenth (1880) Federal Census. His household included his wife, Annie L. Carracabe, keeping house, aged twenty-five years (b. Nova Scotia), his children, John A. Carracabe, aged five years (b. MA), Mary E. Carracabe, aged three years (b. MA), Arthur M. Carracabe, aged two years, and <blank> Carracabe, aged one month, and his servant, Hannah Cahill, a domestic servant, aged fifteen years (b. Ireland). They resided on High Rock Avenue.

John M. Carrecabe of Lynn, a junk dealer, petitioned for U.S. citizenship in Lynn, MA, October 26, 1880. He renounced the government of France, where he had been born October 16, 1840 [SIC]. His application claimed that he had arrived as a child in New York, in April 1855 [SIC].

John M. Carrecabe of Lynn, MA, had a leatherboard mill at North Shapleigh, ME, from as early as 1881, until it burned February 5, 1884.

NORTH SHAPLEIGH – York Co. Pop. 25. On Portland and Rochester R.R.; Adams, N.Y. and B. Ex. Carrecabe, J.M. P.O., Lynn, Mass. Shapleigh Mill. S.P., East Wakefield, N.H., 8 miles. One 650-lb. and two 550-lb. engines. One 36-inch Cylinder. Water. Leather Board. 2500 lbs., 24 hours (Vance, 1881).

Trade Gossip. John M. Carricabe, leather-board manufacturer, North Shapleigh, Me., has been burned out (Lockwood, 1884).

NORTH SHAPLEIGH – York Co. Nearest Station Springvale, on Portland and Rochester R.R. American Ex. Tel. M.O., Springvale. Nearest bank, Rochester N.H., 33 miles. Carrecabe, John M. Office, Lynn, Mass. SHAPLEIGH MILL. Established 1860. One 600-lb. and two 500-lb. engines. One 38-inch cylinder. Water. One wheel 100-HP. Employes 5. Leather Board. 2,000 lbs., 24 hours. (Burnt February 5, 1884. Probably will not be rebuilt) (Bryan, 1884).

Milton Mfg Co - 1888
“10. [Left] Milton Mfg. Co. Erected by John M. Carrecabe, 1884. … 12. [Right] Mill No. 2, Leather Board”

According to the “Bird’s Eye View” map of Milton of 1888, John M. Carrecabe erected his Milton Manufacturing Co. paper mill, in 1884, at the foot of Mill Street. The map showed it (to the left of the smokestack) as being beside his Mill No. 2, the leatherboard mill (to the right of the smokestack).

John M. Carrecabe & Co., and others, of Lynn, MA, petitioned the Massachusetts Senate, in February 1887, requesting that telephone rates might be limited by law (Massachusetts Senate, 1887). They also petitioned the Massachusetts House of Representatives. (One wonders why, in so doing, they did not foresee the possibility of leatherboard prices being also set by law, rather than by the market).

LYNN. A horse attached to John Carracabe’s team, driven by John Pequette, ran away on Central square this morning, throwing the driver from his seat. The animal continued, and struck Alden Choate, a gentleman 73 years old, injuring him severely. Mr. Choate was removed to his home on Mason street. The driver was severely injured (Boston Globe, August 29, 1887).

MILTON – Strafford Co. Pop. 1,512. On Conway Branch, N. Div. of B. & M. R.R. Tel. office; nearest bank, Farmington, 5 miles; American Ex. Carrecabe, J.M., & Co. (Succeed John M. Carrecabe). P.O., Lynn, Mass. Two mills. Carrecabe Mills. Five 550-lb. and one 700-lb. engines. Three 40-inch Wet Machines. Water. Leather Board. 7000 lbs., 24 hours. New Mill. Six 550-lb. engines; one 72-inch Cylinder Machine. Water. Manilla and Wrapping. 8000 lbs., 24 hours (Vance, 1887). 

John M. Carrecabe appeared in the Milton directories of 1887, 1889, and 1892 as a leatherboard manufacturer.

John M. Carricabe of Lynn, MA, was one of 20,000 “rich” New England residents that paid more than $100 in taxes in 1888. Lynn’s tax rate was $18.60 per thousand; Carricabe paid $478 (Luce, 1888). (Lewis W. Nute of Boston, MA, paid $1,744 (Boston’s tax rate was $13.40 per thousand)).

John M. Carricabe’s Milton Manufacturing Co. was running “day and night” in the Fall of 1888. After which it appears to have shut down for several months.

MILTON. The Milton Manufacturing Company is running at its utmost capacity, manufacturing leather board and paper. They employ some forty hands, running the twenty-four hours day and night. Burley & Usher, shoe manufacturers of the same place, are turning out twenty cases per day and have orders on hand to last well into the winter months. They give employment to some 200 hands, with a weekly pay roll of $1,400 (Farmington News, September 28, 1888)

NEW ENGLAND NEWS. The Carricabe paper works in Milton, N.H., are being run day and night (Essex County Herald, November 2, 1888).

NEW ENGLAND NEWS. The paper mill at Carricabe’s works, Milton, N.H, will start again soon, after having been shut down several months (Londonderry Sifter (South Londonderry, VT), June 27, 1889).

John M. Carrecabe appeared in the Lynn directory of 1890, as president of Milton Manufacturing Co., at 36 Harbor street, with his house at 64 Hamilton ave. By the time of the Lynn directory of 1891, i.e., at sometime during 1890, he had “removed to Milton, N.H.”

MILTON. J.M. Carricabe and family are at Drew’s Hotel for a few weeks (Farmington News, August 1, 1890).

MILTON. The Milton Manufacturing Co are to resume work, next Monday, at the paper mill (Farmington News, August 29, 1890).

MILTON. J.M. Carricabe is doing business at the leatherboard mill, having increased the capacity this summer. He has also erected a large boiler for the manufacture of pulp, but it is not yet in operation (Farmington News, October 10, 1890).

From the following, it would seem that John M. Carrecabe suspended production again in 1892.  His engineer spent the summer making shoes in Portsmouth, and he himself spent time at his home base in Lynn, MA. He sold his Milton leatherboard mill to a party of capitalists from Lawrence, MA, in late 1892. The next owner, Seth F. Dawson of Lawrence, presumably led that party.

WEST MILTON. Willie Swinerton, who was engineer for Carrecabe so long, is lasting in Portsmouth this summer (Farmington News, July 29, 1892).

MILTON. John Carrecabe returned from Lynn, Mass., Monday, for a few days (Farmington News, October 28, 1892).

MILTON. A party of Lawrence, Mass., capitalists have purchased the leatherboard factory of John M. Carrecabe and with several improvements will continue the business. Mr. Carrecabe will remain on hand until the stock is used up (Farmington News, December 9, 1892).

MILTON. Mr. John M. Carrecabe gives up possession of the leatherboard mill this week. The new company will take possession immediately (Farmington News, February 3, 1893).

Carrecabe’s teenage son, John A. Carrecabe, who had been cashier at the Milton factory, might not have wanted to return to Lynn, MA. He took briefly a clerk’s job at J.D. Willey’s Milton grocery store. The younger Carrecabe perhaps remembered his father’s beginnings as a French runaway. He ran away himself to Manchester, NH, where he took another clerk’s job under an assumed name.

MILTON. John A. Carrecabe is clerking at J.D. Willey’s grocery store (Farmington News, February 17, 1893).

BOY LOST AND FOUND. Chief of Police Miller received word Saturday morning from John M. Carrecabe of Boston that he had good reason to believe that his 18-year-old son was here, having run away from home a few weeks before. Mr. Miller found the boy clerking for W.B. Atwood under the name of Frank Roberts. He immediately wired his father, who came here on the 3 o’clock train Saturday night. Accompanied by Mr. Miller, they went to Bina Hastings’ house where the boy was boarding. The boy was taken completely by surprise and promised to go home with his father. Both left for Boston on the midnight train. No motive was discovered for the boy’s running away. His father is a twine merchant in comfortable circumstances and the boy had received. a good education and been cashier in his father’s factory at Milton, N.H. He first went to Manchester, N.H., and was under police surveillance there when his father arrived to bring him home, but escaped as soon as he caught sight of his father in the Manchester depot. Mr. Carrecabe was very grateful to Chief Miller for his prompt detention of the boy (St. Johnsbury Caledonian, March 9, 1893).

MILTON. Dana Tasker and John Carrecabe have returned from the World’s Fair. Several will leave Milton for Chicago the first week in October (Farmington News, September 22, 1893).

John M. Carrecabe reappeared in the Lynn, MA, directory of 1893, as being employed in Boston, MA, and having a house at 324 Western av. in Lynn, MA. His son, John A. Carrecabe, appeared as a clerk, who boarded at 324 Western av.

John M. Carrecabe appeared in the Lynn, MA, directory of 1897, as a dealer in leather, strawboard, and shoe findings, at 543 Washington street, but also for L.J. Richards & Co, at 587 Washington street, with his house at 324 Western av. His newly married son, John A. Carrecabe, had “removed to Salem,” MA. (Whose directory listed him as a manufacturer in 1897: John A. Carrecabe, shoe stock manufr, 277 Derby, h. 12 Dearborn).

Carrecabe, John M - Lynn, 1897
Lynn Directory, 1897

Business Troubles. F.L. Bragdon & Co. shoe manufacturers, Peterboro, N.H., have assigned. A meeting of the creditors will be held Monday. Some of the Boston creditors are Mullen  Brown, T.F. Boyle & Co, L.B. Southwick & Co., J.M. Carrecabe, W. E. Gilman & Co., Tripp giant leveler company, and the Wire grip fastening company. The assignees are A.J. Walt, S.M. Smith and E.W. Jones, all of Peterboro (Boston Globe, June 9, 1897).

John M. Carracabe, a leather dealer, aged sixty-one years (b. France), headed a Lynn, MA, household at the time of the Twelfth (1900) Federal Census. His household included his wife, Annie L. Carracabe, aged forty-five years (b. Canada (Fr.)), his children, Mary E. Carracabe, aged twenty-three years, Espert W. Carracabe, a clerk, aged twenty years, Sabrina J. Carracabe, at school, aged eighteen years, and Annie L. Carracabe, at school, aged sixteen years, and his brother-in-law, Frederick Potter, a shoe stock fitter, aged nineteen years (b. MA). They resided at 324 Western Avenue.

George A. Leighton, a roofer, was found guilty of receiving 800 pounds of tar paper, which was delivered to him without the knowledge or consent of John M. Carracabe, the owner. Leighton, it appeared, made a deal with the shipper. He will be sentenced tomorrow (Boston Globe, October 10, 1900).

It would seem that John A. Carrecabe, the runaway son of 1893, was in some respects not quite right. He married in Lynn, MA, July 5, 1896, Angelina R. Hogue. But then he married again, bigamously, in Boston, MA, November 26, 1901, Angela M. O’Connor.

MISS O’CONNOR IN GOTHAM. LYNN, Dec. 6. – Angela O’Connor has not yet returned to the home of her youth, at 130 Fayette street, nor up to 11 o’clock tonight had her irate father found John A. Carrecabe, the alleged married man with whom she eloped. Mr. O’Connor contemplates doing all sorts of rash things to the man who he says enticed his daughter away – when he catches him. At the present time Mr. Carrecabe would be considered a fairly good risk by any insurance company, he being at least as far west as New York, while Mr. O’Connor remains in Lynn. Miss O’Connor has written to her sister from New York and expressed entire satisfaction with her new life (Boston Post, December 6, 1901).

POLICE WANT HIM. After John Carrecabe, a Lynn Man. Deserted His Wife to Marry Miss Angela O’Coancr. Visited Wife In Nashua Alter Wedding. She Had No Suspicion of Double Dealing. Believes the Young Woman Was Deceived by Him. LYNN, Dec. 11. The whereabouts of John Carrecabe and Miss Angela O’Connor, who left this city a week ago, after being married in Boston is still puzzling the police and Mrs. Carreeabe, who returned to this city today from a visit to Nashua. Carrecabe and Miss O’Connor were married Nov. 26, and two days afterwards he visited his wife at Nashua and told her he was going to New York, as he had secured a permanent position there. That the affair was planned far ahead is now generally conceded, and it is believed that Miss O’Connor was an innocent victim of his schemes. The return of the marriage has been made to the Boston city clerk, and this convinces the friends and relatives of the young woman that she insisted upon a ceremony being performed before she would accompany him. Since his desertion of his wife here and elopement with Miss O’Connor he has written his wife from Albany, N.Y., telling her he would return within a short time and advising her to be prepared to accompany him to New York. “The letter was kind and affectionate,” she said today, “and there was absolutely nothing about it to arouse my suspicions.” “I do not blame Miss O’Connor. She bas been made his dupe. He has deceived both of us, and especially me, for he visited me at Nashua after he had been married to Miss O’Connor. I do not know what I will do.” The story is a strange one. The O’Connors and Carrecabes live but a short distance apart, and Miss O’Connor was Carrecabe’s bookkeeper in the office of the small business he conducted. For nearly two years past he has been visiting the house of the young woman and her parents all the time believed him to be single. Repeatedly he spent evenings at the house. when his wife was at her home but a short distance away, and he also escorted the young woman to many places of amusement. Her friends are sure she did not know he was married. Mrs Carrecabe, who is also a young woman about 23, returned to this city today from Nashua, where she has been visiting for a week past. Her husband spoke about her going there to see friends, and she departed. Just after her departure he married Miss O’Connor and then spent a day and night in the company or his first wife In the New Hampshire town, returning to this city and departing with Miss O’Connor. Mrs. Carrecabe said today: “My husband and I have not had a quarrel, and if I had thought he was calling on another woman this thing would not have happened. While I was in Nashua I received letters from him, and all were in a loving vein. Of course I suspected nothing and it all seems like a nightmare. “While visiting he called on me, and we were together some time, and by never an action or word did he show that he was inconstant or tired of me. He told me he had a position in New York, and we planned to live there. He was to go on and see about the place, and send for me. When he left we had agreed on everything, and I looked forward with much pleasure to a life in New York. “Since his departure I received a letter from Albany, N.Y. I wondered what he was doing there. The letter explained that he would not go to work for several days, and so had taken a trip to that city. He said for me not to worry if I did not hear from him for some time.” “I certainly thought nothing was wrong until receiving word from my parents to return home, and I have come here to learn of this terrible affair.” Mrs. Carrecabe is prostrated over the action of her husband. She is a fine looking young woman and a good housekeeper. Application has been made for a warrant for the arrest of Carrecabe, and the police of the country will be asked to look out for him and the young woman (Boston Globe, December 12, 1901).

Mrs. John A. [Angelina R. (Hogue)] Carrecabe appeared at her own separate address on Minot street in the Lynn directories of 1902 and 1903. Her erstwhile husband, John A. Carrecabe, appeared as bookkeeper in the San Francisco, CA, directory of 1905. He was a hardware clerk, aged thirty-five (b. MA), and his wife (of nine years (first marriage!)), Angela M. (O’Connor) Carrecabe, aged twenty-nine years (b. MA), were both boarders in Portland, OR, in 1910.

John M. Carrecab, a shoe finding co. proprietor, aged seventy-two years (b. France), headed a Lynn, MA, household at the time of the Thirteenth (1910) Federal Census. His household included his wife (of thirty-eight years),  Annie L. Carrecab, aged fifty-five years (b. Canada (Eng.)), his children, May E. Carrecab, aged thirty-three years (b. MA), and Sabrina J. Carrecab, a shoe machinery co. forewoman, aged twenty-eight years (b. MA). John M. Carrecab owned their house at 324 Western Avenue, free-and-clear. He had immigrated to the U.S. in 1860; Annie L. Carrecabe had immigrated in 1872. She was the mother of seven children, of whom five were still living.

THE REAL ESTATE MARKET. FOR SALE at 693 Western av., Lynn, Mass., brick house, 16 rooms, stable, garage, 2300 ft. land, great for investment, next block to the electric works on Center st; low price, $12,000. Inquire within or of JOHN M. CARRECABE, 78 High st., Boston, Mass. (Boston Globe, October 23, 1910).

MILTON. Mr. and Mrs. Espert Carricabe and little daughter of North Rochester were guests at Garland farm last Sunday (Farmington News, February 27, 1914).

One is reminded constantly that truth can truly be stranger than fiction. Long after his divorce John A. Carrecabe returned from years spent on the west coast and [re-] married (2nd) in Boston, MA, July 28, 1915, his bigamous wife of 1901, Angela M. Connor. He was a salesman, aged forty years, and she a bookkeeper, aged thirty-five years.

MALE HELP WANTED. WANTED. Man to run iron press; must know how to set dies. Apply 78 High st, Boston, JOHN M. CARRECABE (Boston Globe, July 9, 1916).

John M. Carrecabe died in Lynn, MA, April 7, 1918, aged seventy years.

DEATHS. CARRECABE – In Lynn, April 7, John M. Carrecabe, 70 yrs. Home private. High mass of requiem at St. Jean de Baptiste Church, Franklin St., Tuesday at 10 a.m. Relatives and friends invited (Boston Post, April 8, 1918).

John Andrew Carrecabe registered for the WW I military draft in Melrose, MA, September 12, 1918. He was forty-three years of age (b. March 17, 1875), and resided at 50 Warwick Road, Melrose, MA. He was employed as manager of John M. Carrecabe [Co.], at 307 Fourth Street, Chelsea, MA. His wife, Angela M. Carrecabe, of 50 Warwick Road, Melrose, MA, was his nearest relative. He was of medium height, with a medium build, blue eyes, and brown hair.

CHELSEA. John M. Carrecabe [Co.] of 307 4th st. informed the police that his factory was entered and an attempt made to open the safe by hammering the handle. Nothing appears to be missing (Boston Globe, September 9, 1919)

Carrecabe Mill, Chelsea
“Interior View at John M. Carrecabe Plant” (Shoe and Leather Facts, January 1920)

In 1921, John M. Carrecabe was “remembered as the pioneer of the leather-board industry” (Nickelson, 1921).

John A. Carrecabe of Lynn, MA, drowned in a boating accident at Buck’s Cove, on Sebec Lake, in Dover-Foxcroft, ME, June 9, 1929, aged fifty-four years. He was holding his wife Angela’s hand until, apparently exhausted, he sank in twenty feet of water, only fifty feet from shore (North Adams Transcript, June 10, 1929).

Annie L. (Potter) Carrecabe died in Swampscott, MA, November 8, 1934, aged eighty years.

DEATHS. CARRECABE – In Swampscott, Nov. 8, Annie L., aged 80 years. Funeral services will be held at her late residence, 23 Linden av., Swampscott. on Sunday at 2 p.m. Relatives and friends invited (Boston Globe, November 10, 1934).

Angela M. (Connor) Carrecabe died in Lynn, MA, in February 1944.

Seth Franklin Dawson [Sr.] – 1893-09

Seth Frank Dawson was born in Huddersfield, Yorkshire, England, July 19, 1847, son of William and Hannah M. “Anna” (Earnshaw) Dawson.

S.F. Dawson, Sr., who is treasurer of the Milton Leather Board Company of Milton, N.H., was born in England, in 1846, and was a babe of six months when his parents brought him to the United States and established the home at Lawrence, Mass. There he was reared and still resides (Scales, 1914). 

Wm. Dawson, an operative, aged thirty-seven years (b. England), headed a Lawrence, MA, household at the time of the First (1855) Massachusetts State Census. His household included Anna Dawson, aged thirty-seven years (b. England), David Dawson, an operative, aged sixteen years (b. England), Henry Dawson, aged fifteen years (b. England), Firth Dawson, aged thirteen years (b. England), Anna Dawson, aged eleven years (b. England), Seth Dawson, aged eight years (b. England), Jane Dawson, aged seven years (b. England), and Joshua Dawson, aged three months (b. MA). They shared a two-family dwelling with the household of Benjamin Simpson, a mason (b. NH).

Seth F. Dawson’s father, William Dawson, died of “lung fever” in Lawrence, MA, May 8, 1860, aged forty-two years. Hannah Dawson, a housekeeper, aged forty-two years (b. England), headed a Lawrence, MA, household at the time of the Eighth (1860) Federal Census. Her household included Abel Dawson, a butcher, aged twenty-three years (b. England), Henry Dawson, an operative, aged twenty-one years (b. England), Seth Dawson, an operative, aged seventeen [thirteen] years (b. England), Anna Dawson, an operative, aged sixteen years (b. England), Firth Dawson, aged thirteen years (b. England), and Jane Dawson, aged eleven years (b. England). Hannah Dawson had personal estate valued at $50.

Hannah M. Dawson, a widow keeping house, aged fifty-two years (b. England), headed a Lawrence, MA, household at the time of the Ninth (1870) Federal Census. Her household included William H. Dawson, a provisions dealer’s clerk, aged thirty-one years (b. England), Seth F. Dawson, a provisions dealer, aged twenty-two years (b. England), and Emma Jane Dawson, a woolen mill worker, aged twenty-one years (b. England). Seth F. Dawson had real estate valued at $1,500 and personal estate valued at $500. They shared a two-family dwelling with the household of John Haigh, a woolen mill worker, aged forty-seven years (b. England).

The first step in his business career was in the meat and grocery line, but eighteen years ago he established himself in the leather board business, in which he has successfully been engaged since that time. He is also an extensive dealer in real estate and has done much to improve and increase the real values of the township. He has taken an active part in the councils of the Republican party, has served as councillor two terms and as president of the school board two terms. He is a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, Pilgrim Fathers, and trustee and superintendent of the Methodist Sunday school. He married, October 26, 1876, Lizzie Abigail, daughter of Daniel Darius and Harriet (Standridge) Cutting, who were the parents of three daughters and two sons. Daniel D. Cutting was a farmer in Standridge, Canada, and came to the United States in 1854. He settled in Vermont, where he had purchased a farm and cultivated the same ten years. He then removed to the state of New York. Seth Frank and Lizzie A. (Cutting) Dawson had children: 1. Rose Edith, born November 3, 1877, married Arthur Barker, has three children. 2. Seth Frank. Jr. born June 17, 1879. 3. Florence Cutting, born November 20, 1887 (Cutter, 1908).

Dawson, Seth F &amp; Co - Lawrence, 1873Seth F. Dawson appeared in the Lawrence directory of 1873, as proprietor of Seth F. Dawson & Co., provisions, on Garden street, at its corner with Newbury street. His house was at 22 Spring street. His widowed mother, Hannah Dawson, as well as his brothers, Henry Dawson, who was a clerk at Seth F. Dawson’s, and William H. Dawson, who was a clerk, all resided at 22 Spring street. Seth F. Dawson appeared also as Recording Steward, and Treasurer of Stewards, of the Garden Street Methodist Episcopal Church.

He married in Lawrence, MA, October 26, 1876, Elizabeth A. Cutting. She was born in Clarenceville, Quebec, Canada, August 30, 1853, daughter of Daniel D. and Harriet E.S. (Standridge) Cutting.

Seth F. Dawson was a city councilor in Lawrence, MA, in 1878.

MASSACHUSETTS. Wm. D. Stevens, formerly employed in the provision store of Seth F. Dawson in Lawrence, and who was arrested for selling mortgaged property in the fall of 1878, and was sentenced to nine months in the House of Correction, but appealed, furnished bonds, and afterward fled to Canada, was arrested at South Paris, Me., Friday, and brought to Lawrence Saturday and lodged in jail. While absent, Stevens figured prominently in the role of a reformed temperance lecturer, and brought a suit for §5,000 damages against a Conticook paper in consequence of alleged slanderous articles concerning his previous career (Boston Post, February 9, 1880).

Seth Dawson, provisions, aged thirty-three years (b. England), headed a Lawrence, MA, household at the time of the Tenth (1880) Federal Census. His household included his wife, Elizabeth Dawson, aged twenty-eight years (b. Canada), and his children, Rose Dawson, aged one year (b. MA), and Frank Dawson, aged one year (b. MA). They resided at 46 Summer street.

He was brought up in the leather business and about 1882 entered this business at Lawrence, Mass., carrying it on under the style of S.F. Dawson. In 1892 he removed the concern to Milton, organizing the Milton Leather Board Company. Here a large business has been built up, the output being 20,000 pounds every twenty-four hours, and employment being given to twenty-five men. He married Eliza A. Cutting, who was born at Potsdam, N.Y. They have two children, Mrs. Arthur Barker of Mass., and S.F., Jr. Mr. Dawson maintains his home at Lawrence but spends two days of the week at the plant in Milton. In politics he an independent voter. He belongs to the Odd Fellows and to the Pilgrim Fathers and with his family attends the Methodist Episcopal Church (Scales, 1914).

Seth F. Dawson appeared in the Lawrence, MA, directory of 1883, as a leatherboard manufacturer, at the lower end of Canal street, with his house at 46 Summer street. His mother, the widow Hannah [(Earnshaw)] Dawson, appeared as having died March 11, 1882. His brother, William H. Dawson, appeared as a clerk at S.F. Dawson’s, with his house at 68 Haverhill street. Another brother, Henry Dawson, had also his house at 68 Haverhill street.

Seth F. Dawson of Lawrence, MA, was one of 20,000 “rich” New England residents that paid more than $100 in taxes in 1888. Lawrence’s tax rate was $16.00 per thousand; Dawson paid $280 (Luce, 1888).

Seth F. Dawson experienced a destructive fire when his Lawrence mill storehouse burned on Saturday morning, April 20, 1889. (The suicide in the article below was merely an unrelated Lawrence event; Dawson would experience two more fires in Milton).

FIRE AND SUICIDE AT LAWRENCE. Lawrence, Mass., April 20 –  The storehouse of the leather board mill of Seth F. Dawson, on the lower canal, containing 100 bales of jute and leather board pulp, was, with its contents, damaged $8000 by fire this morning. The cause of the fire is said to have been spontaneous combustion. Andrew Moyes, a section baud at the Pacific Mills, shot himself through the head this morning with a revolver. He left a letter saying that he was tired of life. He has been contributing to the press articles on Home rule in Ireland, and on the condition of the workingmen in this country. His employers recently discovered that he was the author of these articles, which fact seemed to worry Moyes. He leaves a wife (Fall River Daily Evening News, April 20, 1889).

LAWRENCE. An alarm of fire was rung in from box 72 at 12.35 this morning, caused by the discovery of flames issuing from the stock of leather board and jute in S.F. Dawson’s storehouse on Island street, which was partially burned Saturday morning (Boston Globe, April 22, 1889).

Seth F. Dawson was one of the party of Lawrence capitalists that purchased John M. Carrecabe’s leatherboard mill at Milton in late 1892. He and the Lawrence investors incorporated their venture in Maine, December 17, 1892, as the Milton Leatherboard Company.

MILTON. A party of Lawrence, Mass., capitalists have purchased the leatherboard factory of John M. Carrecabe and with several improvements will continue the business. Mr. Carrecabe will remain on hand until the stock is used up (Farmington News, December 9, 1892).

The Milton Leatherboard Company cut back on its staff in November 1893, as a consequence of the Panic of 1893.

NEW ENGLAND MILL NOTES. The Milton Leatherboard Co., of Milton, N.H., has made a reduction in the number of its employes (Burlington Independent, November 25, 1893).

Mr. John Morin, Morain, or Morian, of Lawrence, MA, lost his arm at the Milton Leatherboard Co., when it got caught in a moving driving belt that he sought to adjust. The accident was described in January 1894 as having occurred “recently.”

LOCALS. Deputy Sheriff J.E. Hayes served a writ on the Milton leather board mill proprietors last week in favor of a Mr. Morin who recently lost an arm by an accident in the factory and claims damages (Farmington News, January 19, 1894).

LOCALS. The case of John Morain vs. the Milton Leatherboard Company will be tried again at the coming term of the supreme court here in Dover, beginning Tuesday of next week. Morain claims damages in the sum of $10,000 for the loss of an arm while operating a machine in the company’s mill a few years ago. The case was first tried at the September term of court. Worcester, Gaffney, and Snow are counsel for Morain – Foster’s (Farmington News, February 8, 1895).

Verdict for Defense in a $10,000 Suit. DOVER, N.H., Sept. 14. The jury in the $10,000 damage suit brought by John Morian of Lawrence against the Milton Leatherboard company for the loss of an arm while adjusting a belt, returned a verdict for the defendant last night, and were discharged. The case was tried a year ago, when the jury disagreed, 11 to 1, in favor of the plaintiff (Boston Globe, September 14, 1895).

Milton Leatherboard Co. appeared in the Milton directories of 1894, 1898, 1901, 1904, and 1905-06.

LOCALS. On Tuesday morning the gong on the leatherboard mill at Milton could be plainly heard [from Farmington], the air was so clear (Farmington News, June 8, 1894).

The Milton Manufacturing Co. paper mill portion of the Mill Street mill complex was sold at auction to Alvah Shurtleff in June 1897. (Milton Leatherboard Co. continued under the Dawsons). After Shurtleff resumed active operation, there were a spate of worker injuries, some quite serious, over the next few years. The paper mill building burned down in June 1909. Twin State Gas and Electric thought to setup an electric power plant there in 1916.

MILTON. The paper mill, which was sold at auction last week, was purchased by Alvah Shurtleff for $13,000. Mr. Shurtleff will resume active operation in the mill at once (Farmington News, June 25, 1897).

MILTON. Ed Chipman, the boss finisher at the Milton leatherboard mill, is spending a few days with relatives in Lynn and vicinity. Both of the leather board mills and the paper mill are running full force night and day, there being a ready sale for all the goods that they can manufacture (Farmington News, March 30, 1900).

Edwin Chipman, a leather-board hand, aged thirty-one years (b. MA), headed a Milton (“Milton Village”) household at the time of the Twelfth (1900) Federal Census. His household included his wife (of thirteen years), Mary B. [(Drew)] Chipman, aged thirty-three years (b. NH),and his children, Bessie Chipman, aged twelve years (b. MA), and Alta D. Chipman, aged four years (b. NH). Mary B. Chipman was the mother of three children, of whom two were still living.

MILTON. Miss Susie Haley, daughter of Rev. Frank Haley, entered the employ of Milton Leather Board Company as bookkeeper on Monday (Farmington News, May 18, 1900).

Seth F. Dawson, a leatherboard manufacturer, aged fifty-two years (b. England), headed a Lawrence, MA, household at the time of the Twelfth (1900) Federal Census. His household included his wife (of twenty-three years), Lizzie A. Dawson, aged forty-nine years (b. Canada), and his children, Rose E. Dawson, aged twenty-two years (b. MA), Seth F. Dawson, [Jr.,] aged twenty years (b. MA), and Florence C. Dawson, at school, aged twelve years (b. MA). Seth F. Dawson had arrived in the U.S. in 1850, and was a naturalized citizen; Lizzie A. Dawson had arrived in 1853. Seth F. Dawson owned their house at 46 Summer street, with a mortgage. Lizzie A. Dawson was the mother of three children, of whom three were still living.

MILTON. R.T. Barker is working for S.F. Dawson (Farmington News, December 7, 1900).

Camp Hedding was a Methodist camp meeting revival site founded in East Epping, NH, in 1863. It was sufficiently large and active that it had its own post office and railroad station by 1896.

HEDDING CAMP-MEETING ASSOCIATION (M.E.), HEDDING, N.H. Pres. Rev. J.E. Robins, Dover; sec., Rev. Wm. Ramsden, Rochester, N.H.; treas., Seth F. Dawson, Lawrence, Mass.; ex com., Christopher Button, Exeter, N.H., Rev. G.W. Norris, Lawrence, Mass., Alanson Palmer, Brooklyn, N.Y., John Young, Rochester, N.H., Wm. Brown, Auburn, N.H., Rev. J.L. Felt, Suncook, N.H. Annual meeting in August 1898 (Tower, F.L., 1897). 

HEDDING CAMPGROUND. News of Interest to Portsmouth Friends of the Chataqua Meetings. On Sunday morning, Sunday school was held at Grace church Haverhill, under the charge of Rev. Otis Cole, and the junior department met in the Rochester house under the charge of Seth F. Dawson of Lawrence (Portsmouth Herald, August 5, 1901).

The Milton Leatherboard Company had a stone dam with a 25-foot fall in the 1901 U.S. Geological Survey report. Its water could generate between 200-300 horsepower.

MILTON. Frank Norton is making a trip through New Hampshire and Massachusetts in the interests of the leather board mill (Farmington News, November 15, 1901).

Seth F. Dawson experienced his second destructive mill fire when the Milton Leatherboard mill burned down on January 8, 1902. (The first having been his Lawrence storehouse).

MILLS DESTROYED BY FIRE. One Man Burned and Seventy-Five Out of Employment. Milton, Jan. 9. – The Milton Leather Board mills here, were burned yesterday, causing a loss of between $55,000 and $60,000. One man was badly burned. The fire started from an overheated pulley. Seventy-five men are thrown out of employment. The mill and yard cover over two acres of land, and on the premises a large quantity of lumber was piled, which was destroyed. The steam plant of them all had recently been fitted up with an additional new engine, and steam apparatus at the cost of $20,000 (Portsmouth Herald, January 9, 1902).

FIRE AT MILTON. The town of Milton was visited by a bad fire at an early hour Wednesday morning when the large leather board and shoe findings factory, owned by the Milton leather board company, was totally destroyed. The loss will be a bad blow to the people as well as the owners. The alarm was given at 7.45 and the Milton fire department responded promptly but the fire had such a start that their work amounted to but little. A man by the name of Dresser, who was among the last to get out of the mill, was badly burned about the head and arms, and was taken to his home in Lebanon, Me., after having his wounds dressed by Dr. Hart. The cause of the fire is supposed to be due to an overheated pulley, but the owners were unable to state sure. The loss is estimated at about $60,000, and is well covered by insurance. The machinery, which was of the latest improved pattern, is wholly destroyed, also the boiler and engine. The employees feel their loss badly, as some valuable watches and clothes were destroyed. The factory was a good one having been built about 12 years. It was two stories high, 185 feet long and 52 feet wide, with a boiler room 40×60, two stories in height. At this time business was rushing, a day and night crew being employed, in all about 80 hands. A large amount of stock was on hand (Farmington News, [Friday,] January 10, 1902).

MILTON. January 8, 1902. Wood building, used as leatherboard mill; owned and occupied by Milton Leatherboard Co.; building valued at $9,000; damage to building, $9,000; insurance upon building, $7,000; contents valued at $35,000; damage to contents, $35,000; insurance upon contents, $25,000; loss total, cause, slipping of belt (Brett, et. al., 1913). 

See also Milton in the News – 1902  for further details of the Milton Leatherboard fire of 1902.

Herman C. Dyer of Milton, who had been employed at the Milton Leatherboard Company for ten years, died accidentally when he fell off of a train in Rochester, NH, in December 1904. (His death was initially thought to have been a murder).

MILTON – Strafford Co. Pop. 1,625. On B.&M. R.R. M.O. and Tel. office; nearest bank, Rochester, 8 miles; Am. Ex. MILTON LEATHER BOARD CO. (S.F. Dawson, Jr., Pres.; S.F. Dawson, Treas.) S.P. at mill. Eight Beating and one Jordan engines; six Cylinder machines. Water and Steam. Leather board. 14,000 lbs., 24 hours (Lockwood, 1905).

MILTON – Strafford Co. Pop. 1,625, On B. & M. R.R. M.O. and Tel. office; nearest bank, Rochester, 8 miles; Am. Ex. MILTON LEATHER BOARD CO. (S.F. Dawson, Jr., Pres.; S.F. Dawson, Treas.). S.P. at mill. Eight Beating and two Jordan engines; six Cylinder machines. Water and Steam. Leather Board. 14,000 lbs., 24 hours (Vance, 1908).

Florence Cutting Dawson, of Lawrence, MA, died of tuberculosis in New York, NY, August 15, 1909, aged twenty-one years, eight months, and seventeen days. (She was the youngest daughter of Seth F. and Lizzie A. (Cutting) Dawson).

Franklin Dawson, a leatherboard manufacturer, aged sixty-two years (b. England), headed a Lawrence, MA, household at the time of the Thirteenth (1910) Federal Census. His household included his wife, Elizabeth A. Dawson, aged fifty-nine years (b. Canada). Franklin Dawson rented their house at 8 Jackson Terr. Elizabeth A. Dawson was the mother of three children, of whom two were still living (daughter Florence C. Dawson having died in the prior year).

Seth F. Dawson, a manufacturer, aged seventy-five years (b. England), headed a Lawrence, MA, household at the time of the Fourteenth (1920) Federal Census. His household included his wife, Elizabeth Dawson, aged sixty-nine years (b. Canada). Seth F. Dawson rented their house at 81 Saunders street.

Elizabeth A. (Cutting) Dawson died in Lawrence, MA, April 30, 1926. Seth F. Dawson, Sr., died in North Reading, MA, August 7, 1926.

Seth Franklin Dawson, Jr. – 1909-32

Seth Franklin Dawson, Jr., was born in Lawrence, MA, June 17, 1879, son of Seth F. and Lizzie A. (Cutting) Dawson.

S.F. Dawson, Jr., was educated at Lawrence, Mass. As soon as school days were over, he became actively connected with his present business, subsequently becoming head of the concern. On March 23, 1909, he was married to Miss Edith Ackerman, who is a daughter of Rev. G.E. and Eugenia Ackerman, and they have two children. Seth Willard, who was born at Lawrence, Mass., and Harold Cleveland, who was born at Milton, N.H., which is the family home. Mr. and Mrs. Dawson are members of the Congregational church. In politics Mr. Dawson is a Republican and fraternally is a Mason (Scales, 1914).

Seth Frank Dawson, Jr., married (1st) in Lawrence, MA, May 24, 1909, Edith Willard Ackerman, both of Lawrence. He was a manufacturer, aged twenty-nine years, resident at 8 Jackson Terrace; she was a teacher, aged twenty-two years, resident at 156 Garden street. She was born in Warsaw, NY, circa 1887, daughter of Rev. George E. and Eugenia (Van Wormer) Ackerman. Her father performed the ceremony.

MILTON. Robert M. Looney has gone to Lawrence, Mass., to act as best man at the marriage of Miss Edith Willard Ackerman to Mr. Seth Frank Dawson, Jr., which is to occur in that city on Wednesday evening, March 24, at 8 o’clock, in the Garden street Methodist church of which Rev. George Everett Ackerman, father of the bride, is pastor. Mr. Dawson has been engaged for quite a number of years in the leather board business in Milton, his father being the senior partner. Miss Ackerman is said to be an accomplished musician, having been organist at the University of Syracuse, N.Y. The spacious and pleasant house on South Main Street, owned and once occupied by Charles Tasker of Boston, has been fitted with electricity and otherwise prepared and furnished for immediate use and will be occupied by Mr. and Mrs. Dawson, on their return to Milton, which will be on Thursday, March 25, the day after their marriage. Mr. Dawson is most highly esteemed by all who know him and Milton may feel well honored by this addition to its numbers. Surely their many friends will wish the young couple a long and happy life (Farmington News, March 26, 1909).

Chiefly About People. Personal. Married, on the evening of March 24th, in the Garden Street Methodist church, Lawrence, Mass., in the presence of several hundred invited guests, by Rev. G.E. Ackerman, pastor of the church, Mr. Seth Frank Dawson, Jr., and Edith Willard Ackerman, daughter of officiating clergyman. Mr. Dawson is secretary and treasurer of the Milton Leather Board Company, and they will reside Milton, N.H. (Holliday, et al., 1909).

Dawson-Ackerman Wedding in Lawrence, Mass. Friends here of Dr. and Mrs. G.E. Ackerman, former residents of Chattanooga will be interested in the news of the marriage of their daughter Edith to Seth Frank Dawson, Jr., of Lawrence, Mass., where Dr. Ackerman has charge of the Garden Street M.E. church. Dr. Ackerman was for fourteen years a professor in the University of Chattanooga. According to the Lawrence Telegram: One of the prettiest of this season’s weddings took place last night at 8 o’clock in the Garden Street M.E. church when Miss Edith Willard Ackerman, daughter of the Rev. Dr. George E. Ackerman, became the bride of Seth Frank Dawson, Jr. The double ring service was used. The Rev. Dr. Ackerman officiated. Following the ceremony, which was attended by hundreds of friends and acquaintances of both the young folks, a wedding reception was held in the parsonage. A bounteous wedding supper was served by-a caterer. The bride looked charming in a gown of white sheath satin. Her tulle veil was caught up with orange blossoms sent to her by her uncle from Florida. She carried handsome white roses. The bride was attended by her sister, Miss Edna M Ackerman, in a handsome creation of point de spray lace over pink silk. She carried handsome white roses. Mr. Robert Looney of Milton, N.H., was best man. The auditorium of the church was adorned with potted plants and palms. The attendance was so large in the church that the following efficient corps of ushers were busy for an hour previous to the ceremony showing the parishioners and friends of the contracting couple into seats: Arthur Barker, Jerome W. Cross, Walter F. Lillis, Frank W McLanathan, Alexander Wilson and H. Christopher Chubb. Just previous to the wedding march, which was played by Miss Sadie Fearon, Miss Carrie Frazer of Syracuse, N.Y., sang “O Fair, O Sweet and Holy.” Following the ceremony, Mr. and Mrs. Dawson held a reception in the parsonage at which a large number of friends took the opportunity to shower congratulations on the newly wedded couple. The couple were the recipients of many handsome, costly and useful gifts, notably a complete set of valuable silverware from the parishioners of the church. They will reside at Milton, N.H, where a cozily furnished home awaits them. Master Richard Lord was ring bearer and little Janice Barker was flower girl. The two little ones gave the affair an additional charm. Seth Frank Dawson, Jr., the bridegroom, is the son of Seth F. Dawson, one of Lawrence’s best known and respected residents, who resides at 8 Jackson terrace. At present both Mr. Dawson and his son are engaged in the manufacture of leather board in Milton, N.H., where they are proprietors of the Milton Leatherboard Co. Mr Dawson, Jr., has long been a member of the Garden Street M.E. church and enjoys an extended circle of friends who were liberal In their well wishes for a most successful future in the new life into which he has just entered (Chattanooga Daily Times, March 30, 1909). 

Dawson, SF - 1912
Milton Leather-Board Advertisement, 1912

MILTON. An alarm of fire was given Thursday evening of last week at about half past eight which proved to be the paper mill. It was all ablaze in a few minutes after it was discovered and soon fell to the ground. It has been considered unsafe for sometime past. Thirty-five or forty men were thrown out of employment by its loss (Farmington News, June 18, 1909).

Seth F. Dawson, Jr., a leatherboard manufacturer, aged thirty years (b. MA), headed a Milton household at the time of the Thirteenth (1910) Federal Census. His household included his wife (of one year), Edith W. Dawson, aged twenty-three years (b. NY), his child, Seth B. Dawson, aged three months (b. NH), and his mother-in-law, Eugenia Ackerman, a widow, aged fifty-eight years (b. NY). Seth F. Dawson, Jr., rented their house. Emma E. Looney, a widow [of Charles H. Looney], aged fifty-six years, was their neighbor. (Her household included her son (and Dawson wedding Best Man), Robert M. Looney, principal of Milton Grammar School). Eugenia Ackerman was the mother of three children, of whom two were still living. (Edith W. Dawson should have been listed as the mother of one child, of whom one was still living, but that information was omitted).

Chi – Syracuse University. [Class of] ’08 – Born to Mr. and Mrs. Seth Frank Dawson (Edith Ackerman) a son, Willard (Kappa Alpha Theta, 1910).

Fire in Milton. Fire early Wednesday destroyed the big mill of the Milton Leather Board Company and caused a loss that will reach $100,000. Fifty employees of the concern were thrown out of work by the fire. Starting from a cause not yet determined, the blaze sped with great rapidity and soon the whole mill was enveloped. The fire brigade of the mill assisted the Milton fire department in fighting the flames, but the building was doomed from almost the start of the fire. When the fire was discovered six persons were working in the mill and they escaped and gave the alarm. The president of the company owning the mill is S. Frank Dawson of Milton, and Seth F. Dawson of Lawrence is treasurer. Partial insurance (Farmington News, [Friday,] March 22, 1912).

Milton Leatherboard - 1913
“The New Plant of the Milton Leather Board Co., Milton, N.H.,” July 1913

See also Milton in the News – 1912 for further details of the Milton Leatherboard fire of March 1912.

State News. A large crew of Italians started on the construction of a concrete mill for the Milton Leatherboard Co., Monday (Farmington News, May 10, 1912).

A detailed description of the new mill facilities and features, complete with blueprints and photographs, appeared in a Concrete-Cement Age article of July 1913 (from which the following has been excerpted).

In 1912, there was constructed by Milton Leatherboard Co., at Milton, N.H., a new reinforced concrete mill, on the site of the former plant destroyed by fire. This mill is located on the west bank of the Salmon River in Milton village, about ¼-mi. below the reservoir dam. Mills of various kinds have occupied this site for a century and at least four are known have been destroyed by fire. Two wooden mills have been lost by the company in the past 12 years from fire [1902 and 1912]. A large proportion of the product manufactured by this company consists of leatherboards, made from leather scrap used for heeling in the manufacture of shoes. The location of the mill is admirably adapted to this purpose. First, by reason of an excellent water power; second, in having a spur track from the main line of the Boston & Maine R.R. closely paralleling the mill its entire length, and extending past the mill, over a trestle, several hundred feet. This simplifies the handling of raw stock into, and the finished product out of the mill. … Unique and distinguishing features of this plant are the beating engine tubs and wet machine vats which are entirely of reinforced concrete, and it is thought that this is the first instance of the kind in this country. Much credit is due S.F. Dawson [Sr.], treas. of the Milton Leatherboard Co., for originating the idea, and also for courage in opposition to adverse criticism in carrying it into execution. The results have thus far been most gratifying, as so smooth and symmetrical are the tubs in appearance that they may classed almost as works of art … The plant was designed, all plans furnished, and construction supervised by I.W. Jones, Cons. Engr., Milton, N.H. (Brett, et al., 1913). 

MILTON – Strafford Co. Pop. 1,625. On B.&M. R.R. M.O. and Tel. office; nearest bank, Rochester, 8 miles; Am. Ex. MILTON LEATHER BOARD CO. (S.F. Dawson, Jr., Pres.; S.F. Dawson, Treas.) S.P. at mill. Eight Beating and two Jordan engines; six Cylinder machines. Water and Steam. Leather board. 14,000 lbs., 24 hours (Lockwood, 1913).

Dam at Leather Board Mill - FH Lord - 1914 - Obverse

MILTON – Strafford Co. Pop. 1,625. On B.&M. R.R. M.O. and Tel. office; nearest bank, Rochester, 8 miles; Am. Ex. MILTON LEATHER BOARD CO. (S.F. Dawson, Jr., Pres.; S.F. Dawson, Treas.) S.P. at mill. Eight Beating and two Jordan engines; six Cylinder machines. Water and Steam. Leather board. 14,000 lbs., 24 hours (Lockwood, 1915).

A fire crew from the Milton Leatherboard Company turned out for the Hotel Milton fire of November 1915.

MILTON. It is now reasonably assured that Milton village will be illuminated with electricity and Twin State Gas and Electric Co. has looked over the site of the old paper mill with the view of locating the power plant there. If plans are consummated Milton Mills and Union also will be lighted (Farmington News, December 8, 1916).

Milton Leatherboard - 1917
Milton Leather-Board Advertisement, 1917

S. Frank Dawson, Jr., appeared in the Milton directory of 1917, as president and manager of the M.L.B. Co, at the foot of Mill street, with his house at 53 So. Main street, corner of Farmington road.

Seth Frank Dawson, Jr., of Milton, registered for the WW I military draft in Milton, September 12, 1918. He was thirty-nine years of age (b. June 17, 1879), and employed as president of the Milton Leatherboard Co. of Milton. His nearest relative was Edith A. Dawson of Milton. He was of a medium height, with a medium build, blue eyes, and brown hair.

Mrs. Edith W. (Ackerman) Dawson died in Milton, October 14, 1918, aged thirty-two years, and three days. (She was one of the Milton victims of the Spanish Flu epidemic of 1918).

LOCAL. Local club women and many friends learn with sincere regret of the death of Mrs. S. Frank Dawson, Jr., wife of the manager of the Milton Leatherboard Co., which occurred at her home in Milton, Monday, after a short illness of influenza. She was a splendid woman and very prominent in the affairs of the church, the Red Cross and the Woman’s Club (Farmington News, [Friday,] October 18, 1918).

Seth F. Dawson [Jr.]  married (2nd) in Philadelphia, PA, November 27, 1919, Elizabeth Tennant. She was born in Ashly, PA, February 11, 1882, daughter of Linus E. and Sarah J. (Strong) Tennant. (The John Curtis Tennant in the announcement below was her brother, rather than her father).

MARRIAGES. DAWSON-TENNANT. At Philadelphia, Nov. 27. 1919, S.F. Dawson of Philadelphia and Miss Elisabeth H. Tennant, daughter of John Curtis Tennant, formerly of Wilkes-Barre (Wilkes-Barre Record, November 29, 1919).

S. Franklin Dawson, a manufacturing owner, aged forty years (b. MA), headed a Milton household at the time of the Fourteenth (1920) Federal Census. His household included his wife, Elizabeth Dawson, aged thirty-seven years (b. PA), and his children, S. Willard Dawson, aged ten years (b. MA), and Harold C. Dawson, aged six years (b. NH). S. Franklin Dawson owned their house on Lower Main Street, Milton Village, free-and-clear. Emily E. Looney, a widow, aged sixty-five years (b. NH), was still their neighbor.

Milton Leatherboard company, of Milton, had eighteen male employees and zero female employees, for a total of eighteen employees, at the time of a New Hampshire state inspection in 1920 (NH Bureau of Labor, 1920).

MILTON – Strafford Co. P 1,128. On B. & M. R.R. M.O. and Tel. office; nearest bank, Rochester, 8 miles. MILTON LEATHER BOARD CO. (S.F. Dawson, Jr., Pres. and Supt; S.F. Dawson, Treas.) S.P. at mill. Five 3500-lb. Beating and three Jordan engines; six Wet Machines. Widest trimmed sheet, 48 inches. Water and Steam. Heeling Board. 30,000 lbs, 24 hours (Lockwood, 1922). 

Seth F. Dawson, Jr., was elected as a Milton state representative in November 1924. He ran as a Republican (Portsmouth Herald, November 21, 1924).

Young Seth W. Dawson died in Tilton, NH, March 20, 1926, aged sixteen years, one month, and twenty days. (He died of influenza, as had his mother before him). Tilton, NH, was the site of the Tilton Seminary.

Milton Leather Board Co. appeared in the Milton directory of 1927, as leather board manufacturers, with Seth F. Dawson as Manager. Seth F. (Elizabeth T.) Dawson had their house on Main street.

Milton Leatherboard employee, William T. Wallace, was seriously wounded in a freak accident there on October 31, 1928. He died that same day in the Rochester hospital following an operation there, aged sixty-seven years, and nine months. His Rochester death certificate (signed by Dr. M.A.H. Hart of Milton) explained that he had been

Struck by a flying blade from a heavy steel fan in the drying room of the Milton Leatherboard mill on the side of his abdomen causing the bursting of a section of the intestines. He was taken to the Rochester Hosp. and died after his operation before recovering from the anesthetic.

MILTON. Many local friends, and especially the orders of Red Men and Pocahontas throughout the state, regret the untimely and tragic death of William S. Wallace of Milton, who died at the Rochester hospital last Monday as the result of injuries while at his employment in the Dawson paper mill last week. Mr. Wallace was a past great sachem of the Red Men of New Hampshire. For many years he was an employe of the Boston and Maine R.R. as the station master at Milton. Also he was a former business man of Milton (Farmington News, November 9, 1928). 

MILTON – Strafford Co. Pop. 976. On B. & M. R.R. M.O. and Tel., nearest bank, Rochester, 8 miles. MILTON LEATHER BOARD Co. (S.F. Dawson, pres.; Chas. F. Jameson, treas.; M.J. Guild, supt.). S.P. at mill. Five 3500-lb. Beaters and three Jordans. Six Wet machines; widest trimmed sheet, 48 inches. Water and steam. Fibre and Innersole Board. 20,000 lbs., 24 hours (Vance, 1930).

Seth F. Dawson, a leatherboard manufacturer, aged fifty years (b. MA), headed a Milton household at the time of the Fifteenth (1930) Federal Census. His household included his wife (of eleven years), Elizabeth T. Dawson, aged forty-eight years (b. PA), and his son, Harold Dawson, aged seventeen years (b. NH). Seth F. Dawson owned their house on South Main Street, which was valued at $4,000. They had a radio set.

Seth F. Dawson Retires. Seth F. Dawson, president of the Milton Leather Board Company, Milton, N.H., manufacturers of high grade fibre boards, retired last week after more than 35 years with the company. Mr. Dawson will spend a well earned vacation at his summer home at Great East Lake in Maine, before making his plans for the future. The remaining members of the firm are W.T. Rich, Jr., president; C.F. Jameson, treasurer and M.J. Guild, mill manager. Mr. Rich and Mr. Jameson are at the Boston office of the company, C.F. Jameson and Company, Inc., 142 Cambridge Street (Paper Trade, 1932).

Mrs. Elizabeth (Tennant) Dawson died in Rochester, NH, October 28, 1933, aged fifty-one years, eight months, and sixteen days.

Mrs. Elizabeth T. Dawson. Rochester, N.H., Oct. 28. (AP.) Mrs. Elizabeth T. Dawson, 51, former teacher of music at the University of Virginia and Stephen Girard College in Philadelphia, died suddenly today. Mrs. Dawson, prominent in church and fraternal circles in this city, was born in Ashley, Pa. She leaves her husband, Seth F. Dawson, a son, Harold C. Dawson, and a brother, J. Curtis Tennant of Philadelphia (Hartford Courant, October 29, 1933).

LOCAL. The sudden death of Mrs. Seth Dawson of Rochester, last Saturday, is sincerely mourned by many Farmington friends. She was an officer in Fraternal Chapter, O.E.S., in this town and was prominent in many other fraternal orders in Rochester. She was the daughter of the late Mr. and Mrs. Tennant of Pennsylvania and was married to Mr. Dawson in 1919. She was a fine musician. Much sympathy is expressed for the bereaved husband (Farmington News, [Friday,] November 3, 1933).

Dawson, Helen A - BG421222
Miss Helen Anderson, 1942

Seth F. Dawson [Jr.] married (3rd) in Rochester, NH, September 5, 1936, Ruth H. ((Svenson) Anderson) Iovine, he of Milton, and she of Waco, TX. He was a manufacturer, aged fifty-seven years; she was a school teacher, aged forty-two years. Gardner S. Hall, a Rochester, NH, judge, waived the five-day waiting requirement. She was born in Boston, MA, circa 1894, daughter of Rev. Svante and Hilda C. (Lundgren) Svenson. (Her elder sister, Ingeborg V. “Ivy” Svenson, married Henry A. Townsend of the Townsend blanket mill family).

Mrs. Ruth H. Dawson’s son, Robert R. Anderson, was the principal of Nute High School in 1939-42. Her daughter, Helen Anderson, married in North Easton, PA, during WW II.

Today in SOCIETY. MARRIED YESTERDAY in North Easton [PA,] to Corp. George Healey of that town was Miss Helen Anderson, daughter of Mrs. Seth Dawson of Milton, N.H. (Boston Globe, December 22, 1942).

Seth Frank Dawson of Milton registered for the WW II military draft in Milton, April 27, 1942. He was retired, aged sixty-two years (b. Lawrence, MA, June 17, 1879). His contact was Ruth H. Dawson, Milton; their telephone number was Milton 62. He stood 5′ 7″ tall, weighed 162 pounds, with gray eyes, gray hair, and a light complexion.

Seth F. Dawson, Jr., died in Rochester, NH, April 15, 1955, aged seventy-five years.

TUESDAY, APRIL 26, 1955. Resolutions. Mr. Evans of Milton offered the following resolution: Whereas, Seth F. Dawson of Milton has passed away, and Whereas, Mr. Dawson was a former representative from Milton, therefore be it Resolved, That we, the members of the House of Representatives of  the New Hampshire Legislature, express our deep Sympathy to the family in its bereavement, and be it further Resolved, That the Clerk of the House transmit to the widow, Mrs. Seth F. Dawson, a copy of these resolutions (NH House, 1955).

His widow went on to have a career in politics, which included over a decade as Milton’s NH State Representative. She was Milton’s NH State Representative as late as the 1974-75 biennial term (Portsmouth Herald, March 4, 1974).

MILTON CANDIDATES. Milton. – Local candidates in the primary next month include: For representative, Mrs. Mildred Galarneau, former correspondent for the News; Mrs. Ruth Dawson of the Mills, who served in 1958-59; both Republicans. For checklist supervisors, all Republican, George Longley, Charles Piper, Marion Roberts, Fred Eldridge. For Moderator, Lewis Piper, Republican; Everett McIntire, Democrat (Farmington News, August 7, 1962). 

Pond Water Level Slated for Hearing. A piece of legislation of interest to Portsmouth area residents with property on Milton Three Ponds is due for public hearing tomorrow in Concord. The bill would bar draw down of water in the ponds to a level below 14.5 feet between June and Labor Day, this depth to be on the gauge at the dam gate in Milton. The bill, introduced by Clayton E. Osborn, R-Portsmouth, and Ruth H. Dawson, R-Milton, is due for a hearing by the House Resources, Recreation and Development Committee at 1:30 p.m. in Room 207 of the State House annex. A $200 fine is proposed for violation of the draw down limit (Portsmouth Herald, March 4, 1963).

MRS. DAWSON NAMED CHAIRMAN. CONCORD. – Mrs. Ruth Dawson of Milton has been appointed New Hampshire Conference Chairman for the 16tb Annual Republican Women’s Conference which is to be held April 22, 23 and 24 at the Washington Hilton Hotel, Washington, D.C. National Committeewoman Mrs. Rose Bovaird in announcing the appointment expressed pleasure in Mrs. Dawson’s acceptance of this important post. Long active in Republican affairs, Mrs. Dawson is the only woman ever elected from the towns of Milton and Middleton as Representative to the General Court. She has been elected a Representative for five terms and is a past Legislative Department Chairman for the American Legion. Mrs. Dawson will strive to have a record-breaking number of Delegates to the Conference in April. Mrs. Bovaird also appoint Mrs. Anita Carmen of Manchester as Publicity Chairman for the Conference (Farmington News, February 29, 1968).

Area Solons All Favor H.B. No. 1. Governor Walter Peterson’s controversial Citizens’ Task Force bill No. 1 found no opposition with legislators whose constituencies cover an area served by this newspaper. Representatives Ralph Canney, Robert Drew, Fred Tebbetts, all of Farmington; Rep. Ruth Dawson, New Durham-Milton; and Rep. Jakob Mutzbauer of Alton all cast favorable votes. The bill passed easily by a 246-127 margin in the House (Farmington News, February 6, 1969).

This afternoon, the Senate Judiciary Committee will hold its hearing on HB 81, a bill which passed the House on a voice vote and would prohibit law enforcement officers from also serving as bail commissioners. The bail commissioner operates on a fee basis, being paid for each call to determine whether bail is necessary, and how much, after an arrest. Each town or city has three commissioners and, in some cases, convenience has led them to also be police officers. The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Ruth H. Dawson, R-Milton, and Rep. Shirley Merrill, R-Lebanon, both testified against this practice at a House hearing, feeling “the prosecutor should not also set bail.” Rep. Merrill also testified as to complaints in Lebanon about the system. The bill passed the House on an uncontested voice last week (Portsmouth Herald, February 18, 1969).

Mrs. Ruth H. (((Svenson) Anderson) Iovine) Dawson died in Wolfeboro, NH, August 15, 1985.

To be continued …


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Author: Muriel Bristol

"Lady drinking tea"

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