Milton’s Dr. Herbert F. Pitcher (1853-1924)

By Muriel Bristol | January 24, 2021

Herbert Frank Pitcher was born in Stoddard, NH, September 10, 1853, son of Frederick and Clarissa “Clara” (Towne) Pitcher.

Dr. Pitcher was born in Stoddard, N.H., September 10, 1853, the son of Mr. and Mrs. Frederick Pitcher. He was educated in the public schools of Marlow and at Marlow Academy, from which he graduated (American Journal, 1924).

Herbert F. Pitcher of Marlow, NH, was a student at the Marlow Academy in its 1872-73 academic year.

After leaving the Academy, he entered the University of Vermont at Burlington, from which institution he graduated with the degree M.D. in 1879 (American Journal, 1924).

Herbert Frank Pitcher received a medical degree from the University of Vermont, with its Class of 1879 (University of Vermont, 1901). Its commencement took place at the Howard Opera House in Burlington, VT, June 26, 1879 (Burlington Free Press, June 27, 1879).

Henry F. Pitcher would appear to have “hung out his shingle” in Milton shortly after graduation and to have been active there for several years (as late as 1883 or 1884). H.F. Pitcher appeared in the Milton business directories of 1880, 1881, and 1882, as a Milton physician.

Hazen Duntley, a blacksmith, aged seventy-five years (b. NH), headed a Milton household at the time of the Tenth (1880) Federal Census. His household included his son, Ira W. Duntley, a blacksmith, aged thirty-eight years (b. NH), his daughter-in-law, Sarah A. Duntley, keeping house, aged thirty-six years (b. MA), his grandchildren, Addie C. Duntley, at school, aged twelve years (b. NH), Nettie M. Duntley, at home, aged ten years (b. NH), and the “boarder at Mr. Duntley’s,” Herbert F. Pitcher, a physician, aged twenty-seven years (b. NH).

Herbert F. Pitcher married in Stoddard, NH, November 25, 1880, Nettie M. Sheldon, he of Milton, and she of Stoddard. He was a physician, aged twenty-seven years, and she was a teacher, aged twenty-one years. She was born in Londonderry, VT, in October 1858, daughter of David P. and Mary Sheldon.

Dr. Pitcher married on November 25, 1880, Miss Nettie M. Sheldon, daughter of David P. and Mary Sheldon, and a native of Londonderry, Vt., who survived him (American Journal, 1924).

LOCALS. Dr. Pitcher of Milton has moved into the Chas. Dame tenement, lately vacated by Walter Carleton (Farmington News, April 6, 1883).

Westport. Dr. Herbert F. Pitcher of Milton, N.H., paid a short visit to his friends in this vicinity. Mr. Pitcher was formerly employed in Westport, after which be studied medicine with Dr. Smith of Russell’s Mills, and subsequently settled in New Hampshire, where he is having good success (Fall River Daily Evening News (Fall River, MA), April 11, 1883).

LOCALS. Stephen Nutter has sold that stylish-looking gray horse of his to Dr. Pitcher of Haverhill, Mass., late of Milton, N.H. (Farmington News, December 21, 1883).

The Massachusetts Medical Society admitted Herbert F. Pitcher of Haverhill, MA, to its ranks, in 1885 (MA Medical Society, 1899). Herbert F. Pitcher appeared in the Haverhill, MA, directory of 1885, as a physician, with his house on Beacon street, corner of Central street.

Dr. and Mrs. Pitcher of Haverhill, MA, took a transcontinental railroad trip on the Raymond & Whitcomb “vestibule train” in 1888. This was said to be a sort of innovative Pullman train whose cars were connected, at both their roofs and floors, such that a child could proceed between cars from one end of the train to the other without danger. A correspondent of the Farmington News described the trip, the train, and his encounter with Dr. Pitcher, by then of Haverhill, MA:

… Starting as we did without a single intimate acquaintance on board, the atmosphere looked at first a trifle blue, but hardly had the wheels begun to revolve before, down upon us came Dr. Pitcher and Mr. Chick of Haverhill, Mass., with an urgent invitation to come up unto them and their party. Dr. Pitcher is well known to many of our readers as he was for some time located in Milton, but latterly has been in Haverhill where, so extensive has been his practice, he became completely worn out and, accompanied by his amiable wife, was on a trip to the land of eternal sunshine (Farmington News, January 20, 1888).

Dr. Pitcher was registered (No. 3118) as a physician in California, in June 1891.

He was a charter member of the Haverhill Medical Club, a charter member of the Essex North Medical Society, New Hampshire Medical Society, and California Medical Society. He was prominent in Masonic circles and was a member of Saggahew Lodge, Pentucket Chapter, and Royal Arch Masons (American Journal, 1924). 

Herbert F. Pitcher, a physician, aged forty-six years (b. NH), headed a Haverhill, MA, household at the time of the Twelfth (1900) Federal Census. His household included his wife (of nineteen years), Nettie M. Pitcher, aged forty-one years (b. VT), his son, Karl H. Pitcher, at school, aged fourteen years (b. MA), and his servant, Belle McLeod, a servant, aged thirty-five years (b. Prince Edward Island). Herbert F. Pitcher owned their house at 97 Arlington Street. Nettie M. Pitcher was the mother of one child, of whom one was still living.

He took a post-graduate course in 1902 in the New York School of Therapeutics (American Journal, 1924)).

Herbert Frank Pitcher appeared in a Massachusetts list of registered physicians, as of December 31, 1902. He was classified as an “A,”, i.e., “graduates of legally chartered medical colleges or universities having power to confer degrees in medicine, who applied for registration before the law went into full effect on Jan. 1, 1895, graduation and residence in the Commonwealth at the time of the passage of the law being the only requirements for registration” (MA Board of Registration, 1904).

Dr. Pitcher became an active student investigator in the field of Electrotherapeutics in the early part of the present century and co-worker on the Editorial Staff of the JOURNAL in 1908. His contributions and comments on current medical literature, to which he was constant and self-sacrificing contributor, enlightened the sphere of investigation by his earnest endeavors to set the profession right in a field which called for constant effort against the doubts and skepticism of professional conservatism. As a member of the editorial staff, he was a ready and constant contributor whose comments have done much to clarify developments of the science to which he devoted his best years of labor. In the issue of the JOURNAL, September 1906, was published his contribution on Phototherapy in General Practice, in which he made public his discovery of the efficiency of reflected incandescent light in the treatment of otitis media and mastoiditis – a discovery, which despite its frequent mention, has been ignored by the otologists. When it is finally recognized, there will be rare occasion for intervention, and the service his discovery rendered should perpetuate his name and service to the profession (American Journal, 1924).

Pitcher, H.F - Per L. Williams
Dr. Herbert F. Pitcher (per L. Williams)

Herbert F. Pitcher, a general practice physician, aged fifty-six years (b. NH), headed a Haverhill, MA, household at the time of the Thirteenth (1910) Federal Census. His household included his wife (of twenty-nine years), Nettie M. Pitcher, aged fifty-one years (b. VT), his son, Karl H. Pitcher, aged twenty-four years (b. MA), and his servant, Catherine Jordan, private family housework, aged forty-three years (b. Canada (Eng.)). Herbert F. Pitcher owned their house at 97 Arlington Street, free-and-clear. Nettie M. Pitcher was the mother of one child, of whom one was still living.

COLLEGE GIRL ELOPES WITH MEDICAL STUDENT. Haverhill, Mass., Jan. 5 – Karl H. Pitcher, a medical student at the College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York, and Marjorie W. Fox, a Simmons College girl, eloped yesterday to Nashua, NH., where they were married. They were accompanied by Miss Pauline Winkler of Springfield, a classmate of the bride, and Paul Albert of Chicago, assistant treasurer of Dartmouth University, classmate of the groom. Young Pitcher is the son of Dr. Herbert F. Pitcher, a wealthy physician, while his bride is the only daughter of the millionaire shoe manufacturer, Charles K. Fox (Post Standard (Syracuse, NY), January 6, 1911).

Karl H. Pitcher dropped his medical studies and went to work for his shoe manufacturer father-in-law. He enlisted in the U.S. Army, April 9, 1917, after war was declared. He took ill – likely the Spanish Flu – and died at Mesvres, France, September 29, 1918.

New England Boys on Casualty List. DIED OF DISEASE. Sgt. Karl H. Pitcher, 125 Arlington st., HAVERHILL, A Batt., 102d F.A. (Boston Post, October 27, 1918).

Herbert F. Pitcher, a general practice physician, aged sixty-six years (b. NH), headed a Haverhill, MA, household at the time of the Fourteenth (1920) Federal Census. His household included his wife, Nettie M. Pitcher, aged sixty-one years (b. VT). Herbert F. Pitcher owned their house at 97 Arlington Street, free-and-clear.

Herbert F. Pitcher died in Haverhill, MA, October 28, 1924. (American Journal, 1924).

His impaired physical strength in recent years has been unequal to the strain of professional demands upon his heart and vitality. They set a task which could not be performed without the recuperation which his very zeal denied it. But the beauty of his life, its completeness, its rounded richness and character of the man are things known by all in contact with him. In his life he received many honors. In his death he will be remembered as a citizen of high character and great ability his people well (American Journal, 1924).

Nettie M. (Sheldon) Pitcher died in Haverhill, MA, in 1942.


American Journal of Electrotherapeutics and Radiology. (1924). American Journal of Electrotherapeutics and Radiology. Retrieved from

Find a Grave. (2015, October 21). Dr. Frank Herbert Pitcher. Retrieved from

MA Board of Registration. (1904). Annual Report of the Board of Registration in Medicine. Retrieved from

MA Medical Society. (1899). A Catalog of Its Officers and Fellows, Honorary, Active and Retired, Borne Upon the Rolls. Retrieved from

University of Vermont. (1901). General Catalogue of the University of Vermont and State Agricultural College, Burlington, Vermont, 1791-1900. Retrieved from

Author: Muriel Bristol

"Lady drinking tea"

One thought on “Milton’s Dr. Herbert F. Pitcher (1853-1924)”

  1. Hello, I recently subscribed to your very informative and interesting blog. I was raised in Milton and find the history encouraging and sad. Milton held promise and success for many only to become a place to pass through due to “progress” and economic changes. Have you written about Harold Pinkham from Silver St.? He was Postmaster when I was growing up. He was an interesting man. Best Regards, Patricia


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