By Joyce Wentworth Cunningham | May 9, 2021
Notes from Harry Eugene Wentworth’s Diaries
Harry E. Wentworth (1869-1955) was John E. Townsend’s brother-in-law. His first wife, Hattie M. Lowd (1873-1908), was a sister to John’s wife Eda (1870-1932). Harry had completed a course in business at Shaw’s Business College in Portland, Maine. He worked first for Miltonia Mills as bookkeeper. He became administrator and trustee of John’s estate upon his untimely death before John’s son, Henry A. Townsend (1898-1932), became of age.
Harry was my paternal grandfather and his diaries have languished in my storeroom for the last nine years since I retrieved them from my mother’s house upon her death. A positive benefit of COVID-19 has been much more free time to pursue “projects” I have postponed over the years. I was determined to learn more about my grandfather’s and father’s lives by reading the diaries. I soon realized what I was learning needed to be shared with succeeding generations in a more abbreviated form, so I began summarizing what I read.
The following entries and summaries of entries about Miltonia Mills are from the diaries I have completed to date. Keep in mind that I wrote these for my family’s information so they are casually and informally written and include my editorializing.
In many ways I am more frustrated by fragmented information that ever. The diaries are short on detail! If only I had read them earlier and asked Grandpa and my dad more questions!
As I worked my way through the early 1920s, I kept wondering exactly what was Grandpa’s role in the management of the Miltonia Mills. I knew that he had worked there both as bookkeeper and as manager, but which was he in the early 1920s? All his diary entries consisted of “I worked in the office all day.” “I worked in the office until noon,” “I didn’t go to the office today,” etc.
I knew that Miltonia Mills was owned by John Townsend, Grandpa’s brother-in-law. I also knew that John had died young, that he left a son too young to assume management of the mill, and that it was the wish of John to have Grandpa manage the mill until his son, Henry, was old enough to assume the role. Henry was mentioned occasionally in the early 1920s diaries, but only in terms of his comings and goings. He appears to have traveled quite a bit.
I kept moving ahead hoping for some clarification. When his position was not clearer by the end of his 1927 diary, I decided that maybe I needed to go back to earlier diaries to look for answers.
The mill was owned and operated by John E. Townsend, who was married to Eda B. Lowd (Hattie M. (Lowd) Wentworth’s sister). John and Eda and family (Henry and Agnes) left for California on January 11.
[PERSONAL. A party of tourist guests registered at the Hollenbeck is made up of Mr. and Mrs. John E. Townsend, Harry and Hynes [Agnes] Townsend, all of Milton Mills. N.H. (Los Angeles Times (Los Angeles, CA), January 20, 1910)].
[Harry E. Wentworth, a woolen mill bookkeeper, aged forty years (b. NH), headed an Acton, ME, household at the time of the Thirteenth (1910) Federal Census (April 22, 1910). His household included his son, Norman L. Wentworth, aged six years (b. ME), and his mother-in-law, Melissa Lowd, aged sixty-seven years (b. ME). Harry E. Wentworth owned their farm, free-and-clear].
Grandpa (Hattie had died), Dad, and Mother (as Grandpa called his mother-in-law) moved into John’s house in the village (Milton Mills) while they were away. No reason for the move was given, but it may be that it was more convenient for Grandpa to get to the mill in winter weather. He appears to be in charge while John was away. John and Eda returned on April 23 and Grandpa, Dad, and Mother returned to the house on the Ridge.
John had a lengthy illness after he returned from California and was out of the office for six weeks. He went to Portland to see a doctor, but Grandpa gives no indication of a diagnosis. [John E. Townsend would eventually die of Bright’s Disease].
Other than “went to the office” there is very little about the mill in this diary.
[Harry E. Wentworth married (2nd) in Acton, ME, November 29, 1911, Ella Buck, both of Acton. He was a widowed bookkeeper, aged forty-two years, and she was a music teacher, aged forty-one years. Rev. James W. Williams performed the ceremony. She was born in Acton, ME, circa 1870, daughter of John C. and Hannah (Brackett) Buck].
1912 and 1913 – no diaries
[COTTON MILL NEWS FROM THE NORTH. … A set of 60-inch cards has been added to the equipment of the Miltonia mill, Milton, N.H., operated by John E. Townsend. The plant has received increased business since Jan. 1, and is being operated on a full-time schedule (Evening Herald (Fall River, MA), May 18, 1912)].
[PRIMARY REGISTRATIONS. Large Number Have Already Filed Their Candidacy. … Those who have filed today include: … John E. Townsend, Milton, Republican, representative (Portsmouth Herald, July 27, 1912)].
On February 16 Grandpa reported that John was not feeling well and was in the office for a little while in the afternoon. The next day he did not go to the office at all, and on the 18th Grandpa wrote that he was very sick with some kind of kidney trouble. Over the next two months, John’s health was constantly up and down – he would seem to be getting better and then have a relapse. He would have a good day and then a bad one. He got out of the house for a short ride for the first time in nine weeks.
On May 6 John began coming in to the office for short periods of time on days when he felt well enough. By June 6 he was back in bed and unable to get out. On August 6 he was taken to Boston. For doctor? To a hospital? Grandpa first reports he seemed better, then he was worse and the family was sent for. Finally, on August 31 he was brought back to Milton Mills where he passed away on September 8. His funeral was on September 12.
[DEATHS. TOWNSEND -In Milton Mills, N.H., Sept. 8, John E. Townsend, in his 43d year. Funeral Saturday, Sept. 12, at 2 p.m. (Boston Globe, September 10, 1914)].
Following is Grandpa’s account of the estate settlement.
September 9: According to John’s will the N.E. Trust Co. and myself are executors and trustees. He left me the sum of $2500.
[The New England Trust Co. appeared in the Boston, MA, directory of 1918, as having its offices at 135 Devonshire street (corner of Milk and Devonshire streets) and a telephone number of Main 4806].
[The New England Trust Company of Boston, the pioneer trust company of Massachusetts and the second oldest institution of its kind in New England, will soon celebrate the fiftieth anniversary since the Company began business. Just fifty years ago the New England Trust Company received its charter – the first trust company charter to be issued by the Massachusetts legislature – but business was commenced not until 1871. During all these years the Company has continued faithful to the best traditions of trust company business and in the administration of estates and execution of trusts it has acquired a reputation for fidelity and efficient management extending throughout the New England section (Trust Publications, 1919)].
September 15: N.E. Trust Co. refuses to accept trust under John’s will.
September 16: Went to Boston for business on John’s estate.
September 17: John C. [Townsend] wants to be appointed trustee. Eda doesn’t want him.
John C. Townsend (1871-1916) was a cousin of John E. Townsend, husband of John E. Townsend’s sister, Grace M. Townsend (1873-1953), and one of three witnesses to the last will.
[John C. Townsend, a general farm farmer, aged thirty-eight years (b. MA), headed a Milton (“Milton Mills”) household at the time of the Thirteenth (1910) Federal Census. His household included his wife (of fourteen years), Grace Townsend, aged thirty-five years (b. NH), his son, Frank Townsend, aged twelve years (b. MA), and his servant, Lucy Lilley, a private family servant, aged twenty years (b. NH). John C. Townsend owned their farm, free-and-clear].
September 18: Went to Dover in p.m. with Henry and Eda and secured Dwight Hall as Administrator and Trustee of John’s estate.
[Dwight Hall, a lawyer and county solicitor, aged thirty-nine years (b. NH), headed a Dover, NH, household at the time of the Thirteenth (1910) Federal Census. His household included his wife, Frances S. Hall, aged thirty-eight years (b. New Brunswick, Canada), and his servant, Margaret Cassidy, a private family servant, aged thirty-five years (b. Canada (Irish)). Dwight Hall owned their house at 119 Silver Street, free-and-clear].
September 19 (a Saturday!): In office all day. Mr. Hall was up from Dover in P.M. on business of John’s estate.
Mr. Hall was still coming to see Grandpa at the mill three or four times a year in the 1920s!
September 21: Went to Dover and Somersworth in A.M. Wilbur Miller took us down. Everett Fox went with me. Got our appointments as Administrators and Trustees.
[Judge Christopher H. Wells (1853-1930) appointed Dwight Hall and Harry E. Townsend as joint administrators, with will annexed. Everett Fox appeared as one of the three witnesses to the will].
[Wilbur Gilman Miller, who gave them a ride, was a dairy farmer. He was born in Maine, November 25, 1872. He was married to Myrtle Winchell. He was living in North Lebanon, ME, but farming in Acton, ME, when he registered for the WWI military draft in September 1918. He was 5’8″ tall, with a medium build, blue eyes and light brown hair. At that time he was said to be confined to crutches. Perhaps recovering from injury?]
September 26 (a Saturday – this was still the era of six-day work weeks): Worked in office all day. Appraiser began taking inventory of John’s estate.
September 28: Went to Rochester in A.M. to meet Mr. Hall and get securities from vault. Came back with him and worked on inventories the rest of the day.
Mr. Hall made several more trips to Milton Mills before the end of the year. A Mr. James was with him on one of those trips. Grandpa made three more trips to Boston, two of them overnight. When he came home on December 10, he stopped in Somersworth to see Judge Wells.
[Christopher H. Wells, a probate court judge, aged fifty-six years (b. NH), headed a Somersworth, NH, household at the time of the Thirteenth (1910) Federal Census, His household included his wife (of twenty-three years), Oriana Wells, aged fifty years (b. NH). Christopher H. Wells owned their house at 19 Mt. Vernon Street, with a mortgage. (See also (Scales, 1914))].
WOOL. TOWNSEND, JOHN E. Milton Mills, N.H., Miltonia Mill. Production and Equipment: Blankets, 4 sets cards, 29 broad looms, 960 spindles, dye, finish, 1 boiler, 2 water wheels, electric power. Employ 65. Thos. Kelly & Co., New York and Boston, selling agents (American Wool and Cotton Reporter, July 29, 1915).
Unfortunately, his 1915 diary did not survive (or he may not have kept one), so we have a gap in the story of Miltonia Mills. We know that Grandpa and the lawyer Dwight Hall (whom Grandpa always called Mr. Hall) were co-administrators and trustees of John Townsend’s estate which included Miltonia Mills. That status continued to be borne out in 1916. Mr. Hall made short (sometimes as short as 20 minutes) visits to the mill almost every week, usually on a Wednesday afternoon. Grandpa made regular trips to Boston – once a month, at least, sometimes staying overnight, usually with Raish and Alice in Marblehead. On one trip, in addition to doing business, he attended a textile show.
[Raish and Alice would have been Horatio Brackett “Raish” Buck (1873-1941) and his wife, Alice H. Chandler (1868-1944). They then lived in Marblehead, MA. He was a grandson of Milton Mills’ Dr. Reuben Buck and had an uncle of the same name, Dr. Horation B. Buck].
Three entries cause me to wonder: “Why?”
May 12: Mr. Hall, Judge Wells, & Ex. Gov. Felker gave us a call [visit] in P.M. at the office.
[Former NH Governor Samuel D. Felker’s 1912 election was an unusual one. Neither candidate attained a majority in the election and Democrat Felker (1859-1932) was selected instead by the NH legislature. He served a single two-year term, and became thereafter a judge].
[Samuel D. Felker, a general lawyer, aged sixty years (b. NH), headed a Rochester, NH, household at the time of the Fourteenth (1920) Federal Census. His household included his wife, Mary D. Felker, aged fifty-seven years (b. NH). Samuel D. Felker rented their house at 19 Wakefield Street].
June 1: Mr. Hall was up in P.M. Mr. Southworth of Pacific Mills was with him.
[Irving Southworth was at this time an assistant agent of the Pacific Mills Co., with his house at Dover, NH. By 1920, Irving Southworth, mill agent of a cotton mill, aged forty years (b. MA), headed a Columbia, SC, household. (His wife was a Southern woman, and Pacific Mills had also branches in Columbia, SC, and Dover, NH, as well as its home base in Lawrence, MA). He would return within a few years to Massachusetts].
Pacific Mills had textile mills along the Merrimack River in Lawrence, now upscale lofts which can be seen from I-495.
July 6: Mr. Peck of North Star Mills was here.
[Park W. Peck [(1869-1953)] appeared in the Minneapolis, MN, directory of 1916, as vice president of North Star Woolen Mill Co., boarding at 2613 Humboldt av., South. He was a bachelor, who seemed usually to favor boarding houses and hotels].
The North Star Mills were in Minneapolis, Minnesota. They dated back to the 1800s and by 1920 were the largest blanket manufacturers in the United States. A Mr. Park W. Peck is listed as a vice president. Those mills are now lofts, also!
Why were these people visiting Miltonia Mills? Were there talks of selling the mill? Were they planning a merger? Were other mills planning a take-over? Were the visitors interested in the superior blankets the mill was noted for? Was there any connection between the visit of Mr. Hall, Judge Wells, and Felker (a lawyer) – or were they there on other family estate business? We will probably never know!
The only other bit of mill news was that in February Eda signed off her rights to the mill. I assume she assigned them to Henry.
Grandpa’s 1917 diary does not offer much more enlightenment about the mill’s operation and management. Mr. Hall continued to make frequent brief visits and Grandpa continued to make at least monthly visits to Boston.
[MILTON MILLS. Strafford Co. (SE) Pop. 1600. Stage, Union (4m.). RR47. Townsend, John E., Estate, Miltonia Mill. Harry E. Wentworth, Agt.; F.H. Simes, Supt. Blankets, 4 Sets Cards, 29 Broad Looms, 960 Sp. Dye. Finish. 1 Boiler. 2 WW. Electric. Employ 65. Thos. Kelly & Co., New York and Boston, selling agents (Dawson’s Textile Blue Book, 1917)].
Here are the most significant entries pertaining to the mill:
February 11: Henry came home last night and telephoned up that he wanted to see me so I went down about 2 o’clock. Got back about 4.
When did Henry leave? Where had he been? Why did he request Grandpa to meet him at home and not at the office? Was it mill business or personal?
May 22: Mr. Hall was up and brought Mr. Allen of the Amoskeag Mfg. Co. to look into our power problem.
The Amoskeag Manufacturing Co. was one of the largest textile mills in the world. It was located in Manchester, New Hampshire, where it took advantage of the abundant water power provided by the Merrimack River.
[Henry W. Allen, a cotton mill civil engineer, aged sixty years (b. NH), headed a Manchester, NH, household at the time of the Fourteenth (1920) Federal Census. His household included his daughter, Georgia A. Lund, aged twenty-nine years (b. NH), and his son-in-law, Bernard H. Lund, a cigar factory cigar maker, aged thirty-five years (b. MN). Henry W. Allen rented their house at 72 Market Street].
May 28: New looms for the mill have come. Got four of them over today.
I assume the looms had been delivered to the railroad station in Union.
May 31: They finished getting over the looms – all twelve of them are here now.
June 8: Fred & Henry started for California this morning to be gone 4 or 5 weeks.
[Frederick H. Simes, a woolen mill superintendent, aged fifty-one years (b. NH), headed a Milton (“Milton Mills”) household at the time of the Fourteenth (1920) Federal Census. His household included his wife, Mary A. [(Smith)] Simes, aged fifty years (b. NH). Frederick H. Simes rented their house on Main Street].
Remembering that Eda had relinquished her claim on the mill, was Henry now in charge of the mill?
[MILL NEWS. Cotton. MILTON MILLS, N.H. Six new automatic looms have arrived and will soon be set up in the plant of the estate of John E. Townsend, manufacturer of woolen blankets. It is possible that a small addition will have to be built to the weave room in order to accommodate the new equipment. At present 29 broad looms and 4 sets of cards are installed in the mill (Textile World Journal, June 16, 1917)].
June 27: Miss Jenness from Mr. Hall’s office was up in P.M. to figure out Agnes’ acct. I suppose this had to do with her inheritance.
[Miss Almie M. Jenness [(1886-1960)] appeared in the Dover directory of 1917 as a stenographer for Dwight Hall in his office at 349 Central av., corner of Washington street, with her home at 6 Richmond street. Emma F. Jenness, widow of George I. Jenness, had her house there also. Almie M. Jenness would marry Dwight Hall in 1950, after the death of his first wife (in 1948)].
[MILL NEWS. Cotton. MILTON MILLS, N.H. The management of the Estate of John E. Townsend gives out the following to supersede the item which was published last week regarding the installation of 6 new automatic looms. Twelve new automatic looms have arrived and will soon be set up in the plant of the Estate of John E. Townsend, manufacturers of blankets. Eight of the looms now in use will be taken out to make room for the new machines. The mill will then be equipped with 33 broad looms (24 of which are automatics) and complementary machinery (Textile World Journal, June 30, 1917)].
July 5: Went down to Dover with Mr. Northrop & Mr. Russell of the North Star Woolen Co. to have conference with Mr. Hall on the subject of this Co. handling our blankets.
“Handling” the blankets seems to imply that North Star would market them. Under their own label? Under the Miltonia Mills label?
[William G. Northrup, Jr., registered for the WW I military draft in Wayzata, MN, June 5, 1917. He was thirty years of age (b. June 13, 1886), and was employed as treasurer of the North Star Woolen Mill Co. of Minneapolis, MN. He was then single, but claimed an exemption as being engaged in government work. He was tall, with a medium build, brown eyes, and black hair].
August 28: Some of the help at the mill have demanded more pay and because we could not tell them to-day just what we will do they walked out this P.M.
August 29: Mr. Hall was up in P.M. to help straighten out the help question. Are going to give the help what they asked for. Mill did not run today.
August 30: Mill help all went to work this morning at 10% increase in pay.
September 5: Bargained for the shoe shop property for the Townsend Est. Mr. Timson is going away.
[Charles O. Timson, who was “going away” in September 1917, ran a shoe factory in the former Brierly mill at Milton Mills in 1915-18].
October 8: Went to Dover and finished Agnes’ acct. and filed it in court.
October 30: Went to Boston to see Mr. Hennesey in regard to a change in selling blankets.
[John J. Hennessey, James M. Morrison, and Frank F. Rogers, Jr., appeared in the Boston Chamber of Commerce’s annual report for 1915, as working for Thomas Kelley & Co. blanket manufacturers, of Boston. There was a lawsuit concerning this firm and these men, and Thomas A. Jenkins, in November 1918 (MA Supreme Judicial Court, 1919)].
November 20: Could not run the mill to-day. Had no water and the last can of coal is so poor it will not make steam.
November 22: Boiler at mill not working well. Couldn’t keep up steam enough to run. No water.
November 26: Couldn’t get steam enough to warm the mill with the coal we have, and no wood, so couldn’t run.
December 13: Went to Dover in morning to meet Mr. Rogers & Mr. Jenkins who came back with me at noon and were here in P.M.
[T.A. Jenkins, a blanket co. president, aged fifty years (b. NY), headed a Mount Vernon, NY, household at the time of the Fourteenth (1920) Federal Census. His household included his wife, Sarah B. Jenkins, aged forty years (b. NY), his children, James H. Jenkins, aged fifteen years (b. NY), and Dorothy J. Whitney, aged twenty-four years (b. NY), his grandson, Harold Whitney, Jr., aged two years (b. MA), his mother-in-law, Susie L. Bennett, aged sixty-six years (b. NY), and his servants, Susie Speidell, a private family servant, aged thirty-one years (b. Ireland), and Anna M. Bennett, a private family servant, aged fifty-seven years (b. Ireland). T.A. Jenkins owned their house at 37 N. Fulton Street, with a mortgage].
December 15: Mr. James of T. Kelly & Co was at the office in P.M.
December 21: Went to Boston to meet Mr. Ransdell. [Ramsdell?]
December 26: Mr. James was here in P.M.
As usual, lots of questions, no answers! Who are all these people he mentions and why have they come to the mill or why has he gone to meet them? Where/what was the shoe shop property? Why did they want it? Did they get it? How did they resolve the boiler problem?
No diaries in 1918 or 1919 and nothing very helpful in the 1920s diaries!
[Henry A. Townsend married in Meredith, NH, March 29, 1918, Ingeborg V. “Ing” Svenson, both of Boston, MA. He was a student, aged twenty-one years, and she was at home aged twenty-three years. Edwin C. Mansfield, justice of the peace, performed the ceremony. She was born in Sweden, circa 1895, daughter of Rev. Svante and Hilda C. (Lundgren) Svenson. (Her younger sister, Ruth H. Svenson, would marry (3rd), Seth F. Dawson, Jr., manager of the Milton Leatherboard Mill)].
[Henry Albert Townsend of Milton Mills registered for the WW I military draft in Milton, September 18, 1918. He was twenty years of age (b. January 2, 1898) and employed as a blanket manufacturer for the John E. Townsend Estate in Milton Mills. His nearest relative was Eda B. Townsend of Milton Mills. He was of a medium height, and medium build, with brown eyes, and dark brown hair].
[MILL NEWS. Wool. MILTON MILLS, N.H. The Estate of John E. Townsend is now operating a branch mill in the same town under the name of the Antin Blanket Co. This plant has 1 set of cards, 220 spindles and 9 looms. The stock is picked and the blankets are finished at the main mills. The number of machines at the main mill has been increased to 32. Rogers, Hennessey & Jenkins, Boston, are the selling agents. H.A. Townsend is the agent in charge of this new branch (Textile World Journal, April 5, 1919)].
[New Hampshire. Milton Mills – The estate of John E. Townsend is now operating a branch mill company under the name of the Antin Blanket Company. This plant has 1 set of cards, 220 spindles and 9 looms. The number of machines at the main mill has been increased to 32 (American Wool and Cotton Reporter, July 31, 1919)].
[MILTON MILLS. Strafford Co. (SE) Pop. 1600. Stage, Union (4m.). RR47. Townsend, John E., Estate. Miltonia Mill. Harry E. Wentworth, Agt.; F.H. Simes , Supt . Blankets. 4 Sets Cards. 32 Broad Looms. 960 Sp. Dye. Finish. 1 Boiler. 2 W W. Electric. Employ 65. Rogers, Hennessey & Jenkins, N.Y., S. Agts. (Dawson’s Textile Blue Book, 1919)].
[Mrs. Ingeborg V. Townsend was a member (No. 8833) of the American Library Association in 1919 and 1920. The library she patronized was the Milton Mills Library (ALA, 1919)].
At the time of this diary, 1920, Grandpa was working as bookkeeper and office manager for Miltonia Mills blanket factory. The mill had belonged to John Townsend, Grandpa’s brother-in-law. He began as bookkeeper and office manager. It was a small mill, but made very high quality wool blankets. Admiral Perry and Admiral Byrd carried Miltonia Mills blankets to the North and South Poles, respectively, and Mrs. Calvin Coolidge is reputed to have come to Milton Mills to purchase blankets personally.
[MILTON MILLS. Strafford Co. (SE) Pop. 1600. Stage, Union (4m.). RR47. Townsend, John E., Estate. Miltonia Mill. Henry A. Townsend, Prop.; F.H. Simes , Supt . Bed Blankets. 4 Sets Cards. 32 Broad Looms. 960 Sp. 2 Pickers. 3 Sew . Dye. Finish. 1 Boiler. 2 W W. Electric. Employ 65. Buy 14 and 18 C. Warp. Rogers, Hennessey & Jenkins, N.Y., S. Agts. (Dawson’s Textile Blue Book, 1920)].
[Harry E. Wentworth, a blanket mill manager, aged fifty years (b. NH), headed an Acton, ME, household at the time of the Fourteenth (1920) Federal Census. His household included his wife, Ella B. Wentworth, aged forty-nine years (b. ME), and his son, Norman L. Wentworth, aged sixteen years (b. ME). Harry E. Wentworth owned their farm on the Lebanon Road, free-and-clear].
John Townsend had died in 1914, a young man, leaving his widow (Eda, Grandpa’s first wife’s sister) and two teen-age children. His will named Grandpa Executor and Trustee, the court appointed him Administrator, and for the next few years, Grandpa managed the mill as well as continuing to do all the accounting.
[Agnes M. Townsend married in Milton Mills, April 24, 1920, Halton R. Hayes, she of Milton and he of Rochester, NH. He was a salesman, aged twenty-six years, and she was at home, aged nineteen years. Rev. Lester E. Alexander performed the ceremony. Hayes was born in Rochester, NH, circa 1894, son of Edwin F. and Hattie (Pinkham) Hayes].
Has only a few notes in the beginning of the year and nothing about the mill.
[SOUTH WOLFEBORO. Fred Sims and Henry Townsend of Milton Mills were visitors in this village Monday (Farmington News, September 2, 1921)].
[Mr. and Mrs. Eugene Spinney entertained as guests over the week-end Mr. and Mrs. H.R. Hayes and Mr. and Mrs. Henry Townsend of Milton Mills, N.H. (North Adams Transcript (North Adams, MA), October 10, 1921)].
[OXNARD AND VICINITY. Mr. and Mrs. Richard Stoehrer had as their house guests this week Mr. and Mrs. Henry Townsend of New Hampshire. Mr. Townsend, who is a blanket manufacturer in that state, has come with his wife to spend the winter in California and will reside in Los Angeles. They left here the first of the week intending to go to San Diego to witness the Centre-Arizona football game but owing to the flood conditions were unable to do so. They are expected to return to Oxnard to visit at the Stroehrer home until Saturday (Press-Courier (Oxnard, CA), December 28, 1921)].
The situation at the mill seems to have been the same. Although Henry Townsend is mentioned a couple of times, it is never in connection with the mill. Grandpa made business trips to both Boston and Dover on behalf of the mill. As was customary at the time, these trips were made by train. In February he mentioned that Ralph [W. Pike] was out of the office sick.
[Robert S. Pike, a retail butcher, aged sixty years (b. NH), headed a Milton household at the time of the Fourteenth (1920) Federal Census. His household included his wife, Fannie [(Roberts)] Pike, aged sixty years (b. NH), and his children, Ralph W. Pike, a woolen mill bookkeeper, aged twenty-six years (b. NH), and Robert Pike, aged twenty-two years (b. NH)].
This is Grandpa’s first mention of anyone else in the office.
MILTON MILLS. Antin Blunhed [Blanket] Co. H.A. Townsend, agent. 1 set, 220 spindles, 9 looms. Townsend, John E., Est. of, Miltonia Mill. Harry E. Wentworth, agent; Fred H. Simes, superintendent. Production and Equipment: Blankets, 4 sets cards, 29 broad looms, 960 spindles, dye, finish, 1 boiler, 2 water wheels, electric power. Employ 65. Thos. Kelly & Co., New York and Boston, selling agents (Cotton, 1922).
The Internal Revenue Service was alive and well in 1922 as witnessed by these entries.
March 1: Mr. Robbins, revenue man, came to the office to check up our Income Tax returns for the last four years.
[Carl C. Robbins, an Internal Revenue inspector, aged twenty-nine years (b. MA), headed a Medford, MA, household at the time of the Fourteenth (1920) Federal Census. His household included Lottie L. Robbins, aged twenty-five years (b. MA), and his children, Louise M. Robbins, aged two years, seven months (b. MA), and Dorothy C. Robbins, aged one year, five months (b. DC). Carl C. Robbins owned their house at 36 Tyler Street, with a mortgage].
March 4: Worked in P.M. at office with Mr. Robbins on Income returns.
No more mention is made of Mr. Robbins so the income tax returns must have been okay!
Once again there are lots of empty pages in this diary and nothing about the mill.
[Milton Mills experienced an influenza epidemic in February 1923 (See Milton in the News – 1923)].
There is still no mention of Henry’s role at the mill. Grandpa went regularly, but never mentions what he does, except once or twice a reference to his accounts. He seems to pretty much make his own hours, sometimes working all day, sometimes just a morning or an afternoon, sometimes not going in for several days at a time.
[The John E. Townsend Estate of Milton Mills, manufacturers of woolen blankets, had 40 male and 25 female employees, for a total of 65 employees, in 1924 (NH Bureau of Labor, 1924)].
[Milton Mills suffered a serious fire in the early hours of Thursday, November 20. The Townsend mill firemen and those of Rochester, NH, responded to the fire (See Milton in the News – 1924)].
[SANBORNVILLE. Some of the out of town visitors in the village last Thursday were Mr. and Mrs. Frank Spencer and Miss Doris Marsh of Milton Mills, Henry Townsend, Mr. and Mrs. Tom McAbby of East Wakefield, and Mrs. Jennie Spiller of Brookfield (Farmington News, November 28, 1924)].
I am still unclear as to his status at the mill. There are only three mentions of Henry Townsend in this year’s diary. On Wednesday, January 26 he wrote that Henry had begun running the mill at night. On February 11 he reported, Henry took George Fox and went up to his camp at Bear Island [in Lake Winnipesaukee] to do some work on his wharf. Expects to be gone the rest of the week.
[George E. Fox, a general farm farmer, aged fifty-two years (b. ME), headed an Acton, ME, household at the time of the Fourteenth (1920) Federal Census. His household included his wife, Lucia C. Fox, aged forty-two years (b. NH), and his son, Chandler P. Fox, aged twelve years (b. ME). George E. Fox owned their farm on the Fox Ridge Road].
Was Henry in charge or was Grandpa still in charge? Did Henry run the manufacturing part and Grandpa the business part? If they were both working there, one would think there would be some interaction and that there would, at least, be occasional references to Henry in Grandpa’s diary. In April, he and Henry went to Dover to meet with Mr. Hall, an annual occurrence.
I believe Mr. Hall had something to do with John Townsend’s will because in an earlier (before 1920) diary, Grandpa tells about Mr. Hall coming to Milton Mills and meeting with him after John died. Grandpa was to run the mill until Henry was of age and could take over. Henry would have been a little older than Dad and we know from a previous diary that he was married. He would, of course, have inherited enough to live on from his father’s estate plus the income from the mill. Perhaps, he preferred to travel (to California each year) and let Grandpa handle the business of the mill. Who knows?!? (I seem to be doing a lot of speculating here!!)
Grandpa continued to work at the mill. Apparently, Henry was around, too, since Grandpa mentions that he was “at home” sick three days. Like Grandpa, Henry seemed to have multiple interests. He must have owned quite a bit of real estate since he hired George Marsh and George Fox to shingle the roofs of several buildings including some at the mill. George M. and Dad also did other maintenance jobs at the mill on occasion.
[George W. Marsh, a farm laborer (working out), aged forty years (b. ME), headed an Acton, ME, household at the time of the Fourteenth (1920) Federal Census. His household included his wife, Eva M. Marsh, aged twenty-nine years (b. NH), and his children, Ithiel E. Marsh, aged ten years (b. ME), and Lester E. Marsh, aged nine years (b. ME). George W. Marsh owned their farm on the Lebanon Road, free-and-clear].
My curiosity about Henry and Miltonia Mills has been piqued even further with a series of vague entries in this year’s diary.
[MILTON MILLS. Miltonia Mills. Agents: Covert & Workman, New York. Proprietor: Henry A. Townsend. Superintendent: F.H. Simes. Woollen Spinners and Manufacturers, Dyers and Finishers. Cards: 4 sets. Spindles: 1,680. Looms: 40. Fabric: Bed Blankets (Skinner, 1927)].
March 7: Henry came home this noon – has been gone 5 weeks. [California? Texas?]
May 18: Geo. [Marsh] worked for Henry 9 hours at the old counting room building. [Carpentry]
June 23: Geo. [Marsh] & Geo. Fox worked . . . and at the mill for Henry in the P.M.
October 7: Was in the office all day. Talked with Mr. D.H. Grant about our taking over the mill on a lease and running it. Went over to the office in the evening to talk with Mr. Grant again.
[D.H. Grant & Co., formerly Grant & Bullwinkel, have been appointed sole selling agents in the United States for J.H. Kippax, Manchester, England, manufacturers of fine ginghams, crepes and voiles. The concern, which is located at 225 Fourth Ave., is also engaged in the importation of high grade cotton from other countries, notably Switzerland (Textile World Journal, 1923)].
October 27: Mr. Grant from N.Y. to see about selling blankets for the mill if we take it over. Who are “we”?!
[Dana H. Grant, a manufacturer of dress goods, aged thirty years (b. U.S.), headed a Pelham, NY, household at the time of the NY State Census of 1925. His household included his wife, Dorothy R. Grant, aged thirty-one years (b. U.S.), and his mother, Mary H. Grant, a houseworker, aged sixty-nine years (b. U.S.). They resided at 128 Reed Avenue].
October 29: Went over to the office at 5:30 to meet with Chas. Wentworth of Rochester & a Mr. Bartlett who thought of coming into the mill business with us.
[Charles L. Wentworth appeared in the Rochester, NH, directory of 1926, as secretary-treasurer of the Rochester Building and Loan Association and a teller at the Rochester Trust Co., with his residence at 12 Glen street].
November 2: I am in the office nearly all the time now trying to make arrangements for taking over the mill and running it.
November 7: I went to Rochester to see Mr. Bond about incorporating the business in the P.M. Went down with Henry and Ing. [Ing was Henry’s wife.]
[Bernard Q. Bond appeared in the Rochester, NH, directory of 1926, as vice president-treasurer of the Rochester Trust Co., with his residence at 86 Wakefield street].
November 17: Grandpa explained that he had not attended prayer meeting because he had to attend the Board of Trade meeting at the hotel in the interests of mill business.
December 1: Norman [his son] took me over to Springvale in P.M. to see Judge Goodwin about incorporating the mill business.
[George Goodwin, a general practice lawyer, aged sixty-six years (b. ME), headed a Sanford (“Springvale”), ME, household at the time of the Fifteenth (1930) Federal Census. His household included his wife (of thirty-six years), Etta Goodwin, aged sixty-three years (b. ME). George Goodwin owned their house at 24 Main Street, which was valued at $5,500. They had a radio set].
December 6: Norman and I went to Dover and Rochester on the mill business. Didn’t amount to much.
December 9: Got a letter from Mr. Grant [of] New York and it looks as if we might get the mill started.
December 15: Mill is now all shut down. No one working.
December 24: Henry & I went down to Dover to see Mr. Hall about making a lease for the mill. Henry started for Texas to-night. Will spend Christmas with Agnes and he and Joe Plummer start from there Tues. morning.
[Henry’s sister, Agnes M. (Townsend) Hayes, then lived with her husband in Bradford, MA. Halton R. (Agnes T.) Hayes appeared in the Haverhill. MA, directory of 1928, as manager of the Loose-Wiles Biscuit Co., with his house at 35 Fernwood av., Br. [Bradford]. Henry A. Townsend and Joe Plummer would have started for Texas from Bradford, after spending Christmas there (The Loose-Wiles Biscuit Co. of Kansas City, MO, made the Sunshine brand of biscuits and cookies. Hayes would have been the local sales manager)].
Ms. Bristol contributed some supplementary research support.
To be Continued in 1928 – I hope!
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