Milton’s Riverside House, c1879-1902

By Muriel Bristol | August 8, 2021

Charles Henry Downs was born in Milton, circa June 1845, son of Moses and Lovina (Hanson) Downs.

Moses Downs, a farm laborer, aged sixty-two years (b. NH), headed a Milton (“Milton P.O.”) household at the time of the Eighth (1860) Federal Census. His household included Lovina Downs, aged fifty-five years (b. NH), E.A. Downs, aged nineteen years (b. NH), Albert Downs, aged twelve years (b. NH), and Chas. H. Downs, aged eleven [fifteen] years (b. NH). Their household was enumerated between those of Samuel F. Nute, a farmer, aged twenty-nine years (b. NH), and Cyrus Leighton, a farmer, aged thirty-five years (b. NH).

Charles H. Downs of Milton, a shoemaker, aged nineteen years, enlisted for the term of one year in the NH Eighteenth Regiment Volunteer Infantry, in Portsmouth, NH, April 3, 1865. He was 5′ 10½” tall, with gray eyes, dark brown hair, and a dark complexion. He was mustered in the same day under Captain Daniel Hall. He had answered the president’s call for volunteers, i.e., President Abraham Lincoln, who would be assassinated not two weeks later, April 15, 1865. Downs’ service was brief, as he was mustered out again, May 6, 1865.

Downs’ father, Moses Downs, died of consumption in Milton, December 1, 1868, aged sixty-eight years, three months, and seventeen days.

Charles L. Lord, a shoe cutter, aged twenty-seven years (b. ME), headed a Milton household at the time of the Ninth (1870) Federal Census. His household included Sarah E. [(Wallingford)] Lord, keeping house, aged twenty-five years (b. NH), and Charles Downs, works in shoe factory, aged twenty-four years (b. NH). Charles L. Lord had real estate valued at $600 and personal estate valued at $100. Their household was enumerated between those of Ezra H. Twombly, postmaster, aged forty-one years (b. NH), and John L. Wing, works in shoe factory, aged forty-six years (b. ME).

C.H. Downs appeared in the Milton directory of 1880, as proprietor of the Riverside House in Milton. (The Riverside House was actually located just across the bridge in Lebanon, ME).

Charles H. Downs, a hotel keeper, aged thirty-four years (b. NH), headed a Lebanon, ME, household at the time of the Tenth (1880) Federal Census. His household included his mother, Lovina Downs, keeping house, aged seventy-four years (b. NH), and his boarder, H.N. Knox, at home, aged eight years (b. ME).

C.H. Downs appeared in the Milton directories of 1881, 1882, 1884, 1887, 1889, as proprietor of the Riverside House in Milton. (The Riverside House was actually located just across the bridge in Lebanon, ME).

Downs’ mother, Lovina (Hanson) Downs, died of pneumonia in Milton, November 7, 1884, aged seventy-eight years.

Riverside House
Milton Bird’s Eye View Map of 1888 (Detail). Riverside House is indicated with red arrow

MILTON. Herman Moulton has leased the Riverside House – for several years occupied by Charles Downs – and assumed proprietorship May 1st. Mr. Bailey of Farmington has leased the store adjoining the Riverside House and will soon open with a line of stoves, hardware, paints and oils (Farmington News, May 23, 1890).

The tenure of Herman L. Moulton (1859-1941), if any, was brief. C.H. Downs appeared in the Milton business directories of 1892, 1894, and 1898, as proprietor of Riverside House, on the West Lebanon road.

MILTON. Charlie Downs of Boston is at the Riverside house (Farmington News, September 14, 1894).

MILTON. The directors of the Union Ice Company were at the Riverside House last Sunday (Farmington News, October 12, 1894).

WEST MILTON. Mr. Wilder Johnson, who has been training a span of horses, has had an advantageous offer for a position at Riverside hotel at Milton for the season (Farmington News, May 3, 1895).

Wilder Johnson (1831-1903) of Farmington, NH, served in Co. K of the First ME Cavalry Regiment during the Civil War. Perhaps the advantageous position being offered was providing Riverside House’s advertised “free carriages to and from all trains.”

C.H. Downs appeared in the New England Business Directory of 1896, as proprietor of the River Side hotel in Milton. (E.M. Bodwell and F.N. Chamberlin appeared also as proprietors of the Milton and Phoenix hotels, respectively).

HERE AND THERE. Mr. Charles Downs of the Riverside Hotel in Milton broke his leg on Monday, and will be for some time confined to the house (Farmington News, May 1, 1896).

Riverside House - 1900Charles H. Downs married in Milton, May 10, 1900, Sarah Gorman, both of Lebanon, ME. He was a hotel proprietor, aged fifty-five years, and she was a housekeeper, aged twenty-five years. Rev. R.M. Peacock performed the ceremony. She was born in Ireland, circa 1874, daughter of Peter and Mary Gorman.

Charles H. Downs, a hotel keeper, aged fifty-five years (b. NH), headed a Lebanon, ME, household at the time of the Twelfth (1900) Federal Census. His household included his wife (of zero years), Sarah Downs, aged twenty-five years (b. Ireland), and his boarder, Harry Curran, a paper mill fireman, aged nineteen years (b. ME). Charles H. Downs owned their house, but with a mortgage. Sarah Downs had been seven years in the U.S., having immigrated in 1893.

Riverside House - 1902C.H. Downs appeared in the Milton business directory of 1901, as proprietor of Riverside House.

MILTON. C.H. Downs, proprietor of the Riverside House, had twenty-eight transient boarders last week (Farmington News, February 15, 1901).

The most likely source of so many wintertime transient boarders would have been Milton’s ice industry.

NEWS OF THE STATE. Milton is the largest storage centre for ice on the Boston & Maine R.R., with a capacity of 114,000 tons. Sanbornville stores 80,000 tons (Farmington News, March 15, 1901).

C.H. Downs appeared in the New England Business Directory of 1902, as proprietor of the Riverside hotel in Milton. (E.M. Bodwell and F.M. Chamberlin appeared also as proprietors of the Milton and Phoenix hotels, respectively; C.D. Fox appeared as proprietor of the Central hotel in Milton Mills).

Charles H. Downs died of stomach cancer in Lebanon, ME, April 20, 1902, aged fifty-seven years, three months, and nineteen days. James J. Buckley, M.D., signed the death certificate. He was a married hotel keeper.

References:

Find a Grave. (2009, November 26). Charles Henry Downs. Retrieved from www.findagrave.com/memorial/44820130/charles-henry-downs

Sampson and Murdock. (1896).New England Business Directory and Gazetteer, 1896. Retrieved from books.google.com/books?id=AOw1AQAAMAAJ&pg=PA291

Author: Muriel Bristol

"Lady drinking tea"

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