Milton’s Milton House Hotel, c1842-70

By Muriel Bristol | August 22, 2021

John S. Edgerly, c1842-185?

John Staples Edgerly was born in Wolfeboro, NH, October 29, 1814, son of Jonathan and Nancy (Hanson) Edgerly. His family relocated to Wakefield, NH, soon after.

John S. Edgerly headed a Brookfield, NH, household at the time of the Sixth (1840) Federal Census. His household included one male, aged 20-29 years [himself], one female aged 30-39 years, and one male aged 10-14 years. Two members of his household were engaged in agriculture. His household appeared in the enumeration between those of William G. Leavitt and John Dow.

Wakefield, NH, town officials licensed John S. Edgerly to keep an inn there, in the late 1830s or early 1840s.

John S. Edgerly married in Tuftonboro, NH, March 17, 1841, Harriet Lyford, both of Brookfield, NH. Rev. James Dow performed the ceremony. She was born in Brookfield, NH, August 18, 1810, daughter of Robert and Mary (Lyford) Lyford.

John S. Edgerly kept a Milton hotel at Milton Three-Ponds as early as 1842. It stood in close proximity, if not right next door, to the home of Dr. Stephen Drew. Daughter Helen A. Edgerly was born in Milton, June 29, 1842.

The US Postal Department appointed John S. Edgerly as Milton postmaster, October 26, 1846 (during the presidency of Democrat James K. Polk). James M. Twombly and others replaced him in that position, between January 18, 1850 and May 1, 1854 (during the presidencies of Whigs Zachary Taylor and Millard Fillmore). John S. Edgerly was again appointed postmaster, between May 2, 1854 and September 14, 1855 (during the presidency of Democrat Franklin Pierce). One might reasonably infer from this sequence of appointments, and the political affiliations of those holding office when the appointments were made, that Edgerly was a Democrat.

Constituent petitions came in to the NH legislature from various districts seeking “a law to remedy those defects in the existing laws regulating the sale of spirituous liquors which enable wealthy and influential persons through the unfaithfulness or inefficiency of prosecuting officers to escape their penalties” (NH Senate, 1847). NH Representative Thomas W. Mordough (1810-1858) of Wakefield, NH, presented to the NH House such a petition from John S. Edgerly and others, June 16, 1847. (Thomas W. Mordough built the Wakefield Town House in 1838).

Mr. Mordough presented the petition of John S. Edgerly and others praying for an alteration of said laws.

John S. Edgerly, an innkeeper, aged thirty-six years (b. NH), headed a Milton household at the time of the Seventh (1850) Federal Census. His immediate family included Harriett Edgerly, aged thirty-eight years (b. NH), and Helen Edgerly, aged eight years (b. NH). He had real-estate, i.e., the hotel, valued at $2,000. Their household appeared in the enumeration between those of John M. Hanson, a carpenter, aged twenty-nine years (b. ME), and Stephen Drew, a physician, aged fifty-eight years (b. NH). (Blacksmith Hazen Duntley appeared just after Drew).

William A. Jones, a hostler, aged forty years (b. NH), resided in the hotel in that enumeration. He presumably kept the livery stable. There were seven guests on that particular day, although they likely stayed longer than just that day. They were mostly shoemakers: Samuel Emerson, a shoemaker, aged twenty-three years (b. NH), John L. Wing, a shoemaker, aged twenty-seven years (b. ME), Albert Gilman, a shoemaker, aged nineteen years (b. ME), Richard H. Paine, a teamster, aged thirty-two years (b. ME), [his wife,] Sarah A. [(Edgerly)] Paine, aged thirty years (b. NH), Charles Horney, a shoe cutter, aged twenty-five years (b. NH), and Jesse Knox, a shoemaker, aged sixteen years (b. NH) .

At some time between September 1855 and June 1860, John S. Edgerly left Milton for Saco, ME. (William H. Huntress had taken over Edgerly’s Milton House hotel by 1860).

Daughter Helen A. Edgerly married (1st) in Saco, ME, October 14, 1859, Parker R. Libby. John S. Edgerly was keeping the Mechanics’ House hotel in Saco, ME, by 1860-61.

The term “mechanic” does not have exactly the same meaning as it does today. It refers to a skilled worker, making his living in one of the trades, especially one involving the use of a machine. In 1840, 84.8% of Milton’s workers were engaged in agricultural pursuits, i.e., farming; 12.2% of them were engaged in manufacture and the trades, including “mechanics;” 1.6% were engaged in commerce, such as shop-keeping, running a hotel, etc.; and 1.4% were engaged in the learned professions, such as physician, lawyer, engineer, etc.

Jacob D. Barry, foundry, aged fifty-five years (b. NH), headed a Saco, ME, household at the time of the Eighth (1860) Federal Census. His household included Eunice L. [(Edgecomb)] Barry, wf [wife], aged fifty-three years (b. ME), Phebe M. Barry, dressmaker, aged eighteen years (b. NH), Charles H. Barry, aged seven years (b. ME), Winfield S. Howe, a sawyer, aged twenty-one years (b. NH), Daniel Sanborn, foundry, aged thirty years (b. NH), John S. Edgerly, hotel keeper, aged forty-five years (b. NH), Harriet Edgerly, wf [wife], aged forty-seven years (b. NH), Parker R. Libby, junr. barber, aged twenty-seven years (b. ME), Hellen A. [(Edgerly)] Libby, wf [wife], aged seventeen years (b. NH), Maria Nason, servant, aged twenty-three years (b. NH), Stephen T. Whitney, cigar maker, aged forty-five years (b. ME), Wm Duran, junr. harness maker, aged thirty years (b. ME), George T. Blake, junr. painter, aged twenty-five years (b. ME), Monroe Boynton, junr. cigar maker, aged twenty-one years (b. ME), Eliakim Richards, nothing, aged thirty-eight years (b. ME), and Charles J. Richards, nothing, aged sixteen years (b. ME). John S. Edgerly had personal estate valued at $700 and Stephen T. Whitney had real estate valued at $700.

John S. Edgerly appeared in the Maine business directory of 1862, as proprietor of the Mechanics’ House hotel, on Stor. street, in Saco, ME, in 1862 (Willis, 1862).

 John S. Edgerly died in Biddeford, ME, May 7, 1863.

Daughter Helen A. (Edgerly) Libby married (2nd) December 25, 1875, William W. Friend, both of Boston, MA. She was aged thirty-three years, and he was a teamster, aged twenty-eight years. Rev. L.L. Briggs performed the ceremony.

William W. Friend, clerk in store, aged thirty-four years (b. ME), headed a Boston, MA, household at the time of the Tenth (1880) Federal Census. His household included his wife, Hellen A. Friend, keeping house, aged thirty-seven years (b. NH), his step-children, Gertrude Libby, in commercial agency, aged nineteen years (b. ME), and Ernest Libby, in commission house, aged fifteen years (b. ME), his mother-in-law, Harriet [(Lyford)] Edgerly, aged sixty-nine years (b. NH), and his boarders, Laura E. [(Lewis)] Aldrich, aged twenty-four years (b. MA), George W. Aldrich, a police officer, aged thirty-three years (b. NH), William Maxwell, a salesman, aged twenty-four years (b. ME),  Emma Carr, a servant, aged twenty years (b. England), Leroy Ford, in market, aged twenty-eight years (b. NH), Annie Rennolds, a servant, aged fifteen years (b. MA), Albert Long, provision store, aged seventy-eight years (b. ME), George Hartshorn, a R.R. conductor, aged thirty-one years (b. MA), Julia W. [(Merrill)] Hartshorn, aged twenty-eight years (b. MA), and Willie B. Hartshorn, aged three years (b. MA). They resided at 611 Shawmut avenue.

Harriet (Lyman) Edgerly, widow of John S. Edgerly, died of paralysis in Somerville, MA, August 1, 1892, aged eighty-one [fifty-one] years, eleven months, and ten days.

William H. Huntress, 185?-1870

William H. “Howard” Huntress was born in Milton, January 17, 1822, a son of William and Lydia A. (Hatch) Huntress. His mother died in Milton, December 19, 1830; and his father remarried there, July 1, 1832, Dorcas Dore.

William H. Huntress, left town for some years in the 1840s. He was a shoemaker, aged twenty-eight years (b. NH), residing in the Natick, MA, household of his elder brother, Thomas H. Huntress, also a shoemaker, aged thirty-two years (b. NH), at the time of the Seventh (1850) Federal Census. Younger brother Hezekiah R. Huntress, also a shoemaker, aged twenty-six years (b. NH), resided in the neighboring household of brother-in-law, Darwin Morse, a farmer, aged thirty-eight years (b. MA).

William H. Huntress married, circa 1852-53, Sarah C. Tuttle. She was born in Barrington, NH, August 1, 1832, daughter of John and Esther C. (Moulton) Tuttle. They settled in Milton, where their first two children were born in 1854 and 1859.

William H. Huntress may have owned his Milton hotel as early as September 1855. (He appears to have employed managers to run it for him in some years).

In the April 1858 trespass case of Palmer versus Tuttle, William H. Huntress was mentioned as a western abutter to the trespassed property.

In a plea of trespass, for that the defendants, on the third day of April, A.D. 1858, at said Milton, with force and arms broke and entered the plaintiff’s close, situate in Milton, in said county, and bounded easterly partly by land of John Foss and partly by land of James C. Roberts, southerly by land of Stephen Downs westerly by land now occupied by William H. Huntress and James F. Place, and northerly by the road leading by the houses of William W. Ricker and James B. Downs; and cut down and carried away ten hemlock trees, twenty five pine trees, fifty beech trees, one hundred birch trees, one hundred oak trees, and two hundred maple trees, property of the plaintiff, of the value of two hundred dollars, and converted the same to their own use; and cut down and carried away thirty cords of the plaintiff’s wood, of the value of hundred dollars, and converted the same to their own use, and with their oxen and horses trod up and injured the plaintiff’s soil, against the peace and to the damage of the said plaintiff (as he says) in the sum of three hundred dollars (NH Supreme Court, 1860).

William H. Huntress, a shoemaker, aged thirty-seven years (b. NH), headed a Milton household at the time of the Eighth (1860) Federal Census. His household included Sarah C. Huntress, aged twenty-seven years (b. NH), Charles A. Huntress, aged six years (b. NH), and John W. Huntress, aged one year (b. NH).

Huntress’ household appeared next to that of his brother-in-law, Darwin Morse, a farmer, aged forty-seven years (b. NH). (His father, stepmother, sister Phebe A. Morse, and nephew resided in the Morse household). They lived near School House No. 12 on what is now Silver Street, approaching its intersection with what is now Winding Road.

Joseph Jenness (1823-1892) lived in the hotel in 1860, which he apparently ran on Huntress’s behalf.

Milton - 1871 (Dist. 9 Detail)
Milton Three Ponds in 1871. Dr. S. Drew’s house (indicated with red arrow) was in close proximity to Huntress’ Milton House hotel. (The original location of Milton’s PGF&C railroad station (indicated with the green arrow) was on the opposite side of the river from where it would be not long after).

Joseph Jenness, a landlord (“Milton Hotel”), aged thirty-six years (b. NH), headed a Milton household at the time of the Eighth (1860) Federal Census. His household included Reliance C. Jenness, aged thirty-one years (b. NH). He had no real estate (and Huntress would be taxed for the licenses). It stood in the Milton downtown, in close proximity, and likely right next door, to the home of Dr. Stephen Drew (another marginal note: “Practicing Physician in Milton 40 years”).

C. Crosby, a hired man, aged twenty-four years (b. NH), resided there, with Emeline Crosby, aged twenty-one years (b. NH), Lydia M. Crosby, aged thirty-one years (b. NH), and Charles G. Crosby, aged seven years (b. NH).

Nine men were listed as “boarders”: B.F. Rankin, aged twenty-five years (b. NH), Charles Neal, aged twenty-two years (b. NH), David Wentworth, aged twenty-three years (b. NH), Charles Peckham, aged twenty-seven years (b. NH), Charles Nudd, Esq., aged twenty-seven years (b. NH), D. Palmer, aged twenty-five years (b. NH), J.C. Robinson, aged thirty-two years, C.C. Smith (b. NH), aged forty years, and James Miller, aged twenty-six years (b. NH).

There were three female guests: Mrs. C. Lane, a teacher of music, aged thirty-one years (b. NH), [sister-in-law] Pamelia C. Weatherell, aged twenty-nine years (b. NH), and S.C. Goodrich, a dressmaker, aged twenty-two years (b. NH).

Also staying in the hotel were three male guests: John R. Palmer, postmaster, aged twenty-four years (b. NH), Dr. Jackson, a physician, aged forty-two years (b. NH), and George Hattan, an “Indian Doctor,” aged fifty-five years (b. NH).

The US Class II military draft list of June 1863 included both William H. Huntress, a hotel keeper, aged thirty-seven years, and Joseph Jenness, a stabler, aged thirty-nine years.

The Federal government assessed Huntress for his 8th-class hotel, liquor license, and livery stable in the US Excise Tax of May 1864.

The Federal government again assessed Huntress for his hotel, liquor license, and livery stable in the US Excise Tax of May 1866. He appeared as proprietor of the “Milton” hotel in 1868 and 1869-70.

William H. Huntress, a saloon keeper, aged forty-three years (b. NH), headed a two-family Milton household at the time of the Ninth (1870) Federal Census. His household included Sarah C. Huntress, keeping house, aged thirty-four years (b. NH), Charles A. Huntress, a clerk in saloon, aged sixteen years (b. NH), and John W. Huntress, aged eleven years (b. NH). Huntress had real estate valued at $1,600 and personal estate valued at $1,377.

Robert Brown, works in shoe factory, aged forty years (b. NH), headed the other household in the two-family residence. His household included Sarah A. [(Runnells)] Brown, keeping house, aged forty-four years (b. NH), Everitt O. Brown, works in shoe factory, aged fourteen years (b. NH), and Elmer E. Brown, at school, aged nine years (b. NH).

William H. Huntress appeared in the Milton business directories of 1871, and 1873, as proprietor of a livery stable.

William H. Huntress died of dropsy in Milton, January 16, 1873, aged fifty years.

Sarah C. Huntress, keeping house, aged forty-five years (b. NH), headed a Dover, NH, household at the time of the Tenth (1880) Federal Census. Her household included her son, John W. Huntress, a shoe cutter, aged twenty-one years (b. NH), her daughter-in-law, Lura B. [(Perkins)] Huntress, at home, aged eighteen years (b. NH), and her nephew, Alvah H. Place, a drug clerk, aged eighteen years (b. NH). They lived at or near Garrison Hill.

Sarah C. (Tuttle) Huntress died in Dover, NH, July 25, 1880.

Continued in Milton’s Franklin House Hotel, 1870-76


NH Senate. (1847). Journal of the Senate of New Hampshire. Retrieved from

NH Supreme Court. (1860). Reports of Cases Argued and Determined in the Supreme Judicial Court of New Hampshire. Retrieved from

Willis, William. (1862). A Business Directory of the Subscribers to the New Map of Maine. Retrieved from

Author: Muriel Bristol

"Lady drinking tea"

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