Milton Mills Druggist Eugene W. Emerson (1856-1927)

By Muriel Bristol | December 19, 2021

Eugene Willis Emerson was born in Pittsfield, NH, January 8, 1856, son of Rev. Charles S. and Harriet (Newell) Emerson.

Eugene W. Emerson was said – late in life- to have taken great pride in never having missed the annual weeklong camp-meeting at Alton Bay in Alton, NH, since its inception. Camp-meetings were a feature of Protestant revivalism. (Seth F. Dawson of the Milton Leatherboard Co. was both an officer and regular attendee of the Hedding camp-meeting in Epping, NH). Congregants gathered at a campground in order to hear sermons, participate in other religious activities, and vacation with like-minded participants. The Alton Bay camp-meeting was established in 1863 and was organized more formally in 1876. Since Emerson was but a child in 1863, one might suppose that he initially attended with his parents, or that the 1876 date was the inception to which he referred.

Alton Bay CampgroundOver time fixed structures took gradually the place of the original tents. (The Alton Bay camp-meeting persists, although there have been fires there over the years, including the most recent one of April 12, 2009).

Eugene W. Emerson married in Pittsfield, NH, November 21, 1878, Fannie C. Chamberlain, both of Farmington, NH. He was a clerk, aged twenty-two years, and she was a shoe stitcher, aged twenty-one years. His father, Rev. C.S. Emerson, performed the ceremony. She was born in New Durham, NH, in 1857, daughter of William and Harriet A. (Elkins) Chamberlain.

Eugene W. Emerson was employed as a clerk in the Farmington, NH, drug store of his maternal uncle, Civil War-veteran Dr. Arthur C. Newell (1839-1884). William W. Roberts (1850-1933) was also a clerk there. (Eventually Roberts would have his own store).

Dr. A.C. Newell, a young physician, located here [Farmington after the Civil War] and opened an office in the rooms now occupied by Nutter’s market. A small stock of remedies together with a few fancy articles comprised his stock. To “tend store” during the doctor’s absence, W.W. Roberts, Will as he was familiarly called by his friends, assisted after school hours and in the evening, for all stores kept open six evenings a week (Farmington News, December 5, 1947).

Dr. A.C. Newell’s drug store was on the first floor at the corner of Main and Central streets.

LOCALS. James E. Davis and wife, Eugene Emerson and wife, C.W. Roberts and lady, and Will W. Roberts and lady, left for a week’s sojourn at York Beach last Monday. They take a cottage for the party (Farmington News, August 1, 1879).

Dr. Newell’s drug store was also the Farmington post office at this time (he had been appointed postmaster in 1875).

LOCALS. On Saturday last, Warren Averill, a young man of our village, and a pupil in the Grammar school, was detected pilfering in the money drawer in the post-office, by Eugene Emerson. We have not yet learned of his arrest, proceedings being suspended until the arrival of the Dr. from the west. Warren, you are old enough, and big enough to know better than that (Farmington News, November 7, 1879).

Mother-in-law Harriet A. (Elkins) Chamberlin died in American Samoa, February 14, 1880, aged forty-nine years.

Eugene W. Emerson, works in drug store, aged twenty-four years (b. NH), headed a Farmington, NH, household at the time of the Tenth (1880) Federal Census. His household included his wife, Fannie C. Emerson, keeping house, aged twenty-three years (b. NH), and his father-in-law, Wm. Chamberlain, works in shoe shop, aged fifty years (b. NH).

Father Charles S. Emerson died April 26, 1881.

LOCALS. The annual meeting of the [Farmington] High School Alumni for choice of officers occurred Monday evening in the High School building with the following result. President, Harry C. Waldron; Vice Presidents, Frank Edgerly, Ronello Burnham, Frank  Roberts, Nellie Horne, Edit Jones; Secretary, Ms. Eloise Roberts; Treasurer, Nellie Glidden; Ex-com, Clifton Kimball, Elmer Upton, Mrs. Elmer Fullerton, Florence Colbath, Mrs. Fannie Emerson; Orator, Horatio Knox; Poetess, Florence Burnham (Farmington News, July 22, 1881).

Eugene W. Emerson ran for Town Clerk as a Democrat in the Farmington town election of March 1882. He won in a landslide with 292 votes (79.1%), while Republican George E. Amazeen received 60 votes (16.3%), and fellow Democrat Harry W. Parker received 17 votes (4.6%) (Farmington News, March 17, 1882).

Dr. Arthur C. Newell was in the process of relocating to Nebraska. (His younger son Arthur was born there in April 1882). He sold his stock of drugs (etc.) to the new partnership of druggist Eugene W. Emerson and dentist Albert Garland (1851-1912).

NOTICE. Having sold my stock of Drugs &c. to EMERSON & GARLAND, I trust that all my customers and friends will continue to patronize the store under the new management. For the present I shall continue the sale of PIANOS & ORGANS, and to anyone wishing a good and reliable instrument I will offer a rare bargain. Wishing to settle on my store accounts as soon as possible, I desire that all indebted will make early payment. A.C. NEWELL. Farmington, December 1, 1882 (Farmington News, December 10, 1882).

Daughter Hattie Celia Emerson was born in Farmington, NH, March 7, 1884. Her father was a Farmington druggist.

Eugene W. Emerson of Farmington, NH, received a commission as a 1st Lieutenant in Co. F of the Second Regiment, First Brigade, of the NH National Guard, November 1, 1884.

The Wilson Guards, being Company F, Second regiment, N.H.N.G., first went into camp at Concord commanded by the late Joseph Bradbury Cilley, at whose decease, in 1886, resultant largely from exposure while on duty, the captaincy devolved upon Lieut. E.W. Emerson. To the latter succeeded Charles H. Pitman who resigned in the past year, after a long term of interested and faithful service and the company made camp in 1895 under his successor, Capt. Herman J. Pike (McClintock, 1895).

(Dr. Arthur C. Newell died of exposure in Long Pine, NE, December 17, 1884, aged forty-five years, seven months, and fifteen days.

NORTH NEBRASKA NOTES. The Long Pine Journal has the following this week: “Dr. Arthur C. Newell, living about seven miles southeast of town, got out of bed about three o’clock last Wednesday morning, when his wife asked him what he was going to do. He replied that he was not going to do any harm, and grabbed her (his wife) by the hand and commenced biting her hands. She jumped out of bed, whereupon he took a chair and run the whole family to the up stairs of the house and then set the bureau against the door. He then took his clothes over his arm and left the house. As soon as his wife could get out of the room, she reported to the neighbors the occurrence. A party went in search of him, and found him in a nude condition, frozen to death. The coroner was summoned and held an inquisition and rendered verdict that the deceased came to his death by exposure and said exposure resulting from a temporary aberration of mind” (Norfolk Journal (Norfolk, NE), December 26, 1884)).

Emerson-Garland - 820317Emerson & Garland had also a soda fountain and kept also a news stand in the drug store, from which they vended, among other publications, the Farmington News.

LOCALS. The show windows of Messrs. Emerson & Garland present a very attractive appearance this week to the small boy and the sportsman, one being very tastily arranged with all the paraphernalia of that delight of a boy’s heart –  base ball, while the other would delight the heart of an Izaak Walton with its varied display of fishing tackle. They also have one of the best soda fountains to be found in the State, costing over $1000. It has all the latest improvements and is well worth looking at for it is a beauty, and what is more, it is ready for use (Farmington News, May 8, 1885).

Izaak Walton was a Seventeenth century English writer best known for his book The Compleat Angler. Due to this, fly fishermen were frequently associated rhetorically with him.

Communications for this paper should be received by Wednesday night. The NEWS can be found at E.W. Emerson’s news stand (Farmington News, May 20, 1887).

Eugene W. Emerson, his wife, Frances (Chamberlain) Emerson, and their daughter, Hattie C. Emerson, went on a weeklong vacation in Maine. They intended to stay with his friend, Oscar Childs, and his wife, Lizzie M. (Fletcher) Childs, who had relocated there for a time. (Gilbertville was a village of Canton, Oxford County, ME).

PERSONAL. E.W. Emerson and family, including the pug, have gone to Gilbertville, Me., to visit Oscar Childs and wife. They intend to be away a week or more, during which time Gene and Os intend to make game and fish scarce in that vicinity (Farmington News, June 10, 1887).

Eugene W. Emerson ran next a drug store in a village of Hillsboro, NH, in 1887-89.

LOCALS. Eugene W. Emerson has purchased a drug business at Hillsboro Bridge. Although he has just taken possession, he likes the village and its people very much, and is satisfied he has struck a good vein (Farmington News, November 4, 1887).

Roberts & Avery druggists advertised their wares in the Farmington News of Friday, December 2, 1887. That advertisement contained the notation that they were the “successors to E.W. Emerson.”

1st Lieutenant Eugene W. Emerson was designated as Quartermaster of the Second Regiment of the NH National Guard, in September 1889.

LOCALS. We are pleased to learn that E.W. Emerson, formerly captain of the Wilson Guards, has been appointed quartermaster of the Second regiment, N.H.N.G. Mr. Emerson is one of the solid citizens of Hillsboro Bridge, doing a successful drug business (Farmington News September 6, 1889).

LOCALS. E.W. Emerson, who has been located at Hillsboro Bridge, has bought out Shaw’s drug store at Rochester (Farmington News, October 4, 1889).

Eugene W. Emerson appeared in the Rochester, NH, directory of 1890, as residing on Main street, opposite the M.E. [Methodist Episcopal] church.

LOCALS. Our friend, Gene Emerson, druggist at Rochester, has an electric apparatus connected with the shelves on which all his poisonous drugs are kept. It is so arranged that when a bottle is taken down the bell rings and continues to do so until the bottle is returned to its proper place. This warns the person handling the drugs to be careful and examine closely to see that no mistakes are made. This, to our mind is a first-class arrangement and one that should be in every drug store. Many serious errors might then be avoided and unintentional mistakes corrected before it was too late (Farmington News, May 16, 1890).

LOCALS. Eugene W. Emerson of Rochester was chosen chairman of the executive committee of the New Hampshire Pharmaceutical association at Keene and also a representative to visit the Massachusetts association (Farmington News, September 16, 1892).

LOCALS. Ward 6, Rochester has nominated Eugene W. Emerson as its representative. … E.W. Emerson is captain of the democratic marching club of that city. Richard Talbot, also well known here, is second lieutenant (Farmington News, October 21, 1892).

LOCALS. Eugene W. Emerson, a former druggist here but later of Rochester, has obtained an excellent situation as travelling salesman for a wholesale drug firm in Boston (Farmington News, April 7, 1893).

Father-in-law William Chamberlin died of cystitis in Farmington, NH, June 25, 1894, aged sixty-five years, six months, and nine days.

Eugene W. Emerson had taken up bottling by 1895, if not slightly before. In that year, Emerson & Co., bottlers, were among the only twenty-three telephone subscribers in Rochester, NH (AT&T, 1895). (Neither Farmington nor Milton had any at that time (See Milton Gets the Telephone)).

LOCALS. Hattie Emerson, the little daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Eugene Emerson, is quite ill at her home in Rochester (Farmington News, March 1, 1895).

LOCALS. William Cate has been setting up an engine for E.W. Emerson at Rochester. He was assisted by James White (Farmington News, May 14, 1897).

CHIP’S CONTRIBUTION. … Mr. Boody is on the ground getting things ready [at Alton, NH,] for the season and will open his store by the 20th instant, when every one can be accommodated with groceries or cooked food, and the hungry fisherman will find enough to satisfy his wants at all hours of the day. There are now several families on the grounds for the season. Among those present over the Sabbath were Oscar Childs and family from East Rochester, Eugene W. Emerson and family and others from Rochester, while Farmington people too numerous to mention were occupying their cottages and enjoying the scenery which at this season is very beautiful (Farmington News, May 12, 1899).

Harriet N. [(Newell)] Emerson of Pittsfield, NH, made out her last will, June 5, 1899. In it she devised all her real estate in Pittsfield to her son Eugene W. Emerson, and her personal property to her other son, Edwin C. Emerson. Her brother, John P. Newell (1823-1917), her sister-in-law, Elizabeth M. [(Abbott)] Newell (1834-1927), and her niece’s husband, Isaac N. Center (1863-1946) signed as witnesses. (She would later supplement this will with a codicil dated Litchfield, NH, June 13, 1908, that nominated her grandson, Winfred R. Emerson (1875-1940) of Pittsfield, NH, to be her executor) (Merrimack County Probate, 120:159).

Eugene W. Emerson, a tonics bottler, aged forty-four years (b. NH)., headed a Rochester, NH, household at the time of the Twelfth (1900) Federal Census. His household included his wife (of twenty-one years), Fannie C. Emerson, aged forty-three years (b. NH), and his child, Harriett C. Emerson, at school, aged sixteen years (b. NH). Eugene W. Emerson rented their house at 5 Pleasant Street. Fannie C. Emerson was the mother of two children, of whom one was still living. Their next-door neighbor, Fred Foss, was also a tonics bottler, aged thirty-six years (b. NH).

A “tonic” was a medicinal concoction. Many of the early soft drinks had pretensions of having at least some medicinal qualities. Coca Cola, which had cocaine in it, and “Dr.” Pepper, come to mind. Older New England residents, especially those from the greater Boston area, may even now refer still to soda and soft drinks as “tonic.”

LOCALS. Eugene W. Emerson of Rochester is circulating a petition in an effort to have the New England Telephone Co. extend the line from Farmington to Alton Bay. This would be found a great convenience to people living at the Bay, and during the summer months should be a source of good revenue as many people are building summer homes there more and more every year, and without doubt if the petition has a large list of signers from the two places named, a line will be built before another year (Farmington News, July 14, 1900).

Eugene W. Emerson appeared in the Rochester, NH, directory of 1902, as a bottler (Emerson & Co.) at 25 Summer street, with his house at 5 Pleasant street. (Fred B. Foss appeared in the Rochester, NH, directory of 1902, as a clerk at 25 Summer street, i.e., at Emerson & Co., with his house at 7 Pleasant street).

Emerson & Co - Rochester - 1902

Eugene Willey [Willis] Emerson joined the New Hampshire Pharmaceutical Association in 1903 (NHPA, 1910).

Emerson & Co. (E.W. Emerson) appeared in a NH Bureau of Labor report of 1904, as being bottlers of beer and mineral waters in Rochester, NH (NH Bureau of Labor, 1904).

Stray Corks. EMERSON & CO., Rochester, N.H., have disposed of their bottling business to the Cocheco Bottling Co. (American Bottler, April 15, 1904).

Eugene W. Emerson appeared in the Rochester, NH, directory of 1905, as a registered druggist at 19 North Main street, with his house at 5 Pleasant street. Miss Harriet C. Emerson appeared as having her home at 5 Pleasant street.

Eugene W. Emerson had a liquor license (Class 5) at 21 North Main Street in Rochester, NH, in 1905 (NH License Commissioners, 1906).

Daughter Harriet C. Emerson married in Rochester, NH, September 30, 1905, Bernard L. Piper, she of Rochester, NH, and he of Abington, MA. He was a clerk, aged twenty-two years, and she was at home, aged twenty years. (Her father was a Rochester druggist). Rev. F.L. Piper performed the ceremony. Bernard L. Piper was born was born in Milton, August 3, 1886, son of Rev. Frederick L. and Anna L. (Remick) Piper.

LOCALS. The marriage of Miss Harriet C. Emerson, only child of Mr. and Mrs. Eugene W. Emerson, to Mr. Bernard L. Piper of North Abington, Mass., was solemnized Tuesday at the Emerson home in Rochester, the Rev. F.L. Piper of Boston, father of the groom, having been the officiating clergyman. The bride is a graduate of the Rochester high school, 1903, and of the Bryant and Stratton business college in Boston. Farmington friends feel a special interest in her marriage, as the family formerly resided in this village. The groom is a bookkeeper in a well known Boston business, and his many friends join with those of his bride in expressions of good will (Farmington News, October 6, 1905).

Eugene W. Emerson moved to Milton Mills in 1906. His new shop’s frontage lighting was notably bright (from its carbide lamps) in that year.

Acetylene Rays. Drug Store of Eugene Emerson, Milton Mills, N.H., puts up the brightest front on the street. Acetylene (Acetylene Journal, 1906).

Acetylene lighting was a type of gas lighting. The Central Square stores of Winfield Miller and Nicholas Mucci were also so lit.

Mills Drug Store - Cony-Mitchell - 1908Eugene W. Emerson had a liquor license on Main Street (Class 5) in 1906; and James H. Willey, had a license at 44 Main Street (Class 5) (NH License Commissioners, 1906).

Fifth class. – For retail druggists and apothecaries to sell liquor of any kind for medicinal, mechanical, chemical and sacramental purposes only, and for dealers in hardware, paints and decorating materials to sell alcohol for mechanical and chemical uses only, the same to be sold in accordance with the provisions of this act. Any druggist, not a registered pharmacist, who shall have been continually in active business as a druggist from January 1, 1903, and who employs a registered pharmacist, shall be entitled to a license in his own name under this sub-division provided he be otherwise qualified (NH General Court, 1912).

Such a license had an annual fee of $10. The druggist was required to keep a record of those purchasing liquor under this license. (See Milton Under “Local Option” – 1903-18).

E.W. Emerson paid $2 in dues to the NH Pharmaceutical Association, March 10, 1908 (NHPA, 1908).

Mother Harriet (Newell) Emerson died of enteritis in Pittsfield, NH, August 23, 1908, aged eighty-two years, eight months, and nine days.

E.W. Emerson appeared in the Milton business directory of 1909, as an apothecary at 44 Main street in Milton Mills. The Mills Drug Co. appeared also under the same heading and at the same address. Hannibal P. Robbins (1858-1932), a Milton Mills druggist, likely worked at Emerson’s Pharmacy in or around 1909-12. Fred E. Carswell (1891-1957) did so from 1912 through 1917. (See Milton in the News – 1914).

Milton’s NH State liquor licenses for 1911-12 and 1912-13 were held by Eugene W. Emerson, who had a license at 44 Main Street (Class 5); and James Herbert Willey, who had a license at the corner of Main and Silver streets (Class 5), in Milton (NH License Commissioners, 1906, 1912, 1914). Both men were druggists. (See Milton Under “Local Option” – 1903-18).

Emerson, EW - 1912
E.W. Emerson Advertisement, 1912

The Emerson Pharmacy appeared in the Miton business directories of 1912, and 1917, at 44 Main street, at the corner of Church street, in Milton Mills. (He resided at 4 School street, near the Central House hotel). His advertisements offered much the same stock as Milton’s J. Herbert Willey, plus stationary. (And liquor).

Rexall DrugsEmerson’s Pharmacy had also a Rexall-brand license or franchise and a telephone connection. Rexall franchises carried a line of prepackaged Rexall-brand medicines and other products. One might suppose the Rexall name was a portmanteau of “Rx” – an abbreviation for the Latin term recipere (“take thou”) for compounding a prescription – and “all.”

PERSONAL ITEMS. Eugene W. Emerson of Milton Mills, a member of the executive committee of the New Hampshire Pharmaceutical Association, was here today to arrange for the outing of the association at the Wentworth (Portsmouth Herald, June 7, 1912).

HAVING A FINE TIME. New Hampshire Druggists Making Most of Their Stay at New Castle. The members of the New Hampshire Pharmaceutical Association, who are in session at the hotel Wentworth, New Castle, are having a very enjoyable time. This morning nearly one hundred members of the party made a trip to the Isles of Shoals on steamer Juliette and partook of dinner at the Appledore. The day was an ideal one for the seagoing trip and was greatly enjoyed by all who participated. At the business meeting held this morning the following officers were elected; President, Eugene W. Emerson, Milton Mills; vice presidents, P.H. Boire of Manchester, H.S. Parker of Ashland; secretary, Charles G. Dunnington, Manchester; treasurer, Howard Bell, Derry; auditor, John Marshall, Manchester; executive committee, H.E. Rice of Nashua, Charles G. Dunnington of Manchester, C.E. Tilton of Portsmouth. This evening occurs the annual banquet of the. Association and Governor Samuel D. Felker is expected to be the principal speaker (Portsmouth Herald, June 27, 1913).

New Hampshire Licenses [Liquor Licenses]. MILTON, N.H. Emerson, Eugene W., Main St., P.O. Milton Mills, 5th. Willey, James Herbert, Main & Silver Sts., 5th (Denehy, 1913).

PERSONAL MENTION. Mrs. Eugene Emerson of Milton Mills is passing a week in this city as the guest of her daughter, Mrs. Bernard Piper. (Portsmouth Herald, May 20, 1915).

Frances C. (Chamberlain) Emerson died of asthma (and acute dilation of the heart) in Milton Mills, July 19, 1919, aged sixty-two years, five months, and twenty-six days. She was a housewife, who had resided in Milton for thirteen years, her previous residence having been Rochester, NH. Frank S. Weeks, M.D., signed the death certificate.

IN MEMORIAM. Frances C. Emerson. Mrs. Frances Chamberlain Emerson, wife of Eugene W. Emerson, died at her home in Milton Mills last Saturday after a protracted Illness. She was 62 years of age and a native of New Durham. In early life she resided in this village where she was united in marriage to the husband who survives her and for whom the sincere sympathy of the community is extended. The couple removed from Farmington to Hillsboro where they were engaged in the drug business for some time and later located in Rochester. For the past thirteen years the deceased had resided in the town where her death occurred and where she drew to herself a legion of warm and devoted friends. She was active in every good cause that affected the community welfare and was an especially valued member of the Methodist church and a member and past officer of the Rebekah lodge where she will be much missed. Possessed of gentle and motherly ways, she endeared herself to those about her and in the home, where she lavished her deepest devotion, a place has been made vacant which can never be filled. Beside the bereaved husband, she leaves one daughter, Mrs. Harriet Piper, and a granddaughter Ruth. Funeral services were held from the home Tuesday afternoon at 1.30, with Rev. L.E. Alexander officiating. Burial was made in the family lot in Farmington cemetery (Farmington News, July 25, 1919).

Eugene W. Emerson, a druggist (owner), aged sixty-three years (b. NH), headed a Milton household at the time of the Fourteenth (1920) Federal Census. Eugene W. Emerson owned his house, with a mortgage.

E.W. Emerson appeared in the Milton business directories of 1922 and 1927, as a Milton Mills druggist.

Emerson’s Pharmacy, Milton Mills, appeared in a group advertisement of nine eastern New Hampshire pharmacies offering men a Palmolive-brand bundle of a bar of soap (10¢), a tube of shaving cream (35¢), and a tin of after-shaving talc (25¢), ordinarily costing 70¢ in total, for the combined discount price of 49¢ (Portsmouth Herald, November 21, 1923).

SANBORNVILLE. Arthur Wiggin of Wolfeboro and Dr. H.E. Anderson and Eugene Emerson of Milton Mills were recent callers in the village (Farmington News, January 23, 1925).

Eugene W. Emerson died of Bright’s Disease in Milton Mills, March 9, 1927, aged seventy-two years, two months, and one day. He was a druggist and pharmacist, who had resided in Milton for twenty years, his previous residence having been Rochester, NH. H.E. Anderson, M.D., signed the death certificate.

IN MEMORIAM. Eugene W. Emerson. Eugene W. Emerson, aged 71, for many years a druggist in Farmington, passed away at his home at Milton Mills on March 9 following a period of falling health of two years duration. In early manhood he came to this town where with his uncle, Dr. Newell, he entered the drug business. While here he was united in marriage with Miss Fannie Chamberlain who passed in 1919. After leaving Farmington, he engaged in the drug business in Hillsboro and Rochester. In 1906 he moved to Milton Mills and opened a drug store and continued here up to the time of his passing. Mr. Emerson was born in Pittsfield, January 8, 1856, the son of Charles and Harriet (Newell) Emerson. He was a graduate of Pittsfield academy. He was very public spirited and took a lively interest in the affairs of Milton Mills, serving as president of its Board of Trade. He was a member of Rochester Lodge of Elks, had been half a century of the Farmington Lodge of Odd Fellows, had been through the chairs of the Knights of Pythias Lodge of Milton Mills, of which organization he was master of finance. He took pride in the fact that since its inception he had never missed being in attendance at the campmeeting at Alton Bay. He was a great lover of the Lake Winnipesaukee country and for years was one of the enthusiastic boatmen at Alton Bay, where he always owned a pleasure boat. He had served the N.H. Pharmaceutical association as its president. One daughter, Mrs. Harriet E. Piper, and one brother, Edwin, survive. Funeral was held at the Methodist church at Milton Mills March 12 (Farmington News, March 25, 1927).


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Author: Muriel Bristol

"Lady drinking tea"

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