Milton Anti-Division Remonstrance – June 1820

By Muriel Bristol | April 17, 2022

A “number of respectable citizens” of Milton circulated a petition for the June 1820 session of the NH legislature, seeking to split off the northerly part of Milton and the southerly part of Wakefield, and then join them together as a new town. Their petition has not come to hand. (It might have been withdrawn).

... in 1820 an effort was made by the people living in this [Wakefield] town below Lovell’s pond with others living in the Northerly part of Milton, to have that part of Wakefield south of Lovell’s pond and the northerly portion of Milton incorporated into a new town, Luther Dearborn of this [Wakefield] town and John Remick, Jr., of Milton headed petitions to the legislature for the new town which was to be called Lisbon. The Rev. Mr. Piper favored the project and suggested the name Milfield for the new town (Thompson, 1886).

Other documents, including this subsequent remonstrance petition, suggest that the impetus behind the original petition had been the simpler desire to split Milton’s militia company into two parts for the greater convenience of those having to travel the greatest distance to militia musters and trainings. (See Milton Militia Dispute – 1820).

Some rough calculations may give some idea of the relative sizes of Milton’s pro- and anti-division contingents. (The 1820 census was then in process only, and ultimately not preserved, except as aggregate totals. The 1810 census figures are used here as being those cited in the Wakefield anti-division remonstrance). Milton had 1,005 inhabitants in 1810, of which 476 were male. Roughly 276 of these 476 Milton males were below voting (and petitioning) age. That left roughly 200 potential petitioners. (N.B., 76 of those potential petitioners were above militia age). So, the 127 anti-division remonstrance petitioners represented roughly 63.5% of Milton’s 1810 electorate. (Leaving as many as 36.5% in the pro-division category).

(There was a companion remonstrance from the Wakefield voters that also opposed the division (representing roughly 85.7% of its 1810 electorate)).

As previously mentioned, Milton’s entries for the Fourth (1820) Federal Census are missing. The following remonstrance – by those 127 men opposing the proposed division – supplies the names at least of about two-thirds of Milton’s 1820 householders (and those living with them).

(Column 1 signer Daniel Hayes [Jr.] (1781-1856) was Milton’s NH state representative for the 1820-21 biennium).

Remonstrance of sundry Inhabitants of Milton agt. the prayer of certain petitions for a new town to be taken from Milton & Wakefield.

To the Honourable Legislature of the State of New Hampshire convened at Concord June session A.D. 1820 ~

Your memorialists, inhabitants and legal voters in the town of Milton in said state, having lately understood that a petition would be presented by a number of respectable citizens residing on the Northerly part of said Milton, praying that the Northerly part of Milton and the southerly part of Wakefield may be incorporated into a town, beg leave to remonstrate against the prayer of said petition being granted. A division of the town would subject the inhabitants of the old town as well as the new to many hardships and inconveniencies.

The town, though somewhat large in territory, contains but few inhabitants compared with other towns in this state ~

A large proportion of said town is composed of hills and Mountains or covered with ponds of water. Teneriff mountain and the three ponds, and almost all of the wast[e] land in said Milton lie in that part of the town not included in said petition. Should the town be divided according to the prayer of the petitioners, we are of opinion that much the best part of the town will be taken off, and Milton left without form or comeliness, within a few years the town has built a large handsome Meeting-house which is completely finished, in the center of the town, in which the inhabitants can conveniently assemble in town-meeting as well as for public Worship.

If the town should be divided this Meetinghouse will be situated on the North-Easterly section of the town, and of course must be almost (if not altogether) useless to those who have been at a large expense to complete it with the pleasing expectation that the same place would continue to be the center of said town ~

Should the prayer of the petitioners be granted it will be necessary to erect a Meetinghouse in the center of the territory that will be left, New roads leading to said center made and kept in repair; and a large increase in taxes must be the inevitable consequence ~

It is not to be expected that every individual in any town can possess and enjoy equal privileges. If towns are divided, split and subdivided there will be centers and extremities. But those living in the center purchase their privileges by giving more for their land on account of its local situation than those who live on the extremities give for land of the same quality ~

And we apprehend that it must be an extreme case in which the Legislature will take away those purchased rights by dividing the town and thereby transferring them to others ~

The public funds for the support of the Gospel and Schools, like the town are too small to be divided ~ Your memorialists, fully believing in the wisdom of that precept given us by the father of our country “United we stand; divided we fall” beg the Honourable Legislature to keep us together ~

[Column 1:]

Joseph Plumer, Levi Jones, Joseph Plumer, Jr, Benja Scates, Benjamin Scates, Jnr, Isaac Scates, Elijah Horn, James Twombly, James H. Horn, Daniel Emery, Timothy Emery, John Loud, John Palmer, Aaron Downs, John Scates, Nal Pinkham, Norton Scates, Pelah Hanscom, William Hatch, Gilman Jewett, Saml Jones, Ichabod Bodge, Isaac Worster, Wm Jones, Joshua Jones, Moses Nute, Ebenr Wakeham, James Goodwin, James Pinkham, Jedediah Ricker, Saml Ricker, Stephen Wentworth, Lemuel Ricker, Jonathan Dore, Dodovah Dore, James Hayes, Jr, Chesley Hayes, Micah Lyman, Daniel Hayes, Jr, Edward Tebbets, Stephen Drew, Wm Palmer, Theodore C. Lyman,

[Column 2:]

Richard Walker, Israel E. Nute, Jacob Nute, Benja Jenkins, Jeremy Nute, Joseph Walker, Samuel Bragdon, Isaac Wentworth, James Varney 3, John T. Varney, James C. Varney, J.C. Varney, Jr, John Jenkins, Ivory Bragdon, Lemuel Varney, Stephen Jenkins, Jr, Ezekiel Nute, Samuel Nute, Jotham Nute, Bidfield Hayes, Hayes Nute, John Twombly 3rd, James Y. Pinkham, William Wentworth, William [Hays?], Timothy Ricker, John Ricker, Richard Horn, Jonathan Ricker, Samuel Twombly, Jr, Robert Knight, Samuel Twombly, John Downs, Stephen Henderson, Daniel Wentworth, Phinehas Wentworth, Daniel Dore, Samuel Nute, Jr, Thomas Y. Wentworth, John C. Nute, William Downs, Samuel N. Chamberlin, Matthias Nutter, Hopley Varney, Joshua Knight,

William Something - 1820
The signature surname that I found difficult, if not impossible, to decipher with full confidence. It appeared in Column 2, between those of William Wentworth and Timothy Ricker. The initial letter might be a rather squiggly “H.” The next letter that looks like an “n” is also very like the rather similar open “a” of the “William.” The final two figure-eights could be the “y” and “s” of “Hays,” i.e., Hayes. Any other ideas?

[Column 3:]

James Varney, John C. Varney, Ezekiel Hayes, Stephen Hayes, Lewis Hayes, James Hayes, Ichabod Hayes, James Varney, Jr, Ephraim Plumer, John Meserve, Ephm Wentworth, Ichabod Wentworth, I.H. Wentworth, Isaac Varney, Wm Tuttle, Ambrose Tuttle, Jonathan Howe, Dudley Farnham, Jere: Cook, Isaac C. Young, William Sargent, Daniel G. Dore, James Bragdon, William Foss, John Foss, Ebenr Ricker, Charles Ricker, Wentworth Dore, Matthew Farnham, John Wentworth, John Wentworth, Jr, William W. Loud, Timo Roberts, Nathl Jewett, Merk Miller, John Blaisdell, George Dore, Nathan Jones, Joseph Corson.

See also Milton Militia Dispute – 1820 and Wakefield Anti-Division Remonstrance – June 1820


Find a Grave. (2016, September 20). Daniel Hayes, Jr. Retrieved from

NH Department of State. (n.d.). New Hampshire, Government Petitions, 1700-1826: Box 47: 1819-1820

Thompson, Rev. Albert H. (1886). Memorial of the One Hundredth Anniversary of the Organization of the First Church, and Ordination of the First Settled Town Minister of Wakefield, N.H. Retrieved from

Author: Muriel Bristol

"Lady drinking tea"

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