Letter to the Soldiers of Coroticus

By Muriel Bristol | March 17, 2021

Lá Fhéile Pádraig sona duit! – Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Saint Patrick, whose day this is, was captured as a teen from his home in sub-Roman (or post-Roman) Britain by Irish pirates and lived for six years as an enslaved shepherd in Ireland. He escaped and returned home to Britain, but eventually came back to Ireland as a Christian evangelist and bishop.

Patrick wrote the Latin original of the following open letter to the soldiers of the sub-Roman British chieftain or warlord, Coroticus, who had murdered and enslaved some of his Irish converts (Royal Irish Academy, 2011).

St Patrick's Bell and Bell Shrine
Iron bell of St. Patrick, view of front and side of bell, Armagh, Co. Armagh; with later shrine of the bell of St. Patrick, three quarter view of front of bell shrine, Armagh, Co. Armagh (National Museum of Ireland).

1. I declare that I, Patrick, – an unlearned sinner indeed – have been established a bishop in Ireland. I hold quite certainly that what I am, I have accepted from God. I live as an alien among non-Roman peoples, an exile on account of the love of God – he is my witness that this is so. It is not that I would choose to let anything so blunt and harsh come from my mouth, but I am driven by the zeal for God. And the truth of Christ stimulates me, for love of neighbours and children: for these, I have given up my homeland and my parents, and my very life to death, if I am worthy of that. I live for my God, to teach these peoples, even if I am despised by some.

2. With my own hand I have written and put together these words to be given and handed on and sent to the soldiers of Coroticus. I cannot say that they are my fellow-citizens, nor fellow-citizens of the saints of Rome, but fellow-citizens of demons, because of their evil works. By their hostile ways they live in death, allies of the apostate Scots and Picts. They are blood-stained: blood-stained with the blood of innocent Christians, whose numbers I have given birth to in God and confirmed in Christ.

3. The newly baptised and anointed were dressed in white robes; the anointing was still to be seen clearly on their foreheads when they were cruelly slain and sacrificed by the sword of the ones I referred to above. On the day after that, I sent a letter by a holy priest (whom I had taught from infancy), with clerics, to ask that they return to us some of the booty or of the baptised prisoners they had captured. They scoffed at them.

4. So I don’t know which is the cause of the greatest grief for me: whether those who were slain, or those who were captured, or those whom the devil so deeply ensnared. They will face the eternal pains of Gehenna.

5. For this reason, let every God-fearing person know that those people are alien to me and to Christ my God, for whom I am an ambassador: father-slayers, brother-slayers, they are savage wolves devouring the people of God as they would bread for food. It is just as it is said: ‘The wicked have routed your law, O Lord’ – the very law which in recent times he so graciously planted in Ireland and, with God’s help, has taken root.

6. I am not forcing myself in where I have no right to act. I have a part with those whom God called and destined to preach the gospel, even in persecutions which are no small matter, to the very ends of the earth. This is despite the malice of the Enemy through the tyranny of Coroticus, who respects neither God, nor his priests whom God chose and granted the divine and sublime power that whatever they would bind upon earth would be bound also in the heavens.

7. Therefore I ask most of all that all the holy and humble of heart should not fawn on such people, nor even share food or drink with them, nor accept their alms, until such time as they make satisfaction to God in severe penance and shedding of tears, and until they set free the men-servants of God and the baptised women servants of Christ, for whom he died and was crucified.

8. The Most High does not accept the gifts of evildoers. The one who offers a sacrifice taken from what belongs to the poor is like one who sacrifices a child in the very sight of the child’s father. Riches, says Scripture, which a person gathers unjustly, will be vomited out of that person’s stomach. The angel of death will drag such a one away, to be crushed by the anger of dragons. Such a one will the tongue of a serpent slay, and the fire which cannot be extinguished will consume. And Scripture also says: ‘Woe to those who fill themselves with what does not belong to them’. And: ‘What does it profit a person to gain the whole world and yet suffer the loss of his or her soul?’

9. It would take a long time to discuss or refer one by one, and to gather from the whole law all that is stated about such greed. Avarice is a deadly crime. Do not covet your neighbour’s goods. Do not kill. The murderer can have no part with Christ. Whoever hates a brother is guilty of homicide. Also: Whoever does not love a brother remains in death. How much more guilty is the one who stained his hands in the blood of the children of God, who God only lately acquired in the most distant parts of the earth through the encouragement of one as unimportant as I am!

10. Surely it was not without God, or simply out of human motives, that I came to Ireland! Who was it who drove me to it? I am so bound by the Spirit that I no longer see my own kindred. Is it just from myself that comes the holy mercy in how I act towards that people who at one time took me captive and slaughtered the men and women servants in my father’s home? In my human nature I was born free, in that I was born of a decurion father. But I sold out my noble state for the sake of others – and I am not ashamed of that, nor do I repent of it. Now, in Christ, I am a slave of a foreign people, for the sake of the indescribable glory of eternal life which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

11. If my own people do not recognise me, still no prophet is honoured in his own country. Could it be that we are not of the one sheepfold, nor that we have the one God as our Father? As Scripture says: ‘Whoever is not with me is against me’; and ‘whoever does not gather with me, scatters’. But it is not right that one destroys while another builds.I do not seek what is mine: it is not my own grace, but God who put this concern in my heart, that I would be one of the hunters or fishers whom God at one time foretold would be here in the final days.

12. They watch me with malice. What am I to do, Lord? I am greatly despised. See – your sheep around me are mangled and preyed upon, and this by the thieves I mentioned before, at the bidding of the evil-minded Coroticus. He is far from the love of God, who betrays Christians into the hands of Scots and Picts. Greedy wolves have devoured the flock of the Lord, which was flourishing in Ireland under the very best of care – I just can’t count the number of sons of Scots and daughters of kings who are now monks and virgins of Christ. So the injuries done to good people will not please you – even in the very depths it will not please.

13. Who among the holy people would not be horrified to take pleasure or to enjoy a banquet with such people? They have filled their homes with what they stole from dead Christians; they live on what they plundered. These wretched people don’t realise that they offer deadly poison as food to their friends and children. It is just like Eve, who did not understand that it was really death that she offered her man. This is how it is with those who do evil: they work for death as an everlasting punishment.

14. The Christians of Roman Gaul have the custom of sending holy and chosen men to the Franks and to other pagan peoples with so many thousands in money to buy back the baptised who have been taken prisoner. You, on the other hand, kill them, and sell them to foreign peoples who have no knowledge of God. You hand over the members of Christ as it were to a brothel. What hope have you in God? Who approves of what you do, or who ever speaks words of praise? God will be the judge, for it is written: ‘Not only the doers of evil, but also those who go along with it, are to be condemned’.

15. I do not know what to say, or how I can say any more, about the children of God who are dead, whom the sword has touched so cruelly. All I can do is what is written: ‘Weep with those who weep’; and again: ‘If one member suffers pain, let all the members suffer the pain with it’. This is why the church mourns and weeps for its sons and daughters whom the sword has not yet slain, but who were taken away and exported to far distant lands, where grave sin openly flourishes without shame, where freeborn people have been sold off, Christians reduced to slavery: slaves particularly of the lowest and worst of the apostate Picts.

16. That is why I will cry aloud with sadness and grief: O my fairest and most loving brothers and sisters whom I begot without number in Christ, what am I to do for you? I am not worthy to come to the aid either of God or of human beings. The evil of evil people has prevailed over us. We have been made as if we were complete outsiders. Can it be they do not believe that we have received one and the same Baptism, or that we have one and the same God as father. For them, it is a disgrace that we are from Ireland. Remember what Scripture says: ‘Do you not have the one God? Then why have you each abandoned your neighbour?’

17. That is why I grieve for you; I grieve for you who are so very dear to me. And yet I rejoice within myself: I have not worked for nothing; my wanderings have not been in vain. This unspeakably horrifying crime has been carried out. But, thanks to God, you who are baptised believers have moved on from this world to paradise. I see you clearly: you have begun your journey to where there is no night, nor sorrow, nor death, any more. Rather, you leap for joy, like calves set free from chains, and you tread down the wicked, and they will be like ashes under your feet.

18. And so, you will reign with apostles and prophets and martyrs. You will take possession of an eternal kingdom, as he (Christ) testifies in these words: ‘They will come from the east and from the west, and they will recline at the table with Abraham and Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of the heavens. Left outside are dogs and sorcerers and murderers; with the lying perjurers, their lot is in the pool of eternal fire’. It is not without cause that the apostle says: ‘If it is the case that a just person can be saved only with difficulty, where will the sinner and the irreverent transgressor of the law find himself?’

19. So where will Coroticus and his villainous rebels against Christ find themselves – those who divide out defenceless baptised women as prizes, all for the sake of a miserable temporal kingdom, which will pass away in a moment of time. Just as cloud of smoke is blown away by the wind, that is how deceitful sinners will perish from the face of the Lord. The just, however, will banquet in great constancy with Christ. They will judge nations, and will rule over evil kings for all ages. Amen.

20. I bear witness before God and his angels that it will be as he made it known to one of my inexperience. These are not my own words which I have put before you in Latin; they are the words of God, and of the apostles and prophets, who have never lied. ‘Anyone who believes will be saved; anyone who does not believe will be condemned’ – God has spoken.

21. I ask insistently whatever servant of God is courageous enough to be a bearer of these messages, that it in no way be withdrawn or hidden from any person. Quite the opposite – let it be read before all the people, especially in the presence of Coroticus himself. If this takes place, God may inspire them to come back to their right senses before God. However late it may be, may they repent of acting so wrongly, the murder of the brethren of the Lord, and set free the baptised women prisoners whom they previously seized. So may they deserve to live for God, and be made whole here and in eternity. Peace to the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen.


National Museum of Ireland. (2020). Bell of St. Patrick and Its Shrine. Retrieved from www.museum.ie/en-IE/Collections-Research/Collection/Resilience/Artefact/Test-5/8e122ba9-6464-4533-8f72-d036afde12a9

Royal Irish Academy. (2011). Confessio [Letter to the Soldiers of Coroticus]. Retrieved from www.confessio.ie/etexts/epistola_english# 

Wikipedia. (2021, March 7). Saint Patrick. Retrieved from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saint_Patrick

Milton Town Clerk Henry L. Avery (1864-1936)

By Muriel Bristol | March 14, 2021

Henry L. “Harry” Avery was born in Milton, January 28, 1864, son of Brackett F. and Susan (Varney) Avery. (A younger brother of the same name, for whom he was a namesake, was born and died in 1860; his father, Brackett F. Avery, enlisted in the NH First Heavy Artillery Regiment, in Dover, NH, August 25, 1864).

Brackett F. Avery, a farmer, aged fifty-one years (b. NH), headed a Milton (“Village of Milton 3-Ponds”) household at the time of the Tenth (1880) Federal Census. His household included his wife, Susan V. Avery, keeping house, aged fifty-five years (b. NH), his children, Harry L. Avery, at school, aged sixteen years (b. NH), Sally C. Avery, at school, aged thirteen years (b. NH), and John W. Avery, at school, aged ten years (b. NH).

Harry L. Avery was installed as financial secretary of the Teneriffe Lodge’s United Endowment League, January 14, 1890. His brother was installed as vice president, his future wife, Hattie L. Pinkham, was installed as treasurer, and his future employer (and eventual partner), Charles D. Jones, was installed as both sentinel and medical examiner.

MILTON. Teneriffe Lodge, No. 5, United Endowment League, was successfully launched on its career Tuesday evening, January 14, by Supreme Organizer, Benjamin Holt of Lowell, Mass., and an efficient corps of assistants. The following list of officers was publicly installed for the term ending Dec. 31: President, Henry R. Johnson; vice president, John W. Avery; counsellor, A.C. Willey; secretary, Irving W. Tuttle; financial secretary, Harry L. Avery; treasurer, Hattie L. Pinkham; chaplain, Rev. G. Frank Durgin; guide, F.P. Jones; sentinel, Charles D. Jones, M.D.; medical examiner, Charles D. Jones, M.D.; guard, Hazen Plummer; trustees, Charles E. Lord, J.D. Willey, S.M. Bragden. This new comer among the fraternal orders of Milton has our best wishes (Farmington News, January 31, 1890).

The Teneriffe Lodge was the local branch of the Order of United American Mechanics (O.U.A.M.). The United Endowment League, which was a separate enterprise, was “one of a number of short-term endowment [insurance] benefit fraternals that were popular in the 1880s and 1890s and then went bankrupt.”

Harry Avery began working at Dr. C. Dana Jones‘ Milton store in or around July 1890. (Charles D. Jones appeared in the Milton business directory of 1895, as an apothecary).

MILTON. Harry Avery will be the doctor’s assistant at the drug store. Harry is a right good fellow and will please every one (Farmington News, July 4, 1890).

Henry L. Avery, d. [Democrat], ran for Strafford County Register of Deeds in November 1890. He ran against Frank S. Tompkins (1853-1916), r. [Republican], of Dover, NH. He received 173 votes [41.0%] in Milton, to Tompkins’ 249 votes [59.0%]; and 4,394 [49.6%] votes in the county, to Tompkins’ 4,467 votes [50.4%]. Avery did better in the county as a whole, but Tompkins won the election.

Harry L. Avery married in Milton, November 17, 1894, Hattie L. Pinkham, both of Milton. He was a clerk, aged thirty-one years, and she was a clerk, aged thirty-five years. Rev. Frank Haley performed the ceremony. She was born in Milton, January 28, 1859, daughter of Nathaniel G. and Emily (Corliss) Pinkham.

LOCALS. The wedding announcement of Harry L. Avery and Hattie L. Pinkham of Milton has been received. The marriage occurred November 17th. They have the congratulations of many friends, including those of the News (Farmington News, November 23, 1894).

Avery’s mother, Susan (Varney) Avery, died in Milton, January 2, 1895, aged seventy years.

Harry L. Avery won his first election as Milton town clerk in the “lively” election of March 1896 (calculated from 1936 marking his fortieth year in that office). He was then thirty-two years of age. (He replaced Charles D. Jones in that office).

MILTON. The retiring board of selectmen at Milton have remarkable records in serving that town. Geo. Lyman has served in that capacity for 29 years, John U. Sims for 18 years and George Plummer for 12 years. They are republicans. There was a cat-a-cornered fight this year against the “old board” – the “Milton Tammany” its opponents called it – and the following board, also republicans, were elected: Samuel H. Wallingford, Joseph H. Avery, Freeman H. Loud. Luther Wentworth was foremost in the battle, and though there were four candidates against him, it required three ballots to defeat him for second place on the ticket. Evidently there were lively times at Milton town meeting (Farmington News, March 13, 1896).

[Ed.: We may note the circumstance that all three selectmen – each a member of long tenure – was replaced by an entirely new board. The Milton town government of that time apparently felt no pressing need for staggered terms in order to ensure “continuity”].

MILTON NEWS LETTER. The work on Henry L. Avery’s new house on Charles street is being pushed rapidly. It will be one of the finest houses in town when completed (Farmington News, July 16, 1897).

MILTON NEWS LETTER. Harry L. Avery has resumed his place in C.D. Jones‘ drug store, having been absent a few weeks while at work on his new house (Farmington News, August 18, 1897).

Avery, Jones & Roberts appeared in the Milton business directory of 1898, as builders, and as manufacturers of  lumber, shingles, and clapboards. H.L. Avery appeared also as town clerk, and as one of fifteen Milton justices-of-the-peace.

MILTON. Harry Avery, town clerk, and formerly clerk in Dr. Jones‘ drug store, has removed to the shoe store of his father-in-law, N.G. Pinkham. All the town records were found uninjured in the safe (Farmington News, February 25, 1898).

(Nathaniel G. Pinkham appeared in the Milton directory of 1900, as a merchant of boots and shoes, as well as newspapers, on Main street, with his house on Silver street).

The Milton Water Company was incorporated by the NH General Court, July 19, 1899, with Harry L. Avery as its treasurer (NH Secretary of State, 1901).

Harry L. Avery appeared in the Milton directories of 1900, 1902, 1905-06, and 1909, as town clerk and partner in Avery, Jones & Roberts, lumber, etc., on Main street, opposite the bridge, with his house on Charles street. His brother, John W. Avery, appeared as a shoe cutter, with his house on Charles street, on the hill; and their father, Brackett F. Avery, appeared as a farmer and milkman, with his house at 21 So. Main street.

Harry L. Avery, a storekeeper, aged thirty-six years (b. NH), headed a Milton (“Milton Village”) household at the time of the Twelfth (1900) Federal Census. His household included his wife (of six years), Hattie L. Avery, aged forty-one years (b. NH), and his children, Theron W. Avery, aged five years (b. NH), and Louise P. Avery, aged three years (b. NH). Harry L. Avery owned their house, free-and-clear. Hattie L. Avery was the mother of two children, of whom two were still living. Their household was enumerated between those of William C. Hall, a storekeeper, aged forty-one years (b. ME), and [his father-in-law,] Nathaniel G. Pinkham, a storekeeper, aged sixty-six years (b. NH).

Avery-Jones-Roberts - 1900Avery, Jones & Roberts appeared in the Milton business directory of 1901, 1904, 1905-06, and 1909, as builders, and as manufacturers of  lumber, shingles, and clapboards. H.L. Avery appeared also as town clerk, and as a Milton justice-of-the-peace.

[LOCAL.] The offer of a gift of a town clock for Milton, by an out of town citizen, if the people will raise money for a bell, has stimulated an effort to this end, and an organization was effected at a meeting Saturday evening, Dr. M.A.H. Hart being president, Harry L. Avery, secretary, and N.G. Pinkham, treasurer. It is proposed to place this clock and bell in the tower of the Congregational church as the most conspicuous place in the village (Farmington News, November 29, 1901).

The new town clock was started officially at noontime on Saturday, August 30, 1902, as a part of Milton’s centennial celebration. (See Milton’s Centennial). Several cannonades were fired over the course of the day from the Avery family farm. (His father being a veteran of a heavy artillery regiment).

LOCAL. The order of exercises for the Milton centennial of next Saturday begins with bell ringing and the firing of cannon on the Brackett Avery mountain. Field sports at 8 o’clock, with prizes; at 10 o’clock there will be a procession of trades, orders, and school children. Dinner will be served from 11 o’clock to 2 o’clock in a tent on the Nute school grounds, and the literary exercises will begin at 2 o’clock. Hanson’s American band will be in attendance during the day and evening. The new bell and clock at the Congregational church will be ready for sounding (Farmington News, [Friday,] August 29, 1902).

Henry L. Avery, d. [Democrat], ran for Strafford County Register of Probate in November 1902. He ran against William W. Martin (1853-1934), r. [Republican], of Dover, NH, and David E.C. Duffie (c1873-1904), soc. [Socialist], of Dover, NH. Martin won the election with 4,271 (59.2%) votes county-wide, while Avery received 2,682 (37.2%) votes, and Duffie received 264 (3.7%) votes.

Hattie (Pinkham) Avery nursed her maternal aunt, Julia (Corliss) Dorr, during an illness. 

MILTON. Mrs. Julia Dorr is quite ill at the home of her niece, Mrs. H.L. Avery (Farmington News, January 29, 1904).

Dorr’s daughter (and Hattie L. Avery’s cousin), Miss Hattie A. Dorr, came up from her Boston home as soon as possible (Farmington News, February 5, 1904).

MILTON. Town meeting passed off quietly, and the following officers were elected to serve the town for the ensuing year: Selectmen, Warren Jewett, Joseph H. Avery, and Charles A. Jones; town clerk, Harry L. Avery; constables, H.W. Downs and Hartley Nutter; school board, Frank G. Howe, Forrest L. Marsh, and Dr. M.A.H. Hart (Farmington News, March 1904).

AJR Box MaterialThe lumber firm of Avery, Jones & Roberts, of Milton, NH, was reported as having a portable sawmill (NH Labor Bureau, 1910).

STREET IMPROVEMENTS. Milton, N.H. The Town has appropriated over $2,500 for the repair of highways and bridges. Harry L. Avery, Town Clerk (Municipal Journal and Engineer, March 27, 1907).

Partner Charles D. Jones died of typhoid fever in Milton, July 2, 1908, aged forty-four years, nine months, and ten days. The firm of Avery, Jones & Roberts continued as Avery & Roberts.

Harry L. Avery, a fancy goods salesman, aged forty-six years (b. NH), headed a Milton (“Milton 3-Ponds”) household at the time of the Thirteenth (1910) Federal Census. His household included his wife (of sixteen years), Hattie Avery, aged fifty years (b. NH), his children, Theron W. Avery, aged fourteen years (b. NH), and Louise Avery, aged twelve years (b. NH), and his mother-in-law, Emily Pinkham, a widow, aged seventy-one years (b. NH). Harry L. Avery owned their house, free-and-clear. Hattie Avery was the mother of two children, of whom two were still living. Emily Pinkham was the mother of three children, of whom two were still living. Their household was enumerated between those of John W. Avery, a shoe shop foreman, aged forty years (b. NH), and Conrad Corson, a leather-board machineman, aged thirty-nine years (b. Canada (Eng.)).

In March 1911, the NH General Court approved the incorporation of the Nute Charitable Association (as set forth in the last will of Lewis W. Nute. Harry L. Avery was named as a member of its board.

Section 1. That Everett F. Fox, Charles A. Jones, M.A.H. Hart, Harry L. Avery, Walter E. Looney, Charles D. Fox, Moses G. Chamberlain, and their successors are hereby made a body corporate by the name of the Nute Charitable Association, and shall have and enjoy all the powers and privileges and be subject to all the liabilities incident to corporations of a similar nature, and by that name may sue and be sued. Harry L. Avery or Charles A. Jones may call the first meeting of said association by letter mailed to each member of said association at least seven days prior to the date set for said first meeting (NH General Court, 1911).

Avery’s father, Brackett F. Avery, died in Milton, May 30, 1911, aged eighty-two years.

Avery & Roberts appeared in the Milton business directories of 1912, and 1917, as builders, and as manufacturers of  lumber, shingles, and clapboards. H.L. Avery appeared also as town clerk, and as a Milton justice-of-the-peace.

Harry L. Avery appeared in the Milton directory of 1912, as town clerk and partner in Avery & Roberts, lumber, dry & fancy goods, etc., on Main street, opposite the bridge, with his house at 11 Charles street, on the hill. His brother, John W. Avery, appeared as the foreman [shoe] cutter for the M.S. company, with his house 15 Charles street, on the hill. (Their father, Brackett F. Avery, appeared in 1912, as having died May 30, 1911, aged eighty-two years).

Harry L. Avery appeared in the Milton directory of 1917, as town clerk, and as a partner in Avery & Roberts, merchants of lumber, dry & fancy goods at 28 Main street, opposite the Bridge, with his house at 11 Charles street, on the hill.

Avery-Roberts - 1917WEST MILTON. The town meeting at Milton drew out a big vote as a result of a sharp contest for the selection of the third selectman. The old board was re-elected as follows: Selectmen, Forrest L. Marsh, Bard B. Plummer, James F. Reynolds; town clerk, Harry L. Avery; treasurer, Everett F. Fox. School meeting was held at the close of town meeting and Dr. M.A.H. Hart and Everett F. Fox were unanimously re-elected as member of the board of education and school treasurer, respectively (Farmington News, March 15, 1918).

Harry L. Avery of Milton received his appointment as a notary public, January 28, 1919 (NH Secretary of State, 1919).

Harry L. Avery, an owner, aged fifty-five years (b. NH), headed a Milton (“Milton Village”) household at the time of the Fourteenth (1920) Federal Census. His household included his wife, Hattie L. Avery, aged sixty years (b. NH), his child, Louise P. Avery, a retail grocery bookkeeper, aged twenty-two years (b. NH), and his sister, Sallie C. Avery, aged fifty-two years (b. NH). Harry L. Avery owned their house on Charles Street in Milton Village, free-and-clear. Their household was enumerated between those of Herbert R. Duntley, a leather-board laborer, aged thirty-eight years (b. NH), and John W. Avery, a shoe shop shoe-cutter, aged forty-nine years (b. NH).

Hattie L. (Pinkham) Avery died of pleuro-pneumonia in Milton, December 21, 1922, aged sixty-three years, ten months, and twenty-three days. (Dr. M.A.H. Hart signed the death certificate; her husband, Harry L. Avery, recorded her death in the Milton town records).

Avery & Roberts appeared in the Milton business directories of 1922, 1927, and 1930, as builders, and as manufacturers of  lumber, shingles, and clapboards. H.L. Avery appeared also as town clerk, and as a Milton justice-of-the-peace.

WEST MILTON. Owing to the bad traveling, the attendance at town meeting from West Milton was very slim, and would have been slimmer had not Abbie Bennett, pastor at Nute chapel, and Elvah Kelley announced they were going if they went on snowshoes, which instilled courage in some of the men. Town clerk, Harry L. Avery, and treasurer, Everett F. Fox, were elected without opposition. Fred M. Chamberlin was elected a member of the board of selectmen for three years. Fifty dollars was appropriated to make the spring on Silver street suitable and sanitary for public use. One hundred dollars was appropriated to beatify the grounds near the railroad station at Milton, the work to be done under the direction of the Womans’ club (Farmington News, March 23, 1923).

In that same election Milton voters rejected the use of the “Australian” ballot, i.e., the secret ballot, rather than the customary show of hands. They also opposed waiving the poll tax for women voters.

Avery & Roberts appeared in a list of three hundred forty-nine larger NH timber operators in 1925. 

This list of the larger operations in the State of New Hampshire was prepared by the State Forester, Mr. John H. Foster. It includes all those who cut 50 M [million] feet or more during the year 1925, their total production being 246,808,000 feet (Cline, 1925).

(F.J. Cathcart of Farmington, NH, Giles & Langley of Farmington, NH, M.H. Eaton of Union, NH, and the Plumber Lumber Company of Union, NH, as well as a number from Rochester, NH, appeared also in the list).

Harry L. Avery appeared in the Milton directory of 1930, as a partner in Avery & Roberts, with his house on Charles street. Avery & Roberts appeared as merchants of dry goods, wood and lumber, on Main street. Son Theron W. (Emma P.) Avery appeared as a Spaulding Fibre Co. employee; and daughter Louise P. Avery appeared as residing in the home of H.L. Avery, on Charles street.

Harry L. Avery, a dry goods retail merchant, aged sixty-six years (b. NH), headed a Milton household at the time of the Fifteenth (1930) Federal Census. His household included his daughter, Louise P. Avery, aged thirty-two years (b. NH). Harry L. Avery owned their house on Charles Street, which was valued at $1,600. Their household was enumerated between those of Clemence Dixon, a U.S. Government mail messenger, aged forty-one years (b. MA), and John W. Avery, a shoe shop shoe-cutter, aged sixty years (b. NH).

TOWN MEETING IN  MILTON. A good percentage of the local check list was represented at the town house Tuesday. The various articles in the town warrant were acted upon excepting the article relative to the adoption of the Municipal Budget Act. In the contest for the office of selectman, the vote was as follows: Ford, 236; Blaisdell, 192; Blair, 107. Roy Pike was elected town treasurer; Herman Horne, tax collector; Harry Avery, town clerk; Robert Page of Milton Mills was reelected as a member of the school board in which capacity he has served for the past 20 years (Farmington News, March 15, 1935).

Younger brother John W. Avery died in Milton, March 5, 1936, aged sixty-seven years.

Henry L. Avery died of a sudden cerebral hemorrhage in Milton, September 30, 1936, aged seventy-two years, eight months, and two days. (Dr. M.A.H. Hart signed the death certificate; Avery’s deputy clerk, Ruth L. Plummer, recorded his death in the Milton town records).

Avery, Harry L - TR1936TOWN CLERK FOR 40 YEARS, DEAD. Milton, Oct. 1. – The many friends of Harry A. Avery of Milton will be sorry to learn of his sudden death at his home here Wednesday night at the age of 72. Mr. Avery was serving his 40th year as town clerk of Milton and is one of the oldest town clerks in point of service in the state. For many years he was a member in the business firm of Avery-Roberts company. He is survived by a son, Theron, a daughter, Louise, with whom he lived, and a sister, Miss Sally Avery, all of Milton. He was a member of Masonic bodies (Portsmouth Herald, October 1, 1936).

Avery’s daughter, Louise P. Avery, served as town clerk in her own right from the March 1937 election until her own death from a cerebral hemorrhage in Milton, May 12, 1942, aged forty-four years, eleven months, and twenty days. (Dr. M.A.H. Hart signed the death certificate; Louise P. Avery’s deputy clerk, Ruth L. Plummer, recorded her death in the Milton town records).

IN MEMORIAM. Miss Louise Avery. Members of Fraternal Chapter, O.E.S., are grieved to learn of the sudden death of Miss Louise Avery of Milton which occurred Tuesday afternoon. Prominent in the social and civic life of her native town of Milton, she was suddenly stricken ill at her office and survived but a short time. She had been town clerk of Milton since 1936 [1937]. Besides holding this office she served as collector of water rents, clerk of the school district, organist at the Community church and treasurer of the Nute High school alumni. She was a member of the Milton Woman’s club, Community church and also a member of Fraternal Order, O.E.S., of Farmington. Funeral services will be held Friday afternoon at the Milton Community church and burial will be in Milton (Farmington News, [Friday,] May 15, 1942).


American Lumberman. (1907). American Lumberman. Retrieved from books.google.com/books?id=iC4iAQAAMAAJ&pg=RA13-PA45

Cline, A.C. (1925). The Marketing of Lumber in New Hampshire, 1925. Retrieved from books.google.com/books?id=NBLxAAAAMAAJ&pg=RA9-PA69

Find a Grave. (2020, August 18). Brackett F. Avery. Retrieved from www.findagrave.com/memorial/214558859/brackett-f-avery

Find a Grave. (2020, August 18). Harry L. Avery. Retrieved from www.findagrave.com/memorial/214557733/harry-l-avery

Find a Grave. (2020, August 18). Louise P. Avery. Retrieved from www.findagrave.com/memorial/214558537/louise-p-avery

Find a Grave. (2013, August 13). William W. Martin. Retrieved from www.findagrave.com/memorial/115395147/william-w-martin

Find a Grave. (2014, August 23). Frank S. Tompkins. Retrieved from www.findagrave.com/memorial/134747123/frank-s-tompkins

NH General Court. (1911). Journals of the Honorable Senate and House of Representatives. Retrieved from books.google.com/books?id=vmQ3AQAAMAAJ&pg=RA1-PA726

NH Labor Bureau. (1910). Directory of Manufacturing Establishments, Arranged by Industry. Retrieved from books.google.com/books?id=sjFLAQAAMAAJ&pg=PA186

NH Secretary of State. (1901). Abstract of Annual Returns of Corporation, 1900. Retrieved from books.google.com/books?id=R3U9AQAAMAAJ&pg=RA4-PA13

NH Secretary of State. (1919). Annual Report of the Secretary of State. Retrieved from books.google.com/books?id=GL5LAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA137

Wikipedia. (2020, July 27). Order of United American Mechanics. Retrieved from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Order_of_United_American_Mechanics

Wikipedia. (2021, February 20). Secret Ballot. Retrieved from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Secret_ballot

Wikipedia. (2021, February 21). Tammany Hall. Retrieved from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tammany_Hall

Emancipation Pending

By Ian Aikens | March 12, 2021

Should an employee be forced to join a union and pay dues to obtain their job? That’s the basic question underlying the latest RTW (Right to Work) bill now progressing through the New Hampshire legislature. Senate Bill 61 passed the Senate and will be considered by the House, and if passed, New Hampshire would be the first state in the Northeast and the 29th state in the country to become a RTW state.

First of all, what is a collective bargaining agreement? It is a contractual agreement between an employer and a labor union that represents the interests of employees. It covers such issues as wages, hours, benefits, and working conditions. It is important to note that SB61 would not outlaw collective bargaining but only “collective bargaining agreements that require employees to join or contribute to a labor union.” Thus, labor unions could and would continue to exist in the state, but without the coercion element.

The state of unions in the United States is quite interesting. Union membership has been dropping dramatically over the years from about 20.1% in 1983 to currently about 10.3% of the working population. Unionization is much higher in the forced (government) sector at 33.6% versus the voluntary (private) sector at 6.2%. The rates vary widely between the states from a high of 23.7% in Hawaii to a low of 2.7% in South Carolina. As one might expect, the top 10 states with the highest rates of unionization are not RTW states, while the 16 states with the lowest rates of unionization are all RTW states. That would explain why the union chiefs in New Hampshire and elsewhere are in a dither over the RTW movement.

So, what are the criticisms of RTW? The unions sound just like Chicken Little describing the horrors that would occur if workers were given a choice of contributing to unions or not. They cite everything from deteriorating, unsafe work conditions to declining wages and benefits to unfair terminations to free rides to (heaven forbid) union busting.

We can pretty much discount the safety argument right off the bat. OSHA and other governmental agencies already cover virtually all safety issues. In the past, there were unsafe conditions at work places, but as our society has grown richer, naturally there has been more concern with safety, and those conditions have dramatically improved. Unions offer very little real value in this area these days.

What about workers’ pay? They say that union workers’ pay is a lot higher than non-union workers’ pay. They’re right. It’s a median weekly average of $1,095 for union workers and $892 for non-union workers. However…let’s also look at cost of living, unemployment, and purchasing power where one lives to get the bigger picture. When it comes to cost of living, 8 of the 10 states with the lowest cost of living are all RTW states, while the top 10 states with the highest cost of living are all forced unionization states. So, while it may be great to make more money, if the cost of living where you live is also high, are you really any better off as far as purchasing power goes?

The unemployment figures are telling in themselves. Out of the top 5 states with the lowest unemployment (SD, UT, NE, VT, IA), 4 out of 5 are all RTW states. On the other hand, all of the top 5 states with the highest unemployment (HI, CA, NY, NM, MA) are forced unionization states. The spread in unemployment rates is significant: an average of 3.44% for the top 5 lowest states versus an average of 9.06% for the top 5 highest unemployment states. While some might argue that this is an unusual year with the pandemic, I doubt the relative position of the states would change since lockdowns, unemployment, and authoritarianism all seem to run together like a package deal.

When it comes to the availability of jobs, just one look at the automotive industry clearly illustrates the benefits of RTW over forced unionization. Heavily unionized American car manufacturers used to dominate the share of cars sold in this county, but that has been declining over the years, as foreign companies have opened up car plants throughout the country, and almost all of them are in RTW states. Alabama has been the leader in attracting foreign car makers, and now has Mercedes-Benz, Toyota, Honda, and Hyundai plants. Georgia now has a Kia plant. Texas has Peterbilt, International, and Toyota plants. Nissan opened its first American plant in Smyrna, Tennessee in 1983. Illinois got a crack at having Toyota and Mazda set up shop there in 2017—at a price tag of 1.3 billion and potential employment of 4,000 workers—but its forced unionization rules helped push the business to Alabama. The right of a company to operate freely and compete in a global market without the demands of unreasonable unions forever resistant to innovation and efficiency does make a difference as to where it sets up shop and employs workers.

The most ludicrous agreement against RTW is the “Free Rider” argument, which claims that RTW laws allow non-union members to secure the benefits of union representation without paying the dues. Indeed, if you look at it just from that viewpoint, it does look like those who don’t want to pay the dues are deadbeats because the law requires unions to represent everyone fairly—no discrimination.

How convenient to ignore the fact that unions almost always choose to act as exclusive bargaining representatives. This should really be called monopoly bargaining representation because the union has chosen to represent and negotiate on behalf of all employees in a company—whether all the employees want such representation or not. Are unions providing “free benefits” even to those who refuse to pay dues out of the goodness of their hearts? I think not. They choose exclusive bargaining representation because they enjoy having full monopoly power over all the employees—and their dues. The hypocrisy is striking: unions who have choice in the matter deny basic choice to individual workers, and yet they claim to be for “workers’ rights.”

The Supreme Court has ruled numerous times over the years that unions have every right to negotiate contracts for dues-paying members only, so there is no compelling reason to remain as exclusive bargaining representatives, unless they choose to. Even the more honest leaders of some unions are now finally admitting that perhaps it’s time to let go of exclusive bargaining representation.

That would be a step in the right direction for it would allow individual workers to negotiate with their employers directly over their own wages, benefits, and working conditions. It would recognize the fact that all workers are individuals and should not be lumped into one big pot. Unions by their very nature treat all workers as equally competent and hard-working since their negotiations are always based on seniority rather than merit. Of course, in the real world, competence and hard work do matter, but unions routinely protect and reward incompetence and slack production. The rubber rooms of New York City where unionized teachers who are so bad that they are not even allowed in the classroom are notorious, and no company in the voluntary sector would ever put up with such behavior, but unions protect them. Would you want to be lumped in with such colleagues? In a forced unionization state, you very well could be, and in fact such colleagues could be paid much more than you simply due to seniority.

It’s finally time to bring worker freedom to New Hampshire and let all New Hampshire workers work without paying extortion to unions. Employees should also be able to negotiate their own wages and working conditions and not be forced to accept other workers’ negotiations. If unions have something of value to offer individual employees, let them convince workers through persuasion, not force.


Asbury, Neal. (2018, February 9). Right-to-Work States’ Policies Validated by Foreign Car Manufacturers. Retrieved from https://www.newsmax.com/finance/nealasbury/right-work-states-policies/2018/09/09/id/842515/

DeWitt, Ethan. (2021, February 11). New Hampshire Senate passes right to work bill, advancing Republican priority. Retrieved from New Hampshire Senate passes right to work bill, advancing Republican priority (concordmonitor.com)

Edelman, Susan. (2019, November 2). NYC pays ‘rubber room’ teacher $1.7M over 20 years after sex abuse claims. Retrieved from NYC pays ‘rubber room’ teacher six figures 20 years after sex abuse claims (nypost.com)

Fiala, Bill. (2011, November 18). Right-To-Work Laws Pay Off With Manufacturing Jobs. Retrieved from https://www.manufacturing.net/labor/article/13056365/righttowork-laws-pay-off-with-manufacturing-jobs

Greer, Stan and Brackett, Glenn. Right-to-Work Law. Retrieved from Right-to-Work Law | NH Issue Brief | Citizens Count

Rayno, Garry. (2021, January 26). Little New in Right-to-Work Debate in NH. Retrieved from Little New in Right-to-Work Debate in NH – InDepthNH.orgInDepthNH.org

Shannon, Erin. (2016, July 28). The myth of “free riders” in right-to-work states. Retrieved from https://www.washintonpolicy.org/publications/detail/the-myth-of-free-riders-in-right-to-work-states

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Unemployment Rates for States. Retrieved from https://www.bls.gov/web/laus/laumstrk.htm

Wikipedia. Union affiliation by U.S. state. Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Union_affiliation_by_U.S._state

A Century of Milton Physicians

By Muriel Bristol (Transcriber) | March 7, 2021

The Mitchell-Cony directory of 1907-08 provided an index of sorts to the physicians that practiced in Milton and Milton Mills from about 1820 through its publication date.

(Dr. Russell of Wakefield, NH, prior to 1820, and Dr. J. Dearborn of Milton, NH, although only briefly, have proven somewhat elusive. Details of them will be added should they become available).


PROFESSIONAL MEN. PHYSICIANS. Perhaps the earliest resident physician at Milton Village was Dr. Stephen Drew, a native of Newfield, Me., who came in the early days of the town about the year 1820, and practised until 1873, a long period of more than fifty years of activity.
Dr. D.E. Palmer came some time in the latter part of the decade 1850-1860, and remained until about 1865, when he went to Tuftonborough. Dr. G.W. Peavey, who came here from Ossipee, carried on the practice which Dr. Palmer had left, and remained about four years, at the end of which time he removed to Somersworth, where he died. Dr. Nute succeeded Dr. Peavey, but stayed only a short time. For several years there was no resident physician at the village until Dr. H.F. Pitcher came in 1879. Dr. Pitcher, after continuing in practice here about four years, went to Haverhill, where he still carries on the practice of his profession. 
The Rev. Frank Haley, M.D., who acted as pastor of the Congregational Church, was also a practising physician here about the middle of the seventies.
Dr. W.F. Wallace, Milton’s next physician, came in 1883. After about four years of practice here, he went to Bradford in 1887, in which year Dr. C.D. Jones, a native of Milton, and a graduate of Harvard, began practice here. Dr. Jones gave up his practice about the year 1891.
Dr. J. Dearborn was here a short time in the latter eighties.
Dr. M.A.H. Hart, like Dr. Jones, a Milton man, came here the same year (1891). After graduating at the University of the City of New York, Dr. Hart practised about three years in Fall River, Mass., at the end of which time he came to his native town, to begin a practice which has now grown to extensive proportions.
Dr. W.F. Wallace returned to Milton in 1893, and practised until his removal to Plaistow four years later. Dr. John Wallace, a native of Ireland, came here in 1897. Three years later he removed to Roxbury, Mass. (Mitchell-Cony, 1908).


At Milton Mills, the first physician to carry on an extensive practice was Dr. Reuben Buck, a native of Massachusetts, who lived in Acton, and visited patients in this village as early as 1830, and continued to reside here until his death. Prior to Dr. Buck’s practice here, Dr. Powers of Acton and Dr. Russell of Wakefield attended sick calls.
Dr. Jonathan S. Calef, who came from Maine, married one of Dr. Buck’s daughters and settled here not many years after the latter’s arrival. He remained for some time, going from Milton to Manchester, later to Boston, Mass., and finally to San Francisco, Cal., where he died.
Dr. John L. Swinerton, from Newfield, Maine, was in practice in this village, contemporary with Dr. Buck, remaining here about twenty five years. At the end of that time, he went to Union, where, later, he died.
Dr. Jeremiah Crosby Buck, a son of Dr. Reuben, began practice here during the latter years of his father’s residence in this locality, and continued in active practice almost up to the time of his death, which occurred about the year 1890.
Dr. Chas. E. Swasey, who had been an army surgeon during the Civil War, married another of Dr. Reuben Buck’s daughters, and began the practice of his profession shortly after close of the war. He remained here about five years, removing at the end of that time to Rochester, from which place he went to Somersworth, where he died May 30, 1907. His remains were brought to his native town and buried in the Roadside Cemetery just outside the village.
Dr. Wm. E. Pillsbury, a native of Shapleigh, Me., came sometime during the latter part of the decade 1860-1870, and remained until February, 1907.
Dr. Charles W. Gross came at about the same time, and has enjoyed a long and successful practice which he still carries on at the present time.
Dr. Frank Weeks, a graduate of the Baltimore Medical College came to this village in March, 1902, and is one of present resident physicians.
Dr. L.B. Bradford came here about the month of June, 1907, but remained only a short time.
Dr. Hugh D. Grant, like Dr. Weeks an alumnus of Baltimore Medical College, began practice at this place during the latter part of the summer of 1907, and has resided here since that time (Mitchell-Cony, 1908).

Present in this period, but not mentioned in the 1908 Mitchell-Cony list were Drs. James J. Buckley and Moses K. Cowell, doctor/pharmacist John H. Twombly, and doctor/dentist Everard G. Reynolds.

Coming shortly after the period covered by the Mitchell-Cony list was Drs. Harry E. Anderson, and Henry B. Esmond.


Mitchell-Cony. (1908). The Town Register: Farmington, Milton, Wakefield, Middleton, Brookfield, 1907-8. Retrieved from books.google.com/books?id=qXwUAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA116 

Acton’s Dr. Charles Powers (1762-1844)

By Muriel Bristol |March 7, 2021

Charles Powers was born in Greenwich, Hampshire County, MA, February 1, 1762, son of Capt. Jeremiah and Elizabeth “Betty” (Cooley) Powers.

Charles Powers was a Revolutionary soldier. He served in Capt. Moses Montague’s Company, of Col. Israel Chapin’s Regiment of Hampshire County, MA, militia, in October-November 1779. He served also in Capt. Oliver Coney’s Company, in Col. Sears’ Regiment of MA militia, in 1781.

Charles Powers married, probably in Greenwich, MA, in 1786, Silence Rogers. She was born in 1761, daughter of William and Silence (Wright) Rogers.

The children of Charles and Silence (Wright) Rogers were: Lois M. Powers, born Pomfret, VT, January 18, 1788; Lucius Powers, born Greenwich, MA, November 18, 1791; Silence Powers, born Acton, ME, May 25, 1793; and Eliza Powers, born Lebanon, ME, March 19, 1795.

The first Physician that settled in [Acton, ME] town was Dr. Charles Powers, who commenced about the year 1791. For many years he did a good business. He continued until about 1825, but practiced occasionally in town afterwards (Fullonton, 1847).

One must be aware of several anachronisms present in accounts of Dr. Powers. What would later be the Acton village of Shapleigh was first settled in 1779, the whole being first called Hubbardstown Plantation. Maine was then a province of Massachusetts. Shapleigh – including what would later be Acton – was incorporated in 1785. Dr. Powers is said to have settled there in or shortly after 1791. (His son Lucius was said to have been born in Greenwich, MA, November 18, 1791, and, if that is accurate, it seems unlikely that he and his family would have moved so late in the year). The Province of Maine was set off from Massachusetts as its own U.S. State in 1820, and Acton was set off from Shapleigh as its own town on March 6, 1830.

Chapter 64. RESOLVE ON THE PETITION OF CHARLES POWERS AUTHORIZING THE PARISH IN SHAPLEIGH TO CONVEY THE LAND MENTIONED. On the Petition of Charles Powers, agent for and in behalf of the First Parish in the Town of Shapleigh, in the County of York, praying that said Parish may be authorised to sell to the Revd. Joseph Brown, the present minister thereof, twenty acres of the Parsonage belonging thereto. Resolved, for reasons set forth in said Petition that the prayer thereof be granted, and that the said Parish be and hereby are authorised and impowered to sell and convey to the said Joseph B[r]own, twenty acres of land situate in the southwest corner of the parsonage lot in said Parish, said lot being numbered five, in the seventh range in the first division of lots in said Town; and to make and execute a good and sufficient deed of conveyance of said twenty acres to said Brown accordingly. January 16, 1800 (MA General Court, 1897).

Charles Powers headed a Shapleigh, ME, household at the time of the Second (1800) Federal Census. His household included one male aged 26-44 years [Charles Powers], one female aged 26-44 years [Silence (Rogers) Powers], one female aged 10-15 years [Lois M. Powers], one male aged 10-15 years [Lucius Powers?], and two females aged under-10 years [Eliza Powers and Silence Powers]. His household appeared in the enumeration between those of Daniel Cook and Jeremiah Gilman.

Daughter Lois M. “Mercy” Powers married in Shapleigh, ME, October 26, 1806, Major Aaron Hubbard.

Charles Powers was a surgeon’s mate in the York County militia in 1807 (Emery, 1901).

Doctr. Charles Powers headed a Shapleigh, ME, household at the time of the Third (1810) Federal Census. His household included one male aged 45-plus years [himself], one female aged 26-44 years [Silence (Rogers) Powers], one female aged 16-25 years, and one female aged 10-15 years. His household appeared in the enumeration between those of Jotham Brackett and Joseph Door, Jr.

Daughter Silence Powers married, circa 1812, Zebulon Gilman. Son Lucius Powers married, in 1813, Martha Hubbard.

Daughter Eliza Powers married in Lebanon, ME, in 1818, Deacon John Moody.

PHYSICIANS. Dr. Charles Powers, of Greenwich, Mass., established himself at the western border near Milton Mills, as early as 1791, and practiced with good success till 1825. He then removed to New Hampshire and finally died in Shapleigh in 1847 [1844] (Loring, 1854).

Son Lucius Powers headed a New Durham, NH, household at the the of the Fifth (1830) Federal Census. His household included one male aged 30-39 years [himself], one female aged 30-39 years [Martha (Hubbard) Powers], one female aged 10-14 years, one male aged 5-9 years, one female aged 5-9 years, two males aged under-5 years, two females aged under-5 years, and one female aged 60-69 years.

Silence (Rogers) Powers died September 25, 1839, aged seventy-three years, eight months.

Samuel Gilman headed a New Durham, NH, household at the the of the Sixth (1840) Federal Census. His household included one male aged 50-60 years, one female aged 40-49 years, one male aged 16-19 years, one female aged under-5 years, and one male aged 70-79 years. The male aged 70-79 years was identified as Revolutionary pensioner Charles Powers, aged 78 years. One member of the household was engaged in a learned profession, i.e., Dr. Charles Powers, while a second was engaged in manufacture and the trades, and the third in agriculture.

Charles Powers died at Shapleigh, ME, January 12, 1844, aged eighty-one years.

Dr. Charles Powers, the first Physician of this [Acton, ME] town, was a native of Greenwich, Ms. [Mass.]. He came here in 1791, and practiced most of the time more than 30 years. He died at Shapleigh, early in 1844, aged 81 (Fullonton, 1847).


Emery, Edwin. (1901). The History of Sanford, Maine, 1661-1900. Retrieved from books.google.com/books?id=0nUUAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA206

Find a Grave. (2017, July 1). Silence Powers Gilman. Retrieved from www.findagrave.com/memorial/180911307/silence-gilman

Find a Grave. (2013, November 7). Marcia Powers Hubbard. Retrieved from www.findagrave.com/memorial/119939563/marcia-hubbard

Find a Grave. (2013, November 9). Dr. Charles Powers. Retrieved from www.findagrave.com/memorial/120047214/charles-powers

Loring, Amasa. (1854). History of Shapleigh. Retrieved from books.google.com/books?id=tlzZdV2wqR0C&pg=PA39

MA General Court. (1897). Acts and Resolves Passed by the General Court. Retrieved from books.google.com/books?id=FmCxAAAAMAAJ&pg=PA555

Article 13: Independent CIP Committee

By S.D. Plissken | March 2, 2021

This year’s Article 13 should seem familiar to you. It appeared just last year, in exactly the same form (including even the same typos), but was known then as Article 17. It failed then with 345 (45.2%) in favor and 418 (54.8%) opposed.

Article 13: Establishment of Independent Capital Improvement Program Committee. Shall the Town vote to authorize the Board of Selectmen to establish an independent committee pursuant to NH RSA 674:5 to prepare an amend the recommended program of Capital Improvement Projects and to make budgetary recommendations to the Board of Selectmen? The Committee, to be known as the Capital Improvement Program Committee, will have five (5) voting members to be appointed by the Board of Selectmen, and shall include at least One (1) member of the Planning Board. (Majority Vote Required).

Recommended by the Planning Board (7,0,0). Recommended by the Board of Selectmen (3,0,0).

It is apparent that the Town government is determined to have its “independent” CIP Committee. It would be independent only in the peculiar sense that its members would be selected by the Board of Selectmen, rather than elected by the voters. What could be more independent than that?

It was a bit of a speed bump when the voters “chose poorly” last year. Might the boards seek another, better solution? No, there must be an independent CIP Committee. Put it on the ballot again. We can keep doing it until the voters get it “right.”

This sort of thing is sometimes known as the “manufacturing,” “fabricating,” or “engineering” of consent.

We have seen this technique employed here before, most recently in the School Board election of last year. The pay raise measure on the School ballot was rejected then, but reappeared magically on the ballot in the very next election – the more lightly-attended September primary election – when it passed. That was some nice engineering. Not very subtle, perhaps, but it worked.

It is perhaps a bit disheartening that this little Article 13 “do-over” on the Town ballot has been recommended unanimously by both boards.

Now, the question on the ballot might be read as: “Are you as easily gulled as we think you are?” I hope not. I hope they are as wrong in this as they have been about so many other things. (Nil desperandum).

Vote “No” again, just as you did before but, if the measure should be rejected again, do not expect to have heard the last of this.

Government, therefore, should be open, accessible, accountable and responsive. – Article 8, NH Constitution


NH General Court. (2002). Capital Improvements Program. Authorization. Retrieved from www.gencourt.state.nh.us/rsa/html/LXIV/674/674-5.htm

Wiktionary. (2019, October 14). Jiggery-Pokery, Retrieved from en.wiktionary.org/wiki/jiggery-pokery

Article 5: Employee Retention Plan

By S.D. Plissken | March 1, 2021

Back in 1967, the NH State Legislature undertook to pay 45% of the pension costs of  city and town employees. After about a decade, they dropped their contribution down to 35%.

It is no great secret that “You get more of what you subsidize and less of what you tax.” The cities and towns hired more employees, paid them more, and pensioned them at higher levels, then they had ever been able before. One might say that – flush with state subsidies – they took on more, much more, than was traditional, more than was strictly necessary, and certainly more than was fiscally prudent or sustainable. 

About eleven years ago, the NH Legislature ceased paying their 35% subsidy. They just did not have the money to keep it going. Their stated legislative intent at the time was that the cities and towns should cut back also.

Many – including Milton – did not choose to “rein in” their spending and instead increased property taxes. They have by now increased them far beyond our ability to pay. The spenders have been enabled by Federal inflation of the money supply, which drives up valuations of the properties taxed, although the incomes of the taxpayers have lagged behind. (Inflation benefits most those closest to its source). The increasing gap between the inflated valuations and incomes has become unsustainable, especially for those starting out in life (“Why, oh why, are the young people leaving?”) and for those at the other end of life who are living on fixed incomes.

Article 5: Employee Retention Plan. To see if the Town will vote to adopt the Employee Retention Plan, which establishes a Grade and Step Plan for classes of employees of the Town of Milton. If approved, any scheduled increases, as laid out in the Plan and approved by the Board of Selectmen, will be incorporated into the operating and default budgets in subsequent years starting with 2022. No funds shall be raised in 2021. (Majority Vote Required).

Recommended by the Board of Selectmen (3,0,0). Recommended by the Budget Committee (7,1,0).

It was explained at the Deliberative Session that the “Plan” would be updated at five-year intervals. That means two selectmen in the rotation could spend their entire three-year term, and the third one most of their three-year term, without ever actually having to vote on this. Future boards can be “dumbfounded” that salary and pension expenses keep rising and that those rising costs have crowded out other expenditures. Increases would be out of their hands, they would be unaccountable. That is, even more so than now.

It was an especially sardonic touch that this measure is entitled the “Employee Retention Plan.” Town officials have been bleating for years about their desperate employee retention measures. (The Police Department retention bonus scheme of several years ago would seem to have been only partially effective).

Labor is a commodity too. Right now, with government-induced Covid unemployment running 10% (at least), wages are falling. When and how did ignoring market prices in favor of “retention” ever become our top priority? No one voted for that.

The Town does not seem to understand the simple fact that Milton is (and always has been) a “starter” town, which is unable to outbid larger and better appointed places. It is monumental folly to even attempt to do so.

Even those larger entities have reached the end of their tether and will not be able to go much further. Some pushed hard – one might even say desperately – for a NH House bill (HB274), which sought to reanimate the corpse of state pension subsidies (at the 5% level) for cities and towns. (Who is dim enough to suppose it would ever stop at 5%?) That attempt failed last week in a 189-168 vote. The coffin lid was nailed down hard with a reconsideration vote. As they say, “that dog won’t hunt.”

Basically, this warrant article is a misguided attempt to place pay and pension increases first in future budgets – “all other priorities are rescinded” – and to do so with precious little accountability. (It would in that sense be a suitable sibling to the Capital Improvement Program (CIP) plan, which has for some years placed other expenditures on their own upward conveyer belt).

Just say “No.” (And perhaps – depending upon their rationale – give a tip o’ the hat to the lone member of the Budget Committee that voted not to recommend this monstrosity).

When you ask them, “How much should we give?” Ooh, they only answer, “More! more! more!” – CCR


NH General Court. (2021). HB274-FN-L: Relative to Payment by the State of a Portion of Retirement System Contributions of Political Subdivision Employers. Retrieved from gencourt.state.nh.us/bill_status/Results.aspx?q=1&txtbillnumber=hb274&txtsessionyear=2021

Celestial Seasonings – March 2021

By Heather Durham | February 28, 2021

Daffodils by William Wordsworth

I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o’er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.
Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the milky way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.
The waves beside them danced; but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
A poet could not but be gay,
In such a jocund company:
I gazed – and gazed – but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:
For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.

(Ed.: William Wordsworth would seem to have been a favorite poet of Milton’s Rev. Newell Wordsworth Whitman, who chose it for his middle name (As Walt Whitman was apparently another favorite poet)).

March 2 – Mercury will shine brightly as it moves to half phase.

March 5 – The Moon will be in its last quarter.

March 6 – Mercury will be moving away to its furthest place from the Sun.

March 9 – The Moon and Saturn will rise and travel close to each other.

March 10 – The Moon and Jupiter will rise together.

March 19 – The Moon and Mars will rise closely to one another.

March 20 – This is the first day of spring when everyone both in the Northern and Southern Hemispheres have close to equal 12 hours of daylight as well as 12 hours of night. The Sun makes it’s annual trip through the Constellations bringing it across the celestial equator.

March 21 – The Moon will be at first quarter.

March 28 – The Moon will be full. It will appear larger and brighter and will be high in the sky. There are many Moon names, but this one, whereas it is the first occurrence of a full moon following the spring equinox, may be referred to as the Egg Moon. Venus will delight us for being at its brightest.


In The Sky. (December 28, 2020). Night Sky Guide. Retrieved from in-the-sky.org/data/data.php

Khurana, Simran. (2020, August 27). William Wordsworth’s ‘Daffodils’ Poem. Retrieved from thoughtco.com/quotes-about-daffodils-2831299

Wikipedia. (2020, February 18). William Wordsworth. Retrieved from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Wordsworth

Milton Mills’ Dr. Moses K. Cowell (1823-1905)

By Muriel Bristol | February 28, 2021

Moses K. Cowell was born in Lebanon, ME, February 22, 1823, son of Ichabod and Rebecca (Clark) Cowell. (Date arrived at by computation from death record).

Ichabod Cowell, a farmer, aged sixty-one years (b. ME), headed a Lebanon, ME, household at the time of the Seventh (1850) Federal Census. His household included Rebecca Cowell, aged fifty-six years (b. ME), Moses Cowell, a farmer, aged twenty-five years (b. ME), and Sewell Cowell, aged twenty-two years (b. ME). Ichabod Cowell had real estate valued at $1,500, Moses Cowell had real estate valued at $500, and Sewall Cowell, had real estate valued at $500.

Ichabod Cowell, a farmer, aged seventy-three years (b. ME), headed a Lebanon (“Lebanon Centre P.O.”), ME, household at the time of the Eighth (1860) Federal Census. His household included Rebecca Cowell, aged sixty-six years (b. ME), and Moses Cowell, a shoemaker, aged thirty-four years (b. ME). Ichabod Cowell had real estate valued at $1,000 and personal estate valued at $200, while Moses Cowell had personal estate valued at $100.

Moses Cowell, of Lebanon, ME, aged thirty-five years (b. ME), registered for the Class II military draft in 1863.

Ichabod Cowell, a farmer, aged eighty-three years (b. ME), headed a Lebanon, ME, household at the time of the Ninth (1870) Federal Census. His household included Rebecca Cowell, aged seventy-five years (b. ME), and Moses Cowell, a farm laborer, aged forty-four years (b. ME). Ichabod Cowell had real estate valued at $500 and personal estate valued at $225, and Moses Cowell had personal estate valued at $1,000.

Young Acton, ME, diarist Ida Isadore Reynolds (1860-1946) mentioned Moses Cowell as being a customer of her seamstress mother, who made him a pair of pants in May 1873 (Heirlooms Reunited, 2019).

Saturday, May 3, 1873: Snowed. Mother made Moses Cowell’s pants. Mr. Hilton here. Edward did not go away.

She encountered him again in his capacity as physician, in February 1874, when he treated her for catarrh.

Tuesday, February 24, 1874:  Fair and Cold. I had a very bad pain in my side. I knit some. Father not very well. Mother got a bad head ache. She spun Five skeins of yarn.  Moses Cowell here. He left me some medicine to Purify my blood and some for my throat and some powder to blow down my throat. This is all for Catarrh. Clara Prescott and Enoch Sherman here.

M.K. Cowell appeared in the Milton business directories of 1875, 1876, and 1880, as a Milton Mills physician.

Moses K. Cowell, aged fifty-one years (b. ME), headed an Acton, ME, household at the time of the Tenth (1880) Federal Census. Moses K. Cowell owned his house, free-and-clear. His household appeared in the enumeration between the households of Gilbert H. Welch, a farm laborer, aged twenty-nine years (b. ME), and Margarette Ploude, keeping house, aged fifty-seven years (b. Canada).

M.K. Cowell appeared in the Milton business directories of 1881, 1882, 1884, 1887, and 1889, as a Milton Mills physician.

Moses K. Cowell, M.D., reported to the NH State Board of Health on his contagious disease cases in Milton Mills in 1888.

Milton Mills. MOSES K. COWELL, M.D. Typhoid Fever – Four cases, one fatal; two, with the one fatal, in town; one in Lebanon, Maine; one in Acton, Maine. Polluted water in all cases, to which I attribute the disease. Diphtheria – Three cases, none fatal; two in town, one in Acton, Me. Bad sanitary conditions in all cases. Think polluted water the most common source of the disease (Clarke, 1888).

Moses K. Cowell, a physician, aged seventy-six years (b. ME), headed an Acton, ME, household at the time of the Twelfth (1900) Federal Census. Moses K. Cowell owned his house, free-and-clear. His household appeared in the enumeration between the households of Francis Coffrin, a farm laborer, aged seventy-one years (b. NH), and Edward J. Brierley, a grocer, aged fifty-one years (b. MA).

Moses K. Cowell appeared in the Milton directories of 1902, and 1905, as having his house at the Acton bridge, in Milton Mills.

Moses K. Cowell died of senile gangrene in Acton, ME, July 8, 1905, aged eighty-two years, four months, and six days. (Dr. W.E. Pillsbury signed his death certificate).


Clarke, Arthur E. (1888). Report of the State Board of Health of the State of New Hampshire, 1888. Retrieved from books.google.com/books?id=DZ4_GY2UvBcC&pg=PA44

Find a Grave. (2016, June 9). Moses K. Cowell. Retrieved from www.findagrave.com/memorial/164165614/moses-k-cowell

Heirlooms Reunited. (2019, January 29). May Entries in the 1873 Diary of Ida Isadore Reynolds (1860-1946) of Acton, Maine; Future Wife of John Jotham Shapleigh (1856-1923). Retrieved from www.heirloomsreunited.com/2019/01/may-entries-in-1873-diary-of-ida.html

Wikipedia. (2020, December 26). Catarrh. Retrieved from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catarrh

Ray’s Marina Fires of 1972-73

By Muriel Bristol | February 24, 2021

Ray's Marina - LogoThe following two news articles emerged while researching Milton’s Railroad Station Agents. They fall a bit beyond the time frame with which we have concerned ourselves so far, but they do throw some light on  the ultimate fate of Milton’s Railroad Station or Depot building of 1873.

And our readers seem also to retain a considerable interest in and affection for Ray’s Marina. (The marina would rise from the ashes to close finally forty years later).

Ray’s Marina Fire of Monday, December 11, 1972

Fire Destroys Milton Marina. Damage Estimated at $200,000. MILTON – An exploding snowmobile has been listed as the cause of the major blaze which destroyed all by the offices of Ray’s Marina in Milton Monday afternoon. According to Ray Lamoureux, owner of the marina, an employee was working on a snowmobile in one of the bays when a spark set off the fire.

Milton Fire Chief Herb Downs said the fire spread rapidly from the working bay to the upper floor of the structure and then the most of the other building. Firemen from Milton, Farmington and Rochester worked for nearly three hours to put out the blaze, which according to Mr. Lamoureux caused an estimated $200,000 worth of damage.

On Tuesday Mr. Lamoureux surveyed the damage and indicated that he intended to start rebuilding immediately. For the time being the marina will continue operating out of the American Service Station next door with offices in a cottage on the other side of the structure. Mr. Lamoureux noted that although the telephone lines were destroyed in the fire and new homes [phones?] were installed on Tuesday, the numbers will remain the same, they are 332-1511 and 652-4523.

Prior to the location of Ray’s Marina at the site, the area served for nearly 100 years as the Milton Railroad Depot. Several years ago the facilities were moved to Rochester and the building lay abandoned for some time until Ray’s took over in 1963. During his ownership Mr. Lamoureux built onto the original structure and added a showroom and office space. The railroad depot was kept and converted into a repair shop. It was the railroad depot section of the building which was destroyed (Farmington News, [Thursday,] December 14, 1972).

The article was illustrated with four photos, which will not copy well. Their captions appear below.

Ray's Marina - PH721006
Ray’s Marina Advertisement of October 1972 (Portsmouth Herald, October 6, 1972)

[Photo Caption:] AS THE BURNT OUT, caved in shell of Ray’s Marina in Milton was being cleaned out on Tuesday, the day after one of Milton’s worst fires, Ray Lamoureux, owner of the Marina, was already making plans for rebuilding. For the time being, the Marina will be operating out of a cottage on one side of the building with their repair shop located in an American Service Station on the other side of the structure. (Photo by AEW).

[Photo Caption:] EVEN THOUGH the flames spread fast through Ray’s Marina in Milton all employees managed to get out of the building safely. According to Mr. Lamoureux, the owner of the business, no employees will be out of work because of the fire. He said, “It will be business as usual” (Photo by AEW).

[Photo Caption:] THE MONDAY AFTERNOON fire, which destroyed Ray’s Marina in Milton, was started when a snowmobile (pictured above) exploded and spread flames racing through the structure that once served as the Milton Railroad Depot (Photo by AEW).

[Photo Caption:] AS THINGS CALMED DOWN on Tuesday, the written location remained on the chalk board at the Milton Firehouse to tell where the fire had done $200,000 worth of damage the day before. (Photo by AEW).

Ray’s Marina Fire of Tuesday, October 30, 1973

Ten months later a Ray’s Marina boat storage building in Lebanon, ME, burned also.

Marina Blaze. WEST LEBANON, Maine (AP) – A fire here Tuesday leveled a storage building and destroyed its contents, about 65 motor boats and a fork lift truck, fire officials said. The cause of the blaze is undetermined and is under investigation. No injuries were reported. Fire fighters from several surrounding Maine and New Hampshire communities responded to the alarm. The storage building, the property of Ray’s Marina of Milton, NH, is on the Maine side of Milton Three Ponds. The marina itself is on the New Hampshire side (Portsmouth Herald, [Wednesday,] October 31, 1973).

See also Milton’s Railroad Line, Milton Railroad Station Agents, and Grand Opening of Ray’s Marina


Foster’s Daily Democrat. (2016, May 12). Rheaume J. (Ray) Lamoureux. Retrieved from www.legacy.com/obituaries/fosters/obituary.aspx?n=rheaume-j-lamoureux-ray&pid=179960532&fhid=4824