Milton Water Power in 1901

By Muriel Bristol (Transcriber) | October 11, 2018

This description of Milton’s water power has been extracted from a Federal government report of 1901.

The first paragraph of this extract begins by describing how actions at Milton Three Ponds affect East Rochester dams downstream. From there, the descriptions move sequentially upstream towards Milton [Dams Nos. 11-15] and, finally, Milton Mills [Dams Nos. 16-22]. Other portions of the report describe water power on other waterways.

At East Rochester, a village of 700 or more inhabitants, the Cocheco Woolen Manufacturing Company has two dams. The lower dam is of wood, founded on rock, and gives a fall of 12 feet at mill No. 3, which is close by, and where 75 horsepower is employed. A canal 20 feet wide and 700 feet long leads water to mills Nos. 1 and 2, where 17 feet of fall and 240 horsepower of turbines are in use. These can be run at full capacity, except sometimes on Saturday, when the supply from Milton Three Ponds is shut off [at Dam No. 15], in which case steam is used for mill No. 3. A 100-horsepower engine is also kept in reserve for mills Nos. 1 and 2. Ordinarily, however, water wastes over the dam day and night. The Cocheco Company operates 18 sets of cards in the manufacture of all kinds of woolen wear. A quarter of a mile above this dam is the upper dam, also of wood, forming a pond 2 miles and giving a head of 8 feet. The power here has been used in a box shop, and when the place was visited an electric power station was being built at one end of the dam, where the Cocheco Company proposed to install about 160 horsepower of turbines to furnish light, and perhaps power, to its mills.

The next dam, the tenth above tide water, is about midway between East Rochester and Milton. It is only a rude barrier of bowlders [SIC], serving to divert part of the stream’s volume into a canal, which extends about three-fourths of a mile along the river, finally giving a head of 6 feet at a small mill where 30 or 40 horsepower is used in grinding grists, making shingles, spinning yarn, and in other light work. The property is owned by Mrs. E.J. Cottle of West Lebanon, Me.

Upstream there is no fall of consequence between this and the next dam [Dam No. 11], which is within 1½ miles of Milton. Here a fall of 16 feet is obtained, which might be increased 2 feet by excavating in the rapids below the dam, the power being used in Spaulding’s leather-board mill, which has a capacity of 3 tons a day. From 250 to 275 horsepower of turbines is employed, and steam power is not required.

Between the top of the dam last described and the top of the reservoir dam at Milton Three Ponds [Dam  No. 15], a distance of from 2 to 3 miles, there is a developed fall of 63 feet, covering four water privileges, which closely succeed one another through the village of Milton. In addition to this there is probably from 50 to 75 feet of available undeveloped fall a short distance below the village. All of this water power is owned by the Great Falls Manufacturing Company, which leases it to the present users and has additional power to lease to acceptable persons. The undeveloped fall is scattered along a stretch of a half or three-fourths of a mile, from which the railroad is nowhere more than a half mile distant. The bed of the river is of granite, and granite ledges form its banks, which rise abruptly from 5 to 15 feet above the stream on each side, and are succeeded by more gradual slopes farther back. In the lower part of this stretch are two abrupt pitches, a few hundred feet apart, at each of which there is a descent of from 10 to 15 feet in a distance of about 200 feet. Farther upstream there is a fall of about 25 feet in a distance of 200 or 300 feet and elsewhere there is a succession of low pitches and rough water.

Of the four developed privileges the first in order [Dam  No. 12] is occupied by the Strafford Paper Company, manufacturing 10 or 12 tons of manila paper and newspaper stock a day. Turbines aggregating 280-horsepower are operated under a head of 17 feet, and a 75-horsepower steam engine is also in constant use. The dam is of logs, running in two sections of 50 or 75 feet each from the banks to a ledge in midstream. Next in order comes a stone dam [Dam  No. 13], giving a head of 25 feet, under which from 200 to 300 horsepower is obtained by the Milton Leather Board Company. The third dam [Dam  No. 14] is a timber structure about 60 feet long, at each end of which N.B. Thayer & Co. has a shoe factory, the combined output of which is 7,000 60-pair cases a year of a medium grade of boys’ shoes. A 50-horsepower turbine under 8 feet head is used on each side of the river, with steam in reserve. Although the water power here is regarded as relatively constant, it is subject to occasional shortage, due to the closing of gates at Three Ponds and to some interruption during extreme freshets, when the stream becomes choked in a gorge below, and backwater nearly destroys the fall at this privilege. The uppermost dam in the village of Milton, the fifteenth in order from the mouth of the river, is at the outlet of the so called Three Ponds. With flashboards on the dam and with full pond, the fall is about 13 feet, but when visited in September, 1898, the pond had been drawn down about 8 feet, reducing the fall correspondingly. A small power is used for a sawmill and a gristmill. The dam is a low dry-stone structure with high flashboards. It creates a reservoir which is very useful to the Great Falls Company, being about midway between Great East Pond, at the headwaters, and the company’s mills at Somersworth, and here the principal regulation of the supply to the lower river is effected. Although the three ponds are somewhat distinct from one another, they connect freely, stand at a common level, and form a continuous sheet of water of about 840 acres extent. Commanding a drainage area of 124 square miles, they fill rapidly in spring but during the summer and fall they are gradually drawn down,, though fluctuating more or less with rains and according to the management of the upper reservoirs. During the period of drought the gates at the dam are kept closed from Saturday night to Sunday night, no water passing downstream in the interval, except what leaks through the dam.

From this dam it is 6 or 7 miles, by river, to Milton Mills, the next settlement upstream. Backwater from Three Ponds covers the lower half of this distance, and for the remainder the stream has a flat slope.

Milton Mills is a small village on the New Hampshire side of the river, 3 miles distant from the railroad. In the village and its immediate vicinity there are five dams, covering an aggregate fall of 63 feet, at three of which power is used, while two have served for storage purposes only. This portion of the stream is above the mouth of Branch River, has a drainage area of less than 30 square miles, and is entirely dependent upon the Great East and connecting ponds. Ordinarily drought upon these begins in the latter part of July and continues until winter, and although a rather constant flow is thus assured, its absolute value is not great and the resulting water power above Milton is but moderate. Some details of the utilized power will be found in the following table. Between Hooper and Roe dams is undeveloped fall, variously stated at 18 and 36 feet, and there is additional fall the amount of which could not be learned, between Wiggin’s mill and Horns Pond.

Water powers on Salmon Falls River above Milton, N.H.

Dam, Location, Fall (Feet), Turbines (Horsepower) 

  • No. 22*, Outlet of Horn’s Pond, 10, 40,
  • [——], Between Horn’s mill and Wiggin’s mill, 8, None
  • No. 21, About 1 mile below Horn’s Pond, 8½, 45
  • No. 20, Roe dam above Milton Mills, 10, None
  • [——], Jewett privilege, *(?), None
  • No. 19, Hooper dam Milton Mills, 13, None
  • No. 18, Milton Mills, 14, 56
  • No. 17, do., 15, 90
  • No. 16, do., 11, 80

*Above tide water.

The water power at dam No. 22 is owned by the Great Falls Manufacturing Company, which controls the pond for storage purposes. The fall is 9 or 10 feet when the pond is full, but it is subject to, say, 5 feet reduction when the water in the pond is drawn down. The power is utilized at James Horn’s sawmill.

The water power between Horn’s mill and Wiggin’s mill is unimproved. The fall is 8 feet. It is said to have formerly been used.

Dam No. 21 is a dry stone structure. The pond is small and the power is used at L.P. Wiggin’s sawmill.

At dam No. 20 (the Roe dam) the reservoir is used simply for storage. It forms part of the Waumbeck Woolen Company’s property. It is a narrow pond, extending about 2 miles upstream, nearly to the next dam. The dam is of dry stone, planked on top, and with full pond gives a fall of about 10 feet.

The power at Jewett’s privilege is unimproved. The fall is variously stated at 18 and 36 feet.

Dam No. 19 is a dry-stone structure with plank top. It formerly served to form a reservoir for the Waumbeck Woolen Company, but within a year or two of the time it was visited a section at the right end had been carried away and the pond was empty, the river running through.

At dam No. 18 half of the power is owned by the Great Falls Manufacturing Company and half by the Gale Shoe Manufacturing Company. The latter company employs more than 100 persons and has an output of 15 or 16 cases of shoes a day.

At dam No. 17 the power is used by the Waumbeck Woolen Company in the manufacture of cheap dress goods. The mills have 10 sets of cards and 54 looms. A 60-horsepower steam engine is held in reserve.

At dam No. 16 the power is used in H.H. Townsend’s blanket mills, which have 3 sets of cards and 18 looms. There are two buildings in use here, one opposite the dam, at which the fall is 84 feet, and another 200 or 300 feet lower down, to which water is led in a timber penstock, giving a fall of 11 feet. During ordinary low water a 45-horsepower wheel can be run at only half gate, and a steam engine is used for auxiliary power.


US Geological Survey. (1901). The Twenty-Second Annual Report of the US. Geological Survey to the Secretary of the Interior, 1900-1901. Retrieved from

Milton Businesses in 1901

By Muriel Bristol (Transcriber) | October 5, 2018

Extracted below are the Milton Businesses of April 1901, as listed in The New Hampshire Register, Farmer’s Almanac and Business Directory, 1901:

MILTON, STRAFFORD – Pop. 1,635 N.E. fr. C. 40m; N.W. fr. Dover 20 m. R.R.S. [Railroad station] Milton, on Northern Div. B&M R.R.; for Milton Mills, Union., 4 m. connects twice daily by stage. OFFICERS – Clerk, H.L. Avery; Treas. Ira Miller, p.o. Milton Mills; Selectmen, Freeman H. Lowd, William F. Mills, p.o. Milton Mills; Wm. F. Wallace; Board of Education, F.L. Marsh, p.o. Milton Mills; Annie E. Cook, M.P. Dickey; Board of Health, John S. Nute, M.A.H. Hart, M.D.; E.W. Fox, p.o. Milton Mills.


Postmaster – J.H. Avery.

Justices [of the Peace] – B.B. Plummer, E.W. Fox, C.H. Looney, B.F. Avery, E.F. Fox, G.H. Goodwin, H.L. Avery, F.L. Marsh, L.H. Wentworth, H.B. Amey.

Churches – Cong., Myron P. Dickey; West, Robert Peacock; F. Bap., Chas. B. Osborne.

Exp. & Tel. Agt. – John E. Fox.

Hotels – Riverside House, C.H. Downs; Phenix House, F.M. Chamberlin; Milton Hotel, E.M. Bodwell. Summer Boarding Houses – Mrs. S.W. Wallingford, J.L. Twombly, J. LeGallee, W.C. Hall.

Lawyer & Ins. Agt. – Harry B. Amey.

Livery Stables – F.M. Chamberlain, C.H. Downes, E.M. Bodwell. 

Literary InstitutionNute Free High School and Library.

Societies – E.H. Wentworth Post, G.A.R. [Grand Army of the Republic]; Woman’s Relief Corps [G.A.R. Auxiliary]; Strafford Lodge, A.O.U.W. [Ancient Order of United Workmen]; Lewis W. Nute Grange; Teneriffe Conncil, O.U.A.M. [Order of United American Mechanics]; Madokawando Tribe, I.O.R.M. [Improved Order of Red Men]; Minnewawa Council, D. of P. [Daughters of Pythias]; Lakeside Lodge, I.O.G.T. [International Order of Good Templars].

Manufacturers – Blacksmith, I.W. Duntley, James C. Young; boots and shoes, Milton Shoe Co. [Dam No. 14]; builders, Webber Bros., Avery, Jones & Roberts; oars and picker sticks, G.I. Jordan; leatherboard mill, Milton Leatherboard Co. [Dam No. 13], Spaulding & Sons Co. [Dam No. 11]; lumber, Avery, Jones & Roberts, L. Plummer, p.o. ad. Union; mowing machines, horse rakes, &c., B.B. Plummer, C.A. Jones; paper, C.D. Brown & Co. [Dam No. 12]; soap, C.M. Wallingford; lumber, shingles, clapboards, etc.; Avery, Jones & Roberts; hay, flour, grain, and feed, D.W. Beede; bicycle repairing, Wilbur Knight; cobbler, Everett F. Keyes; steel ladders, Cantelo Manufacturing Co. 

Artisans – Tonsorial artists, W.F. Hargraves, H. Bassett; painters and paper hangers, J.F. Edgerly, J.Q.A. Toppan, Lee & Ço., J. Smith; dressmakers, Miss Daisy Corkery, Mrs. C.A. Edgerly. 

Merchants – J.D. Willey, Amos M. Roberts, H.S. Mason, C.P. Jones, Joseph Cayo, J.A. Howland; boots and shoes, N.G. Pinkham; groceries, W.T. Wallace, W.C. Hall; gents. furnishing and sporting goods, cigars, and tobacco, C.D. Jones; drugs, J.H. Willey; ice, Boston Ice Co., Lynn Ice Co., Marblehead Ice Co., J.R. Downing, Union Ice Co.; jewelry, J.A. Howland; millinery and fancy goods, Miss Cora Larrabee, Mrs. J.C. Penney; provisions, G.E. Wentworth, C.A. Horne; fish, Charles Rhodes; confectionery and cigars, E.G. Knight; hay, G.E. Wentworth, J.D. Willey; coal, H.W. Downs, J.D. Pinkham; variety store, E.G. Knight. 

Physician – M.A.H. Hart, J.J. Buckley. 

Public Telephone – C.D. Jones. 

Milton Mills –

Postmaster – E.T. Libby.

Churches – Adv., ____ ____, Cong., ____ ____, F. Bap., E.W. Churchill, Meth., A.M. Markey.

Ex. Agent – John Lowd. 

Hotels – Central House, C.D. Fox.

Ins. Agt. – Forrest L. Marsh.

Livery Stables – C.D. Fox, John Lowd.

Telephone Exchange – Asa Fox & Son.

Lawyer – Forest L. Marsh. Conveyancer, claim and collection agent, E.W. Fox. 

Literary Institution – Milton Free Public Library, John U. Simes, librarian, 600 vols.

Societies – Morning Star Lodge, K. of P. [Knights of Pythias]; Miltonia Lodge, I.O.О.F [Independent Order of Odd Fellows]; Eastern Star Lodge; D. of R. [Daughters of Rebekah]; Minnehaha Lodge, I.O.G.T. [International Order of Good Templars]; Pleasant Valley Grange, P. of H. [Patrons of Husbandry].

Manufacturers, Mechanics & Artisans – Blacksmiths, J.E. Wentworth, H.J. Burrows; builders, A.B. Shaw, J.F. Titcomb, E.S. Simes, Hiram Wentworth, G.E. Sims; doors, sash and blinds, C.R. Edgecomb; boot and shoe heels, E.P. Buck; harnesses, F.M. Sanborn; soap, S.G. Chamberlain; woolen goods, H.H. Townsend [Dam No. 16]; barber, Robert Page; boots and shoes, Gale Shoe Mfg. Co. [Dam No. 18]; shoemakers, J.W. Hanson, G.W. Merrill; carriages, M.G. Chambcrlin, A.O. Prescott; painters and paper hangers, W.F. Mills, T. Connolly, W.G. Miller; dressmaker, Sadie M. Merrill; photographers, J.E. Townsend, J.S. Elkins; undertaker, A.A. Fox; nurse, Abbie Hayes; plumber, D. Murray; carriage painter, H.E. Ayer; landscape painter, A.H. Wentworth; shingles, clapboards, and lumber, C.R. Edgecomb. 

Merchants – Asa Fox & Son, F.H. Lowd & Co, E.J. Brierley & Son; confectionery, E.T. Libbey; dry goods, G.S. Lovering; fish, E.F. Hamilton; furniture, Asa Fox & Son; jewelry, Asa Fox & Son, E.T. Libbey; merchant tailor, Harry Wentworth; millinery and fancy goods, Mrs. J.W. Merrow; provisions, R.S. Pike; stoves and tinware, Daniel Murray; soda fountain and periodicals, E.T. Libbey, E. Dearden; fruit, Frank Broggi; grain, J.F. Dore, J.U. Simes; shingles and clapboards, I. Miller; fancy goods, toys, etc., Mrs. Helen Murray, F.H. Lowd; coal, E.A. Wentworth; Clothing and furnishing goods, J. Everett Horne.

Physicians – C.W. Gross, W.E. Pillsbury; dentist, E.G. Reynolds. 

Summer Boarding Houses – Chas. A. Reynolds, C.S. Lowd, Cyrus Miller, J.D. Willey, C.H. Prescott, Benj. Hoyle, Central House.

Sanford, ME, to Rochester, NH, via Springvale, ME, Milton Mills and Milton, NH, was one of two routes proposed for a trolley line in 1901.

PROPOSED NEW ROAD TO ROCHESTER. Rochester, Dec. 26. – There is a movement on foot to build a trolley line from Sanford to this city in the early spring. Civil engineers have already been engaged to survey for the road as much as possible during the winter months. There are two routes under consideration, one to run from Springvale to Milton Mills and Milton, and then to Rochester. The other route is through Lebanon and East Rochester (Boston Globe, December 26, 1901).

Previous in sequence: Milton Businesses in 1898; next in sequence: Milton Businesses in 1904


NH Register Co. (1901, April 15). The New Hampshire Register, Farmer’s Almanac and Business Directory, 1901. Retrieved from

Wikipedia. (2018, October 6). Ancient Order of United Workmen. Retrieved from

Wikipedia. (2018, August 13). Grand Army of the Republic. Retrieved from

Wikipedia. (2018, September 17). Improved Order of Red Men. Retrieved from

Wikipedia. (2018, October 4). Independent Order of Odd Fellows. Retrieved from

Wikipedia. (2018, September 6). International Association of Rebekah Assemblies. Retrieved from

Wikipedia. (2018, June 19). International Order of Good Templars. Retrieved from

Wikipedia. (2018, October 6). Knights of Pythias. Retrieved from

Wikipedia. (2018, August 30). National Grange of the Patrons of Husbandry. Retrieved from

Wikipedia. (2018, September 9). Order of United American Mechanics. Retrieved from

Puzzle #7: Double Jeopardy Doors

By Muriel Bristol (Transcriber) | October 9, 2018

You are trapped in a room with two doors. One leads to certain death and the other leads to freedom. You don’t know which is which.

There are two robots guarding the doors. They will let you choose one door but upon doing so you must go through it.

You can, however, ask one robot one question. The problem is one robot always tells the truth, the other always lies and you don’t know which is which.

What is the question you ask?

[Answer to Puzzle #7 to follow in the next Puzzle]

Solution to Puzzle #6: Mislabeled Boxes

You know that the box labeled “Oranges and Apples” is labeled incorrectly. Therefore, it must contain either only apples or only oranges. Pick from that box.

Path One: If you pick an apple, relabel that box “Apples.” The box mislabeled “Oranges” must actually contain the apples and oranges. Relabel it “Oranges and Apples.” Finally, by process of elimination, the remaining box that is mislabeled “Apples” must actually contain oranges. Relabel it “Oranges.”

Path Two: If you pick an orange, relabel that box “Oranges.” The box mislabeled “Apples” must actually contain the apples and oranges. Relabel it “Oranges and Apples.” Finally, by process of elimination, the remaining box that is mislabeled “Oranges” must actually contain apples. Relabel it “Apples.”

Apple Computer used this question in interviews for the position of Software Quality Assurance Engineer.

Congratulations to Mike Sylvia for solving this first, with a Path One solution. He gets the glory, such as it is. Those who followed after him are entitled also to a measure of thanks for their effort and satisfaction in their results.

Milton’s Ice Harvest of 1906

By Muriel Bristol  (Transcriber) | October 5, 2018

Massachusetts experienced unusually warm weather during the winter of 1906. High temperature records were set that would not be broken for over a century. (There were February days with temperatures ranging as high as 64 degrees). As a result, ice harvests at Massachusetts lakes and ponds fell short of the usual supply.

Some ice dealers looked north to Milton to augment their stacks.

By January 25, the Lynn ice men had given up hopes of securing a crop in the vicinity of that city and began preparations for obtaining their next season’s supplies from New Hampshire. The Lynn Ice Company has houses at Free Pond [Three Ponds?], in Milton, N.H., which will store 20,000 tons. The company has been transporting ice from there to supply its Lynn customers. Z.J. Chase and M.S. Coolidge own land at Milton on which they will build stacks for the ice they may cut there (Cold Storage, February 1906). 

John O. Porter, of the Beverly Ice Company, of Beverly, and Silas Boyes, of the Beverly & Salem Ice Company, went to Milton N.H., last week to arrange for cutting ice. Both of these companies usually get their stocks from Wenham Lake, but the ice at the latter place has not been thick enough for storage. Mr. Boyes’ men have cut some ice 7 inches thick from Wenham Lake, which has been used for present supply. The ice men about Wenham Lake recall the fact that several years ago, when little ice had been obtained there up to the middle of February, a full crop was harvested before the first of April. Mr. Porter is planning to cut from 40,000 to 50,000 tons at Milton, N.H., and will employ 150 men there. He has sent an engine, tools and horses there (Cold Storage, February 1906).

The Beverly Co-operative Ice Company cut some ice nine inches thick last week. The company has been obliged to get ice for present use from Milton N.H. (Cold Storage, March 1906).

The Lynn Ice Company of Z.J. Chase & Son and M.S. Coolidge & Co of Lynn, who cut ice at Milton, N.H., built 11 houses there and had two stacks. No ice was cut by them on ponds near Lynn. They secured 36,000 tons. Their stocks last year aggregated 54,000 tons (Natural Ice, April 1906). 

John O. Porter, of Marblehead, Mass. has filled his ice houses and stacked considerable ice for present use at his ice houses at Milton, N.H. (Cold Storage, April 1906)

Allowing for shrinkage, their stocks will be short about 22,000 tons. Mial W. Chase, of Z.J. Chase & Son, estimates that the ice will cost nearly double what it did last year. The Lynn dealers’ expenses were greatly increased by minor accidents and the high cost of lumber for their houses at Milton. Their work was also much hindered by snow storms. The ice harvested was 16 to 19 inches thick (Natural Ice, June 1906).

George Stackpole, an ice dealer of the Glenmere District of Lynn, fell through a hole in the run at one of the Milton, N.H. ice houses, July 19, and injured his foot so badly that he was obliged to walk with a cane for several days (Cold Storage, August 1906).

The stocks of ice in Lynn are very low. On October 20, M.S. Coolidge disposed of the last of his supply, while the Lynn Ice Company reported bare houses two days before that and the Independent Ice Company gave up selling some days previously. The dealers had been getting ice from Milton, N.H., but the last of that supply was shipped on October 20. Z.J. Chase & Son and G.F. Day & Son were still in evidence at the last report (Cold Storage, November 1906).

The Union Ice Company, of Concord, N.H. is making extensive additions to its plant at Milton, N.H. Over $10,000 are to be expended in the improvements (Cold Storage, November 1906).  

Milton once had a substantial ice industry, of which these accounts represent just an unusual spurt. The John O. Porter mentioned above had a gang of ice cutters working there in 1904 too, with their horse-drawn ice-cutting equipment. Railroad trains, with cars numbering as many as a hundred, shipped ice out of Milton.

Selectman Lucier recalled picking up nails left from where the ice houses, or some of them at least, had once stood at the Town Beach.


Cold Storage and Ice Journal. (1906, February-November). Massachusetts. Retrieved from

Milton in the War of 1812

By Muriel Bristol | October 5, 2018

Portsmouth newspapers reported the American defeat at the Battle of Bladensburg (Maryland) and the British capture of Washington, D.C. in late August 1814. In the following week, they published further reports of the British capture of Castine and Belfast, Maine, and actions in upstate New York and the American “Northwest.” British naval vessels were cruising off the coast.

Needless to say, Portsmouth’s government and citizens were “Alarmed.” (Portsmouth was also the NH state capitol).

On Saturday, September 3, the Portsmouth town meeting appointed a Committee of Public Safety, as well as adopting a number of other defensive measures. Fortifications on both the Kittery and Portsmouth sides of the harbor were to be put in a state of readiness and additional fortifications constructed by citizen volunteers.

A requisition, for militia, has been made by Gen. [Henry] Dearborn on the Governor of this state, and, we understand, a competent body of the hardy sons of Newhampshire are to be detached, without delay for our defence. A very few days, we trust, will put us into a posture that shall enable us to give a good account of the enemy, should this place receive a visit from him.

His Excellency Gov. Gilman arrived in town yesterday (NH Gazette, September 6, 1814).

NH Governor John Taylor Gilman (1753-1828) put out an urgent call (or “Alarm”) for militia and Milton responded by sending a company of militiamen under Captain William Courson. Captain Courson’s company became a part of the Fourth Regiment, NH Detached Militia, which was commanded by Lt. Colonel Isaac Waldron of Barrington, NH. (Also known as Waldron’s Command).

The muster roll of that company shows the following names, under date Sept. 11, 1814: Capt. William Courson, [2nd] Lieut. Jeremy Nute, Sergt. John Museron [John Meserve], Sergt. Jacob Nute, Sergt. David M. Courson, Corp. Thomas Wentworth; Musician Benjamin Dare [Benaiah Dore], Musician Lewis Hayes. Private soldiers: Ephraim Wentworth, Thomas Baker, Samuel Nute, Daniel Wentworth, John C. Varney, Ichabod Dodge, James Bragdon, Ezekiel Nute, George Dow, Daniel Hayes, Jr., James Twombly, Henry Miller, James Goodwin, William Downs, John Foss, Hapley Varney, Thomas Chapman, Amos Gerrish, Webster Miller, James Varney, Jr., Ebenezer Adams, John L. Varney, William Gerrish, William Foss, William Burroughs, John Remick, Norton Scates, James Hayes, Dowar Dow, Richard Plumer, Ambrose Tuttle, Nathaniel Pinkham, Isaac Hayes, Aaron Twombly, John Mills, William Drew, James Merrow, Jr., Phineas Wentworth, Beard Plumer, Andrew Dow, Dodivah Plumer, John Boise, Sergt. Patrick Hanscomb, Corp. Joshua Jones, Charles Recker, and Lieut. Hanson Hayes (Scales, 1914).

(The underlined names had appeared also several years earlier as heads of household in the Third (1810) Federal Census of Milton. There would be a tendency for the younger men, the “tick” marks of that census, rather than the older named heads of household to be sent on this adventure).

Major John Anderson (1780-1834) had issued a nationwide notification in late July, regarding the daily rations to be issued in the various military districts. The ration “at any place or place where troops may be stationed, marched, or recruited within the district of Maine or state of Newhampshire and their northern vicinities” was defined:

A ration to consist of one pound and a quarter of beef, eighteen ounces of bread or flour, one gill of rum, whiskey or brandy; and at the rate two quarts of salt, four quarts of vinegar, four pounds of soap, and one pound and a half of candles to every hundred rations (NH Gazette, September 6, 1814).

The rations of salt, vinegar, soap, and candles to be issued to groups of a hundred men were additional company-level rations. A large body of militiamen seems to have encamped outside the town proper at the Portsmouth Plains. Others were detailed to man various fortifications.

DEFENCE. The means of defence have been prosecuted in this [Portsmouth] town and neighborhood for the last fortnight with great assiduity. An attack is expected, and a determination to prepare for it and repel it, universally prevails. Several corps of Militia, Infantry and Artillery, have already arrived from the interior, and others are on their march. The Concord Artillery came in last evening. We are happy to learn that it is the intention of the Commander in Chief to command in person. Volunteers, from this and neighboring towns have offered in great numbers, to labor on the forts; and the works there continue to be daily and rapidly strengthening and improving. Sundry companies of volunteers, composed of those who are exempted from military duty by law [Editor’s note: men aged 45 or over], have already been organized, for the purpose of joining in the defence of the town and harbor (NH Gazette, September 13, 1814).

FEMALE PATRIOTISM. – With pleasure we observe, among other instances of patriotism, and much to the honor of the fair sex, that since the existing alarm a number of LADIES have been voluntarily employed at the State-House in this town, in making cannon and musket cartridges for the use of the militia (NH Gazette, September 13, 1814).

By September 20, the Portsmouth newspapers were reporting a British attack on Baltimore, Maryland, and the capture of the fort at Machais, Maine. They announced also that the troops defending Portsmouth were to be paid $10 per month for their service.

On Saturday last [September 24] the Portsmouth Regiment of Militia were under arms. They marched to the Plains, and in the afternoon were joined by the volunteers and detached militia now at this place. The whole presented a martial scene never before witnessed by our citizens; and their correct manoeuvring drew upon them the praise of numerous spectators (NH Gazette, September 27, 1814).

The expected British attack on Portsmouth never materialized and the militia troops called out to face it were discharged to return home at various times between September 24, 2014 and September 29, 1814.

Captain Courson’s Milton militiamen departed with the others, while he himself remained in the service until November 20, 1814.

Peace negotiations had been going on since August and both parties signed the Treaty of Ghent on December 24, 1814.

Captain William Courson (1782-1863)

William Courson was born in NH in 1782. He died in Fort Plain, NY, January 3. 1863. (He is buried in Fort Plain, NY).

William Courson headed a Milton household at the time of the Third (1810) Federal Census. His household included one male aged 26-44 years, one female aged 26-44 years, one female aged 16-25 years, one male aged under-10 years, and three females aged under-10 years. The census taker recorded his household between those of Paul Jewett and Jona. Young on the one side, and those of Daniel Grant and Peter Grant on the other. Benaiah Dore resided nearby.

Courson’s first wife – his Milton wife – appears to have died sometime between 1820 and 1824. He married (2nd) in Yonkers, NY, September 24, 1824, Elizabeth “Eliza” Kniffen. She was born in Westchester County, NY, in 1800. She died in 1884. (She is buried in Fort Plain, NY).

They were residing in Minden, NY, at the time of the Seventh (1850) Federal Census and the NY State Census of 1855. The two sons and a daughter of his second marriage were living with them. (Other family members appear to have remained in Milton).

Mrs. Eliza Courson, widow of William Courson, filed for a bounty land warrant in 1878, after his death in Fort Plain, NY, January 3, 1863. Her claim was based upon his service as a Captain in the NH Militia between September 11, 1814 and November 20, 1814. She herself died “prior to” January 28, 1885.


Find a Grave. (2018, January 21). William Courson. Retrieved from

National Archives and Records Administration. (n.d.). Index to the Compiled Military Service Records for the Volunteer Soldiers Who Served During the War of 1812. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration. M602, 234 rolls.

NH Gazette. (1814, September 6). Defence of the Town. Portsmouth, NH: NH Gazette.

NH Gazette. (1814, September 6). Notice Is Hereby Given. Portsmouth, NH: NH Gazette.

NH Gazette. (1814, September 13). Defence. Portsmouth, NH: NH Gazette.

NH Gazette. (1814, September 13). Female Patriotism. Portsmouth, NH: NH Gazette.

NH Gazette. (1814, September 27). Untitled. Portsmouth, NH: NH Gazette.

Scales, John. (1914). History of Strafford County. Retrieved from

Wikipedia. (2018, September 28). Gill (Unit). Retrieved from

Wikipedia. (2018, July 26). Henry Dearborn. Retrieved from

Wikipedia. (2017, November 29). John Taylor Gilman. Retrieved from

Wikipedia. (2018, September 26). War of 1812. Retrieved from

A Slip of the Tongue: May Vs. Shall

By S.D. Plissken | October 3, 2018

At last Monday’s meeting of the Board of Selectmen (BOS), Chairman Thibeault made a slip of the tongue regarding the legal force of the Capital Improvement Program (CIP) plan.

Chairman Thibeault: Alright. Next on the Agenda, 2019-2024 CIP Discussion. I put this on here. So, the Planning Board has been working on this, along with the department heads, for basically all year and it was approved at the public hearing on September 18. We’ve all received copies of that. Hopefully, we all have had a chance to review it. So, I guess I’ll open it up to any discussion or comments from the board.

Vice-chairwoman Hutchings: Are we voting on it now?

Thibeault: I would recommend that we accept it, but I wasn’t sure if we want to discuss it first. If you want me to go through and highlight some things, I will. Yes, no?

Selectman Lucier: Yep.

Thibeault: Alright. So, the Capital Improvement Program is an annual recommendation report for the Board of Selectmen and the Budget Committee. It is mandated under New Hampshire RSA 674:5 [through 674:]8.

Screech. Stop right there. That is … less than accurate. The BOS is not so mandated. RSA 674:5 states clearly that the BOS may authorize the creation of such a CIP recommendation, which may encompass this or that content. RSAs 674:6 through 674:8 state clearly that, when requested, the Planning Board or CIP committee shall create one in a certain manner and that, having prepared such a recommendation, they shall submit it to those that requested it.

The difference between “may” – things the BOS might do, but only if they like – and “shall” – things the BOS must do, even if they would rather not – is a mile wide.

The BOS may choose to request such a CIP plan or they may choose not to request such a plan. The Planning Board shall submit one to the BOS upon their request. The Planning Board has no choice. At which point, the BOS may choose to use it, in whole or in part. They may equally choose to throw it away, draw pretty pictures on it, or wear its pages as dunce caps. They are not mandated to do any particular thing with it.

Chairman Thibeault likely wants to amend his characterization of a CIP mandate, for accuracy’s sake. The BOS faces no such mandate to either create or implement one – no irresistible force, no unmovable object. The RSAs will not “make” the BOS do whatever it is that he contemplates, they do not escape responsibility for their actions.

Quite the contrary. If that CIP plan proposes yet more tax increases, the BOS has a positive obligation to those it represents to disregard those aspects of it. That would go double if, say, it included things already rejected at the ballot. Otherwise, why have such things on the ballot at all? That would be just silly. (Vice-chairwoman Hutchings sensed this in some inchoate way).

Unless the BOS does not represent the interests of the voters, but some other interest instead. But what could that be?

Aah, the Town government. The interests of the voters and the Town government have diverged. Well, that can happen. One group wants to reverse the trend of many years of increasing taxes and the other wants those increases to continue. It is insatiable, really.

(Chairman Thibeault goes on to say that CIP plan recommends continuing the usual above-inflation-rate tax increase of 3.0% while, elsewhere, in the very same document, the plan recommends also an even-greater-than-usual tax increase of 3.8%).

So, our paths diverge in a wood and the voter’s interests took the one less traveled. And that will make all the difference. (Apologies to Robert Frost).

One hopes we take that less-traveled path. We need a break, a very long break, from above-inflation-rate tax increases. You can not tax your way to prosperity. And the BOS represents us, as opposed to the Town apparatus. Surely, they would never work against our interests? That is why the BOS exists, after all – to represent our interests.

Well, that is the nub of it, isn’t it? I guess, we shall have to wait and see. We have no other choice.


Collins Dictionary. (2018). Nub. Retrieved from

Frost, Robert. (1916). The Road Not Taken. Retrieved from

Town of Milton. (2018, October 1). BOS Meeting, October 1, 2018. Retrieved from

State of New Hampshire. (1983-2017). RSA Chapter 674: Local Land Use Planning and Regulatory Powers. Retrieved from

Puzzle #6: Mislabeled Boxes

By Muriel Bristol (Transcriber) | October 2, 2018

There are three boxes. One is labeled “Apples,” another is labeled “Oranges,” and the last one is labeled “Apples and Oranges.”

You know that each is labeled incorrectly. You may ask me to pick one fruit from one box, which you choose.

How can you label the boxes correctly?

[Answer to Puzzle #6 to follow in the next Puzzle]

Solution to Puzzle #5: Smith, Jones and Robinson

We are told that Mr. Robinson lives in Leeds. Therefore, Mr. Robinson does not live anywhere else and none of the other passengers live in Leeds.

The guard lives halfway between Leeds and Sheffield. His nearest neighbor is a passenger who earns three times as much as the guard. Mr. Jones can not be the guard’s neighbor, because his salary is not divisible by three. Neither can Mr. Robinson, as we have seen that he lives in Leeds. Therefore, the guard’s neighbor must be Mr. Smith.

It also follows that Mr. Jones must live in Sheffield, that being the only remaining choice. Since, the guard’s namesake is said to live in Sheffield, it follows that the guard’s name is Jones.

Smith is said to have beaten the fireman at billiards. Therefore, Smith is not the fireman. We have seen that Jones is the guard. Therefore, by process of elimination, Smith must be the engine driver.