The Year of the Squirrel

By Andrea Starr | September 18, 2018

You may have noticed the unusually large numbers of squirrels around us. Sadly, many are seen as large numbers of squirrel roadkill.

What on earth is happening? A number of newspaper articles, radio broadcasts, television segments have tried to answer that question.  In sum, the past two years of high acorn density have produced a rodent population boom, leading to a rise in traffic-related squirrel fatalities as the youngsters grow up and move out.

For more detail, The Exchange’s particularly informative and interesting radio broadcast from September 10 is worth a listen.  (In Appreciation of Squirrels (57:16), from NH Public Radio (NHPR)). It seeks to explain it all: acorns, squirrels, crows, foxes, coyotes, and even bears.

References:

Concord Monitor. (2018, August 30). From fruit thieves to road kill, squirrels are everywhere this summer. Retrieved from https://www.concordmonitor.com/squirrels-acorns-road-kill-nh-19800800

Concord Monitor. (2018, September 7). No Avoiding the Influx of N.H. Squirrels. Retrieved from https://www.concordmonitor.com/squirrel-hunting-20010236

The Exchange (NHPR). (2018, September 10). In Appreciation of Squirrels & The Latest on Emerald Ash Borer. Retrieved from https://www.npr.org/podcasts/381443862/the-exchange

Farmers’ Almanac. (2018, September 11). What’s Going On With All The Dead Squirrels? Retrieved from https://www.farmersalmanac.com/dead-squirrels-32602

Frohn, Jim (UNH Extension). (2017). Acorns, Acorns Everywhere. Retrieved from https://extension.unh.edu/blog/acorns-acorns-everywhere

Greene, Britta (NHPR). (2018, August 29). It’s a Banner Year for Rodent Roadkill. Here’s Why. Retrieved from https://www.npr.org/podcasts/381443862/the-exchangehttp://www.nhpr.org/post/its-banner-year-rodent-roadkill-heres-why

Manchester Union-Leader. (2018). ‘Never seen this many’ dead gray squirrels says NH Fish and Game biologist. Retrieved from http://www.unionleader.com/animals/never-seen-this-many-dead-gray-squirrels-says-nh-fish-and-game-biologist-20180830

WMUR. (2018, August 30). Yes, there have been a lot of dead squirrels on NH roads. Retrieved from https://www.wmur.com/article/yes-there-have-been-a-lot-of-dead-squirrels-on-nh-roads/22863676

Puzzle #4: Charlemagne’s Puzzle

By Muriel Bristol (Transcriber) | September 18, 2018

The eighth-century English scholar Alcuin devised the following puzzle for the Emperor Charlemagne.

A traveler comes to a riverbank with a wolf, a goat and a head of cabbage. To his chagrin, he notes that there is only one boat for crossing over, which can carry no more than two passengers — the traveler and either one of the two animals or the cabbage. As the traveler knows, if left alone together, the goat will eat the cabbage and the wolf will eat the goat. The wolf does not eat cabbage. How does the traveler transport his animals and his cabbage to the other side intact in a minimum number of back-and-forth trips?


[Answer to Puzzle #4 to follow in the next Puzzle]


Solution to Puzzle #3: Lightbulbs in the Attic

Turn on a switch and leave it on for several minutes. Then turn it off and turn on a second switch. Go to the attic. One light is burning: the one that switched on second and is still active. Feel the two bulbs that are not burning. One of them is still warm from having been switched on by the first switch for several minutes. By a process of elimination, the remaining bulb (the cool one) is activated by the third switch that was never used.

Milton and the U.S. Constitution

By S.D. Plissken | September 17, 2018

Today is Constitution Day. Happy Constitution Day!

On September 17, 1787, the delegates to the Constitutional Convention met for the last time to sign the document they had created. We encourage all Americans to observe this important day in our nation’s history by attending local events in your area. Celebrate Constitution Day through activities, learning, parades and demonstrations of our Love for the United State of America and the Blessings of Freedom Our Founding Fathers secured for us (Constitutionday.org, 2018).

Did you know that Milton voted against the U.S. Constitution in 1788? Yes, it did. Milton and Farmington were then the Northeast and Northwest parishes of Rochester. And Rochester voted against the proposed U.S. Constitution.

The United States were bound together loosely under the Articles of Confederation from 1778 onwards. By 1787, they were beset by monetary collapse, unrest, and even rebellion. Congress called for a convention in February 1787, to be held in Philadelphia, PA, for the “sole and express purpose of revising the Articles of Confederation.” The convention opened on May 14, 1787, but could not assemble a quorum until May 25, 1787.

Shay’s Rebellion (1786-87) and other issues convinced a number of convention delegates that a stronger central government was needed. So, the convention wandered off its “sole and express” purpose and produced a complete replacement for the Articles, rather than a revision. (Some historians have described it as a “coup”). Some delegates left in disgust. Others voted against the replacement, but lost to the majority that voted in its favor. That vote took place on September 17, 1787 – now remembered as Constitution Day – and the convention adjourned.

Then began the great debate. Those in favor of the proposed replacement constitution were known as Federalists, while those opposed were known as Anti-Federalists. Much was said on either side and that debate was carried in local newspaper articles (and, as we have noted elsewhere, that which was said was said largely under pseudonyms). Newspapers of that time frequently copied (or “shared”) each other’s articles, so, through that mechanism, the various arguments were very widely seen.

The Constitution is considered now to have been almost divinely inspired. Its creators have been beatified as “the Founding Fathers.” Whatever possessed Rochester (and Milton and Farmington) to vote against it?

Rochester had 2,857 inhabitants (in 1790). It was the 25th largest city or town in the United States. That Rochester count broke down to 730 males aged 16 years or over, 740 males aged under 16 years, 1,386 females, and 1 slave. (The census enumerator (Joseph Hait) had to correct his original spelling of Rogester to Rochester. Oops).

(The last of Rochester’s six double-columned pages has the Milton names; there were about 345 people on that page. No slave. (Editor’s note: This 1790 view of Milton deserves further study)).

But Rochester was an inland city. (Dover is the head of navigation for the Cocheco River). It might have been the 25th largest city or town in the United States, but it was situated inland.

Most New Hampshire people lived inland, and they didn’t expect to benefit from maritime commerce. They didn’t like coastal merchants, either. They opposed the Federalists, because they feared a central government would concentrate power and destroy democracy.

After the Philadelphia convention adjourned and the debate had been joined, Delaware voted (30 (100%) to 0 (0%)) first to ratify on December 7, 1787, followed by Pennsylvania (46 (66.7%) to 23 (33.3%)) on December 12, New Jersey (38 (100%) to 0 (0%)) on December 18, Georgia (26 (100%) to 0 (0%)) on January 2, 1788, and Connecticut (128 (76.2%) to 40 (23.8%)) on January 9, 1788. Those were the easy ones.

Federalist NH Governor John Sullivan knew that the U.S. Constitution was unlikely to pass in New Hampshire. So, he engaged in a little jiggery-pokery. He recalled the state legislature to meet at the capital (then Exeter) in January 1788, when travel was difficult, especially so for delegates from the inland districts of the west and north. That favored the Federalists. That Federalist-packed legislature called for an early convention, in February 1788, while the weather would still be in their favor.

Meanwhile, Massachusetts voted (187 (52.7%) to 168 (47.3%)) sixth to ratify on February 6, 1788.

Despite the weather, strong Anti-Federalist opposition did arise at New Hampshire’s February convention. Many inland towns had bound their delegates in advance to a “no” vote. “Whipping” their votes – browbeating and logrolling – could not work. Elsewhere, New York’s governor came out in opposition. Opposition was building also in Pennsylvania and Virginia. That sustained the NH Anti-Federalist opposition. The Federalists adjourned the convention until June, in order to allow delegates to consult their towns again. They also jiggered the rules to allow state representatives and other Federalist officials to stand as delegates – sort of Super Delegates. And maybe the votes of other states would solve the problem in the meantime.

While they were out, Maryland voted seventh (63 (85.1%) to 11 (14.9%)) to ratify on April 28, 1788, and South Carolina voted eighth (149 (67.1%) to 73 (32.9%)) on May 23, 1788.

New Hampshire’s reconvened convention began to assemble at Concord’s Old North Meeting House on Wednesday, June 18, 1788. Only 90 of the expected delegates had arrived by that first day, 107 arrived by the second day, and 108 by the third day. Five more delegates were expected, but most of them (4-1) were known to be “no” votes. So, the convention voted to ratify without them on Saturday, June 21, 1788. It was not a landslide – 57 voted in favor (54.8%) and 47 voted against (45.2%). (Had they waited for the missing delegates, the result would have been the same, but with a narrower margin: 58 (53.2%) to 51 (46.8%)).

New Hampshire, being the ninth state to ratify, tipped the balance. The U.S. Constitution would go into effect.

After New Hampshire, Virginia voted (89 (53%) to 79 (47%)) to ratify on June 25, 1788, followed by New York (30 (52.6%) to 27 (47.4%)), North Carolina (194 (71.6%) to 77 (28.4%)), and, finally, Rhode Island brought up the rear (34 (51.5%) to 32 (48.5%)).

Vermont’s status remained nebulous. Both New York and New Hampshire claimed it. It was a sort of no-man’s land, outside of the new dispensation. (Persecuted Shay’s rebels found refuge there). It gained admission as the 14th state on March 4, 1791.


Ms. Muriel Bristol contributed to this article.


References:

Constitution Day. (2018). Constitution Day. Retrieved from www.constitutionday.com/

Constitution Society. (2018, September 7). The Anti-Federalist Papers. Retrieved from www.constitution.org/afp.htm

Harris, Emmett. (2014, July 13). Ratification in New Hampshire. Retrieved from www.fsp.org/ratification-new-hampshire/

New England Historical Society. (2018). New Hampshire’s Constitutional Convention Creates a New Nation. Retrieved from www.newenglandhistoricalsociety.com/new-hampshire-constitutional-convention-creates-nation/

Libby, Orin G. (1894, June). Geographical Distribution of the Vote of the Thirteen States on the Federal Constitution, 1787-8. Retrieved from teachingamericanhistory.org/ratification/libby/#4newhampshire

U.S. Congress. (n.d.). The Federalist Papers. Retrieved from www.congress.gov/resources/display/content/The+Federalist+Papers

U.S. Constitution. (2018). New Hampshire’s Ratification. Retrieved from www.usconstitution.net/rat_nh.html

Wikipedia. (2018, August 18). 1790 United States Census. Retrieved from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1790_United_States_Census

Wikipedia. (2018, September 8). Articles of Confederation. Retrieved from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Articles_of_Confederation

Wikipedia, (2018, July 25). The Anti-Federalist Papers. Retrieved from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anti-Federalist_Papers

Wikipedia. (2018, June 18). Constitution Day (United States). Retrieved from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Constitution_Day_(United_States)

Wikipedia. (2018, September 1). The Federalist Papers. Retrieved from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Federalist_Papers

Wikipedia. (2018, June 4). Jiggery-Pokery. Retrieved from en.wiktionary.org/wiki/jiggery-pokery

 

 

Milton Mills in 1864

By Muriel Bristol (Transcriber) | September 15, 2018

An extract from the Farmington Weekly Courier of Friday, February 5, 1864.


A Letter from Milton Mills:

Milton Mills, Jan. 29, 1864 –

I am pleased to know, that someone has the courage  and “goaheaditiveness” to start a paper in this part of the county, and hope it may prove as profitable to its Editor as interesting to its patron.  News in this  (the Northeast) corner of the county, is at this time quite meager.  It is now the sleighing, and the farmers and wood men are busily engaged in carrying to market their surplus stock of wood, which this winter brings them a good round price, compared with the prices of former winters.

Some of the lovers of the “finny tribe” in this locality are enjoying the luxury of fishing upon Horn and Garvin Ponds, for pickerel, these pleasant days, with good “luck,” and this, as you well know, Mr. Editor, is fine sport, when you have plenty of “Tom Cod” for bait, and a “nibble” every now and then from each line.  

Business in this locality is very good, with plenty of work for those disposed to “earn their living by the sweat of their brow” and otherwise.

The flannel Mill of John Townsend, Esq., is now in full blast, (and, by the way, it is reported to be the best woolen mill in New England) and turns out about thirteen thousand yards of flannel per week, which finds a ready sale in Boston, New York and Philadelphia.  There is some prospect of having a new mill, put up the coming season, by our enterprising citizen, Edward Brierly, who is now engaged quite extensively in the printing and finishing of flannels, table covers, balmoral skirts, etc. 

We boast of but four regular stores in our quiet little village, that of Asa Fox & son, Bray C. Simes, John U. Simes and Asa Jewett, all of which are doing a fair  amount of business.  We have beside these, three or four places where groceries, etc., are sold, much to the disadvantage of the regular trade.  There is probably not a village of the size of this in New Hampshire, where so much blacksmith work is done, as in this —  We have now four blacksmiths, (working early and late) and plenty of work for four more.

We are furnished daily, in this out-of-the-way locality, with the Boston morning and evening papers, by our friend Elbridge W. Fox, of the firm of Asa Fox & son, who also has charge of the Express Office of Canney & Co.  

Did I say “this out-of-the-way locality?”  Yes.  Well, it is true in some respects, for we are situated four long miles east of the “head of locomotion” of the Great Falls & Conway Railroad at Union; but thanks to our enterprising Expressmen, Messrs. Canney & Co., we are provided with a good span of “chestnuts” and when once “aboard,” the “ribbons” in the hands of the faithful messenger and careful driver – Asa A. Fox — we are soon there.

One thing, among the many, that we need to give our village a more lively and business like appearance, is a shoe manufacturer; one with means and energy, capable of doing a large business, for we have plenty of good work men in this vicinity that would gladly make shoes for a home manufacturer, rather [than] freight stock from Rochester, Dover, Haverhill and Lynn.

But enough of this.  People are beginning to talk politics, now the conventions are over.  Excuse me, Mr. Editor, you don’t talk politics in your paper, so I will stop.  More Anon.

Vulpes.


N.B. The pseudonym Vulpes is Latin for “Fox.”

For more about the Great Falls & Conway Railroad, see our piece on Milton’s Railroad Line.


References:

Farmington Weekly Courier. (1864, February 5). A Letter from Milton Mills. Farmington, NH

Milton’s Centennial

By Muriel Bristol (Transcriber) | September 14, 2018


MILTON’S CENTENNIAL

Events of the Day

The centennial celebration of the town of Milton, held August 30, 1902, was in honor of the one hundredth anniversary of the first town meeting. This meeting convened at the tavern of Lieut. Elijah Horne, August 30 1802, only a short time after the charter, which gave Milton its independent existence, had been signed by Governor Gilman. This instrument had been granted at the June session of the legislature of New Hampshire at the petition and largely through the efforts of Capt. Beard Plumer, one of the representatives from Rochester, who, with others, felt that the time had come for Milton to sever the ties which bound her to the mother town.

At the annual meeting held in March, 1902, it was voted to celebrate in an appropriate manner the closing of the first century of the town’s existence. An appropriation was made and a general committee selected. As a result of the able and painstaking efforts of this committee, together with those chosen to assist, the observance of the centennial was made eminently fitting to mark the close of the first century of Milton’s history.

Saturday, August 30, 1902, was a beautiful day; there was scarcely a cloud in the sky and the temperature was ideal for the purposes of the occasion. Sunrise was accompanied with the ringing of bells and a cannon salute of thirty-three guns. One hundred guns were fired during the day, a second thirty-three at noon and the remainder at sunset. Although the celebration had practically begun on Friday night with the huge bonfire on the summit of the historic Mt. Teneriffe, it was not until Saturday morning that the guests commenced to arrive in large numbers.

Every incoming train was heavily laden and hundreds came in teams from surrounding towns. It was the largest crowd that Milton ever saw being variously estimated by the press at from seven to ten thousand.

From 8.30 to 10 o’clock field and water sports were held; from 9 to 10 o’clock the Hanson American band of Rochester gave a concert on the Upper square. Then came the street parade. This was a fine feature of the day, including many beautifully trimmed floats and private teams, bicycles, and not a few grotesque and humorous make-ups. The marshal was Major Charles J. Berry, Milton Mills, N.H.; assistant marshal James F. Reynolds, Wakefield, Mass.; aides, Clifford A. Berry and Charles Manser, Milton Mills; Walter Holden, Wakefield, Mass.; Scott Ramsdell, Samuel E. Drew, and Fred S. Hartford, Milton.

Following the parade a good old fashioned New England dinner was served in large tents, on the Nute High School grounds, to over two thousand people. It was at high noon, also, that the new town clock in the Congregational Church was officially started. This was presented to the town of Milton by Mr. Albert O. Mathes of Dover, N.H., as a memorial to the Rev. James Doldt, who was pastor of the Congregational Church from 1850 to 1871.

Promptly at two o’clock the commemorative exercises began in the grove, on the Nute High School grounds, Hon. Elbridge W. Fox, of Milton Mills, Ex-Senator from this district, presiding as President of the day. In addition to those upon the official programme, Mayor Bradley of Rochester spoke in behalf of the mother town and Mr. Edward P. Nichols of Lexington, Mass., treasurer of the Great Falls Manufacturing Company, delivered a short address. The violin used as an accompaniment to the singing was played by Miss Annie B. Kimball, of Milton, while the old violincello which took the place of the church organ in the early days of the town, was restrung and played by Mr. Sumner Hodsdon of Dover, N.H.

One of the most attractive and appropriate features of the day was the collection of antiquities in the old Worcester House, itself past one hundred years in age. These rare and valuable articles, from 75 to 200 or more years old, and gathered from many sources, by Mr. Albert O. Mathes of Dover N.H., were intimately connected with the early history of the town. Many of the interesting buildings in the village had placards placed upon them, giving the date of their erection and other matters of interest. Among these were the following: The home of Dr. Stephen Drew, 1820-1873, built by John Bergin in 1773; the house in which Lewis W. Nute was born; the building formerly the Union meetinghouse, 1838-1859; John Fish’s house, 1794, where was located the first post-office in 1818; the site of the first tavern built in 1787 by Benjamin Palmer; the house of Thomas Leighton, 1810-1860; the site of the house of Gilman Jewett, first town clerk, 1800; the site of the first tannery, owned by John Bergin, 1773.

The celebration was in every respect an unqualified success, and reflected the greatest credit upon all concerned. All of those present, whether natives of the town or friends, felt that the observance was in every way worthy of the occasion and of Milton.


References:

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

Selectman Lucier’s History of Milton

By Muriel Bristol (Transcriber) | September 12, 2018

Selectman Lucier held forth on the History of Milton and its implications, as he sees them, at the Board of Selectmen’s (BOS) meeting of Monday, September 10, 2018.


Chairman Thibeault: Alright, next on the agenda, History of Milton.

Selectman Lucier: I put this on just to kind of shed some light on what’s going on in the … in Milton. I mean, you just brought up as far as bringing people into the beach. I mean – that was – I think that was kind of plopped into my other spiel, but …

You know, the town of Milton was a thriving boomtown. I mean … you had … you had two stores in Milton Mills. You had the tannery in Milton Mills, where everybody worked. So, I mean, now Milton Mills has basically turned into a bedroom community. I mean, you came down … you used to come down, start up … There was no Spaulding Turnpike. You came down [NH] Route 16, this was Route 16.

You had the Christmas Bell shop. You had Dawson’s Antiques. You had Louis Herron’s apple stand, that sold more apples than MacKenzie’s sells. You had, you know … So, this was back in the 70s, late 70s, early 80s. You could come right come down through town, there was Ray’s Marina was booming, everything was booming. So, what, what happened? All the way to Rochester. Rochester was … even [NH Route] 125 into Rochester was booming.

What changed? The Spaulding Turnpike came. In 1978, they started cutting trees and basically that took … everybody that came … went to the North Conway went through Milton. So, they saw Milton. I mean …

And now, we … nothing against Economic Development, I think they’re doing a great job of moving the town forward, of getting businesses back in, which we’ve got to do, but we’ve got to sell Milton. Because, whether it’s advertising or … I mean we’ve got the lake. We don’t have the seven lakes that Wakefield does that draws the huge crowds in and, you know, keeps the tax rates low, but we’ve got to do something to … I mean, I don’t know how … I know that when they put the Turnpike in – that they gave on [NH] Route 75, they only gave two accesses – and that was off to the side of where Frizzell’s is at Commerce Drive. You know they won’t allow anything off the right-hand side and they won’t allow anything, anything off from the Turnpike itself. They kept a 50-foot buffer,  so that, so that nothing can be developed.

You know the town of Milton used to get a ton of business off from the … there was a huge mom & pop’s all up and down these streets. I mean, they’ve all gone away. There were antique stores galore, especially downtown. I mean now it’s … you know, Ray’s Marina is sitting there because the State’s put the clamp down as far as what he can do as far as developing … I mean, you had Russo’s restaurant, you had the Craig Keg Room lounge, you had the lobster pound. I mean, there was a ton, a ton of businesses, but …

Thibeault: So … so, that’s the past. How do we …

Lucier: I am just trying to, you know, get out there that … we’ve got to do something to promote Milton. I mean, I like the idea of a State boat launch, don’t get me wrong on that, I just don’t think the town beach is the location for it.

I mean, back in the old days [the mid 1960s?] when we used to be playing ball, we’d have to stop and wait for the guy pulling his boat and trailer out to go across the soccer field, so … You know, that’s the way it was. I mean, there was no … the ballfield – you’d have to got out and pick up a handful of nails before the soccer game, because that’s where the old ice houses were. So, the town, Milton’s changed. The biggest change? The Spaulding Turnpike went through and the State – I don’t know whether it’s something we can … it was actually the Federal government that did it.

That put the kibosh to developing the other side of it [NH Route 75 from Exit 17 towards Hayes Corner and Farmington] because people would like to develop it – both sides of [NH Route] 75, which moving forward I don’t know if that’s something – you know, there used to be – when that Turnpike was built, it was supposed to be maintained by the Turnpike Division, and they didn’t catch it until what? – two or three years ago, when they made the State build a shed down at Exit 16, the State barn at Exit 16. So, the barn right here by – the State shed – by [NH] Route 75 doesn’t plow the Turnpike anymore – they can’t – so, they plow [NH Route 11] all the way from Planet Fitness in Rochester to the Alton traffic circle. From Milton, you know, that’s … but anyway … We’ve lost, I mean, we’ve lost a ton of drive-through business … I mean that’s what … I mean, I don’t know what to do to promote …

Vice-Chairwoman Hutchings: Can I? As [BOS Ex Officio] representative for Milton Economic Development, we’ve just submitted an application to the State to make Exit 17 an ERZ Zone [Economic Revitalization Zone], which will give tax breaks and such to businesses coming into the area.

Lucier: Well, but it’s …

Hutchings: It’s a start.

Lucier: It’s only going to be on the south side of …

Hutchings: But, it’s a start. And we’re working on other ideas to promote business here in town. We just ordered signs, [EDC Committeeman] Bob Bourdeau just ordered signs for – actually the downtown area here is an ERZ area – and the signs have been ordered to be purchased. We’ll put those up here in the downtown area. So that it’s a “known” ERZ. Does it actually help to bring the business in, right now, by putting that sign up? No, but when people see those signs, they realize there’s an incentive for putting a business in there. So, with that being said, the Milton Economic Development is working on … projects.

Town Administrator Thibodou: They seem very active.

Hutchings: They’re active, they’re very active. So, …

Lucier: Milton was volunteers. We’ve got to get more people to … you know, step up to the plate to make things happen.

Thibeault: Alright.


Previous Milton and the Spaulding Turnpike and Milton’s Railroad Line pieces cover much of the same ground as Selectman Lucier’s recollections. Selectman Lucier does identify the location of the ice sheds (at the Town Beach ballfield), once so integral to Milton’s seasonal ice industry. Very interesting. He does not mention the hotels that sprang up to house the seasonal ice workers or the railroad that fostered this vital local industry, now gone with the wind. (The advent of refrigeration killed the seasonal ice industry in the late 1920s).

N.B. I do not necessarily endorse or agree with Selectman Lucier’s interpretations of the meaning of these events, nor with his and the Board’s prescriptions for what must be done, if anything.

References:

Bergeron, Chip. (2010). The Tannery, Milton Mills, NH. Retrieved from www.authorsden.com/visit/viewPoetry.asp?id=282253

Card Cow. (2004-18). Russo’s Italian-American Restaurant. Retrieved from www.cardcow.com/297493/russos-italian-american-restaurant-milton-new-hampshire/

Town of Milton. (2018, September 10). BOS Meeting Agenda, September 10, 2018. Retrieved from youtu.be/PlwhI_Uz_rs?t=2238

A Rose by Any Other Name

By John S. Frum | September 10, 2018

Mr. Elder dropped us a kind comment. I did try to reply privately, but failed. I am still in the dark as to how the Comment/Reply process works. I can only respond in an Letter to the Publisher and my Reply.


Good Morning,

RE: Milton Observer

I find your articles both informative and eloquent. My concern is that are all of the names/authors both residents of Milton and actual names of those who write them, or are they pseudonyms?

My concern in asking is that 1. Are you afraid of repercussion from your articles?, and 2. I have more faith and trust in articles when I know the author(s) are using their real name. It’s just personal with me, people not using their real name to inform others.

Thanks again, and keep up the great work. I may have some suggestion if you are ever interested in additional subject matters which I find pertinent to Milton Residents.

Respectfully,

Les Elder

Milton NH


Dear Mr. Elder,

Thank you for your kind comment. I am so happy that you tumbled to our pseudonyms. (We prefer to think of them as nom-de-plumes). I thought they would be noticed months ago.

I insisted that our correspondents use one. Several good writers have chosen not to work with us because of this. They perhaps shared your concerns. We are residents of Milton, excepting our new Reviewer, Andrea Starr, who lives elsewhere in Strafford County.

You asked if we adopted pseudonyms out of fear of retaliation. Well, yes, we did, at least partly.

There is something in the air down there at the Emma Ramsey Center, something dysfunctional. I mean something apart from their odd notions about how the world works and the natural rights of a free people. I was at one meeting where someone mentioned that the town had churned through 11 town administrators in 10 years. I have not looked into it, but that does not sound good. That sounds bad.

Within just this last year, we have all seen the town government destroy a selectman and a treasurer – elected officials, mind you. I say destroy, because it was so vicious. No censure, no due process, no recall election, just a pack of wild dogs. And this is the “reform” government, mind you, correcting the ills of the past.

As near as I can tell from here in the cheap seats, both these “villains” seemed to have stepped across some indistinct 91-A line. Well, if you watch the little kabuki theater for a while, you will see that they are all contra-dancing back and forth across that line all the time. That is what they do.

We are taking off our Public hats now and putting on our Non-Public hats.

You put your left foot in, you put your left foot out; You put your left foot in, and you shake it all about. You do the hokey pokey, and you give a little shout. That’s what it’s all about.

And now we are putting our Public hats back on again.

These two seemed to have miss-stepped while doing the hokey-pokey. Probably two left feet.

Now, remember, this 91-A purports to be New Hampshire’s version of the Federal Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). It was supposed to increase access to public information. All of this fuss is about handling the supposed very few exceptions to that principle.

I have seen the accusers themselves violate various courtesies, ethical principles, norms, protocols, and laws, including the sacred 91-A exceptions. I look up, waiting for the thunderclap and lightning bolt, but nothing happens.

So, it might be thought that it is not so much what is done, but who the transgressor is. I have seen that before. If they like you, you can do no wrong; if they do not, you can do no right. Selective enforcement. Yes, that is pretty much the definition of a risk.

I see no advantage in dropping breadcrumb trails to our doors, thank you. Not when there are wild dogs around.

A generation and more ago, writers in the Soviet Union published Samizdat. It means “self-published.” Typed and mimeographed typescripts passed secretly hand to hand. Lots of anonymity going on there.

Closer to home, the use of pseudonyms has an honorable history in the U.S. Both the Federalist and Anti-Federalist papers – the principal polemical arguments both for and against the U.S. Constitution – were written under the pseudonyms Brutus, Junius, Publius, etc., etc.. Dozens of names. They did not want their famous names or other personal factors to influence the arguments. The arguments should speak for themselves. They now use the collective pseudonym “The Founding Fathers.”

Samuel Clemens wrote under the pseudonym Mark Twain. Many, many literary and political writers have used pseudonyms or nom-de-plumes (pen names) at times.

We had a lot of fun picking out our nom-de-plumes.

We would appreciate very much your suggestions. (It is not as though we know what we are doing). Perhaps you would even consider writing something for us, a rebuttal even. The pay is somewhat light – nothing at all, in fact. Maybe you could be Moe Younger. Get it? Oops, I guess I “burned” that one.

The arguments, facts, and relations should speak for themselves, regardless of the nom-de-plumes. Confirm them for yourself in the References. I think that you will find that they all “check out.”

Sincerely,

John S. Frum, Publisher

References:

Wikipedia. (2018, August 9). Brenda Starr, Reporter. Retrieved from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brenda_Starr,_Reporter

Wikipedia. (2018, June 18). John Frum. Retrieved from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Frum

Wikipedia. (2018, January 12). List of Pseudonyms Used in the American Constitutional Debates. Retrieved from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_pseudonyms_used_in_the_American_Constitutional_debates

Wikipedia. (2018, September 3). Muriel Bristol. Retrieved from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Muriel_Bristol

Wikipedia. (2018, August 12). Samizdat. Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Samizdat

Wikipedia. (2018, September 5). Snake Plissken. Retrieved from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Snake_Plissken