Memories of Milton is a new series to share various aspects of Milton’s history. Please feel free to suggest topics that may be of interest.
At a special Town Meeting on Aug. 13, 1908, the Rev. E. Herrick introduced a resolution to create a Civil War monument to honor more than 200 men from Milton who fought in the Civil War from 1861-1865. The resolution included a committee of three veterans of the Civil War: Henry O. Clark, J. Monroe Perry and Frank Cormia to work with the Milton Selectboard to prepare a monument.
Just over a year later, on Sept. 6, 1909, citizens of Milton gather for the dedication of the Old Soldiers Monument located at the intersection of Main Street and Route 7.
Chairman Henry O. Clark, of the monument of the 15th Vermont Volunteers was the presider over the event. The ceremony began with a prayer offered by the Rev. E. Herrick of the 15th Vermont Volunteers. Gov. George H. Prouty and other dignitaries spoke. The Colchester band provided music, as did A. J. Maxham of the Handcock Army Corps. Elsie H. Clark and Gladys Perry did the unveiling of the monument. Present was Heman Allen, Commander of the Stannard Post of the Grand Army of the Republic 13th Vt. other G.A.R. Posts commanders. William McKone, Vermont author and member of the Stannard House Restoration Committee, is trying to recreate the G.A.R. Posts.
There is another momentous Milton moment that is not celebrated with great fanfare, but represents a major step forward in human rights and for the good of the Republic: Women could vote in school elections and hold school related offices before 1900 in Vermont. In 1917, women could vote in municipal elections. On the day of April 17, 1917 each woman individually stood before the Milton town clerk, Leon Latham, to take the Freeman’s oath (Mr. Latham wrote in Freewoman’s Oath), and recited the Pledge of Allegiance to the United States.
This is important enough that we will honor the event by listing the names of those who took the Freewomen’s Oath the first day as if we are reading from a monument celebrating the event. Lucia Powell, Bertha Prentiss, Addie Landon, Lucia Everest Phelps, Daisy Minckler, Eleanor Holcombe, Lara Rogers, Martha Jerome, Agnes Hammond, Harriett Rogers, Charlotte Fuller, Ethel Benham Phelps, Myrtle Robinson, Gertrude Landon, Winnifred Flynn, I. Ladue, Emeline Newton, Lydia Sanderson, Lucy Mayville, Henrietta Martin, Louise Robinson, Jamie Robinson. In 1920, women finally won the right to vote in all elections. In two years, we will mark the 100th anniversary of women receiving full voting rights.
After centuries of seeking that basic right to vote it would seem only right that we as a community celebrate the fact.
“Memories of Milton” will feature in the Milton Independent the third week of every month. The Milton Historical Society Museum is open the first and third weekends monthly from 1 to 4 p.m. Call 893-1604 to arrange a private opening or tour. Contact Jim Ballard at email@example.com with ideas for this column.