1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Milton (Massachusetts)

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MILTON, a township of N.E. Norfolk county, Massachusetts, U.S.A., about 7 m. S. of Boston, the Neponset river forming a large part of its N. and N.W. boundary. Pop. (1890), 4278; (1900), 6578 (1840 being foreign-born); (1905, state census), 7054; (1910) 7924. It is served by the New York, New Haven & Hartford railway, and is primarily a residential suburb of Boston, with which it is connected by electric lines. The township covers an area of about 13 sq. m., and includes the villages of Milton, East Milton and Mattapan. The country is rolling and hilly, the Blue Hills (with the exception of a part included in Braintree in 1712 and now in Quincy) lying in Milton. On Great Blue Hill, the highest (635 ft. above tide-level), great fires were kindled at the news of the repeal of the Stamp Act, of the adoption of the Declaration of Independence, and of the surrenders of Burgoyne and Cornwallis; beacon fires were burned during the American War of Independence; an “observatory” for tourists was built at an early date; and in 1885 the Blue Hill Observatory for meteorological investigation was established by Abbott Lawrence Rotch (b. 1861), who made important investigations concerning clouds, and attracted attention by his use of kites for obtaining meteorological data. Milton Academy (a non-sectarian school) was founded in 1798, opened in 1805, and suspended in 1867; a new academy was opened in 1885. There is a public library, which was opened in 1871, and in 1909 had more than 20,000 volumes. Cunningham Park is under the control of the trustees of a fund left for the benefit of the township, and contains a gymnasium, skating-pond, tennis courts, &c., open to townspeople only. Hutchinson Field, another public park, is a part of the estate of the last royal governor, Thomas Hutchinson; Governor Jonathan Belcher also lived in Milton for a time. There are two granite quarries in the township immediately north-west of the Blue Hills; the granite is of the “dark Quincy” variety — dark bluish grey in colour — and is used chiefly for monuments. Milton, originally a part of Dorchester, was first settled in 1640, and was called Uncataquissett. The township was separated from Dorchester and incorporated in 1662. It owes its name either to its early paper and grist mills (Milton being abbreviated from Milltown) or to Milton Abbey, Dorset, whence members of the Tucker family came, it is supposed, to Milton about 1662. In 1712 the Blue Hill lands were divided between Milton and Braintree, and in 1868 part of Milton was included in the new township of Hyde Park. In Milton, on the 9th of September 1774, at the house of Daniel Vose, a meeting, adjourned from Dedham, passed the bold “Suffolk Resolves” (Milton then being included in Suffolk county), which declared that a sovereign who breaks his compact with his subjects forfeits their allegiance, that parliament's repressive measures were unconstitutional, that tax-collectors should not pay over money to the royal treasury, that the towns should choose militia officers from the patriot party, that they would obey the Continental Congress and that they favoured a Provincial Congress, and that they would seize crown officers as hostages for any political prisoners arrested by the governor; and recommended that all persons in the colony should abstain from lawlessness.

See A. K. Teele, History of Milton, Mass., 1640 to 1887 (Milton, 1887).