Milton Massachusetts, 1890
Milton is an old suburban town of much scenic beauty, lying in the northeasterly part of Norfolk County. It is bounded on the north by Boston (Dorchester district), east by Quincy, south by the same and Randolph and Canton; by the latter also on the southwest; and on the west by Hyde Park. The assessed area is 8,040 acres.
The forests are chiefly oak. The borders of the town are hilly, except on the north, and there is an extensive elevation in the central part. On the border next Canton is Blue Hill, whose summit is 635 feet above the level of the sea; and the views here obtained are exceedingly beautiful. On this hill is a meteorological observatory whose weather indications are published in the Boston dailies. From the blue tints this and other hills of this group wear when seen from the sea, they have gained their name of Blue Hills. They were formerly the habitat of numerous rattlesnakes. The principal underlying rocks are sienite and granite, and are extensively quarried. Neponset River forms a small portion of the western and the entire northern divisional line; and Pine Tree Brook, winding centrally through the town from the southern part, enters the Neponset at the middle of the northern line. The largest body of water is Houghton's Pond, containing about 25 acres.
The soil of this town, though somewhat rocky, is productive, and is under excellent cultivation. Some attention is given to market-gardening, to the cultivation of apples, pears, and the small fruits. The value of the greenhouse product in 1885, as given in the last State census, was $17,595. The value of the entire product of the 75 farms was $148,297. The chocolate mills on the Neponset employ about 100 persons, and the paper mills about 30. Twenty-four men were engaged in quarrying, and 50 men in dressing granite. There were also manufactures of leather, lumber, furniture, metallic goods, carriages, woollen goods, soap, and several other articles. The aggregate value of the manufactures in 1885 was $427,188. The Blue Hill National Bank, in this town, has a capital of $200,000. The population (census of 1885) was 3,555 — including 792 legal voters. The valuation of the town in 1888 was $13,283,583, with a tax of $5 on $1,000.
There is a beautiful and commodious town-hall and an "Association Hall." The public library contains upwards of 8,000 volumes. The "News" is the local paper, issued semi-weekly. The public schools are graded and include a good high school. They occupy eight buildings, valued at some $60,000. The Milton Academy, in this town, was incorporated in 1798. The Trinitarian and the Unitarian Congregationalists each have a church here.
The post-offices are Milton, East Milton and Blue Hill. Other villages are Brush Hill, Centre, Mattapan, New State and Sects Woods. The Granite Branch of the Old Colony Railroad runs through the eastern margin of the town; the Milton Branch follows along the river on the northern side; and the Boston and Providence Division runs just outside the western line, with stations at convenient distances. A street railway also connects the place with all parts of the metropolis.
The carriage roads are excellent, and near the villages they are often shaded by old and handsome elms. Among the leading citizens of Milton are to be found many of the prominent men of the State; and scores of beautiful country-seats and villas, with extensive grounds highly ornamented with fine trees, shrubbery and plants, present delightful scenes amid the grand hills and on the undulating plains.
The Indian name of this place was Uncataguisset or Unquetey. It was incorporated May 7, 1662; arid it may have been named for the poet Milton, who died in 1675. The first paper-mill in New England was erected in this town in 1730 by Daniel Henchman. Thomas Hutchinson, colonial governor in the years just preceding the Revolution, had his summer residence on the bank of the Neponset in this town. Among its eminent natives were Benjamin Wadsworth (1669-1737), a president of Harvard College; Peter Thacher (1752-1802), an eminent Congregationalist clergy-man and political writer; and Edward Hutchinson Robbins (1758-1829), an able jurist.
pp. 469-470 in Nason and Varney's Massachusetts Gazetteer, 1890