A LIFETIME OF TEAMING.
Almost the Entire Seventy-Two Years of Mr. M. E. Maxham’s Life Journey, After Reaching Manhood’s Estate, Spent in Teaming, and the Larger Share of it in Danby and Mt. Tabor.
Another member of the now well-known “Boys’ Club” is represented by our portrait on the first page of the MIRROR this week; and probably there are none of the “boys” that are better known to the people of Danby and Mount Tabor, in particular, than the gentleman whom the portrait represents—Mr. Milton E. Maxham.
Mr. Maxham was born in the town of Dickinson, Franklin County, N. Y., August 16, 1830, but his parents—Elihu and Sally (Ellis) Maxham—removed to Fairfield, Vt., about two years after his birth, and where they resided for about eight years. The family then returned to Dickinson, but after a residence there of two morel, years, Milton came to South Wallingford and went to live with Elihu Doty, on what is now known as the Hall farm, and located on the “West Hill.”
In the spring of 1850, Mr. Maxham entered the employ of Aaron R. Vail, who was in the mercantile business in Danby, and for whom he worked till the following winter, then entering the employ of George and Thomas Kelley, who were engaged in the marble business. This was before the railroad was built through this valley, and it was necessary to haul the marble to the canal at the nearest point in Washington County, N.Y., for shipment to market. It was the custom of the marble producers to get out the marble in the spring, summer and fall and draw it to the canals upon sleds during the sleighing season, and Mr. Maxham commenced driving team for this purpose the first winter he lived in Danby.
After drawing a load of marble to the canal, Mr. Maxham would usually bring back a load of merchandise for the stores here—and it was a long and tedious trip. Frequently the marble producers would not have found a market for all the marble accumulated at the canal by spring, but would load it upon the boats and accompany it to market and look up their customers after arriving there. The building of the railroad from Rutland to Bellows Falls furnished nearer transportation facilities, and Mr. Maxham then drew the marble to East Clarendon until the railroad was built through this valley, affording a shipping point at home. Mr. Maxham continued to draw blocks of marble, however, from the quarries to the mills and the sawed product from 4 the mills to the railroad for much of the time the marble industry was in operation here, and in that capacity was employed by all, or nearly all, the people that have been engaged in the business here.
Mr. Maxham was employed by the Kelleys until the spring of 1852, and was then employed one year by Alonzo White, driving team, and the next year he was employed by William Haskins. In the summer of 1854 he worked for George Sowle, D. A. Warner and Henry Jenkins, and that fall was married, September 17, 1854, to Francis, daughter of Joseph and Betsey (Bogart) Fish of Sandy Hill, N. Y., and to whom three children have been born—Julia, who married the late Isaac Kelley; Emma K., and Willie, the latter dying when about two years old.
In the spring of 1855 Mr. and Mrs. Maxham moved to the J. R. Holden farm in South Wallingford, and Mr. Maxham worked most of the following winter in drawing wood for N. B. Holden. In the spring of 1856 he was employed at teaming for a few months by Joel Wheeler at North Dorset, and then returned to Danby and entered the employ of George Barney & Co., with whom he remained till the fall of 1858, when he went to Glens Falls, N. Y., and entered the trucking and teaming business in company with a brother-in-law, William H. Sheffers.
The next spring Mr. Maxham moved his family to Glens Falls and continued in the teaming business with Mr. Sheffers for about two years, when they sold out the business. He then took up his residence in Sandy Hill, and remained there for about two years. During that time, however, some of the old patrons of the teaming business becoming dissatisfied with the service of the new proprietors, he and Mr. Sheffers were induced to enter the business again. They built them a new wagon and started up again, but after a few months of operations, the former purchasers bought them out again.
In 1863 Mr. Maxham returned with his family to Danby, and for a while drew logs for L. D. Pember to supply material for his cheese box business. He then worked at teaming for Mr. S. L. Griffith, by whom he was employed for most of the time till he took charge of the Lapham place, the present home of Mr. Griffith, where he remained for a year or more. He then re-entered Mr. Griffith’s employ as teamster, and in the intervening time has worked for him many years.
Mr. Maxham also worked upon the highways, driving the road machine, etc., much of the time for six years, while the late Isaac Kelley had charge of such work, and also assisted Mr. Kelley with his farm work. It will be seen that Mr. Maxham has been engaged in driving team the greater part of his life, and there are few men more capable of handling extremely heavy loads or a team in difficult places than he. Up to last June he has been actively employed most of the time; but at that time, while driving a three-seated wagon load of the “boys” from their outing at Lake Griffith, Mr. Maxham strained one of his legs (in operating the brake on the wagon, it is thought), so that it has given him much trouble ever since. In the meantime, he has been able to do only odd jobs of light team work; but as his injured limb seems to be improving all the time, we would not be surprised to see him take up the reins at any time with his old-time activity, although he is well into the seventy-third year of life’s journey, and has well earned a respite from hard labor.
Mr. Maxham has not only been a valuable citizen in his chosen occupation, but he has been a good citizen in every sense of the word, and he has many good and true friends among the people with whom he has lived and labored. The picture we show of him is a particularly good likeness; and in looking upon it few of our readers would suspect that the original of it has performed so much labor of a physical-wrecking nature as has fallen to his lot. May the remainder of life’s highway be less rough is the wish of his many, friends.