Appleby, Milton, Collection, 1895-2018

Collection number: MC 342
Size: (6 boxes) (2 cu.ft.)

About Milton Prince Appleby (1923-2018)

Milton Prince Appleby (1923-2018) was a fiddler and farmer from Rochester, N.H., of New Brunswick French/English and Wolastoqiyik (Maliseet) heritage. He was born in Needham, Mass., son of John “Jack” Bickford Appleby (1881-1974) and Laura Alice Prince (1908-1995). Both his parents played harmonica and came from musical families in Lower Norton, New Brunswick. The family moved to Barrington N.H. in the 1920s and later to Rochester’s Chestnut Hill Rd. in 1941. Milton worked for Leon Calef’s poultry operation throughout WWII.

Milton and his sister Edith (b. 1924) played for square dances within 150 miles of Rochester from the 1930s through the 1960s-1970s, and made two records on the Spinet label during the late 1950s (Spinet 664 and 665). Mostly they played for local square dances. The Trail’s End in Sanbornton N.H. was a frequent venue, as was the Dover City Hall in Dover N.H. Callers the Applebys played for included Mal Hayden, Phil Johnson, Guy Mann, and Al Ruggero. Milton’s playing won several awards, including recognition from the National Council of Traditional Arts, and much of his repertoire was drawn from French New Brunswick and Quebec traditions (particular inspirations were fiddlers Isidore Soucy and Don Messer). He often performed with Rochester guitarist Joe Pomerleau at venues such as the Rochester Heritage Music Festival, the Somersworth Children’s Festival, the New Hampshire Folk Festival, and on local radio. (Track and other information for the Spinit records can be found by searching for 'Appleby' in the archive's recording database.

Equally important to Milton’s life were his beloved teams of oxen. He carved his own head yokes and lovingly trained each team in the Canadian style of farming, logging, and competitive pulling. He once maintained that the proudest day of his life was when he won a blue ribbon at the Rochester Fair. In addition to the oxen he kept a small herd of dairy cattle, geese, chickens, and the occasional horses and pigs. He lived on the same farm from 1951 until his death in April of 2018.

About the Milton Appleby Collection (1895-2018)

This collection consists of scrapbooks, photographs, family correspondence, and related ephemera collected by Milton Appleby over the course of his musical and farming career. Detailed scrapbooks document the local musical and farming scenes in great detail, while photographs and ephemera illustrate the importance of oxen and fiddling in his life. The music aspect focuses on French-Canadian repertoire used for square dances and documents local callers. Of particular interest to fiddlers and farmers are the three scrapbooks located in Oversize Box 1 and Oversize Box 2.

Administrative Information

Access Restrictions

This collection is open.

Copyright Notice

Contents of this collection are governed by U.S. copyright law. For questions about publication or reproduction rights, contact Special Collections staff.

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], [Folder Number], [Box Number], Milton Appleby Collection, 1895-2018, MC 342, Milne Special Collections and Archives, University of New Hampshire Library, Durham, NH, USA.

Acquisitions Information

Gift of Mary Ellen Humprey, 2018

"French Canadian Jigs and Reels" (2 records, Spinit 664 and 665), in the audio collection of the New Hampshire Library of Traditional Music and Dance at UNH Durham.

Separated Material

A portion of the newspaper clippings were removed, photocopied for preservation purposes, and the originals discarded. Various non-unique emphemera such as Bibles and recipes were also separated.

Collection Arrangement

Collection is in an imposed order, sorted by subject matter and individual.

Collection Contents

Box 1
Family, Farm, and Music Papers, 1895-2012

This box contains vital records and genealogical information related to the Appleby and Prince families, including birth, death, wedding, and naturalization papers. There is a small amount of family correspondence and materials found in the family Bibles. Breeding records for cattle, milk contracts, and misc. fiddling newsletters are also included.

Folder 1Vital Records of John "Jack" Bickford Appleby (1881-1974): 1922-1974
Folder 2Appleby Family Correspondence, 1945-1977
Folder 3Milton Prince Appleby (1923-2018): Birth and Baptism records 1923
Folder 4Vital Records of Laura Alice Prince (1908-1995): 1908-1995
Folder 5Estate information of Herbert Scott McCleery (possibly an uncle of Laura Appleby), 1966
Folder 6Correspondence Regarding Leonard Prince (brother of Laura), 1957-1978
Folder 7Tintype, Correspondence, Death Notices Found in Family Bible, 1895-1995
Folder 8Livestock breeding records, Income, Milk sale contracts, 1955-1976
Folder 9Correspondence from friends, 1951-1952 and 1995-2012
Folder 10Misc. Correspondence to Milton, undated
Folder 11Musical setlists, Notation, and Lyrics, Undated
Folder 12Fiddling Newsletters, 1960s-2000s
Box 2
Photographs, ca. 1900-ca. 2010

Mostly undated photographs of Milton's family, the farms in Barrington and Rochester, the family homestead on Darling's Island, Lower Norton, New Brunswick, and of musical parties and other events. One folder has promotional studio photographs taken of Milton and Edith.

Folder 1Family Photos, including various generations and members of the Appleby, Prince, Patch, Garrish, and Jenkins families. Identification has been added to the back of the photos where possible.
Folder 2Family Photos, continued.
Folder 3Photographs of the Prince family homestead on Darling's Island, Lower Norton, New Brunswick, as well as various Canadian relatives.
Folder 4Music parties at the Appleby home on Chestnut Hill Rd., including Milton, Edith, his parents, and relatives. Some photos show Milton at the Northeast Fiddler's Convention.
Folder 5Edith and Milton Appleby - Studio Photographs
Folder 6Music Photographs, removed from loose materials in Oversize Box 1
Folder 7Barrington Farm Photos - house, people, livestock, prior to 1942
Folder 8Photographs of the many oxen teams Milton trained and farmed with, including Holsteins, Brown Swiss, and Guernseys. Many photos show the beautiful head yokes he carved and fitted to each animal.
Folder 9Other livestock and buildings at the Rochester farm, including horses and miltch cows.
Folder 10Photos showing the farm in Rochester from its initial 1941 purchase through the end of Milton's life
Folder 11Misc. New Hampshire snapshots, including bears and the Old Man On The Mountain.
Box 3
Music Articles and Farm Deeds, 1940-1980

Materials about Milton's musical career and the farm where he spent most of his life

Folder 1Music related materials: Articles, programs, correspondence, sales contracts, dance schedules.
Folder 2Farm deeds and purchase information related to the history of the farm in Rochester.
Folder 3Community Leaders Award presented to Milton in 1975.
Box 4
Dance Ephemera, undated

Articles of clothing worn by Milton during his dance gigs, including his hat, many nametags, and suade fringe worn on his boots.

Oversize Box 1
Music Scrapbook, 1940s-2010s

This scrapbook contains a wealth of photographs, contracts, news clippings, ticket stubs, correspondence, and other information related to Milton's career as a dance fiddler and the many callers and musicians he worked with.

Oversize Box 2
Oxen and Bullfighting Scrapbooks, undated

One scrapbook contains extensive information about Milton's oxen, other local teamsters, and fairs across New England, as well as a ribbon he won with his team. The other contains misc. information on bullfighting, a sport in which Milton took a keen spectator's interest.



Genealogical Papers
Letters & Postcards
Newspapers & Publications
Photographs, Slides & Negatives