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Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Sometimes History Is What You Can't Disprove

There are two opposing camps in Milton, Delaware: one that thinks the town was named for its long history as a mill town, and another that thinks it was named for poet John Milton. At a recent gathering held to mark the bicentennial of the naming, one of the factions heard some good news.

Near the end of the evening, Milton resident and poet Jamie Brown, owner of the John Milton & Co. bookstore and the founder of the annual John Milton Memorial Celebration of Poets and Poetry, said he had more proof - a first reference to Milton in the letter of a man who had emigrated from Delaware to Iowa around 1840, talking about how the town named Milton in Iowa was named after the town he had left that had been named for the poet.
Delaware Public Archives Director Russ McCabe had some words of wisdom for those who remained unconvinced.
“For now, if you want to believe the town is named for the mills, you can. If you want to believe it was named for the poet you can. Sometimes history isn’t so much what you can prove – it’s what you can’t disprove,” McCabe said. [Link]

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