Posted by on Apr 19, 2014 |

In addition to learning that Lizzie lost Patrick to tuberculosis, we also uncovered two living addresses in Boston. Placing them onto a Google Map illustrates that both were located a few blocks apart from one another, not far from the present day Boston Garden. However, comparing the proximity of these two addresses to a third one, 149 Staniford Street, adds a significant piece to our story.

The first time that I saw this map, with the M.C.A. Cigar factory smack dab in the middle of it, I assumed that Patrick must have worked there. But that theory quickly fell apart when comparing it with two dates: Goldsmith, Silver & Co.’s incorporation date (EST 1896) and the establishment of the M.C.A. brand (EST 1899). Since both were formed after Patrick’s death (1894), he couldn’t have worked there. Right?

Re-reading the 1916 Tobacco World Volume 36 (1916) article offered some insight:

The Goldsmith-Silver Company a long-established
cigar manufacturing firm in Boston and producers of the
“M. C. A.” brand of cigars, celebrated the removal of their
factory from the old quarters in the Lockhart building at
149 Staniford Street to the new home at 1158 Tremont
Street, Roxbury, with a New Year party.

The company manufactured the “M. C. A.” cigar at the
old location for twenty-six years, having been in existence
more than thirty years altogether, and the employees, many
of whom have been in its employ for the entire period,
regretted to leave the place made familiar through long

Something wasn’t adding up. According to this 1916 article, Goldsmith, Silver & Co. was manufacturing M.C.A. cigars “…for twenty-six years, having been in existence more than thirty years altogether…” which tells us that the company was formed in 1886 and that the factory began operations in 1890.

That’s when I discovered a typographical error in Project Lizzie’s first blog post. According to my notes, Goldsmith, Silver, & Co. was formed in 1886 (not 1896 as I originally stated), where it manufactured the 108 brand of cigar. The Massachusetts Cooperative Association (M.C.A brand) was subsequently formed on January 1, 1889 (as opposed to 1899). Fixing this “typo of a decade” cleared the way for the theory that Patrick too worked there.

Finally, adding these puzzle pieces to our story reveals that Patrick, Lizzie, and Edward moved to Boston from Montreal about 1890, where Patrick probably went to work at the newly-opened M.C.A. Cigar Factory. During his employment, the Milligan family lived at two Boston locations: 200 Friend Street (1892), situated 3 blocks east of the factory, and 1 Lynde Street (1894), located 2 blocks south of it.

Patrick died in 1894, putting a tremendous strain on a young, single mom in a foreign city. It’s likely that Patrick’s four years employment at the factory, coupled with Lizzie’s cigar-making lineage, created an opportunity for her to work at the factory until at least 1920, and maybe longer.

This part of the journey taught me that I need to be more careful. While researching events that happened a century ago, it’s easy to jump recklessly from decade to decade, transposing numbers along the way. And although remaining diligent with regards to note-taking and references can help fix such problems, it’s easier to not make them in the first place.


  • According to web-based protocol, I have gone back to the first post and updated the information by striking out the mistaken dates and replacing them with corrected ones.

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