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John Milner, the father of Edwin Milner, married Charlotte Dews, to whom were born four children: Edwin, Hannah, wife of Christopher Richardson, of Newark, New Jersey; Sarah, deceased, and John H., of Moosup, who married Mary Fidler. Edwin, the eldest of these children, was born in Horbury, Yorkshire, England, December 1st, 1842, and in his fourth year emigrated with his parents to America, landing in Boston, from whence they soon after removed to East Greenwich, Rhode Island, and resided in that borough until 1854.
In 1856 Westerly in the same state became the home of the family, where at the age of nine years the lad entered a woolen mill, and in due time became familiar with the process of manufacturing woolen goods. In his nineteenth year an interval was spent at school, and a thorough knowledge of the English branches obtained, after which the business of his life-that of a woolen manufacturer-was resumed. In 1863 he was employed by the Pequot Manufacturing Company at Montville, Connecticut, and in 1865 removed to Old Lyme, Connecticut, where under the firm name of John Milner & Son, he embarked in manufacturing. Returning again to Westerly, Mr. Milner engaged with his father in the purchase and sale of wool, and in 1874, on formin-, a copartnership with D. L. Aldrich, he began the manufacture of woolen goods at Plainville, Richmond Switch, Rhode Island. The property was sold in 1.880, and the firm became owners of the mills at Moosup, to which point he removed the following year. To this enterprise Mr. Milner has since given his attention, and by his thorough knowledge of details, brought the mills to a high state of excellence in their productions. Three hundred hands are employed in the various departments, and the woolen fabrics manufactured find a ready market in New York city.
The subject of this biography has been and is still actively interested in the political movements of the day, and a prominent figure in the ranks of the republican party. His services have been given to the cause of protection as opposed to free trade, in which it is his belief lies the salvation of American industries. He represented his town in the Connecticut house of representatives in 1887, and served as chairman of the committee on state prisons. He is an earnest advocate of all measures for the encouragement of education, and a member of the school committee of Moosup. He is connected by membership with Christ Protestant Episcopal church of Westerly. Mr. Milner was on the 17th of April, 1867, married to Sarah M., daughter of Darius Harding, of Old Lyme, Connecticut. Their two children are both deceased, their son Edwin having died in his eleventh year.