The state historical landmark for Milton identifies the town’s namesake as Milton Latham, the “construction engineer” of the Stockton and Copperopolis Railroad which arrived there on the 4th of July 1871. But Latham was a railroad financier and promoter not an engineer. He was also one of the most ambitious men in early California history–one of the state’s first U.S. Congressmen, our sixth governor, and one of our two U.S. Senators at the start of the Civil War. The town was created by the Stockton-Copperopolis Railroad, whose terminus of Milton ended up far short of Copperopolis. The boom and bust cycle of copper ensured that the railroad would go no farther and also halt the explosive growth of Milton in the 1870s. Other than its Masonic lodge, hardly a vestige remains today of what was one of the liveliest towns in Calaveras County.
by Sal Manna, 2010