James H. and Mary E. Miller family collection, 1843-1933 (majority within 1852-1888)
Using These Materials
- The collection is open for research.
- Miller family
- This collection is made up of correspondence and other materials related to James H. Miller and his wife, Mary E. Waggener, who lived in Missouri and Kansas in the mid- to late 19th century. The Millers received letters from Elizabeth Miller, James's mother, who discussed her life in LaRue County, Kentucky, before, during, and after the Civil War. James H. Miller wrote to his wife and children about his experiences with the 3rd Missouri Cavalry Regiment during the Civil War.
- 145 items
- Collection processed and finding aid created by Clements Staff and Meg Hixon, March 2014
- Scope and Content:
This collection is made up of correspondence and other materials related to James H. Miller and his wife, Mary E. Waggener, who lived in Missouri and Kansas in the mid- to late 19th century.
The Correspondence series (104 items) consists of incoming letters to James H. and Mary E. Miller from family members in various states, as well as letters from James H. to Mary E. Miller. Approximately 40 letters date from the Civil War years.
Elizabeth Miller, the Millers' most frequent correspondent, wrote to her son and daughter-in-law from Hodgenville, Kentucky, and other LaRue County locales throughout the mid- to late 19th century. Most of Miller's letters refer to her health and to news of family members and friends. She sometimes discussed the hardships she faced during and immediately after the Civil War. She mentioned the draft of September 1864, the Union Army's efforts to enlist African Americans, and tensions between Union and Confederate supporters during and after the war; in her letter of March 31, 1867, she commented on the perception that Reconstruction legislation favored African Americans over whites and noted that whites would object to African Americans testifying against them in court or serving on juries.
James H. Miller wrote letters home to his wife and children while serving with the 3rd Missouri Cavalry Regiment in Missouri and Arkansas between 1863 and 1865. Though he missed his family, he felt a sense of duty toward the Union and hoped that his relatives and friends in Kentucky also supported the federal cause; many of his letters are written on stationery with patriotic poems and illustrations. Miller discussed movements between camps and sometimes mentioned encounters with Confederate troops. His letters frequently contain reports on fellow soldiers, including members of the Waggener family, and his responses to news from home (such as his wife's dental problems). Mary E. Miller also received a letter from her brother William during his recuperation from an unknown injury or illness at Washington Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee (July 14, 1864).
The Millers' other correspondents included James's brother Fielding, who lived in Farmerville, Louisiana, in the mid- late 1840s, and one of the executors of Fielding's estate. John G. W. Duffey and his son James, an uncle and cousin, wrote from Hernando, Mississippi, commenting on farming and the progress of their crops. Their letters also contain remarks on the 1852 presidential election and, in one instance, Southern attitudes toward African Americans and the poor (July 8, 1854). Additional postwar items include letters that the Millers received from their children and other relatives in Nebraska, Kentucky, and other locations as late as 1911. The final item is a letter from Bertha Waggener to a cousin regarding the death of her mother (March 29, 1933). The series also contains a religious essay, "The Chariot," that James H. Miller wrote in the mid-1840s.
The Documents and Financial Records series (22 items) includes an employment record of James H. Miller, listing missed days of work in the early 1840s. Many of the remaining items are tax receipts from the Millers' time in Lewis County, Missouri, and Phillips County, Kansas. Other items include a promissory note addressed to Elizabeth Miller (August 28, 1848), copied legal documents, an undated property inventory (partially completed), and a document certifying James H. Miller's election as constable of Highland, Missouri (August 12, 1854).
The Notebook, which belonged to James H. Miller, contains accounts and notes related to Miller's Civil War service, partly related to clothing and supplies. A document about Miller's temporary appointment as head of his class is laid into the volume (May 3, 1844).
The Poetry series (6 items) includes 4 poems that James H. Miller sent to his wife while serving with the 3rd Missouri Cavalry Regiment during the Civil War. His poems concern aspects of soldier's lives, such as their remembrance of loved ones and their duty to the cause. One sheet contains an undated poem about death by David Miller. The final item is an unsigned 1847 poem concerning conflicts between British soldiers in Canada and Yankee troops.
The Recipes series (3 items) contains instructions for making a cure for dropsy, lemon jelly, and soap and blue ink. The final two recipes, written on a single sheet, are attributed to George Wilson (July 26, 1870).
The Genealogy series (7 items) is made up of notes related to the Miller and Bell families, including lists of birthdates, death dates, and marriages. Gilead Ann Miller, the daughter of James H. and Mary E. Miller, married into the Bell family.
The Printed Items series (2 items) consists of a fragment from a reward notice concerning the abduction of a young boy named Charlie Brewster Ross (undated) and a copy of the Christian Banner (2.6, September 1863).
- Biographical / Historical:
James H. Miller was born in Kentucky in 1827, the son of Elizabeth Miller (b. 1787). He married Mary Eliza Waggener (1832-1916), the daughter of James M. Waggener, on February 24, 1848. They moved to Elm Grove and Gilead, Missouri, in the early 1850s and later lived in Long Island, Kansas. The Millers had ten children, including David J., Gilead Ann, Mary E., Leanora, Alice, Lyda, and Joseph. During the Civil War, James H. Miller served in Missouri and Arkansas with the 3rd Missouri Cavalry Regiment. He died in 1913.
- Acquisition Information:
- Donated by Marjorie Miller, 1990. M-2588 .
- Processing information:
Cataloging funded by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC). This collection has been processed according to minimal processing procedures and may be revised, expanded, or updated in the future.
The collection is arranged in the following series:
- Series I: Correspondence
- Series II: Documents and Financial Records
- Series III: Notebook
- Series IV: Poetry
- Series V: Recipes
- Series VI: Genealogy
- Series VII: Printed Items
Each series is arranged chronologically, with undated items placed at the end.
- Rules or Conventions:
- Finding aid prepared using Describing Archives: A Content Standard (DACS)
Click on terms below to find any related finding aids on this site.
Reconstruction (U.S. history, 1865-1877)
Receipts (financial records)
United States. Army. Missouri Cavalry Regiment, 3rd (1861-1865)
Duffey, James P.
Duffey, John G. W.
Miller, James H., 1827-1913.
Miller, Mary E. Waggener, 1832-1916.
Waggener, William T.
Arkansas--History--Civil War, 1861-1865.
Kentucky--History--Civil War, 1861-1865.
Larue County (Ky.)
Missouri--History--Civil War, 1861-1865.
United States--History-Civil War, 1861-1865--Poetry.
Using These Materials
The collection is open for research.
- USE & PERMISSIONS:
Copyright status is unknown
- PREFERRED CITATION:
James H. and Mary E. Miller Family Collection, William L. Clements Library, The University of Michigan