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Josiah Miller papers

 Collection
Call Number: RH MS 4

Overview

This collection contains the papers of Kansas free state activist Josiah Miller, dating from 1854-1870 and those of various members of his family, dating from 1840-1912.

Dates

  • 1840 - 1912

Creator

Conditions Governing Access

No access restrictions.

Conditions Governing Use

Original letter from Josiah Miller to his parents, located at RH VLT MS P10, is available to view with curatorial permission. Please use the copy available at RH MS P901.

Spencer Library staff may determine use restrictions dependent on the physical condition of manuscript materials.

Biography of Josiah Miller

Josiah Miller (1828-1870) was prominent in the early history of Kansas when it was being settled by Euro-Americans. It has been asserted that it was he who proposed the motto which was included on the State Seal of Kansas ("Ad Astra per aspera," or "To the stars through difficulties"), but this is not fully documented. His business interests, which contributed to the growth of the city of Lawrence, included the publication of the Kansas Free State newspaper (1855-1856) with Robert G. Elliott, original membership in the Lawrence Bridge Company, one-third ownership of the bridge charter across the Kansas River, and corporate partnership in the Leavenworth, Lawrence and Galveston Railroad.

Miller's political activities were closely associated with the Free State movement in Kansas, or those who did not want slavery to enter the new territory. He was a member of the first state senate that met in 1861 and he later served in the state senate in 1866.

A brief biographical outline follows:

1828
Born, South Carolina, November 12, 1828, to Robert H. and Susannah (McAlliley) Miller
1851
Graduate, Indiana University (then law school), Poughkeepsie, New York
1854
Married Agnes B. Carlisle, Bloomington, Indiana, January 3, 1854
1855
Published first issue, Kansas Free State (January 3, 1855) with his partner, Robert G. Elliott
1856
Press destroyed May 21, 1856 by proslavery men during sacking of Lawrence.
Arrested by South Carolina's General Buford, acquitted. Left Lawrence to go east and campaign for presidential election of William Fremont.
Returned to Lawrence in the fall of 1856
1857
Probate Judge, Douglas County, Kansas Territory
1861
Member, first state legislature; resigned to become Lawrence postmaster
1861-1863
Lawrence postmaster
1863
Paymaster, U.S. Army with rank of major
1866
Elected to Kansas state legislature
1870
Died, July 7, Lawrence

Extent

.75 Linear Feet (2 document cases + 3 folders, 4 volumes)

Scope and Contents

The collection contains correspondence, reminiscences, business papers, account books, legal documents, deeds, mortgages, and land transfers. The bulk of the papers that concern Josiah Miller and date to the 1850s and 1860s, when Miller was active in the free state cause, are housed in two volumes. The collection also contains records related to other Miller family members, particularly Josiah's father Robert H., his brothers William and George and his niece Lena (Miller) Owen (daughter of William); and his wife Agnes.

Volumes and photographs have been physically separated from the loose manuscript material. Materials were purchased or donated from several manuscript dealers and a Miller family member; this information is noted throughout the finding aid.

Physical Location

RH MS 4

Physical Location

RH VLT MS P10

Physical Location

RH MS P901

Physical Location

RH MS C24

Physical Location

RH MS E55 - RH MS E57

Physical Location

RH MS-P 4

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift, Mrs. E.M. Owen, 1956; Purchases, Smoky Hill Booksellers, 1963-64 and 1972; N. Flaydemer & Co.

Separated Materials

Kansas Valley Fair Association collection, RH MS P125, Kenneth Spencer Research Library, University of Kansas

Creator

Source

Title
Guide to the Josiah Miller Collection
Subtitle
Josiah Miller papers
Author
Finding aid prepared by ln, 1964 and lgg, 1973 (revised by sfw, 4/1983); mh, 2004. Finding aid encoded by mg, 2004. Finding aid revised by skt, 2010; mwh, 2019.
Date
2004
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Finding aid written in English.
Finding aid permalink
http://hdl.handle.net/10407/1569965884
Preferred citation
Josiah Miller Collection, RH MS 4, Kenneth Spencer Research Library, University of Kansas.

Repository Details

Part of the University of Kansas. Kenneth Spencer Research Library Repository

Contact:
1450 Poplar Lane
Lawrence KS 66045-7616 United States
785-864-4334