Manuscript Group 62
The papers of Harry and Argenta Miller were donated to the University of Idaho Library on March 16, 1970, by their granddaughter Lois (Mrs. Bert) Scholz of Colfax, Washington. They were processed by Judith Nielsen in June 1985.
Harry (born Hezekiah) Miller was born September 26, 1868, in Alvin, Illinois, the fourth of five children, and the only son of Ambrose and Mary (Ballah) Miller. At the age of 19 he migrated first to Aberdeen, Washington, then to Olympia where he was em ployed carrying mail on horseback between Olympia and Montesano. Later he came to the Palouse country where he worked on a farm near Colfax until coming to the St. Joe Valley in 1891. In 1898 he married Argenta Scott and the couple moved to Spokane where he worked in the Phoenix Sawmill. In 1903 they returned, with their small daughter, to the St. Joe Valley where they lived for 60 years on a 230 acre ranch. In 1955 infirmities of age forced them to sell the ranch and move into St. Maries where he died on January 22, 1964.
Ada Argenta (Scott) Miller was born October 2, 1878 in Missouri, the fifth of seven children of Francis (Frank) Gale and Amy Jane (Hicks) Scott. When she was three the family traveled first by rail to San Francisco, then by boat to Portland, and finall y by wagon to Crescent, near Cheney, Washington. Her father worked at several jobs in the area, then in 1885 he moved the family to the St. Joe Valley where he acquired extensive land holdings. He also built the first log schoolhouse which was located on the bank of the St. Maries River near the junction with the St. Joe. After graduating from this school Argenta obtained a teachers certificate and taught for a time in Harrison, Idaho. On October 12, 1898 she married Harry Miller; they had one daughter. H arry's rheumatism and her lameness as the result of a broken hip in 1955 caused them to sell their ranch on the St. Joe in 1959 and move into St. Maries where she died in 1969.
The papers of Harry and Argenta Miller span the years 1898 to 1969, with the bulk of the material covering the years 1930 to 1965.
The papers include personal correspondence, Christmas and other greeting cards, picture postcards, property tax receipts, promissory notes, mortgage and lease agreements, the will of Harry Miller, Scott family records and the 1955 correspondence of Amy Belle Scott, Argenta Miller's diary and bird watching notebook plus her reminiscences of moving to the St. Joe Valley, two autograph books, one from 1894-96 with poems written by her school friends, the other the guest book from the Miller's 60th wedding anniversary party, funeral memorial books for Amy Belle Scott and Harry Miller, a poem entitled "The Bachelors of St. Joe," and a large collection of photographs, including some tintypes, of Scott and Miller family and friends, and the descendants of Har ry and Argenta.
The earliest letter is from Harry (then known as Hezekiah) to Argenta prior to their marriage. The 15 letters of Orland Scott, author of Pioneer Days on the Shadowy St. Joe, to his sister Argenta, which were written between 1955 an d 1969, contain many reminiscences of their childhood.
The Amy Belle Scott papers include her 1915 divorce degree, family birth records, stock certificates, and some 1955 correspondence, including one letter from her brother Orland.
Also included with the game licenses and membership cards in folder 38 are a newspaper clipping and pamphlet dealing with Argenta's fractured hip, a list of boats that have sailed the St. Joe River, and a booklet "The Mann's Chapel Country" the story o f a pioneer church near the town where Harry Miller grew up.
The personal correspondence was arranged by year only, with separate folders created for special events; in October 1955 Argenta Miller fell and broke her hip and the cards she received are in a separate folder. Likewise the sympathy cards she received when Harry died in 1964 are separate from the rest of the 1964 correspondence. Separate folders at the end of the correspondence file contain Christmas cards and picture postcards. Christmas cards containing family portraits are in this series.
The financial material was sorted by type and the contents of each folder are arranged chronologically. The same system was used for the legal material.
Many of the photographs were tied together in bunches with broad identifications, e.g., "Friends and unidentified folk, not relatives." These groups were kept together in folders and the identifiers modified and used as folder headings. Many of the pic tures were not identified, and the majority were undated.
All greeting cards and post cards without messages were discarded as were religious tracts, souvenir booklets of California and Florida, bank statements, canceled checks, invoices, and receipts. The exception to these last items are the 1905-1926 check s for over $100.00, checks made out to the Scott family or banks, and receipts for payments on bank notes, land purchases, and taxes, all of which were retained with other financial material. In all, about 1 c.f. of material was removed.
I. Correspondence, 1898-1969 1
II. Financial Records, 1903-1966 1
III. Legal Items, 1903-1960 1
IV. Other Papers, 1894-1964 1-2
V. Photographs, ca. 1880-1964 2
Box Folder Description Items
1 1-14 Letters and greeting cards, 1898-1969 385 15-16 Christmas Cards, 1930-1968 98 17 Picture postcards, 1910-1965 48
18 Road Poll Tax, 1908-1910 3 19-20 Property Taxes, 1921-1961 84 21 Income Tax Return, 1959 1 22 Hay Sale Records Book, 1936-1937 3 23 Promissory Notes, 1903-1934 59 24 Bank Savings pass books, 1910-1966 6 25 Canceled checks, 1906-1926 103 26 Receipts, 1905-1925 14 27 Medical bills for broken hip, 1955-1956 13
28 Property Agreements (mortgages, leases) 1903-1956 16 29 Release & Option for crop damage, 1942-1949 2 30 Sale of Ranch, 1959-1960 8 31 Will of Harry Miller & Burial Plot Deed, 1934-1953 3
32-33 Amy Belle Scott papers & letters, 1915-1955 24 34 Argenta Scott's memoirs & diary, 1954-1959 3 35 Harry Miller's family birth records 2 36 Autograph books, 1894-1896; 1958 2 2 37 Insurance policies and receipts, 1935-1960 3 38 Game licenses, membership cards and other papers, 1913-1963 17 39 Funeral memorial books, 1955-1964 5 40 Poem, "The Bachelors of St. Joe." n.d. 1
41 Francis Gale & Amy Jane (Hicks) Scott, n.d. 4 42 Harry & Argenta (Scott) Miller, 1898-1964 15 43 Ardis (Miller) Cook, 1906-1925 12 44 Ardis Cook and her family, 1933-1946 35 45 Lois (Cook) Sholz and her family, 1947-1958 3 2 46 Doris (Cook) Polli, 1950-1956 7 47 Harry Cook, ca. 1946 1 48 Phillip Cook and his family, 193?-1957 13 49 Harry & Argenta Miller and family groups, 1945-1961 13 50 Relatives of the Millers, 1945-1958 17 51 Scott family relations, ca. 1900 3 52 Amy Belle Scott, n.d. 3 53 Orland Scott and Family, n.d. 6 54 Frank Elmer Scott and Family, 18-?-1958 26 55 Harry Miller's Relatives, ca. 1880 20 56 Harry Miller's Friends, ca. 1880 4 57 Hicks family relations, n.d. 14 58 Scott and Hicks family & friends, (tintypes), n.d. 34 59 Miller's Ranch house on St. Joe, ca. 1950 9 60 Stacking hay on Miller farm, ca. 1910-1950 4 61 Harry & Argenta's neighbors, 1885-1930 26 62 Scenic views of the St. Joe area, ca. 1910-1940 15 63 Birthday party for Mrs. Emma Ross, 1958 13 64 Ferrell Women's Club, ca. 1930 1 65 Miller relative's Florida scrapbook & photos, 1925 8 66 Unidentified children, n.d. 25 67 Unidentified individuals, n.d. 7 68 Unidentified family groups, n.d. 22 69 Unidentified farm scenes, n.d. 9