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1 JIM MILLER 1886 - 1908 ARCHIVE OF HANDWRITTEN AND TYPESCRIPT LETTERS BACK HOME FROM AN INTELLIGENT, OBSERVANT SENIOR MINER WRITING HOME FROM THE WILDS OF IDAHO AND SOUTH AFRICA AND THE HORRORS OF THE BOER WAR
COUR D'LENE IDAHO JOHANNESBURG SOUTH AFRICA 1886 Very Good+ Autograph
On offer is a sensational archive of 18 multi page letters, most handwritten and some typescript, from Jim Miller to his mother and sister. Mr. Miller was a senior gold and silver miner who had worked in the western United States and in Africa mostly. The letters, some on company letterhead, date from 1886 to 1908 and each are several pages long and diary-like having great content. Mr. Miller is an intelligent and charismatic writer detailing his work and adventures and the archive is especially rich regarding his times working for one of the largest mining operations in Southern Africa during the Boer War. He has many, many striking insights, observations and comments regarding the conflict. Here are some snippets: "I started out in the summer on a prospecting trip got so far into the mountains that I didn't know where I was, went all by guess had no idea where I would come out and cared less. Came out finally at Lewistown on the line of Washington and Idaho Territory after traveling about five hundred miles over the toughest part of the territory. Had no particular place to go so I came to the Cour D'lene to seek my fortune. The town of Wardner is less than a year old and has over one thousand inhabitants and still increasing. The biggest mines that have ever been found in Idaho are supposed to be those that worked in and around Wardner. This country is well represented by Black Hillers, the town is named after one of them. It is safe to say that one half of the people in the Cour D'lene country are from the hills. The first one that I have met since I left the hills was in Wardner. This is about like all other mining camps the principle business places are saloons and gambling halls with a few stores. The English papers would lead one to believe that British and Boer have shook hands and agree to be friends, that day will never come. When the Boer prisoner returns to his farm and finds only the remains of his house what was once his happy home, it will take years and years if ever they do, forget the useless destruction of their homes. He is going to invite you to spend the summer with them and they would take a trip through the national park. I would like to have you go and I will pay all expenses. It will be your first chance to visit the western country and maybe George might invite you to stop at Denver, the only city in the west. Labour troubles both white and black strikes are the order of the day. If it was not for the Martial law one would not know that the country was in a state of war, although there are plenty of columns moving about this district, about all they seem to do is travel back and forth over the same road. It is reported that all the Boer leaders are being wined and dined by the British at various centers entertained at the expense of the British taxpayer. Rumor, there is a possibility of a general surrender under the terms offered, anxious for peace before the coronation. This is a much larger mine then I was on in the states. It is now the third largest gold producing mine in Africa provided we get sufficient native labour it will be the largest Gold Producing Mine in the world, we employ 500 white men and 3000 native. When the reports of the San Francisco disaster reached Johannesburg there were many anxious people waiting telegrams from Fathers Mothers Sisters or Brothers who were living in or near the city. I know the part that was destroyed really better than I know Joliet. Have been in Spokane four weeks trying to settle up some business. The Superintendent at the mines is more despised than Cleveland and he is considered the meanest man in the United States. The Sup has to have a body guard. I intend to start for Lewiston Idaho tomorrow expect will have a time getting there as the streams are rising very fast. The snow has been very heavy in the mountains this winter. We started to unwater the mine, pumping and hauling at the rate of one million gallans per 24 hours, I am unable to say how long it will take. Had a breakdown in one of the shafts and it took weeks to repair it. During that time kept the mill running from one shaft. That was the most trying time I have ever had on a mine. Can buy a woman in this country for 200 dollars in Mexican money, good able bodied one quite capable of doing a mans work. While waiting at Elk City for supplies I received work from Mr Clement offering me a good position in Africa. The principle topic of the day is the unsettled question of the importation of unskilled labour there is one thing certain they can not work this country without plenty of cheap unskilled labour. The mining industry of this country is only in its infancy. It is impossible to get sufficient native labour for the natives will not work. Not being able to get up to the mines has been a great disappointment. One consolation there are thousands of others in the same fix. The less the british people say about this war the more they will shine, for they have nothing to be proud of. They have been the laughing stock of the world. It seems the British Army are like their women, give them time and they will finish it. There have been several instances where the Boers have surrounded and captured parties of British while the officers were enjoying a dance. Of course that is not allowed to be made public. Those in the field know everything is lost and they will continue the guerilla war as long as they know their families are well provided for the by the British. Some of the preachers who are encouraging them were taken out and shot, as they have done with some Boers who went on commando again after being released. Everyone outside of military are thoroughly sick and disgusted with the whole business." Included with the archive of letter is a small account book kept by his sister in the early 1900s and a cabinet card of Mr. Miller. Overall VG+. 
Price: 2485.99 USD
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