Guide to the Ellen Spaulding Miller Papers,​ 1863,​ 1870-​1887

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Summary Information

Title: Ellen Spaulding Miller Papers

Inclusive Dates: 1863

Inclusive Dates: 1870-1887

Creator: Miller, Ellen Spaulding, 1843-

Call Number: Eau Claire Mss BF

Quantity: 0.2 c.f. (1 archives box)

Repository: Housed at the Area Research Center, William D. McIntyre Library, University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire; owned by the Wisconsin Historical Society, Library-Archives Division

Archival Locations: UW-Eau Claire McIntyre Library / Eau Claire Area Research Ctr. 

Abstract: Papers of a woman who lived in Eau Claire, Wisconsin in the 1870s. The collection consists largely of letters, written principally by Ellen Spaulding Miller to family members who probably lived in New York. The letters reflect domestic life, family relationships, economic conditions, lumbering, religious revivals, and health conditions in the lumbering capital of northwestern Wisconsin. The Spaulding papers also include the booklet The Christian Minister's Affectionate Advice to a Married Couple (circa 1863), eight issues of Every Child's Paper - a children's Sunday School paper, and two photographs of Jefferson Miller, Ellen Miller's husband.

Language: English

Search Terms/Subject Terms

  • Miller, Jefferson
  • Every child’s paper
  • The Christian minister’s affectionate advice to a married couple
  • Lumbering—Wisconsin—Eau Claire
  • Revivals—Wisconsin—Eau Claire
  • Women—Wisconsin—Social conditions 


Ellen E. Spaulding was born in New York state on January 7, 1843, the daughter of Ryland and Eleanor Angle Spaulding. She married Jefferson Miller in an evening ceremony performed by Pastor L. Cowler of the Congregational Church in Randolph, New York, on February 23, 1863. The couple had three children: Mira, born March 12,

1865; Carrie, born February 20, 1869; and Frank (called “Budgie”), born November 7, 1876. The Millers moved to the city of Eau Claire by the late summer of 1870, traveling by steamboat from the port in Illinois. The family remained in Eau Claire until after Ellen's death from pneumonia in the mid-1880s, when Jefferson moved to a farm near Thorp in Clark County. He remarried in 1889, and died in 1910 of Brights' (kidney) disease. Jefferson Miller is buried in Bateman Cemetery in the Town of LaFayette, Chippewa County, Wisconsin.

Scope and Content Note

This collection of letters is not comprehensive, yet it provides a clear view of the times and of domestic and family life in the early 1870s. Most of the letters were written by Ellen to her parents and sisters Bertha and Birdie. Jefferson Miller wrote a few of the letters. Most of the detailed information in the collection relates to the subjects of everyday life such as the weather, flower gardens, travels back to New York, and family health. In many instances, however, these mundane details are related to more far-reaching events such as epidemics, floods, religious revivals, and hard frosts. The state of agriculture in the area also received detailed treatment, with a discussion of land prices, commodity prices, credit terms, and crops raised. The Grange farm organization is also mentioned briefly. In addition, the letters contain information regarding tenant housing, specialized health care, general economic conditions, and operation of the Eau Claire Lumber Company. Unfortunately, many letters lack complete dates.

Administrative/Restriction Information

Acquisition Information 

Presented by Maxine M. Swanson, Alma, Wisconsin, March 1984. Accession Number: M84-181

Processing Information 

Processed by Allan Patek and Richard L. Pifer, 1985.

Contents List

CorrespondenceBox/Folder 1/1Dated, July 7, 1870 - September 28, 1887 Box/Folder 1/2Partially dated (only month and day) Box/Folder 1/3Undated Box/Folder 1/4Advice to a Married Couple, by James Bean Box/Folder 1/5Every Child's PaperBox/Folder 1/6Photographs of Jefferson MillerBox/Folder 1/7Transcripts of these letters, additional photocopied photos, and a biographical introduction by Sally Spaulding