Collection Dates: 1849 -- 1903
(Bulk Dates: 1862 -- 1865)
This document describes a collection of materials held
Special Collections Department
University of Iowa Libraries
Iowa City, Iowa 52242-1420
Posted to Internet: February 1998
Acquisition Note: The papers of James Miller were donated to the University of Iowa Libraries in 1981 by Mrs. Margaret M. Claussen.
Access and Restrictions: This collection is open for research.
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James Miller (1824
-- 1894) was born in Scotland. He immigrated to the United States by way of
Canada. In September of 1851, he became a U.S. citizen. He was living in Pennsylvania
and working as a master mechanic at that time. He later moved to Illinois and
farmed near Channahon in Wills County. Miller helped raise Company G (Mechanics
Fusiliers), 56th Illinois Volunteers. Because of a technicality, it was mustered
out in January 1862. Miller then went to Cairo, Illinois and enlisted as a fireman
in the Western Gunboat Flotilla of the Navy. On March 1, 1862, he was promoted
to Chief Engineer. Discharged from the military in September 1865, Miller returned
to Illinois and went to work as an engineer at the Joliet State Prison. In charge
of all machinery, he served as chief engineer for twenty-five years. While there,
he was responsible for the invention of certain improvements in feed water heaters
and purifiers for boilers. He later invented an important part for blast furnaces.
The papers of James
Miller consist of fifty items covering the years 1849 to 1903 and concerning
his Civil War service and later inventions. Most of the documents pertain to
Millers tour of duty in the U.S. Navy on the Mississippi River from 1862
to 1865. Included are such items as benefit claims and military service records.
Some of these documents were signed by Gideon Welles, David D. Porter, and William
D. Porter. Finally, there are materials relating to his mechanical inventions
and a copy of his marriage certificate.
Documents pertaining to Miller's tour of duty in the U.S. Navy and later benefit claims, 1862 -- 1879, including documents signed by Gideon Welles, David D. Porter, and William D. Porter. (32 items)
Military service records and claims, 1849 -- 1903. Xerox copies from the National Archives, including a copy of Miller's certificate of marriage. (11 items)
Miller Heater and Purifier Company, 1888. (8 items)