Creator: Miles, Orison, 1806-1897

Provenance Note: Letters, papers, and photographs collected or created by members of the Orison Miles family of Bozeman, Montana, were donated to Special Collections following their discovery the attic of the home of Josie Miles on South Black Street, Bozeman, Montana, by Merrill G. Burlingame in the fall of 1976.

Historical Note: Orison Miles (1806-1897) was an early pioneer of Gallatin County, Montana. He was born on July 3, 1806 in Croyden, New Hampshire and lived for a time in Plainfield, Illinois before leaving that place for the Montana gold fields in 1864. He prospected in the Virginia City and Helena areas in addition to practicing his trade as a blacksmith. In 1872 Miles moved to Bozeman where he lived the remainder of his life. He and his wife, Samantha, had 11 children, only four of which survived him including Josie Miles and Philander "Fred" Miles of Helena. Orison Miles died on March 6, 1897 at his home in Bozeman.

Content Description Note: The Orison Miles family papers include 21 letters written between 1868 and 1900 to Miles or his daughter, Josie, from friends and relatives in Vermont, Illinois, and Montana. Some of the letters were written by Philander while he lived in Helena with his wife, Louisa Russel Miles during the 1870s and 1880s. One letter, dated Helena, March 14, 1882, was written by Cornelius Hedges to Orison Miles to accompany a repayment of a debt. There are also two handmade Christmas cards sent to Josie Miles, an invitation from Mrs. Lester S. Willson for a reception at her home in 1899 which includes a calling card from Bishop Daniel S. Tuttle, miscellaneous family papers, and four photographs, probably of Orison, Philander, and Louisa Miles, taken by photographer E. H. (Earl) Train of Helena, Montana. The papers have been arranged in topically labeled folders. The letters have been numbered sequentially, with matching envelopes bearing the same letter number.


Box 1
1. Letters, 1868-1879 (1-7)
2. Letters, 1880-1889 (8-14)
3. Letters, 1890-1898 (15-18)
4. Letters, 1900, n.d., unmatched envelopes (19-21)
5. Invitation from Mrs. Lester S. Willson, 1899
6. Miscellaneous documents
7. Photographs, ca. 1870-1880s
   #1. [Orison Miles?]
   #2. [Philander Miles?]
   #3. [Louisa Russel Miles?]
   #4. [Louisa Russel Miles?]

Contents | Special Collections

Updated: 3/5/09