Guide to the Miller Brothers, Inc. Records
1894-1966

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Overview of the Collection

Creator: Miller Brothers, Inc.
Title: Miller Brothers, Inc. Records
Dates: 1894-1966 ( inclusive )
Quantity: 6 linear feet of shelf space
Collection Number: MC 121
Summary: Miller Brothers, Inc. was a Chinook, Cleveland, and Lloyd, Montana, sheep and cattle ranch operated by Henry G. Miller, his brother Chris D. Miller, and G.T. "Ted" Westin, son-in-law of Chris Miller. Records (1894-1966) include general correspondence, court papers, legal documents, and financial records documenting the operation of the ranch; and materials on the First National Bank of Chinook, which the Millers helped organize in 1909.
Repository: Montana Historical Society Archives

225 N. Roberts
PO Box 201201
Helena MT 59620-1201
(406) 444-4774
mhslibrary@mt.gov

Sponsor: Funding for encoding this finding aid was provided through a grant awarded by the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Historical Note

In 1890, Peter Miller (b. 1848) traveled from Crawford County, Iowa to Montana and purchased 160 acres of land in the Bear Paw Mountains area, creating the nucleus of what was to become one of the largest ranches in the state. Miller, a German immigrant, was joined in partnership by his two sons, Henry George (b. 1875) and Christopher D. (b. 1877), the name Miller Brothers being chosen for their ranching business. Both sons were born in Iowa, near Dennison, and a close tie was maintained to the Miller (or Moeller) family which remained there. When Peter Miller retired and left the ranch operation in the hands of his sons, he returned to Iowa to live out his life. At the same time the Millers moved west, another family from Dennison, the Jurgen Kuhrs, came to settle in the Bear Paw area as their neighbors. Chris Miller was eventually to marry Carolyn Kuhr, thereby joining the land holdings of the two families. In later years, the Miller Brothers were assisted in the operation of the ranch by G. Ted Westin, who was married to Chris Miller's daughter, Lillian. Originally, Miller Brothers, Inc. was solely concerned with the production of sheep and wool, at one time maintaining five lambing camps. At its peak in the 1930s, the ranch operated nearly 345,000 acres (127,000 acres deeded land and 218,000 acres leased property) stretching from the Canadian border south for 75 miles. Due primarily to the poor market and labor difficulties involved in sheep raising, the Millers turned to the production of cattle. Finally in 1957, all sheep were sold and the business became exclusively a cattle ranch, all stock wearing the E Bar Y brand. Throughout the years, the company used the towns of Lloyd, Chinook and Cleveland on its letterhead for a mailing address. George and Chris Miller were active in the agricultural and economic development of Blaine and Chouteau Counties. They were involved in the formation of grazing districts, were members of state, national and local groups promoting livestock markets and production, and helped to organize the First National Bank of Chinook. This banking house served the area from 1909 until 193o when the assets were sold to the town's Farmers National Bank. Retirement came for the Miller Brothers in 1958 after 65 years of operation. At that time, the ranch, including 9,000 head of cattle, was sold to Wellington Rankin, who in turn sold the business for $3,000,000 to a syndicate. Henry and Chris remained in the Chinook area until their deaths in 1961 and 1968 respectively.

Content Description

This collection contains general correspondence, clippings, court records, legal documents, organizational materials, subject files, miscellany and financial records documenting the operation of Miller Brothers, Inc. A separate subgroup was created for the records of the First National Bank of Chinook containing general correspondence, financial records, legal documents and organizational materials for the years 1909-1931. The early years of the financial records of Miller Brothers are in an informal form, but offer substantial documentation concerning livestock prices, wool prices, shearing statistics, herd sizes and employee costs. The folders entitled "Livestock Sales" contain not only financial records, but also correspondence regarding shipments, etc. These were filed together when received and that arrangement was not altered during processing. For additional information on the Miller Brothers, see Small Collection 1515 which contains an oral history transcript of an interview done with Erwin Miller (Henry's son) and Lillian Miller Westin (Chris' daughter).

Administrative Information

Arrangement :

by series

Acquisition Information :  Acquisition Information:

available upon request


Detailed Description of the Collection

The following section contains a detailed listing of the materials in the collection

Miller Brothers,Inc. Subgroup
Container(s)
Description
Dates
General Correspondence
Box/Folder
1 / 1 Chronological (correspondents include A.J. Blakely; I.O.O.F., Bear Paw Lodge No. 55; Idaho Cotswold Ranch; Butterfield Livestock Company; John C. Duff; South St. Paul Commission Company; Chinook Public Schools) 1899-1917
1 / 2 Chronological (correspondents include J.W. Miller, Jr.; Commissioner of Internal Revenue; Blaine County; Jeremiah Williams and Company; Montana Wool Growers Association; Bogy Mercantile Company; Rosenbaum Brothers and Company; Chris D. Miller; Minnesota State Prison; F.A. Buttrey Company; Independence Consolidated Mines Company; Henry J. Moeller; C.R. Garner and Company; Hood Labor Office; J.B. Sedberry Inc.; Leonard Custom Tailors Company; Mrs. J.N. Gloyne; John K. Madsen; Great Falls National Bank; Huntsberger-Givens Company; Green Valley Stock Farm; L.P. Work and Company; Artic Fur Company; Edwin W. Spalding; Omaha Tanning Company; Thomas J. Smith; Harold Walters) 1920-1929
1 / 3 Chronological (correspondents include R. Montague Bickle; Mrs. Henry Hofeldt; Cascade Labor Office; Edwin W. Spalding; John Turcotte; C.F. Kreymborg; Bogy Mercantile Company; Williams and Pauly; Modern Woodmen of America; Moses Carry Water; Great Western Sheep and Wool Company; State Nursery and Seed Company; Niagara Fire Insurance Company; Montana Life Insurance Company; Rocky Mountain Fire Insurance Company; D.J. Sias; Gilbert C. Boles; Mrs. G.W. Davidson; Chris D. Miller; Chinook Lumber Company; Bemis Brothers Bag Company; Hill County State Bank; T.H. Schluter; Co-Operative Extension Work in Agriculture and Home Economics; Commercial Bank; John Clay and Company; Conklin Brothers Commission Company; J.S. Bocock and Sons; E.B. Duncan; Burton K. Wheeler; A.F. Lamey) 1930-1935
1 / 4 Chronological (correspondents include Emma B. Fry; George P. Arnold; John Levik; Crandells Prize Sheep Farms; Mary Olsen; Northwestern Mortgage Company; P.H. Gulden; E.B. Smith) 1936-1939
1 / 5 Chronological (correspondents include Oliver Z. Roe; Becker Hereford Ranch, Wilsall, Montana; Thompson's Anxiety Herefords; C.H. Perry; Anna Sullivan; George L. Morris; C-K Cattle Ranch; Gella Angson; Mary A. Pauly; Fordik and Turner;) 1940-1949
1 / 6 Chronological (correspondents include The Farmers National Bank in Chinook; Montana Deaconess Hospital; Hill County Electric Co-operative; Edwin Oberndorfer; National Titanium Company; Pan American Petroleum Corporation; Farmers Union Oil Company; Erwin P. Miller) 1951-1966
1 / 6 Chronological (correspondents include The Farmers National Bank in Chinook; Montana Deaconess Hospital; Hill County Electric Co-operative; Edwin Oberndorfer; National Titanium Company; Pan American Petroleum Corporation; Farmers Union Oil Company; Erwin P. Miller) 1951-1966
1 / 7 Undated (correspondents include John Sweeten; Bill Boardman; Anson McConnell; John W. Williams; American Sheep Breeder and Wool Grower; Adams Paint Company) n.d.
1 / 8 Ted Westin letterbox, A-C (correspondents include John Ackerman; Katherine Akre; Benner and Brown; George Benson; Blaine County; Frank Blery; Lottie Bodner; George H. Campbell; Campbell Coal Company; Capital Trust and Savings Bank) 1933-1937
1 / 9 Ted Westin letterbox, D-L (correspondents include R.J. Douglas; First National Bank of Negaunee, Michigan; First State Bank of Zurich; Catherine Halleran; Ira S. Harbolt; W.I. Hoover; Investors' Service Corporation; M.J. Kamrud; H.D. Kearns; W.J. Loomis; Melvin Lundberg) 1933-1937
1 / 10 Ted Westin letterbox, M-R (correspondents include C.W. Moore; Northwestern Mortgage Company; Alton Olson; Arvey Ramberg) 1933-1937
2 / 1 Ted Westin letterbox S-W 1933-1937
2 / 1 Ted Westin letterbox, S-W (correspondents include Peter Schaak; Albert Scherer; Security State Bank; John R. Siebrasse; Gladys M. Smith; Glenn Smithson; Mabel Stensing; Charles A. Straight; B.F. Tauffest; United States Bureau of Reclamation; John J. Wagner; Elsie Westlund; Esther Wiggin) 1933-1937
2 / 2 Ted Westin miscellaneous 1945-1951
Interoffice Correspondence
Box/Folder
2 / 3 Henry Miller to Chris Miller 1910
Clippings
Box/Folder
2 / 4 Livestock, prices, etc. 1913-1941 n.d.
Court Papers
Box/Folder
2 / 5 Miscellaneous (includes ) 1910-1957
Financial Records
Volume
Vol. 1 Account book and farm record 1899-1939
Box/Folder
2 / 6-8 Account ledgers 1898-1912
Box/Folder
3 / 1 Account ledger/journal - Gus Hansen, forman 1901-1911
Box/Folder
3 / 2-3 Account ledgers 1912-1929
Box/Folder
3 / 4 Account notebook (employees, Shearing) 1901-1904
Box/Folder
3 / 5 Account notebook (employees) 1906-1907
Box/Folder
4 / 1 Account notebook (employees, miscellaneous) 1907
Box/Folder
4 / 2 Account notebook (employees, shearing) 1915 1918-1923
Box/Folder
4 / 3 Account notebook (shearing, etc.) 1919 1923-1926
Box/Folder
4 / 4 Account notebooks (shearing, wool shipments) 1927-1930
Box/Folder
4 / 5 Account notebook (employees, shearing) 1929-1930
Box/Folder
4 / 6-7 Account notebooks (bank transactions) 1919-1920
Box/Folder
4 / 8 Account notebooks (timebook; stock sales) 1939,1948
Box/Folder
5 / 1 Audit reports 1928-1929; 1932;1945
Box/Folder
5 / 2 Bank account: Bank of America (California) 1959-1960
Box/Folder
5 / 3 Bank account: Commercial Bank (Iowa) 1920-1930
Box/Folder
5 / 4-5 Bank account: Farmers National Bank in Chinook 1942-1958
Box/Folder
5 / 6 Bank account: First National Bank of Chinook 1918; 1923-1925
Box/Folder
5 / 7 Bank account: Montana National Bank, Havre n.d.
Box/Folder
5 / 8 Bank account: Stock Yard National Bank, St. Paul 1924
Box/Folder
5 / 9 Blaine County assessment rolls 1920; 1927
Box/Folder
5 / 10 Chinook Sewer District warrant 1920
Box/Folder
5 / 11 Day book #10 1900-1901
Vol. 2 Day book 1911-1918
Box/Folder
6 / 1 Expense journal 1929-1930
Box/Folder
6 / 2 Insurance 1902-1964
Box/Folder
6 / 3 Leases held n.d.
Box/Folder
6 / 4 Livestock purchases: cattle and horses 1900-1935; n.d.
Box/Folder
7 / 1-10 Livestock sales: sheep 1908-1930
Box/Folder
8 / 1-7 Livestock sales: sheep 1932-1945, n.d.
Box/Folder
8 / 8-10 Livestock sales: cattle 1905-1954, n.d.
Box/Folder
8 / 11 Livestock sales - sheep and cattle 1943-1946
Box/Folder
8 / 12 Livestock sales - wool 1900-1916
Box/Folder
9 / 1-3 Livestock sales - wool 1920-1955
Box/Folder
9 / 4 Loan to First National Bank of Chinook 1930
Box/Folder
9 / 5 Notes 1916-1920
Box/Folder
9 / 6 Payroll n.d.
Box/Folder
9 / 7 Receipts and bills 1900-1962
Box/Folder
9 / 8-9 Statements 19081955
Box/Folder
9 / 10-11 Taxes - Blaine County 1912-1964
Box/Folder
9 / 12 Taxes - Chouteau County 1901; 1908-1910
Box/Folder
9 / 13 Taxes - Federal 1919;1930 1958-1961
Box/Folder
9 / 14 Taxes - Land and improvements assessments n.d.
Box/Folder
10 / 1 Miscellaneous 1899-1949; n.d.
Legal Documents
Box/Folder
10 / 2 Abstract of title 1956
10 / 3 Contracts to run sheep 1902-1930
10 / 4 Leases 1903-1942
10 / 5 Miscellaneous 1894-1955
Organizational Records
Box/Folder
10 / 6 Directors' meetings 1950
Subject Files
Box/Folder
10 / 7 A.J. Aarsand estate 1953
10 / 8 Beets (production, use as steer feed) 1929-1935
10 / 9 Blaine County Agricultural Conservation Program 1948
10 / 10 Coal Creek, Cherry Ridge Cooperative State Grazing Districts 1940: 1958
10 / 11 Commercial Bank of Dennison, Iowa 1919-1930
10 / 12 Farmers National Bank in Chinook 1949-1958
10 / 13 Federal Land Bank of Spokane 1919-1936
10 / 14 Fort Belknap Indian Reservation (grazing rights) 1910-1948
10 / 15 Hay and alfalfa 1930;1962; n.d.
10 / 16 Intermountain Livestock Marketing Association 1930-1931; n.d.
10 / 17 Kuhr Land and Livestock Company 1933-1938
10 / 18 Mid-West Live Stock Commission Company 1929-1932
10 / 19 Milk River Valley Fair and Racing Association 1913; n.d.
10 / 20 Montana Livestock Finance Corporation 1929
10 / 21 Montana Livestock Marketing Association 1932
10 / 22 Montana National Bank of Havre 1930
11 / 1 Montana Wool Growers Association 1911-1932
11 / 2 Mortgage loans assumed - Herman Menscher 1913-1924
11 / 3 Mortgage loans assumed - Ole J. Oleson 1917-1918
11 / 4 Mortgage loans assumed - Otto L. Pennington 1918-1924
11 / 5 Mortgage loans assumed - Miscellaneous 1913-1929
11 / 6 National Farm loan Association (re leases) 1937-1941
11 / 7 National Wool Marketing Association 1931-1932
11 / 8 Range and feed information 1931
11 / 9 Sale of ranch to David S. Ring 1955-1959
11 / 10 Stock exchange investments A - J 1910-1963
11 / 11 Stock exchange investments L - W 1910-1963
11 / 12 United States Department of Agriculture publications Sheep industry in Montana 1928-1948
11 / 13 United States General Land Office (grazing permits, receipts, assignments, applications, etc.) 1901-1941
Miscellany
Box/Folder
12 / 1 Advertisements - livestock and equipment n.d.
12 / 2 Brands (recorded) 1921-1941
12 / 3 Cattle Certificates of Entry - American Aberdeen-Angus Breeders' Association 1916;1951 1956
12 / 4 Cattle Certificates of Entry - American Hereford Association 1924-1946
12 / 5 Cattle Certificates of Entry - American Hereford Association 1948-1958
12 / 6 Cattle Certificates of Entry - American Polled Hereford Association 1950
12 / 7 Cattle genealogy n.d.
12 / 8 Farmers' year book (pocket ledger, information) 1950; n.d.
12 / 9 Inspection certificates; quarantine order; etc. 1928;1950 1957
12 / 10 Livestock tallies/branding tallies 1961-1963; n.d.
12 / 11 New Training Systems textbooks (accounting) n.d.
13 / 1 Plats - Blaine and Chouteau Counties (with index) n.d.
13 / 2 Plats - miscellaneous n.d.
13 / 3 Miscellaneous (certificates, awards, notes, etc.) 1902-1943 n.d.

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First National Bank Of Chinook Subgroup
Container(s)
Description
Dates
General Correspondence
Box/Folder
13 / 4 Miscellaneous 1921-1930
Financial Records
Box/Folder
13 / 5 Dan F. Truax mortgage 1916;1922
13 / 6 Insurance 1920-1929
13 / 7 Stocks owned 1912-1916
13 / 8 Miscellaneous 1909-1930
Legal Documents
Box/Folder
13 / 9 Miscellaneous 1917-1931
Organizational Records
Box/Folder
13 / 10 Articles of association; Comptroller certificates 1921-1922
14 / 1 Stock certificate book 1909-1921
14 / 2 Stock ledger 1909-1928
14 / 3 Stock certificates; proxies 1909-1927 1930

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Subjects

  • Blaine County (Mont.)
  • Blaine County (Mont.)--Politics and government
  • Chinook (Mont.)
  • Chinook (Mont.)--Commerce
  • Cleveland (Mont.)
  • Farm tenancy
  • Fort Belknap Indian Reservation (Mont.)
  • Grazing districts
  • Havre (Mont.)--Commerce
  • Land companies
  • Lloyd (Mont.)
  • Ranches
  • Ranches--Montana
  • Sheep ranches--Montana
  • Wool industry

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