Biography of Garner Miner

For thirty-eight years Garner Miner has been a resident of Idaho, having come to the territory in 1861, when the development of this great northwest was in its incipiency and the frontiersmen had to meet many privations and dangers. The Indians were frequently on the warpath, carrying death and devastation wherever they went; and separated from the base of sup-plies, from the comforts and luxuries of the east the pioneers endured hardships undreamed of by the present generation. In those days brave hearts were necessary, indeed, but the same spirit of Anglo-Saxon daring, fortitude and stability, which, has characterized the people of this fair land from its earliest colonization, and has carried the English language and English supremacy to all parts of the globe, found renewed manifestations among the mountains and valleys of Idaho, and thus were laid the foundations of the state, which now occupies a prominent place in the great galaxy of states west of the Mississippi.

In all the work of progress and development, in the task of subduing the wild land to the purposes of civilization. Garner Miner bore his part, and now in the evening of life is living retired at his pleasant home in Caldwell, enjoying a well earned rest.

Mr. Miner was born in New Haven, Connecticut, on the 5th of November 1822, his parents being John and Mary (Marshall) Miner, also natives of the Nutmeg state. In their family were five children. Garner Miner attended school in New Haven and in New York and subsequently removed to Ohio, where he worked at the carpenter’s and millwright’s trades. He was married in that state, in 1847, to Miss Ann Eliza Willson, whose birth occurred in Wood County, Ohio, in 1827, her father being Almon Willson, of that state. The young couple removed to Michigan, locating in Branch County, where they resided until 1852, when Mr. Miner started on the long and perilous journey across the plains to California, the usual dangers of which were augmented by the cholera, which struck down many a company of the emigrants, the new-made graves of its victims being seen all along the way. Arriving in the west, Mr. Miner engaged in mining enterprises in Sierra and at Dry Creek, after which he turned his attention to agricultural pursuits. He purchased a farm in the fertile valley of the Sacramento River and, meeting with success in his ventures, sent for his wife, who, making her way to New York, sailed thence to Nicaragua, October 2, 1854. On reaching San Francisco she was met by her husband, and together they proceeded to their new home, where they continued to dwell for some years. In 1861, attracted by the gold discoveries at Florence, Idaho, they came to this state, and later made their way to the Boise basin. Mr. Miner became the owner of two-sevenths of seven claims in Illinois Gulch, the company of which he was a member employing twenty-one men, at six dollars each per day, and seven dollars each night, to operate the mines. Excellent returns were gathered from their labors, Mr. Miner’s net dividend being one thousand dollars per week. After some time he disposed of his mining interests, and purchased three hundred acres of land on the Payette, where he successfully engaged in farming. He had ten acres planted to vegetables, which at that time brought very high prices, onions selling for ten dollars per hundred pounds and other things in proportion. Mrs. Miner and her three little daughters made the journey to Idaho, by way of steamer to Portland, where they were met by Mr. Miner, who with ox teams brought them to the farm. Their place bordered an old Indian trail, along which bands of red men frequently passed. During periods when the savages were on the war path, Mrs. Miner and her little girls spent many a night in the wheat field, while the husband and father like-wise slept out under the stars, where he could see both up and down the trail, his rifle within reach in order that he might protect himself in case of attack. He carried on his farming operations until 1892, when he removed with his family to Caldwell, where he now resides.

The eldest of the three daughters of the family is Mary Francelia, who was born in Ohio, and during her early girlhood came with her mother to the Pacific coast. She grew to be a beautiful young lady and then became the wife of William Lynch. He died in 1877, and she is now the wife of a Mr. Fisher. The second daughter, Ada Caroline, also an accomplished and cultured woman, was born in California, married William H. Isaacs, and died in 1895, at the age of thirty-eight years. Her death was deeply deplored by all who knew her, for her excellencies of character had endeared her to many friends as well as to her husband and parents. Her daughter, Ada Norine, is now living with Mr. and Mrs. Miner. The third daughter, Martha Ellen, who was also born in California, died at the age of twenty-eight years, and thus only one of the children is left to the parents in their declining years.

For more than forty years Mr. and Mrs. Miner have been faithful and consistent members of the Methodist church. They have passed the fiftieth anniversary of their wedding day, on which occasion they were visited by many friends in Caldwell, who, unknown to them, arranged to celebrate the occasion and to express their esteem for the worthy couple by presenting Mr. Miner with a gold-headed cane, and his wife with a gold badge and chain, gifts which are greatly prized by Mr. and Mrs. Miner as evidences of the spirit which prompted their bestowal. With the consciousness of lives well spent, and with pleasant memories of good deeds performed for their fellow men, they are nearing the end of the journey of life, but their influence on their generation cannot be measured, nor can their value as pioneers in the great state of Idaho be over-estimated. They well deserve mention in this his-tory, and with pleasure we present to our readers this brief record of their lives.



Illustrated History of the State of Idaho. Chicago: The Lewis Publishing Company. 1899.

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