Historical Happenings
Glendale, Montana



A PHARMACIST'S VIEW OF GLENDALE, MONTANA 1884

JACOB MILLER

(Transcribed from a very poor copy,
obtained at the Montana Historical Society in Helena, Montana.

Printed with permission.)


In 1879, Jacob Miller came to Wathena, Kansas at the age of 16 from Bavaria. He was sent to apprentice with his Uncle August Miller who lad established a pharmacy in Wathena in 1863. In 1884, from June until October, he worked at Ed Alwards Pharmacy in Glendale. Now a ghost town, Glendale once boasted an opera house, skating rink, 2 pharmacies, numerous other retail businesses and 13 saloons. It was a mining town, with silver, copper and lead mined in the surrounding hills and sent to the smelter there.

During that summer he wrote 24 letters to his girl in Wathena, Miss Emma Feigenbaum. These were the love letters in which he most passionately wooed that fair maiden back home. I have lifted out of these 4 letters the comments I thought would interest us here 98 years later. I quote...

June 6: "You have no idea how far it is out here. There was a Schotchman on the train with me as far as Ogden. The morning we left Grand Island, Nebraska, he thought we would get to Ogden before dark. I finally got to talking with him and he said "Americky is a mighty big spot of a country anyhow", and so it is.

June 8; I feel so lonely and all alone, everybody and everything seems strange. It will be a hard life for me here, but I will fight it through and stick to it as long as I can. I will try to give you an idea of our trip as near as I remember it. Nothing of any interest happened till we got to Hastings, Nebraska. There we had to stay all night on account of high water. It was dark when we got there and we had to go way up town before we could find a hotel. And then the landlord told us he hadn't anymore room, but finally told we could have his own room. We thought that a fine thing and stayed. We passed away most of our time on the train counting windmills. Nebraska beats any country I know of for windmills. It seems everyone there builds a windmill before he builds a house. The next morning we reached Ogden after passing through some fine mountain scenery. We decided to stay over at Ogden and rest up a little. In the afternoon we went down and took in Salt Lake. It is one of the nicest and cleanest places I have ever seen, but for some reason 1 didn't feel comfortable there at ail. I guess it was on account of the Mormons, you can always tell a Mormon store by a peculiar sign they have which is ZCMI for Zion's Co-operative Mercantile Institution. Above the Sign is an eye and above that stands Holiness to the Lord. They do everything in the name of the Lord, no matter how bad it is. Next morning we went on north on the Utah and Northern RR. This is a narrow gauge road and I never saw a train so packed in my born days. Next morning we reached Melrose where we left the railroad and came the rest of the way in a spring wagon. Glendale is up in the mountains. There is just room enough for one street, the gulch is so narrow. It is a smaller place then Wathena, a rough looking place, but I can tell you it is lively here. There is nothing sold here for less than 25 cents, everything is away up.

June 9: The people around here seem to be open and straight forward, but some of them are very rough. There is a lot of money out here, we sold a bout $30 worth of goods today and Ed said it was a dull day. His sales run about $1200 a month.

June 10: We have a fine soda water fountain, but I tell you it takes work to keep it up in good shape. We board at the best hotel in town and as far as eating is concerned, I can't complain. A heathen Chinee came yesterday, he said, "Me washee goodee". There are about a half dozen Chinamen here but no females.

June 12: Glendale is a little on the decline and if it keeps going down Ed Alward will move the store to some better place. Will probably move to the new mines in the Coeur D'Alene mountains, not before this fall at any rate. They have some wild horses here, I haven't been horseback riding myself yet. Everybody here goes at a tot or a run, never see them walk, they go through town just a whooping.

June 14: Ed told me that after living out here anytime a fellow wouldn't go back to the slates anymore to live. Such may be the case with a great many but I never could be satisfied because everything is so rough out here. So much drinking and fighting and gambling. I have had about 25 invitations to drink since I have been here, but every time I refused, they are used to me now and never ask me to drink, I always take a ceeqar or soda water. This is Sunday and just now some Italians are having a fight in a saloon across the street. Saloons and gambling halls are open here Sundays.

June 17; I wanted to stay in another drug store before I started in by myself and learn a little more which I certainly will do right here. I have a great many prescriptions to put up, about 15 to 20 a day. Besides I run the store by myself most of the time. Ed is always on the go. I get up at 6 in the morning and it takes me about 2 solid hours to clean up, then I am kept busy waiting on customers till 8 and sometimes 9 o'clock in the evening. I have learned a great many new things already and taking all in all I think I will be profited by coming out here for a short time.

June 19: I am real tired tonight. I have been working hard all day. This afternoon I started in posting books and I sat here at this desk from 10 until 6 without rest and you know figuring is hard work, but I'd rather do it than sit around. Oh my, you ought to see how some of the women dress out here. I can't see how they can carry as much jewelry as they do. A saloon keeper here married a girt last week 13 years of age. Ed told me she wore short dress's only a few months ago.

June 24 : I went to a show last night, a concert I mean to say, and heard the best violin played in the West. John Keltey. Oh yes, I have got a new necktie and am wearing stand up collars, those little new ones, oh, you ought to see me! I was invited out to a party tonight. They are going to have ice cream and strawberries. Pshaw. Ice cream and here we have had to keep a fire in the store all day, thermometer below 50 degrees tonight.

I've gotten used to one habit people have here and that is getting up late. I don't have to open up now before 7 o'clock, that...... we have been busy today. You know this is the 24th and the Mining Co. has pay call...... it makes things lively and so few men save their money here. Those that don't drink, gamble and so it goes. One way or the other. The Italians are about the craziest people I ever did see, they pouring in from the coal camps all day getting their money. After they get it the next thing they do is get on a spree and they can make more noise, my land, next door to us is a saloon and gambling house and its yelling, singing and cursing all day and night along. This morning I had to get up at 3 o'clock to put up a prescription and there seemed to be just as much business going on next door to as there is anytime during the day and maybe more so.

Saturday: The store has been crowded with customers and loafers all evening, our place is headquarters for everybody. We keep besides drugs a big stock of potions, fishing tackle, sporting goods, all sorts of glassware and fresh fruit. Fruit given me a great deal of work. We receive fresh fruit every morning from Ogden, Utah. All kinds, strawberries, peaches, plums, apricots, pears, lemons, and oranges and I tell you it's quite a job to take care of it when you've got a lot of other work to do besides. What does Ed do? He goes to Dillon, Butte etc. whenever he takes a notion. There has been a great deal of excitement in the camp since yesterday. At 4 o'clock yesterday afternoon they had a horse race. At 7 o'clock they had a foot race. The men passed right by the store. This morning at 10 they had a wrestling match. The majority of people around here seem to think that a saloon is the new best thing to paradise and that foot races, dogfights, etc. are the only subjects fit to talk about.

July 1: We got in a big stock of fireworks for the 4th. What we don't sell, we will light ourselves. A Chinaman came in this morning and wanted some, ".....elllng". One of them had stolen that blue silk hankerchief of mine. When I asked him about what he had done with it he wouldn't answer me, tried to make me believe couldn't talk, "Melikan". I know very well he can talk and he just done that way to get out of it.

July 2: Ed, Chas. Osgood, Chas. Armstrong (a young banker here) and myself have concluded to hire 3 wagons and take all the children that will be here and go over to Canon Creak and give them a free picnic. We will make a barrel of lemonade, give each child some candy, a bunch of firecrackers, and an orange and while the little ones are enjoying themseives, we boys will fish mountain trout in the creek.

July 5: I expect you want to know what kind of a time I had on the 4th. At 10 o'clock all the wagons, (5 in number) were ready to start for the picnic. The first 4 wagons were full of children. Each one had a small flag, and all the horses were covered with flags and ribbons. We big boys were in the last wagon and there were about 2 dozen on horseback besides. In the evening we had fireworks, quite a lot of them, too.

July 19: I have 7 large metal cases to keep in order, two of them are those high perfume cases, besides the whole store and keeping books to boot. I had to get up, after about an hours sleep, and put up some medicine for the young man who Chas. and I stayed with the other evening. Poor fellow, he is worse. I've got me the cutest little gold nugget. I got it this morning of an old miner, it's genuine virgin gold and I've already taken it to the jeweler to have a pin made of it. Say, I've been using Syke's Galarrh Medicine and it has donw me some good already.

July 24: It will be 5 years next week since I arrived in Wathena. What changes since then! I've got a beard and it's a nice one , too. I am not going to shave it till I get a tintype or two taken. I wouldn't stay here any longer thaen I intend to for a hundred dollars a month.

Aug. 8: Ed is going to run for a county office this fall and if he gets elected he will have to go to Dillon, the county seat. In that case he will leave me in charge of the store. He told me that if he got the office, he would pay me a $1,000 a year and board. Now this a better offer than I expected and likely not do quite as well if I go back to Wathena. There is quite a difference working for yourself and working for someone else. I have been fortunate enough to have good men to work for, and stilt when a man is hired to do something, you expect him to do as he would if he was working for his own interest. We got a whole barrel full of watermelons today. They are expensive, though, they cost us 40 cents apiece and melons that sell back home for 10 cents and 16 cents we sell for 75 cents and $1. They go like hot cakes even at that price.

Sept 7: We got through cleaning the store yesterday morning. Yesterday afternoon we got in a big stock of goods and we were busy unpacking and marking them till late in the night. Among other things we got a big $75 music box, one of the finest I ever saw. It plays 8 airs and has a drum and bell attachment. We just keep it a going right along and you ought to see the mule skinners and miners look at it with their mouth, eyes, and ears wide open.

Sept 14: It is still cold here and winter being close on hand, all the prospectors come into winter quarters. The camp is fulll of men, why last night, when we went down to supper there were four of us we had to wait about 20 minutes before we could get a place at the table. It makes the camp look unusually lively. Most of the Italians were in yesterday on a big spree. I saw a man on tne street yesterday who had snakes in his boots.. He had dilirium tremers..he imagined that he saw snakes and all kinds of reptites that wanted to kill him. He would jump and run after them, hit ground wrih a stick and say he had killed them. Such happened out here quite often. A great many men in this country go out during the summer months and then come to town for the winter. Its the same thing over and over every year. Our store is the principal loafing place since we got that big music box. We keep it playing right along and there's always a crowd around it You .... (illegible)

. . Get ........ ovef a must bos. tt plays so
.., its quite a sight to see some of these ..... . Get ........ ovef a must bos. It plays some very nice airs, though, I wish you could see our stock of notions and fancy goods. It took us since Friday to unpack them, mark them and arrange them, and we won't get through until tomorrow yet. We got quite a variety of fine dressing, perfume cases, ladies bags, pocketbooks, fancy ink stands, etc. Well, my sweetheart, I wish you were within reach of me, if I wouldn't give you the longest and sweetest kisses you ever had.

Sep 18th...We are through with the hardest work now and you just ought to see our display of fine things, It would take your breath. The music box keeps a going right a long, I declare, I'm getting tired of it, hearing the same old tunes all day long, it becomes so monotonous. I declare, I could not stand it to be away from you much longer. (I can fiardly wat until I can look into your dear blue eyes.
Your own true loving,

P.S. Jake did return to Wathena in Oct 1884 and married Emma in 1885. He went into partnership with Dr. Carter in Wathena and bought him out in 1890 continuing to practice in Wathena until his death in 1941. He had four children, one of who was my brother Kenneth Miller who . . .(illigeible)

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