Title

Collection - Emma Miller Papers (c.00005)

This collection consists of Civil War letters received by Emma Miller of Chikaming, Michigan, mostly from her love interest Captain Mark D. Flower. There are also a handful of letters from Mark's cousin, William DeLoss Hawkins. In his letters, he describes headquarters routine, camp life, the battle of Iuka, Mississippi, but most of all, he professes his love for Emma Miller, whom he met before shipping off to the front lines. He repeatedly refers to Miller as his "promised bride," but it seems that they were never formally engaged. The letters detail the ups and downs of their whirlwind relationship, which they decide to end in October 1864.

Emma Miller was born in New Buffalo, Michigan, circa April 27, 1844, to Mary D. and William B. Miller, and raised in Chikaming, Michigan. The 1860 census lists only Emma and her mother, so it seems likely she had no other siblings and that her father had passed away. Her mother Mary was identified as a farmer.

Marcus "Mark" DeLoss Flower was born in Chagrin Falls, Ohio, on March 31, 1842, to Cybele (Maiden name Brooks) and Marcus Tullius Cicero Flower. Marcus T. C. Flower was a hotel owner who relocated his family relocated to Michigan City, Indiana, then Chicago, then Meriden, Minnesota, around 1855. In 1857, Mark Flower began attendance at the Aurora Institute in Illinois. He left prior to graduating to enlist in the military.

At the age of 20, Flower mustered into Company C of the 7th Illinois Infantry on April 25, 1861, at Aurora, Illinois. When his initial three-month term ended, he hoped to enlist in the Navy, but ended up as an unasssigned recruit in the Company A "Dragoons" that were attached to the 36th Illinois Volunteer Infantry. This unit served as the escort for Major General William S. Rosecrans at the Battle of Iuka and, subsquently, for Brigadier General Charles S. Hamilton when he took command of the left wing of the Army of the Tennessee. Flower seems to have mainly worked in the adjutant general's office during this time. On December 25, 1862, his unit detached and became Company I of the 15th Illinois Cavalry. They were moved to Memphis, Tennessee, to continue serving under General Hamilton at the Union headquarters of the District of West Tennessee. In February 1863, Flower was detailed as a clerk in the Office Commissary of Subsistence. By April, he was transferred to the Office of the Assistant Adjutant General of the District of Memphis under Brigadier General James C. Veatch. In December, General William T. Sherman appointed Flower Assistant Adjutant General of the First Brigade of Memphis Enrolled Militia. While stationed at Memphis, Tennessee, Flower married Lena Gullum Gutherz (1847-1915) in October 1864. He transferred to Company M of the Illinois 10th Cavalry until mustering out on June 5, 1865. 

Emma Miller passed away from illness on June 6, 1867. Her death certificate lists her as married with the last name of Disbrow, but no records of her marriage or her husband have been located.

After the war, Mark and Lena moved to Mankato, Minnesota, so that Mark could work as a landlord at his father's hotel and later, at a milling business. They settled in St. Paul in 1870, and the same year, Governor Horace Austin appointed Flower Adjutant General of Minnesota, a position Flower held until his reisgnation in November 1875. During this time, he was an ex officio member of and secretary for the Board of Trustees for the Protestant Orphan Asylum in St. Paul that took in children of soldiers killed during the Civil War. He purchased and captained a steamboat that shipped mostly along the Mississippi Riverand its tributaries. On the Yellowstone River, a cyclone hit the boat. He and Lena were unharmed but were heavily in debt. They returned to St. Paul where Flower took a position as Chief Clerk of the House of Representatives at the Minnesota State Legislature. In 1879, he was appointed Deputy Collector of Customs for the port of St. Paul and in 1880, he became a district Supervising Inspector of Steamboats for the federal government. He moved to work as a claims adjuster for the Chicago, Great Western Railroad in 1885 after President Grover Cleveland removed him from his position as Supervising Inspector. Flower was promoted to Director of the railroad company in 1889 and he soon became President of the St. Paul Union Stockyards Company. In 1904, he was elected to the Minnesota House of Representatives and a year later, was appointed postmaster of St. Paul. Flower died on February 3, 1907.


For a deeper dive into this collection, visit Flowers to Emma, An American Civil War Love Story  . This site describes text analysis done on the letters and provides a map of Mark Flowers location when writing his letters to Emma Miller.
Michigan State University Archives & Historical Collections

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