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 Wallace L Millegan

Wallace L Millegan

Greene County, New York, USA
Death 1923 (aged 85–86)
Burial Helena, Lewis and Clark County, Montana, USA
Plot Mountainview
Memorial ID 69246530 · View Source
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About Wallace Millegan from "Progressive Men of the State of Montana":

WALLACE L. MILLEGAN, one of Helena's oldest representative pioneers and a leading ranchman and stockgrower of the state, was born in Greene County, N. Y., on February 4, 1837. The story of Mr. Millegan's Montana life embraces much of the history of the territory and state. He is the son of James A. and Eleanor (Mead) Millegan. His father was born in Scotland, on July 25, 1796. With his early history is connected a romantic yet melancholy incident. When but six years old he came to the United States with a brother and sister. While leaving the ship at New York City the family was separated, and James, our subject, was left alone in the new, strange world.

In New York he grew to manhood, and served his adopted country in the war of 1812. After the return of peace he followed farming, and early married Miss Mead, who was born in Greene County, N. Y., on June 2, 1796. She was the daughter of Elisha Mead, of Revolutionary stock, and of English parentage. They had one son, Edwin E., born •November 19, 1819, now living in Kingston, N. Y. By his second marriage he had eight children, Anne E., Phebe J., Dr. George W., now of Sparta, Wis., Stephen L. (deceased), James H., Joseph G. (deceased), Reuben A. and Wallace L. their mother died at Sparta, Wis., in 1863, and in 1881 Mr. Millegan came to Montana to visit his son, Wallace L., but sixteen days after his arrival he died at the age of eighty-five years. He is buried in the old [Benton Avenue] cemetery at Helena. He was an old-line Whig, and his second wife was a devout Methodist.

Wallace L. Millegan was the seventh son, and when ten years of age removed with his parents to Wisconsin, then a territory. He worked on a farm, was educated in the common schools, and when eighteen began life for himself. He located in Racine, whence he removed to Sparta, Wis., in 1858. From this place, on March 23, 1859, he, as one of a party of twenty people and ten ox teams, started for Pike's Peak, landing at Denver June 29 of that year, and on July 2 began digging for gold. They came to the new Eldorado through Des Moines, Council Bluffs, Omaha, Columbus, North Platte, Ash Hollow, the South Platte country and Denver, where there were only a few houses and those covered with canvas. The party mined on Clear creek during 1859 and in i860 went into an independent district, where Mr. Millegan worked a claim with considerable success. Here he first met Dr. W. L. Steele, now of Helena. In 1862 he was farming near Denver, and on April 14, 1863, set out on the then perilous journey to East Bannack, Mont., where he had been but a short time when he joined the stampede to Alder gulch, then reported fabulously rich with the yellow metal. Mr. Millegan rode a large mule without a saddle to Virginia City, and his recollections of that overland tour are quite vivid. At Alder gulch he failed to locate a claim, and he went on up the Stinking Water. On the way, while attempting to alight from his mule, his foot caught in a cord and he was dragged some distance and so seriously injured as to lay him up for a considerable period. On his recovery he returned to Bannack and mined during the summer in Buffalo gulch and "struck it rich," taking out from dry diggings as high as $7 to the pan. On account of Mr. Millegan not working on the Sabbath day he had disagreeable experiences with "road agents." The road agent was then the worst pest of Montana society.

In 1862 Mr. Millegan met William A. Clark, now United States senator, near Denver, and worked with him on the Bob-tail mine. On November 6, 1863, Mr. Millegan started for the states from Bannack, and just outside the latter place he visited Mr. Clark, who was quite ill with mountain fever. Subsequently Mr. Millegan went to Salt Lake City and thence to Denver overland by coach, paying $150 as fare from Bannack to Denver. He then went by private conveyance to Glenwood, Iowa. On April 9, 1864, Mr. Millegan was united in marriage to Miss Martha A. Rockefeller, daughter of Theodore and Anna M. Rockefeller, both of New Jersey. Mrs. Millegan was born in Morris County, N. J., on November 14, 1840. They had thirteen children: Carrie M., Willard L., Hattie A., Martha E., Robert E., James R., G. W., Cora B. and Nina M. are living; Eleanor, George, Reuben and Edwin are dead.

Soon after his marriage Mr. Millegan outfitted, and within seven days was on the road to Idaho, where he arrived on July 2, going via Omaha, along the north side of the North Platte and bv Fort Laramie. He then took the Bridger cutoff to Virginia City, and thence to Bannack. They passed the location of Bozeman. Then it was a wild, unbroken country, the habitat of the wolf, the bear and the coyote. They wintered at East Bannack, and here their first child was born. Early in spring Mr. Millegan, with a covered wagon drawn by four cows, started for Blackfoot, Ophir gulch. They were the first family on the ground and they opened a boarding house where regular boarders paid $20 a week and transients $1.50 a meal, which, considering the extremely high price of provisions, was reasonable. The meals were served in a tent, and this dining room was covered with pine boughs.
In those days of high prices eggs were $2.00 a dozen, flour $100 a sack, salt $1.50 a pound and potatoes fifty cents a pound. That spring Mrs. Millegan paid $18 in gold dust for two calico dresses and muslin was ninety cents a yard. Mrs. Millegan was the third woman to locate in Ophir gulch, and she paid $6.00 a day for a woman to help with the house work, and twenty-five cents apiece to have napkins washed. In October, 1865, they moved by wagon to Helena. Here Mr. Millegan bought out a squatter on his present ranch on which there was a small log house. From time to time he has added to this property and he made application for and filed the thirteenth homestead right in the state, 160 acres, and in 1873 they purchased 160 acres each, four miles northeast of Helena, and the same year bought another 160 acres, where he now lives. He made his present valuable improvements in 1898, but the trees and shrubbery were set out twenty-five years ago. Mrs. Millegan lived in Helena over five months before she saw a white woman. The winter of 1865 was the most severe ever experienced in this locality. His only horse was stolen by the Indians, and Mr. Millegan found a white man frozen to death near his house. Five hundred dollars was found on the body, but this was claimed by a partner. In the spring- of 1866 Mr. Millegan began farming. He paid twenty-five cents a pound for seed potatoes and the same price for seed oats.

Mr. Millegan has the oldest water right in this part of the country and is well supplied with water and has been raising cattle and horses during the past few years quite successfully.

Politically Mr. Millegan has been a lifelong Re- publican. He was an inspector of elections in Idaho, and voted at the first election in Montana. In 1878 he was elected one of the county commissioners for Lewis and Clarke county, and was chosen for the long term, six years.

Fraternally Mr. Millegan has for fifteen years been a member of the Ancient Order of United Workmen. He is a man of most exemplary habits, never indulging in liquor or any of the vices of the early days in Montana territorial life, and both he and wife are valued members of the Baptist church. Throughout the state he is recognized as a man of sterling character, of sound judgment and the strictest honesty. Possessing broad, progressive views, he has continued to keep step with the march of civilization.

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  • Created by: Tami G.
  • Added: 2 May 2011
  • Find A Grave Memorial 69246530
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Wallace L Millegan (4 Feb 1837–1923), Find A Grave Memorial no. 69246530, citing Forestvale Cemetery, Helena, Lewis and Clark County, Montana, USA ; Maintained by Tami G. (contributor 47138450) .