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Item of the Week: From the Miller-Edwards Wedding

Thu, 03/16/2023 - 08:55

From the East Hampton Library’s Long Island Collection

This ribboned wedding invitation from the Springs Historical Society collection heralded the marriage of Emma Edwards (1861-1951) and Hiram Miller (1864-1957). The two married in 1887 at the Springs Presbyterian Chapel, with the ceremony officiated by the Rev. J.D. Stokes.

Emma was known as a dressmaker in Springs, and at the time of their wedding Hiram was the gamekeeper for Gardiner’s Island — a title sometimes given as superintendent. The couple made their home across Gardiner’s Bay from their families.

Hiram’s responsibilities included keeping track of the populations of game animals on the property and where they could be found, patrolling for poachers, and organizing any formal game hunts held by the Gardiners. Gamekeepers ensured that no native animal’s population was reduced to a point of harming the environment or preventing future hunts. As part of this, gamekeepers even bred animals like pheasants to release.

The rural nature of estates that employed gamekeepers meant that a home was usually provided. In this case the Millers probably lived in the Mill House on Gardiner’s Island.

In 1913, it was reported locally that Hiram had fallen ill with Rocky Mountain (spotted) fever. The following year, the Millers left Gardiner’s Island and East Hampton for Bay Shore, where subsequent census records indicate that Hiram was not working, suggesting that he retired when he left Gardiner’s Island, perhaps as a result of his illness.

Though Emma and Hiram’s only child, Anna (1892-1983), grew up on Gardiner’s Island, she went with them when they moved west. In 1927, 40 years after her parents’ wedding, Anna married Ralph Spencer in a small ceremony at her parents’ house in Bay Shore.

Moriah Moore is a librarian and archivist in the East Hampton Library’s Long Island Collection.


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