Miner J. Emlaw, also known as “Emlan”, was born July 16, 1839 in Malone, Franklin County, New York, the son of Michael (b. 1801) and Wealthy (Maxfield, 1795-1873).
New York native Michael, a cooper born on the shores of Lake Champlain and Vermont-born Wealthy were married, possibly in Vermont where they were probably living when their son Andrew was born in 1829. Michael was living in Malone in 1840. Miner’s older brother Andrew (1829-1914) came to Michigan around 1849, but in 1850 Miner was attending school and living with his parents in Malone, Franklin County, New York, where his father was working as a laborer. Miner eventually left the family home and came to west Ottawa County in 1853, probably joining his brother.
By 1860 Miner was working as a millwright and living with his brother Andrew -- who was also a millwright -- and Andrew’s wife and they were all living with the Humphrey family in Spring Lake, Ottawa County. They lived next door to the Brittain family; their son Charles as well as a farm laborer named Jerry Richardson would both also join Company H.
Miner stood 5’11’ with blue eyes, dark hair and a dark complexion and was 23 years old and possibly residing in Muskegon County when he enlisted in Company H on May 13, 1861, crediting Muskegon County. (Company H, formerly the “Muskegon Rangers”, was made up largely of men from the vicinity of Muskegon and Newaygo counties.) Miner was wounded on May 31, 1862, at Fair Oaks, Virginia, and during July and August of 1862 he was reported absent wounded in a hospital, probably in the U.S. General hospital in Annapolis, Maryland, where his left arm was amputated as a result of his wounds. He was discharged on September 9, 1862.
Miner reentered the service in One hundred thirty-seventh company Second Battalion, Veterans’ Reserve Corps (also known as the “Invalid Corps”), and if so was discharged in June of 1865.
In 1862 Miner applied for and received a pension (no. 10214).
In any case, Miner eventually returned to western Michigan and was living in Tallmadge, Ottawa County by 1878 when he was hurt in a railroad accident in Grand Rapids at about 6:30 p.m. on Saturday, March 23. According to one newspaper report, Miner, John Hogan and Hogan’s wife, along with a young man were in a two-horse wagon on their way home
When on Butterworth Avenue, within a few rods of the track of the Lake Shore and Michigan railroad, the young man saw a locomotive backing up toward the depot and told Mr. Hogan he had better stop and he, the driver of the team, not heeding the warning of the youth or the alarm bell of the locomotive accompanied by the steam whistle kept on thinking doubtlessly to cross the track in advance of the locomotive. The young man jumped out of the wagon and the others kept on until the team was struck by the engine tender and the horses knocked over, and the wagon over-turned. One of the animals were [sic] killed outright and the other escaped uninjured. All three persons in the wagon were rendered insensible for a short time by the shock. Mr. Hogan was badly cut and bruised about the head, and the other two escaped with no serious injury. Mrs. Hogan was unable to move around much on Saturday and yesterday from soreness by the fearful jar and fall, and Emlaw was considerably bruised on his head and person.
Miner eventually recovered from his injuries and by 1880 he was listed as single and working as a lumber scaler and living with the Luman Van Dreezer family in Grand Haven’s Third Ward, Ottawa County.
He married his first wife, Anna Vanclikto (1861-1886) on November 11, 1882, probably in Grand Haven, where he lived much of his life, and they had at least one child: Frank J. (1884-1953).
He was living in Grand Haven in 1883 when he received pension no. 10,214, drawing $24.00 per month for loss of his left arm.
Miner was still living in Grand Haven in 1887 when he married his second wife, Elizabeth Uithaven Westenberg (1863-1951) on March 22, 1887; and they had one child: Mabel (d. 1967). (It seems Eliabeth, or “Lizzie”, also had had a daughter in 1885, Jane or Jennie L., who would eventually marry one George Swart of Grand Haven.)
He was still living in Grand Haven in 1888 and indeed spent much of his life in the Grand Haven vicinity.
By 1890 he was residing in Muskegon when he became a member of Grand Army of the Republic Kearny Post No. 7 in Muskegon, transferring from Weatherwax Post No. 75 in Grand Haven. “He was,” noted one source, “a faithful member of the Grand Army post and has held a number of offices at the disposal of his comrades.”
By 1894, however, Miner was back in Grand Haven’s Fourth Ward, and in 1897 he was working in Grand Haven as a talleyman, and living in the Fourth Ward in 1907. He also worked for some years as a lumber inspector. Miner also served as a member of the village common council, a position he was holding when he was taken seriously ill in the spring of 1910, “but realizing that he could never recover his health sufficiently to attend to the duties of the office, he resigned.”
Miner died on May 17, 1910, at Hackley hospital in Muskegon, where he had been a patient for three weeks, and the funeral was held at Grand Haven .
According to the Grand Haven Tribune, Miner had been “taken ill this winter with severe bronchial trouble and seemed unable to regain his usual health after the attack. He moved to Tony Boet’s residence on Washington Avenue [in Grand Haven] during the fall intending to spend the winter there, because it was nearer downtown than his own residence in the fourth ward. His fatal illness came upon him at his temporary residence but he recovered sufficiently to be taken to his own home several weeks” before his death.
About two weeks ago he was taken to Hackley hospital in Muskegon in the hope that the treatment there might benefit him. All efforts to help him were unavailing and he passed away last night [May 16?]. This morning relatives and friends who were not with him yesterday went over to Muskegon and the remains were brought to Grand Haven at 4:30 today and taken to the home in the fourth ward.
“In life,” reported the Tribune, "he was a good comrade and a true friend, a man honest and unswerving in his purpose, and on whose friendship was a possession of real value.”
He was buried in Lake Forest cemetery, Grand Haven.
In June of 1910 his widow applied for and received a pension (no. 709711).