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About John E.T. Milsaps

About the author: John Ephraim Thomas Milsaps (January 3, 1852 –-November 29, 1932). A profile in the Texas State Historical Association describes him as,

…bibliophile, collector, and Salvation Army officer, was born in Houston, Texas, on January 3, 1852, the son of Ephraim and Elizabeth (Hilger) Milsaps. His grandfather, Isaac Millsaps (the family dropped an l from the name in the next generation), was one of the Gonzales men who died at the Alamo. The Civil War thrust Milsaps into the work force at a young age. His mother supported the family by sewing military uniforms while his father fought in the Confederate army, and the boy augmented the family income by making cartridges. He received only a sketchy formal education. Even so, early in life he developed a love of books and became an avid reader. After working as a clerk, merchant, photographer, and mail carrier, Milsaps joined the gold rush to the Dakotas in the mid-1870s. When he found no gold, he drifted westward, herding mules, waiting tables, building railroads, and mining, until he reached San Francisco in 1882. There he enlisted in the Salvation Army, which had been organized in England a few years earlier. Milsaps made his career in the Salvation Army, where he served as an officer until he retired at seventy with the rank of major. In the course of his career he traveled widely. He was made editor of the War Cry, the official Salvation Army publication, in 1886. In 1894 he pioneered Salvationist work in Hawaii. During the Spanish-American War he went with American troops to the Philippine Islands, where his presence was tolerated but not encouraged. During World War I one of his followers from Manila became the first Salvationist to be accepted as an official military chaplain by the United States Army.

About the diary: The Houston Area Digital Archives states the following:

The Milsaps Collection was created by John Ephraim Thomas Milsaps – bibliophile, Salvationist, traveler and diarist – who joined the Salvation Army in 1883 and remained in its service until his retirement. As a professional Salvationist, Major Milsaps travelled widely in this country and abroad as a Salvation Army organizer and (San Francisco) War Cry editor. Along the way Major Milsaps kept a meticulous seventy-three volume diary which chronicles not only his army activities, but also a host of general observations useful to researchers. In addition, the Milsaps Papers contain extensive scrapbooks of personal and Salvationist material, personal correspondence and an extensive photographic collection. Similarly, the papers contain a significant body of Salvation Army literature and ephemera unique in this country. The Milsaps Papers also contain the Major’s collection of autographs, many of which bear on nineteenth century American politics, especially in the state of Ohio. Also in the collection is a group of scrapbooks dealing with such diverse topics as the Galveston Storm of 1900 and the San Francisco Earthquake.

Major John E. T. Milsaps of the Salvation Army kept a meticulous seventy-three volume diary which chronicles not only his time in the army traveling widely and abroad as an organizer and an editor of the War Cry, but also a host of general observations about the places he traveled to. His diaries also contain sketches and photographs of the places he went and the things that he did.

The Philippine Diary Project reproduces his entries which cover his stay in the Philippines. They are sourced from three sets made available thus far online by the Houston Area Digital Archives:

Item 2662: Labeled Volume V of the Mislap diaries, from October 21, 1898 to January 21, 1899. (Encoded for the Philippine Diary Project by Emily Mauricio.)

Item 2663: Labeled Volume VI of the Mislap diaries, from January 21, 1899 to April 10, 1899. (Encoded by Manuel L. Quezon III and Emily Mauricio.)

Item 2664: Labeled Volume VII of the Mislap diaries, from April 10, 1899 to June 29, 1899.

Milsaps included photographs and clippings in his diary. These have been included as cropped images taken from the scans uploaded by the Houston Area Digital Archives. In very rare instances, some corrections or clarifications have been identified and provided by the Philippine Diary Project: these are in underlined, italicized text within brackets, e.g. [example]. In general, the spelling, grammar, and other markings such as italicized words or use of abbreviations, are the author’s.