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New biography sheds light on William Miner

CHAZY - As years have passed since William H. Miner's death, more and more myths about the local philanthropist have surfaced. Dr. Joseph C. Burke hopes to change that.

Burke recently released a biography about Miner titled, "William H. Miner: The Man and the Myth." The book reveals some of the myths surrounding Miner, as well as why some are often of a negative connotation.

To promote his book, Burke will be holding two upcoming lectures, Thursday, Dec. 17, at 7 p.m. at the Miner Institute and Friday, Dec. 18, at 7 p.m. at the Alice T. Miner Museum.

Thursday's lecture will focus on "William H. Miner: Why All the Myths and Why All the Negatives," which according to Burke is because Miner was one of the American mobility myths.

According to Burke, back in the 1890s, during the time of John D. Rockefeller and Henry Ford, only a small selection of people ever became wealthy.

"No one could believe anymore that the country was actually a place for equality of opportunity for all," said Burke. "But they weren't going to give up completely on the idea of mobility."

The idea was at least some people could make it from "poverty to prosperity." However, those who did not needed to come up with a reason why they didn't succeed.

"The idea is 'I can't blame it on myself because I didn't work hard or I wasn't good enough. I have to find some fault in the hero,'" Burke explained.

Miner was of one the people to climb the ranks to wealth, leaving him open to ridicule from those who did not.

Burke said some of the rumors that surfaced around Miner was he often fired employees at the Heart's Delight Farm for smoking or excessive noise.

However, after years of research, Burke was able to combat some of the myths.

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