Saturday, May 30, 2015

EDWARD EMERSON MILLER 1872-1953

[Ancestral Link: Harold William Miller, son of Edward Emerson Miller.]










Ed and Ada celebrated their Golden Wedding 11 March 1945 at Lula's home in Oakland.


In the fall of 1934, Ed and Ada moved to Oakland, California. Work was still scarce, and Ed had a difficult time finding employment. For about six years in succession, he was the Santa Claus of choice for the H. C. Capwell Company in Oakland. Ed, always cheerful and personable, enjoyed children and always had a good story. He had a round and chubby build, and with his jovial personality, he was a natural Santa without need for any padding.




One of Ed's Salt Lake City streetcars in the early 1900s. Conductor Ed Miller stands to the left; his unidentified driver is to the right.



Edward Emerson Miller with wife Ada Marion Williams Miller, daughter Lula, and baby Verna in 1899.


EDWARD EMERSON MILLERMy biography written from memory. March 6, 1950.

I, Edward Emerson Miller, was born 10th of March, 1872, in Hooper, Weber County, Utah. My father's name was Leander Miller, born 14 February 1845, Bedford, Mercer County, Pennsylvania. My mother's name Ann Hull, born 25th January 1844, at Hancock, Virginia.

When I was two years and eight months old I remember when my brother Lee, younger than I, was born October 4th 1874 in Farmington, Davis County, Utah. That fall my parents moved to a sheep ranch west of Hooper, on the lake shore where my father took care of a herd of sheep. The next spring we moved to East Portage in Malad valley. Father worked there that summer, the most impressive thing to me was the Indians. They camped near the springs a short distance from our cabin and mother would bake biscuits and take down to the squaws for their papooses(also made taffy candy from sorghum molasses for them.) One day when Mother went visiting over to the Wells farm and took us boys with her, my elder brother and I skipped back home and when we got there the house was locked and we couldn't get in. As we were trying to get in two young buck Indians came along, got off their horses, tied them to a post and came after us swinging their tomahawks and chanting as they were scaring us as we ran around the house. My brother was five and I was three and a half years old. We left there that fall and moved back to Hooper for the winter, and Mother taught a small school in her home until spring when we moved to Mountain Green in Weber Canyon.

Father worked in the charcoal kilns burning charcoal for the smelters. Mountain Green was the first place that I attended Sunday School. During that summer the Indians were on the war path and they passed our place going to Wyoming, and Mother had to keep us in the house for fear of the Indians. In a few days we got word that they had massacred General Custer and five hundred men, June 25th 1876. Father worked there until fall saving enough money to send the Family back to his old home in Lancaster, Iowa, where his parents lived. His Father owned several farms and he rented one of them. It took us three days and nights on the train to make the journey from Utah to Iowa, after leaving Peterson, Utah, where we took the train. We were traveling very slowly up the canyon by Devils slide. There was a bunch of deer running up the mountain and the men were out on the platform shooting at them. When we got out on the prairie there were buffalo as far as the eye could see. There were 80 acres in the farm and Father planted it all in corn and buckwheat and raised hogs for market. We lived there for four years, and moved back to Hooper Utah, in May 1881. During this time when we lived in Hooper, we three boys learned to swim in the canal and run barefooted all summer and our feet were chapped and bleeding and Mother would rub them with salted butter to keep us from wading in the ditches of water. That fall Father sold his hay and two young fellows by the name of Smith Johnson and Will Arave came and made the bargain to take the crop, and while talking they had to roll a cigarette, the first cigarettes that I had seen. They were both Mormon boys of goodly parents.

In November we moved to Pleasant Green, West of Salt Lake City. We had a farm and a fine crop of potatoes all in bloom. One morning a horde of grasshoppers came down from the hillside and devoured our crop. I was ten years old at that time and I had to help fight grasshoppers to save the wheat which was almost ripe. When our crop was gone we moved to Salt Lake City. Father got a job driving Hack to and from the Depos. Mother and Father went through the Endowment House that spring in 1883, they had four living children at that time. Father had been sick for a long time with Typhoid Fever, and Mother made beaded collars and capes, also pieced quilt tops to keep the family until Father was able to work, and he got a job at Snell's lumber yard making window frames and worked there a few months until he rented a farm in Bluffdale South of the City. 1883 - during the summer 19 wards of Salt Lake City had a Sunday School Jubilee, all the children gathered at the Calders Farm in long wagons drawn by six horse teams. Each child was presented with a ticket of 20 numbers. Each number was worth 4 cents at the concessions--including candy, pop corn, soda pop, chewing gum, boat rides. Each child bought what he wanted. My two brothers and I were all dressed alike as Mother had made our suits all out of the same material, a pepper and salt grey mixture, so it was easy for us to spot one another in the multitude of children. In those days we had no ready made clothing and our Mother had to make our clothing as well as carding the wool and knitting the stockings.

We moved down on the farm in the fall of 1883. I was 11 years old and soon learned how to take care of the stock and milk cows, also my job to chop the wood and carry in enough for night as we had no coal at that time mostly oak and sage brush. The next summer Father and William Wallace Merrill bought a cane mill and went around the country making Sorgum Molasses as each Farmer raised enough sugar cane to make his own molasses, and they made it on shares.

We moved from this farm in the fall of 1886 to the Malad divide and Father filed on a home stead of 160 acres. We built a log cabin on the home stead and before moving on to it we found out that it was on the Blackfoot Indian reservation and we had to give it up. We had to stay in Malad that winter and I attended school for about four months. We fed cattle that winter for David L. Evens. When spring came Father rented another hay farm from the James Brothers. School was dismissed the 1st of May, and some one told me that Josiah Richardson, wanted a boy to herd and milk cows on the cheese dairy and he would pay 12.00 and board per month. I was out to the barn at the time and I hollered to my mother across the street that I was going to get a job and she called for me to come back but I kept on going and walked all the way up there, 12 miles. It was mid afternoon when I got there. He looked me over and laughed because I was so small. He said, "Well I will try you out and see what you can do." There was 60 head of milk cows and a lot of dry stock. I had a pony to ride and would take the herd up in the hills and bring them in to be milked in the evening. I would milk 11-12 morning and night. He also had two girls, Jane Stubs and Sally Williams, from Malad to help with the milking and he with his second wife would milk the rest of them. I stayed there for two months not seeing any of my folks or taking a day off until the 4th of July when I went home. In riding for Mr. Richardson I met a cattleman by the name of John E. Jones. He found out that I was through at the dairy, so he came and wanted me to work for him to help take a herd of cattle up to Lost River Country about two hundred miles. He had sold them to start a cattle ranch for a homesteader. I was 15 years old at that time. We were about a week rounding up the cattle in the
Malad mountains. He had a large cattle ranch at the head of Malad Valley, Elkhorn. About the third night we were out with the herd we were camped north of where Pocatello is now situated. We had just finished our evening meal when we heard a terrible roar of the cattle stampeding. The night herder came galloping in and told us that the Indians had stampeded them and we had to saddle our horses and follow them up along the South side of the Black-Foot river. By morning they had run themselves down. Quite a few of them had failed by the way. We drove them on until we came to Black-Foot City. We camped there for two days and during this time the Boss and one of the riders had a quarrel and the rider quit and went home, leaving the Boss and I to drive them the rest of the way across the desert. We forded the Snake River at Black-Foot. After we had forded the Snake river and the sun was about two hours high in the evening the Boss culled out a small bunch and took the lead with them and I followed up in the rear with the balance of the herd also the pack animal and riding horses. The road was badly cut up and the dust was axle deep with the heavy freight wagons crossing the desert. We traveled all night and the next day until sundown when we struck Root Hog. During the night we passed a freight camp and the dogs came barking and nipped my horse's heels and he jumped out from under me and I lit in the middle of the road in the dust. It was a good thing that he was a white horse or I could not of found him the night was so dark. The water troughs were empty and we had to go thirteen miles farther before we would reach lost river and when we were within a mile of the river the cattle smelled the water and they stampeded and struck the river where there was a bend and the bank was straight off twenty feet above the water they went over the bank
into deep water. They piled on top of each other but none of them were hurt or drowned. On the other side of the river they scattered through the cotton woods and brush on the river low land. It was in the middle of the night, and we made our beds down and we slept until sundown next day. We got up and ate our supper and went back to bed and slept until morning. We rounded up the cattle and left there in the middle of the afternoon of the second day - and we drove to Arco, about fifteen miles up the river. We camped at Arco, intending to stay a day or two or until the man came that was buying them but the mosquitoes were so thick that the cattle couldn't rest so we drove them into the hills where the man had his ranch and there we had to rebrand each critter, all but ten head of the largest steers which he sold to a man that broke them in for oxen to haul timber for a mining town called Era. That afternoon I took the horses back to Arco, and waited for him to come and he didn't show up until the next day. While there I bought a can of plums at the Stage Station which made me very sick and I almost died with ptomaine poisoning. The boss came while I was sick and they gave me some kind of oil until I was well enough to get on a horse. We then rode up the river to Mackey, the next Stage station above Arco. He left me there to watch the horses over night while he went over to a mining camp twenty miles away to make a business deal. He didn't come back for a week and he lost half of the money he received for the cattle gambling and drinking. When he did get back we left immediately for a hay ranch on the river bottoms about eight miles above American Falls. He and his Brother Dan had planned to meet there to put up hay but when we got there, he and his men hadn't arrived so we started for home in Malad. We had been riding a full day when we met them in the canyon so we camped for the night and left early the next morning to go back to the hay ranch, and what a big disappointment it was for me not to go home and I needed a hair cut very badly and it was seven months before I got a hair cut. Another big disappointment was when Mother sent me a letter by Mr. Jones telling me that they had been up to Eagle Rock, and they had filed on a homestead in Taylor, Idaho. I was so disgusted with the wind and the dust and the loneliness of having to go back to the hay ranch for another six weeks that I couldn't sleep that night. After we started in the hay fields it was my job to do the raking but we didn't work on Sunday, which made things a little more pleasant for me. Another young fellow and I would go fishing on Sunday and the trout were as thick as they could be in a hatchery and we soon got tired of fish. It was the latter part of September before we were through putting up hay and ready to go home. The first day we drove up Bannock Creek and over the mountain to Elk Horn where the James Brothers owned a big cattle ranch, and there we gathered up a bunch of horses to take down to Malad City and among them there was one that I had to lead by the horn of the saddle. It was Dan Jones's saddle and the stirrup straps were too long for me so I had to put my feet through the straps. We came to a ravine with a log bridge across it. The horse I was leading refused to cross the bridge and he pulled back and turned the saddle and I tried to jump off but my horse was bucking and my leg was caught in the strap and he continued to buck until I came loose. After I had cleaned the dust and dirt out of my eyes and mouth, I found them down on a grassy flat and my horse there with the saddle under his belly. The men and the teams had gone ahead of me, so I got on my horse and started them down the road and I soon passed the men and teams and they never stopped running until we reached Malad City, and into the corrals. It was Sunday evening and I was passing the church with the horses and someone hollered, There's my Ed." It was the girl that I used to dance with while we were going to School. My hair was down over my shoulders and I looked like an Indian.

When I arrived home my folks were all ready to move to Taylor, Idaho. We left in a few days and started to build a log house of two rooms, and a dugout as soon as we arrived there. We had to go to the canyons for logs and fire wood and we worked until late in the fall and when winter set in we moved to Eagle Rock, for the winter. My elder Brother Harry and I got a job as School janitors, and attended School that winter. C. E. Arney and Jennie Taylor were the teachers. School closed about the first of May and we moved out on the homestead for a certain length of time to hod it, and work being scarce we had to get out and look for employment and make some money to keep up expenses. We found work about seventy miles north west of Eagle Rock, a mining camp called Nycolia, cutting timber to burn for charcoal for the smelters, and we worked there all summer until late in the fall when we moved back to the homestead to finish building stables and building fences. There were no canals for irrigation purposes. We had to haul our water about a mile for culinary use, and hauled it in barrels from the mountain stream. We lived there over winter and in the spring when I was seventeen, the year of 1889, there was a big boom in Ogden and we moved down there to get work. Father and my elder Brother Harry worked hauling gravel, and I found employment at the Mound Fort, dairy. In the fall we moved back to the homestead and did some more building. We built another room on the house, and another stable and corals. The next spring we worked on the Idaho Canal. Our canal, the Cedar Hollow, and Foot Hill Canal wasn't built until the next spring. Our assessment was to build the canal through our property, half a mile long and fifteen feet wide on the bottom, that would carry three feet of water, (that was work without pay) only so many shares in the canal. I was nineteen at that time. From then on we started to raise crops, such as hay grain and potatoes, also vegetables and small fruit.

That spring I worked in the Idaho Falls flour mill seven miles north of our homestead. I worked there a few months and took diphtheria and was sick most of the summer and not able to work so I read the Book of Mormon for the first time, and became interested in the restored gospel. As there was no ward organized there at that time, we held cottage meetings in the homes. The people were very friendly and sociable as most of them had moved up there from South Weber, Riverdale, Hooper, and Ogden. There was the Araves, the Higleys, the Wadsworths, the Priests, the Clarks, the Stoddards, the Childs, the Hardys, and many others. John W. Taylor came up there and organized a ward, and gave it the name of Taylor Ward, and William Priest was ordained the first Bishop, with James Poulson 1st counselor, Charles Wardsworth, 2nd counselor. We built a one room log meeting house with three windows on each side, and slab benches for seats. Soon after the ward was organized I was rebaptized, as the record of my baptism in Hooper could not be found. I was rebaptized 3rd of August, 1893, by James Poulson, confirmed 7th of August, 1893, by William Priest. I was also ordained a Priest. I was appointed as a ward teacher soon after the ward was organized.

In my boyhood days I learned to play the violin and by the time I was nineteen I would help play for the ward dances and house parties where they would roll up the carpets and dance the old fashioned dances. I wasn't a violinist, I was just an old fashioned fiddler. During the fall and winter of 1891 I joined a traveling troupe of magicians, consisting of a ventriloquist, a magician, and a Solo singer. We would put on a play called "A ghost in the pawn shop" and after the show was over I would play for the dance. We traveled from town to town, one night in a town and a full house every night. We passed hand bills through the day. When we had traveled as far as Logan one of the fellows took seriously ill and we broke up the traveling show. On the way home I froze my feet so badly they turned black and I was convalescing about two months with very sore feet. When spring came my Brother and I took a job on the Idaho canal with our teams scraping at 6 cents a yard. From then on the next two years we didn't do anything else but canal work as there was so many canals being built through the country at that time.

When I became of age I bought a relinquishment of 80 acres of land and filed on it as a homestead. I built a log house and then started to look for a wife. Two years passed by before one was brought to me from New Zealand, and her home at that time was American Fork, Utah. She came to Shelley, Idaho, with Mrs Sabina Robinson, Allen, to work for her during the summer, as she was a dear friend of her Mothers. I met her at Fred Wadsworth's missionary farewell party in November and we were married the next spring on the 11th of March, 1895. We were the first couple to be married in Shelley, Idaho. We made our home in Taylor, Idaho on the 80 acre homestead, and in eleven months our first child was born.

During the first summer of our marriage we made several trips to the canyons for a few days at a time. On one of our trips coming home from Wolverine Canyon we heard that there as a danger of an out break among the Indians from the Black-Foot reservation who were on the war path over trouble with the cattlemen in Big Horn Basin, but the Soldiers from Fort Hall prevented this trouble, which calmed our fears very much. We had camped on their trail while in the canyon not knowing that we were in any danger of trouble.

During the first year of our marriage I worked on the canals, averaging about six dollars per day on the Snake river and Reservation canal, taken out by the Government for the Indians on the Fort Hall Reservation. Then I worked on the Cedar Hollow and Foot hill canal for my water stock, and also traded water stock for a nice gentle cow that my wife could milk while I was away working. During that time there was no fences, and when milking time came all we had to do was tap on the milk pail and she would come running home for her bran mash. During the second year of our marriage we fenced our 80 acres with a barbed wire fence of three wires, and I broke up 40 acres consisting of 25 acres of wheat, 5 acres of oats with alfalfa, 3 acres of potatoes, a patch of sweet corn, watermelons, and a half acre of vegetable garden, a lawn and plenty of flowers, shade trees around the house and down the front line. My wife was my only helper. We lived one and a half miles north of the LDS meeting house and most of the time we walked both ways. I was teacher of the boys class of Deacons, and my wife was Secretary of the Sunday School for two years. She was released when we moved to American Fork, Utah. I was ordained an Elder February 1st 1897, and set apart the same day as a Stake missionary. During the winter and summer of 1897, the Stake was 40 miles long at that time and we had to ride horse back. It was a six months mission in the different wards and in the fall we had Sundays to visit the different wards in the Stake. My companion was George E. Larson, my Brother-in-law by marriage. After my release I sold my homestead and moved to American Fork. On December 6th 1898 our second child (Verna) was born in American Fork, Utah. We lived there for two years and four months when we had our first son. He was born 8th of April 1901, at American Fork, Utah. We named him Edward Ernest. When he was a month old I took a contract of building a pole fence over the mountain to fence in the cattle on the Thomas E. Jeremy ranch. We moved up there on the 10th of May 1901, in East Canyon. We had 8 milk cows and sold butter to the Section men at Gorgorza, and traded butter to the sheep men for mutton and lamb.

In October 1901 we moved down to North Point, Salt Lake, on a farm owned by Thomas E. Jeremy. We took the farm on shares 1/2 and 1/2. We raised alfalfa, wheat, oats and barley, plenty of vegetables, also poultry, ducks, chickens and turkeys. We also made butter to sell. There was plenty of hard work but not very much cash. The next year we moved to Salt Lake City, and I got a job driving team for E. E. Rich, Peoples Forwarding Company. I worked there for eight months and then took a job in the round house at the Oregon Short line shops. I worked there almost two years. During that time our second Son was born. We named him Ellis Marion Miller. We moved out on the E. E. Rich farm in Farmington, where our third son was born 9th of August 1905. We named him Lester Williams Miller. He was blessed in the 17th Ward, Salt Lake City. We moved back to Salt Lake City in October, to the 17th Ward. In February 1906 I went to work for the Street Car Company as a Street Car Conductor, where I worked for twelve years.

I bought a lot on Roosevelt Avenue, South of Liberty Park, and built a small house. The next spring our 4th Son was born, 6th of March 1910. We named him Harold William Miller. During the spring of 1911, I bought a dry farm in the south end of Rush valley, Tooele County, at Lofgren. The family moved out there in June after School was out for their summer vacation. I continued to work at my job and I sold my home for first payment on the dry farm, and had to rent another house and get ready for the Family to move back in time for School in September. We lived in Forest Dale until 1918.

During this time in Salt Lake City we had three more children born to us. George Lee who died in infancy was born November 29, and died the next day November 30, 1912.  Edna Maxine, born September 21, 1915 and Lorraine Beth, who was born August 29, 1917.  We had nine children in all.

I quit my job and we moved out to the Dry Farm in 1918 for three years.

In the fall of 1921 I traded the Dry Farm for a small farm in Uintah, Utah, at the mouth of Weber Canyon. I farmed there for ten years and during that time I was appointed as ward teacher, Stake missionary of the Mount Ogden Stake, and President of the YMMIA at Uintah, Mount Ogden Stake. I was ordained a High Priest 23rd December 1923 by Fred G. Taylor.

We raised white turkeys, ducks and chickens.  We had our own live stock and raised all kinds of garden produce.  I also managed a dairy farm in connection with the Miller Fox Farm.

For a couple of years in between, about 1927 we left our farm in Uintah and went to Los Angeles, California, where some of our married children were living.  Here we opened a small restaurant and Pie Shop.  Our specialty was hot meat pies and fruit pies.  As I had been prematurely gray, it wasn't easy to get work.  My hair started to gray when I was 27 and it was now snow white.  I even let my daughter-in-law dye my hair while we were here.  This was rather a joke as it turned more orange than dark.  My hair in my younger days was black and I always had lots of hair. 

In July 1931 we sold our farm in Uintah and moved to Silverton, Oregon. There we rented a home for five months.  We kept open house for the Mormon missionaries, having two with us most of the time. Elders Amos A. Hunt from Lehi, Utah and Harold Holms from Salt Lake City were the first two Elders to stay with us for a week.

We then moved into Salem.  The depression was on and our two married daughters, Lula and Verna and their young families all came to Salem, and we together rented a large house and went into the baking business.  My wife was an excellent baker and cook.  Her father was a baker by trade.  Our three youngest children were still living at home, and there were 17 of us living together in one large 9-room house.  My wife also did all of our own sewing.  She was a good homemaker.

In the spring of 1934 Lula and Verna with their families moved to Oakland, California.  Edna and Harold also went along to get work.  For one season my wife and I and youngest daughter stayed on Ellis' dry farm about 35 miles southeast of Salem, Oregon.  We raised strawberries and took care of the farm.  Then in the fall of 1934 we also moved down to Oakland.  Work was still scarce and even though I was still robust and healthy it was hard to find work.  For about six years, in succession I was the Santa Claus for the H. C. Capwell Co. in Oakland.  I was built round and chubby and said to be a natural, without any padding.  I enjoyed children and always a good story.  (He was jolly and full of fun.) (L.W.)  During World War 2, we moved down to San Jose, California to be near Verna while her husband was overseas.  Then again to Oakland in 1944 with Lorraine when her husband was at sea.  In October 1945 we moved to Alameda, California and my wife and I were called on a Stake Mission in November 1946.

On March 11, 1945, our oldest daughter gave us a 50th wedding anniversary celebration and open house at her home in Oakland.  It was on April 24, 1953 in Oakland, California, that death came to my wife at the age of 76.  Just five months later on September 26, 1953, I followed her in death at the age of 81, in Oakland, Alameda County, California.

Both their places of burial are in Bountiful, David County, Utah cemetery.

(Latter part written by: Lorraine Beth Miller Wood)
(This was my father.)
Written from memory March 6, 1950 by Edward Emerson Miller

2 comments:

  1. Thank you for posting these stories. Edward Emerson Miller is my Great Grandfather on my mothers side. I love reading family stories. Great Blog!!

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