Category Archives: Miller

James Turner Miller – A Good Man Killed – Murder Most Foul

As so correctly stated by Aaron Holt of the National Archives and Records Administration, “It only takes three generations to lose a piece of oral family history.  If you want to avoid losing those precious family stories passed down through the generations, the story must be purposely and accurately repeated over and over again through the generations to be preserved.”

As it pertains to oral family histories – the Miller family has done a great job – specifically as it relates to James Turner Miller, the father of Elijah Spencer Miller (whose wife was Harriet Curbow).  When I began researching the life of Elijah and Hattie – I naturally poked around for information on Elijah’s father, and through census records, I believed that to be James Turner Miller, who lived “east of the Brazos – near Waco, Texas.  As I worked with other Miller researchers, I was told on more than one occasion that Mr. Miller was a wealthy landowner, had been in Waco on a supply trip on the day of his death, and that he had been murdered by cattle rustlers on his way home.  I put that in my “to be determined file” and moved on with the research.  Thankfully, I have many fantastic research partners – and Mr. Tom Hedges (a Miller descendant) – was able to locate this news article, presumably published in a Waco newspaper the day after the murder on 19 Aug 1873.


Intelligence was yesterday morning received of the death by gunshot the evening before, of James T. Miller, a resident of this county, and one of the most orderly and respectable citizens. Who it was that committed this atrocious crime, or by what spirit of diabolism actuated, is yet one of the undeveloped mysteries. Certain it is, however, it was a murder most foul. Jim Miller, for so he was familiarly called, was in town the day he was killed, and it is known that he was not armed. He fell, therefore, by the hand of the assassin. He had bought during the day supplies and a quantity of lumber for use on his place, and was on his way home with them. He lived at the Pitts place, on the Corsicana road, twelve miles from town. A short distance this side of town, night coming on, Mr. Miller, being on horseback, left the wagons on the main road and started home on the “trail,” a more direct route. Shortly afterward the report of a gun was heard in that direction; Mr. Miller not coming home, search was instituted, and on the following morning (yesterday) his body was found. He was shot at the trail crossing of that ill-famed creek, the Tehuacana, a short distance above the Corsicana Road.  A load of buckshot, some eighteen or twenty, taking effect in his side, had done its bloody work and there he lay. “Dead men tell no tales,” and in the absence of witnesses it is possible that the perpetrator of this great crime may go unwhipped of justice and unrecognized, save by the eye of heaven, as the murderer he is. But if it is possible, under such circumstances and in the absence of any clue, to ascertain who it was that did the deed, this should be done and the guilty party be awarded at the hands of the law the fearful penalty due his crime. The deceased will be buried with Masonic honors by Waco Lodge No. 92, to-day.

As it turned out – the family oral history was spot on about the facts of Jim Miller’s murder.

James Turner Miller – known as Jim – was born to Alfred Miller (b. 1793) and Sarah Wray on 12 Feb 1824 in South Carolina.

At the time of the 1850 census we find James T. Miller living next door to his father in Oktibbeha County, Mississippi.  He is a blacksmith – both he and his father are land and slave owners.  Jim is living with his first wife Rebecca, age 21 (Rebecca Ann Anderson) and son Elizah, age 2; (Elijah Spencer Miller, born 1849).  Also next door is Rebecca Anderson, Elijah Anderson and James Anderson.  Can we presume this to be the family of Rebecca, Elijah Miller’s wife?

Miller researcher Shirley McAnelly Hill states that Jim Miller and family were in Texas by 1858 – and they can indeed be found in the 1860 census living in McLennan County, Texas.  He is with his wife Rebecca and son Spencer and daughter Nancy (Nancy Roseann Miller, born 1859).

The oral family story continues stating that Rebecca died in childbirth while Jim was in Galveston, Texas serving in the Civil War sometime around 1862.  As it turns out, this part of the family story checks out as well – Jim did serve in Confederate Army with the 9th Militia Dist., McLennan County, 28th Brigade, Texas Militia – where he held the rank of 3rd Sgt.  It could be that the child Rebecca gave birth to was daughter Mary Alice Miller (born 1862).

Muster Roll Index Card – James Turner Miller

Jim Miller married for a second time to Catherine S. Young on 9 Dec 1864 (presume in McLennan County – although I have not located a marriage record for them there).  The couple had five children:  William Turner Miller in 1865; Susan Ellanora Miller in 1867; Rebecca Miller in 1869; Permelia Paralee Miller in 1871; and Jesse Perkins Miller in 1873).  When the census was taken in 1870, the family is still living in McLennan County, Texas “east of the Brazos.”  At that time Jim owned real estate valued at $8,500 and personal property valued at $2,000.

On a recent genealogy trip to Waco, my husband and I spent hour upon hour, looking through old Wills and probate papers at the McLennan County District Clerk’s office.  While there I pulled the Will and probate file of James Turner Miller – and it was voluminous!  The probate file settles James Turner Miller’s family relationships and confirms that he was a very well to do citizen of McLennan County, Texas.  Since the file was so large, I did not copy it in its entirely; however, I did have a few pertinent pages copied – and will write about that in my next post.  Stay tuned.




Posted by on June 21, 2017 in Miller


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Will the Real Frank Miller Please Stand Up?

When researching an ancestor with a common surname such as Jones, or Smith or Miller it often quickly becomes a tangled and confusing mess. If you combine that common surname with a common first name such as Joe or Bob or Frank – it can be enough to make you want to pull your hair out! And so it has been with our Frank Miller, son of Elijah Spencer Miller and Harriet Curbow. Basically, when performing family history research you will run across clues about your ancestry – you will dig a little deeper – and if all goes well you find some answers to your family mysteries.

Frank Miller was one of those mysteries. In the beginning, the only thing that we knew for certain about Frank Miller was information provided by the 1880 census where we find him living in McLennan County, Texas with his father Elijah Spencer Miller (age 31 born in Mississippi) and mother Harriet Curbow (age 26 born in Mississippi). “Our” Frank was about 6 years old having been born in Texas in 1874. Also in the home is Frank’s grandfather, Tilman P. Curbow, who is 55 years old and who is a widower. Frank has three siblings: Thomas, Jesse and Minnie.

Fast forward to the turn of the century – 1910 to be precise –and we find Elijah Spencer Miller living in Akers, Carter County, Oklahoma. Harriet has died – Elijah has remarried – and Frank is nowhere to be found – or so I thought.

While researching the children of Elijah and Harriet, I met Tom Hedges, a great-grandson of Elijah Miller and wife Harriet (through their daughter Lou Ida Belle Miller) – and we’ve been trading information on the Miller/Curbow family ever since. Tom advised that he believed our Frank ended up out in California. With this lead, Tom and I started tracing a gentleman named Frank Miller who was born in Texas in July of 1873 and whose parents were both born in Mississippi (locations and date matched!). Over the ensuing months (years??!) – I had further contact with the descendants of the “California Frank” Miller. These family members indicated that he was from Nocana, Montague County, Texas, and that his family was from Indian Territory and had come from Mississippi. (Again – basic facts matched!) We learned that he had married Frances Mary Mehn and had two sons, one of whom was still living. We happily exchanged family photos, stories and documents. Tom and I felt certain that we had the right Frank Miller family. But not so fast!

I made contact with “California Frank” Miller’s grandson, who is also named Frank Miller (you see how confusing this could get?!). Mr. Miller told me that his father had no recollection of the surname Curbow. Further, his grandfather’s death certificate (which I have seen) indicates that his mother was Sarah Jane Clinton – not Harriet Curbow. Further, in the 1910 census he is not yet in California – rather living in Montague County, Texas with his mother. So basically – the way it looks – we have three Frank Millers – one in Oklahoma (ours); one in Texas; and one in California!  I was deflated – time to take down all the lovely photographs and records from the website – which belonged to a Frank Miller that was not ours. So now we’re back to square one when it comes to Frank Miller.

Fast forward to February of 2014 when I received an email from Tom Hedges outlining his recent work on the Miller family. The death of a cousin – Alta Faye Miller Porterfield – prompted Tom to take another look at his Miller family genealogy. Tom found Alta’s memorial on Find-a-Grave which confirmed that she was the daughter of “Monk” Miller. Tom knew that “Monk” was a son of “Our Frank” Miller. After I made contact with the creator of the memorials, David Miller, we all felt like we had made a connection. David subsequently ordered “Frank” Miller’s death certificate, and it is confirmed that he is the son of Elijah Spencer Miller.

“Our Frank” Miller is William Franklin Miller who was born in Texas on 17 Sept 1874. He left Texas and went to Oklahoma with his parents and lived his entire life in Carter County, Oklahoma. On 4 Dec 1904 he married Rachel Bondurant in Carter County. This is the same day that Elijah Spencer Miller married his second wife, Rosa. Frank and Rachel had six children that I am aware of: Tulle (1906); Jesse Eugene (1911); Roy Franklin (1914); William Columbus (1916); Cleva Bell (1921); and Annie Belle (1923). These names are also very prevalent in the Curbow family genealogy. It appears that Frank was a farmer all of his life. He died 2 Apr 1948 in Milo, Carter County, Oklahoma, and is laid to rest in the Milo Cemetery.

The search for “the real” Frank Miller has been an invaluable lesson to me not to jump to any hasty conclusions. I am glad that the correction has been made – and a big thank you to Tom Hedges and David Miller for untangling this Miller web!
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Posted by on March 2, 2014 in Miller


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Another Miller Break Through

Little Jessie Miller in the 1880 census turns out to be Jessie Eugene Miller born 22 Oct. 1877 in Waco, McLennan County, Texas to Elijah Spencer Miller and Harriet Curbow.  He is the first cousin (3x removed) to my husband – that’s getting out there – but we’ll take them any way we can get them!  We don’t know a lot about him, but based on some of the records I found we do know this:

Sometime around 1907 he married Hattie – her last name is unknown to me.  In the 1910 census he was living with her in Collin County, Texas.  The couple had four children:  John S. in 1907; Fannie Mae in 1909; Enola B. in 1912; and Bethola M. in 1914.  I don’t know if Hattie died or if the couple divorced because by the 1920 census, Jessie has remarried to Susie Annie Hyden.  His children are with him.  Jessie and Annie had six more children:  Archie B. in 1918; James Ira in 1919; William Franklin in 1921; Vera Belle in 1922; Clifton Eugene in 1924; and Doris Evelyn in 1928. 

When Jesse filled out his World War I Draft Registration card in September of 1918 he stated that he was a self-employed farmer.  He described himself as being of medium height and build with gray eyes and brown hair.  His grandfather Tilman Curbow had gray eyes. 

World War I Draft Registration Card

The family lived in Collin County until 1923 when they relocated to Live Oak County.  

Live Oak County, Texas

Jessie Eugene Miller lived the rest of his life there until he died of tuberculosis in George West, Live Oak County, Texas on 28 July 1939.  As an aside, the town of George West was founded by George Washington West and Katie West, land venturers and cattle barons.  I am sure they some how fit into our West family – but that is another research project for another day !

Texas Death Certificate

Jessie Eugene Miller is laid to rest in George West Cemetery.

In tracing some of the Jessie’s children – I found that Archie B. Miller lived and died in the Giddings/Lexington, Lee County area – which is not far from where we are.  If any of the children and/or grandchildren of Jessie Eugene Miller or Archie B. Miller come across this post – we would love to visit with you to share information on the Miller/Curbow genealogy.

Onward –  breaking down those brick walls is so much fun !


Posted by on February 19, 2011 in Curbow, Miller


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Lou Ida Belle Miller Mason Watson

Lou Ida Belle Miller was my husband’s first cousin (3 times removed) and the loving grandmother of fellow family researcher Tom Hedges.  Most of the information that I have on Lou Ida Belle comes generously from Tom. 

Lou Ida Belle Miller - Photo from the collection of Tom Hedges

Lou Ida Belle Miller was the youngest daughter of Harriet Curbow and Elijah Spencer Miller.  She was born in Itasca, Hill County, Texas on 3 June 1892. 

On 27 Jan 1907 (at the tender age of 14 years old), Lou Ida Belle married Jesse Monroe Mason.  A short nine months later in September of 1907 Jesse Mason died.  Out of this union came one child:  Jessie Isabel Mason who was born on Christmas Day 1907. 

By the age of 20, Lou Ida Belle Miller has remarried.  Her new husband is James Monroe Watson.  The couple had six children:  Minnie Estel in 1912; Bonnie Gertrude in 1916; John Edward in 1918; Ruby Pauline in 1920; Willie Mae in 1925; and James Thomas in 1929.  The family lived in and around the Carter County, Oklahoma area until 1933 when James Monroe Watson died following a surgery. 

After the death of her husband, Lou Ida Belle Miller left Oklahoma with her children and migrated to Arizona.  This is what Tom

Lou Ida Belle Miller - Greenwood Memorial Lawn Cemetery

shared with me about his grandmother:  My grandmother moved with all her children to Arizona to find work. With the great depression and ‘dust bowl’ during that time, they were among the many ‘Okies’ that moved west to find work.  All of her children stayed in Arizona, except for one.  Her daughter Ruby Pauline and Ruby’s husband Robert Harris moved back to Oklahoma, and remained in Oklahoma the rest of their lives.

 Lou Ida Belle Miller Watson died in Phoenix, Maricopa County on 8 Jan 1969.  She is laid to rest at the Greenwood Memorial Lawn Cemetery.

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Posted by on January 30, 2011 in Miller


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Willie Mae Miller Mason

Willie Mae Miller was born sometime around 1890 in Texas (either McLennan County or Hill County).  She was one of the daughters of Harriet Curbow and Elijah Spencer Miller.  Because her birth year fell during the missing 1890 census – and the 1900 census where the Miller family cannot be found – I never even knew that Willie existed until Tom Hedges told me about her. 

Based on the birth year of her first child and 1910 census record, Willie married in 1907.  She married John Wesley Mason (the brother of Jesse Monroe Mason (first husband of Willie’s sister, Lou Ida Bell Miller).   The couple had four children:  Pearl Lee Mason (a male – 1908-1992); Thomas Wesley Mason (1910-1979); Ethel Mason (1913) and Spencer Mason (1923-1984).  The family lived in Caddo and Carter Counties through the 1930 census.  It is believed that after the death of Willie’s husband, she and the children migrated to California.  There she lived until her death on 21 December 1971 in Stanislaus County, California.

Willie Mae Miller Mason - Photo from the collection of Tom Hedges

 I would be interested in hearing from any of Willie’s descendants who could provide me with the location of her final resting place.

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Posted by on January 30, 2011 in Miller


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Elijah Spencer Miller – Update

Just when I had about given up on finding new information on Elijah Spencer Miller and his family — today I stumbled on a family tree on that I had never seen before.  Imagine my shock and surprise when I found two pictures of Elijah that I had never seen.  I have contacted the owner of the tree in hopes that they can shed some light on the life of Elijah and wife Harriet Curbow and wife Rosa Mosby Long.  Elijah looks very young in this first photograph.  I’ll take a stab in the dark and assume that this photograph was taken in Waco while he was married to Harriet Curbow.

Elijah Spencer Miller = Photo is courtesy of James Dudley


Elijah Spencer Miller - Photograph is from the collection of James Dudley

Elijah looks much older in this second photograph and my assumption would be that it was taken in Oklahoma. 

 I am hopeful that I will hear back from the owner of the tree.  It appears that they are descended from Cleo Hazel Miller (the oldest daughter of Rosa Mosby Long and Elijah Spencer Miller). 
Stay tuned for further updates and Elijah and family!
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Posted by on January 30, 2011 in Miller


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Elijah Spencer Miller – Husband of Harriet Curbow

Harriet’s husband, Elijah Spencer Miller, was born in Mississippi in about 1849.  He was the oldest son of James Turner and Rebecca Anderson Miller.   Elijah’s grandfather, Alfred W. Miller and his father, James, were both land/slave owners in Mississippi prior to the Civil War.  Elijah’s father, James Turner Miller, was a 3rd Sgt. during the Civil War serving with the Texas Militia out of McLennan County, Texas.  According to the Miller family oral history, Elijah’s father, James Turner Miller, was a wealthy man – owning cotton gins and a large property east of Waco, Texas on the Tehuacana Creek which he bought with gold.  Elijah’s mother (Rebecca) died in childbirth while Elijah was a young teen.  His father remarried, and the name of his second wife was Catherine Young.  The family oral history goes on to state that Elijah’s father was murdered by cattle rustlers as he returned home from Waco on a supply trip.  

After Harriet’s death, which is presumed to have occurred prior to December of 1904, Elijah Spencer Miller can be found in Springer, Pickens County, Indian Territory (Chickasaw Nation) (present day Carter County, Oklahoma), where he has remarried.  His new wife is Emily Rosa Mosbey Long (1874-1931) whom he married on 4 Dec, 1904.  Emily was the widow of H. C. Long and she had two sons by him – Walter L. Long and Floyd Daniel Long. 

Emily Rosa Mosbey Long Miller

It appears that Rosey Miller received a widow’s pension for her husband’s service in the civil war.  It is unclear if the pension was for the service of H. C. Long or for Elijah Spencer Miller.  I have been unable to locate service records for either of them.  If the pension is for Elijah’s service, it is believed that he must have served out of Texas – because he was in McLennan County by the age of 11.  The following documents were received from Tony Crow of Harrah, Oklahoma – a distant Miller descendant. 

Letter dated September 27, 1928 from Office of Judge of County Court, Caddo County, Anadarko, Oklahoma to Mrs. Rosey Miller of Cyril, Oklahoma:  Dear Madam:  Your application for widow’s pension is not executed properly.  The birth date and name of your child not given and your statement as to income and property is not satisfactory.  I am returning the same to you for correction.  Yours very truly, R. L. Lawrence, Judge.

Undated letter to Judge of County Court, Caddo County, Anadarko, Oklahoma from Mrs. Rosey Miller:  Dear Sir – I received the letter and taken it to the note republic (notary public).  He said I would have to go and see you.  I am 53 years old the 18th of this last August.  I am crippled up with the rheumatism so I can’t get out pick cotton.  I am so heavy on my feet.  I have no income – me and little girl are living with my son-in-law and he is working on the railroad.  Cannot make enough to clothe me.  This is the reason I need a pension.  If you want me to come let me know at once.  Will you please grant me a pension?  Yours truly Mrs. Rosey Miller.

Letter dated February 18, 1930 from County Judge to Mrs. Rosey Miller, Cyril, Oklahoma:  Dear Madam:  Information has been brought to this office that your daughter, Hattie Miller, age twelve years, is not attending school.  I have held you on the widow’s pension list since in 1929 and one of the provisions of the widow’s pension law is that the children shall attend school.  If there is any reason for this child remaining out of school, inform me at once to save your widow’s pension from being cut off.  Yours very truly, County Judge.

Annual Report of Rosie Miller to County Judge dated 4 Sept. 1928:  States that she has not remarried; has one minor daughter, Hattie Miller, age 13.  States – I am disabled to do anything.  Sure do need the pension.  Explains that her daughter Hattie cannot got to school because she is picking cotton.  Six individuals sign on Rosie’s behalf stating that she is conducting a home that is morally fit to rear children and that Rosie is a fit person.  These people included several grocers, the Chevrolet dealer and the dry goods store owner.  Additionally, the report listed another six people that were “acquainted with” Rosey – these included her banker, another grocer, her druggist, the filling station owner and the barber.  She further states that she is the widow of Spencer Miller who died on 16 Sept. 1924.  She has one minor child, “one girl,” age 11 who was born Jan 23, 1917 – Hattie Miller.  She owns no real estate or personal property or income.  She states that her rent is $7.00 per month. 

Annual Report of Rosie Miller to County Judge dated 28 Sept. 1929:  She states that she has one minor child, Hattie Miller, age 12, born January 23, 1917.  She has not remarried.  She does not work – she claims to be disabled.  She is living with her son-in-law.  She pays no rent.  She owns no personal property.  Her daughter does not attend school because she is picking cotton.  I am living with my son-in-law.  He is not able to take care of me and my daughter for his wages are only $2.56 cents a day and has to pay $10.00 a month house rent.  He works on the railroad.  My daughter attends school at Cyril when she goes, but she is picking cotton now.  I haven’t got any widow’s pensions for 3 months.

 Elijah and Rosey had the following children:

Cleo H. Miller - Photograph courtesy of Tony Crow

Cleo Hazel Miller was born 12 Jan 1906 in Oklahoma City.  She married Nathaniel Sheridan Murry.  The couple had children:  William Spencer born 1927 and Evelyn Ruth born in 1929.  {Several other children are still living.}  Cleo died in Oklahoma County on 19 Jun 1998.  She is laid to rest with her husband in Arlington Memory Gardens in Oklahoma City.

Lucille Lillian Miller (Lou) was born 28 April 1910 in Oklahoma.  She married John Lothra Crow on 29 April 1926 in Apache, Caddo County, Oklahoma.  The couple had three children:  Joe Lothra; Marian Lillian; and Jewell Lee (1927-1997).  Lou died 11 Jun 1989 in Caddo County, Oklahoma.  She is laid to rest with her husband in Fairview Cemetery, Apache, Caddo County, Oklahoma.

Nellie Argiedell Miller was born in Glenn, Oklahoma on 13 Aug. 1912.  She married first Decater Brumbelow (1904-1996) and they had one daughter – Rachael.  She married second Jack Allen Cisero Baskett (1899-1949) and they had two boys – Jack and Floyd Buddy Allen (1929-1987).  She married third Travis Gideon “Giddy” Northcut.  Nellie died in Lawton, Comanche County, Oklahoma on 14 Oct. 1998.  She is laid to rest in Granfield Memorial Cemetery in Tillman County, Oklahoma. 

Hattie Louisa Miller was born in Oklahoma on 23 January 1917.  On 15 May 1931 she married Andrew Monroe Crow.  The couple had two children:  Martha and Adran (1935-1941).  Hattie died in Apache, Caddo County, Oklahoma on 6 Jun 1986.  She is laid to rest in Fairview Cemetery in Apache.

Elijah Spencer Miller died at the age of 75 on 16 September 1924 in Carter County, Oklahoma.  His burial location is not known to me at this time. 

His widow Emily Rosa Mosbey Miller died in Chickasha, Grady County, Oklahoma on 10 May 1931.  She is laid to rest in Fairview Cemetery in Apache, Caddo County, Oklahoma. 

I would like to connect with any of Elijah’s descendants.  I am particularly interested in knowing where Elijah is laid to rest.  Additionally, I would be interested in learning more about Rosa Mosbey’s background.  Who was her family?  Who was her first husband?   

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Posted by on January 22, 2011 in Miller


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