John K. Miller biography

JOHN K. MILLER. Strange as it may seem, it is within a comparatively brief period that the possibilities of Texas as a farming state have been recognized. Previous to that time its value was supposed to lie in the cattle ranches, where great herds could be grazed upon the free range or the individual pastures. Progressive, enterprising and far sighted men, however, undertook the work of tilling the soil and it was found to be both rich and productive, and today Texas is considered one of the best farming states in the Union. Mr. Miller of this review is devoting his attention to agricultural pursuits and yet gives personal supervision to his interests, although he has now reached the advanced age of seventy-nine years. He was born in North Carolina December 10, 1826, a son of Joseph Miller, who was likewise a native of that state and died in 1892, at the age of ninety-eight years. His wife, whose family name in her maidenhood was Cox, died when her son John was only six years of age. In the family were eleven children, John K. Miller being the youngest son. He was reared to the occupation of farming, his father following that pursuit throughout his entire life, and after attaining his majority John K. Miller decided to make his life work the occupation with which he had become familiar in the days of his boyhood.

On Christmas day of 1846 was celebrated his marriage to Miss Arrena Tabor, a native of North Carolina and a daughter of Nathan and Elizabeth (Kendrick) Tabor. Three of their children were born in North Carolina, subsequent to which time Mr. and Mrs. Miller came to Texas in 1852, settling about five miles west of Sherman. There he purchased land and followed farming for fifteen years. On the expiration of that period he removed to what is now called Miller Springs, where he lived until about fifteen years ago, when he built his present home three and a half miles west of Denison and has since occupied this property. His entire life has been devoted to agricultural pursuits. For a brief period he lived in Denison and during that period served as a member of the city council for one term, being elected to the office upon the Democratic ticket.

Unto Mr. and Mrs. Miller were born fourteen children, of whom eleven are yet living. Mary Ann, the eldest, born in North Carolina, is the wife of N. B. Tigue, William T., Alice, A. C. D., Graves, George W., Joseph, B. J., J. N., Ivy and Estella.

During the early part of his residence in Texas John K. Miller was engaged in frontier service, protecting the homes of the pioneer settlers in the southwest against the depredations of the Indians and he has witnessed almost the entire growth and development of this part of the state as it has been reclaimed for the purpose of civilization. Many changes have been wrought until the western country today bears little resemblance to the district into which he came so many years ago. He and his wife traveled life’s journey together for fifty-six years, two months and nineteen days, and were then separated by the death of Mrs. Miller on the 13th of March, 1903, who left one hundred and twenty-five living descendants—children, grandchildren and great- grandchildren. Since that time five others have been added to number of her descendants. Mr. Miller and all of his family are Baptists in religious faith, he having been a member of the Missionary Baptist church for half a century, and an Odd Fellow for fifty years, and his life has ever been upright and honorable.

Source: B. B. Paddock, History and Biographical Record of North and West Texas (Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co., 1906), Vol. I, pp. 604-605.