MY GRANDFATHER – HOWARD CHARLES MILLER
Howard Charles Miller was born on August 7, 1876 in Rockingham County, Virginia. He died 77 years later, May 16, 1954 in Lima,
Ohio. He was the fourth child, and only son, of James Addison Miller and Susan Frances Turner Miller. (1) His three older sisters were Cora, Cornelia Catherine, and Viola. (2) Four more sisters followed Howard, Hanna Pearl, Mary Olive, Ada Regina, Gertrude Grace, and Jennie Edith. (3)
Howard enlisted in the 2nd Ohio Infantry in Bellfountain, Ohio, on June 25, 1898. He was just short of his 22nd birthday. He was discharged as a Private, in Macon, Georgia, on February 10, 1899.
Sometime in the early 1900s, Howard Charles became known as Charles Howard, or “Charlie,” but he was also known as “Red” to his co-workers! This was around the time he began his career in the oil industry, and those who worked with him called him “Red!”
His career in the oil industry (early 1900s) began in the oil fields of Oklahoma as a laborer, and at some point, he started his own business constructing oil derricks.
In 1907, Charlie married my grandmother, Bettie Ross, in Sperry, Oklahoma. They had three children, Fred Albert, Gladys Ruth, and Robert Lee. (4) In 1922, he left his family in Oklahoma and moved to the oil fields of Southern California. One of his first jobs was on Signal Hill in Long Beach, building derricks. Grandma and the three children joined him in 1923. Charlie’s career in the oil industry ended, however, just two years later, in 1925, when he fell from the platform of a new derrick at a field in Huntington Beach and was seriously injured.
Charlie’s relationship with my Grandmother and his children changed after that, and although I have some information about him, it’s clear that not long after his accident, he and his family did not live together.
Charlie, formally known again as Howard, was admitted to the U.S. National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers on July 9, 1925, in Sawtelle, California. His injuries were listed as compound fractures of the right arm, right ankle, and right elbow. He was discharged from the Sawtelle facility on August 15, 1925, and three years later, on March 21, 1928, he was admitted to a facility for disabled soldiers in Leavenworth, Kansas. I have no information, yet, about where he was between his time in Sawtelle and Leavenworth.
At Leavenworth, Charlie’s injuries were, ironically, listed differently! According to those records, his injuries were compound fractures of the left elbow and mid-forearm, with limited motion of his hand and arm.
According to my information, Charlie was still at Leavenworth in 1930, but by 1936, he may have been living in Lima, Ohio. Sometime around 1951-1952, he lived with a niece’s daughter, Doris Catherine McDonald, in Lima, and he may also have lived with Doris’ mother, Jennie Ruth. (Jennie Ruth was the daughter of Charles’ older sister, Cornelia Shrider.) He died in Lima, in 1954 and is buried in the Greenlawn Cemetery in Wapakoneta, Ohio.
Caption for photo
Fulkerson Camp Oil rig and water tank for first producing well in the Cushing Oil Fields in Oklahoma, around 1912.
1. James Addison Miller – October 20, 1837, Linville, Rockingham County, Va.; died 1914.
Susan Frances Turner Miller – December 11, 1851, died 1940; daughter of John Turner).
2. Cora – September 19, 1870; died 1938. She married John Snyder.
Cornelia Catherine – March 9, 1872. She married
Viola – May 20, 1874. She married Lewis Zerkel.
3. Hanna Pearl – January 7, 1879. She married Mack Walker.
Mary Olive – July 11, 1880. She married Justin
Ada Regina – April 28, 1882. Her spouse was Kurt Lotz.
Gertrude Grace – March 8, 1888. She married Clarence Wentz.
Jennie Edith – December 16, 1893. Her spouse was Richard Botkins.
4. Fred A. Miller – December 30, 1908, in Kiefer, Oklahoma; Gladys Ruth Miller Horlacher – February 7, 1915, Locust Grove, Oklahoma; and Robert Lee Miller – January 4, 1918, in Healdton, Oklahoma.