Ethel Miller, born 1897 - died March 14, 1982 in Adair County, Missouri.

By Jo Anne (Jody) Miller Bresch

Ethel Miller was born 1897 to Thomas H. Miller (1853-1936) and Laura Emily (Emma) Fuson (1870-1947). Ethel died March 14, 1982. Ethel was their eldest daughter.


La Plata, Mo.


Feb. 7, 1974


Dear Jo:

(1) Vernon had no middle name. (2) Married Aug. 23, 1922. By a Justice of the Peace in the Pure Air Neighbor. He was also an aged Country Preacher by the name of Thomas. I don't know his first name. Naomi (A. sister) and Bill Snyder were attendants at the wedding in Thomas's home. It was in the after-noon. I don't know the hour. Vernon was 27 yrs. of age on the 26th of Sept. after his marriage. They died in the Fall of 1936. Vernon died Oct. 1, 1936. Audra in August. That was 14 years after their marriage. Vernon was 41.


Vernon's hair was dark Brown, eyes also. Audra's hair was Blonde and her eyes gray blue. Vernon was about 6 ft. and Audra 5 ft. 4. Vernon was slender most of the time and his weight varied from around 155 to 170 lbs. Audra was small, slender faced, and carried a lot of her weight on hips. Normal weight 110-115 lbs.

Vernon's hair was dark Brown, eyes also. Audra's hair was Blonde and her eyes gray blue. Vernon was about 6 ft. and Audra 5 ft. 4. Vernon was slender most of the time and his weight varied from around 155 to 170 lbs. Audra was small, slender faced, and carried a lot of her weight on hips. Normal weight 110-115 lbs.

Vernon had a slender face, waist slim, long arms, long fingers, and long toes. His feet were average about 9 1/2 shoes. A lot of height was from waist down. He wore a 15 1/2 shirt with 34 in. sleeves & 34-34 Overalls. Vernon was quiet, chatted about business matters with men at sales and twice a week at Gifford. (Wednesday nights & Saturday nights). I have had many men tell me that he was very intelligent in his judgment of all kinds of livestock & feeds. He had cattle, sheep, hogs and horses. He was nearly always a member of the school board and generally President. When things were going good he was happy.

Audra was very much like Dean. Temper ran away with her whenever she wasn't having her way. Kenneth Smith's mother was her closest friend, a near neighbor, and at gatherings they were always together. They attended school functions (P.T.A.) pie suppers, and Christmas programs. Neither of them ever were Church Members. Vernon was an excellent student in school. Out-standing in Arithmetic and Spelling. He finished the eighth grade in school.

Adura's schooling I know little about. One teacher that taught her at the Newburgh School, said she was only an average student in the fifth grade, a very pretty child then with beautiful eyes, which were crossed when she had an illness the next year, and was out of school the rest of the year. She went 5 or 6 weeks in her 6th grade, and this teacher didn't think every anymore. Her hand writing wasn't too good. Her parents moved to Newburgh district in December of 1908 or January of 1909. Her father was our mail carrier for a number of years. He was transferred to the LaCrosse, Mo. Route 1 at this time. He fed his horse in father's barn and watered it at the barn well every day.

Neither Vernon or Audra went to High School. Vernon was taught to work. He milked, raised melons, both water and musk, for sale. (sold at La Plata for high price always) They were of a good quality.

He was given pigs for pets along with his brothers. They raised them up and received the money for them. At home the boys had neighbor boys in a lot on Sunday. They would come home with us children from Sunday School. We had a croquet ground to play croquet. And a ball ground in an old Orchard north of the barn. Lots of the trees had died out of it and there was open space for ball playing. I played ball with the boys some times, and other girls that were in played also.

Vernon went to the Curtis School, North-East of home. Vernon's children were taught to work by him. Dorothy in the house washing, dishes, ironing, gathering in eggs and the life.

They fed and raised pet lambs and pet pigs. Vernon made Dorothy a little ironing board. She ironed her own clothes on it at a young age. He also made her a doll bed and a dresser to go with it for one Xmas. Also made wagon beds and things for the children's wagons, sleds for riding down hill. Vernon would have been a proud Grandfather, and Audra would have been a questionable grandmother. Nolan admired his father, but I think he has questions in his mind as to whether he ever understood his mother.

Ernest told Dorothy Mae that Kevin Lee was just like his Dad when he was young and looked like him. Dorothy replied, well, I hope he is just as good-a-man as my father was when he grow up. Most people over looked Audra's short comings and were friendly with her. You probably would have liked them both.

Vernon's health was bad during the depression, and he was shouldering a big responsibility. Dorothy and Nolan were at home when school was out and Bertha and Dean were with Audra's folk at Green-Castle each summer.

Vernon was a democrat. Audra had no interest in politics. He paid Mrs. Bown for the children's care & feed. Naomi, Audra's sister first tried to make acquaintance with Vernon. Vernon had a car and took other boys with him. They stared by picking up another girl and going two couples together.

Audra was about 17 when Vernon started going with her. They had two or three breakoffs but after three or four letters came from Audra, he would go back. She liked dancing and he cared nothing for it.

Yes your frame is much like your Dad's I have always thought there was a resemblance. All of Audra's children were born at home. All difficult births except Nolan. D. had her cord wrapped around her neck, hemorraghes followed Bertha's birth and I was in school when Dean was born and don't remember too much about it.

The children were pretty healthy with the exception of one severe spell Dot had.

It was in the fall of a big peach crop year. The Dr. said she had poison of some kind in her system. Either medicine she had got a hold of or from insects in the peaches she picked up and ate. They were badly strung around the stem. I guess it was the fall she was 2 or 3.

Their Christmas was at school. The toys were brought out overnight and found by their shoes. They went to Audra's folk or here around Xmas day for sinner, Sun. before or after.

Vernon had several cars. One new Ford at home, one seated, a worked over two seated Ford, a worked over Chevrolet, then he went to Maxwells and had the second handed ones of them. 1935 and 1936 was both hard years for Vernon. (Dry ones.) He got a sorghum mill and made molasses each fall to help out. Sold some of them. He had horses for the farm work. Vernon famred, did his carpenter work on house repairs, barns, sheds, wagon boxes and all. Got out his fence posts from the timber. They visited in neighbor homes oscassionally of evenings.

Bye.

P.S. Col here & 7, & 12, & 15 the last 3 nights.

Monday 3-25-74, Dear Jo & Mike,

A good hitch of winter. With a warming trend of 21 degrees. It has been from 9 degrees to 14 degrees above zero since March 8th. M.C. and I got the no rid Flu. He took it during the night of March 11th. Had a drippy nose and raw throat the morning of the 12th, a headache & painful sinuses. I took it the night of the 13th. Got up the 14th with a sore throat, a cough and congested chest with stopped up ears and sinuses and hard to keep down a sweat.

Well you wanted to know more about the great grand-father and grand-mother Miller. Father's Dad died when he was real young and later he had a step-father "half-brother of his father's." His Father's, Washington Miller's relatives back here more or less took over to see after him at 15 of Sept. before he was 15. He had never gone to school up to this date. An uncle took him into his home in order to get give pupils to organize a school district. He worked over the week-ends for another relative, who got him a suit of clothes at the end of the school year. His clothes up to this time had all been homemade. The cloth for pants had been hand-carded wool ones from their own sheep's backs. He also began to wear cotton jeans for everyday. They didn'thave overalls or denim clothes now.

The above were relatives of his father. When he came home a Dr. Broyles, from his mother's family, who was living at La Plata, MO, began to encourage him to crop and take care of a few head of cows for living. His step-father had a saw-mill and worked in the timber (clearing). I will wirte more later. Our flu effects hang on. Ethel

La Plata, MO, April 24, 1974, Dear Jo:

Had a letter from Janet yesterday. They are busy people. Here goes with your Great Grand-father Miller. He worked at home in the timber and helped at the sawmill the Fall & Winter of 1869-70, then worked on the farm in 70 cropping, then when the hay was harvested, he bought a horse, saddle and bridle and rode horse-back across country to Clay Count Mo. Got a job in a Flour Mill in the suburbs of Kansas City MO, met up with Logan Daugherty of Queen City, Mo., who was his room-mate the next four years. They lived in a home with a family by the name of Gardner, who had two sons, Ernest and Vernon. That is whereyour Grandfather Miller and Uncle Ernest got their names.

Logan was here once on a visit for three or four days, and I listen to their after supper chats. He lived at Queen City, MO, and also had a son, Ernest.

Father delivered flour to Garden City, MO, by wagon twice a week. Other small stores would pick it up there. (The dealers) He put the money in a tobacco pouch and placed it under the seat beneath the canvas floor coving.

Jessie James's home town was Kearney, MO. Jessie often road up, got off his horse and rode with father, talked and appeared to enjoy himself. Father wasn't afraid of him, and enjoyed his conversaton after the first trip was over.

Father came home when he was 21 and began farming, with two brothers, John and Daniel. They rented a lot of pasture ground and the other two boys helped them while father took care of things at home. His step-father ran a saw-mill on the river South of Yarrow, MO. John died and father and Uncle Dan were partners until 1881 when Uncle Dan sold out. Later Uncle Dan came back to the neighborhood and stayed until 1891. When he purchased a farm on Salt River East of La Plata.

Father built a house, the one we live in now in 1885. He had bought out the other heirs. In 1893 he and mother were married. He purchased the Gluck 63 acres in 1911 and the Henry Nelson 80 acres in the 1930's. He was a school director in the Curtis District for 20 years. At this time the building was in the South-East Corner of my North forty. They voted to move the school into the center of the district. The school building caught fire and burned to the ground one night of a storm, before it got to its new location. Father resigned from the board then.

Late in the 1890's, and he invested with a group to build and operate a lumber yard in North Gifford, MO in 1902. It was quite progressive for about four years. The co-op yard sold out to private ownership. Father had a hired-hand on the farm from the time he owned it until the boys began choring, then he let the ground out some for share cropping to boys that used his horses, and machinery until Vernon was old enough to do the farming, and Andy, the truck, and garden, and the girls, the milking and helping father feed the hogs and catch. Later Andy came in, then Roscoe.

Vernon married and dropped out. Then Andy and Roscoe, until Roscoe said Manford needed a share, and he dropped out leaving it to Andrew and Manford.

Mother's father came to Macon County to help build the Santa Fe railroad. He lived hear La Plata. I will write about them later. Mother learned to knit, and sew when she was a girl. She worked in the fields helping with the farm work and in the garden. They milked cows, strained the milk, and skimmed off the cream by hand, churned in an old stoneware churn, that had a hole in the lid and a staff coming up through the hole that was dashed up and down until the butter came. The cream had to ripen before it could be churned. (It got soured and clabbered, then it was ready to churn).

Father taught we children to make garden, drop potatoes, plant squashes, pumpkins and melons. Set sweet-potato plants and tomatoes. Took us to pick gooseberries, dew-berries and black-berries. Sent us to the apple orchard to pick up the dropped apples. To milk cows, I began at 5 years of age, to slop hogs, beginning with pigs. Made us peel apples to dry. Rake the yard after it was mown with a hand scythe. To set out onion sets, plant sweet-corn and pole beans. Thin the beets and reset the pulled up plants, set out cabbage plants. We raised a lot of cabbage to make sour-crout. Strip cane (how I hated that job). It took about 30 gallons of molasses a year to do.

Mother was one that would rather do it all herself, so that it would be done right. She taught we girls to use the broom on floors, and the porches. Father gave me my first lesson in making beds. He also put Vernon and I to washing dishes, drying and putting them away. But it became my job to wash and grand-mother Miller, who lived, here to dry, because she said Vernon had chores to do. I am working most of the day now, feel better. Bye, now, Ethel.


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