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California Genealogy and History Archives

Sacramento County



Three generations of the Miller family have been identified with the growth of California and two of these have maintained prominent associations with the reportorial and journalistic history of Sacra- mento, where John H., Jr., now fills the responsible position of associate editor of the Sacramento Sunday Neivs and of the Sacramento Valley Monthly. The journalistic instinct came to him as an inherited acquisition from his father, John H., Sr., a newspaper man of recognized ability and for years a disciple of the "art preservative," although having followed other occupations in the earlier years of his activity. Practically all of his life was spent in the west, for although he was born in Indiana November 25, 1348, he was only about five years old when the family came to California via the Isthmus of Panama. The arrival in San Francisco was followed by an immediate removal to Cold Springs, Eldorado county, where the child grew to manhood and received a public school education. At the age of eighteen he suc- cessfully passed an examination for a teacher's certificate and then began to teach at Coloma, Eldorado county. The occupation, however, proved only a stepping stone to other enterprises. During 1868 he began to build a telegraph line from Georgetown to Placerville. When the task had been accomplished he devoted his attention to the operating of the line.

The purchase of the system by the Western Union Telegraph Company opened the way for John H. Miller, Sr., to come to Sacramento. After he had located in the city he organized the Capital Carriage Manufacturing Company, and with a partner, Mr. Pritchard, conducted the business on Eighth and K streets. Selling out in 1878, he and his business associate bought the Phoenix Milling Company and gave their attention to the management of the plant for some years. Next we find Mr. Miller entering the field of journalism, for which he possessed a natural aptitude and in which he rose to a considerable degree of prominence. After having been employed as a reporter with the Sacramento Record-Union until 1892, he then accepted a position as news editor of the Sacramento Bee. Resigning from this newspaper in 1907, he engaged with the Sacramento Union as manager of their office for two years. During 1909 he removed to Marysville and there he remained until his death in May of 1911, meanwhile ably filling the office of editor of the Marysville Appeal.

Both through his own personal influence and through the medium of the journalistic sheets with which he was connected Mr. Miller gave stanch aid to the Republican party. In local affairs he stood for progress. In associations with his fellowmen he stood for the exercise of charity, benevolence and kindliness. Principles were the object of his favor or his criticism rather than people. Measures for the upbuilding of community and state had his cordial co-operation. As a citizen he ever proved loyal, patriotic and progressive, and his memory is worthy of perpetuation in the annals of his community. His wife, whom he married at Georgetown, this state, in June of 1871, and who bore the maiden name of Ella Spencer, was a native of Eldorado county, born in 1853, and she passed away in Sacramento in 1885. They are survived by four children, of whom the only son, his father's name- sake, was born in Sacramento, June 8, 1880. Two of the daughters are married, namely: Mrs. M. M. Kimball, of Sacramento, and Mrs. H. Grimm, of Portland, Ore. The youngest daughter is employed as a clerk in the postoffice at Sacramento.

The completion of the high school course in Sacramento was marked by the graduation of John H. Miller, Jr., in 1900, after which he studied for one year in the University of California. Upon his return to Sacramento he took up the task of earning his own way in life and since then he has risen to considerable prominence in journalistic circles, having enjoyed a connection of seven years with the Sacramento Bee, with which he worked in various positions from re- porter to assistant city editor. In 1910, having acquired an interest in the News Publishing Company, he transferred his activities from the Bee to the editorial department of the Sunday News, where he has ably filled the position of associate editor and where he is making a success in this responsible capacity. Mr. Miller's marriage occurred in Sacramento October 4, 1911, to Miss Agues Lister Strachan, a native of Scotland. From boyhood he has been a stanch believer in Republican principles. Men and measures having the support of the party have likewise his support and he has proved loyal to the principles of the organization which he favors. The Sutter club has the benefit of his active co-operation and his devotion to its labors in behalf of civic progress and municipal welfare. 

History of Sacramento County, California
Biographical Sketches of The Leading Men and Women of the County Who Have Been Identified With Its Growth and Development from the Early Days to the Present
History By: William L. Willis
Historic Record Company, Los Angeles, California (1913)

Transcribed by Peggy Hooper 2011