California Genealogy and History Archives
a factor in local material and commercial upbuilding the Sacramento
Valley Development Association under the secretarial supervision of O.
H. Miller has wielded a permanent influence and exercised a beneficial
effect. Great as were the achievements of the pioneers in the original
settlement of the locality, it was reserved for the progressive minds of
the present generation to secure the greatest local advancement and upon
the foundation of past accomplishments to erect the superstructure of
twentieth century prosperity. Possibly few men have been more helpful in
their efforts and certainly no one has displayed more persistent
application than Mr. Miller, who as secretary of the association named
and also in the capacity of a private citizen has been instrumental in
securing a betterment of conditions in the valley.
Miller family was identified with the very early history of Chicago. The
records show that John Miller was instrumental in securing the
incorporation of the city of Chicago during the year 1833. Afterward for
years he there engaged in extensive business enterprises. Among his
children was a son, Capt. Tobias Charles Miller, a native of Chicago and
a graduate of Knox college at Galesburg, Ill. To him came the
distinction of being chosen as a member of the first government
exploring expedition sent into the west under the auspices of the
department of the interior. Although only six- teen years of age at the
time, he endured the hardships of the long trip across the plains with
uncomplaining fortitude and proved a distinct help in the compilation of
important data as well as in the blazing of a path for future emigrants.
Four times he crossed the plains with emigrant or government
expeditions, and his knowledge of the west was exhaustive.
after the opening of the Civil war Tobias Charles Miller enlisted as a
private in the Chicago Board of Trade Battery of Flying Artillery, and
for three years he served at the front with his regiment, taking part in
many notable engagements, among them the battle of Gettysburg. As a
result of a bursting shell he was seriously wounded at Gettysburg, after
which he was commissioned captain in recognition of meritorious
services. At the time of the assassination of President Lincoln he was
stationed at Nashville, Tenn., as a member of the staff of his cousin.
Gen. John F. Miller, who at that time was in charge of troops in
Tennessee. At the expiration of the war he was chosen the first United
States marshal in Tennessee, with headquarters at Nashville, and for
some years continued in that office. Later he served by appointment as
United States internal revenue collector. Before he retired from office
he had become interested iu the lumber business in the south. About 1882
he came to California and settled in Contra Costa county. For many years
he was one of California's foremost citizens, serving in the
constitutional convention and also as United States senator from this
state. His death occurred August 13, 1898.
While living in the south Captain Miller had married at Nashville in 1868 Miss Malona Hanks, a native of Ohio and a very near relative of Nancy Hanks, the mother of Abraham Lincoln. Prior to her marriage she had engaged in teaching school for a number of years. Of her four children, the eldest, John Grant Miller, born June 21, 1870, is a resident of Contra Costa county and has charge of the old homestead of one hundred and fifty acres. The youngest son, Orson H., was born at Twinsburg, Summit county, Ohio, August 20, 1882, and has been a resident of California from his earliest recollections. During boyhood he attended the schools of Clayton, Contra Costa county, and Berkeley. After starting out in the newspaper business he was connected successively with the Berkeley Gazette, Chico Enterprise and the Marysville Appeal, the last-named being one of the oldest newspapers in the whole state. Since 1906 he has devoted his attention to the secretaryship of the Sacramento Valley Development Association. In fraternal affairs he holds membership with the Independent Order of Odd Fellows. March 8, 1903, he was united in marriage with Miss Mary E. Douglass of Berkeley. Two children were born of this union, Frances Ruth on January 15, 1907, and Robert Lincoln on March 7, 1912.
Transcribed by Peggy Hooper 2011