Industry of Texas and Adjacent Territory:
History and Biography
Woodward and Tiernan, St. Louis 1895
The life of F. M. Miller is worthy of a prominent place, and it may be
doubted if there are any as replete with interesting experiences, from
an early settler's standpoint, as that of our subject.
Joseph Miller, his father, was born in Indiana, but later moved to Illinois, and worked in the lead mines on Fever River for a considerable time, and then moved to Washington County, Arkansas, and was a soldier at Fort Gibson during the Seminole War. In 1847 he moved to Texas and engaged in farming which he followed in McCulloch and San Saba Counties up to the time of his death in 1875, His faithful wife, who before her marriage was Elizabeth Conner, had remained by his side throughout his struggles on the frontier of Texas and died in McCulloch County in 1876 but one year after her husband had passed to the great unknown.
Twelve children constituted the family circle of Mr. Miller, nine of whom are living at the present time as follows: F. M., Mrs. L. J. Reed; W. D. H., Joseph W. and Tempy Woodson. As viewed from the standpoint of a collegiate, Mr. Miller's early education was neglected; but notwithstanding he spent only a limited time in an irregular attendance at the common schools, he has acquired wide knowledge from personal application and experience, and is a man whose society is interesting in the extreme. He first worked on his father's farm, at the age of 17m and applied himself to agriculture until he became of age, when he took a stock of cattle belonging to A. W. Morrow to care for on shares. This was in the year 1861, and he held his cattle in McCulloch County for the succeeding six years, at the end of which time, he had, by great economy, accumulated a sufficient amount to purchase Mr. Morrow's entire herd. He owned and controlled this herd for the next fifteen years, increasing them until at one time he had upon the range about 3000 head of cattle.
Mr. Miller passed through many trials, hardships and adventures during those early days when he was getting a start in the cattle business. Once himself and a companion rode unexpectedly into the midst of a bunch of hostile Indians, on the San Saba River, and with the utmost exertion barely escaped with their lives. When he first went to Mcculloch County, the whole country westward to the Pacific coast was an unbroken wilderness, there being only a few scattered Spanish Missions in New Mexico and Arizona. The women of the settler's families partook of the same resolute and determined spirit as their husbands. To illustrate their bravery, Mr. Miller relates an incident connected with this period of his life. While he was in the fields harvesting wheat with his men, the Indians suddenly charged upon them and all would have been killed but for the timely assistance of Mrs. F. M. Miller, who seeing their peril came to their aid with their guns, and they were able to successfully defend themselves and drive off the redskins, killing one of the savages.
In 1880, Mr. Miller was elected sheriff of McCulloch County, and was re-elected and held his office for twelve years, which shows the confidence and esteem his McCulloch County friends reposed in him. He might have held it another term had he been so inclined but refused to run again for the office. During his sherivity he let his cattle out to be worked on shares to his two nephews, thus relieving him of their care while attending to duties of his office. After his last term expired he again returned to the cattle business, but on account of the drought and the gradual curtailment of the pasture, he concluded to dispose of his interests, and did so in 1893. He has, however, always been in love with the cattle industry and now contemplates returning to the work to which he has given the greater part of his life. He considers it the profession best adapted to his county and his part of the state. During the days of the trail, Mr. Miller drove several herds to Kansas and later to Colorado, which was then a territory and has had the unusual range experience of the cattlemen from the early sixties to the present time.
His marriage to Miss Vanderveer of Burnet County, was consumated in 1875, and four children have resulted from the union, two boys and two girls, only two of whom are living, a daughter and a son, the daughter is now Mrs. Francis Dean and the son, W. E., now seventeen years of age, at home.