Minter B. Miller


Thomas E. Johnson

by Richard R. Wilt

1834 - 1904

             Minter B. Miller was born April 4, 1834 and grew up in Lewis/Upshur County West Virginia on the farm of his father, Benjamin Miller. He was married on January 18, 1855 to Frances E. Fitzpatrick, the daughter of David and Margaret Powers Fitzpatrick. Frances was born c.1834. They had only one child, Harriet Belle Miller. Frances died shortly after the birth of her daughter in 1858. Widowed and left to care for a small child, Minter, through an arranged marriage, married Elizabeth Alexander (a spinster) on October 3, 1861. With this marriage Minter came into some money since his wife was from a well known and well to do family of Upshur and Randolph Counties.
       When the Civil War began Minter joined the 133rd Upshur County Militia and served in the local militia for the remainder of the war. He was never regular Army so he could not receive any of the benefits given to veterans of the Union Army.
       During the Civil War, Minter acquired several hundred acres of land in Upshur County in the vicinity of Kesling Mills just east of Buckhannon. He bought and sold several tracks of land during this period.
       In the fall of 1871 Minter and a man by the name of James Lewis entered into a partnership for the production of sorghum molasses. One owned a sorghum press and the other owned the horse with which the sorghum press was operated. During the process the two men began to argue over shares in the pardnership and a fight ensued. They began throwing rocks and during the short battle Mrs. Louisa Lewis tried to stop the fight and was struck by a stone and died from the injury. This happened on Sept 25, 1871.
       A warrant was issued by the Sheriff of Upshur County for the arrest of Minter. He failed to appear in front of the grand jury but was indicted on May 17, 1872.

      The indictment read:
"State of West Virginia Vs Minter B. Miller indicted for murder on May 17, 1872" with an order of Alias Copias issued for the 1st day of the next court.

       Minter left his daughter and wife immediately and went to Ohio where he sold or transferred all of his holdings in Upshur County. He transferred by deeds on record in Upshur County his Upshur County holdings to a man by the name of John W. Miller. It would appear that this John W. Miller may have been related to Minter due to future transactions of parts of this land were made to the Minter's grand childern. He was never known to have used the name of Minter B. Miller again except when he filed for land in Kansas where he had to use his correct name in an attempt to claim an extra section of land. Under an agreement at the end of the Civil War, all honorably dischared Union Soldiers were eligible for an additonal section of land under the Kansas Land Grant. He did receive one section of land in Kansas under the name of Thomas E. Johnson. (this is how I made the connection of the two names). Inquiries were made by Geo W. O’Neal Timber & Realty Company. This letter was written on September, 1909 to John N. Stiles, husband of Lora May Robinson Stiles

Letter of Inquiry sent to John N. Stiles

The Geo. W. ONeal Timber and Realty Co.
Timber Land and Red Color Posts
Harrisson, Arkansas

John.N. Stiles. esq
RFD. 2 Box.10, Worthington, W.Va.

Dear Sir:- I am in recept of your valued favor and replying beg to say that from my information that Minter B. Miller was not a nomally Discharged Union Soldier, but served in the Militia and was never discharged but disbanded. The heirs would have no rights to addition Hometead unless it shoud be known that he was normally discharged after to day service in the Union Army. In event you find any proof of such service kindly call my attention to same as he made a frastional Homstead entry in the state of Kansas in year 1871. There is probably a piece of land once owned by him in that security still vested in his estate, and his heirs becaue of a deed executed prior to his leaving there planning the saidland in trust for his heirs. It seems that some of the land has been sold, but I am not sure that it all has been sold or not, but I am rather in the belief that his heirs have perfect title to a 61 acre tractm ut appears he had less ...tract and sold same of trace the 100 arces seems to have been deeded away and quite claim or his heirs of recent years, yet there another trust and title to which possibly belongs to the heirs. What do you know about this, and have you the numbers of the land or survey of same. Did you wife sell or quit clame her interests to all lands owned by her father, or to merely one of the tracts? Thanking you for an early reply, beg to remain Very truly yours, (signed) G.W. ONeal

Letter from Philadelphia with deeds enclosed

       The reason given for the inquiry was that the family of Thomas E. Johnson had learned that there was a sum of money left in a bank in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania possibly belonging to his heirs. This letter originated in Harrison, Arkansas. Minter had left Elizabeth and Harriet in Upshur County. After arriving in Reno County, Kansas he met and married Sarah Samantha Diantha Wilson, the daughter of Andrew J. and Melissa Barton Wilson on July 16, 1872. To this marriage there were seven children:
Clinton, Essa, Charles, Margerete, Rose, Minter, and Henry Johnson.
On January 20, 1883 a letter was received by Charles W. Robinson, the husband of Harriet B. Miller Robinson informing him that there was a deed enclosed for property located at Kesling Mills just east of Buckhannon, West Virginia in the name of the children of Harriet Miller. These were the grand children of Minter B. Miller. These grand children were, Luther D. Miller and Lora May Robinson the children of Harriet B. Miller. Later Luther and Lora made deeds to divide the property into to two sections. The part containing the house was deeded to Lora by Luther and the remainder of the property was deeded to Luther.
Further research found that Thomas E. Johnson arrived in Los Angeles, California in 1903 where he was either the owner or proprietor of a Hotel or a Rooming House. He lived in Los Angeles until his death on February 17, 1904. He was buried by the Bresee Brothers Funeral Home in the Rosedale Cemetery located in Los Angeles, California.

Index of Graves in Rose Dale Cemetery Los Angeles, California
Photograph of Cemetery Plot Rose Dale Cemetery Los Angeles, California
Unmarked grave
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