The Infamous Black Bird Southern Oregon History, Revised

John S. Miller

    John S. Miller, an Indian war veteran, who came to Oregon in 1846 and to Jackson County in 1852, died at his home on the Applegate, Sunday, March 31, 1912, aged 87 years, 3 months and 7 days.
    Mr. Miller was born in Clay County, Missouri, Dec. 25, 1824. He came to Oregon across the plains and in early days was city marshal in Medford.
    Mr. Miller leaves six children. They are Mrs. W. M. Pernoll, T. B. Houston of Applegate, Mrs. L. N. Culp of Callahan, Cal., and John G. Miller, B. W. Miller, W. L. Miller of Applegate.
    The funeral services will be held at Griffin Creek Tuesday at 1 p.m. Funeral services at the grave.
Medford Mail Tribune, April 1, 1912, page 6

    The funeral services of J. S. Miller, pioneer of 1852, Indian fighter, miner and farmer, was held Tuesday afternoon from his former residence on Applegate. The interment was made in the Griffin Creek cemetery, where Mrs. Miller and other relatives are buried. Mr. Miller was the [third] marshal of the city of Medford, was well known throughout the county as one of the county's most progressive citizens. At the time of his demise he was 83 years old. He leaves six children, part of whom are residents of this county.
Medford Mail Tribune, April 4, 1912, page 4

Death of Captain John S. Miller
    Another one of Oregon's early-day, noble old pioneers and Indian fighters has answered the last roll call.
    Captain John S. Miller was born in Clay County, Missouri, Dec. 25th, 1824. Died March 30th, 1912; age 87 years, 3 months and 5 days. He came overland across the plains with ox teams to Oregon Territory in 1846, and stopped near Oregon City. At that time there were but a few white settlers in the country, but there were large numbers of native Indians, some of which were hostile and would murder and steal from the few white settlers at every favorable opportunity. These settlers had to protect themselves as best they could, for our federal government, up to that time and for several years after, had failed to give her subjects in Oregon protection of any kind. In those trying days John S. Miller was one who was ever ready to respond to the first call to protect life and property. When the news of the murder by the Indians of Dr. Marcus Whitman, his wife and a number of others at the Whitman Mission in Walla Walla Valley, November 29th, 1847, reached them, John S. Miller was one among the first who enlisted, under the provisional government of Oregon, to go and help to punish the Indians for the cruel murders they had committed. Shouldering his gun and blankets, he with others marched on foot two hundred and sixty miles to the scene of the massacre and there met and chastised the Indians like true and noble patriots. Later in 1852, he moved to Jackson County, Oregon in company with Captain B. B. Griffin. While on this trip he married one [of] Captain Griffin's daughters, Miss Lydia. He settled in Jackson County on a farm, but was ever ready to respond to any call to protect life and property against hostile Indians that were numerous at that time. He took an active part in the Indian war of 1853 and in October 1855, when there was a general outbreak of the Indians all over southern Oregon, he was among the first to enlist and served like a gallant soldier from the beginning to the end--more than seven months--a part of the time as first lieutenant and the remainder of the time as captain. The men under him loved and respected him. He never said "go on" but always said "come on, boys." He was cool, determined and courageous in battle but kind and good to his men. After this Indian war was over he was elected a member of the Oregon legislature where he acquitted himself in no honorable manner. After this he retired to his farm with his family, where they lived happily until in 1871 his wife died. This seemed to discourage him so much that he could never muster courage to do much afterwards. They had six children, all of whom married, and the last few years of his life he has lived with one or another of them. He was city marshal of Medford from 1885 to 1900. [Miller was marshal 1886-1891.] During his last illness he was at his own home on Applegate. He was sick for quite a while, but he bore his sufferings without a murmur and passed away peacefully. He lived an honorable life, loved and respected by all who knew him; his earthly mission was filled.
"May he rest in peace on that happy shore
Where Indian wars and earthly cares are no more."
        JOHN HAILEY.
Boise, Idaho, April 18th, 1912.
Medford Mail Tribune, April 30, 1912, page 2

Last revised March 20, 2011