The Infamous Black Bird Southern Oregon History, Revised

David Henry Miller

    D. H. Miller, our accommodating Nasby, with his wife, contemplate a trip to Iowa soon. They intend to start about the first of September. Bon voyage.
"Medford Items," Valley Record, Ashland, August 16, 1888, page 3

Off for Iowa.
    D. H. Miller, postmaster of Medford, Jackson County, with his wife has been visiting his cousin Mr. Robt Clow, in Polk County, and Mr. Burkholder in Salem. This morning they left for their old home in Iowa. He is well satisfied with his present location, as Medford shares with all Southern Oregon a marked degree of prosperity. Brick stores and other buildings are going up, newcomers with money are frequent, and much property is changing hands. He is profoundly convinced that property in all this Willamette Valley will go up 20 percent in the next eighteen months, and that Salem's present improvements are as nothing to what we shall yet see.
Capital Journal, Salem, September 6, 1888, page 3

    D. H. Miller has let the contract to Skeel & Son for the erection of a $1000 residence for himself.
"Medford Doings," Valley Record, Ashland, June 19, 1890, page 3

    Horace Nicholson was in charge of D. H. Miller's hardware store during the latter's absence at Portland on the I.O.O.F. excursion.
"Medford Squibs," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, September 30, 1892, page 2

    D. H. Miller, Chas. Strang, J. R. Erford and J. A. Slover are candidates for the office of postmaster at Medford.

"Medford Squibs," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, March 17, 1893, page 3

    A. Andrews three weeks ago met Dave Miller and John Griffin on the trail into the mountain for bear, Dave having two pups along to train. Miller runs a good hardware store but delights in the chase, having lived here twenty-five years, long before a "Southern Pacific" was prophesied, and is an Iowan.

Reese P. Kendall, "Pacific Notes,"
Western Call, Beloit, Kansas, December 14, 1894, page 1

    D. H. Miller, the popular dealer in hardware, stoves, etc., is displaying the largest stock of goods in southern Oregon, and doing a bigger business than ever. He sells the best at the most reasonable rates.
"Medford Squibs," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, October 24, 1898, page 2

    Fred Barneburg and Will Stewart were down on Rogue River this week with a line out for fish--many of which they gathered in. Mr. Barneburg leads the van of fishermen in this neck of the tall sugar pines--with D. H. Miller, Prof. Narregan and Billie Isaacs very closely following.

"Purely Personal," Medford Mail, August 16, 1901, page 6

Can Give Bonds in Almost Any Sum.
    D. H. Miller, Democratic nominee for county treasurer, is the pioneer merchant of Medford. Not alone as a business man is he thoroughly fitted for the position, but by nature and character as well. Those who know him are aware that every promise he makes will be carried out to the letter. He did not seek the position. It went hunting for him because the convention realized that only the very best men could hope to be successful. There is scarcely any doubt about the result. Mr. Miller was born in the state of Iowa, May 10, 1850. He migrated to Oregon in the year 1875, and moved to Jackson County September 21, 1875, and has been a resident of the county ever since. He moved from Jacksonville to Medford November 28, 1883. The people will make no mistake in electing him.
Democratic Times, Jacksonville, May 29, 1902, page 4

David Henry Miller
Mr. Miller Will Transact Public Business the Same as His Own Business.
    "I have already expressed my views through the Southern Oregonian," says D. H. Miller, who was elected county treasurer on the Democratic ticket.
    Mr. Miller said in this paper that he had been a business man all his life; that there was no reason why the business of the public should not be conducted the same as any private business, and that in the event of his election he would employ the same methods in handling county affairs as the did in transacting his own business.
    "I have only to add," Mr. Miller said, "that at the end of the term I can best thank my friends for the honor they have imposed on me, in showing them how I have handled their money."

Democratic Times, Jacksonville, June 12, 1902, page 2

D. H. Miller 1904
DAVID HENRY MILLER. The association of David Henry Miller with Medford began November 28, 1883, at which time there were few indications upon which to base the town's present industrial and commercial supremacy, and he claims the distinction of being the first white man to take up his residence within the town. In 1886 he assisted in the incorporation of Medford, and since then has lent the aid of an enterprising spirit and capable mind to its development. Especially has he promoted clean municipal government, and as a Democrat has filled many of the important offices of the town. He served as postmaster under Cleveland's administration for five years, has been a member of the city council three terms, has acceptably served as a member of the county and state central committees, and in June 1902 was elected to his present responsibility as treasurer of Jackson County. The cause of education has found in Mr. Miller a staunch and untiring advocate, and since helping to erect the first school house here, he has sought to bring the standard of instruction up to that of older and more settled communities. No name in the town better represents the earnest and forceful spirit of the western slope, the striving after all that is strong, satisfying and substantial.
    In Jefferson County, Iowa, where he was born May 10, 1850, the name of Miller was identified with a large farming enterprise conducted by his father, Henry A. Miller, a native of Pennsylvania. The elder Miller left Pennsylvania at an early day, and after journeying overland to Indiana, erected the first cabin upon the site of Logansport. He afterward lived in Illinois for several years, and upon removing to Jefferson County, Iowa, located on a farm twelve miles north of Fairfield. The year 1875 witnessed the departure of himself and family for Oregon, where he settled in Jacksonville, and made that town his home until his death in July 1881, at the age of seventy-five years. His wife, formerly Nancy A. Sears, of Ohio, lived to be seventy-four years old. The parents reared a family of three sons and four daughters, of whom David Henry is the third youngest. 
    After his marriage in 1871, to Elmira Brous, David Henry Miller settled on a farm in Marion County, Iowa, remaining there until coming to Oregon in 1875. His wife is a native daughter of Marion County, Iowa, her father, James M. Brous, having been born in Pennsylvania. Mr. Brous removed from his native state to Ohio, and from there to Iowa, eventually coming to Oregon, where he made his home with his son-in-law until his death in January 1896, at the age of eighty years. Upon coming to Oregon Mr. Miller located in Dallas, Polk County, for a few months, and in 1876 engaged in farming near Jacksonville, Jackson County, owning one hundred and sixty acres of land. Coming to Medford in 1883, he started a drug business the following year, and later increased his stock by a complete hardware supply. In this he was seconded by a partner, Dr. Vrooman, of Jacksonville, the latter of whom managed the drug department, Mr. Miller taking charge of the hardware. The partners finally established a large and paying business, and after the death of Dr. Vrooman the drug department came under the management of Mr. Strang. This was the first business of the kind in Medford, and its success stimulated trade, and in time inspired the zest of competition. May 11, 1891, the partners divided the business, Mr. Miller still retaining the hardware department, which he has since increased, from both the standpoint of quantity and the variety of goods represented. He carries a complete line of stoves, ranges, paints, guns and ammunition, tinware and plumbing outfits, his stock being valued at about $6,000.  Mr. Miller is one of the promoters of the Medford Business College, incorporated in July 1903, and is a member of its board of directors. He is fraternally connected with Medford Blue Lodge No. 103, A.F.&A.M., and the Independent Order of Odd Fellows.

Portrait and Biographical Record of Western Oregon, Chapman Publishing Co. 1904, page 591

Medford Store Changes Hands.
    MEDFORD, Or., Jan. 23.--(Special.)--D. H. Miller, one of the pioneer merchants of Medford, today sold his hardware business to Garnett & Roberts, lately from Oklahoma.
Morning Oregonian, Portland, January 24, 1905, page 4

    HON. D. H. MILLER. Gold Hill is fortunate in having among its citizens so eminent and valuable a man as Hon. D. H. Miller, a successful hardware merchant and an owner of city property. He is a man with a notable political record and is extremely active in matters which concern the public good. He was born in Jefferson County, Iowa, May 10, 1850, the son of Henry A. and Nancy Miller. In 1840 the parents took up their abode in Jefferson County upon a donation claim, where they resided until 1866, when they removed to Marion County, Iowa. In 1875 they came to Jackson County, Oregon, where the remainder of their lives were spent. In their family were ten children, of whom only three survive.
    D. H. Miller attended the common and high schools and remained at home until he attained his majority. He then embarked in agricultural pursuits, choosing Marion County, Iowa, for his field of operations. He farmed there until 1875, when, becoming convinced that the West offered advantages superior to those of the Hawkeye State, he emigrated to Oregon and engaged in farming for seven years. In 1883 he removed to Medford and entered the mercantile business, in which he continued for twenty-one years. He then disposed of his interests in Medford and settled in Gold Hill, where he engaged in the hardware business. In this line of trade he is meeting with much success, and in addition to the business which he owns and operates he is the possessor of several pieces of real estate in Medford and Portland.
    In 1871 Mr. Miller was married to Miss Elmira Brous, a native of Marion County, Iowa, and a daughter of James M. and Mary Brous, the former a native of Pennsylvania and the latter of Ohio. In 1842 the parents removed to Iowa, where the mother passed away. The father later emigrated to Jackson County, Oregon, and resided there until the time of his death.
    In his political views Mr. Miller has always been a member of the Democratic Party and has risen high in its councils. In 1909 he was elected to the state legislature, serving for two years. He also served for two terms as county treasurer and was for five years postmaster of Medford, having been appointed by President Cleveland. He is a member of the Masonic fraternity of Medford and also belongs to the Independent Order of Odd Fellows of that city, while his wife is a member of the Order of the Eastern Star. Both Mr. and Mrs. Miller are active and consistent members of the Christian Church and to the extent of their ability labor to make that denomination effective in the community. The Hon. D. H. Miller stands very high in business, fraternal, political and social circles of Gold Hill, where he has long since been recognized as one of the leading citizens of the town. Having been extensively engaged in politics, he has a statewide political acquaintance, many of his closest friends being prominent and honored state political figures. In his immediate community and county he is widely and favorably known and as he is active in his efforts to build up and promote the various interests of Gold Hill, he is regarded as one of its most prominent men.

Joseph Gaston, The Centennial History of Oregon, 1912, page 360

Medford Pioneer Killed by Train
    David Henry Miller, the first white man to live on the site of what is now the city of Medford, was struck and killed by train No. 13 near Gold Hill at 9 o'clock Saturday morning.
    To bolster up failing health Mr. Miller has been in the habit of each morning taking a long walk down the railroad tracks. Saturday he was returning as usual from his jaunt, thinking, with head bent, as is his usual habit.
    He has been, for several years, hard of hearing, and his first intimation of the coming train came when it was only a few feet away. He jumped, but the train caught him, dragging him 100 feet before the train could be stopped. The back of his skull was fractured and his neck dislocated, either of the injuries being sufficient to cause instant death. In addition his right arm was broken.
    The accident occurred about 300 feet west of the railroad crossing at Gold Hill.
    He leaves only his wife, having no children.
    Mr. Miller first arrived in Medford, to make his residence, November 28, 1883, at which time he assisted in laying out the townsite. In 1886 he assisted in the incorporation of the town of Medford.
    He has filled many offices in the county and the city of Medford, and represented this county in the state legislature in 1909.
Ashland Tidings, February 5, 1917, page 8   Miller may have been the first to live on the town site after it was platted in 1883, but at least a dozen people preceded him, including Napoleon Evans, who homesteaded the site, and the Phipps and Broback families, who owned much of it and had it platted.

Last revised September 9, 2020