Alvin W. Miller

ALVIN W. MILLER, of Formoso, has spent nearly all his life in Jewell County, and since coming to Formoso has built up a large furniture and undertaking business and is widely known as that city's progressive mayor.

Mr. Miller was born at Lena, Illinois, March 18, 1876. His father was the late T. A. Miller, who was born in Pennsylvania in 1841, was reared and educated and married in his native state and followed the trade of wagon making. For a number of years he lived at Freeport, Illinois, and in 1878 came to Jewell City, Kansas, where he followed his trade successfully until his death in November, 1916. He was a republican, a very active supporter of the Methodist Episcopal Church, was past master of Jewell Lodge No. 11, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons, and was a veteran Union soldier. He went to the war with an Illinois regiment. T. A. Miller married Rebecca Hoover. She was born in Pennsylvania in 1845 and is still living at Jewell City. There were nine children: Harry, a painter and decorator at Jewell City, Warren, connected with a commission firm at Kansas City, Missouri; Charles, a farmer in the State of Washington; Rosa, who died at the age of twenty-four; Andrew H., mentioned in a later paragraph; Louis, who died at the age of thirty-two in Jewell City; Alvin W.; Edith, wife of Alexander Salisbury, a Missouri farmer; and Sherman, who was drowned at the age of eleven years.

Alvin W. Miller grew up at Jewell City, where he attended the grammar and high schools. Leaving school at the age of eighteen, he became clerk in a store in Jewell City and in April, 1898, enlisted as orderly sergeant of Company D of the Twenty-first Kansas Infantry. He was mustered out in January, 1899, and was promoted to the rank of second lieutenant. Most of his time was spent at Chickamauga, Georgia. The record of this regiment will be found on other pages.

After his brief military experience Mr. Miller came to Formoso in 1899, and was employed in the store of George Trump until 1905. He then engaged in the furniture and undertaking business and has been very successful. He owns his store on Main Street, also the opera house of the town, and his home is in the Leydig Addition to Formoso.

For six years Mr. Miller was a member of the town council and was first elected mayor in 1913, being re-elected in 1915 and 1917. There are few towns in Kansas that have had a more efficient and progressive administration than Formoso under Mayor Miller. One of the chief improvements was the establishment of an electric lighting system for the town, and there has just been completed the organization of a fire department, with auto truck, chemical engine and other apparatus for the prompt extinguishment of fire. Formoso now has the best street improvements of any town of its size in Jewell County. Mayor Miller was also instrumental in getting the city hall erected.

Mr. Miller is a stockholder in the Aetna Building and Loan Association of Topeka, is an active member of the Commercial Club, is a republican in politics, is affiliated with Formoso Lodge No. 336, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons, Jewell Chapter No. 85, Royal Arch Masons, is past noble grand of Formoso Lodge No. 432, Independent Order of Odd Fellows, is past consul and for the last eight years banker of Formoso Camp No. 1622, Modern Woodmen of America, an order with which he has been identified twenty-two years, and is also a member of the Kansas Fraternal Citizens.

In June, 1903, at Formoso, Mr. Miller married Miss Elsie G. Hale, daughter of J. F. and Mary (Higby) Hale. Her parents live at Osborne, Kansas, where her father is publisher of the Osborne News. Mr. and Mrs. Miller have four bright young children: Vivian, born in 1904; Opal, born in 1906; Howard, born in 1910; and Doris, born in 1914.

Andrew H. Miller, brother of Alvin W., is also closely identified with the business affairs of Formoso, where he is manager and treasurer of the Formoso Mercantile Company. He was born at Freeport in Stephenson County, Illinois, June 3, 1872, but, like his brother, was educated in the public schools of Jewell City. He left high school at the age of sixteen, went to work for the Robinson Mercantile Company, and has been connected with that firm almost altogether throughout his business career. In 1900 the company sent him to Formoso as manager of their large general merchandise store, which is one of the chief business enterprises in Jewell County. The store is located on Main Street. Mr. Miller built a modern residence on Main Street in 1908. He is a republican, president of the board of education, is past master of Formoso Lodge No. 336, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons, and a member of Jewell Chapter, Royal Arch Masons, and Beloit Commandery of the Knights Templar.

In 1898, at Jewell City, Andrew H. Miller married Miss Jessie Postlethwaite. They have one child, John Postlethwaite, born January 17, 1909.

Mrs. Louisa McClung Postlethwaite, mother of Mrs. Andrew H. Miller, and residing at their home in Formoso, was born in Williamsburg, Ohio, daughter of Robert R. McClung, one of the Kansas pioneers. Mr. McClung was born in Butler County, Pennsylvania, June 6, 1805, of ancestry that came to Pennsylvania in colonial days from Scotland. He died in Jewell City, Kansas, June 21, 1888, at the age of eighty-three. He was reared and married in Butler County, Pennsylvania, moved from there to Ohio, and in 1868 joined the earliest settlers in the vicinity of Jewell City, Kansas. He and other members of the family homesteaded five quarter sections of land, and he was actively engaged in farming until his death. He was a very stanch republican, an elder and active supporter of the Presbyterian Church. Mr. McClung married for his first wife Miss Nancy McCanlass, who died in Butler County, Pennsylvania, and the only child of the union was drowned when young. For his second wife Mr. McClung married Louisa Leffingwell, who was born at New Haven, Connecticut, in 1806 and died at Jewell, Kansas, in November, 1879, at the age of seventy-three. There were four children of this marriage: Orville, who served as a Union soldier and died in Oklahoma, where he had filled the office of postmaster; Nancy, married George S. Green, both now deceased, W. C. McClung, who has charge of a seed house at Jewell City; and Mrs. Postlethwaite.

Mrs. Postlethwaite was educated in the public schools at Oxford, Ohio, and also attended the Oxford Woman's College there. She was married to Mr. Postlethwaite at Manhattan, Kansas, in 1870 She is an active member of the Methodist Episcopal Church and a charter member of the Jewell Chapter of the Order of the Eastern Star.

Mr. J. C. Postlethwaite, father of Mrs. A. H. Miller was born at Newton Hamilton, Pennsylvania, August 22, 1848. He died at Jewell City November 26, 1910. At the age of twenty, in 1868, he accompanied his parents to Manhattan, Kansas, and in 1871, a year after his marriage, moved to Jewell City. He studied law in local offices at Jewell City, was admitted to the bar and was a very successful lawyer and real estate man. He was very closely identified with the Methodist Episcopal Church the greater part of his life. He was also prominent in Masonic circles, being past master of Jewell Lodge No. 11, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons, a member of Jewell Chapter, Royal Arch Masons, and past eminent commander of Beloit Commandery, Knights Templar. For many years he served as treasurer of the Masonic Home at Wichita. He was a stockholder and director in the National Bank of Jewell, and in politics a republican. Mr. and Mrs. Postlethwaite had five children: Robert C., an attorney living at Jewell City; Jessie, wife of Mr. A. H. Miller; William C., bookkeeper for the Idaho Implement Company at Caldwell, Idaho; John, a farmer at Elk Falls, Kansas; and Frank McClung, a physician and surgeon, a graduate of the Kansas City Medical College and now in practice at Kansas City, Missouri.


A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans, written and compiled by William E. Connelley, Secretary of the Kansas State Historical Society, Topeka. Chicago: Lewis Publishing Company, copyright 1918; transcribed 1997.
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