Transcribed from A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans, written and compiled by William E. Connelley, Secretary of the Kansas State Historical Society, Topeka. [Revised ed.] Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co., 1919, c1918. 5 v. (xlviii, 2530 p., [155] leaves of plates): ill., maps (some fold.), ports.; 27 cm.


John Jacob Miller

JOHN JACOB MILLER, editor and proprietor of The Monitor of Haskell County, is in point of continuous service the oldest newspaper man in Western Kansas. It was in 1890 that he bought the Santa Fe Monitor, which at the time was the junior paper in the county. Its older competitor was the Ivanhoe Times. Haskell County today has only two living papers, and the record of the dead is a comparatively short one. The Monitor was founded in 1888 as the Haskell County Republican by G. M. Keller, editor and publisher. In the same year the name was changed to the Santa Fe Monitor, with J. W. Richardson as editor and publisher. The Ivanhoe Times was founded in 1886, a year before Haskell County was organized, by C. T. Hickman. In 1892 the name was changed to the Santa Fe Times, and in the same year the paper was absorbed by the Monitor. That gave Mr. Miller a clear field until the Haskell County Republican was moved to Santa Fe by the Pearce Brothers and edited by them here until they moved it to Sublette, where it is still published by J. F. Pierce as the Haskell County Clipper. There were also two papers in Haskell County called the Trail, the first published, in 1886-87, while Eugene Stotts, well known over the Western Kansas region, was editor and publisher of the second Trail from 1895 to 1898. The paper died and left the Monitor occupying the field. The Monitor has always been republican in politics, strictly regular in its adherence to the republican principles and platforms, and has never been suffered the "farming out" process of some country papers.

In July, 1918, the Santa Fe Monitor office was moved to Sublette, where Mr. Miller purchased the Clipper office and changed the name of his to The Monitor.

The active association of John Jacob Miller with printing and newspaper work began as a boy of fifteen in his native county of Wabash, Indiana. He was born there October 15, 1860. His father, Adam Miller, a native of Warren County, Ohio, was a blacksmith and farmer, and in 1879 brought his family to Emporia, Kansas, where he died in 1896, at the age of sixty-eight. From North Manchester, Indiana, he enlisted during the Civil war in Company I of the Eighth Indiana Infantry, and after serving more than two years was discharged for disability. Among other battles he fought at Pea Ridge, Arkansas. After the war he became actively identified with the Grand Army of the Republic, and was a stanch republican and member of the Methodist Church. He married Helen Elizabeth Dodge, daughter of Rev. J. G. Dodge, a Methodist minister. Col. J. B. Dodge of Warsaw, Indiana, was her brother. She died in 1895, at the age of sixty-two. Their children were: Jonas B., of Syracuse, Kansas; John J.; Rosa T., wife of Howard C. Love, of Scott, Canada; Mollie, wife of Alexander Hetherington, of Emporia, Kansas; Adam Clark, who died on a ranch in Haskell County; William L., train dispatcher at Ridgeway, Colorado; Florence, living at Emporia, widow of Calvin Hawkins; Catherine, who died as the wife of Elmer Stinson, of Emporia; and Joseph G., who is agent for the Denver and Rio Grande Railway at Montrose, Colorado. The grandfather of these children was John J. Miller, a native of Pennsylvania, who moved to Ohio and died in Montgomery County. He was of German stock.

John Jacob Miller had a limited training in the public schools of Wabash County and as a lad of fifteen was taken into the office of the North Manchester Journal at North Manchester, Indiana. For three years he remained there learning much about the art of composition and printing and news gathering, and then for another period of three years worked for the Lime City News at Huntington, Indiana, under W. T. Cutshall, one of his oldest newspaper friends. It was with this experience on lndiana papers that he started out as a journeyman, and as a printer was successively employed in many of the offices of New York and New England states, working on several metropolitan journals. After eighteen months of wandering he returned to Huntington, Indiana, and soon afterward followed his parents to Kansas.

It was in 1882 that Mr. Miller came to Kansas, and his first position was on the Emporia Republican under Governor Eskridge, with whom he remained three years. While there he became acquainted with Jake Stotler, Frank McLennan, now editor of the Topeka Journal, Alexander Butts and J. M. McCowan, men who have made themselves well known in the newspaper field. On leaving Emporia Mr. Miller went to Garden City and since then his experience has been in the "short grass" region of Kansas. For several years he was a compositor on the Garden City Herald with J. R. Graham, one of the old newspaper men of Emporia. Mr. Miller brought with him to Haskell County an active experience in the printing and newspaper craft of fifteen years.

Outside of newspaper work his connection with Haskell County has been as a merchant for several years at Santa Fe, and also as one of the men looked to for leadership in local affairs. Mr. Miller was member of the Legislature of 1907, representing Gray and Haskell counties. The speaker of the House, at the time was John Simmons, of Dighton. He was assigned as chairman of the committee on printing and as a member of irrigation and educational committees. He aided in the effort of reapportionment made during that session, and also introduced and secured the passage of a bill for the abolition of high school fraternities in Kansas. He participated in the election of a United States senator, voting for Charles Curtis. During the special session of 1908 he supported the primary law measure which is still on the statute books of Kansas and also supported the railroad and the depositors guarantee fund legislation represented by the governor. At the end of his first term he retired from office. He was also, under-sheriff for Sheriff Lucas, and was the last mayor of Santa Fe, filling that office until the town organization was abandoned. Mr. Miller was made a Mason at Santa Fe and has been an active member of the lodge for a number of years. He was also a charter member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows Lodge and of the Modern Woodmen of America, having been clerk since the camp was founded. He also belonged to the Camp of the Sons of Veterans while it existed. He and his family are members of the Methodist Church.

After coming to Haskell County, on April 15, 1890, Mr. Miller married Miss Ninnie B. Newby. She was born at Seymour, Indiana, December 19, 1870, and was brought to Kansas as a young lady in 1884. Her father, Robert G. Newby, was in the cavalry service from Indiana during the Civil war and was one of the very first settlers in south Gray County. He died on his homestead in November, 1908, at the age of seventy-nine. Robert G. Newby married Martha Patrick, daughter of William and Mary Patrick. Besides Mrs. Miller their children were: Frank, William, Mrs. Mattie Unsell, Richard, Mrs. Emma McClelland and Samuel. Mr. and Mrs. Miller have reared an interesting family of children named Robert J., Helen, William L., Wilma Florence, Clara Blanche and Mamie E. The son Robert is now a resident of Sublette. Miss Helen is a graduate of the Haskell County High School and is handling many of the responsibilities of the Monitor office.


Transcribed from A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans, written and compiled by William E. Connelley, Secretary of the Kansas State Historical Society, Topeka. [Revised ed.] Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co., 1919, c1918. 5 v. (xlviii, 2530 p., [155] leaves of plates): ill., maps (some fold.), ports.; 27 cm.

Volume 4 - Table of Contents

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