Page 395-398, transcribed by Carolyn Ward from History of Butler County, Kansas by Vol. P. Mooney. Standard Publishing Company, Lawrence, Kan.: 1916. ill.; 894 pgs.


Dr. R. S. Miller.—In the death of Dr. R. S. Miller, January 15, 1916, El Dorado and Butler county lost not only an eminent physician, but one of its most honored and useful citizens. Dr. Miller came to Butler county at a very early date in the history of this section of Kansas, and while at the time of his death he was comparatively a young man, his span of life lacking considerable of the proverbial three score and ten allotted to man, he was one of Butler county's very early pioneer settlers. (He came here when he was a very young man.)

Dr. Miller was born in Green county, Wisconsin, December 9, 1851, and was a son of Jacob and Ann (Breaks) Miller, natives of Indiana. His father died when a young man, and shortly after the father's death, the mother returned to Indiana, making Crawfordsville her home, where she died in 1865, when Dr. Miller was about fourteen years of age. He was one of a family of three children: Elizabeth, who married James Taylor and now resides near Crawfordsville, Ind.; John, who died in young manhood, and the subject of this sketch.

Dr. Miller received a good common school education in Indiana and later attended Wabash College, at Crawfordsville. In the summer of 1868, he came West and settled at Topeka, Kans., where he remained about a year and a half. He attended the Kansas State Normal School, at Emporia, about a year, then came to Butler county. He located at Towanda and established the first drug store in that town. He came here with Dr. Angel, with whom he had read medicine at Emporia, and continued his studies under Dr. Angel's preceptorship. Later, in addition to his drug business, he opened a hardware store at Townada[sic] in partnership with Harvey-Dickey. In 1875 he disposed of his mercantile interests at Towanda and returned to Crawfordsville, Ind., where he engaged in the drug business for four years, and in the meantime he took a medical course in the College of Physicians and Surgeons at Indianapolis, Ind., and was graduated in 1878, with the degree of Doctor of Medicine. After practicing one year at Crawfordsville, he went to Linden, Ind., where he was engaged in the practice of his profession until 1882, when his health failed, and he decided that the climate of Kansas would be beneficial to him. He accordingly returned to Butler county and again settled at Towanda. He spent his time on the farm, and in a few years his health was fully restored. In 1892 he took up the practice of his profession again at Towanda, Kans. Two years later he


moved to Ed Dorado,[sic] where he was engaged in active practice at the time of his death. Dr. Miller had a large practice and was one of Butler county's most able physicians. He was always a close student of the science of medicine, and in his professional work was very successful.

Dr. Miller was married December 24, 1872, to Miss Viola Waite, of Towanda. Mrs. Miller was reared and educated at Dwight, Ill., and came to Kansas with her parents, who settled in Butler county in 1871. To Dr. and Mrs. Miller were born the following children: Tessie, a graduate of the fine art school of the University of Kansas, married D. C. Porter, and is now deceased; Pearl a graduate of Kansas University, now deputy register of deeds of Butler county, is an artist of unusual ability, was a teacher in the Douglass High School for two years and in the Ed Dorado[sic] High School for two years, and also served as a member of the county examining board while C. F. Smith was county superintendent; Grace, a graduate of Kansas University, was a teacher in the Whitewater High School one year and the El Dorado High School two years, is now the wife of Robert Worline, a prominent attorney of Kansas City, Kans.; Bess, also a graduate of Kansas University, having made music a special study, resides at home; and two boys who died in childhood.

Mrs. Miller is a daughter of Simon and Maria (Denman) Waite, the former a native of New York and the latter of Ohio. The Waite family came to Butler county in 1871, and the parents both spent their lives in this county. Mrs. Miller bears the distinction of having been one of Butler county's pioneer school teachers, being the third teacher to have charge of the Towanda schools. The first was Miss Pratt and the second, Mr. Litson, and Dr. Miller succeeded Mrs. Miller. Dr. and Mrs. Miller met and became acquainted while she was teaching at Towanda. Mrs. Miller is a talented musician and for a number of years taught music in Indiana and Butler county, Kansas. She is a very capable woman and has been prominent in church and club work for a number of years. She is a member of the Woman's Mutual Benefit Club and has been president of the local organization. She has also been vice-president and president of the Eighth district, chairman of the civil service committee of the State Federation of Woman's Clubs, and a member of the legislative committee of that organization. She attended the national federation at Boston as a State delegate and also the National Federation at San Francisco as the Eighth Kansas district delegate.

Mrs. Miller was president of the Woman's Mutual Benefit Club when the question of securing a Chautauqua for El Dorado was taken up by that organization, and it was largely through her efforts and untiring labor that the Chautauqua was brought to this county. When the Miller family lived in Towanda Mrs. Miller was active in church work and for a time was superintendent of the Sunday school and for several years was assistant superintendent. Her work among the boys was


especially marked by success. She had charge of all the children's entertainments and devoted herself to her work in a way that spelled success for any occasion.

When the city took over the library, Mrs. Miller was the one to circulate the petition to get the required number of signers in order to bring the proposition to a vote. She was untiring in her efforts until it was carried through to a successful culmination and this was the first successful move to bring about the El Dorado Free Library.

Dr. Miller will be remembered as one of the best public officials that El Dorado ever had. He was elected mayor of El Dorado in 1909 and conducted the affairs of the city in such a capable and satisfactory manner that he was elected to a second term and served four years in all. The very first business letter which he wrote upon becoming mayor of El Dorado was to Andrew Carnegie concerning the establishment of a library at El Dorado. He was one of the active promoters of the library project and at the outset of his first administration appointed a live committee, who co-operated with him and made possible El Dorado's Free Public Library, which is now one of the important institutions of this city and one of particular pride to the people of El Dorado.

Much municipal improvement was brought about by Dr. Miller's efforts during his two terms as mayor. The first paving in the city was done, which consisted of fourteen blocks, the first concrete crossings were laid and El Dorado's white way was also installed, as well as a great deal of other general improvements. His administration was conducted on a substantial business basis and the financial condition of the city was much improved during his two terms in office, and those who are familiar with the conduct of the city's affairs for years agree that Dr. Miller was the most capable and efficient mayor that El Dorado ever had.

While Dr. Miller was mayor of El Dorado he missed but one meeting, and for seven years, while he was a member of the school board, of which he was president for a number of years, he never missed a single meeting, either special or regular. He was the first man to advocate the erection of the McKinley School building, as a separate and independent structure, which was carried out according to his plans. The original idea of other members of the board was to build an addition or an annex to the high school building, instead. He took a deep interest in educational matters and made an ideal public school officer. When he became a member of the El Dorado school board the financial condition of the El Dorado schools was bad. They had been taxing to the legal limit and at the same time creating a deficiency, and Dr. Miller devised a plan whereby it was possible to maintain the schools, although under this plan it was necessary to reduce the school term one month per year and also reduce the teachers' salaries, but this was the only alternative and was accepted cheerfully by those who understood the situation.


Dr. Miller was also the first to advocate the purchase by the county of the entire square where the new court house now stands, instead of building that structure on the site of the old court house. The wisdom of that project is now clear to all, but at that time seemed impossible to many. He also initiated the movement to erect the Murdock Memorial Fountain on the court house square. This work was done by popular subscription at a cost of $600 and Dr. Miller not only carried out the project, but was the largest contributor.

Dr. Miller was a member of the Fraternal Aid, the Knights and Ladies of Security, and the Modern Woodmen of America. His political affiliations were with the Republican party and he always supported the polices and principles of that organization. Dr. Miller will long be remembered by the people of El Dorado and Butler county and his death is not only a great bereavement and loss to his immediate family and friends, but also a great loss to his many acquaintances and fellow citizens, who deeply appreciate his worth.

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