Frank Palmer Miller (1874-1925)
Frank Palmer Miller was born on 12 Feb 1874 in Big Rock, Kane, Illinois as the second child of George Leifheite Miller and Jane Elizabeth Cornell. He had three siblings, namely: Calvin Andrew, Elvira Jane, and James Edward.
Frank grew up in Kane County, Illinois and graduated from Sugar Grove High School on 3 Jun 1892. As part of the graduation exercises, he presented an oration titled, “He who cannot Paint must Grind the Colors.”
When he was 23, Frank married Mary Leona Stolp, daughter of Ludwig Stolp and Catherine Elisabeth Orth, on 29 Dec 1897 in Somonauk, De Kalb, Illinois. Their marriage license was issued on Christmas, the wedding was on the 29th and the license was filed on the 31st.
Frank Palmer Miller and Mary Leona Stolp had one daughter:
- Leona Catherine Miller was born on 26 Aug 1899 in Sandwich, De Kalb, Illinois. She married Floyd Boyce Phillips on 17 Apr 1925 in Sandwich, De Kalb, Illinois. She died on 11 Feb 1976 in Sandwich, De Kalb, Illinois.
Frank and Mary lived on the farm of her birth. Even though she was the youngest child, Mary ended up on the home farm. Frank was a farmer. Mary kept house. Together they raised their daughter. Frank’s days were busy with farm work and lots of trips to town. His daughter kept a diary that gives us a glimpse into their lives.
Leona’s diary included entries like:
“Pa went to town.”
“Pa went up to the school house and fixed the pipe in the morning.”
“Pa butchered the calf.”
“Pa took the calf to Hinckley.”
“Pa and ma went to the Farmer’s Club.”
“Pa went to the sale.”
“Pa and I went to town in the afternoon.”
“We went up to Grandma’s.”
“Pa hauled hogs for John.”
“Pa got caught in the corn slicer.”
“Pa went to Little Rock in the morning.”
“Pa got some plymouth rock roosters.”
“Pa and ma washed.”
“Pa went over to Bushnell’s at night and fixed his engine.”
“Papa came after Myrtle and I in the cutter.”
“Pa went to Plano.”
“Pa went to town with a load of oats.”
The little family seemed to have a happy, busy life. But tragically, Mary Leona Stolp Miller died young. She was only 44-years old when she passed away on 15 May 1915. Frank became a 41-year old widower raising a teenager daughter by himself. Through Leona’s diary entries, we know that Frank and his daughter continued to stay busy. He had new household tasks though. Leona wrote, “Pa washed,” and “Pa ironed.”
Frank and his daughter, Leona, took care of each other. He continued to have an active social life. He attended dances, where he played fiddle, sometimes bringing Leona along.
In September 1918, Frank had to register for the draft. This card lets us know he was tall with a medium build, gray eyes, and light hair. It also indicates that he had lost two fingers on his right hand. Maybe this was a result of getting caught in the corn slicer?
Frank Palmer Miller died on 16 Mar 1925 in Sandwich, De Kalb, Illinois. He was 51-years old. He is buried in Oak Ridge Cemetery, Sandwich, De Kalb, Illinois.