|Veteran of Historic Massacre Dies Here
Turlock Daily Journal Friday, May 10, 1940
The frontiers of America have disappeared, they say, and whether that is true or not, certain it is that the old frontiersmen of America are disappearing from the scenes of their adventures.
William Tillman Miller of Turlock was dead today, and with his death there passed one of the last of the old pioneers who blazed a trail westward across a continent, and the sole survivor, it is believed, of the historic Mountain Meadow Massacre in Utah in 1857.
Miller, a retired rancher, was 84. He died this morning at his home at 313 Boulevard Street here. He had lived in Turlock for the past nine years.
There is no record of Miller's place of birth. According to historical legend, however, he, as an infant child, was a member of the caravan of Arkansas travelers who trekked into Utah in 1857 only to meet death at the hands of the followers of Brigham Young.
Utah , at that time, was considered sacred soil by the Mormons the holy ground of the Territory of Deseret.
Miller, it was reported, was a member of a caravan of about 120 men, women, and children who traveled to Utah by covered wagon from Arkansas , on the way to California.
At Mountain Meadow, history records, they pitched their camp, were spied by Mormon agents.
According to legend, Young had sworn to punish with death all interlopers who set foot in Utah as a result of the slaying of the Mormon leader, Parley Parker Pratt, near Van Buren , Ark. , on May 18, 1857.
Pratt had eloped with the wife of Hector H. McClain, it is recorded and was slain by McClain.
According to one account of the battle the Mormons used typical twentieth-century “Trojan horse” or fifth-column strategy in wiping out the encampment of Arkansas pioneers.
The group from Arkansas formed a semi-circle with their covered wagons, and converted the assembly into a rude fort.
When the Mormons attacked, a volley of rifle fire drove them off.
Then, according to the account, agents of the Mormons came to the Arkansas camp bearing a white flag. They were admitted, and told the beleaguered travelers that federal soldiers had come to their rescue.
The Arkansans, according to the account, believed them, laid aside their arms, and followed the Mormons out of their hastily erected "fortress."
When the group reached a certain point the Mormons opened fire. The camp then was stormed. According to one account of the massacre, only a few children, of whom Miller was one, were saved. These were adopted, placed in Mormon homes, from which they were taken when federal troops took the situation in hand after authorities had been informed of the battle.
Miller's parents, two aunts and an uncle were slain in the battle, according to reports.
From Utah Miller was taken to Kansas, later went back to Texas' in 1876 he and his wife came to California, established their residence at Colton, and lived in Los Angeles and Southern California until moving to Oakland, where he resided until coming to Turlock.
Miller's wife, Brancy Ann Miller, died in 1932. Survivors include four sons, Claude Elmer Miller of Turlock ; Thomas T. Miller of Wasco , Calif. , Joseph F. Miller and E. E. Miller, both of Los Angeles ; two daughters, Mrs. Nellie Warecher of Santa Ana, and Mrs. Mary Stohr, of Compton, and a step-son, Frank Boyd of Fellow, Calif.
Funeral services will be held Monday at 10:30 a. m. from the J. W. Guy Chapel, 247 North Broadway, Turlock , with the Rev. L. C. Sunkler, pastor of the First Christian Church here, officiating.
Interment in Turlock Cemetery will follow the services.
*NOTE: William Tillman Miller is the brother of John Calvin Miller and Mary Miller. The Mormons put them in seperate homes after the massacre. We have located John Calvin's Grave but we are trying to locate furnther information to verify to a moral certainty that it is his grave. We have yet been able to find Mary Millers grave due to the fact we do not know her married name. Those with further information please CONTACT US
Links to more information on the Millers:
Camerons, Millers, Tacketts and Jones
LEGENDS OF AMERICA
The California USGenWeb Project