The Hood River News, Hood River, OR., July 2, 1948, page 13


Warren Miller

     Of the many old timers in Hood River county who are still going strong, Warren Miller is one of the oldest. It would take a pretty big cake to get the eighty-four candles on it that Warren had coming at his most recent birthday.
     Sixty-three of his busy years he has lived in Hood River county, which also makes him one of the earliest among the still-living residents of this county.
     The Miller family came to the West in 1870 from Springfield, Mo. Warren Miller was born in Hancock county, Illinois, on October 11, 1863, near the city of Carthage.
     The family made the trip to San Francisco in an emigrant car on the railroad, but left San Francisco by steamer for Portland. J.S. Miller, Warren's father, took up a homestead on Nehalem mountain,wherethe family grubbed out a farm from the heavy timber and dense undergrowth. At the age of 31 Warren left for Hood River, where the family has lived almost continuously since.
     When the Miller family landed in Portland in 1870, the streets were paved with loose cobble stones. Meier and Frank were the leading merchants of the town, and Third street was the western limit of the city. There were no bridges or railroads and the residents depended on steam ferries to cross the Willamette from the east side, Warren recalls.
     After coming to Hood River, the young Warren Miller worked in saw mills, and in 1893 bought a ranch in the Frankton district. In 1890, he was mustered into Company D., Third Separate Battalion of the Oregon National Guard, and Warren recalls the encampment of the old Guard Company at The Dalles in the early 1890's.
     It was at The Dalles that year that Warren lost his parents, and not on a football bet, either. "At the end of the six-day encampment," he explains, "we had a foot race. There was a runner from each of the 12 companies. At a shot fired by Captain Blowers, we all started to run 440 yards. I had made a good start when the belt on my running pants broke. I sat down and removed them, and by the time I had them tucked under my arm, the other runners were yards ahead. By a super effort, I dashed ahead and won the cup. Colonel Anderson told me I was the fastest runner he had ever seen."
     Of that company of 65 men, only six are still living. They are: Claude Copple, Robert Copple, of Los Angeles, E. Winans, Bob and Mark Robertson and Warren Miller. E. Winans was the first sergeant.
     Part of the Frankton school grounds are from the ranch developed by Warren in his early years. He recalls working on the Mitchell Point tunnel for $4 a day of ten hours' work. He also had charge of the opening up of the May street road and the tie-in road from May street to the Belmont road near the famed early day resort known as the Cottage Farm.
     Before the Mitchell point tunnel was constructed, he recalls, the road over the top was so narrow that only one vehicle could navigate the pass at a time. A man at a telephone at the top sent messages to the travelers on either side, telling them when to proceed over the difficult ascent. In fact, he had a bad job himself for a time.
     He was married October 1, 1892, to Alice Boorman, of Hood River. Four sons and one daughter were born and three sons are still living. Warren Miller has led a long and useful life and his friends wish him many more candles on his birthday cakes.
     Warren has given cheerfully and willingly of his strength and the long years of his life toward the growth and development of this beautiful valley of Hood River. Age has taken its toll of his strength and courage. Depression in the thirties took a still greater toll from his resources. At the sundown of his long life he must make his home in graduated periods with his children. It would seem some measure of security should be his through the medium of a regular pension for his few remaining years, say his friends.

©  Jeffrey L. Elmer