My Genealogy Hound

Below is a family biography included in Biographical and Historical Memoirs of Pulaski County, Arkansas published by Goodspeed Publishing Company in 1889.  These biographies are valuable for genealogy research in discovering missing ancestors or filling in the details of a family tree. Family biographies often include far more information than can be found in a census record or obituary.  Details will vary with each biography but will often include the date and place of birth, parent names including mothers' maiden name, name of wife including maiden name, her parents' names, name of children (including spouses if married), former places of residence, occupation details, military service, church and social organization affiliations, and more.  There are often ancestry details included that cannot be found in any other type of genealogical record.

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Capt. James R. Miller, one of the best-known men in Arkansas, and president of both the Street Railway Company and the Arkansas Industrial Company, two of the largest corporations in Little Rock, though a wealthy man, is devoid of the pride and arrogance of the semi-millionaire. On the contrary, he is of a jolly, social disposition, open, free-hearted, and the acme of hospitality. The following tribute to his worth, as a man, was written by his life-long friend, Opie P. Reed, editor of the Arkansaw Traveler: “One of the best-known men in Arkansas is Capt. James R. Miller. He has never sought notoriety, has never attempted to place himself in the line of the public at large, but the public turned about, bowed and smiled upon him. At the close of the war he was a moneyless boy, his only capital being the half-forgotten rudiments of the printer’s trade. He did not go over to the shady side of the street, where the boys sat upon goods-boxes, telling war stories and spitting through their teeth, but went out into the sunshine of conflict. The printer’s trade was not progressive enough for him, and he threw it aside. His quick eye and unerring judgment soon enabled him to get a foothold, and in a wonderfully short time he began to be mentioned as a rising man. The tide of fortune flowed his way; his perceptions grew keener and his judgment ripened; the fruit of tireless work was growing yellow on the tree of enterprise. He was now what the world terms a rich man, but his work was only begun; he had made his own fortune, and now he would assist in making the fortunes of others. He left Memphis, the scene of his early operations, and went to Little Rock. He did not go to speculate as a non-producer, but to build the largest cotton-seed oil mills in the world. One day an old negro stopped a citizen on the street and said: ‘ Look yere, didn’ you call dat w’ite man gwine long yander Cap’n Miller?’ ‘Yes.’ ‘Wall, is he de man dat’s got all dese yere oil mills and street-kyars an’ sich?’ ‘He’s the man.’ ‘Wall, I nebber know’d dat befo’. W’y, he’s de man dat gin me er dollar one day w’en I wus haungry. I didn’ know who he wus, an’ I went up to him, I did, and says, “Look yere, boss, I’se haungry. Ain’ you got er loose dime erbout yere cloze?” He look at me, he did, an’ I thought sho’ he gwine hit me; but he rushed out er dollar an’ says, ‘‘Here, you d—n raskil!’’ I didn’ stop to argify wid him bout not bein’ er raskil, I tell you.’ Capt. Miller is especially the friend of the young man who is trying to rise; and he has the satisfaction of knowing that he extended the first helping hand to many young men who are now becoming prominent in Arkansas. He is now at the head of the street-railway system of Little Rock, which, under his management, has grown to be the most perfect system in the South. Capt. Miller has an elegant home, a handsome and brilliant wife, and one of the most beautiful little girls in the world.”

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This family biography is one of 156 biographies included in Biographical and Historical Memoirs of Pulaski County, Arkansas published in 1889.  For the complete description, click here: Pulaski County, Arkansas History, Genealogy, and Maps

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