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Francis Fairfax 'Fax' Miller
(1859- ? )


Francis Fairfax "Fax" Miller was born in 1859 in or near Kingwood, Preston County, WV, the son of Hezekiah and Keziah Ellen (Fawcett) Miller. He went by the nickname "Fax" which occasionally also was misspelled as "Fox."

He stood 5 feet, 6 inches tall, with light complexion, blue-grey eyes and dark brown hair.

Fairfax was two years younger than his brother James W. Miller, and the two apparently were close.

During the years leading up to the turn of the century, evidence suggests that Fairfax made a cross-country move to Northern California. He was in Thompson's Flat, Butte County, CA in 1888, working as a miner, with his name recorded in voter registrations for the county that year. He then registered to vote in Campbell, Santa Clara County, CA in 1894, earning a living as a miner. By 1898, now working as a miner in the Knights Precinct of Sutter County, CA, he registered at the age of 39. He disclosed to the registration clerk that he was a native of West Virginia and could read, write and could physically mark a ballot.


Rectangle-shaped farm which Fax and his brother James inherited, next to C.S. Fortney and Gorman Coke & Coke


In 1900, the brothers still owned a portion of their father's old farm which had been purchased back in 1871. Their tract measured about 70 acres and was along a branch of Raccoon Creek near Tunnelton in Preston County, containing stands of chestnut and hickory, underlaid with a seam of Upper Freeport coal. At the time, they were "each non residents of the State of West Virginia, and their exact whereabouts are unknown," according to legal documents.

When ownership of the mineral rights underlying the farm came into dispute, the brothers were sued by Gorman Coke & Coke Company in 1900. The coal and coke firm had already begun mining operations on the land as of that time. The brothers were summoned to appear in court on July 1, 1901, but it's likely they did not. The court divided the property between the plaintiff and defendant, awarding 70 acres to the coal company, and 31 acres to the Millers. Records of the case are still on file today at the Preston County Courthouse in Kingwood.


California State Insane Asylum, Stockton, where Fax Miller was a patient in 1900


Further clues hint that by 1900, Fairfax had been hospitalized in Stockton (CA) State Hospital, also known as the "California State Insane Asylum." The facility is widely considered as the first psychiatric hospital in California, built to serve the many who suffered emotionally and mentally from the harsh, cruel conditions of the California Gold Rush. He was enumerated as a patient there in the 1900 federal census enumeration.

Nothing more about him after that time is known.


Copyright 2008, 2021 Mark A. Miner