James W. Miller was born in 1857 in or near Kingwood, Preston County, WV, the son of Hezekiah and Keziah Ellen (Fawcett) Miller. Little is known about his life.
James was two years older than his brother Fairfax "Fax" Miller, and the two apparently were close.
In 1900, the brothers owned a portion of the old farm their father had 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 whether they did nor not is unknown. 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.
Evidence suggests that James' brother Fairfax migrated to California where he worked as a coal miner and registered to vote in Sutter County in 1898.
Their fates are unknown.
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