William was a teenager when his father died in the early 1890s. He and his widowed mother and siblings endured a hard life eking out a living in Lafayette, Hardin County, just over the Allen County border line.
The mid-to-late 1890s were especially difficult for the family. Neighbor William Rumbaugh apparently had lent a stove to the Miners. But when he said he would come to reclaim it, and take it away, William and his mother and older brother Simon spoiled for a fight. When Rumbaugh appeared at their home in early November 1895, Simon told Rumbaugh that he wasn't going to get the stove, and that they would kill him.
William pulled a revolver from his coat and said, "We intend to kill you and now is as good a time as any other." Neighbor William Stell took the gun away from William, but in the scuffle that ensued, Mary Jane was knocked to the ground. Simon jumped on Rumbaugh, and beat him senseless, inflicting a fatal brain hemorrhage. Said the Republican, "After Rumbaugh had received his death blow at the hands of Simon Miner, the mother and other son [William] sprang upon his almost lifeless body and beat him with clubs and a hoe handle."
Simon then escaped and was at large for several weeks. William and his mother were arrested, and refused to tell authorities where Simon might be hiding out. They also claimed that he did the killing, not they, and that once he was captured, said the Kenton Democrat, "the name of being a murderer will be entirely erased against them from the books of justice." A jury acquitted William, but his mother and brother were found guilty of manslaughter and sentenced to 10 years of hard labor.
As a young man of 22, in 1900, William worked as a laborer and resided in Kalida, Putnam County, OH. He was of medium height and build, with blue eyes and dark hair.
When the federal census was taken in 1900, William resided with his remarried mother Mary Jane Vining in Franklin Township, Shelby County, OH. Also in the household were his brother Charles Harrison "Harry" Miner and 15-year-old married sister Lillie Sheets. Next door were his married sister and brother in law, Martha and Charles Conner. William and his brother in law Conner worked that year as "jukes," an outdated term.
~ First Marriage to Mary "Eliza" Smith ~
William's first wife was 15-year-old Mary "Eliza" Smith (1886-1961), the daughter of Phillip and Alice (Mull) Smith of Continental, Putnam County. Justice of the peace I.F. Stauffer performed the ceremony on Oct. 29, 1900 in Putnam County. A note on their marriage license reads: "Said Eliza Smith, being under age and not having had a former husband, consent of her Father Phillip Smith was given to the marriage of his Daughter, in Open Court."
They had three known children -- Leon Phillip Miner, Joseph Norman Miner and Lucille Gladys N. Staley Schaller.
In 1908, while she was still married to William, Eliza and John Gregg are believed to have produced a son, Virgil Phillip Gregg. The boy was born in Kalida, and was raised by his mother's parents.
The Miners relocated during the 1900s to Kalamazoo, Kalamazoo County, MI, where William earned a living as a laborer performing odd jobs. The census of 1910 shows the family in Kalamazoo, with William's mother Mary and brother Simon Henry Miner living under their roof.
Eliza's three-year-old son, Virgil, using the surname "Gregg," was living away in the 1910 year, as a boy of three, in his Smith grandparents' home in Kalida.
Sometime before 1913, the Miners' marriage ended in divorce.
Former wife Eliza married again, at the age of 36, to 36-year-old Vern Struble of Kalamazoo. He was the son of Frank and Elizabeth (Wright) Struble, and was employed as a box maker in Marcellus, MI. In an unusual twist, Eliza and Vern were married on March 8, 1924, the same day as her son Joseph Norman Miner wed Stella Wardenger, also in Kalamazoo. But the weddings were held in different locations, as the Struble ceremony was conducted by Probate Judge John L. Hollander. When the federal census was taken in 1930, Vern, Eliza and son Virgil P. Miner made their home on Mount Olivet Road in Kalamazoo. Vern was employed as a stock man in a paper mill, while Virgil worked as a laborer at the mill. To make extra money, Mary worked as a laundress.
She died in Comstock, Kalamazoo County, on July 31, 1961, and is buried beside her first husband William Miner in Kalamazoo's Riverside Cemetery.
~ Second Marriage to Fanny Dole ~
William wed again to Fanny Dole in Kalamazoo ( ? - ? ), daughter of Cornelius and Dena Dole on Feb. 11, 1913. They lived in his residence "near the old sled factory on Winslow Avenue," said the Kalamazoo Gazette.
The couple adopted two sons, William Henry Miner and Ervin Jack Miner.
This second marriage generated quite a bit of news notoriety and legal run-ins. Neighbors filed complaints in the sheriff's office, alleging that Fanny was not divorced from her first husband, and thus that her marriage with William constituted bigamy. Just a month into the marriage, the Gazette reported that "It is probable that a warrant for the arrest to the two will be asked today of the prosecutor's office." The outcome of the case is not known.
The following year, in June 1914, William was in the news again for assaulting Joseph White in Kalamazoo. The act took place "in the rear of the William Overholt saloon on North Burdick street," said the Gazette. The reporter covering the incident noted that William "is a brother of Simon Miner, convicted last September for an assault on White. Trouble between White and William Miner last Saturday is said to have grown out of an argument over the incarceration of Simon Miner."
With World War I raging in Europe, William was required to register for the military draft. He disclosed to a registration officer that he was 38 years of age, resided at 203 Lincoln Avenue in Kalamazoo, was employed in "contracting" and that his next of kin was "Mrs. Fannie Miner" of the same address.
In 1921, William and Fanny resided in Kalamazoo at the time of death of her mother, Dena Dole. They remained there for the rest of their lives.
William died in Kalamazoo at the age of 63 on May 2, 1941. He was buried in Kalamazoo's Riverside Cemetery.
~ Son Phillip Leon "Leo" Miner ~
Son Phillip Leon "Leo" Miner (1901-1988) was born on Nov. 30, 1901 in Kalida, Putnam County, OH. His name also has been given as "Phelps."
He was twice-married. On March 16, 1927, he was joined in matrimony with his first bride, Susan Bessie Kelly (Oct. 1, 1902-1941), daughter of John E. and Susan (Theisen) Kelly.
They bore two known sons, Leo "William" Miner and Michael Miner.
Leon headed a household in 1930 that included his widowed father in law, single sister in law Helen L. Kelly, and married brother and sister in law, Joseph N. and Letha B. Miner. Leo's aunt and uncle, Martha and Charles Conner, were next door neighbors that year.
For the last 15 years of her life, Susan was afflicted with chronic kidney disease with heart problems. Heartache cascaded over the family when Susan went into acute heart failure and died in Borgess Hospital on Oct. 23, 1941, at the age of 39. Her remains were laid to eternal repose in Kalamazoo's Riverside Cemetery.
After a year of grieving, on Oct. 31, 1942, the 40-year-old Leon was united in wedlock with his second wife, 28-year-old widow Lois Winona (Burke) Miller (March 17, 1914-2006), of Kalamazoo, and the daughter of Arthur Wellington and Meda (Calhoun) Burke. Rev. Victor W. Thrall officiated, with Dorothy and Louis S. Hamilton serving as witnesses. On their marriage license, Leon described his occupation as "papermaker." The Miners' union lasted for 46 years.
Lois's first husband was Donald James Miller who had died on Dec. 22, 1940. She thus brought several stepchildren into the second union, Beverly Canard , Robert W. Miller and Janice Collins.
Federal census enumeration records for 1950 show Leon and Lois and family in Kalamazoo. At that time, his work was as a foreman in a board mill, while stepdaughter Beverly Miller earned income as a cashier in a theatre.
He died on Aug. 3, 1988, in Portage, MI, at the age of 86. He is buried in Kalamazoo's Riverside Cemetery.
Lois outlived her second spouse by 18 years. She was a member of Bethel Baptist Church and liked to garden and sew.
She passed away in Temperance, MI at the age of 92 on Oct. 24, 2006. Burial was with her first husband in Riverside Cemetery. An obituary was printed in the Kalamazoo Gazette.
Son Leo "William" Miner (1928-1945?) was born in about 1928 in Michigan. He grew up in Kalamazoo. Reputedly, he died on Oct. 15, 1945 and rests for eternity in Riverside Cemetery in Kalamazoo. This needs to be confirmed.
Son Michael Miner ( ? - ? ) was deceased by 2006.
Stepdaughter Beverly Miller (1932-2014) was born on June 10, 1932 in Kalamazoo. She was an alumna of Kalamazoo's Central High School. Two weeks after high school graduation, on June 24, 1950, Beverly wed Harvy Canard ( ? - ? ), a native of Mountain View, AR and the son of Henry and Daisy (Woods) Canard. They tied the knot in a garden ceremony. The Canards were the parents of five known offspring -- among them Linda Kittredge, Karen Francis, Beverly Kinney, Donald Canard and Marcia Brinkman. Then in 1964, they relocated to Temperance, MI. Beverly spent 31 years in the employ of General Mills in Toledo, OH. They belonged to Bedford Alliance Church, where both wife and husband were active in volunteer service. When Harvy became seriously ill, many church friends, neighbors, relatives and medical experts came forward with compassion and kindness. Sadly, he died on Aug. 4, 2012. She was diagnosed with ovarian cancer and endured a lengthy illness. Death mercifully swept her away at the age of 81 on Feb. 25, 2014. Burial was in Bedford Memorial Gardens, with an obituary printed in the Toledo Blade..
Stepson Robert W. Miller (1934- ? ) was born in about 1934. He was deceased by 2006.
Stepdaughter Janice Miller (1928- ? ) was born in about 1928. She entered into marriage with Thomas Collins ( ? - ? ). Circa 2006, the couple dwelled in Kalamazoo and in 2014 in Comstock, MI.
~ Son Joseph Norman "Norm" Miner ~
Son Joseph Norman "Norm" Miner (1903-1965) was born on Jan. 21, 1903 in Kalida, Putnam County, OH.
He migrated with his parents and siblings to Kalamazoo, MI in 1906. While in Kalamazoo, he worked as a paper maker.
He served in the U.S. Army during World War I.
At the age of 22, Joseph married 28-year-old Stella Wardenger (1896- ? ) of Kalamazoo. The marriage took place on March 6, 1924, with Rev. Joseph B. Peatling leading the nuptials. Witnesses were Miss Ruth Pulver and Joseph's brother Virgil P. Miner.
By 1929, the marriage had ended, and Joseph wed again, to 18-year-old Letha Belle Haynes (1911-1990), a native of Michigan. The nuptials took place on Jan. 12, 1929, in Parchment, Kalamazoo County. She was the daughter of Frank and Lucinda (Buell) Haynes.
Joseph and Letha together produced a brood of 10 children: Phyllis Jean Mull, Beverly Ann Runion, William Frank "Bill" Miner Sr., Mary Lou Phillips, Arlo Rodell Miner, Terry Lee Miner, Paul Lamont "Mike" Miner, Patrick Lynn Miner, Bonnie Grimm Miner and Rose Marie Lemley Rodriguez.
Heartache rocked the family in 1940 when one-year-old son Arlo died.
Joseph and Letha resided in 1930 with his married brother Leo and extended family on East Michigan Avenue in Kalamazoo. That year, Joseph was employed as a finisher in a paper-manufacturing plant. They remained in Kalamazoo for the rest of their lives, and for 15 years he worked for the Panelyte Division of St. Regis.
At the age of 62, Joseph died in Kalamazoo on March 15, 1965.
Letha outlived her husband by a quarter of a century. She married again, in 1969, to William Tyler Rice ( ? - ? ). She dwelled in Comstock, MI circa 1981.
Her death occurred in Kalamazoo on June 12, 1990, at the age of 78. Her remains were laid to eternal rest in East Cooper Cemetery in Kalamazoo.
Daughter Phyllis Jean Miner (1930-1998) was born on Aug. 17, 1930 in Kalamazoo. On July 2, 1953, at 22 years of age, Phyllis entered into marriage with Herbert W. Mull (March 11, 1928-2015). The wedding was held in Toledo, OH. Herbert was divorced from his first wife and brought three stepchildren into the second marriage -- Robert Bailey, William Lamont Mull and Linda Igou. Phyllis and Herbert appear to have borne three more offspring of their own -- Charles Mull, Steve Mull and Tony Mull. Circa 1965, the family was in Bradner, OH and in 1998 in Genoa, OH. They belonged to Trinity Assembly of God Church in Woodville, OH. As a patient in St. Charles Hospital in Oregon, OH, Phyllis passed away on Jan. 28, 1998 at the age of 67. An obituary was printed in the Port Clinton News Herald. Burial was in Clay Township Cemetery in Genoa. Herbert lived for another 17-plus years. The spirit of death whisked him away on June 2, 2015.
Daughter Beverly Ann Miner (1932-2005) was born on Aug. 22, 1932. On New Year's Eve 1948, in Toledo, OH, she wed Paul L. Runion Sr. (Dec. 29, 1930-1983). Together, the Runions produced a family of four -- Paul Runion, Norman Runion, Mark Runion and Debra K. "Debby" Frankenhauser. The family grieved with Paul died on Nov. 17, 1983. Beverly outlived him by by 22 years. During that time she worked as a housekeeper at St. Charles Mercy Hospital in Woodville, OH, with retirement in 1993. Said the Fremont (OH) News-Messenger, "Her heart and home were always open for coffee and conversation; and if you were lucky enough to come at mealtime, she always made room for one more." Suffering from cancer, she died on Oct. 5, 2005 at the age of 73, as a patient in St. Charles Mercy. Burial for both was in Woodville's Westwood Cemetery. The News-Messenger printed an obituary.
Son William Frank "Bill" Miner (1935-1981) was born on July 16, 1935 in Kalamazoo. He served a term in the U.S. Army. His first wife was Marianne "Mary" Sivits (July 25, 1941-2011), whom he married on Aug. 1, 1959 at Gernsey Lake, Cloverdale County, MI. He and she were age 18 at the time. Marianne was the daughter of Virgil and Vernice (Roebuck) Burchette. They produced two sons and two daughters. She liked to read and enjoyed arts and crafts. Eventually the couple divorced. Bill at the age of 35 married again to Viva Mae Kendall (1943-1999), the daughter of Daniel Merrit and Dorothy Mae (Bassett) Kendall, and a native of Dorrence, Russell County, KS. Their marriage took place in 1965 in Otsego County, MI, or in Gernsey Lake, Cloverdale County, MI. Bill and Viva had five daughters of their own. In all, Bill was the father of William Frank Miner Jr., Joseph Norman Miner III, Michelle Colter, Geana Zeerip, Letha Burkhead, Brenda Dean, Dorothy Warrington, Viva M. Miner and Amy Miner. They moved in 1976 to East Jordan, Charlevoix County, MI, and remained for the rest of their married lives. As a patient in Charlevoix Area Hospital, Bill died on Oct. 8, 1981 at the age of 46, in East Jordan. Rev. Dale Turner, pastor of the Missionary Church, led the funeral, with interment occurring in Sunset Hill Cemetery. Viva outlived him by 18 years. She passed away in Charlevoix Area Hospital on March 11, 1999. Her burial also took place at Sunset Hill, with Rev. James Jordan officiating the funeral. An obituary was published in the Jordan Journal. Former wife Mary dwelled in Otsego and Allegan over the years. She died in Allegan on Dec. 27, 2011. Her remains were interred in Mountain Home Cemetery.
Daughter Mary Lou Miner (1938-1994) was born in 1938. She was joined in wedlock with John Phillips ( ? - ? ). The Phillipses in the mid-1960s were in Kalamazoo. Mary Lou passed away in 1994 at the age of 56.
Son Terry Lee Miner (1943-1966) was born in 1943. In the mid-1960s, his home was in Otsego. Tragically, in March 1966, at the age of 23, he was killed in an automobile accident. His name appeared in a death toll of weekend vehicle accidents, compiled by the United Press International and published in the Battle Creek Enquirer.
Son Paul Lamont "Mike" Miner (1950-2001) was born on July 6, 1950. He died in Portage, MI on Oct. 16, 2001 at the age of 51. The remains were laid to rest in Riverside Cemetery in Kalamazoo.
Son Patrick Lynn "Pat" Miner (1953-2008) was born on Oct. 21, 1953, the youngest of the family. He died in Plainwell, MI at the age of 54 on Sept. 23, 2008.
Daughter Bonnie Miner ( ? - ? ) was born in (?). She entered into marriage with (?) Grimm ( ? - ? ). Circa 1998, the Grimms wre in Comstock, MI.
Daughter Rose Marie Miner ( ? - ? ) was born in (?). She wed (?) Lemley ( ? - ? ). Her home in 1965 was in Kalamazoo. By 1998, she had married again to (?) Rodriguez ( ? - ? ), remaining in Kalamazoo.
~ Daughter Lucille Gladys (Miner) Schaller ~
Daughter Lucille Gladys N. Miner (1905-1977) was born on Sept. 9, 1905 in Kalida, OH.
Prior to marriage, she bore a son, Donald Virgil Miner Sr.
When she was 21 years of age, Lucille on Feb. 12, 19267 married her first husband, 21-year-old factory worker Walter W. Staley (1906- ? ). He was the son of Lloyd and Emma (Hopkins) Staley of Otsego, MI. Officiating was Rev. D.J. Taylor of the Methodist Protestant Church, and Bessie Kelley and Leon Miner were witnesses.
Circa 1943, using the "Staley" surname, she lived in Plainwell, MI.
On April 23, 1947, when she was 42 years of age, Lucille entered into marriage with 34-year-old Robert Sharden Schaller (Nov. 22, 1922-1999), originally from Battle Creek, and the son of August and Eva E. (Wilfong) Schaller.
Robert was a Bellevue High School graduate.
The United States Census of 1950 shows the Schallers making a home for their newborn granddaughter Linda L. Miner and residing in Comstock, Kalamazoo County. They lived next door to their married son and family. At the time, Robert earned a living as a furnisher in a paper mill. Later, he worked at Kalamazoo College as a groundskeeper.
She died at Kalamazoo's Bronson Hospital at the age of 71 on March 13, 1977.
Robert endured for another 22 years and resided in Battle Creek. He married again to Kathleen M. (Jackson) Riley ( ? -1991).
At the age of 76, he passed away in Heartland Health Center on March 18, 1999. An obituary was published with his photograph in the Battle Creek Enquirer. Rev. Mike Sparks led the funeral, with burial following in Fort Custer National Cemetery.
Son Donald Virgil Miner Sr. (1925-1979) was born on Jan. 17, 1925 in Kalamazoo. He had green eyes and stood 5 feet, 7 inches tall and weighed 118 lbs. At the age of 18, he was employed by the War Department in Fort Custer, Battle Creek, MI. He served in the U.S. Army with the rank of private. In Allegan County on Jan. 3, 1942, Donald was joined in wedlock with Etta May Scott (1927-1996). The couple bore three offspring, Donald Virgil Miner Jr., Annabell Baker Mennes Cobb and Leroy Miner They divorced in Kalamazoo on Feb. 1, 1947. Two years later, on Feb. 18, 1949, he married Betty J. Ferro ( ? - ? ) in Calhoun County. She was an Illinois native. They became the parents of a daughter, Linda L. Miner. The federal census enumeration of 1950 shows the Miners in Comstock, Kalamazoo County, residing next door to his mother and stepfather. That year, Donald earned income in maintenance for the local police department. Sadly, at the age of 54, Donald died in Niles, MI on Feb. 8, 1979. The remains were interred in Kalamazoo's Riverside Cemetery.
~ Son Virgil Phillip Miner, a.k.a. Gregg ~
Son Virgil Phillip Miner (1908-1979) was born on March 5, 1908 in Kalida, Putnam County.
His father was not William M. Miner, but rather "John Gregg." Virgil at age three did not live with his mother but rather with her parents in Kalida, as shown by the 1910 federal census, using the name "Virgil Gregg."
At the age of 16, on May 21, 1924, using the name "Miner," he married 20-year-old Josephine Ruth Pulver ( ? - ? ), daughter of Jared "Jerry" and Grace (Sackett) Pulver of Pine Grove, MI. On his marriage license, Virgil gave his age as 18 and his father's name as "John Gregg" which needs to be sorted out. At the time, he was a papermaker in Kalamazoo, and she a factory worker.
The marriage apparently ended during the 1920s. In 1930, the census shows that as a 22-year-old, Virgil lived with his mother and step-father in Kalamazoo County, MI.
He is believed by 1966 to have wed again to Anna M. Carpenter (1909-1995), daughter of Edwin W. and Clara (Deaverson) Carpenter of Battle Creek.
Virgil died on March 13, 1979, at the age of 71, in Kalamazoo. Evidence suggests that his remains were interred in Kalamazoo's Mount Eveer-Rest Memorial Park South.
Anna lived for another 16 years and passed away in 1995.
~ Son William Henry Miner ~
Son William Henry Miner (1918-1957) was born on Nov. 18, 1918 in Kalamazoo, and was adopted by the Miners.
He reputedly died on July 30, 1957, at the age of 39. No obituary or death record has been found to corroborate that.
~ Son Ervin Jack Miner ~
Son Ervin Jack Miner was born on July 26, 1923 in Kalamazoo County, and was adopted by the Miners.
When the federal census enumeration was made in 1940, Ervin (spelled "Irvin") resided with his mother in Portage, Kalamazoo County.
Ervin at age 19 and 17-year-old Virginia Pearl Cutler ( ? - ? ) entered into marriage on June 6, 1942 in Kalamazoo. She was the daughter of Harry L. and Pearl (Remington) Cutler. Rev. J. Juist officiated.
The pair went on to bear at least three offspring -- E. Kenneth Miner, Carole U. Miner and Karen L. Miner.
The 1950 United States Census shows the Miners in Kalamazoo, with him working as a laborer for a pharmaceutical manufacturer. They dwelled in Galesburg, MI in 1962.
As an adult, he moved to Bradenton, FL. He died in Bradenton's Manatee Hospital on Jan. 5, 1984.
Son E. Kenneth Miner (1943- ? ) was born in about 1943 in Kalamazoo. He is known to have attended Galesburg-Augusta High School. As a young man he was employed in the Veterans Administration Hospital. On July 14, 1962, in nuptials held in the parsonage of First Methodist Church of Galesburg, MI, he was joined in wedlock with Nancy Erskine ( ? - ? ), daughter of Paul Erskine of East Leroy, MI. Officiating was Rev. Wesley Oldt, with the wedding announced in the Battle Creek Enquirer. The newlyweds made their first residence in Brown's Trailer Court in Battle Creek. Nancy was an alumna of Athens (MI) High School. Kenneth was a blood donor to the American Red Cross and as of September 1975 had given one gallon for the cause.
Daughter Carole U. Miner (1947- ? ) was born in about 1947 in Michigan.
Daughter Karen L. Miner (1950- ? ) was born in Jan. 1950 in Kalamazoo.
Copyright © 2011-2012, 2022 Mark A. Miner