I have Miller cousins in South Africa, the descendants of my grandmother’s brother, Edward Howard Miller. Two or three years ago I received an email from his great grandson, Martin Kotze. He had found a photograph of Edward, whom he knew as “Grandad Ted,” on my webpage and he recognized it because he also owned a copy of the photograph. I emailed back but never got another reply. I would dearly love to make contact with the South African side of our family.
Edward Howard Miller was born in a log cabin in the small settlement of Birtle, Manitoba, in 1883, the second child and oldest son of Charles Edward Miller and Annie Maria Bayley. His parents had emigrated to Canada about 1882 from Liverpool, England.
About 1889-1890 the family moved to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where Annie’s two brothers, Neville and Howard lived. While in Pittsburgh, about 1895, his younger sister, Ethel, was playing with matches and caught her dress, and herself, on fire. After several months of treatment in Pittsburgh, her father took Ethel to England for more treatment and the rest of the family soon followed. The family spent over ten years in England before returning to the United States.
Edward, age 4 and age 12
Edward, though, did not follow his family back to the United States. Instead he signed up to fight in the Boer War in South Africa where he remained, living in Transvaal, after the war. He married a woman named Annie Mary and they had eight children between 1907 and 1930: Constance Beryl, Edward Howard, Reginald Ernest, Charles Frederick, Nina Annie, Gwendolyn Ethel, Robert Douglas, Richard Neville, and Joyce Helen.
Edward returned to England to fight in World War II, was a prisoner for a short time and later returned to South Africa. While in prison his hair turned white, according to family members.
Edward died in 1933 at the age of 50 from Miner’s Consumption, known now as silicosis, an occupational lung disease which he developed from working in the mines. In 1915, at the time of his son Charles Frederick’s christening, he was working in the Deep Level Mines, for Simmer and Jack Mining Company. His children and grandchildren resided at one time in or near Witbank, Transvaal, South Africa. Witbank is east of Pretoria and Johannesburg. In 2006 it was renamed eMalahleni, meaning “place of coal”
Edward’s sisters and a couple of their children were in contact with the children of Edward and Annie up until the 1950s. I hope to reestablish that connection and find some of their descendants.
Connie, Esther, Fred – Edward’s only surviving brother – and Ethel, 1973.