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Full text of "A business life after the golden rule : memorial of William Avery Miner, 1861-1920, with introductory sketch of the Miner family"

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3 1833 01533 6727 

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Miner, H . A . 

H business life after the 
golden rule 

William Avery Miner 

A Business Life After 
the Golden Rule 















Men County Public library 
Ft. Woyne, Indiana 


Observance of "The Golden Rule" is con- 
ceded to be the supreme need and duty in all 
the relations of life. 

In the business world it would solve the 
questions now agitating both the old and 
new world. 

If it only could be observed — But can it not 
be ? Is it true that to observe it, is to invite 
failure? Is competition always the life of 
business? May it not be a business killer? 
Is to beat the other fellow", always a worthy 

The reader is invited to a careful perusal 
of the Memorial of William A. Miner as 
showing some of the results of an honest 
attempt to observe this law as a business 

It is the hope of the writer of this simple 
story that it may help to show the possibility 
and wisdom of making this the supreme law 
of life and thus hasten the day of its 
universal observance. 

H. A. Miner. 
Madison, Wis., Nov. 1st. 1921. 

— 4 — 




The Miner Family 

Origin of Name 14th Century 7 

Genealogy from 1632—1861 9 

Samuel Holman, Conn., born 1776 11 

Samuel Elbert, Vt.. born 1815 12 

Emigration westward 1843 12 


William Avery Miner, Wis., born 1861 

His Early Days 25 

Choice of Life Work 27 

Goes to Northern Missouri 28 

Becomes a Business Partner with 

His Brother Edgar S 30 

His Business Career 31 

Some Leading Characteristics 39 

His Home Ideal 41 

His Neighborliness 48 

His Patriotism 51 

His Religion 54 

His Last Years 61 

Personal Tributes 64 

— 5 — 

— 6 — 



It is related that in the 14th century 
Edward III. King of England was at war 
with France. A Mr. Henry Bullman, in 
charge of a large mining interest, took a 
hundred of his men and entered into the ser- 
vice of the King. Such was the extraordinary 
success of Bullman and his men as to attract 
the notice of the King. As a mark of his 
approval, the King granted him a coat of 
arms with the name Henry Miner engraved 
thereon in recognition of his loyalty and 
patriotic devotion to the King and his cause. 

This man died in 1359 leaving four sons, 
heirs at law of the realm. 


At Stonington, Conn., stands a beautiful 
monument erected by the people of that city 
in memory of its founders. One of the 
names inscribed thereon is Lieutenant 
Thomas Miner (1608—1691) born in Chem 
Magna, Somerset County, England, the 
first Miner to migrate to this country, coming 

on the ship Arbella, which reached Salem 
Harbor, June 14, 1630. He married Grace, 
daughter of Walter Palmer at Charleston, 
Mass., April 23rd. 1634. He took up his 
abode at Quiambaug Stonington, Conn, in 
1653, where he lived till his death Oct. 3, 

In the same vessel. The Arbella, at the 
same time came Christopher Avery, who be- 
came the head of the Avery family, settling 
at Groton, Conn., the next town west of 
where the Miners settled and at about the 
same date. Their names are associated as 
founders of both Stonington and Groton, 

As we read the early records of the 
colonial history of Connecticut we find the 
names of Miner and Avery frequently men- 
tioned filling responsible positions both in 
Church and State. Evidently they were 
among the leading families all through the 
years preceding and during the revolutionary 

As we read also the Muster Rolls of the 
Connecticut Volunters, the defenders of Fort 
Griswold near New London in 1781, among 
whom nine Averys were numbered among 
the dead, and at Valley Forge where the 
roster bore the names of both the Miners 
and Averys, we are deeply impressed with 
the fact that these families were a long way 
from being numbered among the tories of 
the Revolutionary period. 


LIEUT. THOMAS MINER, born April 23, 1G08, 
married Grace Palmer in Charlestown, 
Mass. April 23, 1634; moved to New 
London, Conn., 1646. Their son, 

MENASSAH, born April, 1647; married Lydia 
Moore. Their son, 

ENATHAN, born Dec. 28, 1673; married Rebecca 
Baldwin March 21, 1694. Their son, 

NATHAN, born July 16, 1724; married Sarah 
Smith March 7, 1751. Their son, 

RICHARDSON, born Sept. 10, 1753, married 
Katherine Holman 1775. Their son, 

SAMUEL HOLMAN, born March 21, 1776; married 
Anna Avery at Groton, Conn. Had three 
sons and three daughters. Their son, 

SAMUEL ELBERT, born in Halifax, Vt. Dec. 13, 
1815; married Maria Catherine Kelley at 
Oriskany, N. Y. Aug. 1843. Migrated the 
same year to Wisconsin. Had four sons 
four daughters. Their youngest son, 

WILLIAM AVERY, born May 8th, 1861, whose 
memorial appears beginning on page 24. 

9 — 

Samukl Hulman Miner 

1776 1857 

Grandfatlier of W. A. Miner 

— 10 


The 7th in the line of descent from the first 
Miner in America, was born in Stonington, 
Conn., March 21st, 1776. the year of the 
Declaration of Independence. He learned the 
saddler's trade of his father to which he 
added the business of harness making, and 
about the beginning of the 19th century pur- 
chased a farm about two miles west of Hal- 
ifax Center, Vermont. 

This new country was not remarkable for 
the fertility of its soil ; it required much hard 
labor, persistent industry and rigid econ- 
omy in those days to provide the means for 
subsistence. Luxuries were not thought of. 
Schools were of the rudest sort and only 
for a few months of the year. Books were 
few in number but carefully read. In the 
center of the town was a "Meeting House" 
where the people gathered each Sabbath and 
spent a large part of the day in worship, list- 
ening to two sermons, and in social inter- 
course during the noontime hour. In this 
rocky hill-town, during nearly forty years 
the Miner family, using such helps as came 
within their reach, was able to furnish the 
heads of five other families, intelligent, 
honest, strong, earnest souls, with an 
ambition to make the world better for their 
— 11 — 

having lived in it. The following are their 
names : Austin, who married Relief Haven ; 
Hannah, who married Samuel Niles ; Nancy, 
who married Joshua Harris; Mary, who 
married Chandler Otis and Samuel Elbert, 
who married Maria C. Kelly. 


The first of the Halifax, Vermont branch 
of the Miner family to migrate west, was 
Samuel Elbert Miner, the youngest son of 
Samuel Holman and Nancy Avery Miner, 
born in Halifax Dec. 13, 1815. 

At nineteen years of age he leaves home, 
goes as far as Troy, N, Y. and learns the 
carpenter's trade, joins the 1st Presbyterian 
Church and concludes to enter the ministry. 
He begins a course of preparation at Oneida 
Institute and Auburn Theo-Seminary, and 
after graduation is licensed to preach by 
Cayuga Presbytery and receives a commis- 
sion from the American Home Missionary 
Society to go to Madison, Wis., on a salary of 
$400.00 a year. 

After his marriage to Miss Maria 
Catherine Kelly of Oriskany, N. Y., Aug. 23, 
1843, he with his bride, met with a half dozen 
other young Missionaries at Buffalo on a 
Saturday, to spend the following Sabbath to- 
gether, before taking the steamer on Monday 
for their diff'erent fields of labor in Wiscon- 

— 12 — 

sin and the West. Arrangements had been 
made for holding missionary meetings in the 
Presbyterian and Congregational Churches 
of the city, to be addressed by these out-going 
Missionaries. It proved a day of great in- 

Another like day was planned for the fol- 
lowing Sabbath on their arrival at Milwau- 
kee and Chicago, where the missionary band 
was to separate. 

At Milwaukee the Wisconsin Missionaries 
landed on Saturday and were met by Pastors, 
J. J. Miter of the Plymouth Congregational 
Church and A. L. Chapin of the Presbyterian 
Church, and the Wisconsin Home Missionary 
Agent, Rev. Stephen Peet. On the following 
day another Sabbath of Missionary meetings 
was enjoyed. On Monday the real hardships 
of the journey to Madison began. 

It was not a matter of a few hours in a 
cushioned rail car or automobile gliding 
along swiftly over beautiful prairies, thru 
oak openings on hard macadamized roads, or 
even seated in a "Concord Coach and four" 
with a relay of fresh steeds every dozen miles 
or so, but a lumber mail wagon loaded with 
trunks, chests, bundles of bedding and num- 
berless packages, with scant room for seats 
of any soi't for passengers ; and then the clay 
roads after the big fall rains and the almost 
bottomless marshes, over corduroy roads 

— 13 — 

made of uncovered logs, laid crossways of the 
road, and not the most elegant eating stations 
and lodging houses along the way for the 
nearly 100 miles to be traveled, was surely 
wonderfully in contrast with the previous 
week's journey "around the lakes" in the 
homelike steamer and delightful passengers 

But the ending was most highly enjoyed. 
It was on the 20th of Oct., 1843. Such a 
hearty greeting as the new Missionary and 
wife received as they alighted at the Amer- 
ican House with Mrs. Morrison, the landlady 
and leading member of the church, and Wm. 
N. Seymour Esq., the clerk of the church and 
leading citizen of the town, made them forget 
their weariness and banish all thought of 
being among strangers. It was a genuine 
Western heart greeting they received. There 
were venison from the near hunting grounds, 
trout from the lakes and cranberries from 
the not far away marshes already upon the 
table to satisfy the most dainty eater. And 
then on the first night after their arrival a 
prayer-meeting was held to greet the Mission- 
ary and wife, at the log school house, 18x24 
feet, representing the entire educational and 
religious advantages of the infant city. 

— 14 

Father and Mother 

\^'illiam Averv Miner 

15 — 


It was in this log school house in Madison, 
Rev. S. E. Miner began his seventeen years of 
Wisconsin Ministry, It was before Wiscon- 
sin was a state. Only three years before 
the 1st Congregational Church had been or- 
ganized. The Capital was then a village of 
about three hundred people. A small Sun- 
day school had been organized and maintain- 
ed by a few Christian women. Mr. Miner's 
salary was only $400 of which $250 was paid 
by the American Home Missionary Society. 
During his three years pastorate he was 
Chaplain of the legislature and of the first 
Constitutional Convention. He led in the 
erection of the first church building which 
was dedicated in 1846 at a cost of $2,000, 
$500 of which was from friends outside of 
the town. It was regarded as a great event 
and an act of heroism on the part of the 
pastor. The edifice still stands on the 
original site occupied by the German Pres- 
byterian Church. 

Pastor Miner was compelled by over-work 
to resign his pastorate and take a period of 


The next six years beginning with Dec. 1st, 
1846, Rev. S. E. Miner spent at Elkhorn, 
the county seat of Walworth County. Here 

— 16 — 

he preached in the M. E. Church. After a 
period of seventy years the clerk of the 
church writes ! "Rev. Miner's pastorate was 
marked by a steady growth, many accessions 
by letter and the organizing of a church 
society Dec. 1851 with the purpose of imme- 
diately building a house of worship." 


In 1852 Rev. S. E. Miner was commission- 
ed by the A. H. M. Society to take charge of 
a Presbyterian church at Wyocena in Colum- 
bia County. He found the church practically 
disbanded. In the winter of 1852-3 a series 
of services were held resulting in the 
organizing of a church with eighteen mem- 
bers taking the name of the 1st Congrega- 
tional Church of Wyocena. This was in 
March 1853. In April a church society was 
organized and steps taken to build a house 
of worship which was dedicated in March 

In February 1854 at the close of another 
series of meetings eighteen were received to 
membership ; and in connection with the 
church dedication, and the year following 
twenty-three more, making fifty-nine re- 
ceived during the pastorate which closed in 
Nov. 1858. 

Besides the building of this church and the 
gathering of its membership, Missionary 

— 17 — 

Miner secured the erection of a school build- 
ing and one of Gov. Slade's Missionary 
teachers from Vermont, who taught several 
terms of a select school. This was before 
the introduction of the high school system. 
Evidently the five and a half years of Mr. 
Miner's pastorate was a very fruitful one, of 
which the passage of over a half century has 
not obliterated the memory. 

But the slow growth of the town and the 
crowding in of other churches dividing the 
support, together with the growing needs of 
his family compeled a change to a more hope- 
ful field of labor. So, early in the winter of 
1858-9, he accepted a call to Monroe, Wis., a 
city of near 4,000 people with the hope of 
having a larger congregation and a better 
support for his family. 


After one year's service as pastor at Mon- 
roe, Mr. Miner felt under the necessity of 
leaving the Ministry for lack of suitable 
support. He had put seventeen years of 
his life into the work of the churches, be- 
ginning on a salary of $400. During these 
years the population and wealth of the state 
had more than quadrupled. His family had 
increased from two to nine members and his 
salary only from $400 to $600, which was the 
standard salary at that time. Neither the 

Home Missionary Society nor church seems 
to have noted the increase of the cost of living 
nor the fact that Ministers must necessarily 
be unable to lay aside a surplus for the period 
of retirement. So it was a matter of neces- 
sity to leave the ministry to save himself and 
family from incuring a hopeless debt. 

After engaging in the lumber business in 
Monroe, Brodhead and Burlingame, Kansas 
for about twenty years and his children had 
for the most part homes of their own, his 
two sons, Edgar S. and William Avery having 
located in the lumber business in northern 
Mo., the Father closed out his business in 
Wisconsin and spent the remainder of his 
days with his sons Edgar S, and William A. 
at Bethany and Ridgeway Mo. He retained 
to a remarkable degree, his vigor of body and 
mind. In the summer of 1898, accompanied 
by his two sons, he revisited Madison on the 
occasion of the fiftieth Anniversary of the 
State-hood of Wisconsin. Taking rooms in 
the Park Hotel, he received the many friends 
of his pioneer days. It was a great occasion 
and he enjoyed it immensely. It was his 
last visit to Wisconsin. He passed a happy 
old age, retaining the use of his faculties to 
the close of his earthly life which occurred 
June 26, 1904 at the age of 88 years, 6 months 
and 13 days. 

— 19 — 

Samuel Elbert Miner 

Father of Wm. A. Miner 

20 — 

His remains accompanied by his two sons 
were taken to Monroe, Wis., and placed by 
the side of his three wives, Maria Catherine, 
Lucy Haven Evans, and Olive Electa Haven ; 
and a daughter, Ellen Matilda, who had pre- 
ceded him to the world beyond, leaving two 
sons — Edgar S. and William A., also three 
daughters Mrs. Frances Maria Richardson, 
Mrs. Anne Mary Baker and Mrs. Alice 
Juliette Stump to mourn their father's de- 

In the memorial published by the Wiscon- 
sin Congregational Convention of which he 
was a member, his brethren speak of him 
as follows : "His place is on the roll of honor 
of Wisconsin's noble Home Missionary 
heroes. His convictions were intense. Into 
the anti-slavery movement he put all the 
force of his intense nature. In religion he 
caught the spirit of the trend toward the 
larger outlook, but the movement was too 
slow for his sanguine temperament. He was 
eager even to impatience to move the world 
rapidly to its goal of civil and religious 
idealism. He had his mission, he lived his 
message and his name is on the honor roll in 
God's book." 

21 — 



,^- -^ 






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William Avery Miner 
At Five Years 




William Avery Miner was born in Brod- 
head Wis., the 8th of May 1861. He was the 
youngest son of Samuel Elbert and Maria C. 

It was at the beginning of the great Civil 
War. A year of great excitement ; the climax 
of many years of anti-slavery discussion. 
An appeal to arms had been made. Fort 
Sumpter, just off from Charleston South 
Carolina, had fallen at the hands of a rebel 
army April 12 th., 1861. A call for 75,000 
men had been issued by President Lincoln. 
Volunteers were rushing to the defense of the 
dear old flag. 

The infant, William Avery was growing 
peacefully at Brodhead, while his two 
brothers, Charles Elbert, a student in Oberlin 
College and Edgar S. in the midst of his teens 
in his Brodhead home, were at the front; 
the former to lay down his life on the Get- 
tysburg battle field July 3rd, 1863, and the 
latter to serve in the first Wisconsin Cavalry, 
2nd. Brigade, 1st Division, army of the Cum- 
berland, under Grant, Sherman and Thomas 

— 25 — 

until the end of the war. Such was the in- 
tensity of the loyal spirit in the Miner home, 
that William A. was scarcely out of his cradle 
before he was heard singing : 

"Down with the 'tators, 

Up with the 'tars and 'tripes." 

And the father nearly sixty years of age 
could not stay at home while the conflict was 
being waged but was off to the front, chief 
sanitary agent under Sherman, having 
special care of the Wisconsin wounded. 

The war ended and the family after a so- 
journ of a few years at Brodhead regathered 
in 1865 at Monroe, save the mother who died 
July 24, 1861, and the eldest son, Charles S. 
whose remains lie buried in the Gettysburg 

It was here that William A. spent his boy- 
hood days, graduating from the high school 
in June 1878 having taken a full classical and 
mathematical course. 

While in school he began to show the 
elements of a successful career. A class- 
mate tells us how he appeared to him in his 
school days. He says: "He was a pure 
minded, ingenuous boy, a close thinker, a 
faithful student — devoted to his home, loyal 
to his friends — one to whom insincerity and 
malice were unknown — whose fine character 

— 26 — 

was ever an inspiration to me, it being my 
earnest desire to maintain a place in his 

It is reported that all thru his school days 
he was industrious, careful of his time lest it 
should run to waste. His vacations were 
utilized in a way to help towards his support. 
He was in school to secure an equipment for 
the days to come, when he should enter upon 
the real business of living. He early had a 
vision of a true manhood and sought for its 
attainment with genuine zeal. 


The choosing of one's life work is a criti- 
cal period in a young man's life-history. The 
choice made is no small factor in his future 
life. With some, the choice may become ap- 
parent in the early development of youth, but 
in the great majority there seems to be no 
leading characteristic prophetic of the voca- 
tion to be. 

In William Avery's case his Father suggest- 
ed teaching and actually secured a good 
position, but the young man thought other- 
wise. Though he had been in a schoolroom 
for ten years, yet the open air, the broad 
fields outside, living things, cattle, horses, 
sheep, the growing grass and the golden 
grain had no attraction for him. 

— 27 — 

During his school vacations he had worked 
in Dodge's planning mill. A position was 
offered him in that mill which he accepted. 

In the meantime his brother, Edgar S., 
having spent several years in his Father's 
lumber yard as a salesman, entered into 
partnership with Mr. B. M. Frees, a capita- 
list, connected with a large lumber interest 
in Chicago, who was to furnish the money, 
while Edgar furnished the experience and 
the entire management of a new yard to be 
located in a new region which he, Edgar, 
was to select for the business. His atten- 
tion was directed to Bethany, a county town 
in northern Missouri, as a good location. 
It was just before the railroad had reached 
the town. The region was well settled by a 
thriving population, living in temporary 
houses with almost no outbuildings for lack 
of building material. It proved a splendid 
location for the retail lumber business. Here 
in 1880 the new firm, "Miner and Frees," 
located and at once began, determined to 
meet the growing demand of the town and 
surrounding country. 

Edgar S. was quick to see the opportunity 
and wrote to his brother William A. to resign 
his position in the planning mill and pack 
his grip for Bethany just as speedily as 
possible. Not a day must be lost. 

— 28 — 


It was in March 1880 that William Avery 
made his first advent into Bethany a total 
stranger. He at once took the place of a 
common helper in the yard. It was a new 
experience. Of course his brother was there 
to introduce him to his customers and bus- 
iness friends. 

He soon became acquainted with the young 
people of the town, who of course began to 
"size him up" among themselves. One of the 
number gives impressions as follows : "A 
young man of good habits, industrious, 
genial, bright, a favorite with all. Admired 
for his firmness, strength of purpose, always 
standing firm for what he thought was 

After about a year a new yard was located 
at New Hampton and William Avery was the 
man to be placed in charge. 

As yet his experience had been limited. 
But one year in the business, one of study 
and close observation. He had from the 
first determined to master the business. 
New problems confronted him which he set 
himself resolutely to solve. Men came to 
him for building material not knowing 
exactly what and how much would meet their 
needs. It occurred to him, it would be a 
good thing for him to be able to help his 
customers by suggesting what goods he had 

— 29 — 

in stock that would best meet their needs, be 
the most economical for them to purchase — 
and to do it in such a way as not to seem 
officious, but rather as an act of kindness. 
While he was there to make as large sales as 
possible, he was there also to be helpful to the 

And this he actually did. He made his 
customers satisfied with his treatment of 
them. They went away with the feeling that 
he was an honest man, that he had regard not 
only for his own interest but also for the 
interest of others. It was apparent that he 
not only believed in "The Golden Rule", but 
was actually practicing it. 

Is it any wonder that the New Hampton 
yard was a success? 


Three years had passed. The firm, Miner 
and Frees, purchased a third yard located at 
Ridgeway, twelve miles north of Bethany, a 
town of about 300 population. This was in 
1885. It was proposed to put the young man 
Miner in charge of this yard. Thus far he 
had worked on a salary and was saving what 
he could to build a house. He had found for 
himself a life companion in the person of 
Miss Martha A. Spencer of Bethany, one of 
Harrison county's successful school teachers, 
who has proved indeed a worthy helper in 

— 30 — 

life's .lOLirney. They were married in March 
1882 and at once began housekeeping at New 
Hampton. About this time a proposition was 
made to William A, to become a member of 
the firm as an equal partner with Miner and 
Frees, the name of the firm to continue as 
before. The proposition was accepted, and 
so the firm consisted of the two brothers, 
Edy-ar S. and William A. Miner, and B. M. 


The removal to Ridgeway and becoming 
a member of the firm, marks the real beginn- 
ing of William Avery's business career. The 
five previous years were preparatory. He 
now, so to speak, "'strikes his gait", as a bus- 
iness man. 

Within the first year the Miner Brothers 
and B. i\I. Frees started a private bank at 
Ridgeway with a capital of $5,000, of which 
William A. was the cashier. It was known 
as the "Ridgeway Exchange Bank." The in- 
stitution started in the lumber office with a 
fire and burglar proof safe. The policy of 
each institution was, to run each on the 
profits of each, and use the surplus of each 
for the extension of each. 

In December of 1902, the Ridgeway Ex- 
change Bank had a paid up capital of $15,000 
and a surplus of $3,000. At this date it was 
converted into the First National Bank of 
— 31 — 


Ridgeway and so became the oldest national 
bank in Harrison County, starting with a 
capital of $30,000. At the time of William 
A's. decease (1920) its capital and surplus 
had reached $76,000. 

In the meantime the partnership of Miner 
and Frees in the lumber business had a re- 
markable growth As the earnings of the 
yards permitted, other yards were opened till 
the total yards numbered twelve. In 1916 
the Miner Brothers bought out the interest 
of Mr. Frees, and in 1917 the firm was incor- 
porated with a capital of $300,000, and the 
style of the firm name changed to Miner and 
Frees Lumber Company. During the next 
two years two yards more were added, 
making fourteen in all and at the time of 
William A's. decease (1920) the capital and 
surplus of the corporation was $350,000, thus 
making the capital and surplus of the two 
institutions $426,000. 

This is certainly a remarkable showing 
of business success. How was it done? 
Especially if we call to mind the fact that 
forty years before, the two brothers began 
business together without a dollar. The 
question comes with added force — How did 
they do it? Note some of the answers 
given — 

The Ridgeway Journal, speaking of the 
great success of the Lumber Company, 

— 33 — 

answers : "It is due to the persistent efforts 
of William A. Miner that this company has 
forged ahead and is supplying the building 
demand in their line over a large area of this 
part of the state. He undestood every detail 
of the lumber and banking business and care- 
fully watched all the little things that go far 
toward success, that many business men are 
apt to neglect". 

Mr. Frank Hooker of Blanchard, Iowa, a 
director in the George Palmer Lumber Co., 
speaking of Mr. Miner's business qualities, 
replies : "Few whom I have met had a 
keener grasp for business, a vision that 
sensed situations and future alignments ; 
magnanimous and fair in his estimate of 
others opinions — 

'And as our greatest, yet with least pre- 
tence * * * 
Great in Council 
Rich in saving common sense'." 

Charles G. Buffum, President, La Crosse 
Lumber Co., makes answer : "He was a man 
of wonderful foresight, consistent, consider- 
ate and upright in all his dealings. I do not 
believe there is anyone in the lumber frater- 
nity who stood higher than Willian A. Miner. 

Mr. J. L. Proctor of Kansas City, Mo., 
in reply, says : "He typified our highest 
class of business men. His reputation for 
square dealing was wide spread." 

— 34 — 

It must not l)e forgotten that B. M. Frees 
was a member of this Company for twenty- 
five years, whose known financial standing 
and integrity of character was a tower of 
strength ; or that his brother Edgar, was the 
pioneer in starting of the business and ever 
held a guiding hand. Giving due credit to 
the ability and push of the management, 
was there not a method of doing business — 
a spirit of honorable, square dealing, a pur- 
pose to treat their customers in accordance 
with the ''Golden Rule" — which was above 
all else, the one great secret of their success? 

It has been said that the adoption of the 
Golden Rule in this competitive age, is to 
invite disaster. But it was not thus with the 
Miner and Frees Lumber Co. Instead of in- 
viting disaster, it invited a splendid success. 
It drew customers from near and far. It 
Avas a pleasure to trade with such a firm. 
The Golden Rule principle in the world's 
business, if adopted, would go far towards 
making earth a paradise. 

We ask our readers to turn to the 
"tributes" on the last pages of this book for 
a view of William A's standing as a business 
man where he was best known. We are 
sure you will say it pays to obey the Golden 
Rule. It makes a Golden Life. 

35 — 

First Ridgeway Lumber Office and Exchange Bank, 1885 




J 5 c 

— - OJ 

^ tf 

37 — 

liist National Bank, lyU3. of Ridgeway 
President William A. Miner 




"We live in deeds, not years — 

In thoughts, not breaths — 
In feelings, not m figures on a dial; 
We should count time by heart-throbs, 

He most lives. 
Who thinks most, feels the noblest, acts the 

Baleys Festus 

— 40 


No doubt the reader of the previous pages 
of this life sketch, has ah'eady come to see 
that Wm. A, Miner is in business, not to 
achieve wealth for his own sake, but for 
what he can accomplish with it. He knows 
that money is power, that with it the power 
of his own personality can be greatly in- 
creased. That with it he can avail himself of 
much enjoyment that he could not otherwise 
expect. He has a far higher goal before him 
than simply money getting. His home life in 
childhood and early youth, was in the midst 
of an atmosphere that inspired a much higher 
goal than the wealth that perishes. 

One of the first things that claimed his at- 
tention was the establishing of a home of his 
own. He has an ideal of the home he wants. 
It is not a place simply to eat in by day and 
sleep in by night, but a place really to live i)i. 
A place such as shall minister, not only to the 
comfort of the physical man, but also to the 
intellectual and spiritual needs of its oc- 
cupants — a place in which to grow, to cul- 
tivate the mind and heart, to reach out after 
and attain the largest possible measure of im- 
perishable riches. 

He had made choice of a life companion, as 

— 41 — 

we have before noted, and now the home is to 
be the product of two ideals united in one. 
Happily the union is real and the two, as one, 
begin the work of building with reference to 
the family life yet to be. 

The building is not to be completed in a 
day or a year. It is to be continuous build- 
ing, reaching over a life period. 

His call in 1885 to take charge of the new 
yard at Ridgeway with the prospect of per- 
manency, made it necessary to look for a 
location in that town for the realization of 
his ideal. It must be with reference to 
health, scenery, immediate surroundings and 
distant outlook. 

The location was happily chosen on a corner 
fronting east and south looking towards the 
business part of the town, about three or 
four blocks away; the block immediately in 
front being a public park covered thick with 
trees where the birds make their nests and 
the air is vocal with their songs, while the 
squirrels leap from branch to branch in their 
nimble plays — A spacious two story edifice 
with wide verandas on the south and east, 
with easy chairs and wide doorways opening 
within, having an inviting look to the passer 
by, is the ideal to be realized. 

Within there is to be found not only the 
usual number of rooms, but an equipment 
from cellar to attic, such as will lighten the 

— 42 — 

burdens of house-keeping and minister to the 
comfort, health and enjoyment of each mem- 
ber of the family. In the family room is a 
well furnished library, not as a piece of 
furniture for decorative purposes, but as a 
working library, with shelves filled with 
books — historic, scientific, literary; maps, 
pictures, portraits of distinguished char- 
acters ; curiosites of various kinds, mementos 
of places visited by the parents in various 
parts of our home land — A home museum it 
is to be. Here also are materials for indoor 
home games for wholesome entertainments, 
in which parents and children and neighborly 
guests may participate. 

This is to be indeed the family liciug room; 
the place where the marriage vow of a one- 
ness of purpose in mind and heart finds ex- 
pression, where unity of spirit in all matters 
pertaining to household management — the 
getting over hills of difficulty in the ongoing 
of family life, the planning together to make 
home brighter, more restful, more and more 
a type of Heaven. It is to be the place where 
the children, as they come one by one into the 
family circle, breathe in the family atmos- 
sphere, take on the lineaments of the home 
life, growing more and more into the likeness 
of their parents ; in a word, the place where 
father, mother and children help each other 
to grow more and more into the life eternal. 

— 43 — 

In such a family room, where the spirit of 
the Divine Master presides, as in the case of 
the "Martha and Mary Home" of Sacred 
story, is it possible for children to grow up 
in such an atmosphere and go astray in after 
life? If all homes were after this pattern 
what a change we would have in the social 
conditions of earth? A new world indeed, 
we soon would have. 

Husbands and fathers are not always 
mindful of the important part, they are 
under sacred obligations to take in the life of 
the home. Not a few seem to feel that with 
being a "bread winner", a "good provider," 
their obligations to home are ended. Not so 
with Wm. Avery. He loved his home better 
than any other spot of earth. He spared 
neither time nor money to make things 
comfortable and delightful. When he closed 
his office for the day, he would hasten to his 
home to spend the evening with his family. 
He was never happier than when he had his 
family about him. His three boys were his 
chums. When small they would look for his 
comJng and run with glee to meet him and 
then such a frolic they would have ! As they 
grew in years he would have games with 
them. He was like an elder brother, inter- 
ested in what they were interested in. He 
knew what they were doing; they would re- 
port their doings to each other. Thus they 
— 44 — 

Charles F. 

45 — 

Elbert S. 

— 46 — 

Ekwin a. 

— 47 — 

grew in mutual confidence and love. They 
would take walks together, hunt for birds 
nests, watch and feed the young birdlings. 
They had their hens and chickens to care for, 
and were taught how to keep an account of 
the expense of feeding and returns from 
sales. And so in various ways he kept him- 
self in the hearts of the boys. The father, 
mother and the boys made a real family, 
illustrating in the concrete the meaning of 
the word "fwmily". 


It is not good to live alone. A hermit life 
is a calamity. A man without neighbors is 
to be pitied. To attempt to live within ones 
self with no interchange of thought, feeling 
or sentiment with others, is slow suicide. 

With the first coming of William A. 
Miner to Riclgeway, there came a spirit of 
neighborliness that grew as the years went 
by. As his ability for helping increased, so 
increased the help he gave. It was said of 
him : "he was never too busy to stop and 
listen to the cry of want, no matter from 
whence it came." 

While time with him was very precious, yet 
his office door was never so tightly closed but 
that it would open to give ear to the state- 
ment of a neighbor in want; not only would 
he give advice but often would render the 

— 48 — 

financial aid that the case required. It was 
stated that in the large business of which he 
was the manager, "no one was ever made to 
suffer loss by reason of unneighborly 
methods of collection. A spirit of accommo- 
dation even to his own hurt, would be shown. 
It was this characteristic of brotherly 
kindness in his business relations that made 
him such a favorite. 

"He was a friend to all," said a business 
man, writing from his California home on 
hearing of his death. "In my over thirty 
years dealing with Mr. Miner, he never re- 
fused me any accommodation I ever asked of 

His neighborliness found expression in the 
initiation of various town improvements. 
Soon after making Ridgeway his home he be- 
gan to make suggestions as to the improve- 
ment of streets, sidewalks, and front yards, 
thus making the town more attractive. He 
aided largely in the building of its two houses 
of worship and a commodious, up to date 
school house. Thru his liberal offer, a whole 
block was secured for a site in an excellent 
location, and a fine building erected which 
has the reputation of housing one of the best 
schools in the county. He set the example 
of erecting permanent business houses in 
place of the old, cheap, wooden buildings. He 
was one of five who erected a fine, modern, 

— 49 — 

50 — 

brick hotel, which has a patronage equal to 
hotels in much larger towns. Such has been 
the spirit of public improvement, that today 
the town presents, in the appearance of its 
business and public houses and homes, the 
neatness, thrift, prosperity and public enter- 
prise of many larger towns in the older 
sections of the state. No small portion of 
the credit of the change wrought in this town, 
the citizens affirm, is due to the large heart- 
ed, generous neighborliness of William A. 

''My country, sir, is not a single spot 
Of such a mould, fixed to such a clime ; 
No, 'tis the social circle of my friends. 
The loved community in which I lived 
And in whose welfare all my wishes center." 



We have received an immense legacy from 
the hands of our forefathers. Three hundred 
years ago this country, we called the United 
States of America was a vast wilderness 
from the Great Lakes to the Gulf of Mexico 
and from ocean to ocean. Think of what it 
is today ! The immense cultivated fields 
covered with the homes of a hundred million 
of people in the possession of cottages, towns, 
villages and cities ; of work shops, ware 
houses, mills, factories, business houses of 
various kinds ; of public edifices, government 

— 51 — 

buildings, schools, colleges, hospitals, sani- 
tariums for the treatment of all sorts of 
diseases ; of railways, with a network of iron 
reaching hundreds of thousands of towns 
and cities, scattered over this immense ter- 
ritory of ours, of the millions upon 
millions of miles of wire thru which we 
speak or send our messages to the ends of the 
earth ; our postal and other kinds of 
machinery for alleviating human toil, supple- 
menting or greatly multiplying our forces of 
body and mind — all of which has come into 
being since the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth 
Rock and into the possession of the genera- 
tion now on American soil — think of it — 
what it means to us of today! — us, as com- 
pared with the millions in other lands ! Can 
we think of it and not lift our hats to "Old 
Glory?" Can we think of it and not lift our 
voices with hearts overflowing with thanks- 
giving and sing : 

"My Country, 'tis of thee. 

Sweet land of liberty, 

Of thee I sing : 

Land vv'here my fathers died, 

Land of the Pilgrims pride. 

From every mountain side 

Let freedom ring." 

William A. Miner thought of it. And as 

he thought of it, was it any wonder that with 

the blood of the Pilgrims flowing in his veins 

— 52 — 

and remembering that his ancestors fought 
and fell in such numbers at Fort Griswold in 
1781, and that his father was an old time 
abolitionist, a conductor on the underground 
railway and that two of his brothers were in 
the civil war, one making the supreme sacri- 
fice at Gettysburg — was it any wonder that 
his love of liberty should burst forth with 
flaming zeal in the hour when the world's 
freedom was in peril? Was it any wonder 
that the Governor of his state should select 
William A. Miner, to take the chairmanship 
of his county committee to raise the quota, 
not of one, but of each of the several Liberty 
Loans? And was it any wonder that his 
county should "go over the top" in each of the 
campaigns? And is it any wonder that in 
various other ways and at various other times 
he championed the interests of his country? 

With him patriotism meant something 
more than to sing the songs of liberty when 
others were singing, or to shout for freedom 
when others were shouting. It was a prin- 
ciple with him to make his country's interests 
his interest, not only in time of war but all 
the time. Said one of his employees after 
sixteen years of service : "He always showed 
a deep interest in the welfare of the public, 
not only in his own town and community, 
but in all others, wherever his business ex- 
pansions opened the way. He gave freely of 

— 53 — 

his time in connection with such as were 
working for any good moral or patriotic 

Another, who was closely associated with 
him in raising the Liberty Loans says : "The 
fidelity, unfailing zeal and personal sacrifice 
with which he prosecuted the work, com- 
manded my unstinted respect and admira- 
tion. He was a true patriot. In all his work 
for the government, he never seemed to care 
anything for the personal credit or honor 
that might naturally accrue to him from a 
successful performance of the work he was 
set to accomplish, but he was ever greatly 
concerned lest the honor of his country be not 
maintained and the conflict be not pushed on 
to complete and speedy victory." 


Religion is the crowning glory of 
humanity — It is the chief characteristic that 
distinguishes the human from the brute. 
Its possession places man on a grade of 
illimitable growth, which means immortality. 

Every man has a religious nature. No 
nation or tribe has been found but has a 
religion of some sort. It is a matter of no 
small account as to what sort it is, and the 
extent of its influence over a man's life. 

William Avery Miner had a Christian 
parentage. He grew up in a Christian 

— 54^- 

home. His eaiiy suiTouiuliii^s were such as 
to call forth the best there was in him. His 
early development of character was in the 
main Christian. The virtues of the Christian 
religion were taught him, as his intellectual 
and moral faculties developed. He breathed 
a Christian atmosphere. As the health of 
his body was carefully guarded, lest any 
disease should attack him ; and should any 
symptoms of disease appear, remedies were 
applied and special care bestowed until 
complete recovery was secured, so also his 
morals were carefully guarded and vices cor- 
rected by an appeal to his reason and sense 
of right, rather than to brutal force as was so 
frequently the case in former years. There 
was a parental discipline exercised in the 
formation of correct habits of thought and 
feeling so easily taken on by children in their 
early years, especially when administered in 
love, that it is no wonder that he began to 
grow into the Christian life very early, so 
early, that as with many others, he was un- 
able to state the precise time of his so called 
conversion. There were epochs in his life 
experience when he entered upon new lines 
of Christian duty, as for example the formal 
uniting with a church, which he did not do 
until 1908; that, some might say, was the 
date of his becoming a Christian. It was the 
date of an important avowal of his practical 
-—55 — 

belief in the Lord Jesus Christ, but it was 
not the beginning or the first act of his 
Christian life. He had performed many 
Christian acts before that date. He had in 
many ways showed his allegiance to Jesus 
Christ, contributed liberally for the support 
of the Gospel at home and in other lands, had 
stood firmly for the cause of truth and right- 
eousness, even at a sacrifice of time and 
means, had acted the part of the "Good 
Samaritan" many a time, had for years 
striven to do business according to Christ's 
New Testament teachings, had been neigh- 
borly and in a large way, not for reward, or 
for the sake of future benefits to come to him- 
self but from the impulse of genuine love for 
others — Was he not a real follower of the 
great Master of all goodness, the world's re- 
deemer ? 

But he had not joined any one of the 
various groups of men and women, called 
churches. Why not? 

In his younger days he saw some things in 
churches that he could not endorse, and had 
met with good honorable men that did not be- 
long to any church, that he thought were 
better than some church members, even some 
who were officials ; men that he would go to 
for a favor sooner than some in the churches ; 
and besides this, he could not endorse the 
creeds and methods of worship that he 

— 56 — 

thought he would have to, in case he joined a 
church. He believed in freedom of thought 
and that a man could be a true Christian with 
out joining a church, and be just as useful a 
member of society or even more so, than if he 
were a member of a church. 

After a few years, having married a de- 
voted member of a church and thus being 
brought into closer social relations with the 
church, he came gradually to see that the 
main purpose of a church, was not to prop- 
ogate a creed or a peculiar ritual or form of 
worship, or to interfere with a man's free- 
dom of thought or breadth of vision, but to 
set before its membership a standard of char- 
acter far higher than any other organized 
group of people that he knew anything about ; 
that it's moral teachings were of the highest 
order, that criminal statistics showed the 
least number of arrests and convictions from 
the ranks of churches in proportion to their 
membership as compared with any other or- 
ganized body; that the gathering together on 
the Sabbath for instruction in the practice of 
humane and righteous living after the teach- 
ings and example of Jesus Christ, the world's 
Redeemer, and engaging in acts of worship of 
a being of absolute perfection, must work for 
the highest good of any community, as no 
other human agency that he knew about was 
doing; and that in general judging from the 
fruitage of churches as compared with other 
— 57 — 








» 4tl| 




^ . 

♦♦ J 









' ^"V" 






^ '■ ^ 






Mrs. Martha A. Miner. 


organized bodies, he came to see that his 
position was untenable; that the church, with 
all its failings, was the most efficient agency 
for the world's betterment, for the removal 
of the ills of humanity of any within his 
knowledge and that as a follower of the 
world's Redeemer it was his plain duty to 
identify himself with some one of the 
churches within his community in which he 
could derive the most benefits and at the same 
time be the most useful to his family and the 
community in which he dwelt. 

It is true that had he done it earlier in life 
he and the world would have been the gainer. 
But, as if to make up for lost time, he gave 
himself with marked devotion to the interests 
not only of his own but of other churches 
also. He gave the weight of his influence to 
every line of Christian endeavor. It was his 
joy thus to do. 

He believed that the church of which he 
had become a member, had claims upon him 
that other churches had not, just as his 
family had claims upon his time and energies 
that other families had not. In other words 
his membership imposed obligations upon 
him that other churches had no right to even 
expect of him. So as a matter of principle he 
was true to his church, but at the same time 
recognized other churches as helpers in the 
work of the world's regeneration. Rev. J. 

— 53 — 

Howard Thompson formerly pastor of the 
M. E. Church of Ridgeway, bears the follow- 
ing testimony. "While I was a resident in 
Ridgeway, Mr. W. A. Miner, while not a 
member of my church, showed great interest 
in me and my work. At Christmas time each 
year he freely furnished my table with a big, 
luxurious, dressed turkey of the finest selec- 
tion. Not only at this time but all the time 
he seemed desirous of doing the big thing for 
us. When our Conference met with us, his 
home opened as freely and widely as any 
home of my congregation, for the entertain- 
ment of delegates, and he and his wife seemed 
delighted to make any kind of sacrifice 
necessary to make the stay of their guests as 
pleasant as possible." 

He believed heartily in the cooporation of 
different denominations. It was not at all 
in accordance with his spirit to put so much 
emphasis upon the non-essentials of the so- 
called Christian doctrines, as to occasion such 
wide separations as to forbid the uniting of 
the professed followers of Jesus Christ into 
one church, in the case of small communities 
unable to support more than one efficient or- 
ganization. And in any town it is not only 
unwise but a wicked waste to put in another 
church when there are already as many 
churches as can be efficiently supported. 

He believed and thorougly practiced in his 

— 60 — 

church relations, as in his business relations, 
in "The Golden Rule." It was a grief to him 
that churches, professing to be the followers 
of the same Master, located in the same 
community should be envious of each others 
successes and actually lay obstacles in the 
way of each others progress as has been too 
often the case in years past, especially in 
small towns. 

He believed in extending the warm hand of 
Christian fellowship to every church of Jesus 
Christ. He rejoiced in victories won for our 
common Lord and Master whether by his 
own or other denominations and heartily 
despised the spirit that would depreciate any 
good work wrought by another. 


During the last years of his life he was 
accustomed to take occasional trips with his 
wife visiting various localities North, East 
and West ; and with his brother, annual 
hunting trips South to Texas and other points 
in the Rocky Mountain region. They were 
for recreation and the gathering of memen- 
toes of various kinds for the enriching of his 
home cabinet. 

It was during the last days of September 
1919 that I had my last visit with him. He 
seemed to be in about his usual health. He 
had spent a few weeks at a Sanitariam for 

— 61 — 

treatment. We had a delightful time to- 
gether for a few days. As we parted at the 
station he slipped an envelope into my hand 
saying: "I thot you might like to have my 
autograph. You'll find it inside." I slipped 
the letter into my pocket thanking him for his 
kindness and jumped aboard the train. 
After a little it occurred to me to open the 
letter it being carefully sealed. To my sur- 
prise it contained two new ten dollar bills 
from his bank with his signature as presi- 
dent. Such autographs are valuable. 

During the late fall and winter his disease 
returned with increased suffering. Not 
obtaining the desired relief, in March 1920 he 
went to the celebrated hospital at Rochester, 
Minn. But it was too late. After about a 
week his disease took a fatal turn and in a 
few days March 22, 1920, he was called to his 
Eternal Home beyond. 

It was a great shock to his friends far and 
near. A large crowd gathered at the family 
home March 26th, for the final service con- 
ducted by his pastor Rev. L. Alexander, 
assisted by Rev. Messrs. Douglas and Welsh 
from Bethany under the direction of the 
Masonic fraternity, of which he was a mem- 

The large attendance, in spite of the rain 
and bad condition of the roads in the 


surrounding country spoke eloguently of the 
large place the deceased had made for him- 
self in the hearts of his neighbors and citizens 
throughout a large section of North Missouri. 
We have lost "A Friend to Man", the one 
word spoken by the multitude. 

''That Lite is lo)ig ivliich cuisivos Life's 
great end." 

— Young. 

"It matters )i()t lioic long ire lire, but how." 

— B a He II. 

"Life is tJie gif^ of God a)id is diri)ie." 

— Longfelloic. 

— 63 — 


From Mr. & Mrs. C. M. Jaqua, 
formerly neighbors and editor of 
Ridgeway Journal and since fifteen 
years, of Warrenburg Herald. 

It was with deep sorrow that we learned 
of Will's death. We sympathize with you 
and the boys in your great sorrow, for we 
realize, as old neighbors, how close the family 
attachment and your great loss and sorrow. 
We also feel that we have lost one of our 
dearest and most valued friends. From our 
close association with him in public matters 
while we lived in Ridgeway we know his 
great heart and worth and his desire to make 
the world better for his having lived, to assist 
his friends and build up the community with 
which he was identified. His was a great 
and unselfish mind, a mind not bound by 
narrow confines. To his foresight and enter- 
prise as well as liberality, Ridgeway is large- 
ly indebted for her "worth while" things. 
He has builded for himself in his life work a 
greater monument than can be made at his 
tomb with mortal hands. Your loss is our 
loss and the community's loss, and in your 
deep sorrow you have our heart-felt sym- 

— 64 — 

From A. L. Alexander, Pastor 
Christian Church, Ridgeway, Mo. 

It is difficult to write an adequate apprais- 
ment of a soul so rare as was Wm. A. Miner. 
In a truly wonderful sense he was an all- 
round character, a man marvelously many- 
sided, and with each side of wondrous rich- 
ness and beauty. He was a man gifted with 
a really remarkable faculty for making and 
retaining friends. 

He was a home builder and maker above 
all — the type of man who embodies and com- 
binds in himself the best traditions of Ameri- 
can Christianity. 

The dominant characteristic of Mr. Miner 
was his spirit — His was a primitive spirit — 
Unrestained, simple, kindly — Chastened by 
adversity and sweetened by understanding. 
It manifested itself in a cheery welcome and 
an urdent friendship to all. 

I am glad, at the parting of the way, to pay 
this small tribute to the standing qualities of 
William A. Miner. 

From Mr. R. M. Stanley, Auditor 
of Miner & Frees Lumber Co. 

I knew William A. Miner from my boy- 
hood. He was our banker and was always 
the writer's personal adviser. I knew him 
as an employer and in the sixteen years 
which I spent in his service, saw his upright 
character always reflected in his deep interest 
in the general welfare of the public, not only 
in his own town and community, but in all 
others where his business expansions led the 

— 65 — 

way for personal community interest. He 
always manifested a great interest in the 
personal welfare of his employees, as well as 
his other business associates. His time was 
always given freely in the council of those 
who were working for any good moral or 
patriotic achievement. 

I knew William A. Miner socially; I knew 
him fraternally ; I knew him in business. To 
known him as I knew him was to love and re- 
spect him. In his demise the writer feels a 
deep personal loss, as all feel who really 
knew him. Respect to the memory of 
William A. Miner. 

From Mr. Chas. G. Buffum, Pres., 
La Crosse Lumber Co. yards in Mo. 

After an acquaintance covering over 40 
years with William A. Miner, an intimate 
acquaintance the last 20 years, I feel that I 
am in a position to pass on his integrity and 
uprightness of character. He was a man of 
wonderful foresight, consistent, considerate 
and upright in all his dealings. I do not be- 
lieve there is anyone in the lumber fraternity 
who stood higher than Wm. A. Miner, and 
in his passing the community wherein he 
lived has lost a valuable citizen and the bus- 
iness concerns he was interested in, a wise 
advisor. I know this particularly in the case 
of the George Palmer Lumber Co., where he 
and I were interested and his counsel today 
is missed. His association with Mr. B. M. 
Frees and Mr. Frees' high regard for him, is 
enough to commend him most highly. 

— 66 — 

From Mr. M. D. Shamblin, former- 
ly Station Agent at Ridgeway. A 
long time friend. 

I am totally at a loss to put in words what I 
feel when trying to write a tribute to Wm. A. 
Miner, I have known him from the spring 
of 1885. During these 35 years I always had 
the most profound respect for him in a bus- 
iness way. We held the same faith religious- 
ly, belonging to the same secret society and 
in fact we took portions of the secret work to- 
gether. I have had business transactions 
with him all these years and always of the 
most pleasant nature. His word was all 
sufficient with me as I never knew an in- 
stance he did not do just as he said. I have 
associated with him in his home, in lodges, in 
the church and have traveled with him and 
never associated with a more honorable man. 
His knowledge of business conditions of the 
country and current news was far ahead of 
the average man. He was a great student 
of history ; not only knew it but could tell it. 
As a financier he excelled all his associates in 
Ridgeway in 1885. Had I heeded his 
suggestions many times I would have been 
much better off financially than I am now, as 
he proposed many times a working together 
in some deals which always were winners. 
During his life he remarked to me once "Mel 
if you ever get in a tight place and want 
help call on me." I always felt as tho there 
was one man I could turn to if in need and I 
knew if in his power I would receive help. 
Next to my only living brother I considered 
Wm. A. Miner as my next of kin along with 

— 67 — 

his and my old time friend W. C. Elder, now 
of Albany, Mo. We three were in Ridgeway 
at the same time in 1885 and practically the 
same age. I will cherish the memory of Wm. 
A. Miner as long as life lasts. 
Bethany, Mo., Nov., 1920. 

Rockford, 111., Mar. 24, 1920. 
Dear Mrs. Miner and Family: 

Space is no barrier to thought. At the 
moment of writing this, in our unison of 
thought, I feel as near to you as if I held you 
by the hand. In the same way, though 
stunned by a great sorrow, I have not a sense 
of separation from him whom we mourn. 

That which we see borne from the door is 
not the one of whom we think and speak to- 
day. The loving devotion, the kindly solic- 
itude, the wise counsel continue with us in 
their guiding character and influence and 
will do so till the end. 

Written in a youth's diary in the early 
hours of life's day I find these words, "Will 
Miner is my best friend." Many times since 
I have repeated them and with confident 
assurance I say them today. 

To you and to me and to many another he 
has left as his richest legacy the influence and 
abiding memory of a devoted husband and 
father, a loyal friend, a sincere and honor- 
able character. 

With the deepest consideration for you all, 
I am also a mourner. 


— 68 — 

From J. Howard Thompson, for- 
merly Pastor M. E. Church, Ridge- 
way, now of Unionville, Mo. 

Rarely have I found a friendship so deep 
and true as that which existed between me 
and Mr. W. A. Miner. During my stay in 
Ridgeway he took a deep concern for me and 
manifested his keen interest in me and my 
family in so many ways. I feel that in his 
going away I personally have lost a sincere 
and true brother. While not a member of 
the Methodist Episcopal Church, yet he stood 
on that high plane of fraternity and altruism 
as to utterly hide denominationalism far in 
the back ground and what seemed to interest 
him most was to do the big thing every time 
and all the time. 

In business he was progressive, aggressive 
and a leader. His spirit of initiative was 
dominative and he was at the forefront of 
everything of a progressive nature for his 
town and community. The new and modern 
brick hotel in Ridgeway will always stand as 
a monument to his public spirit. Good roads, 
public improvement, the schools of the city, 
the churches of the community, the beautify- 
ing of the parks and public places, caring for 
the poor, benevolent giving, presiding over 
the Red Cross Organization, and many other 
laudable and worthy enterprizes, all com- 
manded his most careful attention. His 
family, his town, his church, his business and 
his entire community have suffered an irre- 
parable loss in his going away. 
Unionville, Mo. 1920. 

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From C. A. Stoner, Sec. Chamber 
of Commerce,. S. S. Supt., Pres. 
Church Board. 

I always admired Wilham A. Miner as 
being very frank and honest. If he was 
asked for advice or his opinion in a matter he 
not hesitate to give it just the way he looked 
at it and as he thought it regardless of 
whether it was what the seeker of advice 
wanted to hear and it was this noble trait of 
his that in my opinion made him the great 
friend of men that he was. His advice was 
given in exactly the same way that he would 
have given it to one of his own boys. 

He always championed the sicle of right. 
During the years that I knew him I never 
once saw him hesitate in a decision when 
there was a principle of right and wrong in- 
volved but he unhesitatingly came out on the 
side of right and fought for it. Neither did 
he attempt to shirk responsibility for the 
sake of policy but fought for the right know- 
ing that it should and would eventually rule. 
His standard of life was such that a wrong 
principle did not receive a moment's con- 

His counsel on all community questions 
was wise and eagerly sought. We miss him 
in the study of our city problems, our com- 
munity enterprises and our church program 
and what he had to say in these matters was 
usually heeded and his was the guiding hand. 

He was devoted to his church and the 
longer he lived the more attached to it he be- 
came. As long as he was able to come and 
was in town he was at the Sunday morning 

— 70 — 

services both church and Sunday school and 
enjoyed them. He served on the church 
board and as one of its trustees and did much 
toward shaping its policies. 
Ridgeway, Mo. 

Mrs. W. A. Miner, 
Ridgeway, Missouri. 
My dear Sister Miner : 

It is with sadness indeed that I hear of the 
death of Brother Miner and I wish to express 
to you my sincere sympathy in this sad hour. 
Brother Miner was a man who stood strong 
and true in the midst of men, not only in the 
business world but in his church relations 
and all that counts to building up commuities 
and making for the welfare of his fellow 
men. His death is a distinct loss to the 
community in which he lived and the cause 
of right throughout the state. 

Brother Miner was a good friend of 
Culver-Stockton College and was very much 
interested in the training of young men for 
leadership in the church. In behalf of Cul- 
ver-Stockton as well as an expression of my 
personal feelings, I wish you to know that 
we remember you and all the members of the 
family in this time of sorrow. 

J. H. Wood, Pres. of Culver- 
Stockton College 
Canton, Mo., March 29, 1920. 


From T. L, Porter, Manager of Kan- 
sas City for Sabine Lumber Co. 

As a personal and business friend of 
William A. Miner, for more than a decade, I 
wish to pay tribute to one of the finest 
characters it has been my privilege to en- 
counter along life's way. 

I formed a very intimate acquaintance- 
ship with him during the last fourteen years 
of his life and I can truthfully say that that 
friendship stands out distinctly as one of the 
most pleasant I have had the fortune to make. 
Its memory will be retained as long as I live. 

William A. Miner typified our highest class 
of business men. He was honest, sincere and 
his reputation for square dealing was wide- 
spread. His was a very democratic spirit. 
Social and business inequalities never inter- 
fered with his friendship. His pleasant 
smile and hearty handshake carried to me a 
message which could not be put into words. 
From frequent visits I gained an insight into 
a most cordial and happy home. I was 
always to feel "at home" during my visits. 

It is my earnest desire that the relation- 
ship, which has existed between myself and 
Mr. Miner's business, be continued for I 
know that the principles which guided him in 
all his endeavors, are incorporated in that 
business and that it will stand always, under 
the supervision of his brother and sons, as a 
memorial to a man whose death has left a 
void in the hearts of may men, a void which 
cannot be filled. 
Kansas City, Oct. 19, 1921. 


From Mr. Frank Hooker, Pres. 
Blanchard Trust and Savings Bank, 
Blanchard, Iowa, 1920. 

My first acquaintance with Mr. Miner was 
in a business meeting some few years ago. I 
was attracted to him by his pleasing person- 
ality, his business judgment and knowledge 
of the problems under consideration. 

We were from that time till his death in 
close association and I learned to know him 
intimately and with the passing time, it 
ripened into real friendship. 

Several times a year we were for days and 
weeks together and in the finer and intimate 
heart life of the man I was permitted to 
measure his love for his family, their wel- 
fare ; his love for country and its traditions ; 
his intense loyalty to every public call; his 
high sense of honor and character, together 
with the little glipses of the things sacred 
and spiritual, made me covet and prize his 
friendship and association. 

He was preminently a business man, few 
whom I have met who had a keener grasp of 
business, a vision that sensed situation and 
future alignments, magnanimous and fair in 
his estimate of other's opinions — 
"And as our greatest, yet the least pretence. 

Great in council * * * 
Rich in saving common-sense." 

We revere his memory and my life will be 
the richer and better for having known 
William A. Miner. 


From Rev. W. S. Welsh, Pastor 
M. E. Church, Bethany. 

It seems to me always that I must ever 
have seen William A. Miner at his best, for I 
never saw him other than as a high minded 
gentleman with perfect manners and gen- 
erous kindness. I have been with him many 
times, and often under trying circumstances, 
but I have never seen him swerve by the 
slightest degree from the courteous deport- 
ment of the perfect gentleman. Not that he 
was not firm and forceful, but he possessed 
these qualities in a marked degree, but that 
in him firmness and force were perfectly 
toned with courtesy and kindness. 

He was a man of fine parts, of energy and 
talent, of apparently untiring energy, and 
faithful to the task he had assumed. Cheer- 
ful, afi'able and optimistic, he was a superbly 
companionable man, ever concerned for the 
happiness of his friends. He was the kind 
of stuff that friends are made of. He was a 
friend to me. I counted his friendship as 
one of the gifts of God. I am certain that my 
life has been enriched and made better by my 
fellowship with him. I was closely asso- 
ciated with him in his work of raising the 
Liberty Loans, and traveled many miles with 
him, often over rough roads and in cold of 
winter, and the fidelity, the unfailing zeal, 
and the personal sacrifice with which he 
prosecuted the work, commanded my un- 
stinted respect and admiration. He was a 
true patriot. In all his work for the govern- 
ment, he never seemed to care anything for 
the personal credit or honor that might 

— 74 — 

naturally accrue to him from a successful 
performance of the work he was sent to 
accomplish, but ever seemed greatly concern- 
ed that the honor of his country should be 
maintained, the conflict pushed to complete 
and speedy victory, and the soldier boys 
amply provided for. 

I have been a privileged guest in his 
beautiful home, and have known the sweet- 
ness of the sincere welcome by a princely 
host. I have seen him move among the 
loved ones of his home, and have seen his 
fine, high qualities of manhood successfully 
withstand the acid test of the light of his own 
fireside. I have marked the unfeigned 
esteem and love with which his family 
followed him, and how his coming brought 
light to their faces and joy to their hearts. 

Such a man was William A. Miner. His 
memory is one of the precious possessions of 
my life. In that beautiful land to which he 
has gone, I am sure that he is one of the 
choice spirits of a glorious throng. 
Bethany, 1920. 

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