MILLER, THOMAS REDD
MILLER, THOMAS REDD (1804–1836). Thomas Redd Miller, Alamo defender, was born at Stone Knoll in Prince Edward County, Virginia, on September 7, 1804. He was the fifth child of Armistead Miller and Susannah (Redd) Miller; they had the following children: George Dabney Miller (b. 1797), John Anderson Miller (b. 1799), Armistead Moseley Miller (b. 1802), Edward Barbee Miller (b. 1803), Thomas Redd Miller (b. 1804), Richard Floyd Miller (b. 1805), and Elizabeth Moseley Miller (b. 1808).
By July 31, 1824, Thomas Miller was a landholder in Prince Edward County, Virginia, where his property was bounded by land owned by other members of his family, all of whom had received their portions from property formerly owned by his father who had died in 1813. By 1826 Thomas and his brother Richard were lending money and providing security for people in debt to the store owned by their uncle, Anderson Perkins Miller.
In 1829 Thomas gave his brother Richard power of attorney to sell his property on Mountain Creek after he left to go to Texas. The land (130 ½ acres) was sold on March 16, 1830, for $500.00. Thomas Miller arrived in DeWitt's colony on June 16, 1830, where he received one-fourth league on the east bank of the Guadalupe in northern DeWitt County on September 30, 1831. His store and home were in Gonzales on block 3, lot 3, in the inner town facing Water Street south of the fort. He owned the only hotel in Gonzales on block 2 fronting the river. He also purchased additional land in the west outer town including the Green DeWitt league No. 4, the Felix Taylor league, José Salinas league, and J. P. Dales one-third league. In 1838, by petition of J. D. Clements, administrator of Miller’s estate, the Board of Land Commissioners of Gonzales County, with signatories Clements, William A. Matthews, and Adam Zumwalt, increased his headright of land to a full league which was due all single men who served in the Alamo.
On March 11, 1832, he married sixteen-year-old Sidney Gaston, sister of John E. Gaston. They had one child who died in infancy. On August 22, 1833, they separated, and Sidney married John Benjamin Kellogg. Miller, Gaston, and Kellogg were all among the Gonzales Rangers who went in relief to the Alamo.
In 1834 Town Council meetings were held in Thomas Miller’s home in Gonzales, and he was a road surveyor for the town. He was a sindico procurador of the Gonzales Ayuntamiento of 1834. Miller was one of the Gonzales “Old Eighteen” who, in late September 1835, held off Mexican attempts to take back the town's cannon until militiamen from surrounding settlements were summoned. Their efforts helped provoke the subsequent battle of Gonzales in which Miller was also a participant. During the first half of November 1835, he served as a member of the Texas Consultation, a group of Texan delegates to decide on the course of action in response to the Santa Anna dictatorship in 1835.
On March 1, 1836, Miller entered the Alamo as one of the thirty-two Gonzales Rangers who responded to the request for relief. There he died in the battle of the Alamo on March 6, 1836.
In his will, dated August 12, 1834, and entered into probate record on May 30, 1845, Thomas R. Miller stated,
I do for the love and affection I have for my two Brothers, Edward B. Miller and Richard F. Miller of the United States of the North do will and bequeath and freely give to them one league of land Situated in the forks of the Guadalupe and St. Marcos Rivers known as the Moreland league—I do will and bequeath the Remainder of all of my property that I possess in Texas to Edward B. Miller, Richard F. Miller and Joseph P. Lalor.
Joseph Lalor was a nephew who had lived with him in Gonzales but had gotten into some difficulty and returned to Virginia. Edward B. Miller and Richard F. Miller were still in Prince Edward County, Virginia, and did not go to Texas to receive their inheritance. George Dabney Miller, however, did petition the probate court on November 5, 1839:
…knowing that some time about the 5th of March 1836 your petitioner lost a brother at the fall of the Alamo….& since which time one Joseph D. Clements has been appointed administrator and on the 11th July 1838 writes a letter to the heirs of your probationer Thomas R. Miller requesting some one of the heirs to come and take the business off his hands. Your petitioner writes represent to your honor that he landed in Texas sometime about the last of August 1838 and has been in the Republic ever since and … he justly thinks he is the only heir to the remnant of the Estate of his brother.
George further represented that he had sufficient claims in hand to pay all of the debts of the estate without the sale of any of the land which was at that time scheduled to be sold on the first Tuesday in January 1840 in order to pay the debts of the estate. This was a very interesting development because on February 19, 1838, Edward B. Miller had paid George D. Miller, both of Prince Edward County in Virginia, $600 cash in hand, and George gave “unto the said Edward B. Miller his heirs and assigns, all the right, title, interest, claim or demand which he now has or may hereafter have in and to the Estate of his deceased brother—Thomas R. Miller; late of Gonzales in Texas.” Armistead M. Miller had also relinquished all claims to the estate for the sum of $700 recorded on June 26, 1838.
Eventually Thomas R. Miller’s estate was settled, presumably in 1846 with the final account of William A. Matthews, administrator de bonis non of the estate of Thomas R. Miller. Much of the property had been sold to pay court costs submitted by numerous administrators, and additional records continued to be filed after that, but Edward B. Miller purchased all rights to the estate from his brothers and bequested the remnant of the estate of Thomas Redd Miller, defender of the Alamo, to his four children. Edward’s son, Richard Anderson Miller, consolidated the lands in his own right when he purchased the shares of his brother and two sisters. In 1892 Richard lost all of the land formerly owned by Thomas Redd Miller when he posted it as security in an insurance company which went bankrupt in 1892 ending the legacy of the family in Texas.
Anne Virginia Agnew, Papers, 1919–1943, Accession 42287, Personal papers collection, The Library of Virginia, Richmond, Virginia. Gonzales County Probate Records, Gonzales County Clerk’s Office, Gonzales, Texas. Prince Edward County Deed of Records, Clerk of the Court Office, Farmville, Virginia. Proceedings of The Gonzales Ayuntamiento 1833–1834 (http://www.tamu.edu/faculty/ccbn/dewitt/gonminutes.htm), accessed February 16, 2012. Ethel Zivley Rather, “DeWitt’s Colony,” Quarterly of the Texas State Historical Association 8 (October 1904).
The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.Richard Anderson Miller, "MILLER, THOMAS REDD," Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fmi26), accessed April 24, 2014. Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Modified on February 24, 2012. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.