Sunday, April 19, 2009

The Hanging of Jim Miller (April 19, 1909)

Today marks the 100 year anniversary of the hanging of Jim Miller along with three others for murder. Your probably not going to hear about this anniversary in the local news; I don't think anyone has mentioned it online. I thought I would do it here.

I read about some really creepy people some times. Jim Miller is definitely one of the most creepy old west characters you will find.

I am not going to rehash his life since others have done it better elsewhere. I will give a few links below. Jim Miller is an interesting old west figure because on the outside he appears like a gentleman, church going, likeable individual, but on the inside was a ruthless ambush assassin with a shotgun. He got the name Deacon because he went to church and, supposedly, did not have a habit of smoking or drinking and he looked like what you would expect from a "Deacon."
He got into a feud in Pecos, Tx. with a Sheriff Bud Spencer. Spencer tried to kill him twice and on both occassions that he got the job done, but Miller was wearing his iron plate on his coat. Remember, "aim for the heart," in Fistful of Dollars? Same thing. Miller eventually ambushed Spencer at a local saloon with his shotgun. John Wesley Hardin, his cousin by marriage, helped Miller by being his lawyer in El Paso, Tx. Jim Miller always found a way to create an alibi for his killings. The following picture is rather famous. He was eventually caught, and before he could go to trial he was lynched in Ada, Oklahoma. He is the one on the far left with his hat on.

You have to hear the following interview:
Radio Interview on Jim Miller with Bill O'Neal on Chronicle of the Old West
The Jim Miller Wikipedia Article
Jim Miller's Gravesite
The Daily Ardmoreite Newspaper Article from 1909
Shotgun For Hire (OOP, but you might be able to find it at a library or a used copy)