Family History--Ralph W. Miller
Contributor: trishkovach Created: 7 months ago Updated: 7 months ago
Monica Miler revised 10/4/95
3rd period Melody Ann Miller
May 16, 1982
Ralph W. Miller was born in the “old Miller” home at Seventeenth North Grant Avenue, in American Fork, Utah, January 8, 1915, at 6:30 P.M. He lived in this same house until he was married in 1938.
Some of his earliest recollections are as a boy of three years. Ralph was feeding the chickens, in particular an old crippled hen. The snow that year was over his head. He would chase the chickens up and down the tunnels or paths shoveled out by his father and his older brothers Rollo and Leon.
At about the age of five, Ralph received a beautiful Dan Patch coaster wagon, named after the famous race horse. Ralph’s favorite place to play was down along the fence that ran from his place to Main Street. They had neighbors to the south by the name of Poulson. The Poulson’s had a daughter named Vilo. She was Ralph’s first girl friend at the age of seven. Ralph’s schooling started in the old Harrington School, located in the middle of town, then to Forbses School. He remembers all of his grade school teachers.
Ralph went to junior high and then to high school. He graduated from high school in 1933. Ralph almost didn’t make it to that time, though. In February of that same year, while walking home from Lehi, he was hit from behind by a car. Ralph was knocked unconscious ad his left leg muscles were torn loose from his ankle to his hip. He had to crawl home the remaining two miles. As a result of this accident, he had to spend nine weeks in bed. The “hit and run” driver was never found.
After graduating from high school, Ralph and some of his buddies got together. They sat on a park lawn trying to think of something fun to do. A train passed through town. These boys went and caught that train and rode it for quite some time.
During their travels, these boys had many experiences. Once when they were walking alongside the railroad tracks, Ralph saw something shine and discovered a gold-chained watch.
The men who kept watch on the trains were called Bulls. One particular “bull” seemed to be really tough and Ralph kept his eye on him. This “bull” came down on top of a railroad car in pursuit of a boy. When the boy was caught, the man stood on top of his hands and beat the boy over the head with a rubber hose.
A couple of Ralph’s friends, Dayton Healey and Don Wagstaff, jumped up on top of an engine and went to sleep. When they woke up they found themselves in a round house.
A certain “bull” in Omaha rode one hundred miles to get boys off the train. When this man caught Ralph and his friends, he took then down to a car with forty-five other boys. To show that he meant business, the man took off his coat and unveiled a 45 rife under each arm.
In Colorado, Ralph and company got tied up because all of the trains were out. When one finally did come in, they had to ride in a refrigerator car. After traveling one hundred miles into Denver, one can imagine how nice the hot sun felt upon exiting. The boys were able to see the World’s Fair on this trip.
When Ralph returned home, his sister didn’t even recognize him until he was next to her.
The boys who accompanied Ralph on this expedition were Don Wagstaff, Dayton Healey, Fred Healey, Jim Durrant, Dale Durrant, and Ed Darling. Ralph doesn’t know the current whereabouts of the Healey brothers. He, however, is the only one still living out of the remaining group. Don was a guard down at a prison and was stabbed and killed by an inmate.. Ed was killed on the highway by a truck.
Ralph had a Newfoundland dog named Bawley. His uncle owned the dog to begin with. When he was just a year old, Bawley saved this uncle’s life. A bull was chasing him and pinned him down. Bawley grabbed for the bull’s nose and his uncle was able to crawl underneath the fence and escape. Bawley used to chase Model T’s. They were designed with a metal rim protruding out of the tire. Bawley got caught on one of those rims and it bore a hole into his side. For the rest of his life, Bawley had to carry that leg. He was thereafter called the “arithmetic dog.” This was because he “put down three and carried one.”
When Ralph would go over to town at night, some guys would razz him. One of the boys went to tap Ralph on the shoulder and Bawley jumped at the boy’s throat. He would’ve torn out his jugular vein if the boy hadn’t moved.
All of his life, Ralph has had a great interest in auto mechanics, or mechanics of any kind for that matter. He enjoyed making things work and using his carpentry skills. Ralph has always loved the great outdoors and being next to nature. He loves the desert and vast open spaces. Ralph is always trying to see the “other side of the Hill.” He especially enjoys traveling the back roads, away from the crowds.
Ralph has always loved the Church of Jesus Christ of Latte-day Saints. He has tried to do most of the tings that were asked of him.
Ralph says of himself that he doesn’t think that he has lived a terribly exciting life, or accomplished any great things. However, he does admit that it’s been a good life. If he could do it all again, Ralph says that he would’ve wanted to gain more and better education. He doesn’t think that any of the young people today could relate to the way life was back in his time. Ralph thinks it was great.