Augusta Man and 3 Children Are Trapped by Flames

AUGUSTA, KS –  Jan. 7 – A father and three children were burned to death, the mother is lying at the point of death in a local hospital, and two other children escaped without injury early this morning when the two-story house of Harry Miller, five miles northeast of Augusta at White Station was destroyed by fire:

The dead:

  • Harry Miller, 45
  • Opal Miller, 12
  • Raymond Miller, 7
  • Bernice Miller, 5

Two other children, James, 16, and Lulu, 17, escaped by crawling down a pole which extended to their second story bedroom.  Mrs. Miller, terribly burned, ran out of the house and succeeded in putting out the fire that was rapidly burning her clothing.

The blaze presumably started from kerosene used by Raymond in starting the furnace fire before dawn.

Before the time the family awakened, the lower floor was a blazing inferno, and escape by the stairs was impossible.  Neighbors arrived promptly, but were unable to rescue the trapped family.  For several minutes screams rent the early morning air, gradually dying into silence.  The house was soon only a pile of ashes.  The only available water was in a well at the kitchen door, where the heat was so intense workers were forced to stay away from it.

Mr. Miller died in the same house in which he was born, his family having homesteaded the farm.  He leaves four sisters and two brothers, Mrs. Charles Davis and Mrs. Mack Clouse of Augusta, Mrs. Clara Kipton of this county, Mrs. Jennie Forrest of Topeka, Ed Miller of Spring township and Thomas Miller, who lives on an adjoining farm.

Friends and neighbors today took up a collection to buy shoes and clothing for the two fatherless children who escaped from the fire with their lives.

Son In Jail

El Dorado, KS.  Jan 7 – It is a sad day for Harvey Miller, 14, held in jail here on a charge of assault with intent to kill in connection with the shooting of Dan Morales, a Mexican, recently.  Young Miller learned today of the death of his father, two younger sisters and a younger brother in the fire which destroyed the Miller farm house near Augusta this morning.  The Iola Register, Iola, Kansas.  Saturday, January 7, 1928.  Page 1.  (c) Transcribed by Darren McMannis for the Kansas Council of Genealogical Societies, Inc.

Augusta, KS.  Feb. 6 – After surviving for nearly a month altho terribly burned in the flames which destroyed her home, Mrs. Minnie Miller, 41, died in a local hospital today.  The fire in which she was fatally burned caused the death of her husband, Harry Miller, and three of their children, and totally destroyed their farm house five miles northeast of here January 7.

The three elder Miller children, two of whom, James and Lulu, escaped from the fire, survive their parents.  The third, Harvey, was held in El Dorado at the time for questioning in connection with the shooting of Dan Morales, a Mexican. The Emporia Gazette, Emporia, Kansas.  Monday, February 6, 1928.  Page 6.  (c) Transcribed by Darren McMannis for the Kansas Council of Genealogical Societies, Inc.