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Karl H. Miller

West Virginia
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Karl H. Miller

"They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
We will remember them."

´┐ŻLaurence Binyon

Karl (sometimes spelled Carl) Miller was born on June 11, 1893, in Glenville, West Virginia, to McClellan and Belle Cox Miller. The 1900 census taker recorded the family in the Glenville Independent District, then with five children living at home. Mr. Miller was a farmer. The farming family included Cecil, Fred, Karl, Bonnie, Beulah, and Earl. In 1910, the family was living in the Fairmont District of Marion County. Mr. and Mrs. Miller, Fred, Karl, Bonnie, Beulah, and Earl were all at home. Mr. Miller was a farmer, Mrs. Miller was the keeper of a boarding house, and Fred and Carl were working in a glass factory. With them were 12 non-family members, including a cook and 11 boarders. All but one worked in a glass factory.

Karl Miller registered for military service on June 1, 1917, in Fairmont, West Virginia. He was noted to be a glass worker who was unemployed at that time. Research did not reveal when he enlisted, but the Fairmont West Virginian reported that he'd entered the army in Akron, Ohio, at an earlier date. He was placed with Company A of the 10th Infantry, stationed at the Rock Island Arsenal in Illinois, and was there by the spring of 1918.

The Rock Island Arsenal was established in 1862 as a small military storage and repair depot. By 1894, after a large-scale construction project, the arsenal began manufacturing artillery carriages and, in 1899, was authorized to manufacture small arms, which became very important during World War I. (U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service: National Register of Historic Places Inventory-Nomination Form, accessed 22 May 2020,

Karl Miller was performing guard duties on April 21, 1918, when he died. The Fairmont West Virginian reported only that he died in its April 22, 1918, article. The Rock Island Argus reported that Karl Miller's body had been found by other guards and the death was due to suicide. Karl Miller had been reported to have asked for a transfer overseas and had said that he joined the army to fight. He was not satisfied with the relative inactivity of stateside service; however, it's not known whether his request being refused truly led to what followed. The results of the inquest were not found in newspapers. Though some who knew him speculated that it was an accident, the Argus newspaper reported his death to be due to suicide.

Karl Miller's father was reported to have been shocked by the news because the family believed that he'd been sent to France where two of Karl Miller's brothers were stationed. The family had not heard from him for some time. ("Karl Miller Dies at Rock Island Arsenal," Fairmont West Virginian, 22 April 1918.)

Karl Miller's body was returned to Fairmont and buried in Woodlawn Cemetery.

All three of Karl Miller's brothers also served during World War I. Earl Miller was discharged in 1919 and served at Camp Lee. Cecil Miller served in France and survived the war, but died in a coal shaft collapse in 1926.

Fred Miller died during the war in France, the next October, and was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross. Karl and Fred are buried together at Woodlawn Cemetery in Fairmont, West Virginia, and share a headstone.

The headstone for Karl and Fred Miller in Woodlawn Cemetery includes photos of both men but is showing the deterioration caused by the elements. Courtesy Cynthia Mullens

The headstone for Karl and Fred Miller in Woodlawn Cemetery includes photos of both men but is showing the deterioration caused by the elements. Courtesy Cynthia Mullens

Article prepared by Cynthia Mullens
July 2020


Karl H. Miller

West Virginia Archives and History welcomes any additional information that can be provided about these veterans, including photographs, family names, letters and other relevant personal history.

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