|Etc. -- Willet Green Miller's 1925 obituary|
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A transcription of
a page 8 article in the 12 Feb 1925 issue of the Waterford Star
norfolk county mourns passing of noted son
A general feeling of sorrow pervaded the county on Thursday morning last when word reached Norfolk of the death in Toronto of Dr. Willet Green Miller, provincial geologist in the Ontario Department of Mines, and one of the most distinguished sons that Norfolk has ever produced.
Although he had attained world-wide fame in the world of geological study and had contributed greatly to the development of Ontario's mining industry, his splendid work had received scant publicity in his home county, and few of his home people were aware of the outstanding ability of this native of Norfolk.
He was a nephew* of the late Captain Miller, who died in Simcoe in April 1908, in his 100th year, and whose two daughters, Miss Phoebe Miller and Mrs. Frank** Jackson still reside here.
At the order of Warden Roney, the flag at the Courthouse has been at half mast in honor of this famous Canadian scientist, of whom it is said that although he was in possession of information that, had he chosen to take advantage of his position, would have made him many times a millionaire, he had preferred to remain comparatively poor and almost quixotically honest.
An extract from the Toronto Star of February 5, gives the following biography of the late Dr. Miller: "From the time when he was the first to proclaim Cobalt a silver camp of fabulous wealth, until his great merits were recognized in his appointment as president of the geology section of the British Association for the Advancement of Science, Dr. Miller has long enjoyed a reputation that was more than local.
His death came as a most sudden shock. About a month ago he suffered from ear trouble, but was able to be around again until about five days ago, when it was thought he was suffering from a cold. It was not taken seriously until a short time before his death, when it was found that he had meningitis.
A Canadian by birth and a
graduate of the University of Toronto,
From the Heidelberg he received the honorary degree of L.L.D. For a short time he was a member of the Canadian Geological Survey and then he became the professor of geology at Queen's University for nine years. Both Queen's and the University of Toronto conferred the L.L.D. degree upon him.
In 1902 Dr, Miller became provincial geologist for the province of Ontario, and it was in this capacity that he did his greatest works. Twenty-two years ago he wrote to the Engineering and Mining Journal regarding the Cobalt area as follows: "The ore is undoubtedly rich, containing values in nickel, cobalt, silver and arsenic, and a comparatively small vein could be worked at a handsome profit."
Cobalt had originally been discovered as a copper area, and Dr. Miller was the first to report on it as a silver district. Then in 1912, he published a report for the bureau of mines on the district of Patricia, the part of the district of Keewatin which, in 1912, was added to the great territory of Northern Ontario. With an area of 157,000 square miles, he recently referred to it as an empire where he believed the history of Cobalt would be repeated many times over.
Dr. Miller was perhaps the one authority most intimately connected to the development of Ontario's north country into a treasure land of undreamed riches, a work to which he gave many years of brilliant effort. Not only did he know the minerals of the north country, but he was respected and admired among mining men far and wide. As one of the chief figures in the discovery of Cobalt, he introduced [the Timmins brothers to the McMartin brothers] who co-operated ... in the La Rose mine venture.
The geologist's interest and influence on Ontario's mining progress showed strongly in the more recent years of active exploitation of the northland. His high professional standing gave him the confidence of investors in the United States and Great Britain, an important factor in drawing investment capital to Ontario mines.
This was recognized by the provincial government last year when he was was chosen for the mining department's mission to England, and he preceded the Hon. Charles McCrea overseas, paving the way for much of his later success in interesting capital in northern Ontario.
During the war he rendered an important work as the Canadian representative on the imperial resources bureau in London, England, and was also on the commission which reported on the Ontario nickel industry. His action in refusing the honorarium tendered him for his valuable work was typical of the man who at various times refused offers from important United States interest which were much more remunerative than his position as Ontario geologist.
Dr. Miller in 1915 was awarded the gold medal of the Institution of Mining and Metallurgy, of London, England, the first time that the medal had been given to a Canadian. He was an ex-president of the Canadian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy, and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada. He also had a long connection with the Engineers' Club.
In tribute to Dr. Miller, Hon. Charles McCrea, minister of mines, said: He was one of the foremost geologists in the world. He contributed very largely to the development of the mining of Ontario, and in that respect could really be classed as one of the 'manufacturers' of Ontario. He had an international reputation, and everywhere in mining circles there is genuine sorrow at his sudden demise. He was a genuine if undemonstrative enthusiast for his native province, and chose to serve it at the neglect of greater commercial opportunities for himself.
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* Compiler's Comment: Geologist Willet was Captain Miller's grandson not nephew.
** A daughter of Captain Miller married David Lundy Jackson, not Frank Jackson.
The geologist was the son of the Captain's younger son Israel Isaac Miller of Toronto, who appears as "Israel I." on the 1871 and 1881 census, and is listed as "Isaac" in later records, such as his brother William's 1917 obituary.) -- also see geologist Willet's earlier profile.
[The webmaster acknowledges the kind assistance of Miller researcher Wayne Jackson of Ottawa.]