Mrs. Ella Miller of Virginia Dies at Age 119

Louis Epstein reports -- "*IF* her age can be authenticated, she would supersede Mrs. Sarah Knauss as the recordholder for the USA."

Mr. Michael Frost, reporter for the Rogerville Review Newspaper wrote...

Mrs. Ella Miller passed away at the age of 119 just before Thanksgiving (11/22/00). Here is the story our newspaper published about her following her death. I guess it is too late for anything to be included in The Guiness Book, but she was declared the oldest living resident in Virginia -- and I'm sure she might have very well been the oldest living person in the world. Here is the story I wrote... and there is a picture also attached.


Vienna, VA (Rogersville Review) -- Ella Galbraith Miller passed away Tuesday, November 21 at the remarkable age of 119. She died at her home in Vienna, Virginia and was known as the oldest living resident in the state. She originally called Hawkins County, TN her home. Miller was born in Mooresburg on December 6, 1880, one of five children. She was often quoted as saying that when she was growing up in Hawkins County, "everything you needed came up from the ground." Throughout her long life, Miller was often noted for her contributions to church, community, and charity. At the age of 20, she moved to Wyoming, OH where she met and married Isaac Miller. She made her home there for the next 77 years and was continuously active in her church, Mt. Zion Baptist. In 1987, at the age of 107, she moved to Vienna to live with her niece, Helen Catchings. There, she continued to be active in the community, joining the First Baptist Church, speaking to children at numerous Fairfax County Schools, appearing at numerous civic functions and being welcomed as a special guest on radio and television programs.

She shied away from the spotlight, but the more she shied from it, the more she was sought to tell the story of her long life. She was often quoted as saying, "I don't know what all this fuss is about." Indeed, it was a "fuss" worth making. Here was a refined, sharp-witted lady who lived in three centuries, who went from riding in horse-drawn buggies to supersonic jets, who touched lives all over the nation with her simple messages of love, peace, belief in yourself, and faith in God. In her lifetime, Miller had the opportunity to visit with many notable national figures. She hosted Reverend Martin Luther King in her home in Ohio. She shared birthday celebrations with Reverend Jesse Jackson. She was honored by two Governors of Virginia, where "Ella Miller Day" was declared. Her life was often celebrated by the media as she was interviewed in numerous local and national publications. She was invited to lunch with Oprah Winfrey, but was unable to accept the invitation. She was also invited to appear on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson; however, she declined. Several attempts were made by representatives of The Guinness Book of World Records to confirm Miller as the world's oldest living resident.

She chatted on the phone with Winfrey and Bill Cosby. She met both Presidents George Bush and Bill Clinton in the Oval Office. On a visit to the White House, Miller advised President Clinton that if he wanted to be reelected, he needed to attend the First Baptist Church in Vienna, "because everyone who came to First Baptist Church got reelected." Miller, along with seven other centenarians from here, was honored by the local community in January 2000 during the "Third Century of Life Celebration" hosted by The Rogersville Review. This special event was organized specifically to recognize all those individuals born in the 1800s who lived to see the year 2000. Three other honorees, Nannie Christmas Ellis, Sally Mathis, and Ida Mae McDonald, all died earlier this year.

Miller's family includes one sister-in-law, Annie Horton of Rogersville; four nieces: Helen Catchings of Vienna, VA; Stella Gudger of Rogersville, Alberta Gardner of Columbus, GA, and Edith Galbraith-Johnson of Fresno, CA; four nephews: Johnny Mack Galbraith of Fresno, CA; Louis Galbraith, Irving Galbraith, Billy Galbraith, and Jimmy Horton all of Rogersville; 25 great-nieces and nephews; 51 great-great nieces and nephews, and a host of other relatives and friends.

While her family says she will always be remembered for her wit, wisdom, class, style, love for God and love for life, her famous quote on "the secret of life" sums it up -- "Be obedient to God, be loving, kind, and respectful. Be on time, save your money, care about one another, love life, love people and have a desire to be somebody. All living is about love. Joy is in helping others."

...Here is still more information about Ella Miller...

Ella Galbraith Miller was born in Mooresburg, TN on December 6, 1880. She moved to Ohio at the age of 20 and made a life for herself helping people as a home care-giver for the next 77 years. She didn't retire until the age of 107. She then moved to Vienna, VA where she continues to live with one of her nieces, Helen Catchings. Ella is the oldest living resident of Virginia. She has met President Bush, President Clinton, she has been honored by Jesse L. Jackson, and by the state governor. She even turned down on offer to appear on The Tonite Show with Johnny Carson. She said, "I'd rather be on Oprah." Oprah Winfrey sent her birthday wishes when she turned 114. Ella has been featured in several national publications.

...This information comes from an article I wrote that published in The Rogersville Review newspaper, which covers the Mooresburg area. Although Ella Miller now lives in Virginia, she has several family members who live in Rogersville, including her niece Stella Gudger, with whom I keep in contact. Stella's number is 423-272-9919.

The Rogersville Review plans to host a party for Ella Miller - and seven other people from our area who are over 100 years old - on January 29th at the National Guard Armory in Rogersville. It would be great if someone could attend who represents The Guinness Book of World Records!