ORRIN L. MILLER. - The fine old Pine Tree state is the commonwealth to which Wyandotte county is indebted for the well known legist and jurist whose name initiates this review and who is engaged in the practice of his profession in Kansas City, as senior member of the representative law firm of Miller & Miller, in which his valued coadjutor is his brother, Charles A. Miller. Judge Miller has presided with marked ability on the bench of the twenty-ninth judicial district of the state and also represented the second district in congress, facts that indicate his high standing in the state of his adoption. He is known as one of the strong and resourceful members of the Kansas bar and has been a resident of the state for more than thirty years. He has been a leader in thought and action in Wyandotte county and as one of its honored and influential citizens is distinctively eligible for representation in this history of the county and its people.
On a typical New England farmstead, in Newburg township, Penobscot county, Maine, Orrin Larabee Miller was ushered into the world on the 11th of January, 1856, and he is the fourth in order of birth of the eight sons born to Sewell and Lodoski (Cowan) Miller, both of whom were likewise born in that state, representatives of families founded in New England in the Colonial era of our national history. The father, who was of staunch Scottish ancestry, passed his long and useful life within the borders of the Pine Tree state and his vocation throughout his active career was that of farming, in connection with which his arduous and well directed efforts gained him a position of independence and substantial prosperity, according to the standards of the locality and period. He was summoned to the life eternal at the venerable age of ninety-four years, and his cherished and devoted wife still survives him. She is of English descent and she still maintains her home in Maine, a state endeared to her by the memories and associations of many years. Of the eight sons seven are living.
Like many another son of New England who has attained to prominence in professional and public life, Judge Orrin L. Miller found his childhood and youth compassed by the influences and labors of the farm, and he imbibed deeply of the gracious draughts ever offered by those who thus live close to "nature in her visible forms." After duly availing himself of the advantages of the common schools he entered the Maine Central Institute, at Pittsfield, in which institution he was graduated as a member of the class of 1876, the centennial year of our national independence. After thus completing a thorough classical course Judge Miller set himself vigorously to the work of preparing himself for the profession of his choice. Proceeding to the city of Bangor, Maine, he there began reading law under the able preceptorship of Colonel Jasper Hutchings, one of the representative members of the bar of the state and a gallant veteran of the Civil war. In Bangor Judge Miller was admitted to the bar in 1878, upon examination before Judge John Peters, then chief justice of the supreme court of the state.
Believing that the west offered a more fertile field for the work of his profession than did his native state, Judge Miller came to Kansas in 1880 and established his home in Kansas City, where he has since resided and where he has gained success and prestige such as fully justify the choice he made in seeking a field for the earnest labors which have since characterized his career. He opened an office soon after his arrival in Kansas City and his ability and determined application soon brought concrete results of appreciable order. He has long been known as a versatile and resourceful advocate, and, continuing to be a close and appreciative student of the science of jurisprudence, his knowledge of the same has become exceptionally comprehensive and accurate, so that he was eminently eligible for judicial honors when the same were conferred upon him in March, 1887, at which time, through appointment on the part of Governor John A. Martin, he was assigned to the bench of the twenty-ninth judicial district, to fill a vacancy. At the ensuing regular election, in the autumn of the same year, he was duly elected to the office, for a full term of four years. He gave an admirable administration of his judicial duties and continued on the bench until February, 1891, when he resigned the office to resume the private practice of his profession. To his large and important practice he thereafter gave his undivided attention until 1896, when he was elected to represent the second congressional district in the national legislature. He showed characteristic zeal and ability in thus standing sponsor for the interests of his state and he proved a valuable working member of the lower house of congress, where he was assigned to membership on a number of important committees. He declined to become a candidate for re-election and thus retired at the expiration of one term, in 1898, since which time he has continued in the practice of his profession in Kansas City, as one of the leading members of the bar of this section of the state. The firm of which he is a member retains a large and representative clientele and has appeared in connection with much important litigation in both the state and federal courts. Judge Miller has ever been unswerving in his allegiance to the Republican party and has been an influential factor in its councils in Kansas for many years. He is affiliated with the Masonic fraternity, as a Master Mason, his wife holds membership in the Episcopal church.
The year 1883 marked an important event in the career of Judge Miller, since he was then united in matrimony to Miss Isabelle Proudfit, daughter of General James K. Proudfit, who served as a gallant officer of the Union in the Civil war and who was one of the prominent and influential men of Kansas for many years prior to his death. Mrs. Miller was born in the state of Wisconsin and was a child at the time of the family removal to Kansas. She is a popular factor in the social life of her home city and presides most graciously over the family home, known as a center of generous hospitality. Judge and Mrs. Miller have one son and three daughters: Edna, Florence, Herbert P., and Isabel.
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