Seaver Miller — what a guy!

Seaver A. Miller, son of Van Buren Miller and Sarah Malbone Miller (thus Van Buren Street), pioneer settlers of Saranac Lake, is one of the most distinguished citizens this village has produced.

Mining the archives of the Adirondack Room of the Saranac Lake Free Library produced a mother lodge of letters written by Seaver Miller when he was a correspondent for the Adirondack News. The News was headquartered in Richfield Springs with offices around the North Country.

Many of the letters were written in 1896 and 1897 when Miller was age 29, to newspapers and magazines all over the Northeast. Historian John Duquette in an Enterprise story in 1990 said Seaver was a correspondent for the New York Times.

But earlier in his reporter’s life he received this letter, (in beautiful cursive penmanship) written May 22, 1897, from Henry Loewenthal, Managing Editor of the New York Times:

“Mr. S. A. Miller

Dear Sir:

We do not want the so-called ‘Summer Resort’ letters but if you have any news we should be glad to have it.

Yours truly

(signed as above)

Well, that letter was short and sweet and I have a similar answer but not the original letter to Paul Smith, Jr., dated July 12, 1896.

“Absence from home for a few days has occasioned a delay in answering your letter of July 10th. I think for the interest of your paper, it would be well for you to visit this place during the coming week, as we have a large number of people coming in, among them being the following notables, viz.:

“Gov. Morton and family,

Col. Archibald Rogers and family,

Mrs. Erastus Corning and family,

Mrs. Pruyn and family,

Mrs. Robert Hoe and family,

Mr. Cyrus McCormick and family,

Hon. Whitelaw Reid and family; besides quite a number of new guests. If your people are after the news of this section, it would be well for you to look into this matter in due time.”

Miller’s later career

The Post-Standard of Syracuse carried a front page story about Mr. Miller on April 26, 1919 on beginning his 20th year as town justice:

“Seaver A. Miller, one of the best known residents of Saranac lake and the Adirondacks, is entering upon his twentieth year as presiding officer at the local tribunal of justice.

“That isn’t all. He has been clerk of the Village of Saranac Lake for twenty years taking control of the routine of municipal matters six years after the village was incorporated.

“And that isn’t all. Mr. Miller is president of the Board of Education, head of the Saranac Lake Chapter of the American Red Cross, clerk of the Board of Water and Sewer Commissioners, Secretary of the General Hospital, Director of the Saranac Lake War Chest, Inc., Vestryman of St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, of which his brother, Rev. E. P. Miller, is rector; angler, former president of the Board of Trade, ex-newspaper man, Adirondack booster and everybody’s friend.”

It was a much longer story; above was just the lead paragraphs. There was much more added to his achievements because he was only age 52 when the above was written. Evelyn Outcalt, ace reporter and City Editor of the Enterprise for many years wrote Mr. Miller’s obituary when he died December 10th, 1963, at the age of 96.

Ms. Outcalt reported that he was elected Mayor of Saranac Lake in 1931 and served for four years without compensation. He was asked to run for a second term “by both parties as a fusion candidate” butrefused. She also reported that he was a member of the New York State Council of Mayors and made suggestions to amendments to village law which were adopted by the New York State Legislature and that he lectured at St. Lawrence University on the problems of local government.

He died at St. Margaret’s Nursing Home operated by the Sister’s of Mercy, which was located at the top of Ampersand Avenue on the left as one heads toward the ball field.