Clarence Fremont Miller
- Born: 9 Apr 1893, Liberty Township, Putnam County, Ohio
- Marriage (1): Ida Mae MacLennan on 3 Jun 1914 in Garland Street Methodist Parsonage, Flint, Michigan
- Died: 24 Jun 1971, McLaren Hospital, Flint, Michigan at age 78
- Buried: Crestwood Cemetery, Genesee County, Michigan
Clarence Miller, like his father, was a very strong man. They were both described as muscular "beasts of burden" by Eldon Coller. When he had to have his appendix out the doctor commented on having to cut through "four inches of muscle". He worked in the Moffett Warehouse which he later bought and renamed the Miller Warehouse.
A note written by Alice Paulina Leary states that the Miller's business was called Merchants and Manufacturers Warehouse Company.
Recollections of Kenneth Miller, son of Clarence..
Dad was born in northern Ohio, and lived there on a farm. At some point the family moved to the "Thumb Country" of Michigan. This was also known as "Brush Country" as it was covered by second growth woods as a result of logging. Practically the whole state of Michigan was logged off in the 1800's to get the virgin white pine, which is practically non-existent today.
Dad was very good with an axe. When I was about 12, I went up North with my brother Clare and his friend Art DeCaire. We took a truck load of building material up into the woods near St. Helen's, where they were going to build a cabin on the Au Sable river. The site was deep in the woods, and only a rectangle made of string marked where the cabin was to be.
We lived in a pup tent for several days, and cooked over a camp fire. We had no tables, or anything to sit on, or put anything on, which was kind of annoying after a while.
One day we looked up and here came Dad and Mother crashing thru the woods in our old 1939 Buick. They had decided to come up and see how we were doing.
I guess we mentioned our lack of furniture, etc.. Dad picked up an axe, and about 30 minutes later had built tables, chairs, and fireplace implements, all from nearby branches and logs. I asked him where he learned how to do that and he said, " When I was growing up in the brush country, my only toy was an axe".
At some point while Dad was still young, my grandparents moved their family to Flint. Dad worked at a number of jobs. His major job was with Moffett Wholesale Grocery Company, where he spent some 26 years. This included most of the Depression years. Someone once asked how he supported a family of five kids during that time, and he said, "The trick was to get right in among the groceries". This was gallows humor. At one point his pay was cut to $9 per week, and I guess he even took part of that in groceries.
Around 1938 he had worked his way up to being in charge of the warehouse operation. One day he had a run in with one of the Moffetts and, after 29 years, abruptly quit. He had no money, and no assets except an excellent reputation with the business community in Flint. So he decided to start a warehouse business.
This was truly a family effort, and everybody worked. Clare had graduated from highschool, and had started a small cartage company with one old Ford pickup truck. This became the nucleus for the new buiness. Mother became the bookkeeper, Clare was vice president, Jack was treasurer, Elaine was secretary, and Dad was president. When we incorporated later, everyone became an officer ora a director, even me. We took the portentious name of " The Merchants and Manufacturers Warehouse Company".
Some one leased us an old building on Water Street. Our first account was a carload of 55 gallon drums (of either oil or antifreeze). We had no locks on the doors, so until we did Jack would guard it all night with a 12 gauge shotgun.
The business went through some very tough times, but managed to stay alive through the war years and later, eventually employing some 50 people. (It outlived the Moffett Grocery Co. by many years, Hah Hah!). When Dad retired ( I think in the late 1950's ) Clare and Jack took over running the business. They continued into the 1970's, when the city of Flint offered to buy the main building on the corner of Smith and Water Streets. They were both ready to retire, so they sold the building and liquidated the company.
When Dad retired he became very active in civic affairs. He had become a 32nd degree Mason. He was on the first zoning board for the Lake Fenton area, and was also very active in school affairs. He headed the Lake Fenton School Board, and was instrumental in getting the Lake Fenton School built on the corner of Silver Lake and Torrey Roads. Previously, the Lake Fenton kids had to attend schools in Fenton. In 1998 an annual schoarship was started in his name.
He also travelled extensively. Unfortunately, Mother was ill for many years, so he travelled mostly alone. He took many trips to Europe , Africa, and South America, and visited us overseas several times. He even visited us in Saudi Arabia, which at the time was really unheard of.
Dad was always pretty stern and straightforward.
I feel he became a somewahat different person in his later years, much more relaxed and open minded. He made many friends all over the world., and kept in contact with them until he died. 3
Noted events in his life were:
1. Residence, 1926-1930, 2511 Flushing Road, Flint, Michigan. This was the return address and postmark on a postcard sent from Elaine Mae Miller to Mrs. J. H. Miller. The address is also on a 1930 tax receipt.
2. Picture. This is a wedding picture of Clarence Fremont Miller and Ida Mae MacLennan taken on June 3, 1914.
3. Religion: Methodist.
4. Education: 8th grade.
5. Occupation: Trucking and Warehousing.
Clarence married Ida Mae MacLennan, daughter of John MacLennan Jr. and Margaret Ann Gibbs, on 3 Jun 1914 in Garland Street Methodist Parsonage, Flint, Michigan. (Ida Mae MacLennan was born on 6 Jun 1893 in Gardendale, St. Clair County, Michigan, died on 15 Aug 1977 in Fenton, Michigan and was buried in Crestwood Cemetery, Genesee County, Michigan.)
Clarence Fremont Miller and his wife, Ida Mae MacLennan were married at the Garland Street Methodist Parsonage in Flint, Michigan by the Rev. Ryder.