Portrait from Georgia's Public Men of 1902-04.
Out of the many oddly named persons profiled here over the past two years, many are bound to elicit a laugh or two due to their sometimes outlandish names. Today's write-up centers on Georgia attorney, state representative and senator Brick Stonewall Miller, a name that is guaranteed to make you do a double-take! The reasons for his being endowed with the names "Brick Stonewall" have been lost to history, but this distinctive name certainly didn't keep him from pursuing a successful career in public life.
A lifelong resident of the Peach State, Brick Stonewall Miller was born in the town of Buena Vista on February 14, 1868, one of six children born to Eralbert Wiley and Sallie Jones Miller. At the time of his son's birth in 1868, Eralbert W. Miller was already an established figure in Georgia public life, having been the editor and owner of the Buena Vista Advertiser. He would go on to further distinction as a member of the state assembly from Marion County and later served as a judge.
Brick S. Miller attended schools local to his native town of Buena Vista and went on to enroll at the University of Georgia at Athens, graduating from that institution's law school in 1888. Soon after his graduation, Miller began a year-long travel around the United States, returning to Georgia in 1890. In that year he formed a law practice with his brother Thomas Talmadge Miller in the city of Columbus, and this firm was remarked by the Memoirs of Georgia, Volume II as doing "an extensive practice and its members are regularly retained attorneys of some of the most important corporations and wholesale houses in Columbus."
In addition to his lucrative law practice in Columbus, Miller was also a successful cotton planter, and is noted by the 1904 work Georgia's Public Men as being the owner of a "2500 acre plantation near Columbus, Georgia, whereon he runs as many as thirty plows, making three hundred bales of cotton per year." Brick S. Miller married on November 6, 1896 to fellow Buena Vista native Mary Elizabeth Wooten (1875-1954), who gave birth to one son, William Wooten Miller, on June 5, 1903. William survived for only three days, and following his death, the couple remained childless throughout the duration of their nearly sixty-year marriage.
Miller began involvement in Georgia political affairs in 1894, when he served as president of the Young Men's Democratic League of Muscogee County. Also in that year, Miller was named as a delegate to the Georgia Congressional Convention in the town of Warm Springs. In November 1899 he was elected to the Georgia State House of Representatives, and during his first term (1900-1902) served as the chairman of the House Pensions Committee and the House Re-Apportionment Committee. While quite busy as a first-term legislator, Miller was named to a number of other House committees, including the General Judiciary, Appropriations, Ways and Means, and the committee on the Western and Atlantic Railroad.
From the Georgia Official and Statistical Register.
Miller was re-elected to the House in the election of 1901 and during his second term served alongside another oddly named Muscogee County legislator, Germanicus Young Tigner (profiled here in December 2011.) From 1905-07 Miller served in the Georgia State Senate and was reelected to this office in 1913 for another two-year term.
Brick S. Miller's later years continued to be ones of marked success, albeit outside the political field. He served for twenty years as a member of the Board of Trustees of the University of Georgia (including a number of years as Board President) and would later be named to similar positions on the boards of the Old State Normal School and the Georgia Agricultural College. Miller was honored by the University of Georgia in 1917 by having Miller Hall named in his honor. Active in many fraternal organizations, Miller maintained memberships in the Georgia State Bar Association, the Improved Order of Red Men, the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, and the Freemasons.
In November 1954 Miller's wife Mary died after fifty-nine years of marriage, and he survived her by nearly three years, dying at age 89 on July 17, 1957. Both were interred at the Buena Vista City Cemetery in the days following their death.