James Miller with wife Sally.

James Miller with wife Sally.

James Brown Miller had many occupations throughout his lifetime.  He was a deputy sheriff, Texas Ranger, livery stable owner, real estate agent, stockman, swindler, and gambler.   But the two roles for which he was known best are church deacon and professional hired assassin.

Often referred to as “Killer Miller”, James Miller, on at least one occasion, boasted that he had killed up to 31 men with his shotgun.   It is believed he killed his first man . . . his brother-in-law John Coop . . . at the age of 22.  He was arrested and tried for many murders, but witnesses who were scheduled to testify at trial rarely made an appearance as they feared for their life if they were to testify against the killer.  The people who did appear at court were church members who depicted him as a respectable citizen.  James Miller walked away from each trial as a free man.  He was never convicted or punished for taking a single life . . . until the mob in Ada lynched the cold-blooded killer who was regarded by many as “the most dangerous criminal that ever lived in Texas.”

Fort Worth Daily Gazette, August 1, 1884.

Fort Worth Daily Gazette, August 1, 1884.

“I congratulate your citizens on having rid the country of one of the coldest blooded cutthroats that ever successfully defied the criminal laws of Texas.”    ~ J. B. Wilson, Pecos, Texas, in a letter to the Editor of the Ada Weekly News.