"Well written. ... Thoroughly researched and documented.
It's easy to see that the author spent years on this story."
- M. Emmens
William M. Miller is a writer and lecturer who has lived in Southern Oregon for over 20 years.
He has authored four books and has plans for many more.
Mr. Miller’s first book, Silent City on the Hill, tells the never completely told story of Jacksonville, Oregon’s historic cemetery, from its founding in 1859 through the vandalism that threatened its destruction in the late 20th Century. Along the way, he touches on the lives of some of the cemetery’s 6,000 plus residents. Miller has donated all proceeds from The Silent City to the Friends of Jacksonville’s Historic Cemetery, hoping to aid their mission of preserving and protecting the cemetery and its history for future generations.
Mr. Miller recently returned from a coast-to-coast book tour, where he was able to tell the real and nearly lost life story of Eugene Ely, a forgotten pioneer aviator. Ely died before he was 25 years old, but already was the first and only person to fly an airplane from a ship (1910) and the first and only person to land an airplane on a ship (1911). His takeoffs and landings were famous, but until the publication of Eugene Ely, Daredevil Aviator, his life was an untold mystery.
The book tour managed to visit some of the important places that were milestones in Ely’s life. Particularly interested in the man who nearly single handedly brought the U.S. Navy into the air were visitors to the Naval War College Museum in Newport, Rhode Island. Other notable locations included Rochester, New York, where Gene Ely made one of his most successful early flights, and Cleveland, Ohio, where he not only amazed crowds with his flying, but also helped his boss and mentor, Glenn Curtiss, set flight distance records. Of particular interest were the Iowa towns of Davenport and Williamsburg. Eugene Ely was born near Williamsburg, surrounded by Iowa corn, but by age nine, his family had moved to Davenport, where Gene lived though his teenage years. The residents of both cities were excited to hear that their “hometown boy” was finally “getting his due.”
For nearly nine years, Mr. Miller worked as a newspaper reporter and history columnist for the Mail Tribune newspaper, in Medford, Oregon. His weekly column still highlights the history of the Pacific Northwest and Northern California, often helping readers return to the scene of a vibrant past.
During his time as Historian for the Southern Oregon Historical Society, he contributed hundreds of articles to numerous publications, primarily Southern Oregon Heritage, but also to several other popular journals, including Our Valley, Senior Views, and the Manifest, a monthly publication of the Southern Oregon Chapter of the National Railway Historical Society.
Mr. Miller lives in Shady Cove, Oregon with his wife, Debra. They love to hike the green forests of Southern Oregon.