William Preston Miller, ET&WNC Conductor

Chris Ford

Hi Don, thanks for searching us out. While the Historical Society does not have records per se, we do have a vast collective knowledge amongst our hundreds of Society members and ET&WNC followers. I'm copying this email to our ETWNC email group (etwnc@groups.io) to see if someone in this group knows of Mr. Miller and his reported service on the ET&WNC.

To answer your question about the years of the railroad and when Mr. Miller would have worked as conductor....in 1882 the railroad was finished from Johnson City to the iron mine in Cranberry, NC. It later ran all the way to Boone, NC. The ET&WNC to Cranberry ran as a narrow gauge railroad until 1950. So Mr. Miller, according to his obituary, could have worked on the ET from 1884 to 1900.

We'll see if anyone in the group has any further knowledge of Mr. Miller that they can share.

I'll pass along any responses that I receive.

Thanks...and thanks to any of you who have any information to help Mr. Range in his research.

Have a good weekend!


Chris Ford
President - ET&WNC Railroad Historical Society

-------- Original Message --------
Subject: William Preston Miller, ET&WNC Conductor
Date: Thu, 7 Nov 2019 13:07:31 -0800
From: Donald Range <deranger2@...>
To: chris@...


Mr. Ford:

I'm writing a family history book that includes mention of William Preston Miller (1845-1900). His obituary, which I have attached, states he was a conductor of the East Tennessee & Western North Carolina RR for 16 years. The obituary of his son Samuel Ernest Miller (1873-1945) (also attached) states that William Preston Miller was the first conductor of the railroad. But when I examine the census records for William Preston Miller there is no mention of his connection with the railroad. He is listed as a Washington Co. farmer in the census records of 1870, 1880, and 1900 (no 1890 census survives). I'm contacting you to ask if the records of the ET&WNCRR Historical Society might have any information to confirm that Miller was associated with the railroad. I see from the railroad history posted on the Society's website that it reached Johnson City in 1882 then declined in the 1880s and 1890s. Would that have been the period when Miller was conductor if his obituary is correct?

Thank you for any insights you can provide.

Don Range
Palos Verdes Estates, California