"Mountain Memories" Page 22
They left in an old model-T Ford in late spring and Ada and Mary Hartness Miller never saw their father again. In a few months he died of some kind of problem with his throat. We think now it was cancer of the throat. He was buried in Pawhuska, Oklahoma. Louisa and her three sons returned to East Tennessee lived at Walland, in the foothills of the Smoky Mountains.
Ada and her husband, Wiley Miller (brother to Joe), were also living at Walland but then some of Wiley and Joe's brothers had moved to northern Illinois. Wiley and his family decided to move also. They moved to a little town called Zion, close to the border of Wisconsin. Soon after Ada and Wiley moved, Louisa and the boys moved north and lived there the rest of their lives (although McKinley came back to Tennessee a few years before he died). Kin is buried in Tennessee, but the rest are buried in Illinois. In 1937, Mary and Joe also moved to Zion and Joe pastored the First Baptist Church there. It was the first Southern Baptist Church on the Great Lakes and the first in northern Illinois.
Joe baptized on the shores of Lake Michigan and the waves swept him off his feet and he could not swim, but he kept getting up by the help of the young woman from Scotland he was trying to baptize.
After World War II, the family moved back south to Monroe County, Tennessee, and again Joe pastored several churches around and about the county. It was in the early fifties that Joe and Mary went to visit Mark Self. He was living at Ballplay and he was very sick. He knew he was going to die and he said he wanted to hear Joe preach one more time. Without a text or any premeditation, Joe sat down by his bed and preached him a sermon.
A few days later Mark Self was dead and his family sent for Joe to preach his funeral. Unusual as it may seem for a man his age, Joe had mumps and could not preach the funeral. He did not like to preach funerals anyway, but he said that was one funeral he wanted to preach because he knew the man so well and loved him almost like a brother.
For Joe Miller, the depression years seemed to never end. He would not preach for a salary. He only wanted what the people wanted to give him, not what the majority voted to give him. After he could afford an old car he could scarcely afford gas for it, and sometimes Mary would sell one of her chickens to buy gas so they could go to Wednesday night prayer meeting.
Joe's last church was Cedar Valley, outside of Sweetwater. He encouraged the members to build a new church building and they