Thursday, May 10, 2018

Bovina's First World War One Fatality - Clark G. Miller

Many of you probably remember Clark Lay and his Indian Motorcycle. Clark use to get it out for parades and such events. The motorcycle originally belonged to his uncle, Clark G. Miller. Miller was killed in action in France 100 years ago today on May 10, 1918. 

Clark was the son of George Miller and Ida E. Kinch. He was born in August 1894 and had two older sisters, including Maude, who married Rev. Charles Lay and was the mother of Clark Lay. He grew up in the house that was later the home of his nephew Clark. 

In December 1912, he made the local papers when he was shot in the leg while rabbit hunting. The December 6, 1912 Bovina column of the Andes Recorder reported the story:

Last Thursday Clarke Miller...was shot in the leg by a companion while hunting. Miller, in company with John Blair, Frank Myers and a Mr. Weeks went rabbit hunting. They found a hole and Mr. Rabbit was routed out by the use of a ferret, and three of the hunters fired. Weeks fired a minute later and from his position made a crossfire and fourteen shot from the charge struck Miller – 11 shot entered the leg just above the knee, one struck him in the arm and another struck him on the chin and taking a downward course lodged in the neck. Miller was taken home and altho still confined to the house is improving. He will always carry the shot in his leg.

Miller bought the Indian Motorcycle in 1914. On June 2, 1917, Clark enlisted in the army in Newburgh, NY. When he went off to war, he asked his father to take good care of his motorcycle. 

Miller arrived in France in November 1917 as part of the 16th Infantry Regiment. Miller was killed in action during the defense of Paris. The family received word at the end of May of Clark's death. A memorial service was held in Bovina. The Andes Recorder noted that "a large number from Delhi and other villages attended the memorial services...Forty of Sheldon Rifles from Delhi, and our firemen attended in a body." In July, Mrs. Miller received a check for $1,000 as payment on her son's insurance policy. 

Miller originally was buried in France. Three years later, his body was disinterred and shipped back to the United States. He was buried in the Bovina Cemetery at the end of March 1921.

Clark's grave in France. Thanks to Ken Wilson for supplying this postcard.

The August 4, 1918 New York Tribune had a page remembering a number of New York soldiers who had been killed in the War. Clark Miller's picture was included (second row far right) as well as that of Quentin Roosevelt, the son of former President Theodore Roosevelt. 

Clark Lay in 1976 with his Uncle Clark Miller's Indian Motorcycle.

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