Laura Miller (American, 1868-1965) painter and author known for her illustrative work, landscape and seascape paintings, and genre scenes. She was born on September 12, 1868, to Romanta Tillotson Miller (1843-1928) and Etta “Ettie” Jeanette (née Fraser) Miller (1845-1927) who were married on April 23, 1866. She had seven siblings to include: Romanta T. Miller, Jr. (1867-1958), Oliver Chauncey Miller (1880-1941), James Fraser Miller (1870-1924), Rev. Royal Ransom Miller (1873-1937), Sophia Miller (1873-1971), Ruth Tillotson Miller (1884-1952) and Etta “Ettie” Jeanette Miller (1878-1968).
The family lived in their historic home called the Romanta T. Miller House on the 105-acre “Fraser Farm” located at 1089 Bowerman Road in Wheatland, NY which is three miles south of Scottsville, NY. The Miller house was built on farmland that was inherited by his wife, Etta and was named “Fraser Farm” after her grandfather William Fraser (1775-1843). It was built in 1869–1870 and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2014. A two-story, Italianate style brick and masonry dwelling, designed by Rochester’s first architect, Isaac Loomis (1807-1894). The house has a 1-1/2-story rear kitchen addition and sits on a cut limestone foundation which has an overhanging slate roof. It features a Colonial Revival full-height entrance and sleeping porch designed by architect, Claude Fayette Bragdon (American, 1866-1946) which was added in 1914. Also on the property, are the contributing large "U"-shaped barn (c. 1870, 1940) and a small garden shed/machine shop.
From 1888-1891, Laura studied Liberal Arts at Oberlin Academy in Oberlin, OH (now Oberlin College) completing her junior year. As side note, her brother Romanta, Jr., an educational businessman, publisher and philanthropist, an alumnus of Oberlin College in 1891 contributed over $1 million to the college over the course of his lifetime: he also bequeathed $75,000 to be used within three years of his death for the purchase of artwork for the Oberlin College Allen Memorial Museum.
Laura became an illustrator and was most active as a painter from 1890 to 1915. She was known for her illustrations for the Elson Readers series of school texts as well as for her cover work in magazines including Colliers, The Ladies’ Home Journal, Christian Herald, The American Farm Review and Young Folks. Painting subjects include scenes of upstate New York and Cape Ann, MA as well as Europe, Scotland and Haiti. She was a member of and exhibited with the Rochester Art Club of Rochester, NY (November 1903 three paintings shown to include “A Misty Day”). Other residences included 114 West 80th St., NY, Lake City, FL and Los Angeles, CA. She also maintained a summer artists’ camp on four acres in the Berkshire Hills in Copake, NY near Mt. Washington, MA. Laura died on Sunday, April 4, 1965, at the age of 96 and she is buried in the family plot in Oatka Cemetery in Scottsville, NY. —some websites list her death date incorrectly as April 4, 1963.
Publications: Genealogies of Miller and Tillotson, by Elbert H. T. Miller (Elbert Harrison Tillotson, 1863-1939); Fraser, Christie, Smith, Wheeler, by Laura Miller, Scottsville, NY, 1951”.
(Written & compiled by Mark Strong of Meibohm Fine Arts, Inc., East Aurora, NY, 14052, meibohmfinearts.com, sources: Too long to list here and are furnished upon request.)