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Walter Jr (Casey)  wrote the STORY of the hardships and the happiness of the family in the next few years. 
You can click the green to read it.    Eliza somehow kept the large family fed and clothed and everyone
worked hard to keep things together!   Walter Sr was often gone, working jobs in other states.   They would
lease land and the older boys would farm it.   Everyone worked!

"The bank got everything when Dad's businesses failed.  

We had a few head of livestock that belonged to us kids. We made our own harness and we boys took jobs to finance planting the crops. Eunice and Hazel were both teaching and helping out at home. After harvesting a fair crop though, we had so much rain that a lot of the grain sprouted in the stacks and was worthless. We were able to eat from the few cows and hogs we raised, but that was about all we had". (Casey Miller)


1924 Miller Family.

"We missed Mother terribly for a few weeks while she went to St. Luke’s Hospital in Aberdeen to have a very large tumor removed from the side of her face and neck. Medical science left a lot to be desired back in those days and the surgery left a big scar and paralyzed her face from the severed nerves. She was unable to close her left eye and her face sagged badly from then on. The family felt sorry  for her as she had been a very attractive lady. She never complained and took over the family duties my sisters had handled while she was hospitalized".  (Casey Miller)

 1925   Walter Sr, Inez and Walter Jr. (Casey)

About 1926, all the boys working!


Rebuilding -  In spite of the pledge, it was necessary to go to the bank for small loans, but they were paid!

Cully and Fred Hunting -  Hazel holding an amazing gun!   1927


A Paid loan - for seeds to farm.



In 1929 the family sold out and moved south of Dupree, SD.

A picnic in Tolstoy, before they left.

1930s Miller Family

The older kids got married and had their own children.   The boys in the family lived in the Dupree area and some of the girls married and moved to Eastern South Dakota to raise their families.

1931 Eliza and her daughters, from the left:  Hazel, Eunice and Eliza in back, Verna and Inez in front.

The hospital at Pierre, SD served the western part of the state when the illness was serious. 
 Dupree had a two room "hospital"  and Dr. Creamer, who delivered all the babies for years.

1935 - Walter had to register for something that was signed by the Assessor.  Under Ancestry, he wrote "Yankee".  He had lived in South Dakota 50 years, having moved from NY to Brown County SD as a child in 1885.


 1940 Family



1940s Donald and Delbert (Buck) played on the Dupree baseball team.  Casey and other boys would go to town to race horses -  There were rodeos and holiday celebrations to break the monotony of work, work, work.  Church activities were important for the women.


1940 Census - All the children had left home except Inez, Delbert and Fred who never married and lived with his parents until Eliza's death in 1956.

Walter and Eliza, late 1940s.

Delbert (Buck) served in WWII, was shot down over Japan and survived a Japanese Prison Camp.   His compelling story can be found here.

Donald also served in WWII.

From the "History of the Prairie":   "In April, 1942, I was drafted into the United States Army as a medical first aid person. My first month's salary was $21.00 per month. I spent the first year at army camps in Arkansas and Tennessee. In 1944 our general hospital unit went to England -- south of Bath, England. I later went to Verdun, France and Stuttgart, Germany. I was discharged in 1946 and returned to the United States".

Windy Dupree -  the prairie wind howled all the time.

Fred and his mother, Eliza.

About 1948






1956.   Eliza had a stroke and passed away on 9/22/1956.

All nine of their children, and Walter Sr., after Eliza's funeral.


Walter Clark Miller Sr. moved into Dupree after Eliza's death,  leaving his farm for his son Fred to run.   Walter passed away on March 17, 1961.

Eliza and Walter are buried in the Dupree Cemetery, Dupree, SD.



Eliza Tolvstad was born December 17, 1878 at Whitehall, WI; died September 22, 1956 at Dupree, SD.

Her parents were Nels Tolvstad and Antonette Sveen (or Sven). Antonette was born in Biri, Norway on Mar 21, 1854 and died September 7, 1885 at Randolph, SD. She is buried in Bethany Lutheran Church near Mellette, SD. . Nils died in 1919?? Nils Tolvstad was a blacksmith. He came to the US from Norway in 1861. Antonette Sveen came from Norway the same year. They came to Whitehall, WI, were married and that is where Martha, Eliza and Annie were born. They moved to Dakota Territory in 1882, near Randolph, SD, to homestead just a few miles east of where Randolph is now. He said some of his ancestors came from France. . Another daughter, Louise was born there. Antonette died in 1885 and Nils married her widowed sister, Randine Johnson. They didn't get along and separated. She had a big family of Johnson kids, so Eliza had step-sisters and brothers. One step-sister was "Josie" who was Esther Jeremiason's mother, our Belle Fourche relative.

Nels and Antonette's children:

Martha 1877

Eliza December 17, 1878...died September 22, 1956 at 78 years old.

Annie 1880, all three born at Whitehall, WI

Louise 1883 born in Dakota territory near Randolph where family came in 1882.

Walter Miller Family

Walter came with his parents, as a small child, from Beaver Meadow, N. Y. They settled on the James River at Rondell in Brown County. Eliza came from Whitehall, Wisc. as a small child. Her parents settled on the James River near Armadale Island. Walter and Eliza came to South Dakota in 1882 and 1883 respectively. Walter's parents were from Beaver Meadow, New York and Elizas from Norway.

 Walter and Eliza Miller and three children Lewis (Cully), Fred, and Eunice came from Brown County on the M and St. L R R to early Tolstoy in 1907. Walter had built a house and livery barn in the eastern part of town. There the family lived for eleven years. During those years Hazel, Walter (Casey), Verna, Donald, Delbert, and Inez were born. The livery barn burned and in 1909, he built a saloon and pool hall. After prohibition, Walter built a large garage.  It was later moved to the south end of main street. It later burned. In 1919, Walter moved his family two miles west of Onaka. A short time later, he decided they must have more grassland for the cattle. This is when the family moved to Ziebach Co. south of Dupree. There he and his family lived their lives, some of the children and grandchildren still do.

 The family's life in Tolstoy were very happy years.


This file is the text of the book, "South Dakota's Ziebach County,
History of the Prairie", published in 1982 by the Ziebach County
Historical Society, Dupree, SD - With Permission from Jackie Birkeland.

Walter C. Miller, Sr. and Eliza Tolvstad were married at Redfield,
South Dakota in 1900. They lived near Redfield. Later they moved to
various farms or homes in, or near, Roscoe, Tolstoy and Onaka, South
Dakota. Walt farmed, raising hogs and horses, ran a livery stable and a
saloon during these years.

Walter's people had come to New York in the early part of the 17th
century, from Holland and England. Eliza's people came to Whitehall,
Wisconsin from Norway. They came to South Dakota
about 1885, settling along the Jim River southeast of Aberdeen.

Walt and Eliza raised nine of ten children, one having died in
infancy. In 1929, Walt and his family (except Eunice, who had married
Roy Baker, and Hazel, who was teaching school) came to Ziebach County.
Some things came by train, while part of their belongings they hauled in
a covered wagon made out of a trailer and pulling a hayrack. Delbert
tells of this trip. Fred drove the team while others rode horseback,
driving some loose stock. When they came to the bridge at Whitlock
Crossing, Fred insisted that Delbert walk over the bridge and lead his
horse. He said, "Your horse could get scared and shy and throw you into
the river". Delbert was nine years old at the time and was highly
indignant at being treated like a little kid! However, once Fred made up
his mind, nothing could change it, so Delbert walked and led his horse.

It took many trips to get everything moved, finally taking the railroad.

The family bought the Jake Maca place, south and east of Dupree.
Walt soon became actively involved in county affairs and was elected
county commissioner, an office he held for many years.

The family members that came to Ziebach County to live were:

Lewis (Cully), who later married Margaret  Miller, daughter of Jess and Maggie Miller.
Their Children were Lewis, Eliza, Maggie, Bob, Jerry, Jean and Donnie.

Fred,  remained single and died in 1978.

Walter C., Jr. (Casey),  married Genevieve Olson.
Their girls were Marlene, Ann and Karen.

Verna,  married Arthur Flick and raised four daughters -- Dawn,
Mary, Ginny and Lorna.

Donald married Florence Martin.
Their children were Marvin, Doug and Donna.

Delbert married Eva Henderson.
Their girls were Sally, Sue, Mary Lou and Janie.

Inez  married Walter Boettcher and raised four children --
Linda, Bill, Bob and Nancy.

The other adult children,  Eunice and Hazel, lived in Eastern SDak.

Delbert, Donald and Inez all attended grade school at the Gage
School south of Dupree and all graduated from Dupree High School. Verna
attended high school her senior year and graduated in Dupree.

Eliza died in 1956 and Walt died in 1961.

Back to:  Walter C. Miller Sr. Pg 1





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