Biography of Charles E. Miller of Clay County MN

Charles E. Miller, born in Alexandria, Minnesota, in 1872, comes from a Norwegian heritage. His father, Sophus N. Miller, established himself as a successful businessman, representing various financial organizations and owning a well-improved farm. Charles received a quality education and gained valuable experience in his father’s business. He is highly regarded as one of Clay County’s foremost financiers, sought after for his trusted advice and guidance. With involvement in prestigious organizations such as the Northwestern Mortgage Security Company and the Hawley Mercantile Company, Miller is recognized as a progressive and trustworthy businessman in his community.

Charles E. Miller was born in Alexandria, Douglas County, Minnesota, in 1872. He is one of three children born to Sophus N. Miller and Julia E. (Thompson) Miller, both of whom are natives of Norway. The parents of Sophus N. Miller were Prosper P. Miller and Sophia (Bent) Miller, who hailed from Germany. They relocated to Norway in their early years, where Prosper P. worked as a cooper. After his wife’s passing in 1854, he immigrated to the United States in 1855 but soon returned to Norway. He passed away there in 1860, leaving behind four children: Frederick, Dinah, Torval, and our subject, Charles E. Miller.

Sophus N. Miller received a good education in Norway and, at the age of fourteen, spent a year working as a sailor at sea. Upon his return home, he clerked in a hardware store for four years. In 1863, he came to the United States and worked on the railroad in Cambridge, Wisconsin, for a few months. He then worked on a steamboat on the Mississippi River. Afterward, he spent four years clerking in a drug store in Janesville, Wisconsin. Following his time there, he relocated to Alexandria, Minnesota, where he engaged in mercantile trade for two years. In 1870, he sold his business and opened a general agency, representing various financial organizations as a local representative. He served as the sole agent for the Freehold Land & Mortgage Company, based in London with a capital of $5,000,000, the Scottish American Mortgage Company in Edinburgh, Scotland, and the Land Mortgage & Investment Agency Company of America headquartered in London, England with a capital of $5,000,000. He was also an agent for the Corbin Banking Company of New York for fifteen years, handling transactions amounting to $1,500,000 without any losses. Additionally, he made significant land purchases and owned a well-improved 300-acre farm. He held a high social standing and was an active member of the Masonic and Odd Fellows Orders. In terms of religious affiliation, he was associated with the Lutheran church.

Sophus N. Miller’s exquisite home, located just beyond the city limits on the shore of Lake Winona, was considered one of the county’s scenic treasures, embodying culture and refinement.

In 1866, he married Miss Julia S. Thompson, who passed away in 1877. They had two daughters, Minnie E. and Carrie S., in addition to our subject, Charles E. Miller.

Charles E. Miller received a quality education, completing his studies in Northfield, Minnesota. He grew up in his father’s business, where he gained invaluable training and experience in financial matters. He is widely regarded as one of the foremost financiers in Clay County, and his advice and guidance are highly sought after and trusted. Charles E. Miller serves as the executor of the Peter Thompson estate in Barnesville, demonstrating exceptional executive skills in its management.

Furthermore, he is a member of the Northwestern Mortgage Security Company in Fargo. He is also associated with the Hawley Mercantile Company. As a result of his business acumen, forward-thinking approach, and dependable reputation, he is rightfully considered one of the prominent, progressive, and trustworthy businessmen in his community.


C.F. Cooper & Company, History of the Red River Valley, Past and Present: Including an Account of the Counties, Cities, Towns and Villages of the Valley from the Time of Their First Settlement and Formation, volumes 1-2; Grand Forks: Herald printing company, 1909.

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