F.M. Miller – Female Deputy Marshal to the Indian Territory

Hello everyone, Winnie Griggs here. Back in January I started a series of articles about 10 amazing women who paved the way for females in various branches of law enforcement. If you missed the prior posts you can find them here:

Kate Warne, the first female Pinkerton Agent.

Phoebe Couzins, the first woman to be appointed to the U.S. Marshal service.

Marie Owens – First US Female Police Officer

 

This month I want to talk about F. M. Miller, another very colorful Deputy U.S. Marshal.

Unfortunately, very little is known about Miller’s life outside of her role as a Deputy Marshal. In fact, in my research I found her listed as both Miss Miller and Mrs. Miller. And I couldn’t find any record of what the initials F.M. stand for or who her husband was if indeed she was married.

But despite all of that, she was obviously a force to be reckoned with. In 1891 F.M. was appointed a Deputy U.S. Marshal in Paris, Texas.

The Fort Smith Elevator reported in November of 1891:

“The woman carries a pistol buckled around her and has a Winchester strapped to her saddle. She is an expert shot and a superb horsewoman, and brave to the verge of recklessness. It is said that she aspires to win a name equal to that of Belle Starr, differing from her by exerting herself to run down criminals and in the enforcement of the law.” The same article also went on to describe her as a charming brunette who wore a sombrero.

And another newspaper, the Muskogee Phoenix, reported:

“Miss Miller is a young woman of prepossessing appearance, wears a cowboy hat and is always adorned with a pistol belt full of cartridges and a dangerous looking Colt pistol which she knows how to use. She has been in Muskogee for a few days, having come here with Deputy Marshal Cantrel, a guard with some prisoners brought from Talahina.”

Paris, Texas was the in the Southern District of the Indian Territory and during this period the Indian Territory was considered a violent place, and for good reason. It served as home to literally hundreds of the most dangerous outlaws from around the country – villains who were guilty of murder, arson, rape and robbery among other heinous acts. They flocked there because it was a place where law enforcement had no jurisdiction there.

However, the appointment of Judge Isaac Parker to the Western Judicial District changed all that. Judge Parker commanded some 200 deputy marshals to clean up this outlaw haven. It was a task easier said than done, however as the territory covered some 74,000 square miles of rugged land. And one of the few female deputy marshals to work in this territory was F.M. Miller. In fact, at the time she was commissioned she was the only female Deputy Marshal to serve in the Indian Territory. And lest you wonder how dangerous this task was, from 1872 to 1896 over 100 of these deputies lost their lives while attempting to enforce the law throughout the territory.

There are some reports that F.M. had a high arrest count and never shied away from an exchange of gunfire when called for. She had a reputation of being both fearless and a superb horsewoman.

I couldn’t find any record of either F.M.’s origins or her ultimate fate. But there is no doubt that she was a trailblazer and an exceptional law enforcement officer.

 

There you have it, a very brief sketch of the trailblazing life of yet another brave and ahead-of-her-times woman. What struck you most about her? If you’d already heard of her, did you learn anything new, or do you have more to add to her story?

Leave a comment and you’ll be entered in a drawing for winner’s choice of any book from my backlist.

 

And today I thought I’d give you a sneak peek at my upcoming release, The Unexpected Bride. This is the revised version of Something More, a book that was published in 2001 and is my first foray into the Indie publishing world. It was also the first time I had free rein to work with the cover designer for one of my books – it was both a fun and a scary experience. So how do you think we did?

Stay tuned for details about release date and where to purchase.

THE UNEXPECTED BRIDE

Had she stepped out of the frying pan just to land in the fire?

Fleeing an arranged marriage, socialite Elthia Sinclare accepts a governess position halfway across the country. But when she arrives in Texas she finds more than she bargained for – more children, more work and more demands. Because Caleb Tanner wants a bride, not a governess. But marrying this unrefined stranger is better than what awaits her back home, so Elthia strikes a deal for a temporary marriage. She says I do and goes to work—botching the housework, butting heads with her new spouse, loving the children.

Caleb isn’t sure what to make of this woman who isn’t at all what he contracted for—she’s spoiled, unskilled and lavishes her affection on a lap dog that seems to be little more than a useless ball of fluff.  But to his surprise she gets along well with the children, works hard to acquire domestic skills and is able to hold her own with the town matriarchs.

Could the mistake that landed him with this unexpected bride be the best thing that ever happened to him?

 

 

Winnie Griggs
Winnie Griggs is the author of Historical (and occasionally Contemporary) romances that focus on Small Towns, Big Hearts, Amazing Grace. She is also a list maker, a lover of dragonflies and holds an advanced degree in the art of procrastination.
Three of Winnie’s books have been nominated for the Romantic Times Reviewers Choice Award, and one of those nominations resulted in a win.
Winnie loves to hear from readers. You can connect with her on facebook at www.facebook.com/WinnieGriggs.Author or email her at winnie@winniegriggs.com.
Updated: April 7, 2019 — 5:58 pm

39 Comments

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  1. Wow, Winnie, I enjoyed your post about FM Miller! Given her record of service and accomplishments, it’s sad that her name and work aren’t more well known. Thank you for bringing her and other notable women to our attention!

    1. You’re quite welcome. Glad you enjoyed the post.

  2. I have never heard of FM Miller before. She must have been extraordinary. There should be more about her. I do wonder why there is not. thanks for the great post.

    1. Hi Debra. I wondered the same thing. But at least she wasn’t completely forgotten.

  3. Very interesting. Miss Miller sure was ahead of her time. And, I surely wouldn’t want to be a criminal back in her time. She sounds tough.

    1. LOL, she surely does sound tough! And yes, she was definitely a trailblazer.

  4. Wish there was more info about Miss Miller. She sounds like an interesting woman.

    1. I agree Estella. I did a whole lot of looking and could find very little.

  5. Love the excerpt for The Unexpected Bride.. Great info on FM Miller. Definitely a woman ahead of her time and independent. Brave is what she certainly was.

    1. Hi Carol. Thanks for the kind words about my new book. And so glad you enjoyed learning about Ms. Miller.

  6. I have never heard of Miss Miller. Your new book sounds fantastic can’t wait to read it.

    1. Thanks Quilt Lady, on both counts!

  7. Avatar

    It’s crazy that so little information is available on F.M. Miller considering she was woman in such an unusually profession for time and evidently very good at her job or she wouldn’t have been assigned to that territory. I’d love to know more about her! I loving all your blogs about these woman way ahead of their time! I’d love the opportunity to read your book it sounds like it will have lots of antics between the mail order bride on her new husband!

    1. Hi Stephanie. You’re right – it’s crazy. It seems she would have been celebrated more. And glad you like the sound of The Unexpected Bride!

  8. Always fun to read about woman who paved the way for us.

  9. My dad was born In Paris. My Granny was 1/2 Cherokee. This makes me want to know more about This lady. Thanks for the great blog.

    1. You’re welcome Tonya. And those connections are so cool!

  10. What a fascinating post, Winnie! I love the descriptions you found from those newspapers. I could hear the respect for this woman in their report as well as the sense of her being an oddity. I expect many women who accomplished feats unusual for their gender received the same reception. I would love to know what her fellow deputies thought of her. Did they respect her? Resent her? It stirs the imagination for sure.

    1. Hi Karen. Yes, I always find first hand accounts from the period most interesting. And you’re right about it stirring the imagination. As I research these fascinating trailblazing women, I get all kinds of story ideas 🙂

  11. Another fun post! It’s amazing that the women did the same job and were in as much danger as the men but so many of them were just little footnotes. I would have loved to know more about her. And as a homebody myself, it is always fascinating at the dangerous job women did – and do – step into.

    Love that cover. The glasses are perfect!

    1. Hi Sally. Relegated to footnotes is a good way to put it. And thanks for the cover love 🙂

  12. Some interesting info… but you have me curious too… wanting to know more.

    1. Hi Colleen. Wish there was more info I could tell you about her, but there is just nothing else I could find.

  13. This is interesting about Mz Miller. There were some tough women back then. Would have been exciting to meet some of them. Congrats on working with this company. Your book cover is wonderful. Makes me think that there are some interesting personalities happening here. What will happen to them?

    1. Hi Lori. Yes they were tough but that’s because they had to be if they didn’t want to go the traditional route. And thanks for the nice words about my cover.

  14. so sad so little is known about her. You’d think the US Marshalls would have information about her.

    1. Hi Denise. Yes, it is kind of sad. If the Marshals have any info about her it is buried too deep in their archives to find.

  15. Avatar

    No, I wasn’t familiar with F.M. Miller but she certainly was a brave woman!

    1. Hi Connie. Glad I could bring her story to light for you!

  16. Winnie, thank you for “introducing” us to F.M. I’m impressed with her courage and determination!

    1. You’re quite welcome Caryl. Her story deserved to be told.

  17. History was written by men back then. F M Miller was left out for the “more important” stories about men. Sad.
    I really think Elthia sounds like a pre-curser to the modern woman. Caleb has an awakening ahead of him. Gonna pre-order this one for sure.

    1. Hi Jerri Lynn. So glad you like Caleb and Elthia! I hope to have it up for pre-order in the next few days 🙂

  18. I have never heard of F.M. but she sounds amazing. I must say I am an absolute chicken and would never want her job. However I have a cousin that is involved in police work and she is amazing as well.

    1. LOL Vicki, I’m not much of a rip roaring trailblazer either 🙂 And kudos to you cousin, that kind of work is truly a calling.

  19. Wow! What a interesting post, Winne. Amazing the 4 women you told us about were in law enforcement. They led the way for more women to do a man’s job back in the day when their weren’t many jobs available for women. Sounds like F. M. Miller, Kate Warne, Phoebe Couzins & Marie Owens were made of stern stuff.

    1. Hi Lois. Glad you’re enjoying the series. And stay tuned – there are several more I’m dying to tell y’all about.

  20. It was an interesting story about the female US Marshall. I like the book cover. The story will be good.

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