header image

Parmer Leroy Miller – Parmer & Roose Miller’s Family Reunion Trip to Illinois, 1930

Parmer Leroy Miller, 1930, 16mm, b&w, silent, 26:24
Shown at Home Movie Day Portland, Oregon

Film scan by Movette Film Transfer
Film courtesy of Thomas Matlock
Copyright Thomas Matlock
Thanks to: Matthew Cowan, Tom Matlock

About the Film

Parmer Miller of Kibbie, Illinois, and Roosevelt Boyd of Yale, Illinois, married in 1920. Like so many in that decade, they moved with family to Southern California in 1923, where Parmer found work at Standard Oil’s Athens Gasoline Plant. They lived in Compton. Parmer also built and sold homes until 1931, when they moved to a farm near Albany, Oregon. He built homes in Albany until his death in 1963; Roose passed in 1984. Many of their descendants still reside in Oregon and Washington.

This film depicts their 1930 trip back to Illinois with their young daughters to visit family, friends and former neighbors in Crawford and Yale Counties. It begins at their Compton home; they board Union Pacific’s City of Los Angeles, from which we see the Great Salt Lake and the Cheyenne, WY depot. They boarded the Wabash Railroad at Omaha, as they crossed the First Wabash Bridge over the Missouri River at St. Charles and then the Mississippi at St. Louis, where they likely boarded the Pennsylvania Railroad to Effingham. Parmer’s brother Millard and Roose’s sister Fern meet them upon arrival.

The film continues with Parmer at his brother’s farm in Kibbie, and then a nice shot of downtown Yale. A family meal with Roose’s mother, Nettie English Boyd, and her brothers follows, plus a lot of farm fun for the kids. Multiple family groups are shown, as is the Miller Brothers Band. They are known to have played popular songs of the time such as those recorded by Vernon Dalhart. Burl Ives was raised near Kibbie, and was a friend of the Miller Brothers. More neighbors and friends are seen, as well as the oil fields and a well fire, and then the film ends with the train ride back to California.

Parmer enjoyed making home movies from 1930 until his death. He also made home audio recordings on wire, acetate and tape. His sons and son-in-law continued to make family home movies until the advent of videotape.

Film submitted by Thomas Matlock, grandson of Parmer Miller. Feel free to contact me with questions or comments, tsmatlock@frontier.com