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THOMAS MAURICE MILLER.
Judge Thomas Maurice Miller died at his home, at Powhatan Courthouse, on the 11th day of July, 1902, in the fiftysixth year of his age. He was born on the 25th day of December, 1846, in Powhatan county, and was the only child of Maurice Miller, a lawyer of eminence and high character. His grandfather was the Hon. Thomas Miller, a leading lawyer, and for many years a member of the State Senate of Virginia, and his great-grandfather was also a lawyer of distinction.
When but an infant, Judge Miller's father and mother both died, and he was raised as practically an adopted son by the late Major and Mrs. Willis J. Dance, Mrs. Dance being the sister of his father, and Major Dance his father's partner. Their only child having died when only a few weeks old.
He was only a boy when the war broke out, but when the Powhatan Artillery, afterwards known as Dance's Battery, was organized, he enlisted and remained in that company until he surrendered at Appomattox Courthouse. As a soldier, he was faithful in the discharge of his duty, fearless in battle, conspicuous for bravery at Spottsylvania Courthouse and on other occasions.
After the war he read law with his uncle, the late Major Willis J. Dance, and shortly after getting his license became his partner. In May, 1870, he was appointed Commonwealth's Attorney of Powhatan, and in November, 1870, he was elected to that office and continued to hold that position until July, 1879. Afterwards, he moved his office to Manchester, Va., and was elected Commonwealth’s Attorney of that city, holding the office for some years, and finally declined to be a candidate for re-election. He was elected to the Legislature, serving the session of 1885-86, and taking a high stand in that body.
On the death of Major Dance, Judge Miller, though he had built
up in his new home a fine practice, gave up many of his cherished plans, and moved back to take care of his aunt, who was all alone and whose health was not the very best. On March 9, 1893, he was appointed by Governor O’Ferrall judge of the counties of Powhatan and Cumberland to fill the vacancy caused by the death of Judge William Pope Dabney, and giving great satisfaction, was afterwards elected to the same office and served until the time of his death.
Judge Miller married Miss Anne Patteson, a daughter of the late Dr. Patteson, of Manchester, Va. She graced and adorned their lovely home, and she, with their one daughter and three sons, mourn their loss.
As a lawyer, Judge Miller was scrupulously honest, faithful to his client's interest; always and at all times a perfectly fair and equally fearless opponent. He advised his clients to fight for their rights, but only for their rights, and whether successful or defeated at the Bar he had the respect of the judges before whom he practiced, and the love and admiration of his fellowmembers of the Bar. He was one of those lawyers, of whom there have not been a few in Virginia, whose conduct and character were felt in whole communities in support of fair dealing between man and man, and the higher ideals in private and public life.
As a judge he knew neither friend nor foe. Though always, and on all occasions, he had voted with the Conservative or Democratic party, and had taken part in all of its warm campaigns, as a judge he knew no party, and his determination to give each one his rights under the law was such that he earned the confidence of all classes and of all parties. Upon the Bench he was dignified, without being a martinet, learned without being pedantic, and as he had been at the Bar, always courteous and genial, never losing sight, however, of the truth and the right.
In the various public positions which he held, his character was such that even in hotly contested campaigns no man questioned his integrity. In the discharge of his duties even slander dared not charge him with betrayal of public trust for private advantage.
Born and raised a gentleman of rare wit and humor, his anecdotes were clean; his opponent, even in debate, feeling the force of the blow, never failed to understand there was no venom in the stroke.
Always brave, honest, courteous and genial, winning the admiration of all, as boy, soldier, lawyer and judge, of him it was always true that those loved him best that knew him best.
WILLIS B. SMITH.
Since its last annual meeting this Association is called upon to mourn the loss of its oldest and one of its most honorable members, John Page, who died at his home, Oakland, in the county of Hanover, at a ripe old age, on October 30, 1901.
Major Page, as he was known to his brethren of the Bar and the community generally, for nearly forty years of his life, was a son of Francis Page and Susan Velson, and was born in Hanover county April 26, 1821, and was, therefore, at his death, in his eighty-first year of age. In his early boyhood he attended Bishop Meade's school, in Frederick county, Va., and was at Bristol College along with his fond friend, the late Judge W. S. Barton. He afterwards taught at the Episcopal High School, near Alexandria, and read law with Henry Winter Davis in that city. Thereafter, he graduated in the law at the University of Virginia, under that eminent jurist and instructor, Judge Tucker, having among his classmates John Randolph Tucker, Colonel John Thornton and others, who afterwards became distinguished members of the profession. Returning to his home, in Hanover, he was married to his cousin, Elizabeth Burwell Nelson, and practiced successfully his profession in the courts of Hanover and the adjoining counties until the beginning of the Civil War, in 1861, when he promptly enlisted as a private in the “Patrick Henry Rifles,” among the first troops that went forward in defense of their State, and served in that line of duty until after the first campaign of the war, when he was appointed, with the rank of captain, and was afterwards promoted to that of major, on the staff of his brother-in-law, General W. X. Pendleton, who afterwards