Charles Miller at the age of 18 in 1920.
Charles Miller at the age of 18 in 1920.

Charles (Charlie) Miller was born in England and emigrated to Manitoba and then to Ruskin with his parents, Marcia Elizabeth and Albert George Miller in 1903.  There was no station in Ruskin when they arrived, so they had to get off of the train in Whonnock.  Shortly after arriving, Albert bought 160 acres from the Harris family in Ruskin.

Charles went to the new Ruskin school that opened in 1916, and graduated from this school after completing grade four.  His first job after leaving school was working in the general store in Ruskin owned by E.H. Heaps and Company.  After Heaps, Charles went to the Stave Falls shingle mill, and worked there until his father decided to start a mill.  In 1921, the family mill known as Riversiding was open for business.  Miller had mentioned once that he and his father had their own timber, and also bought up all of the timber on the 1,000 acres surrounding the mill.  He said “we ran the mill until all the timber was logged out; then we sold it.”

Just before Christmas, 1925, Charles married Blanche Yvonne Antaya, and after his marriage worked at various jobs.  He went to the B.C. Electric Company where they were building a dam, and asked for employment.  He was taken on as a carpenter, but was told he had to first prove himself worthy.  He did so and continued to work here for a short time.

A short while later, he had started to build a house on the 10 acres of his dad’s land which had been given to him and his wife as a wedding gift, so although he was looking for work, they decided to stay in the area.  Charles decided to try for full time employment at the Ruskin dam, and used to go down there every week to see if there were any openings.  It was only after he had left the area for a holiday to visit family in the North Thompson area, that he was offered a job.  They travelled back as fast as possible and Charles soon went to work.  His career at the powerhouse started as a labourer, and ended as labour foreman, 32 years later.

When retirement finally came, upon his wife’s wishes, they sold their property in Ruskin and moved to Mission, where they bought land at Hatzic.  Charles had said that they moved to Mission because it was familiar to them, as they had previously done all their business there and had even done their grocery shopping there, as it was closer than Haney.

After his wife passed away, Miller moved back to what he considered his “native land”; Ruskin.  At that time, Miller spent his time recording his days gone by.  He recalled that his father had told him, “if you can see something in your mind, put it down on paper, and then do it, you are a fully-fledged journeyman.”

He wrote three books; The Golden Mountains, The Valley of the Stave, and I’ve Been Fishing.  Miller found little difficulty writing his books, noting how the words seemed to just “flow off the end of [his] pen.”