Monroe County [TN] Observer, November 5, 1975, Page 20:
“Sweetwater Native, 100, Called By Mrs. Ford---Mrs. Ellen Miller isn’t a timid soul but she admitted she was “scared to death” when she got a call from the White House a few days ago.
It was on the occasion of her 100th birthday and Betty Ford, wife of the President, called her.
“I though they said ‘call from the Hyatt House,’ Mrs. Miller related. “I said, ‘What’s the Hyatt House want with me?”
Mrs. Ford got on the line and said, “Happy birthday to somebody I don’t know and haven’t seen….and happy birthday to someone whose 100 years old.”
It was a first for Mrs. Ford, too. “I never talked to anybody 100 before or saw anybody who was 100,” Mrs. Ford said.
Mrs. Miller is God-fearing but scared of nothing else.
Asked if she was scared living by herself, she replied, “No. There was a man tried to get in here one time,” she said. “I cracked him on the head. The police picked him up out in the yard. They took him off to jail. First they had to take him to the hospital. I ain’t had no trouble…they ain’t nobody bothered me none anymore.”
The Sweetwater native, granddaughter of a slave and daughter of a woman born into slavery, has had two husbands. Both died.
“I didn’t marry again. The Lord didn’t want me to have nary nother’n or He wouldn’t have taken both of them,” she said.
Her last husband worked in the mines at Jellico and came home on weekends. An earlier husband, James Tate, was a marble mason.
Mrs. Miller came to Knoxville at the age of 28 and worked for the I.C. Wright family and the Dr. Ben Howard family. Wrights had stores on Vine Ave.
Raised in Sweetwater by a white family. “She never treated me like no colored baby. She treated me like I’s her baby.” She raised white babies for the Wrights and Howards. She also raised 40 children at the Boyd Street house where she has lived 70 years.
“I never kept count. I didn’t keep up with the number that close. The school man told me how many. I taught ‘em how to mind. Everybody around here got to work. Work won’t kill you and you keep a job, you always got a place to stay.”
“I never had no hard times growing up. Treated like the baby of the family…all my hard times come when I got married and trying to raise a family.”
She said Dr. Howard’s daughter, Helen, came to see her “the other day.”
She brought four grandchildren and they had a birthday party for Mrs. Miller.
There was a neighborhood party Friday at the Dora Street Center for Mrs. Miller too.”