Novelist Mittie Frances Clarke Point (April 30, 1850-December 26, 1937) wrote as Mrs. Alex. McVeigh Miller, the name of her second husband. The author of 80 dime novels published from 1881 to 1915, she was one of the best-known romance writers of her age. Her fiction brought her wealth and fame.
A native of Doswell, Virginia, she was educated at home and at the Richmond Female Institute, from which she graduated on June 30, 1868. After graduation, she married Thomas Jefferson Davis and gave birth to a daughter. Both her husband and child died within two years, leaving her alone in Washington. Grief stricken, she returned to her family in Richmond, where she wrote stories for the Old Dominion and Temperance Advocate magazines.
In May 1878, she abandoned her writing when she married Alexander McVeigh Miller and moved to Fayette County. She soon began writing again, hoping to augment her husband’s meager earnings as a schoolteacher. Her first success came in 1883 with the sensational romance titled The Bride of the Tomb. Numerous lucrative publications followed, enabling Miller to build a mansion called The Cedars in Alderson, and to finance her husband’s political career, helping him win a seat in the West Virginia Senate from 1901 to 1909.
Miller earned more than $100,000 from her romance novels. In 1908, after discovering her husband’s infidelities, she divorced him and moved to Boston with her daughter, Irene. Facing poverty again after years of plenty, Miller eventually settled in Florida, where she died at the age of 87.
Miller’s Alderson house later became the home of Congresswoman Ruth Bryan Owen Rohde, the daughter of William Jennings Bryan. The Cedars was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1978.
Read the National Register nomination for the Cedars.
This Article was written by Kathleen Kennedy
Last Revised on January 24, 2013
Rice, Otis K. A History of Greenbrier County. Parsons: McClain, 1986.
Comstock, Jim, ed. West Virginia Heritage Encyclopedia vol. 15. Richwood: Jim Comstock, 1976.
To be Continued in our Next. Greenbrier Historical Society, Mrs. Alex. McVeigh Miller Papers, Lewisburg, 1986