Asbury Mansfield Miller (1893–1982)

Asbury Mansfield (A. M.) Miller was an African American man who served for many years as an educator in Batesville (Independence County).

A. M. Miller, the son of Randal and Pollie Miller, was born on February 4, 1893, in Perla (Hot Spring County). His father, a native of Mississippi, worked in a sawmill there. Miller graduated from Arkansas Baptist College in Little Rock (Pulaski County), and he later did graduate work at what is now the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff (UAPB).

During World War I, he worked as a waiter at Fort Logan H. Roots in North Little Rock (Pulaski County). On May 25, 1921, he married Ethel O. Walter in Clark County. At around this time, he worked as a coach in Arkadelphia (Clark County). By the 1920 census, Ethel Miller was teaching in a rural school in Beech Creek (Clark County).

In 1924, the Millers moved to Batesville, where he became the principal of the African American school. Ethel was an elementary school teacher in the same school. The school, built in 1905, was in horrible condition, and students there received only a ninth-grade education until high school classes were added in 1947. In 1930, the Millers lived in their own home on Oak Street in Batesville. By 1940, Miller was the superintendent of the school, and Ethel continued to teach elementary school. Also living with them in 1940 was their niece, Colleen Clay, who was in the eighth grade.

Ethel Miller died in Batesville on July 20, 1947, at the age of fifty-two. She is buried in the Perla Cemetery. In 1952, the new Black school in Batesville was named in her honor. A. M. Miller later married another Batesville teacher, Theodora Waugh. Miller retired in 1966, just before the Batesville schools were integrated. Theodora died in 1973, and Miller then married another teacher, Annie Mae Williams.

During his life in Batesville, Miller was active in community development, was a deacon of the Bethlehem Baptist Church, and was a thirty-third-degree Mason. He died on September 14, 1982, and is buried beside Theodora Miller in Oaklawn Cemetery in Batesville. Annie Mae Miller died on January 17, 2004, and is also buried at Oaklawn.

For additional information:
Obituary of Asberry [sic] Mansfield Miller. Batesville Guard, September 16, 1982.

Nancy Snell Griffith
Davidson, North Carolina

This entry, originally published in Arkansas Biography: A Collection of Notable Lives, appears in the CALS Encyclopedia of Arkansas in an altered form. Arkansas Biography is available from the University of Arkansas Press.


    I enjoyed reading about my Uncle “Bury.” We would visit him often in Batesville, Arkansas. His niece and my mother’s name was Colleen Clay-Tyson. Mom made sure we knew our relatives. I remember him as a very nice man and I was so proud of him. I was saddened when the school was no longer named after him. It didn’t take away from the fact that he was a great man.❤️

    Asbury and Ethel Miller’s niece’s name was Colleen J. Clay. She later married Frederick Tyson, and she became an educator as well. They had three daughters Connie, Fredlesha, and Ethel (named after her great-aunt Ethel Miller).

    Connie Tyson-Kirk Little Rock, AR