The Bullitt County History Museum

Bullitt Memories: Greenup Miller's Will

The following article by Charles Hartley was published on 12 Apr 2015. It is archived here for your reading enjoyment.


Greenup Miller was born in 1868 in the Knob Creek Valley in western Bullitt County. His parents and grandparents before him had spent their lives there, and most of them found their last resting place in the Miller Cemetery located just west of where Martin Hill Road joins Knob Creek Road.


Greenup Miller's Grave

Greenup was one of two children born to William Hardin and Rhoda Jane (Bean) Miller. His sister Mildred died young, and Greenup continued to live with his parents until their deaths.

All indications are that Greenup was a good man, one who contributed to his community, and one respected by his neighbors. The family attended the Knob Creek Union Church, and Greenup was a member of the Masonic Lodge located at Cupio.

Following his father's death in 1908, he and his mother agreed to take in an orphan child from the Children's Home in Louisville. Her name was Gladys Harrell and she was about six years old. Little Gladys became the light of their lives.

Then Rhoda died in 1912. Gladys was about nine or ten at the time, and she continued to live with Greenup whose parental-like love for the child was well known. He very often expressed the desire to give her a good education and to make other provisions for her.

Then in August 1915, Greenup contracted typhoid which increasingly worsened, forcing him to his bed. Within a few days it became obvious that his life was in danger, and he asked his attending physician, Dr. Tydings, to make a pencil sketch outlining the points he wanted to include in a will. Then he asked his cousin, William F. Joyce to make a copy in ink which he did. Two neighbors, W. B. Mattingly and J. D. Moore were called in to witness Greenup signing the will.

He willed that all he owned be sold, and that half of the proceeds were to go to the Kentucky Children's Home to provide for Gladys' education. The balance of that portion would go directly to Gladys when she came of age. Of the remaining half, he willed $500 for the upkeep of the Miller Cemetery, and $300 to his church. Then the balance would be divided equally between his Masonic Lodge for their good work, and the Kentucky Masonic Widows and Orphans Home.

Then an odd thing happened. A few days later, Greenup decided that there might be some confusion about his will, and asked Joyce to take it outside and burn it since there was no stove available there in which to burn it. This was done. We'll never know if he meant to write another will or not, for he died in November without doing so.

Without a will, his estate would be divided up among his living relatives which included uncles, aunts, and cousins, with nothing provided for Gladys Harrell.

This apparently did not seem right to those who knew how much he had wished to provide for his ward. Joyce, along with the doctor and the witnesses to the will, wrote down again what they remembered that Greenup's will had stated. This copy was presented to the County Judge for probate. However it was rejected. They next appealed it to the Circuit Court Judge who ruled that it was acceptable. That set the stage for its appeal to the State Court of Appeals.

The issue hinged on one point in the law which stated that the will had to be destroyed in the presence of Greenup Miller. Even though he ordered it burned, and later approved that it had been burned, it was not burned or otherwise destroyed "in his presence."

On this point, the Court ruled that the original will had not been nullified, and that the copy represented it accurately.

Gladys returned to the Children's Home where Greenup's wishes were carried out. She was still there in the 1920 census, and we find her still in Louisville in 1923, working as a clerk at the Simon N. Jones Company, a local druggist. After that we lose track of her. Perhaps someone reading this will know what became of her.

Regardless, it appears that Greenup Miller's true wishes were upheld with the help of folks who chose to do the right thing.


Copyright 2015 by Charles Hartley, Shepherdsville KY. All rights are reserved. No part of the content of this page may be included in any format in any place without the written permission of the copyright holder.


The Bullitt County History Museum, a service of the Bullitt County Genealogical Society, is located in the county courthouse at 300 South Buckman Street (Highway 61) in Shepherdsville, Kentucky. The museum, along with its research room, is open 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday; and from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Thursday. Admission is free. The museum, as part of the Bullitt County Genealogical Society, is a 501(c)3 tax exempt organization and is classified as a 509(a)2 public charity. Contributions and bequests are deductible under section 2055, 2106, or 2522 of the Internal Revenue Code. Page last modified: 12 Sep 2017 . Page URL: bullittcountyhistory.org/memories/miller.html