James Joy Miller
Date of birth: May 26, 1886
Place of birth: Detroit, Michigan
Date of death: December 31, 1965(1965-12-31) (aged 79)
Career information
Position(s): End, Halfback, Quarterback
College: University of Michigan

James Joy Miller (May 26, 1886 - December 31, 1965)[1] was an American football player.

Biography[edit | edit source]

Miller was born in Detroit, Michigan in 1886. His father, James G. Miller, was the secretary of the Union Depot Railroad in Detroit. Miller attended Detroit Central High School where he won varsity letters in football, baseball and basketball.[2] The Detroit Free Press called him "one of the best known athletes Detroit ever has turned out."[2] Miller was considered one of Detroit's best basketball players on defense and played end for Detroit Central's football team.[2] The Free Press in 1907 described his high school football career as follows:

"Joy Miller was one of the best ends that ever played on the Central High school; valuable on both attack and defense, a sure tackler and powerful in the interference. Plays sent around his end usually went to pieces for little or no gain, and opposing backs have reason to remember the vigor and certainty of his tackling."[3]

In addition to playing for Detroit Central High School, Miller also played football and basketball for the Detroit Athletic Club teams.[2]

Miller enrolled at the University of Michigan in 1906 but was not eligible to play varsity football until his sophomore year in 1907. He played in several games for the 1907 Michigan Wolverines football team, including the rivalry game against the University of Pennsylvania. He started three games for the 1907 team, two at the left end position and one at the left halfback position.[4] Despite having played a substantial part in several games, team captain Paul Magoffin did award Miller a varsity "M" in 1907. Miller elected not to play football in 1908, but he returned to the football team in 1909.

In 1909, Miller started all seven games for the Wolverines, six at right end and one at quarterback.[5] He played the first seven games at the end position and was switched to quarterback without notice to quarterback for the season's final game against the University of Minnesota. According to the Detroit Free Press, "Miller won a high place in the admiration of his teammates through his stellar work at quarterback in the Minnesota game."[6]

At the end of the 1909 season, Miller was elected by his teammate to be captain of the 1910 team.[6] However, in December 1910, Miller became embroiled in a scandal that attracted national newspaper coverage when it was discovered that he had played the 1909 football season without registering for or attending classes during the fall semester. The Board in Control of Athletics stripped him of his selection as team captain and his varsity letter in December 1909. Following an investigation and resolution of the University of Michigan Student Council, the University of Michigan Engineering Faculty expelled Joy from the university in January 1910.[7][8][9] Joy disappeared for several months during and after the investigation and expulsion and was discovered in March 1910 wandering in western Canada. Joy claimed to have lost all memory of his identity and past events.[10][11]

In a draft registration card completed by Miller in September 1918, he indicated that he was a resident of Highland Park, Michigan, working in the moving and storage business.[12] At the time of the 1920 Census, James J. Miller, age 33, was a resident of Highland Park, Michigan, along with his wife Edith, son Henry L., and daughter Janet. He listed his occupation as vice president of a storage company.[13] At the time of the 1930 Census, James J. Miller, age 43, was a resident of Grosse Ile, Michigan, along with his wife Edith, son Leonard, and daughter Janet. He listed his occupation as vice president of a warehouse.[14]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Bentley Historical Library Necrology File.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 "Second Time Miller Has Missed 'M' After Earning It". Detroit Free Press. 1909-12-24.
  3. "Detroiters Are Rivals: Miller and Wasmund Candidates for Quarter". Detroit Free Press. 1907-09-25.
  4. "1907 Michigan Football Team". University of Michigan, Bentley Historical Library. http://bentley.umich.edu/athdept/football/fbteam/1907fbt.htm. Retrieved 2010-03-28.
  5. "1909 Michigan Football Team". University of Michigan, Bentley Historical Library. http://bentley.umich.edu/athdept/football/fbteam/1909fbt.htm. Retrieved 2010-03-28.
  6. 6.0 6.1 "Joy Miller Is U. of M. Leader: Detroit Boy Chosen Captain of the Wolverine Team for 1910 Season". Detroit Free Press. 1909-11-30.
  7. "Joy Miller's Disgrace: Michigan Football Player's Classmen Vote To Expel Him". The New York Times. 1910-01-08. http://query.nytimes.com/mem/archive-free/pdf?res=9805E0DD1139E333A2575BC0A9679C946196D6CF.
  8. "Football Scandal in Michigan Team: J. Joy Miller Is Repudiated as Captain and His Letter 'M' Recalled; Not Enrolled in Any Class; Ann Arbor Collegians Apologize to All of the Five Teams They Played with Miller in Line-Up". The New York Times. 1910-12-24.
  9. "Michigan Expels Miller: Football Player Said to Be Wandering About in Dazed Condition". The New York Times. 1910-01-15. http://query.nytimes.com/mem/archive-free/pdf?res=9806E7DC1139E333A25756C1A9679C946196D6CF.
  10. "Football Player Missing: Michigan's Deposed Captain Disappeared from Detroit Jan. 4". The New York Times. 1910-01-13. http://query.nytimes.com/mem/archive-free/pdf?res=9C02EED91730E233A25750C1A9679C946196D6CF.
  11. "Joy Miller Is Found In Canada -- Mind Deranged: Missing Michigan Football Player Is Discovered in Manitoba Province". The Milwaukee Sentinel. 1910-01-28. http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=U1JAAAAAIBAJ&sjid=9AkEAAAAIBAJ&pg=6775,4197930&dq=miller+canada+deranged&hl=en.
  12. Draft card completed by James Joy Miller, dated 9/12/18. Ancestry.com. World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918 [database on-line]. Registration Location: Wayne County, Michigan; Roll: 1675661; Draft Board: 0.
  13. Ancestry.com. 1920 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Census Place: Highland Park, Wayne, Michigan; Roll: T625_801; Page: 5B; Enumeration District: 715; Image: 949.
  14. Ancestry.com. 1930 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Census Place: Grosse Ile, Wayne, Michigan; Roll: 1072; Page: 6A; Enumeration District: 924; Image: 552.0.
Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.