Dec. 15, 1884 Spalding Greeley County Nebraska, USA
Jul. 5, 1973 Chandler Lincoln County Oklahoma, USA
COY JANE EARP MILLER spent her entire life caring for others. Born December 15, 1884, near Spalding in Greeley County, Nebraska, she was the eldest of twelve children born to William Asbury and Mary Francis (Wright) Earp. When Coy was only seven years old, her parents loaded their family into a covered wagon and headed for Oklahoma Territory. Her mother, pregnant with her sixth child, was ill on the trip, and Coy helped her father cook for the family over an open campfire on the way to Oklahoma.
William A. Earp settled his family, in 1892, near Stroud, in Lincoln County, Oklahoma. Coy was to remain a resident of Lincoln County for the rest of her life. The oldest child and daughter of the family, she grew up helping her mother care for her large brood of 6 sons and 5 daughters--cooking, sewing, cleaning. Coy's sister, Ona, remembered the elaborate dresses Coy sewed for her younger sisters and what "wonderful biscuits she made." She remembered that, even on her wedding day, Coy was concerned about how the family would manage without her and who would help look after all of them.
Coy married Philip Otis Miller on December 25, 1907, at the home of her grandparents near Chandler. As his wife, she worked hard as the mother of three daughters, and the wife of both a farmer and a minister of the gospel. She was acquainted with both hard work and grief, losing a daughter to typhoid fever in 1912 and her husband to a chronic illness, less than a year after the death of her father. Coy brought her husband's body home to Lincoln County on the train, accompanied by her two small daughters, and buried him in the Stroud Cemetery there. Her daughter, Opal, remembers waking up during the night, while sleeping next to her mother, and feeling the bed shaking with her mother's sobs. Outwardly, however, Coy appeared brave and calm, taking in washing and selling eggs to support herself and her two daughters.
In later years, Coy rented out her own home and moved across the street to her mother's house to look after "Ma." She lived there several years, looking after her mother, keeping house, and cooking for the Sunday dinners, when the large family gathered at "Ma's" every Sunday after church, the children playing on the grassy cellar top behind the house and nibbling on the raw mint that grew there.
As "Grandma" to her five grandchildren, she came to stay when the babies were born, served as the only baby sitter her grandchildren ever knew, and always had gingersnaps and lemon drops to slip to her granddaughters every Sunday after church. Some of the best memories that I (her granddaughter) have of her include walking with her the block and one-half from her house to the church on Sunday mornings to ring the church bell (Grandma walked very fast and I had to skip to keep up), going with her on Saturdays while she cleaned the church, and "helping" her gather eggs which she bundled using her apron as a basket. Grandma baked the unleavened bread and bought the grape juice, used for communion services at our church. My sister and I were always eager to see how much grape juice was left, following the service, because Grandma let us drink it--we didn't care much for the unleavened bread, but we did like the grape juice!
Her own failing health finally ended her life of service to others. Coy passed away July 5, 1973, at Chandler, Oklahoma, with both of her daughters present. Her death finalized several years of poor health. She was buried in the Stroud Cemetery, beside her husband, having survived him for 48 years as his widow.
Several years after her death, the words to her favorite song were found, tucked between the pages of her Bible:
"Every hour and every day Every moment in every way, I'm leaning on Jesus, the Rock of my soul; I'm singing His praises wherever I go."