Zeke Miller was an African American who worked as a deputy U.S. marshal in the Central District of Indian Territory from 1894 to 1907. Although he hunted down numerous outlaws, Miller never had to shoot a man to make an arrest, nor was he ever injured on duty. Originally from Ohio, where he worked as a mine inspector, Miller relocated to Indian Territory and was recommended for the job of deputy U.S. marshal. Initially stationed at Alderson, Choctaw Nation, Miller later was moved to the Central District headquarters at McAlester. Besides his reputation of never being wounded, Miller was remembered for the rapport he had with his large, black stallion. On a number of different occasions the horse saved him from injury or, possibly, death, not just with its athleticism but by warning the lawman of impending danger. Miller was also known for his efforts to reform young outlaws. After one young offenders was arrested for bank robbery and sent to prison, Miller showed his concern by sending him letters, books, and reading material so that the young man might educate himself and find a better way of life. After 1907 Oklahoma statehood Miller changed professions and worked in the timber industry. Zeke Miller succumbed to Bright's disease in 1909 and is buried at Alderson.
BIBLIOGRAPHY: Art T. Burton, Black, Red, and Deadly: Black and Indian Gunfighers of the Indian Territory, 1870-1907 (Austin, Tex.: Eakin Press, 1991). Nudie Williams, "Black Men Who Wore the Star," The Chronicles of Oklahoma 59 (Spring 1981).
Art T. Burton
© Oklahoma Historical Society