LaSalle County

Celeste Miller


Ottawa Daily Republican Times

February 9, 1928



News have been received in Ottawa of the death at Phoenix, Ariz., of Miss CELESTE J. MILLER, former Ottawa resident, who is said to have been the most traveled woman in the world.  Miss Miller died Monday at the age of 82 years.

Her body is to be taken to Princeton, Ill., her birthplace, for burial.  Miss Miller had traveled constantly since 1874.  She had circled the
globe 32 times, having returned to Chicago from her last trip in the spring of 1927.  At that time she told friends she had traveled nearly
1,000,000 miles and had never tired of it.  Since leaving Ottawa she had maintained a permanent home at the Auditorium hotel in Chicago, but never remained in one place long at a time.

Her constant traveling took her to almost every nook and corner of the world.  She was known to steamship officers, hotel employees
and custom officials nearly everywhere.  She had crossed the Sinai desert on a camel, ridden through Palestine and Syria on horseback,
traversed the state of Rajpootna, India aboard an elephant, paddled a canoe up the Amazon, the Ganges, the Congo, the Pongo, and
climbed 12,000 feet up the Himalayas.

Always Traveled Alone

She traveled alone and was never afraid of bandit or highwayman, regardless of nationality or religion.  Having had several experiences
in her earlier trips with molesters in out-of-the-way corners of the map, where police weren't available or one could speak her language,
she provided herself with a stout heavy cane.  With that cane she whacked two bandits who attempted to rob her in Maila and put them
to flight and had used it on a Nubian guide who was escorting her across a Moroccan desert.

Miss Miller particularly prided herself on the number of remote places she had visited.  "I have been compelled to sleep with sheep,
chickens, goats, geese, donkeys, horses, and cows because of lack of hotel accommodations," she once said.

Other women had traveled around the world, but Miss Miller was the first to start out without an escort.  It was her boast that she could care for herself in any situation or climate.  She spoke only English, and she never experienced serious difficulty in making herself understood.  She used the sign language, she said.  When she wanted chicken, of which she was very fond, she would clap her hands and crow, and found that she nearly always got chicken.

Miss Miller's father was HENRY F. MILLER, one of the pioneer settlers in Illinois, who accumulated a fortune in real estate.  He was one of the settlers who was driven away from the little settlement on Lake Michigan by the Blackfoot Indians.  He later built the first brick house in Hyde Park, Chicago.                            

Family Lived in Ottawa

The family came to Ottawa from Princeton and resided here for many years.  Miss Miller's sister, the late Mrs. RUTH BROWER, was one of the pioneer Ottawa business women, having conducted a music store on Madison street here for many years.

Miss Miller is an aunt of FRANK J. BEACH, former Dayton township resident, who is now living in California, and of JULIAN F. BREWER, of Chicago, who was former United States consul to Central America.

She was in Ottawa a few years ago for a visit with Mr. and Mrs. L. W. BREWER, on Congress street.  Mr. Brewer being her cousin.  At that time she had just returned from a journey around the world.

Miss Miller is a stockholder in the First National bank and the First Trust company, she having maintained her business relations here from the time she was an Ottawa resident.

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