Captain James Blaine Miller

Captain James Miller (1883 - 1915), 32, was of the U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey Service. He was from Erie, Pennsylvania, United States. He had been involved in the heroic rescue of the steamer Tahoma off the Alaskan coast in 1914. In 1915, he was to report to a new job in Washington, D.C., but decided to go to Scotland aboard Cameronia to study engineering at the University of Glasgow. Cameronia was requisitioned and Miller was transferred to Lusitania. His ticket aboard Lusitania was 013431 and his cabin was A-33. Miller was lost when the Lusitania was torpedoed and sunk.


James Blaine Miller was born in 1883 in Erie, Pennsylvania to Thomas C. and Emma J. Miller. He had a younger sister, Adena (later Adena Miller Rich), and a younger brother, Thomas C. Miller, Jr. James graduated from Oberlin College in Ohio in 1903 and joined the U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey Service (USC&GS) after graduation. Miller worked his way up to captain, where he became commander of the U.S. cutter Paterson, which patrolled the North Pacific. His work primarily focused on surveying the Hawaiian Islands and the Alaskan coast. On 20 September 1914, Miller responded to an SOS from the steamship Tahoma, which was run aground on an uncharted reef off the Alaskan coast. Miller commanded an underpowered ship through the stormy seas to the distressed Tahoma 300 miles away. Miller's ship was one of three that rescued the 87 officers and crew of the Tahoma, taking them to the safety of Unalaska, Alaska. Miller's ship and his crew rescued 29. Miller returned to Erie, Pennsylvania in April 1915, where his parents still lived in Fairview Township. He also had a younger sister and brother with whom he corresponded. For his rescue of the Tahoma, he was lauded as "One of Erie's Best and Noblest Sons." Miler was to report to Washington, D.C., for a new assignment. However, Miller decided to take a leave of absence and study engineering at Glasgow University instead. To do so, he booked passage on the Cameronia. The British Admiralty requisitioned Cameronia just before sailing, and Miller and other passengers and crew were transferred to Lusitania, leaving 1 May 1915. Captain Miller was among the those lost in the torpedoing and sinking of the Lusitania. His body was recovered, #13. He was survived by his parents and younger sister and brother. He had never married. Miller family brought their case to the Mixed Claims Commission where they were awarded $15,000 for the loss of James' life and $3,650 for lost property.

Related pages

Captain James Blaine Miller at the Mixed Claims Commission

Links of interest

James Blaine Miller's Ships of Fate Coast and Geodetic Survey Heritage
Contributors Sabina Shields Freeman Judith Tavares References Mixed Claims Commission, Docket No. 236., page 425. Freeman, Sabina Shields. "James Blaine Miller's Ships of Fate." Hi Flight Press. Web. 10 July 2011. <>.

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