Criminal History

Criminal History 

September 24, 1910 – California:   At age 36, Nelson Miller was convicted in Fresno, CA, on two counts of embezzlement and sentenced to a total of 9 years at Folsom Prison, Prisoner #7687, after stealing a buggy and harnesses and nine cows for resale. His brother L.C. Miller, also jailed in connection with the charges, alleged to be a victim of his brother’s “avarice and criminality.”  He implicated Nelson “ . . . in the abandonment of his wife and five children, the elopement with another man’s wife, a series of shady transactions that cover from the Mississippi River to the Pacific coast and robbery of his brother of negotiable securities valued at about $21,000.”

During his arrest in 1910 under the alias of C.R. Books and Chas Bradley, Nelson admitted perpetrating “swindles” in Oregon and Idaho.  While awaiting trial, the Fresno County Sheriff received information that convinced him Nelson Miller was likely a man known at Homer Kern wanted in Texas for attempted swindle of ranch property.  Harrison Miller (Nelson’s brother) is mentioned as an accomplice.  He was also wanted in Rochelle, IL, for forgery.  

November 3, 1915 – Minnesota :  After serving 5 years in California, Nelson was paroled to his brother, Harrison (Hiram) Miller in Owatonna, MN.  Harrison Miller, a convicted felon, had been released from the Iowa State Penitentiary two years earlier after serving four years for Cheating by False Pretenses (swindle).

September 18, 1916 – Minnesota:  Nelson was arrested in Blue Earth, MN, and charged with sodomy of a 15-year-old boy.  He was held in the county jail for 55 days pending trial.  He was released November 12, 1916, when a Grand Jury could not indict him on the charge.  It is not unusual for the victim in such cases, especially juveniles, to refuse to testify.  The day before his release, his son, going by the name Ralph Blair, was arrested for Grand Larceny and placed in the same Blue Earth County Jail.  Ralph was later found guilty and served three years at the MN State Reformatory. 

July – October, 1920 – South Dakota:  Using the name Gustave Blair, Nelson, his son Ralph, and his brother Andrew Miller attempted to swindle farmers and land owners of $60,000 in Aberdeen, South Dakota.  Gustave Blair was arrested at the Northwestern Depot attempting to leave the city.  His son, Ralph, escaped a week earlier in a car he purchased with a bogus check, and Andrew is thought to have escaped on the train departing the depot.  Gustave was convicted of obtaining property under false pretenses and sentenced to three years in State Prison in Sioux Falls, SD.  He served 15 months of his three year sentence and was paroled January 19, 1922.  He later applied for immunity after his imprisonment, but no announcement that it was granted has been found.

August 15, 1929 – Omaha, NE:  Seven years after his release from State Prison in SD, Nelson, as Gustave Blair, and Cora Eversole of Chicago, IL, were issued a marriage license.  Since there is no record he and Ida Miller divorced, it is likely this constituted bigamy.

Based on available records, Nelson Miller as Gustave Blair appears to have committed other crimes in his pursuit to prove he was Charley Ross, including perjury, subornation of perjury, and forgery.