gmhTODAY 09 gmhToday July Aug 2016 - Page 69

There were many differences of opinion between father- in-law and son-in-law concerning how to manage and con- tinue the business empire. There were certainly differences in terms of Mr. Miller’s “hands-on” approach and attention to detail and his work ethic was non-stop. Mr. Nickle was a lawyer who most likely did not often participate in the cattle drives, yet he knew that refrigeration technology and feedlot operations were drastically changing the ranching and meat packing businesses. Plus, a whole new animal had appeared on the scene in 1913 — the establishment of the income tax system. It would be impossible to pass on the Miller and Lux estate to the next generation while keeping its assets intact. So, Mr. Nickel decided to start selling off properties, and reducing their workforce to consolidate operations. Mr. Miller, who had a reputation of almost never selling pasture land and never entertaining a thought of retrenching his business, must have experienced his famous German temper boiling over. Henry Miller did authorize one interesting local land sale 120 years ago to the Coe Brothers in 1896. The Coe’s, Charles and Henry Jr. (Harry), were astute cattle ranchers in their own right; filing homestead claims and buying land from other homesteaders who were selling out. According to the Pine Ridge Association history, the brothers had a knack for identifying the best land, “land that contained year ‘round springs and broad meadows for grazing and raising hay. When the cattle baron, Henry Miller agreed to sell the Miller Field on the east fork of Coyote Creek they were especially pleased.” At the Coe Park Visitor Center there is a photo of the Miller Field with a group of cowboys posing in front of the Miller Cabin after a cattle roundup. According to Harry’s son, “forty, fifty guys came in to help gather the cattle into a holding pen that was nearly 250 acres in size. They did [their] branding there.” My last anniversary story also begins in 1916 and has to do with my favorite local character, Charles Kellogg. In his book, The Nature Singer, Charles relates how he once was on tour as a vaudeville performer, delighting the audiences with his bird songs and his outdoor adventures, when he spoke of the tragedy of all birds that were being killed for sport and for fashion. In the crowd were a couple of ladies who were dressed with beautiful hats adorned with bird feathers. They were most certainly embarrassed by all the attention and probably never wore those hats again. Bird populations at the turn of the century were sharply declining due to the “indis- criminate slaughter” for market hunting and fashion trends. Springtime hunting was the norm as many bird species were then making their way to their nesting grounds. The obvious devastation provoked a dramatic government response — the first international conservation agreement was negotiated between Canada and the United States. It was called the Migratory Birds Convention of 1916, and typically the second Saturday of May is the official celebration. With the 100 th year anniversary, I visited the Don Edwards National Wildlife Refuge at Alviso and was treated to a wonderful walk with geese, mallards, pelicans, egrets and herons soaring above the marshlands. GILROY • MORGAN HILL • SAN MARTIN Voted #1 Dance Studio in 2016 JULY / AUGUST 2016 69