Dr. Charles C. Miller, or C.C. Miller, was an American commercial beekeeper. His beekeeping operation was the largest comb honey producer in the United States at its peak.
Miller was also an inventor, songwriter and authored the books Fifty Years Among Bees and A Thousand Answers to Beekeeping Questions. His peers widely respected him, and he was a popular American Bee Journal columnist.
|Name||Dr. Charles C. Miller|
|Born||June 10, 1831|
|Place of Birth||Ligonier, PA|
|Died||September 4, 1920|
|Occupation||Beekeeper, author, inventor|
|Notable Beekeeping Achievements||Wrote Fifty Years Among the Bees and A Thousand Answers to Beekeeping Questions. Inventor of the Miller queen rearing method. North America’s biggest comb honey producer.|
The early life of C.C. Miller
Miller was born in 1831 in Ligonier, Pennsylvania, to parents Johnson and Phoebe. He was part of a large family with four other siblings.
When Miller was ten, his father died, so money was scarce for the remaining family. C.C. took several years off school to help support his mother.
Miller attended the University of Michigan and had to undertake various jobs to make ends meet. His knowledge of German, coupled with excellent ornamental penmanship, landed him a job filling in the names on diplomas for two commencements.
He also worked as a gardener, peddled maps, clerked at a local town election, and taught singing.
This last undertaking was a bit reckless, for when I arrived at Schenectady, I had only about thirty dollars, with nothing to rely on except what I might pick up by the way to help me in college. I had a horror of being in debt, and so was on the alert for any work, no matter what its nature, so it was honest, by which I could earn something to help carry me through.Dr. C.C. Miller.
Miller received his M.D. at the age of 24 and practiced medicine in Earlville, Illinois, for around two years. He decided to stop practicing medicine for health reasons and fear of providing the wrong advice. Instead, he took up teaching.
It did not take more than a year for me to find out that I had not a sufficient stock of health myself to take care of that of others, especially as I was morbidly anxious lest some lack of judgment on my part should prove a serious matter with someone under my care. So, with much regret I gave up my chosen profession.Dr. C.C. Miller.
How did C.C. Miller start beekeeping?
Miller built a successful career teaching and was soon promoted to public school principal. However, he needed greater mental stimulation, so when his wife caught a swarm of honey bees on their porch, he jumped at the opportunity to learn more about keeping them.
As his hive numbers increased, he transitioned from his teaching career to focus solely on bees.
Note: This article is part of our series dedicated to influential beekeepers that made a difference.
C.C. Miller’s achievements in beekeeping
- Honey production: built a successful business selling comb honey, owning four apiaries with up to 400 hives. At its peak in 1897, his colonies produced 17,150 pounds of honey.
- Beekeeping journals: was a popular contributor and later became an associate editor at the American Bee Journal. He also wrote for Gleaning in Bee Culture and was promoted to department head.
- Book publications: wrote various books including A Year Among Bees (1886), Forty Years Among the Bees (1903), Fifty Years Among the Bees (1911), and A Thousand Answers to Beekeeping Questions (1917).
- Inventions: inventor of the Miller Tent Escape, Miller Feeder, and Miller’s Introducing Cage.
- Queen rearing: introduced the Miller queen rearing method, which is still used by some beekeepers today.
- Leadership: was twice elected president of the National Bee Keepers Union.
- Composer: wrote the music for many bee-related songs, including The Bee March, The Hum of the Bees in the Apple Tree Tops, Beekeepers’ Convention Song, and The Beekeepers’ Reunion Song.
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Fifty Years Among Bees Summary
Don’t have time to read the classic Fifty Years Among Bees? We’ve summarized the whole book below. Click below to reveal the summary of his writings.
The legacy of C.C. Miller
Dr. C.C. Miller died on September 4th, 1921. As a memorial, a group of the top beekeeping journals raised funds to purchase beekeeping literature. The collection, including Miller’s works, was donated to the University of Wisconsin at Madison, Wisconsin.
Over time, additional collections were bequeathed to the library, resulting in the world’s most extensive collection of beekeeping literature.
Miller was an exceptional beekeeper whose ideas and methods are still used by modern beekeepers. Read more about the Miller Method of queen rearing here.