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Flavil (Flannels) Miller
Born:  December 27, 1927
Died:  May 7, 2021
WFMD Frederick, MD
WHJB Greensburg, PA
WILE Cambridge, OH
WWVA Wheeling, WV

About The Artist

Flavil (Flannels) Reed Miller was a quality country fiddler active from 1944 at the WWVA Jamboree and briefly elsewhere. He was born to parents John Earl and Lela (LaFollette) Miller. The 1930 U.S. Census shows the family living in Jackson, OH; Flavil was two years old at the time.

In this period he worked with Doc and Chickie Williams, the Davis Twins, Toby Stroud, and Gay Schwing and the Gang from the Hills, eventually marrying the Schwing daughter Ramona.

In June of 1945, Flannels along with Tex King had joined up with the Joe and Shirley Barker gang on WWVA.

In December 1945, Mary Jean Shurtz was gushing about the impression that Flannels Miller had made with her as part of the Doc Williams' Border Riders group. She said she had heard a lot about him but was not prepared for what she saw.

He is just about the cutest thing, galls, only 18, and still single! Flannels has bee on radio since he was seven years old, started with his sister with the Vagabonds in Canton, Ohio. Then joined up at WWVA. Doc Hopkins says that Flannels is just what he's been after for a long time. He's something a log of young fellows are built up as — and ain't &emdash; a swell, unspoiled youngster, despite his good looks. He's six feet tall, has dark brown hair and gray eyes. He's really a treat to look at, and the gals all call him the "Van Johnson of the Border Riders." Flannels plays the fiddle, banjo, bass, guitar and almost any musical instrument in the old time band that you can mention. And I mean he PLAYS them! A very good singer, and an excellent comedian without makeup, for he puts his work across by facial expressions, voice, etc. Flannels gave us some of our best laughs since we've been attending radio shows.

Mary Jean Shurtz told readers in March 1946 that Flannels ("the boy the gals all like") had come back to WWVA and was part of the Toby Stroud group. By September 1946, Flannels had joined Gay Schwing's troup and they were being heard over WHJB in Greensburg, Pennsylvania.

Mary Jean Shurtz told readers in mid-1948 that Dallas Bond and the Musical Farmers were on the new radio station WILE (1270am) in Cambridge, Ohio. She mentions another fiddle player, Joe Stillions and "Butter Cup" - a comedian and also played the mandolin.

In mid-1948, National Hillbilly News readers learned that Flannels was part of a troup entertaining folks on Saturdays over a new radio station — WILE in Cambridge, Ohio. The show was named "Musical Roundup." The group of entertainers on that show included Flannels Miller on fiddle; Dallas Bond on guitar and vocals; Steve Poloscak, accordion; Leonard Patterson on bass; Evelyn Miller, vocalist (yodeling Farmette), 12-year old Donald George, singer; and, Cindy Coy on guitar and yodels.

Promo Ad - Mount Gretna Park - Aug 19465 - Flannels Miller; Mac Wiseman
Promo Ad - School Auditorium; Pleasant Unity; Latrobe, PA - Gay Schwing; Flannels Miller - April 1947
Promo Ad - Doc Williams; Border Riders; Flannels Miller; Latrobe, PA; November 1945

Then he left music, becoming a Church of Christ minister. He pastored churches in Ohio, chiefly in Millersburg in the heart of Amish country.

Promo Ad - Gospel Meeting Church of Christ; Millersburg, OH; Flavil Miller; October 1976
Promo Ad - Church of Christ - Vacation Bible School; Flavil Miller; Coschocton, OH; August 1976

Flannels Miller - Old time Fiddle Tunes - Cassette - 1990 Retiring from the pulpit full time, Flannels became musically active again in the early 1980's and joined a part-time group called the Get-Along Gang. They entertained in nursing homes and for other local events.

Although Miller is not known to have made any recordings during his early years as a full-time musician, he played on at least one of their compact discs, Reminiscing with the Get Along Gang. He resided in retirement in the village of Old Washington , Ohio. He also became a craftsman of note, making some twenty-one fiddles and a few other instruments as well.

Still in fine form into the 1990's, Miller also recorded a pair cassettes, released on compact disc under the title 50 Years of Fiddle.

I (Ivan Tribe) was honored by his playing gratis at one of the open houses that I had prior to my 2007 retirement from the University of Rio Grande as did a couple of other members of the Get-Along Gang. By 2010, however, Flannels began to slow down and eventually moved to Cambridge, Ohio.

His first wife Ramona Schwing died on January 20, 1981 in Millersburg, OH. Her obituary mentions that she married Flavil in 1946. The couple had two sons (Gary and Bruce) and two daughters (Marca and Mona).

Flavil remarried on February 5, 1982 to Verna Glenn Hite who survived him along with two daughters and a son as well as several step children. Verna was previously married to Nick Fleagane; their marriage was dissolved on July 21, 1980.

Credits & Sources

  • Hillbilly-Music.com would like to express its thanks to Ivan M. Tribe, author of Mountaineer Jamboree — Country Music in West Virginia and other books that can be found on Amazon.com and numerous articles in other publications for providing us with information about this artist.
  • I've Been Listenin'; Floy Case; June 1945; The Mountain Broadcast and Prairied Recorder; Mountain Broadcast Pub. Co.; New York, NY
  • I've Been Listenin'; Floy Case; December 1945; The Mountain Broadcast and Prairied Recorder; Mountain Broadcast Pub. Co.; New York, NY
  • I've Been Listenin'; Floy Case; March 1946; The Mountain Broadcast and Prairied Recorder; Mountain Broadcast Pub. Co.; New York, NY
  • I've Been Listenin'; Floy Case; September 1946; The Mountain Broadcast and Prairied Recorder; Mountain Broadcast Pub. Co.; New York, NY
  • Obituaries: Romona Miller (note: s/b Ramona); January 21, 1981; The Tribune; Coshocton, OH
  • One Hillbilly Fan To Another; Mary Jean Shurtz; May / June 1948; National Hillbilly News; Mr. and Mrs. Orville Via; Huntington, WV
  • Cincy Coy; Arlie Kinkade; July/August 1948; National Hillbilly News; Mr. and Mrs. Orville Via; Huntington, WV
  • Cowboy Music World News Roundup; Texas Frank; January / February 1945; Frank Karpinski; Beechhurst, NY

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