Washington Evening Journal

Fairfield Ledger   Mt. Pleasant News
Neighbors Growing Together | Nov 20, 2017

Tour honoring Miller to end in Washington

By David Hotle | May 01, 2017
Local actor Rosemary Harris does a portrayal of Ola Babcock Miller. Miller will be honored Sunday with a vehicle tour from Des Moines to Washington.


A commemorative tour honoring Eunice Viola “Ola” Babcock Miller, the founder of the Iowa State Patrol and the first female Iowa Secretary of State, will be held Sunday, May 7 and will travel from Des Moines to Miller’s final resting place in Washington.

The Mother Road Tour, or “Miller’s Patrol”, is scheduled to begin at 8 a.m. at the Ola Babcock Miller building, there Gov. Terry Branstad, Iowa Commissioner of Public Safety Roxann Ryan, and Iowa State Patrol colonel Jeff Ritzman making comments honoring Miller.

At 8:30 a.m. the tour of enforcement and vintage vehicles will leave with a 1935 Ford leading the event.

At 10 a.m. coffee and Dutch Letters will be presented on the square in Oskaloosa. The group will depart for Washington at 10:30 a.m. The group is scheduled to arrive in Elm Grove Cemetery in Washington at 11:45 a.m. with a commemorative service scheduled to begin at noon with the Iowa State Patrol chaplain and bagpipes.

At 1 p.m. lunch will be held around the square with special entertainment planned. At 2:30 p.m. the tour will depart Washington to return to Des Moines with no stops planned.

Miller (March 1, 1871 – Jan. 25, 1937) was a strong political figure. She was born in Washington County and she and her family later moved to Washington. She attended Iowa Wesleyan College. She married Andrew Miller and taught in rural schools. Her daughter Ophelia married George Gallup, founder of the Gallup Poll.

She was elected Secretary of State in 1932 as a Democrat. Motivated by the death of a friend’s son, she initiated the patrol on Aug. 1, 1934 without official authority to do so. The group consisted of 15 motor vehicle inspectors tasked with helping to reduce highway accident rate by stopping violators. Her perseverance encouraged the 46th general assembly to sign a bill for the 53- member Iowa Highway Safety Patrol. Gov. Clyde Herring signed the bill into law on May 7, 1935. The group later became the Iowa State Patrol. She died of pneumonia in Des Moines. Over 1,500 people attended her funeral at the Washington Methodist Church.

The objectives of the tour are to raise awareness to the role and significance of enforcement in guiding quality of life; as a recruitment tour for those interested in learning more about the Iowa State Patrol; to increase the significance of the heritage of Miller; to provide the opportunity for individuals and the public to financially support the legacy of the Iowa State Patrol; to encourage the use of no litter hotlines; and to celebrate the founder of the Iowa State Patrol and encourage highway safety.




Comments (1)
Posted by: Mary Daniel | May 09, 2017 14:38

I believe she married ALEX ... not Andrew Miller. He was a newspaper editor, so I know he'd appreciate how easily an error could be made.

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