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Nicholas Murrell Page

NICHOLAS-MURRELL-PAGEs The name of Nicholas Page is so closely associated with the  history of Miller School that there can be no more appropriate time or place than this to give the leading facts in his life and pay a due and fitting tribute to his memory.

Nicholas Murrell Page was born hear Greenfield, Nelson County, Virginia, November 2d, 1810. In 1814 the family moved to Adair County, Kentucky, In 1827 Nicholas returned to his native town and in the early thirties went into business. A few years later, however, he moved to Batesville, Virginia, and there, with his uncle, Jon. H. Rodes, began the mercantile business, which was continued until the outbreak of the Civil War. It was while keeping store at Batesville that he became acquainted with Samuel Miller. Mr. Miller had located his mother and sister on a farm which is now a part of the Miller School property, and Mr. Page furnished them supplies from his store. At the end of each year, Mr. Page sent in his bill, or presented it in person to Mr. Miller in Lynchburg. Mr. Page was constantly consulted as to all improvements and additions to be made to Mrs. Miller’s house and farm. The business relations thus begun between the two men ripened into a lasting friendship.

In 1859 Mr. Miller made his will, naming Samuel N. McCorkle, Nicholas M. Page and Chiswell Dabney as executors. Of these, only Mr. Page survived Mr. Miller. Upon the death of Samuel Miller, Mr. Page went to Lynchburg to enter upon the delicate and intricate duties of settling the estate. He found everything in utter confusion; valuable papers were scattered here and there, parties were preparing to contest the will, and serious legal difficulties on all sides, owing to the status of the courts in the Reconstruction period. He temporarily saved the estate by transferring the probation of the Miller will from Lynchburg to Richmond. New obstacles presenting themselves, he employed as counsel the late Judge Wm. J. Roberson, the late John F. Slaughter, and the Hon. Robert T. Craighill. After a great legal battle, running through five years, a compromise was effected, the suites against the estate were dismissed, and Executor Page was able, after all legacies and court and lawyers’ fees had been paid, to turn over to the Board of Trustees for the establishment and perpetual support of the Miller Manual Labor School of Albemarle more than $1,000,000.

After this great and lasting work had been finished, Mr. Page returned to Batesville and engaged in farming, which he continued until near the end of his long and useful life. He died at the home of his son, Dr. R. L. Page, January 24th, 1902, in his ninety-second year.

Mr. Page will always be remembered as a man of shrewd business sense and incorruptible integrity. Both of these characteristics no doubt made an early and lasting impression on Samuel Miller, so much so that when he made his will, involving the disposition of millions of dollars, he directed that no security be required of Mr. Page and the other executors. When we think of the chances of fraud that were in easy reach of Mr. Page, and of the immense amount of money he could have taken to himself as sole executor, we wonder whether he was tempted. Whether he was or not, no man has ever said that Nicholas Page put one cent in his pocket that did not rightly belong to him. He deserves the lasting gratitude of the people of Virginia for his management of the estate, and the Miller School owes to his memory the deepest reverence as one of its best and most faithful friends.

~Article taken from Blue Ridge Blast, 1905