(Note: This is a sad and infamous story that occurred in Klickitat County
The story was submitted by Sarah Elizabeth Tebbs)
Lucille "Ernestine" Miller
Born July 17, 1914 in Klickitat County
Daughter of Ellen C [Hastings] & Otis Miller
1931 Goldendale High School graduate
School teacher in Lyle, Washington
Killed November 28, 1938
Lyle Teacher Killed By Stalker
A sheep herder named Robert Kiener 38 years old, immigrated to the United States in 1922, and settled in Goldendale. He met Ernestine and wanted to court her and marry her. Ernestine took Robert to a few dances, but that was all. He thought she was also in love with him. He tried commiting suicide in jail, after being taken to jail for stalking Ernestine, all because she refused to marry him. (Ernestine was engaged to a man named Neal Watson at the time)
After the Thanksgiving vacation Ernestine and her mother were going back to Lyle so Ernestine could resume teaching. Robert forced his car along Ernestine's and drove her off the road.
Robert jumped out of his car and was running towards her car with a rifle and was shouting.
Arriving at her car, he opened up the car door, grabbed and threw her mother Mrs. Otis Miller out of the car and opened fire on Ernestine, shooting her once in her side, then shot her in the head, which killed her instantly.
Then with her mother still watching, Robert put the rilfe to his chin and pulled the trigger.
Her mother was unharmed.
Ernestine Miller was survived by her mother and a brother Claude of Maryhill. She completed 3 years at Central Washington College of Education and for the past two years, had been a primary instructor at Lyle.
Funeral services were conducted by Rev. C. Chapman Chapel. Interment followed at the I.O.O.F Cemetery. Classmates of Miss Miller at Goldendale High School served as pallbearers at the funeral.
Read the newspaper accounts of this story at these links:
December 01, 1938 - The Goldendale Sentinel (page 1) "Teacher Slain by Mad Sheepherder"
November 28, 1938 - Ellensburg Daily Record (page 1) “Ernestine Miller, Graduate
of Local College, Slain by Rejected Goldendale Suitor”
November 29, 1938 - Ellensburg Daily Record (page 1) “Slain Teacher Disregarded
Her Mother’s Premonitions.”
December 01, 1938 - The Goldendale Sentinel (page 8) "Teacher Slain By Mad Sheepherder"
December 01, 1938 - The Goldendale Sentinel (page 8) "Teacher Slain"
December 22, 1938 - The Goldendale Sentinel (page 4) "Graveside Rites Held for Kiener"
Lyle Community Mourns
Interested in more of the difficult stories that occurred in Klickitat County?
Purchase Jean Allyn Smeltzer's book Klickitat County Tragedies 1900-1940 at the Presby Museum.