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The Haunting of a Cattle King, the Sarah Miller story of Mt. Madonna Park

Posted by Maryanne Porter on June 27, 2013 at 6:35 PM

HAUNTING OF A CATTLE KING

THE SARAH MILLER STORY

OF MT. MADONNA PARK

The legend of Gilroy’s Mt. Madonna begins in 1850, when Henry Miller, a

European immigrant who was known best as “the cattle king” and founding father of the Los Banos area, made his way to California during an era when the Gold Rush was taking over the west. Henry Miller had monopolized the cattle industry and began his land purchases in the Gilroy area in 1863. Miller ultimately acquired more than 1.5 million acres between California, Oregon, and the Nevadas. He ranched more than one million heads of cattle and 100,000 sheep. At the time of his death, Miller had a net worth of over $40 million, which would be an astronomical fortune today. Miller’s two most famed properties were the Bloomfield Farm and his summer estate on Mt. Madonna.

Bloomfield Farm 

Although Mr. Miller was incredibly successful with his wealth and fame, mysteriously he was not so fortunate with his loved ones. Henry Miller married Nancy Sheldon, who, according to the Gilroy Historical Museum, is said to have died immediately after the birth of their first son in 1859. The child, who also passed at birth was named for his “cattle king” father.

Henry Miller later married Nancy Sheldon Miller’s sister, Sarah Elizabeth Sheldon, who is said to have given him four more children. Mysteriously, only two of those children actually lived long enough to reach adulthood and only one gave the Millers grandchildren.

Sarah Miller provided by Gilroy Historical Museum.

Sarah Alice Miller, a.k.a “Gussie,” was the youngest child born to the Millers. She was born on December 21, 1871 and died on August 12, 1879 at the age of 8 while riding her horse along a Mt. Madonna trail during a time when the family had been living in tents in the wilderness to monitor the cattle and begin making plans to build their summer estate. The ruins of the estate exist to this day at the Mt. Madonna campgrounds. Little Sarah’s body is said to have been buried at the Bloomfield Farm, however, conflicting stories claim her remains were buried on top of Mt. Madonna. After the death of her father in 1916,  little Sarah's remains were exhumed and although the Gilroy Museum was unable to confirm where her remains were taken, S.C.G.H was able to confirm that her remains were buried at Woodlawn Cemetery in a family plot.

         

According to the Gilroy Historical Museum, little Sarah was thrown from her horse when the animal stumbled. The animal fell on top of her, crushing her little body with its enormous weight. Legend has it that little Sarah’s ghost continues to wander the hills of Mt. Madonna. According to an article in the Morgan Hill Times dated October 28, 2005, a Santa Clara County park ranger by the name of Goodrich was stationed at Mount Madonna. According to Goodrich, on multiple occasions while working the night shift, he was called to check on the old Mt. Madonna Inn, a restaurant on top of the hill, where lights were reported to be on, despite the fact that the building was locked and closed for the business day.

"We would go up there and turn the lights off, and then a few hours later they would go back on," Goodrich told the Morgan Hill Times.

Goodrich also claimed that one night, "It was really foggy, and I heard this young woman yelling 'help.’ I was alone and I searched the entire area by foot and vehicle." Again he found nothing, reaffirming his belief that Sarah Miller was haunting the inn.

Additional stories about sightings of a young girl in a white dress walking the empty roads of the campgrounds continue to surface, as well as the reports of sounds of a running horse echoing into the night. Even this Santa Cruz Ghost Hunter can swear she heard the pounding of horse hooves rushing at her one evening while taking photographs behind the Mt. Madonna Inn, only to turn towards the sound to find nothing there.  

Was Henry Miller cursed with both a vast fortune and a tragic chain of events leading to the loss of his loved ones? Did he and his daughter remain earthbound after death searching for something, or is this just an old urban legend to scare children before bedtime?

Santa Cruz Ghost Hunters took to the Mt. Madonna campgrounds for a late-night investigation to try and attain proof that the legends may be true.

Rookie investigators, Aubrey and Melissa,  accompanied seasoned team members, Arrianna, and myself (S.C.G.H. Founder Maryanne Porter), and a guest ventured out to Mt. Madonna for an overnight camping trip at the campgrounds, where we spent a few hours at the ruins of the Henry Miller estate with equipment in tow -- a K-2 meter, ghost radar

 (which presents words in real time what is believed the entity is trying to communicate), digital recorders, and a ghost box. We also had a standard mini-mag flash light, believed to be a good device for entities to communicate through by simply conducting their energy through heat to illuminate the light.

During our investigation, we believe we may have been in direct contact with Henry Miller, Sarah Miller’s father, who was attempting to express that the ranch was difficult to run and maintain, but provided an income. Throughout our investigation we also attained an EVP (Electronic Voice Phemomenon) saying, “both stuck” in response to our question of whether or not both Henry and his daughter are both stuck in their alternate world.

You need Adobe Flash Player to view this content.

THE EVPS IN THIS VIDEO ARE BEST HEARD WITH AMPLIFIED SPEAKERS, EVERYTHING IN THIS VIDEO IS HAPPENING WHILE IT IS BEING FILMED THERE IS NO ONE BEHIND THE STONE WINDOW TURNING ON THE LIGHT AND THE LIGHT IS NOT REMOTE CONTROL, THIS IS ACTUAL FOOTAGE.

In addition to the above video footage, S.C.G.H investigators Sarinah and myself, (founder Maryanne) visited the Mt. Madonna ruins during the day this is what we discovered when going through the footage.

Other than the red arrow, this photo is not photoshopped in any way  to create the effect visible. This photo was taken in the early A.M. with a full spectrum digital camera.

Is this ghostly apparition the disembodied spirit of Henry Miller "the cattle king"? Does he still roam the ruins of his once enchanting estate...if you look closely it appears this entity is walking in front of the tree holding perhaps a rifle....photo psychics believe that this is in fact the spirit of Henry Miller protecting his land...what do you believe?

IS IT A GHOST OR A GHOST STORY? YOU BE THE JUDGE....

S.C.G.H©2010®allrightsreserved.

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Editor: Susie D. Fowkes http://www.examiner.com/crime-in-san-francisco/susie-fowkes 

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4 Comments

Reply susieworld
10:56 PM on October 26, 2011 
You know, I would've figured Henry would be a total hardass, but he sounds like he had quite the sense of humor. Interesting that "Gussie" was just hanging out watching you. At least they're able to be together.
Reply Joaquin Baker
11:31 AM on November 18, 2011 
Very Interesting !!! My favorite Uncle, Bob Baker, died in the Mt. Madonna Inn after suffering a heart attack on the dance floor during a dinner party. He was only 36 yrs. old. This family tragedy happened 50 years ago this past July--in 1961.
:Maybe Uncle Bob's spirit met Henry's and Sarah Miller's !!
Reply EmilyHillNovelist
10:55 AM on October 2, 2013 
What catches my attention in this amazing and noteworthy article is the comment, "S.C.G.H was able to confirm that her remains were buried at Woodlawn Cemetery in a family plot." As a genealogist I know the long hours it takes to conclusively determine these lost-historical facts. Enthralled by this bit of history! ~Emily Hill
Reply Maryanne Porter
11:10 AM on October 2, 2013 
Thank you Emily! It was definitely a piece of missing history that we were determined to uncover and successfully did so! After many dead ends, rumors and even the historical societies uncertainty- What a thrill it was -to find out for a fact where Sarah 's remains truly are-once and for all. Thank you for your support!