Mary Miller

Mary Miller, who earned the name “Mother of Lafayette,” left New York for Colorado with her husband Lafayette Miller in June 1863. They settled on a ranch south of what was to become Lafayette, Colorado. Lafayette Miller died in 1878, leaving Mary with six children to support and a ranch to run. In the middle 1870s, a rich and vast coal vein was discovered in the area that included the Miller Ranch and the future town. With 20/20 foresight, Miller retained all mineral rights and received royalties from many of the coal mines that were developed on the property. She filed the first plat for the town site in 1888 and stipulated that the town be named “Lafayette” for her late husband. Through her efforts, the original town deeds mandated that no alcoholic beverages be sold in the town, a ruling that remained in effect until the early 1980s. She was instrumental in organizing many local clubs and fraternal organizations, including the Order of the Eastern Star. She established the first school, funded construction of churches, and helped create the Lafayette Bank. She was president of the bank for many years. Her financial acumen and business leadership helped Lafayette flourish and increased respect for women in business.