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Dwight Miller

The middle child of ten born to Jim and Loretta Miller, Dwight has a love for the people and the history of Exeter, his home town situated in the Central Valley, California.

Dwight  is insatiably curious and has become an investigative researcher chasing down facts and stories that catch his interest. Added to the fact that he remembers nearly everything he reads, Dwight has become Exeter’s story-teller mastermind.

His pursuit of excellence has served him well throughout his life, starting with a two-year stint in the Air Force to a BA in biology to teaching and coaching at the high school level. From there, Dwight earned his administrative credential and went on to become a high school principal, and, finally, the superintendent of two different school districts. Upon retiring from education after thirty-give years, he sold real estate.


While in college, Dwight met and set his sights on  Miss Barbara Blain. He went to work to win her over and today the two have now been married for over four decades, have two grown children, and he is “Papa” to four wonderful grandchildren.

As someone who had to hone his negotiations while growing up with nine siblings—two sisters and seven brothers— Dwight has contributed to  the organizations and boards he’s served on and managed, including a small community service district and, most recently, as President of the Exeter Art Gallery and Museum Association.

Independence and focusing on relationships also defines the middle kid, and everyone who knows Dwight recognizes that in him. He is keen on developing and nurturing friendships and close associations with others. His friendships with others go deep and long. He continues to help  organizer of the happenings for his 1971 high school class, calling on the phone as many as possible prior to any gathering, “just to get caught up.”


But his connections haven’t stopped there. He discovered Dwight’s love for history, sports, and education culminated in his first book, The Invincibles—the story of the 1920 Exeter All-Star Football Team that won two state championships amid the tumult of the ending of WWI, the 1918 Spanish Flu pandemic that killed millions, prohibition, women’s suffrage, and growing Soviet aggression.


He sees a number of parallels with the struggles Americans face today, and has spent countless hours, pouring over newspaper articles and records from that time period. Dwight never stops gathering information and has several other books in the works, including a possible series on the histories of some of the most prominent and inspirational families in California’s Central Valley.


While one of Dwight’s friends, trying to come up with a catchy byline for him for an event announcement, coined the title “Wannabe Historian,” he’s proven himself to be much more than that. His penchant for learning and remembering historical facts astounds people and lends an authenticity to his writing.


These days, when Dwight and Barb get away to their coastal vacation home—and those trips have increased since his retirement—the peaceful setting lends itself to deep dives into whatever topic he's writing about at the moment and long stretches of writing about so many things; things that will end up in his books one day. 


Title Coming Soon

In a small California farm town nestled against the foothills of the Sierra Nevada in the early 1900s, the world’s troubles became the backdrop of an extraordinary event. Exeter, with a population of seventeen hundred, was reeling from the effects of WWI, the 1918 Spanish Flu pandemic, women’s suffrage, prohibition, the threat of “Bolshevism,” and race riots. By 1920, there was hope in the air, affecting the good citizens of Exeter, California. One positive happening was the recently formed American Legion, which created a post in the town and drew local veterans of the first World War. The American Legion had already assembled a football league in the Central Valley, so they contacted the Exeter Post to form a team. Soon after, at an eventful American Legion meeting in November of 1920, the organization voted to participate in the second annual Armistice Day celebration. While the first Armistice Day, commemorating the end of WWI the year before, was only celebrated at the national level, small towns were encouraged to host gatherings for the second one. At this Exeter American Legion meeting, the organization decided to form a football team to provide an exhibition game during the coming Exeter Armistice Day event, just five days away. James Pogue II had joined the veterans organization and was thrilled about the prospect of a local game. He raised his hand in response to chairing the team’s formation and the game, as he was a longtime friend of Al Griggs, undoubtedly the most notable football player in Exeter High School history. Together, the two twenty-three-year-old men formed a team of the best players in the area. With names like “Speedster Billy” Goodwin, “Cobb” Balaam, “Skinny” Awbrey, and “Red” Hanson, they seemed destined for greatness. The Armistice Day game cemented Exeter’s love affair with football. The team was dubbed “The Invincibles—Exeter All-Stars,” and the town supported their team in style. One local farmer built a stadium on his property, seating three-thousand people in a city of only seventeen hundred! The team played just two seasons, which is perhaps why the town has largely forgotten them over the years since. That is until one of Exeter’s sons, a history buff who played football in high school—a true fan of the sport—ran across the story and realized the value of sharing it. Dwight Miller’s story of The Invincibles and how they brought a downtrodden community back to life in the early 1920s is one of challenges, victories, battles, and changes in perception. But most of all, it’s a story of hope, perseverance, and the lasting bonds of community.

Works by Dwight Miller

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