Log Cabin Schoolmaster
Harold Miner (1902-1986) was born in a log cabin in Woodstock, Virginia on September 2, 1902.
He was the son of George and Grace Manning Miner, and he had two sisters, Mary and Elizabeth.
He graduated from Portville in 1921, then obtained his teaching degree from Geneseo. Long
time residents of Obi, "Red" and Marguerite (Biehler) Miner were married on August 14, 1930 in Portville and had a legendary
impact on many Portville folks throughout their lifetimes.
Red began his career in one-room school houses, teaching at various locations (including Millgrove
and Deer Creek) for 17 years. In 1943, he joined the staff at Portville's Main Street building, retiring in 1967 at
the present facility after 24 years. Mr. Miner was known for his discipline, hard work, and comedy. He had a genuine
love for his students, and his intensity for life was infectious.
"I spent four grades with Uncle Miner when he taught at the one-room school house in Millgrove,"
notes Harold's nephew, Richard Biehler (PCS '48). "He used to make puppets for plays...and he would clear away all the
chairs and desks so we could play basketball in the one room."
Miner played on the first intramural football team at Portville in 1921, later becoming a junior
high math teacher for the district. Red was from the "old school", helping with academics, sports, the arts, and extracurricular
activities during his tenure. He served as master of ceremonies for many banquets and homecomings, was a class
advisor for 23 years, and he established the junior high Hornets basketball team.
Harold was a member of the Portville Methodist Church, the Antique Car Club of Olean, the Portville
Garden Club, the Portville Alumni Association, and the PTA. He did some graduate education work at St. Bonas and Fredonia.
After living in the Bedford's Corners area, he and Marg moved to the corner of Daggatt Hollow
in Obi, where they enjoyed ceramics and gardening. They had no children of their own, so they invested their energies
into other Portville-Obi families.
Red was an avid deer and turkey hunter, and "Aunt Marg used to take us fishing", recalls Mr. Biehler.
"Harold built a log cabin next to the Allegheny River on Gleason Hollow, and I believe that the run-down structure is
still there. My father was Mrs. Miner's brother, so we spent alot of time together."
The 1967 PCS yearbook was dedicated to Mr. Miner, when he retired that year. He continued
to substitute teach at the school for a few years, further solidifying his legendary status among the students and newer staff.
Harold Miner died December 5, 1986 in Olean General, but he is still remembered by any and all Portville
people over 40. He paved the way for other Hall of Fame members like Lee Frair, Helen Worth, and John Dubots.
He loved and taught many folks who would later go on to greatness in the school, town, and beyond.
Marguerite died in 1995.