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  --  1804--1909   Table of Contents     CHARLOTTA GORDON MACHENRY PYLES
  --  1806--1880

Brown, Hallie Q.
Homespun heroines



Sarah E. Miller was born in Winchester, Virginia. She was one of six children. In 1843 the family moved to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She attended the day school and latter Avery College. When she was sixteen years of age her father, Jefferson Miller, died. Sarah was compelled to stop school and became a teacher.

In 1858 she was united in marriage to a promising young minister, Benjamin Tucker Tanner who later became a successful pastor, Editor of the Christian Recorder, The Church Review and finally a Bishop of the A. M. E. Church. For some years they lived in the cities of his pastorate and in 1872 made a permanent home in Philadelphia remaining there till death.

Mrs. Tanner was the mother of nine children, two of whom died in infancy. She was in the truest sense of the term a home-maker, devoting her whole time to the welfare of her family. The residence, 2908 Diamond Street, Philadelphia, was for over a quarter of a century a haven of rest to the traveler and a solace to the family. She was tutelar angel of inspiration and light to that hearth-stone. Her cheerful, unselfish spirit was manifest at all times. Her high ideals, her lofty concept of life, her refined and elegant manner made lasting impression upon all who came within her charmed circle.

She also possessed great business ability which exceeded that of her learned husband and he, realizing this, relinquished the family finances to her which she so ably managed, and demonstrated her all-around domestic capacities.


She devoted herself almost exclusively to her domestic affairs.

Her one sole exception was the church to which her consecrated service was unreservedly given. As a teacher in the Sabbath School she taught many little lips to lisp the name of the Redeemer of the world.

In the church was the Parent Mite Missionary Society, in which she held offices for years, first as president and then as treasurer. Her children remember the quarterly occasion which called their mother to the missionary meetings. Such outings were events of great moment in the family history.

When her children were grown she felt that she could devote more time to the cause of missions and travel in its interest. Accordingly she redoubled her efforts. As the years sped by she gave her whole time and full energy to the work. Like the Psalmist, she could say, "The zeal of thine house hath eaten me up." With her husband, Bishop B. T. Tanner, she traveled extensively carrying the gospel to missions throughout the country to the women who sat in darkness, thus she claimed "His promised blessing the brightening little while."

She lived to see her children reach manhood and womanhood. Lived to see three of them attain more than ordinary distinction. Her eldest daughter, Dr. Halle Tanner Johnson, became a physician; Reverend Carl Tanner a minister of his mother's church and her eldest son, famous on two continents, Henry O. Tanner, the gifted artist.

Her children rise up and call her blessed.


  --  1804--1909   Table of Contents     CHARLOTTA GORDON MACHENRY PYLES
  --  1806--1880