Alton B. Parker was the Democratic candidate for president in 1904, who lost to the "progressive" Republican, Teddy Roosevelt. On March 1, 1904, in Clarinda, Iowa, Alton Glen Miller was born. A month later, April 9, 1904, Alton Clyde Miller was born 1200 miles away, in Allentown, Pa. He was no relation. Neither Alton Glen, who later added an "n" to his middle name, dropped the "Alton," and became famous as the bandleader, Glenn Miller, nor my father Alton Clyde, had any other Altons in their families. But when your last name is Miller or Smith (my paternal grandmother was a Smith), you look for distinctive first names, and I guess "Alton" was in the air. It doesn't necessarily indicate that my Dad's folks were Democrats, but I'd like to think they were. As the oldest son, I was named Alton Franklin Miller, with a different middle name to avoid the "Jr." And so I – like Glenn and who knows how many other Millers, Smiths, and Browns – was named after a failed presidential candidate whose name had a certain ring. That's a logical explanation, but here's a real coincidence: Glenn Miller's father was named Elmer. Alton C. Miller's father, my grandfather, was also named Elmer!



P.S. – I heard from someone I don't know, who was searching the Internet and came across the above.

She wrote (I've protected the family identity with ***** ):

    I was looking up the name Alton B. Parker and ran across your story on how you acquired your name. The reason why I was interested in the name is because my parental grandfather was named Alton B. Parker S***** . No Brooks, just an initial. They didn't know what the B. stood for. As the story goes the day after my grandfather was born a man came to their door campaigning. My great-grandfather was impressed and said "That man is going places." Since the baby still had no name they named him after the candidate. Alton B. Parker might not have gone too far but his name certainly has.

P.P.S. – And then, in September 2013, I heard from someone else who came across this page. He wrote:

    Greetings Alton,

    I ran into your article about Alton B. Parker providing background on your name when researching my grandfather Alton A. B***** . My grandfather was born in March 1905 so your story seems to hit home for my scenario as well ... I definitely appreciate your posted information. I will share this with my son Alton (who just turned 13).