Mar 25

Electrical Wiring by Reef & Miller

See W.J. REEF or HERBERT MILLER, one mile north of Chattanooga, OH., to road 707 then west to first and second house. All types of wiring including central distribution for farm homes and power…emergency calls 24 hours a day. Free estimates.

Pre-1957 local newspaper ad.

Pre-1957 local newspaper ad.

I found this undated newspaper clipping the other day. It would have been published before 1957 because it mentions the first and second houses west of 49 on 707. Before my parents built their stone house in 1957 they lived on the other corner of the intersection, in a house they rented from Johnny and Clara Reef. Note that there is no phone number listed on the ad. I don’t know about Johnny and Clara, but it was many years after that before my parents had a phone.

Wavil Jennings “Johnny” Reef was born 13 June 1901 near Bryant, Indiana. His given name was Wavil Jennings but nearly everyone called him Johnny. Sometimes he went by W.J. Reef. Johnny married my great-aunt Clara Miller in 1925.

Wavil "Johnny Reef (1901-1964)

Johnny Reef (1901-1964)

Johnny and Clara lived just down the road from where I grew up and I remember them very well. Until I was about six years old we lived next door to them, with just a small field in between the two houses. When I was a toddler I used to run down to their house to see their daughter Cindy. I have seen those old home movies and I ran right down 707 to get to their house.

Johnny was a farmer and he was also the local electrician and my dad worked with him. I’m sure that Johnny was a mentor to my dad. Johnny and my dad wired a lot of homes and barns in the area and they put up many night lights on area farms. Johnny did the electrical wiring for my parents’ new home in 1957 and I would guess that my dad worked with him on that job. Anyone who remembers Johnny knows that he was just plain ornery.

Johnny Reef wiring a night light on the Miller farm.

Johnny Reef wiring a night light on the Miller farm.

I am not sure how long Johnny and my dad worked together. Johnny passed away on 6 June 1964. My dad continued to do electrical work and called his small business H.M. Miller Electric. While going through papers and photos I had hoped to find some paperwork with his business header but the only thing I have found so far is this pen with the inscription, Compliments of H.M. Miller Electric.

Compliments of H.M. Miller Electric

Compliments of H.M. Miller Electric

Compliments of H.M. Miller Electric

Compliments of H.M. Miller Electric


  1. Kenny Miller

    I remember Johnny well. He was rather ornery and knew a lot of limericks.

    1. Karen

      Yes, he was ornery. I can only imagine the limericks!

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