Robert McGregor – Captain, United States Army

Robert McGregor of  Michigan

  • Born 19 December 1864
  • Appointed from Michigan, Cadet, United States Military Academy, 14 June 1885 (6)
  • Additional Second Lieutenant, Engineers, 12 June 1889
  • First Lieutenant, 31 March 1895
  • Captain, 29 Sept 1899
  • Died 23 December 1902 in the Philippines of burst appendix.
  • He was buried with full military honors in Section 1 of Arlington National Cemetery.

His wife, Caroline King McGregor (7 August 1874-14 June 1971) is buried with him.  She survived him by 69 years and never remarried.

WASHINGTON, December 27, 1902 – Adjutant General Corbin received a cable message today from General  Davis at Manila saying that Captain Robert McGregor, Corps of Engineers, died in the Manila Hosporal on the 23rd inst. of acute appendicitis. Captain McGregor was a native of Michigan and was graduated at the Military Academy in June 1889.


  • DATE OF DEATH: 12/23/1902

Seven Generations of service add a brunette to the Long Gray Line

The U.S. Military Academy at West Point may be the only place in America where you can call a young woman a “cow” and not get your face slapped.

When I served as editor of the post newspaper, the Pointer View, in the late 60s, I learned that “cow” is slang for a third-year cadet, or junior. But I’d been away from the fortress on the Hudson long enough that it still startled me last week to hear
Katharine King Miller mention how much she had enjoyed her life last year as a “cow.”

Like the term”plebe” (plebian) or freshman and “yearling” for sophomores, the term “cow” long predates the admission of women to the academy 25 years ago. Kate is now a first classman and on May 30 (my birthday, incidentally) will take yet another step in a remarkable saga as she becomes the seventh generation
in her family to graduate from West Point.

West Point has played a vital role in America’s defense since the Revolutionary War, when its commanding position above an “S” bend in the Hudson River made it an ideal place to defend against British warships. In 1802, it became a military academy to train a cadre of professional soldiers for the Army.

West Point has been a crucial link in the Miller family’s odyssey of national service since 1836, when Israel Carle Woodruff became the first in this line to graduate and was commissioned in the field artillery.

The next generation was represented by William Rice King, who was commissioned in 1863. After fighting for the Union in the Civil War, King (whose family line is represented in Kate’s middle name) became district engineer for the Missouri Valley. In that role, he pursued Jesse James for stealing a federal payroll. The legendary outlaw eluded him, but King did capture some of his gang members.

The third generation, also an engineer, was Robert McGregor in 1889. Sadly, his career was cut short when he died of a burst appendix in the Philippines.

Fay Brink Prickett was the fourth West Pointer, winning his commission in the cavalry in 1916. Prickett served in both World War I and World War II, reaching the rank of major general and presiding over Dachau, the historic tribunal that tried Nazi war criminals.

The next generation produced both of Kate Miller’s grandfathers. On the paternal side was fifth-generation graduate Frank Dixon Miller, commissioned in the infantry in 1938. He served in World War II and spent two tours in Vietnam, the second one as chief of staff to General William Westmoreland, and reached the ank of two-star general.

Meanwhile, on Kate’s maternal side, her grandfather Roland Dean Tausch was commissioned in 1951, choosing armor as his branch, and served two tours in Vietnam.

The sixth generation brings us to Kate’s father, Jeremy King Miller, who graduated in 1973 and also was commissioned into armor, before leaving after five years with the rank of captain. Jerry now lives in Boulder with his wife, Clare.

When Kate Miller, a math major with a keen interest in communications and electronics, becomes the seventh generation to graduate from the Academy, she plans to join the Signal Corps. And she has already had far more responsibility and leadership training than many of her civilian counterparts will ever achieve.

Kate was a platoon leader supervising 30 cadets last semester. This spring she’s serving as the battalion “S-3,” responsible for overseeing training for about 300 cadets.

For years, the civilian press has breathlessly reported tales of sexual harassment in the military or at such late-integrating military schools as the Citadel and VMI. But the first woman in this distinguished family to join the Long Gray Line never felt isolated for her sex.

“I like to say I have 3,600 brothers looking out for me,” she laughs. “There are still a few people who think the military should be all male, but on the whole, after 25 years, we’re fine.”

Female cadets now make up about 10 percent of the West Point enrollment. The decision to admit women was crucial to maintaining the Miller family tradition of national service since all three of Jerry and Clare Miller’s children are of the female persuasion. Besides Kate, the family includes Caroline, 11, and Virginia, 9.

There’s yet another member of this remarkable family who deserves a salute: Kate’s great- grandmother, Margaret McGregor Prickett, who celebrated her 100th birthday on March 16– which also happens to be the anniversary of West Point’s founding. She was the daughter of Robert McGregor, class of 1889, and wife to Fay Prickett, class of 1916.

Kate Miller may not have suffered any discrimination in the military as a woman–but West Point’s rigorous curriculum and grueling training schedule is tough for young men and women alike. One thing that pulled her through is a quiet but powerful religious faith. Her class ring features a cross set in rubies and inside is inscribed “Jeremiah 29:11.” She recited the verse from memory, as found in the New International Version:

“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord. Plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you a hope and a future.”

As far as her own plans, after serving her five-year required active duty, Kate expects to become a reserve officer and “ultimately get married, be a wife and mother.”

That may bring her to the rather daunting challenge of raising an eighth generation of West Pointers. But after talking to this bright and self-assured woman, I have no doubt Kate Miller will be up to the task.

She may have spent a year as a “cow.” But this young officer and lady doesn’t take any bull.

Thanks to the Denver Post and Mr. Bob Ewegen for allowing us to reprint this article. Congratulations and best wishes to Kate Miller and to all the members of the West Point Class of 1998.

A large part of the Long Gray Line

By Jim Fox
USMA, Public AffairsOn Saturday, Katherine King Miller became the seventh generation in her family to graduate from the United States Military Academy.

The family’s link to West Point stretches back seven generations to 1836.

Counting all her family relations, Kate is the 37th member of her family to graduate from West Point.

Kate, a math major, remembers first thinking about coming to West Point when she was a young girl and saw a television show about women graduating from West Point.

She said there was no pressure from her family to continue the tradition of selfless service.

“I certainly had a lot of exposure (to West Point) because of my family,” she explained.  “But I think I really made up my mind on my own.”

Her father, Jeremy King Miller, USMA 1973, was an armor officer in Germany before resigning his commission after five years of service and working first in the electronics and then the medical fields.

Jerry, as he is known, remembers taking Kate to his great-grandfather’s 100th class reunion in April 1989, when his daughter was in seventh grade.

“We had a cadet show us his room.  He (and his roommate) were trying to get ready for a parade.  I felt so bad for them,” she remembered.  “We were in their room while they were scrambling around trying to put on their belts and everything.

“That was the first time I really was exposed to what it would be like to be here,” she said.

She said her parents always told her, “Do what you want to do, and we will support it.”

“Honestly, I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life,” she explained.  “Coming here was a good opportunity to get a great education, have a job when I get out, do something fun for awhile and not have to worry about what I’m going to do with my life.  Who knows, maybe I’ll enjoy the Army and want to do that forever.”

Admission was no forgone conclusion.  No grandfather clauses here.

Kate, who calls Boulder, Colo., home, applied to hometown Colorado University as a fallback.

Kate’s paternal grandmother, Peggy Miller, was among the roughly 60 relations who ventured to West Point for Kate’s graduation.  She said her late husband, Frank, a retired major general who passed away in December 1993, was very proud that Kate “was making a very serious effort to come here.  It just meant everything to him — to know that the tradition might be perpetuated.”

Once admitted, Kate began to feel the weight of all the stories her West Point alumni relatives had told her over the years.

“There is one constant here, and that is that everybody comes here thinking this will be one of the hardest things they have ever done in their lives.  But at the same time it is the most rewarding,” she said.

“I think I even had it worse than other people, because I had 20 million stories people told me,” Kate explained, “so I set myself up thinking this is going to be the worst experience of my life.”

Glee club and the chapel choir were extracurricular activities Kate pursued her first two and three years, respectively.  They helped her through her first two years as a cadet.

“They were the main activities that I was involved in . . . (They) reminded me of home,” she said.

Her membership in the Officers Christian Fellowship bridged her entire four years at West Point.

Her third summer at West Point was her first chance to hone her leadership skills.  “I was a Beast squad leader,” she said, which was probably one of the best experiences I had here.  I loved my squad and thoroughly enjoyed getting a chance to try my own leadership skills and found out I really enjoy doing it.”

In her senior year, she admits to having some great jobs in the corps.  In the fall semester, she was a platoon leader, which she rates as her second best experience here.  “I got a chance to actually do what I’ll be doing in the Army: lead  people.”

In the spring she was the battalion operations officer.  “It’s a staff job.  It’s good to see what they are like.

“I really hope to be a platoon leader,” she added.

The future command-hopeful has 188 years of military experience in the six previous direct-line generations.  The family arrived in force last week during alumni activities.

Peggy was here for her husband’s 60th class reunion.  “It was a wonderful thing for me to be back with his classmates and have Kate at my side in uniform.  They all received her with such joy.  They were proud that the Class of 1938 had such

Frank, the fifth generation of the family, graduated 102 years after great-great-great-great-grandfather Israel Carle Woodruff did in 1836.

The generational procession followed a maternal line as the daughter of a graduate married a graduate, all the way from  the first generation (Woodruff) until Kate’s paternal grandfather, Frank Dickson Miller, USMA 1938.

Woodruff was the first generation, a field artillery officer and topographical engineer, who died at his post in Staten Island in 1878 as a colonel.

Woodruff’s daughter Virginia Southard Woodruff married Union Army officer William Rice King, who graduated June 11, 1863, barely three weeks before the Battle of Gettysburg.  The Engineer, according to Jerry, “while in Chattanooga, Tenn., planned and built the inclined cable road to the top of Lookout Mountain.”

After the war, while district engineer of the Missouri Valley he pursued the James Gang after they stole a federal payroll.  Lt. Col. King captured most of the gang, but Jesse and Frank got away.

King’s daughter Caroline Woodruff King married Robert McGregor, a cavalry officer who proposed to his future wife on horseback in front of her house.  The 1889 graduate is Peggy’s maternal grandfather.

McGregor was the city engineer as a captain at Manila Bay in the Philippines when he died of a burst appendix in 1902.

McGregor’s daughter, Margaret Murray McGregor, married Fay Brink Prickett, who was commissioned in the cavalry in 1916.

Prickett fought in WWI, but only after chasing Poncho Villa in Mexico with the 10th Cavalry.  After Mexico he transferred to field artillery and went to France.

During WWII he commanded the 75th Infantry Division during the Battle of the Bulge.  After the war he served as the president of the War Crimes Tribunal at Dachau.

He retired as a major general after 37 years of service.

Peggy’s husband Frank, the 1938 graduate, was commissioned in the infantry.  He served as a battalion commander in the Pacific in WWII and was a member of Gen. Douglas MacArthur’s staff.  While in Vietnam in 1967 he served as Gen. William Westmoreland’s chief of staff.

Kate’s maternal grandfather, Roland Dean Tausch, a 1951 graduate who branched armor, was noted as one of 35 provincial American military advisors in South Vietnam in 1962.  He served in the southernmost tip of South Vietnam, helping an 800-person Chinese/Vietnamese fishing village defend itself.  The village was surrounded by Viet Cong on three sides and the Gulf of Siam on the other, according to Tausch.

The retired colonel said, “Kate has a lot of talent.  She is certainly a credit to her family, and we are very proud of her.”

As for Kate’s plans for the future, this much she knows.  She will begin the Signal Corps Officer Basic Course at Fort Gordon, Ga., July 15.  Upon graduation Nov. 20, she transfers to Fort Bragg, N.C., after Thanksgiving leave.

As for the eighth generation, Peggy said, that’s up to Kate.

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