Pt.4: Fifty Years Later: The Mysterious Life of Francis Miller & the Opening of Lefty’s on the Square

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Table of Contents

October 13, 1973

Saturday Evening

As was his custom Francis, having retired from McAffry Plumbing, went across the Mississippi River from Lake Village, AR to Greenville to have dinner at Doe’s at 502 Nelson, a seedy section of town. As he was walking back to his car after enjoying a fine steak, he was the sole victim of an armed robbery.

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Doe’s Eat Place, Greenville MS

Police came to investigate, but crime in the Delta during the 70’s was rampant and few criminals were prosecuted. Francis was rushed to Kings Daughter’s Hospital where surgeons worked on him through the night.  Shortly after midnight it became obvious that the gunshot would be fatal. The doctors patched him up and put him on a morphine drip to make him comfortable. His son was called. John David and his wife, Margaret, rushed to Greenville to the hospital. Francis struggled to stay conscious, because he had things to tell his son; things that had been secret for for almost 40 years. The last visit between father and son would rock John David’s world.

In a strained voice Francis told his son of another life.  On the same night he lost his father, John David learned his last name was really Miller, not McAffry; his father had not always been a plumber, but instead spent his 20s and early 30s as contemporaries of crime bosses Al Capone and Meyer Lansky.  Francis had to tell John David much of his past so he could explain the request to be buried in the Magnolia City Cemetery beside Abigail “Stella”. He’d never taken his son to Stella’s grave. Francis “Lefty”, was unwilling to go back to Magnolia and risk being apprehended. He was never aware that the murder he thought he had committed had long ago been cleared.  Frank McAffry stepped in and took John David one time, years ago.

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John David McAffry (Miller) visiting his mother’s grave.

October 14, 1973

Sunday

After midnight with his story told and his strength gone, Francis Dalton Miller died.
The balance was maintained between the living and the dead that night when Francis’s godson, Jimmy McAffry, had a granddaughter.  The only grandchild that Jimmy would live to see.

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Lefty’s godson Jimmy McAffry with new granddaughter, Christy Lynn Ouei

In the following days, little-remembered philanthropist of the 1920’s and early 30’s, Francis Miller returns to what he considered home today to be laid to rest. Miller was a major contributor to the Magnolia library built in 1929 and supporter of fledgling Third District football team. Known to Magnolia friends as “Lefty”, Miller leaves one son , John David McAffry-Miller and godson, Jimmy McAffry of Lake Village.  He was preceded in death by wife, Abigail “Stella” Elizabeth (Johnson) Miller, parents Bridget and Sean Miller, and long-time best friend, Frank Smith McAffry, Sr.

October 2023

In celebration of his life and of the 50th anniversary of his death a new restaurant opens in his honor. Lefty’s on the Square opened its doors on Saturday, October 14, 2023. Which is coincidentally the 50th birthday of co-owner, Christy Ouei. In January 2024, Lefty’s on the Square was awarded Best New Restaurant in Arkansas by AY Magazine.

1920's speakeasy They stand amidst a bustling Great Gatsby-themed party, surrounded by fellow party-goers adorned in vintage attire, exuding an aura of glitz and glamour. The couple's radiant smiles and sophisticated poses reflect their enjoyment of the festive ambience

Lefty’s on the Square October 2023

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