Jacob Miller

Taken From History of Bureau Co. 1885.
Page 597

Jacob Miller, Princeton, was born June 15, 1835, in Annville, Lebanon, Co., Penn.. His parents, Isaac and Mollie (Farnsler)Miller, were natives of Pennsylvania, as were also the great-grandparents. The Miller family is of German extraction. Isaac and Mollie Miller died in Pennsylvania. They were the parents of the following children: Henry, Mrs. Christiana Bachman, Mrs.Sarah Farnsler, Mrs. Mattie Wolfenberger (deceased), Mrs. Lizzie Wolfenberger, Frank and Jacob Miller, the subject of this biography, who was educated at the Annville Academy, now Lebanon Valley College, and afterward at Mount Pleasant College, Westmoreland County, Penn. Hie early years were devoted to teaching school in his native state. Eventually he came to Bureau County, where he taught school in Buda, after which he took charge of the books in the large book and printing establishment of the United Brethren Church Society, located in Dayton, Ohio.

After his return to Princeton he built and kept the Empire House, which he afterward sold. he then established the Bureau County Academy in Princeton, where he taught till after the building of the High School, when the academy was  abanboned. He then became a member of the firm of Miller, Strock & co., of the Princeton planning-mill, with which he was connected several years. In 1873 he was elected County Superintendent of Schools of Bureau County, filling that office til 1877, after which he engaged in the real estate and insurance business till 1882, when he was again elected County Superintendent, his term of office expiring in 1886. Mr. Miller has done a great deal for the schools of Bureau County, and awakened that interest in educational matters which is necessary to insure the greatest benefits. It is his great object in life to grade every district school and make old "Bureau" the banner county in the State.

Mr. Miller was married, in Dayton, Ohio, to Miss Mary A. Dow, a native of Canterbury, N.H., daughter of Tristram C. and Susan (Lyford) Dow, also natives of New Hampshire, the former of English and the latter of Scotch extraction. They died in Annaway, Ill. They settled in Concord Township, Bureau County, June 21, 1846, and were accompained by the following children: Almira, Joseph L., Tristram T., Josiah,. John L., Mary A., and Lyman Dow. Of the above, Tristram T. was a Major in the war of the Rebellion, and was afterward a prominent citizen of Davenport (Iowa). Mrs. Mary Miller is the mother of four children now living. viz: Byron G., Victor, Viola and Mertie Miller. In religious matters Mr. and Mrs. Miller are members of the United Brethren church.

Taken From The Biographical Record of Bureau, Marshall and Putnam Counties, Illinois
Chicago: The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company 1896

Page 44-46

Professor Jacob Miller, at present engaged in the real estate, insurance and loan business in Princeton, Illinois, was for a number of years prominently connected with the educational interests of Bureau county. He was born in Lebanon county, Pennsylvania, June 15, 1835, and is the youngest of the family of seven children born to Isaac and Mollie (Fernsler) Miller, also natives of the keystone state.

By occupation the father, (Isaac Miller) was a farmer and drover, going to Ohio for stock, which he would retail to the farmers of Pennsylvania, who would feed them and then sell in the eastern markets. He was an upright, honorable man, widely and favorably known, and both himself and wife were members of the United Brethren church. He died instantly from an apoplectic stroke, August 12, 1868, and his wife some time later. They were of German extraction.

Of the children, Henry, now deceased married Eliza Landis, and followed farming in Pennsylvania; Mattie, deceased, was the wife of Philip Wolfersberger of Bureau county, Illinois; Christina, a resident of Annville, Pennsylvania, first married John Gasser, and after his death Jacob Bachman; Sarah is the widow of John Fernsler and lives in Annville; Elizabeth is the second wife of Philip Wolfersberger, postmaster of North Princeton, and J. Frank, who married Emma Beshler, and now lived at Perrysburg, Pennsylvania, was major of the dashing Ninth Pennsylvania Volunteer Cavalry in General Kilpatrick's command, and gallantly served throughout the whole civil war without being wounded or imprisoned.

Profession Miller acquired his education in the Annville academy and the Mt. Pleasant college, Pennsylvania, after which he engaged in teaching both in town and country schools for many years. In 1855 he was a teacher in the Berrysburg seminary of Pennsylvania, but in the summer of that year came to Princeton, and for the following two years taught at Buda, Bureau county. Going to Dayton, Ohio, he there engaged in bookkeeping in the United brethren printing establishment.

At Dayton Professor Miller was married in 1857 to Miss Mary A. Dow of Buda, Illinois, a daughter of Tristram C. and Susan (Lyford) Dow, natives of Canterbury, New Hampshire, the former of English and the latter of Scotch extraction. On the 21st of June 1846, her parents came to Bureau county, settling in Concord township, and died in Annawan, Illinois. In their family were the following children: Almira, Joseph L., Tristram T., Josiah, John L., Mary A. and Lyman. Of the above Thristram was a major in the Ninety-third Regiment Illinois Volunteer Infantry during the civil war and later became a prominent citizen of Davenport, Iowa. John L. was captain in the same regiment.

To the professor and his wife were born seven children, three of whom are still living; Byron G., Victor and Myrta, while those deceased are Cora Bell, Lotta, Lymie O. and Viola. Viola, who was the wife of William W. Reed, died June 11, 1894, at the age of twenty-five years. Byron married Ida Medley, by whom he has three children - Maude, Harry and Victor. He is train dispatcher between Sedalia, Missouri and Kansas City and resides at the former place; Victor, a resident of Spokane, Washington, is chief of the operators of a division of the Northern Pacific railroad; Myrta is keeping house for her father. The wife and mother, who was born May 26, 1832, died of consumption September 10, 1894. She was a faithful member of the United Brethren church, to which our subject also belongs, was a woman of domestic tastes, an excellent wife, mother and friend, while in sickness and charity she had but few equals.

After his marriage Professor Miller returned to Bureau county and opened a hotel at North Princeton, known as the Empire house, which he conducted until the war broke out. He had already opened the Bureau academy at that place, being associated with Professor George N. Wagner, of the Franklin and Marshall college, a German Reformed institution, formerly located at Mercersburg, but now at Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Here they carried on their school very successfully until the erection of the Princeton high school. In connection with D. N. Strock and P. Wolfersberger, he purchased the Princeton planning mill, which they carried on for several years, when our subject sold his interest to Strock Brothers.

For some years Professor Miller served as justice of the peace, and in 1873 again took up school work, being elected county superintendent, which position he filled satisfactorily and successfully for four years.

Of him the superintendent of public instruction for the state said: "He had the ability to awaken the enthusiasm of the teachers, and his institutes held for their instruction were well planned and effective. Mr. Miller is very familiar with the organization, adjustment and grading of schools." The superintendent of schools for Pennsylvania says of him: "I have no hesitation in saying that Professor Jacob Miller of Princeton, Illinois, is a very fine scholar and a wide-awake, efficient teacher. He has executive ability of a high order and is worthy of confidence in every respect. At two different periods, from 1873 to 1877, nad from 1885 to 1889 he was the superintendent of the schools of Bureau county, Illinois and I know from personal knowledge that he was ranked with the best superintendents in the state." Signed Henry Houch. From Wheaton college, of Wheaton, Illinois, he received the decree of M. A.

Professor Miller has over two thousand specimens of geology and zoology in his office, which is one of the largest and finest individual collections in the state. Among the most valuable is a piece of marble flooring taken from the ruins of Caesar's palace at Rome. He also has a wood carving made in the fifteenth century, representing Christ brought into the temple, which is in a very fair state of preservation. The figures are Joseph, Mary, Jesus, Anna, Simeon and the priests. His list of fossils is surprisingly extensive, which has required many years to collect, and much pains has been taken in classifying and arranging the same. One of his most attractive cases is the one filled with shells, mosses, corals, etc.

The professor has a valuable miscellaneous collection, including relices from twelve different tribes of Indians, composed of bows, arrows, scabbards, etc., and a great many rare specimens, such as Indian drums, drapes, axes, moccasins, etc. He also has many mound builder's relics, which are quite rare, and pottery and porcelain ware many hundred years old. He has a large collection of fossil ferns, found in the coral beds of Illinois and Pennsylvania.

Books, old and rare, Professor Miller has in abundance, some dating back as far as 1494, and has a volume of the Psalms of David, whose date in 1472, and a Vulgate Bible, printed in 1592. He has an immense volume of the German Bible, published in 1765, a present from his father and a German book of Martyrs, published at Ephrata, Pennsylvania, in 1748, being one of the thirteen hundred printed at that time. Mr. Miller also has a scrap book encyclopedia of his own making containing one hundred volumes, which he began in 1888, and which he has completed. Every volume is numbered, paged and indexed, and the work contains over forty thousand subjects of universal information, including history, biography, poetry, science, stories, fun, facy, portraits of many eminent men and women, lectures, literature, statistics and miscellany.

He has begun another series and has now some forty volumes. His library numbers over one thousand volumes and is probably one of the best selected and most expensive private libraries in Bureau county. In Professor Miller's house was organized the Princeton Academy of Sciences, which was incorporated January 23, 1882. This society has been successfully continued since its foundation. Socially, Professor Miller is a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, while politically he is independent. He stands high in the state as an educator, and to him many hundreds of men and women are indebted for their start and for encouraging words in endeavoring to climb the hill of knowledge. As a citizen he also takes front rank, faithfully discharging every trust reposed in him.


Henry J. Miller

Taken From The Biographical Record of Bureau, Marshall and Putnam Counties, Illinois
Chicago: The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company 1896

Page 21-23

Henry J. Miller, a successful farmer and lumber dealer of Spring Valley, is one of the oldest, best known and most highly respected pioneers of the southeastern part of Bureau county. He was born in Dubois county, Indiana, November 30, 1823, and is a son of Henry and Sally (Hall) Miller.

Mr. Miller, had but little advantage for securing an education, only being able to attend a country school a part of the winter months for about three years, at which time his father paid his tuition, but he would study on winter evenings by the hickory bark fire and has become a well-informed man. Almost his entire life has been devoted to farming and stock-raising, in which he has been quite successful, now owning a quarter of a section of land in Dakota, three-quarters of a section in Nebraska, and about one thousand acres in Bureau county. He also became connected with the mining interests of Spring Valley, and to him is due in part the organization, development and progress of the Spring Valley Coal Company. As its agent he contracted the coal rights for five thousand acres, and when the time came for making the final settlement, he, in company with Alexander Campbell, took the coal rights and met the payments. The coal mines, which are among the best in the state, are now is successful operation.

In Bureau county, on the 5th of April, 1849 was celebrated the marriage of Mr. Miller and Miss Mary A. J. R. Williams, who was named for her aunt who was massacred by the Indians. Mrs. Miller was born in Sangamon county, Illinois, February 19, 1831, and by her marriage with our subject has become the mother of six children: George W., who died at the age of ten months and five days; Isadora M., now the wife of James E. Porterfield, a lumber dealer of Toluca, Illinois, by whom she has two children, Edna and Lois; William C., who died at the age of nine years; John H., whose sketch is given on another page of this work; Carmi A., a farmer of Bureau county, who married Sarah I. Windsor, by whom he had two children, Claude and Fenton; and Mary A. J., wife of C. J. Devlin, of Topeka, Kansas, by whom she has four children, James H., Mary, Ethel and Charles J.

Although caring nothing for public office, Mr. Miller has been called upon to serve in several official positions in his township, and in politics is an ardent democrat. Both himself and wife are earnest and devoted members of the Methodist Protestant church. For over sixty years he has been identified with the interests of Bureau county and has taken a prominent part in promoting its welfare and advancement. He is enterprising, progressive and public-spirited and justly deserves to be numbered among the honored pioneers and leading and influential citizens of his adopted county, where almost his entire life has been passed. In promoting his own individual interests, he has materially aided in the progress and development of this section. His courteous, genial manners have gained him the friendship of all with whom he had come in contact, either in a business or social way, and we are pleased to present to our readers this sketch of his life, knowing that it will be received with interest.


Henry Miller Sr.

Taken From The Biographical Record of Bureau, Marshall and Putnam Counties, Illinois
Chicago: The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company 1896
Page 21-22

Henry J. Miller is a son of Henry and Sally (Hall) Miller, in whose family were seven children, who grew to maturity and were married, five sons and two daughters, namely: William, born in Kentucky, died in 1852, at the age of forty-two years; George W., born in Kentucky; died in 1838 at the age of twenty-four years; Eliza, born in Indiana, is the deceased wife of Edward H. Hall; Henry J., of this sketch; Edward H., who was born in Indiana in 1825, died in 1887; Smith, born in Indiana, is a farmer of Hall township, Bureau county, where he has spent every winter since 1832; and Elizabeth, who was born in what is now Hall township, Bureau county, Illinois in 1833, is now a resident of Fullerton, Nebraska, the widow of Wiley H. Horn.

Henry Miller, the father of our subject (Henry J. Miller) was a native of North Carolina and was one of the first permanent settlers of Hall township, Bureau county, where he arrived on the 24th of August 1832. On the 21st day of May of that year with his family he started for his new home in the western wilds of Bureau county, it being the same day on which the Indian creek massacre occurred, in which a number of their relatives were cruelly murdered by the Indians. This little colony, of which the Millers formed a part, consisted of three families. They were Edward Hall and wife, Henry Miller, wife and six children, and Gilbert Killim, wife and two children, numbering fourteen souls.

They were compelled to rest several weeks on Ox Box prairie, Putnam county, on account of the Black Hawk war, their teams being pressed into the government service to haul provisions for the troops, and the brothers of our subject, William and George, served as drivers. In that war two persons took part who in later years became noted characters in American history - Abraham Lincoln, the commander-in-chief of the Federal forces of the United States; and Jeff Davis, who held a similar position with reference to the confederate forces of the seceding states. An uncle of our subject Rezin B. Hall, and a cousin, John W. Hall, also took up arms against the hostile Indians, who at the Indian creek massacre had murdered the father, mother and youngest sister of the latter, together with about twelve others in La Salle county, Illinois. After much delay and annoyance, the three families, composing the colony of which our subject was a member, arrived in what is now Bureau county, August 24, 1832.

Henry Miller subsequently purchased a tract of government land on section 33, Hall township, in 1833-34, at the first land sale in this district, held at Galena. Upon that farm he spent the remnant of his days, dying December 6, 1852, at the age of sixty-six years. He was one of the first men in that township to make claim who entered his land and remained on the original claim until his death.

Sally (Hall) Miller, the mother of our subject (Henry J. Miller) was born in Georgia, and died July 26, 1847, at the age of fifty-three years. She was an excellent woman, a true helpmeet to her husband, and possessed those ennobling qualities found in the true wife, mother and friend. Her parents, Edward and Rachel (Barnes) Hall, were natives of Georgia, and of English and Welsh parentage respectively. She was carried, like the other members of the family, from her native state to Kentucky on a pack-horse in the early days when Daniel Boone located here, and before wagons were used in that frontier settlement. Her father died June 28, 1838, at the age of eighty years, and is probably the only Revolutionary soldier buried in Bureau county. He served under the command of General George Washington, participating in many of the hard-fought battles of that long and terrible struggle, and at the close of the war had not reached his twenty-fourth year. He was a Methodist Episcopal minister, possessing much of that zeal, earnestness and fire which characterized the preachers of that denomination in those early days. His words of kindness and admonition were long remembered by those who came from far and near to hear him and were pleased to listen. His wife died September 10, 1838, at the age of seventy-nine years. She, too, was a Methodist in religious belief, and active in the service of her Master. In their family of eight children, Mrs. Sally Miller, the mother of our subject, was the sixth in order of birth.

Henry and Sally Miller, the parents of our subject were also conscientious and earnest Christian people, strict members of the Methodist Episcopal church , and the early preachers made their home a stopping place and there preached until the school house was erected. Many were the times that our subject (Henry J. Miller) was sent to notify the neighbors that Brother Royal or Brother Beggs was at his father's home and was going to preach.


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