Lee County Biography

Theodore J. Miller


Theodore Miller who is engaged in the sale of musical instruments, sewing machines, etc., is one of the successful, sub­stantial business men of Dixon. He is a Pennsyl­vanian by birth, born in the township of Summit, Somerset County, September 5, 1848. His father Josiah Miller, a brave soldier of the late war, was a native of the same county as himself. He in turn was a son of Daniel Miller, who was born in Eastem Pennsylvania about 1783. He removed to Somerset County in early manhood and was an early settler of Summit Township, where he carried on his trade as a wagon maker, and there his life was brought to a close in 1856. The maiden name of his wife was Mary Long.

The father of our subject was reared and edu­cated in the county of his nativity. He learned of his father the trade of wagon and carriage maker, and carried on business in that line at Mechanicsburg some years. He was then elected Justice of the Peace and gave his attention to his official duties until after the breaking out of the war, enlisting in 1861 in Company C, Fifty-fourth Pennsylvania Infantry, he served with valor and fidelity in the Army of the Potomac three years, taking part in several important engagements. He won a good military record, of which his descendants may feel proud, and returning to his native State, passed the rest of his life at Myers­ale, that lost a valuable citizen in his death in June, 1884.

The maiden name of the mother of our subject was Matilda Beachey. She was born in Somerset County, Pa., and died in 1849 in Summit Town­ship, that county. She was the mother of four children. Annie married George Knee, First Lieutenant of Company A, Tenth Pennsylvania Reserves ,who died .January 27, 1863, of wounds received at the battle of Fredericksburg, December 13, 1862. Afterward she became the wife of W. C. Hicks, and survived him some time, passing away at Myersdale, Pa., July 31, 1890. Lydia married Daniel Peck, of Dickinson County, Kan; Maggie is the wife of Dr. George W. T. Brown and our subject completes the family circle.

The maternal grandfather of our subject was Peter A. Beachey, who was born in Somerset County in 1797. His father, Abraham Beachey, who was a native of Switzerland, came to this country with his parents when be was young, and was reared in Maryland. From there he went to Pennsylvania and was a pioneer of Elk Lick Township, Somerset.County, buying a tract of timber land from the Government and clearing a farm from the forests primeval, on which he dwelt until death closed his mortal career.

Peter A. Beachey was bred to the life of a farmer, and devoted himself to agricultural pursuits and raising stock. He was a man of more than ordinary push and energy, possessed of good judgment and acquired a large property for those days. He died in 1854. The maiden name of his wife was Ann Livengood and she was born in Pennsylvania in 1797, a daughter of Christian L. Livengood. The great-great-grandfather of our subject was the Rev. Peter Livengood, who was born on the banks of the River Rhine, Germany, and came to America in Colonial times. In 1760 he started for what was then considered a part of the "Great West," and crossing the Alleghany Mountains, located in what is now Elk Lick Town­ship, Somerset County, Pa., which was a wilder­ness. He made a claim which was marked by blazed trees, and later secured from the Government a patent to several thousand acres of land, a portion of it in behalf of his neighbors. He was very prominent in the settlement as a preacher and school teacher and was well educated for the time. At the same time he superintended the improve­ment of his land. Both he and his good wife lived to be very aged, he dying in his ninety-sixth year, and she in her ninetieth year. Christian L. Livengood spent his entire life in Somerset County, his death occurring at the age of seventy-six years. He marrried Elizabeth Forney, whose father was a teacher and a soldier from Darmstadt, Germany. She was born in 1769, and died when eighty years old.

Our subject was very young when be was deprived of a mother's tender care by her untimely death, and the family was scattered. At the age of nine years he went out to work on a farm for his board and clothes, and at fourteen years of age re­ceived $7 a month for his services, which was good wages for a boy at that time. He remained on the farm until the fall of 1864, and then following in his father's footsteps, enlisted, though but sixteen years of age, and became a member of Company K, Fifth Pennsylvania Artillery, and served in the defense of Washington until July 6, 1865, proving to be a good soldier in spite of his youth­fulness. On his return from the South he attended school for a while. In 1866 he came to Lee County and located at Franklin Grove, where he was variously employed for a time.

Not satisfied with his education, Mr. Miller be­came a student in Dixon Seminar'y, and after pur­suing his studies in that institution two terms, early in 1867 he entered the Iron City Business College at Pittsburg, where he had the benent of an excellent course of study that was a good prepara­tion for his subsequent mercantile career. He was graduated from that college in June, 1867, and returning to Lee County, resumed work on the I farm, and was thus employed until 1869, when he established himself in his present business as a dealer in musical instruments, sewing machines, etc. He has a commodious store, stocked with a varied assortment of whatever is in demand in his line, and is one of the leading merchants in his branch of business in this part of the State. His. name is a synonym of honor and honesty in finnn­cial circles, and in his social relations he is esteemed for his culture and true gentlemaniness. He and his amiable wife are members of the Baptist Church, and they are associated with its every good work. He is a teacher in the Sunday-school, and has done much to promote its growth. He is a member of Friendship Lodge No.7, F. & A. Dixon Chapter No. 56, R. A.M.; Dixon Commandery, No. 21, K. T.

On October 15,1872 Mr. Miller married Miss Mary C. Emmert, a native of Franklin Grove, this county, and a daughter of Ezra and Sarah (Newcomer) Emmert. Eight children have been born to our subject and his wife, Grace E., Hugh, Ray, Dora, Guy G., Ezra E., Maud and Theodore J.

Mrs. Miller's father was born seven miles south­east of Hagerstown, Washington County, MD July 26, 1826. His father, Joseph Emmert, was a native of Pennsylvania and went from there, when a young man, to Maryland, where he bought a farm. He resided there until 1845 and then sold his property in that State, and coming to Lee County settled among its pioneers, buying a partly improved farm near Franklin Grove. .A few years later his buildings were destroyed by fire and he went to live with his son-in-law, a half mile from Franklin Grove, in whose home his death occured. He was a worthy member of the German Baptist Church and a preacher in that denomination. His wife, Catherine, daughter of Henry Evay, was born and died in Washington County, MD.

Ezra Emmert passed his early life in his native County, and had nearly attained manhood when he came to Illinois with his parents. The removal thither was made with a four-horse team, and five weeks were consumed on the journey. At that time Lee County was sparsely settled and but little improved, deer, wolves and other wild ani­mals roaming at their pleasure where are now fine farms and thriving towns. There were no rail­ways and he used to team grain in Chicago, which was then a city of from twenty to forty thousand inhabitants. Mr. Emmert made his home with his parents until he married, and then bought a tract of wild land three miles from Franklin Grove upon which he built a dwelling and other necessary buildings, and at once commenced the pioneering task of developing a farm.

A natural mechanic and possessing a marvelous genius in that line, Mr. Emmert early turned his attention to the improvement of farming machinery I and made numerous valuable inventions, which have been of great benefit to farmers. He inven­ted a combined seeder and cultivator, for which he secured letters patent, and derived a good profit from the manufacture and sale of the machine at Franklin Grove. He was the original inventor of the Harvester that was manufactured by the Marshes and was known as the Marsh harvester. He a1so invented a. corn planter and rotary seed drill, and was the inventor of the ingenious combination known as the combined well and cistern. Emmert's portable well, and Emmert's combined cook and hot water stove, a contrivance calculated to heat the house by water from the kitchen stove.

The maiden name of Mr. Emmert's first wife, mother of Mrs. Miller, was Sarah A. Newcomer. She was born in Washington County, Md., a was a daughter of Peter and Sarah (Sherrick) Newcomer. She was the mother of four children Mary C.; Eleanor A., the wife of the Rev. Asbury Gregory, a Baptist minister; Sarah L., who died in infancy; and Joseph F., who died when ten years old. Mr. Emmet's second wife was Mary Andrus, a native of Franklin County, N. Y.

Portraits and Biographical Lee County IL Pg 639


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