MILLER, William H. C.
Past and Present of the City of Rockford and Winnebago Co., IL, C. A. Church. Chicago: Clarke, 1905, pp 555-556
William H. C. MILLER, at one time enaged in the jewelry business in Chicago, is now residing at Rockford [Winnebgo County, IL], where he is living retired. He was born 28 Mar 1833 in NJ, his parents being Isaac and Susan (MILLER) MILLER. The father was born 15 Jun 1791, and died 08 Aug 1869, while his wife, whose birth occurred 01 Sep 1793, departed this life of 19 Apr 1874. In their family were nine children, five sons and four daughters, and there were no deaths among them for fifty years. Three generations of the family had previously been in NJ, which indicates that the MILLERs were long connected with that state. Isaac MILLER wa a farmer and carpenter, and was very progressive and enterprising in all that he did. The family is noted for longevity, and he passed away at the extreme old age of 89 years, while his wife died at the age of 81 years. Those of the family yet living are: Mrs. Sarah P. THOMAS, who, residing in NJ, is nearly 88 years of age, but has never had to wear glasses; William H. C.; and Isaac, of NY City, who was formerly a manufacturer of jewelry and later engaged in mining in NM.
William H. C. MILLER spent the days of his boyhood and youth in the east, where he acquired a public school education, and on 30 Apr 1856, he arrived in IL, settling in Chicago, where he became a representative of the jewelry trade. He had learned watchmaking while in NJ, and had afterward gone to MA, where he lived for a year, coming from MA to the middle west. At the time of his arrival Chicago contained a population of only about 75,000 people. He lived there for 16 years, or until the memorable fire of 1871, in which he lost nearly everything. He then traded his home for a fruit farm in the south, which he afterward sold, and in Aug 1873 he took up his abode in Rockford, and has since lived at No. 749 Johns Street. In 1882, however, he went to SD, where he secured a government claim, which in 1901 he traded for property in this city.
On 20 Jan 1863, Mr. MILLER was united in marriage to Miss Adda GARISON, a native of NJ, who was born 07 Mar 1844, and is a daughter of Thomas and Electa (WALKER) GARRISON. Her father was a speculator and also engaged in the grocery business. He came to the west in Sep 1853, bringing with him a capital of $75,000, and locating in Rockford, he bought property on Main Street, where the TALCOTT property now stands. At one time he owned all of the northern portion of the city and was a very prominent and influential man here. In 1860 he went west to the Rocky Mountains, and during the last ten years of his life he frequently visited that section of the country, his death occurring in CO in 1871, when he was 57 years of age. His wife passed away in Dec 1868. They were the parents of five daughters and one son: Mrs. Harriet N. CEDARHOLM, a widow, residing in Englewood [Cook County], IL; Mrs. Elizabeth GARRISON, who is living in Woodstock [McHenry County], IL; Mrs. Theodocia CLEVELAND, a resident of Evanston [Cook County], IL; Mrs. MILLER; Mrs. Anna KNOW, of MI; and Thomas J., who is also living in MI.
The home of Mr. and Mrs. MILLER was blessed with six children. Harry G., who was born 17 Dec 1863, is a machinist and inventor of [p 556] considerable prominence, living in Denver, CO. Edward W., born 04 Jan 1866, is conducting a restaurant in Denver, CO. Grace, born 25 Jun 1868, died in 1869. Mortimer R., born 02 Mar 1871, is superintendent of the city water works and also city engineer at Waukegan [Lake County], IL. Ruth E., born 11 Jan 1876, died 22 Jun 1882. Mabel A., born 10 Jun 1879, is a stenographer for the Emerson Manufacturing Company of Rockford.
Mr. and Mrs. MILLER are well known in this city, where they have now long resided. He owns here ten acres of very valuable land, the tract being favorably situated in one of the best residence districts of the city, so that it will command a high price. Always interested in questions of the day, he keeps well informed on political and general subjects. He belongs to the Masonic fraternity, while his wife is a member of the Presbyterian church, and although he is now 72 years of age, he presents the appearance of a man in his prime, being very active and vigorous. He has enjoyed remarkably good health throughout his entire life, and his continued interest in public affairs and in local progress makes him a congenial companion and a valued citizen of Rockford.
Submitted by Cathy Kubly.