MILLER, William H.
Portrait and Biographical Record of Winnebago and Boone Counties, IL. Chicago: Biographical Publishing Co., 1892, pp 594-6
William H. MILLER, who is one of the well known citizens of Rockford, was born at Mt. Morris, Livingston County, NY, 13 May 1835. His father, the Hon. Horace MILLER, was a native of Berkshire County, MA, where he was born in 1798, and was a son of Jonathan MILLER, who removed from MA to NY and for a time resided in Albany [Albany County, NY] before removing to Mt. Morris, where he resided during his later years. The maiden name of his wife was CASE.
The father of our subject was quite a young child when his parents changed their home from MA to NY. He married in Amsterdam, Montgomery County [NY], and removed to Livingston County [NY] in 1817, becoming an early settler there. Upon the tract of timber land which he bought, he erected in the midst of the wilderness a log house, in which most of his children were born. For many years after making his home in Western NY, there were no railroads or canals, and transportation and communicaton from one part of the country to the other were difficult and slow. He cleared quite a tract of land and resided there until 1839, during which year he removed with his wife and six children to IL. The removal was made by team to Buffalo and from there teams and all were shipped by steamer to Chicago, where they disembarked and teamed it from that city to Winnebago County.
The Hon. Horace MILLER had visited this section of the county the winter previous to his removal, and his brother, E. G. MILLER, had bought him a claim to a tract of Government land near the mouth of the Kiswaukee River. At that time there was a village located very near the junction of that stream with the Rock River, which was for some time quite a flourishing settlement. The [p 595] father of our subject bought a house in that village and moved it on his land. There were then no railroads here and the markets were Chicago, Galena, Dubuque and Milwaukee. He dealt largely in livestock in addition to carrying on farming, and was a successful man, adding to his landed estate until at one time he had 1,250 acres. He resided on the farm until about 1861, when he came to Rockford and lived a retired life until his death in 1864.
Hannah CLARK was the maiden name of the mother of our subject, and she was born in Amsterdam, Montgomery County, NY, 02 Feb 1800, and was a daughter of William Clark. She lived until 1877 and died in Rockford, leaving the following children: (1) Clark; (2) Sarah, who married Hiram WATERMAN; (3) N. Eliza, who is the wife of Philip W. MARSH; (4) Horace, who resides in Mt. Vernon [County], IA; (5) H. Caroline, who married the Hon. William BROWN, of Rockford [for additional information see the bio of William BROWN at the Winnebago County ILGenExchange], and (6) William H. All reside in this city [Rockford] with the exception of Horace. The father was in his political sympathies first a Whig and later a Republican. He filled various offices of trust and responsibility in Winnebago County, and represented the county in the State Legislature, being elected thereto in the fall of 1850.
He of whom we write was but four years old when he made the famous journey with his parents from the East to the West, and he remembers distinctly the difficulties of that trip and the incidents of change and the new home. For some time after their settlement here, deer and other kinds of wild game were plentiful. He early commenced making himnself useful on the farm and attended school also during a part of each year. He resided with his parents until they removed to the city, and then assumed the management of the home farm until 1865. During that year he took a trip West and spent nearly a year traveling. In 1866 he bought 14 acres of land in the city, and later bought 31 acres of the CHURCHILL farm close to the city and engaged in dairy farming. In 1877 he built his present residence, a commodious brick house in modern style of architecture, occupying ample and delightful grounds on a site that commands a pleasant view.
The marriage of Mr. MILLER in 1859 united him with Jennie E. PHILLIPS, who was born near Platteville, Grant County, WI, and whose father, Henry B. PHILLIPS, was born in NY State on 08 Nov 1810. He was a son of William PHILLIPS, who was born in Canada and who came to IL during the year in which it was admitted as a State into the Union . He served in the interests of this country as a Lieutenant in the War of 1812, and received a land warrant in payment for his services. With that land warrant, he located a tract of 160 acres of land in Henry County [IL], where he resided until his death, which occurred about a year later. The maiden name of his wife was Elizabeth BAXTER. She was born in CT, and died in Grant County, WI, in 1837.
The father of Mrs. MILLER soon after his father's death was apprenticed to a tanner in Pittsfield, Pike County, IL, and lived with him until 1830, when, not liking the trade, he went to Galena and from here, with others, sought that part of the Territory of MI now included in IA, and enaged in mining on or near the present site of Dubuque [Dubuque County, IA], where the land was at the time owned by the Indians. The red man asserted his rights and drove them away, and for some time they were prisoners on an island nearby. In 1832 he served under Captain HATHAWAY in the Black Hawk War. He was with the troops in pursuit of Black Hawk through IL and WI, and was present at Bad Axe [in what is now Vernon County, WI] when that wiley chief as captured.
After the war Mr. PHILLIPS settled near Platteville, Grant County, WI, and having purchased a tract of Government land, erected a log house, in which Mrs. MILLER was born, but which was abandoned some six weeks later by the family, who moved to a frame house. For many years there were no railroads in WI, and the nearest markets of any size were Galena and Milwaukee. He was one of the earliest agents in that section of the country for the McCormick Reaper and other kinds of farm machinery. He resided on his farm until 1861, after which he resided for ten years in Platteville, and then removed to Independence [Buchanan County], IA, where he remained until 1886, at which [p 596] time he went to Atlanta, GA, where he still lives.
The maiden name of the mother of Mrs. MILLER was Lucinda SLOAN. She was born in Mt. Vernon, KY, and her father, John SLOAN, removed from his native home in VA to KY and thence to MO, living at St. Charles [St. Charles County, MO] for a time, and then going to Dubuque [Dubuque County], IA, here he was one of the first permanent settlers. He bought a farm two miles from the city and there spent the remainder of his days. His wife before she was married bore the name of Jennie BOATWRIGHT. Mr. and Mrs. MILLER have two children: Ella G., who is now the wife of Robert B. WHIPPLE, and Mabel J. The political views of our subject are in accordance with the Prohibition doctrines, and he and his good wife are active and earnest members of the Centennial Methodist Episcopal Church.
Submitted by Cathy Kubly.