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Published by Brink, McDonough & Co., Philadelphia 1879

Page 229

ROBERT P. MILLER was born in Greenup county, Kentucky, on December 4th, 1836, and is therefore just in the prime of life and the full enjoyment of physical and mental vigor. His father, Erastus Miller, was a native of the same state. The Miller family on the paternal side were of German ancestry. He married Mary A. Gibbs, who was a native of the same state. Her mother was a Ratcliffe. They were originally from Virginia. There were four children born to Erastus and Mary Miller, of whom the subject of our sketch is the eldest. The father died while he was yet comparatively young, and not being a man possessed of much property, Mr. Miller was forced to begin life for himself when only thirteen years of age; owing to the early demise of his father, he did not have the advantages of such an education as was afforded the youth of his day. At the age of thirteen years he went to work upon a farm for his support, and continued so engaged until 1857, when on the 13th of January of the same year he was united in marriage to Miss Mary E. Slone, who is a native of Kentucky. Her parents were originally from North Carolina.

In March, 1857, Mr. Miller determined to leave his native state, and seek his fortune or himself and young wife in the West, and emigrated to Illinois. His intention was to go further north than Shipman, but his money giving out he was from necessity compelled to stop, on order to recruit his impoverished exchequer. He soon found work on Mr. Justison's farm, where he remained for six months, and in the fall of the same year he rented a piece of land on the shares. This may be regarded as his first venture in business life for himself; henceforth he was to be the architect of his own fortune, without the guidance or under the control of others. He continued two years as a renter, but his health failing he was compelled to abandon farming and engage in something more suitable to his health. He accordingly went to buckstering, buying produce from the farmers and hauling it to St. Louis, where he disposed to it; he carried goods back, and delivered them to merchants and dealers in the small towns in the northern and western part of the county. His health, however, did not improve, and after two years spent in the above named business he went to Minnesota, in hope of regaining his lost health. After one year spent there, he found himself so much improved that he returned to Shipman, and commenced dealing and trading in live stock, buying and shipping to St. Louis and other markets. This business he has continued without interruption up to the present. As soon as he made sufficient money, so as to be able to spare some of it from his business, he invested it in land, and thus he added acre by acre, until at the present he is not only one of the principal shippers and stock men of the county, but also one of the leading agriculturists. Mr. Miller, in his business, is endowed with those traits characteristic of the western business man, namely, industry, enterprise, and activity in what he undertakes. In his family he has been blessed with a numerous progeny; thirteen children have been born to them, eight of whom are living. He is not a member of any particular church organization.

In politics he is an unswerving democrat, and as such cast his first vote for Stephen A. Douglas in 1860, and has voted steadily with that party ever since.

In the business of life he has been more than ordinarily successful, which may be attributed to his industry and superior judgment. In fact, he started in life unaided and thrown upon his own resources while yet almost in his infancy, with nothing to help him except a sound body, a strong pair of arms, and an abundance of energy. Among his neighbors and friends, with whom he has lived for nearly a quarter of a century, he is universally respected for his integrity and sterling worth as a man and citizen.

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