Platte County MOGenWeb

Biography of Capt. W. Jackson Miller

 

Ref: History of Platte county, Missouri, 1885, page 954-956

Retired Agriculturist and Merchant, Platte County
For nearly 35 years, or since 1851, with the exception of a short time during the war, Mr. Miller has been a resident of Platte county. He has been one of the active, energetic men of the county, one of that class of its citizens who has been mainly instrumental in building it up and making it what it is today - one of the prosperous and leading counties of the State. By his industry and enterprise he had succeeded before the war in amassing a comortable property. But the vicissitudes and misfortunes of the war brought heavy losses upon him, so that when it closed he had, practically, to begin life anew. The same qualities, however, that made him successful prior to the war have borne similar fruits since, and for a second time in life he has succeeded in placing himself in comfortable circumstances. He is now retired on an ample competence to spend the remainder of his days in east and contentment. But, unfortunately, just as his outlook for the Indian summer of life seemed most pleasant and gratifying, a heavy misfortune fell upon him, the heaviest one is ever called upon to bear. His good wife, the partner of his joys and sorrows for nearly half a century, was called away by death. She had been by his side from the time when they were both young and bright and happy with the prospects of the future, through all the sunshine and the shadows that fell across their pathway until the twilight of old age began to approach, and through all these long years she proved herself to be one of the truest and most devoted of women, a gentle and loving wife and a tender, self-sacrificing mother. Her whole happiness in this world seemed to be centered in her family and friends, and apparently their comfort and pleasure were the objects of her undivided solicitude. No kinder and truer wife and mother and friend ever fell to sleep in death when LUCY M. MILLER died, November 22, 1884. Though gone to return no more, the memory of her gentle, true life still lingers among those who knew her and loved her like the halo of a sweet dream.

Capt. Miller is a Virginian by nativity, born November 18, 1818. His father was a Virginian by birth, but his father, JOHN MILLER, was originally from Pennsylvania. His mother, who was a MISS JANE JACKSON before her marriage, was born and reared in the Old Dominion. They made their permanent home in Virginia, where each lived to reach a ripe old age. Capt. Miller was reared in Rappahannock, and on the 7th of May 1840, was married to MISS LUCY M. MILLER, whose death has already been mentioned - a daughter of JESSE MILLER.

Mr. Miller, reared on a farm, made farming his regular occupation for many years. In 1851 he removed to Missouri, and located in Platte county. Here he engaged in farming near Platte county, where he bought land and also followed raising and dealing in stock. On the outbreak of the war, early in 1861, he enlisted in COL. WINSTON'S REGIMENT of the SOUTHERN SERVICE, becoming captain of a company. He served until after the expiration of his term of service, and during that time participated in the battle of Pea Ridge and several of less importance.

Subsequently Capt. Miller went to Nebraska City and engaged in the wholesale grocery trade, which he followed until the close of the war. After the war he returned to Platte county and resumed farming and handling stock.

In 1872 he established a stock ranch in Colorado, which he carried on with excellent success until 1880, when he sold out at a handsome profit. He is now silent partner in the firm of Blakeley & Co., of Platte City, one of the leading dry goods houses in the place.

Capt. Miller lost about $20,000 by the war, but much of this he has made good by profitable industry and enterprise since.

Capt. Miller and his good wife were blessed with a family of nine children:
Jane H. Miller, wife of Thomas R. Darnell (Dep. Sheriff), See Edna Rapp 1870 census
Jessie A., who died age 14
John E.
Mortimer M.
William E.
Fanny W. wife of Jesse Blakeley
Gideon T.
Jesse B.
J. Joseph

Capt. Miller is a member of the Baptist Church. He has been a member of the Masonic Order for many years, and is a prominent man in that Order. He came out to Missouri on a prospecting tour as early as 1839, and was here when the site of Kansas City was a wilderness, and there were few settlers in all this region of country. He made the trip to this State by wagon, before the day of railroads, and was 53 days on the road.