Select Miller Miscellany

Here are some Miller stories and accounts over the years:

The Miller Family of Liverpool

This Miller family history began with the birth of John Miller in Kendal (then in Westmoreland) sometime around 1695.  He was an apothecary and alderman in the town.  His grandson William moved to Liverpool in the 1780s where he was a mercer and a draper.  William of the next generation speculated in land and built his home at Millers Castle in Bootle.  

Many of the later Millers of this family stayed in the Liverpool area.  A number were shipbrokers who travelled widely.   Joseph was a merchant who died abroad in Madeira in 1847.  Henry and George prospered in the tea plantations of India in the 1890s.  Other Millers emigrated to Canada at that time. 

Francis Spurstow Miller joined the Navy and had various naval commands during World War One.  He was promoted to Admiral after the war

The Miller Fishing Dynasty in Dorset

Henry Miller started up a small fishing business in the village of Tyneham near Lulworth Cove in Dorset in 1678.  His business was handed down father to son through the generations, to John and a second John in the 18th century and then to Henry, Joseph and Edwin in the 19th.

Charles was the first Miller to go to sea in a motor-powered boat after he installed an old Ford car engine on it in the late 1920s.  Jim succeeded him.  He was a well-known figure in the local fishing community until his death in 2008.  His son Joe joined in the 1970s and now fishes in Joes old boat, the Silver Foam.  

When Henry Miller started out, he sold fish direct to local villagers from the beach.  But over the decades, as the business grew, the Millers started selling most of their catch to fish merchants.  In recent years the family has sold their fish from their own shop in Lulworth Cove.  On the wall is a family tree showing all the Millers who have worked for the business down the years.

Mueller/Miller Mennonites

There are a large number of Anabaptist/Mennonite Muellers from various parts of Switzerland and they were among the earliest Anabaptists in the 16th century.  Included in their number were Elsi Mueller of Basel, Hans Mueller of Medicon, and Heinrich Mueller of Meisterschwanden.  Jobst (Just) Mueller was a martyr at Jena in Germany in 1536. 

During the 17th and early 18th centuries many of them left Switzerland because of persecution. Some of them settled in Alsace; others departed for the Palatinate in Germany.  By the 1720s Mennonites with the name of Mueller from Switzerland and Alsace began emigrating to Pennsylvania.  Michael Mueller, later Miller, arrived in 1727 from a family which was originally from the canton of Bern in Switzerland.

Abraham Miller of Bloom Township, Pennsylvania

Abraham Miller was born in 1758 in Berks county, Pennsylvania.  German parentage is most likely.  But it is not known for certain whether his parents were German, English, or Irish.

He married twice, having six children by his first wife Phebe and nine by his second wife Nancy.  He was an enterprising man.   He was an innkeeper, shopkeeper, landlord, farmer, and President of the Susquehanna Bridge Company.  He also owned and operated a mill and quarry.   In 1799 he started his Halfway House Inn, so named because it was halfway between Berwick and Bloom in Northumberland county.  His son Thomas took over the inn after he died in 1821.

Abraham was buried next to his two wives in Rosemont cemetery in Bloom township.  It was and is a picturesque spot on a hilltop overlooking the town and mountains to the distance.    Some of his children remained in the area.   Others moved to Michigan and Ohio.

Frederick Miller and the Miller Brewing Company

Frederick Miller had come from a well-to-do family in Riedlingen in Germany and spent his early years travelling, mainly in France.  On his way back to Germany, he visited his uncle, a brewer, in Nancy.  He decided to stay and learn the business.  

In 1854, with Germany in the throes of political unrest and growing restrictions, Frederick decided to emigrate with his young family to the United States.  He brought with him $9,000 in gold.  This was believed to have been partially gifts from Miller's mother and his wife's dowry and also possibly money that he had made from brewing in Germany.  

Shortly after his arrival in Milwaukee, Frederick Miller paid $8,000 for the Plank-Road Brewery, a five-year-old brewery started by Frederick Charles Best and abandoned in 1854.  Miller became a brewery owner in an era when beer sold for about $5 per barrel in the Milwaukee area and for three to five cents a glass at the city's taverns. The Plank-Road Brewery was several miles west of Milwaukee in the Menomonee valley.  It proved ideal for its nearness to a good water source and to raw materials grown on surrounding farms.  

Tall and spare, Frederick Miller had a long face with a high forehead and a short Parisian beard.   He dressed and acted like a Frenchman too.   But his "confoundedly good glass of beer" won the respect of the German community of early Milwaukee.

Saul Miller from a Jewish Shtetl

Saul Miller wrote in later life: In my seventeenth year I left Dobromil for Berlin in Germany and never set eyes on Dobromil again.  He had been born there in 1890, grown up in the Jewish shtetl there, and had been apprenticed as a tailor there.

He in fact stayed about two years in Berlin and came to New York in 1909.  There he was a garment worker all his life and an active union leader in the 1920s and 30s.

However, he did not forget where he had come from.  He published his reminiscences of his life there in Dobromil: Life in a Galician Shtetl, 1890-1907.  After World War II he was a one-man committee of correspondence, seeking out all the surviving refugees of the Dobromil area and helping them to find new homes.

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