Biography - Samuel Miller

SAMUEL MILLER is an intelligent and enterprising member of the farming community of Moweaqua Township. He was born in Somerset, Perry County, Ohio, December 12, 1833. His father, George Miller, was a native of Pennsylvania. He removed to Ohio in pioneer times, and his last years were passed in Somerset, where he carried on his trade as a stonemason. He served with credit as a soldier during the Mexican war. He married Susan, daughter of Frederick Leathers, and a native of Fairfleld County, Ohio, of which her father was an early pioneer. She came to Illinois in 1854, and her last years were passed in a home southeast of Shelbyville.

When our subject was seven years old he went to live with Peter Kesler, a farmer of Fairfield County, Ohio. He remained with him two years, and then went to Preble County, and was with Reuben Pottenger two years. He then returned to his old home to live with his mother, who had married a second time, becoming the wife of Samuel Potter. He remained an inmate of his step-father's household until he was eighteen years old. At that age he went to Dayton, in his native State, to serve an apprenticeship of three years to learn the trade of a carriage smith. At the expiration of that time he did journey-work at Troy, Ohio, and later at Indianapolis and Lafayette, Ind., at St. Louis, Mo., and at Bloomington, Ill. In 1859 he started for the Pacific coast, going by the way of the Isthmus, and for two months he worked at his trade at San Francisco. From there he went to Portland, Ore. and was employed in the same way in that city the ensuing three months. We next hear of him at Cloverdale, in the same State, where he opened a shop and carried on business as a carriage manufacturer three years. His place of residence after that for some time was at Eugene City, where he engaged in manufacturing carriages until 1864.

In the year last mentioned Mr. Miller returned eastward as far as this State, and was a resident of Mattoon one year. He then went back to Portland, resumed business as a carriage manufacturer, and while there took a Government contract to build army wagons. He remained in that city until 1868, and then conducted business at his trade in Albany, Ore. In 1870 he left that place and once more came to Illinois. He bought a farm in Long Grove Township, this county, and gave his attention to agriculture. Two years later he rented his farm, and going back to Oregon bought property at Albany, and resumed the manufacture of carriages and wagons, continuing in that line until 1872. He then sold out his business and returned to his Illinois farm, which he disposed of at a good price in 1881, and his next venture was to engage in the sale of groceries and agricultural implements at Moweaqua, carrying on a thriving business the following four years. He then sold at a good advantage, and bought the place where he now resides, and is devoting himself assiduously to its improvement.

Mr. Miller was married first in Cloverdale, Ore., in 1864, to Miss Mary Agnes Southwell, a native of Morgan County, Ill. Their wedded life was but brief, as the young wife died in 1865. The second marriage of our subject, which took place in 1867, was to Miss Mary Hand, a native of Kentucky. She died at Albany, Ore., in 1876, leaving three children, Agnes M., Arabella (wife of Everett Russell), and Effie Blanche. The marriage of Mr. Miller to his present wife, formerly Sarah J. Defenbacker, was solemnized in 1877, and has brought them two children, Cora Edna and Samuel. Mrs. Miller is a native of Decatur, Ill., and a daughter of Dr. Defenbacker, who was a German by birth, and was one of the pioneer physicians of Decatur.

A certain energy and force of character, versatility and shrewd business tact have marked the acts of our subject ever since he began the battle of life on his own account, and have helped to place him among the substantial citizens of the county. He and his wife occupy a good position socially, and in them the Methodist Episcopal Church has two good working members. Mr. Miller's political sentiments are expressed by the platform of the Republican party.

Extracted 17 Aug 2020 by Norma Hass from 1891 Portrait and Biographical Record of Shelby and Moultrie Counties Illinois, pages 699-700.

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