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Below is a family biography included in Book of Biographies: Biographical Sketches of Leading Citizens, Cortland County, New York published by Biographical Publishing Company in 1898.  These biographies are valuable for genealogy research in discovering missing ancestors or filling in the details of a family tree. Family biographies often include far more information than can be found in a census record or obituary.  Details will vary with each biography but will often include the date and place of birth, parent names including mothers' maiden name, name of wife including maiden name, her parents' names, name of children (including spouses if married), former places of residence, occupation details, military service, church and social organization affiliations, and more.  There are often ancestry details included that cannot be found in any other type of genealogical record.

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JOHN HARRISON MILLER. Of the sturdy farmers, who furnish for the nation the supplies of food products, Cortland County has its full quota. Its men are known as citizens of long residence, who are closely bound to the great Empire State, believing that it holds a position that is second to none other in the sisterhood of states. Of such a stamp is the subject of this sketch, whose name heads these lines. Mr. Miller is engaged in carrying on general and diversified farming on his estate in Homer township, and is highly respected by his neighbors and acquaintances as a man who is thoroughly acquainted with his calling, and who has not lost sight of the elements of success wherever they may lie. He ranks with the best agriculturists of the county, and represents the best type of agriculturist of Central New York. His experience goes far to disprove the statements that there is no money in farming, for he has steadily accumulated it, and to-day has one of the nicest properties to be found in many a long day’s journey. There is money to be made, but only by intelligent farming; this calling must keep pace with progress in other walks of the industrial world, or at once fail to keep on the farm the best men we have.

Our subject’s parents, Isaac and Elizabeth (Harrison) Miller, were both of English birth and parentage, and both came from the same locality — Penroth, County Cumberland, England. The father was born in 1812, and the mother in 1807. They were married while still residents of Old England, and there their first two children were born: George and Margaret. The former died on the voyage to America, being then a young child; while the latter, then an infant, lived to maturity, and married Abner Hall, and now lives in Auburn, N. Y. The family emigrated in 1839, and first located in the town of Truxton, where they lived five years, until 1844, when Mr. Miller purchased a farm of 170 acres on East River, near East River P. O., upon which he resided, and which he improved and cultivated for a period of twenty-seven years. In conjunction with his avocation of husbandry, he carried on the closely related industry of dairying; he was very successful in his labors, and accumulated an ample competency, upon which he retired in 1871. To be free from cares and in a position to enjoy the sunset years of his life, he removed to the village of Homer, where he spent the rest of his days. He died there July 16, 1895. His wife had preceded him to the other shore, her death having occurred in January, 1878. They were both members of the Episcopal Church, and aided in erecting the first Episcopal Church Building in Truxton; in all branches of the Master’s service, they were ever alert, active, devout, and anxious to do what they could. Our subject’s father voted the Democratic ticket, but that was about as far as his interest in politics extended. Three children were born to Mr. and Mrs. Miller in Cortland County, who were as follows: John H. and Jane, twins, the latter now deceased; and Elizabeth, the wife of John B. Henry, a farmer and representative citizen of Homer township.

John H. Miller was born in the town of Truxton, this county, March 22, 1844, and was but ten days of age, when his parents moved into the town of Homer; with the exception of one year (1860-61), spent on a mill property near by, he has always resided on the homestead. In 1870 he purchased the interests of his sisters in the homestead, and by purchase added to the original tract until his estate now contains 217 acres of valuable and well improved land. His residence is a very fine one for a country home; it is modern in its architecture, furnishings and appointments, and presents a pleasing appearance no matter from what vantage ground it is viewed. The barn and other farm buildings are kept in good repair, and possess every convenience that could suggest itself to a practical farmer. Everything on the farm, in the buildings and out of them, is kept orderly and neat. All farm machinery has a place where there is shelter, and tools are to be found in their accustomed places. In addition to farming, Mr. Miller, operates an extensive dairy, and also deals largely in live stock, in which pursuit he has been engaged for many years with profit. He is regarded as one of the successful and affluent men of Cortland County, and this, too, with good reason.

In January, 1872, the words were said that united our subject and Elizabeth Bell, daughter of James and Mary Bell of Truxton, this county, in marriage, and their union has been fruitful with two children: Jennie C., born April 25, 1876, and died December 3, 1897; and Jessie B., born February 7, 1883. Mr. Miller is a Democrat politically, but beyond exercising his right of manhood suffrage, he does not let politics claim any of his time. He is a member of the Truxton Council of the A. O. U. W.

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This family biography is one of numerous biographies included in Book of Biographies: Biographical Sketches of Leading Citizens, Cortland County, New York published in 1898. 

View additional Cortland County, New York family biographies here: Cortland County, New York Biographies

View a map of 1897 Cortland County, New York here: Cortland County, New York Map

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