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Below is a family biography included in The History of McLean County, Illinois published by Wm. LeBaron, Jr. Co. in 1879.  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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HON. JAMES MILLER, deceased, Bloomington, whose portrait appears in this work, was of Scotch-Irish descent, and was born in Rockingham Co., Va., May 23, 1795. His grandfather was a Presbyterian minister in Ireland. He received such an education as could be obtained in a district school. When he was 16 years of age, his parents moved to Madison Co., Ky.; he was brought up on a farm, but having a talent for trade, he left the farm and became a merchant. At the age of 20, he was elected to fill the offices of Collector and Sheriff, positions of trust and responsibility. While living in Kentucky, he became greatly dissatisfied with the institution of slavery, and determined to leave the State, and, in the year 1835, came to Bloomington, and formed a co-partnership in the mercantile business, first with John Magoun, and afterward with John Magoun and John E. McClure. He owned a great deal of land, which he had entered, and also a large city property. In 1856, Mr. Miller was elected State Treasurer of Illinois, and so well and faithfully did he fulfill the trust reposed in him to the satisfaction of the people of the State that he was re-elected in 1858. Mr. Miller, early in life, became a member of the Methodist Church, at a time when popular feeling was against that denomination, and while he was holding a position dependent upon popular will; he was earnest and devoted, and soon was made a class-leader, and afterward a recording steward. During the remainder of his life, he occupied positions of trust and responsibility in the church. Mr. Miller has been twice married; his first wife was Miss Juliet McClelland, of Shelby Co., Ky., who lived but one year after marriage, leaving one child, Juliet, now living in Kentucky; on the 18th day of March, 1827, he married Mrs. Belle McGarvey, a daughter of John and Jane Moore, natives of Rockbridge Co., Va.; she was born Jan. 15, 1793; she had one child by her first husband, Alexander McGarvey, viz., John W. A., born Dec. 1, 1820; by Mr. Miller, she had four children, three living—Robert A., born Feb. 10, 1828: William T., Aug. 17, 1831; James E., Sept. 5, 1833; and one deceased—Otaway W., born March 23, 1830, died July 14, 1830. Mr. Miller, after a long and useful life, died on the 23d day of September, 1872. He was an honored member of the Masonic fraternity, who took an active part at his funeral obsequies. At the Quarterly Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, held in Bloomington Oct. 14, 1872, resolutions of respect were passed to his memory. Mrs. Miller is still living, at the ripe old age of 86, an excellent lady, who, during her whole wedded life, worked with her husband in the cause of Christianity.

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This family biography is one of 1257 biographies included in The History of McLean County, Illinois published by Wm. LeBaron, Jr. Co. in 1879.  View the complete description here: The History of McLean County, Illinois

View additional McLean County, Illinois family biographies here: McLean County, Illinois Biographies

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