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Below is a family biography included in The History of Newton County, Missouri published by Goodspeed Publishing Company in 1888.  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 H. Miller, one of the pioneers of Greene County, Mo., and one of the best known citizens of Newton County, in the same State, was born in Columbia, Maury Co., Tenn., February 19, 1816, and is the son of Joseph Miller, one of the pioneers of Tennessee, and an old Virginian, of German descent. His mother, Mary W. Campbell, was first cousin of James K. Polk, and of Scotch origin. Their son, John H., was reared on his father’s farm, and remained there until thirteen years of age, when he moved with his parents and an uncle, J. P. Campbell, to what is now Greene County, Mo., when, in Mr. Miller’s own words, “there was nothing in that county but Delaware Indians and rattle-snakes.” In 1838 Greene County was organized, and John P. Campbell was appointed the first county clerk. John H. assisted on the farm and also his uncle in the clerk’s office. At the age of twenty-one he was appointed deputy county clerk of Greene County, and the year following was elected the first county clerk of Taney County, Mo., a position he held three years. He then returned to Springfield, and was employed by his uncle, John P. Campbell, who was then United States land receiver. In 1843 he married Miss Margaret Blakey, daughter of Judge James W. Blakey and Nancy (Haden) Blakey, who were from Russellville, Ky. Judge Blakey was married three times, was one of the pioneers of Greene County, and was judge of the county court three times. John H. Miller was clerk in a store at Springfield, Mo., for seven years, and then purchased a farm three miles south of that town, in 1851. He became a prosperous man, worth, at least, $30,000, and at one time was security for Col. Marcus Boyd, receiver of the land office. At the breaking out of the war Mr. Miller, whose sympathies were with the Confederacy, went to Arkansas, taking with him his own slaves and those of his brother-in-law, besides much portable property, wagons, horses, cattle, etc., helping save the property from the raiders of both armies, which he knew would soon scatter it. Notwithstanding all his efforts, his property was widely scattered, and he returned and met with still further misfortune by becoming security for others. By these means he lost his farm, and was forced to begin life anew. He went to Northern Missouri, and lived in Montgomery County for three years. In 1867 he moved to Newton County, and took up a farm two miles south of Newtonia, where he remained until 1871, when he moved to Ritchey, and was appointed station agent for the San Francisco Railroad, holding the position for six years. He then engaged in merchandising at Ritchey, and also filled the office of postmaster. Mr. Miller is now living on a farm of eighty acres near Ritchey, and takes a great interest in school affairs, having been school director, and is now chairman of the board. He is the only notary public in Ritchey. Mr. and Mrs. Miller are the parents of one daughter, Mary D. Miller, who married D. C. Price, and had five children: John, Fannie, David, Robert and Blakey. The mother of these children died in 1884, and Mr. and Mrs. Miller have taken the place of parents to the motherless children, having them all with them except one. Mr. Miller has been a Mason since 1841, was secretary of Springfield Lodge for eight years, and is secretary of Ritchey Lodge. He is a stanch Democrat in politics. Although his education was rather limited, he is a graphic writer, and has preserved with his pen many interesting anecdotes and historical sketches of pioneer life. He was also a contributor to the history of Greene County, Mo., and has written several articles for the St. Louis Republican on his recollections of the pioneers of Missouri, senators, etc. He is well preserved for a man of seventy-two years of age. Mr. and Mrs. Miller are much esteemed and respected by all who know them. Mrs. Miller is a member of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church.

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This family biography is one of 220 biographies included in The History of Newton County, Missouri published in 1888.  For the complete description, click here: Newton County, Missouri History, Genealogy, and Maps

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