My Genealogy Hound

Below is a family biography included in Portrait and Biographical Album of Greene and Clark Counties, Ohio published by Chapman Bros., in 1890.  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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SAMUEL S. MILLER. This gentleman is one of those who, born in Clark County in an early day, have grown to maturity amid pioneer surroundings, and in boyhood and youth taken such a part as their advancing strength would allow in the work of development which was going on around them. In looking back upon the labors and privations by which the wilderness was made to blossom as the rose, we should not forget that to the class represented by our subject scarcely less gratitude is due than to their progenitors, the pioneers of the country. Mr. Miller is a man of intelligence, well posted regarding events which are transpiring in various parts of the world, and the improvements which are being made in various departments of labor. In 1887 he published a pamphlet entitled ‘‘Early Settlers and Early Times on Donnel’s Creek,” an interesting volume which shows much care in its compilation.

Mr. Miller is of German lineage, his grandfather, Frederick Miller, having either been born in Germany or was the son of German parents. While a resident of Botetourt County, Va., in which he lived prior to 1818, he was a farmer. In that year he removed to Ohio, accompanied by his wife and seven children, the entire journey being made overland with teams. He located in Clark County, buying a tract of timber land in what is now Bethel Township, in which but little improvement had been made at that date, the county seat being but a small village. A cabin of round logs had been built on the land and a clearing of forty acres made, this being one of the largest clearings in the vicinity. His purchase was a quarter-section, for which he paid $1,000.

For some time after the removal of Frederick Miller to this county, wild game of various kinds abounded here, deer, wild turkeys and bears being especially numerous. In 1822 Mr. Miller breathed his last, and there being no cemeteries here, his remains were deposited on his own farm. The place has since been set apart as a burial ground, and is called Bethel Cemetery.

The maiden name of Mrs. Miller was Elizabeth Peery. She was born either in Germany or Pennsylvania, and spent her last years on the home farm, dying in 1844.

In the family of the couple above mentioned was a son, John, who was born in Augusta County, Va., in November, 1798. He was twenty years old when he accompanied his parents to the Buckeye State, and here he resided with his father until the latter’s death. He then bought the interest of the other heirs in the homestead and enlarged the farm by purchase, on which he continued to reside until called hence, in April, 1863, in the sixty-fifth year of his age. He married Miss Joanna Smith in 1824, who was born on her father’s farm in the same township, December 27, 1806. She is still living, at the advanced age of eighty-four years. She has reared eight children, named respectively: Harrison, Elizabeth, Samuel S., Milton J., Catherine, Charity, John Peery and Clinton.

In the maternal line the subject of this sketch derives his descent from the Rev. Peter Smith, who was born in Wales in 1753, and in early life came to America, settling in New Jersey, where he married Catherine Stout, whence he afterward removed to Georgia. In one of these States his son Samuel, grandfather of our subject, was born. Peter Smith practiced medicine and preached the Gospel, leaving his Southern home on account of his dislike to the institution of slavery. Turning his footsteps northward he located in Kentucky, the removal being made with pack-horses. Mrs. Smith had three small children, the youngest of whom she carried in her arms, the others (twins) traveling in baskets tied together and placed before her. After spending a short time in Kentucky they came into the Northwest Territory, in 1794-95, locating in Hamilton County. The records of the old Baptist Church at Duck Creek, Columbia Station, near Cincinnati, show that the Rev. Peter Smith and his wife Catherine united with that church by letter in 1795, and that the husband was ordained minister in 1801. In an account of the Centennial Celebration held June 21, 1890, of this the first Baptist Church in the Northwest Territory, the Cincinnati Commercial Gazette says, “In 1801, under Elder Peter Smith’s preaching, a great revival came, and in a few months over one hundred and fifty members were added to the church.” In 1805 they came to Clark County, and near the present site of Donnelsville bought nine hundred and sixty acres of land, which Mr. Smith afterward divided among his children. He was one of the early ministers of the county, and at his own home, where religious meetings were frequently held, he organized a society of Christian believers. There he died in 1816, his remains being buried on his own farm, the place afterward becoming Donnelsville Cemetery.

Samuel Smith married Elizabeth McCleave, a lady of Scotch-Irish descent and a native of the United States. He settled on the tract of land given him by his father, and followed farming there during his entire life. He died in 1856.

The natal day of Samuel S. Miller was July 20, 1829, and his birthplace his father’s farm in Bethel Township. In the early schools, which did not include instruction in the varied branches taught today, with a couple of terms at Wittenberg College, he received his education, and as soon as his strength would permit he began to assist his father on the farm. When seventeen years old he began teaching, his first term being in the home district, and the labor of a pedagogue was pursued by him several terms. He afterward turned his attention exclusively to farming, locating on a part of the homestead, which he subsequently sold, buying and building on the tract which he now occupies, near Springfield. On May 13, 1856, he was united in marriage with Miss Margaret Palmer, who has proved an efficient and loving helpmate, a devoted mother and a true Christian, for “lo, these many years.” Mr. and Mrs. Miller have four children — Orion P.; Cyrus I., who married Mamie Judson; Bertha A. and Milton. Both parents belong to the Christian Church. Mr. Miller was formerly a Whig, but has been a Republican since the formation of the party.

Mrs. Miller was born in Miami County, being a daughter of John and Margaret (Hance) Palmer. Her father was born in Bristol, England, September 19, 1791, and her grandfather, Robert Palmer, was also an Englishman. The latter came to America in 1807, accompanied by his wife, Elizabeth, and two children, and locating near Fishkill, N. Y., remained there two or three years. He then made an overland journey to Ohio, locating near Dayton, but after a short sojourn removing to Miami County, and settling in Lost Creek Township. He bought a tract of land, which was partially cleared, and upon which a log cabin stood, residing there until his death. The father of Mrs. Miller was sixteen years old when his parents brought him to America, and he resided with them until his marriage, in 1819. His wife was born in Kentucky, March 11, 1800, and was a daughter of William and Margaret (Northcutt) Hance, who located on a farm in Lost Creek Township, Miami County, at which home William died in 1833, aged eighty-three, and Margaret in 1845, aged eighty-four years. John and Margaret Palmer inherited the farm of Robert Palmer, remaining there until 1857. They then sold, and until August, 1881, made their home at Troy. They then came to Springfield, residing with Mr. and Mrs. Miller during the remainder of their lives. Mr. Palmer breathed his last December 11, 1882, aged ninety-one, his wife surviving until June, 1884, aged eighty-four.

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This family biography is one of the many biographies included in Portrait and Biographical Album of Greene and Clark Counties, Ohio published by Chapman Bros., in 1890. 

View additional Greene County, Ohio family biographies here: Greene County, Ohio Biographies

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