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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REUBEN MILLER. Among all the worthy citizens of Greene County, none can be found more thoroughly deserving of representation in a volume of this nature, than he whose name stands at the head of this notice, and whose portrait appears on the opposite page. His prominence is not due alone to the fact of his being an old settler, but to the excellent habits which he has maintained, to the resolute will and persevering industry which has secured for him a competence, and more than all to his upright Christian character. From his position as a poor boy, he has worked out a successful career, the capital with which he began, being the instruction which he had received to be studious, industrious and neat, and that which he thinks most important of all, to live a godly life.

The paternal ancestors of our subject were German, and in the maternal line he traces his ancestry to old England. His grandfather, Andrew Miller, emigrated from Germany to Pennsylvania when a young man, and during the first great struggle for American Independence he gave his services to the cause of freedom. From the forest on the Big Canawha Creek he cleared a farm, upon which he spent the later years of his life. His son John was born in York County, and determining to devote himself to farm life, bought the old home and engaged in agriculture upon it, but lost it after the War of 1812, During that struggle his eldest son, then seventeen years old, entered the army as his substitute. John Miller was a great reader, and an active member of the Lutheran Church, in which he was an exhorter.

The maternal grandparents of Reuben Miller were David and Hannah (Smith) Ramsey, of England, both of whom lived to the advanced age of eighty-six years, the former never being ill until his death. Having come to America prior to the Revolutionary War, Grandfather Ramsey took part in that struggle, receiving two wounds while fighting for freedom. During the cannonading at the battle of Bunker Hill, the dishes in his home, which was but two miles distant, were thrown from the shelves and broken by the concussion. After the war he removed to York County, Pa., being one of the early settlers. He cleared a farm in the mountains and made shingles, burned charcoal, and followed other occupations suited to the locality. His landed estate amounted to three hundred acres. The family were Quakers and prominent in the work of the society.

Jane Ramsey, daughter of David and Hannah (Smith) Ramsey, was born in Chester County, Pa., and married John Miller, to whom she bore seven children. David, who went to the War of 1812, when seventeen years old, died in Clark County, Ohio, at the age of sixty-two years; John died when two years old; Hannah, Mrs. Sultzenbarger, died at the age of seventy-five years; Mrs. Mary Welty died aged eighty-two years; Samuel died in Pennsylvania when sixty-eight years old; the next on the family roll is our subject, who is the only survivor; Benjamin died at the age of sixty years.

Reuben Miller was born in Conawanka Township, York County, Pa., September 25, 1810, and was reared on a farm. When five years old he was sent to his grandparents, who were getting old, in order that he might watch over them, and their home being across the mountain from that of his parents, he could call the latter in case of need. He remained under their roof until ten years old, when he returned to his old home, taking up such a share in the labors of the farm as a boy of his years could endure. His school privileges were meager, and the early education which he obtained was secured in the subscription schools, which were held during a small portion of the year. The clothing which he wore was home-made. He hunted some, running foxes and other game, and remained at home until twelve years old, when he was hired out on a farm at 13.50 per month until seventeen. He then began an apprenticeship at the trade of a shoemaker with his brother Samuel, and after serving three years started a shop of his own. He carried it on for nine years, working almost day and night, determined to secure a home and surround himself with some degree of comfort.

When twenty-three years old he secured a companion in life, being married in September, 1833, to Miss Margaret Mittman, who nobly bore her share in his labors and anxieties, assisting him by her counsel and prudent home keeping. She was born in Dover Township, York County, and died in Ohio, in 1846. After their marriage the young couple went at once to housekeeping, the husband buying a farm of eighty acres on the mountain side, making an initial payment with money which he borrowed at 6 per cent. He remained upon the place four years, after which he sold it and came to Ohio, the journey being accomplished in a two-horse covered wagon, which also conveyed a few household goods. The river was crossed in flatboats, and twenty-one days after leaving their Pennsylvania home the family settled near Dayton, Montgomery County, Ohio. For three years they lived upon rented land there, after which they settled in Clark County, spending one year in a cabin in the woods.

Although Mr. Miller had been put back by sickness, he had succeeded in saving about $250, with which he came to Greene County and made arrangements for the purchase of one hundred acres of land on Mud Run, going in debt for a large part of its price. A few years later he borrowed money at 10 per cent, and purchased one hundred and sixty acres adjoining, paying $30 per acre, and continuing his resolute efforts, succeeded in paying for both farms. The only indebtedness which he ever assumed was for land. He was located on the Springfield and Dayton pike, where he cleared and otherwise improved his estate, he engaged in general farming and stock raising, also dealing extensively in market produce. The early habits of neatness and order in which he had been instructed by his worthy parents, were carried out on the farm, where everything was carefully cared for, and nothing lost by heedlessness or ill-usage. The best of stock was kept, Mr. Miller being one of the first men in the county to keep full blooded Shorthorn cattle and Southdown sheep. His horses also were of good grades, while he endeavored at all times to keep his crops above the average in quality.

After having lived upon the estate, which he had secured by unremitting toil, for forty-two years, Mr. Miller sold it at $95 per acre, and removed to Osborn, retiring from the work in which he had so long been engaged. He bought the home in which he now lives, and has invested the remainder of his means in bank stock and in various loans. He is the largest and one of the original stockholders of the Bank of Osborn, his interest being $5,000. He has given each of his children a start in life, bestowing upon them the educational and business advantages which they desired.

Mr. Miller contracted a second matrimonial alliance, choosing as his companion Miss Hester Snyder, with whom he was united in wedlock, in 1847, the ceremony taking place in Clark County. The bride was born in York County, Pa., and was a daughter of John Snyder, an early settler of Bethel Township, Clark County, where she was reared and educated. After many years of useful life, in which she had shown her devotion to husband and family and kindliness to all with whom she came in contact, Mrs. Miller departed this life May 6, 1880.

The sons and daughters of Mr. Miller are seven, their record being as follows: John A. attended Lebanon College, and was subsequently graduated from Wilts Commercial College, in Dayton, and he is engaged in farming and the fruit business in Clark County; Ellen M. is a graduate of Granville College, in Licking County, and taught school until her marriage to O. P. Hardman, a farmer of Clark County; Laura J. is the wife of Henry Corn, of Fairfield, a retired farmer and a soldier in the Civil War; Cylnira C. is the wife of George Keplinger, who is a farmer and the operator of a greenhouse in Bath Township; Lee is an engineer at Springfield; Curtain was in a shop in Springfield but is now at home, having had his leg cut off by a train. Alice is the wife of William Rol, who works in the knife and bar shop of the Reaper and Mower Manufactory in Springfield.

The first Presidential ballot of Mr. Miller was cast for Andrew Jackson at his second election, and he has never since missed a vote, continuing his adherance to the Democrat party. He has always paid his fine when put in office, declining to serve except in school affairs. He belongs to the Lutheran Church, in which he has had membership since he was six months old, and in which for thirty years he has taken a very active part. He is a charter member of the society at Osborn, belonged to the building committee and has given as liberally as any one to its support. He has been a Trustee for years and is now an Elder, he belongs to the Ancient, Free and Accepted Masons at Osborn. He has been called upon to exercise his judgment as a juryman, and in other ways has been prominent among his fellow citizens. His memory is a remarkable one, he being able to recall events as far back as 1813, when his brother went to the war. Self-made in finances and in personal reputation and character, he gives the credit of all that he is to the teaching which produced in his mind the determination to be a gentleman in the deepest sense of that word, and to the natural abilities which God gave him.

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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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