Biography of Jesse F. Miller
Rush County, IN Biographies





JESSE F. MILLER, one of the substantial farmers of Anderson township, now living at Milroy, was born on the farm he owns in that township and has been a resident of Rush county all his life. He was born on November 11, 1859, son of Augustus and Celia (Winship) Miller, both of whom were born in that same township, members of pioneer families. Augustus Miller, who for many years was a well known farmer of Anderson township and for some time a member of the board of county commissioners of Rush county, was born on a farm in Richland township on February 16, 1827, son of Michael and Sarah (Thompson) Miller, Virginians, who settled in this county in the spring of 1823, two years after Rush county had been created a separate civic unit in the growing list of counties in the then new state of Indiana. Michael Miller was born in that section of the Old Dominion now comprised in West Virginia on February 28, 1801, and was reared there. At the age of twenty two years, January 9, 1823, he married Sarah Thompson and in the March following he and his bride came to Indiana and located in Rush county, where the young pioneer had entered a quarter section tract of "Congress land" in Anderson township, the grant to the land, which is still in the possession of the family, bearing the signature of President Monroe. As an interesting sidelight on the subject of comparative land values it will be informative to the present generation to know that this pioneer paid the government $1.25 an acre for that quarter section. As in all that section of Rush county in its primitive state, this tract was covered with hard timber and the task the young pioneer faced in clearing the place and fitting it for cultivation was one that now would seem well nigh insuperable, but he and his bride buckled down to the task of creating a home for themselves and those who should come after them and in proper time they had a fit abiding place there and a productive farm. In the log house they erected for their first dwelling place in the wilderness their three children were born: Christian, Augustus and Mary Michael Miller continued to prosper and in time added to his farm an adjoining quarter section, which he also proceeded to improve, and on that place he resided until his retirement in 1852 and removal to Richland, where he died in 1878, he then being seventy seven years of age. His widow survived him for twelve years, her death occurring at the home of her daughter in 1890, she then being eighty six years of age. In the cabin home above referred to Augustus Miller was reared. From the days of his boyhood he was a helpful assistant in the labors of improving and developing the pioneer farm and he remained with his parents until his marriage to Celia Winship at the age of twenty four, after which he established a home of his own, buying a farm in the neighborhood, and as he prospered in his affairs added to his holdings until he became the owner of an excellent farm of 400 acres and came to be regarded as one of the substantial and influential men of the community. Mr. Miller took an active interest in local political affairs and for two terms served as a member of the board of commissioners of Rush county for his home district. In 1881 he disposed of some of his interests in this county and moved to Greensburg, in the neighboring county of Decatur. He continued his political activity in his new place of residence and not long after moving there was elected to represent his district on the board of commissioners of Decatur county. He also continued to extend his land interests and at one time owned farms in Howard and Madison county besides his holdings in Rush and Decatur counties. Augustus Miller was twice married. By his first wife, Celia Winship, he had six children, of whom the subject of this sketch was the fourth in order of birth, the others being Louis Irwin, who died in infancy; Michael S., who died at the age of eleven years; Lucien B., now living in Rushville; Oscar G., who for years has been engaged in business at Greensburg, and Anna B., who met with a fatal accident when four years old. It was prior to the removal of Augustus Miller to Greensburg that the mother of these children died and in 1894 he married Sarilda Lanham. Jesse F. Miller was reared on the home farm in Anderson township and from the days of his boyhood was trained to effective farm ways. He supplemented the course secured in the local schools by a course in the normal school at Danville, Ind., and remained at home, a valued assistant to his father in the labors of developing the farm, until his marriage at the age of twenty five, after which he rented a tract of land from his father and established a home of his own. Later his father apportioned to him a tract of 112 acres and to this he presently added an adjoining "forty." On this farm he and his wife continued to make their home until 1913, when they moved to Milroy, where they have since resided and where they are very comfortably situated. Mr. Miller, however, continues to oversee his farm operations and has lost none of the activity of former days, though living "retired," and it is but proper to state that these farming operations are carried on in strictly up to date fashion, his son, Donald E. Miller, being a valued factor in the continuing operations of the old home place, which has thus been operated by four generations of the Miller family since the original grant to the pioneer, Michael Miller, nearly a century ago. It was in 1884 that Jesse F. Miller was united in marriage to Minnie E. Elstun, who also was born in this county. daughter of Freeman and Lucinda Elstun, and to this union has been born one child, a son, Donald E., who is unmarried and who is referred to above as carrying on the continuing farm operations of the Millers in his generation in this county. Mr. and Mrs. Miller are members of the Methodist church and have ever taken an interested part in church work, Mr. Miller having been for some time a member of the board of trustees of the church. In his political views Mr. Miller is an ardent Republican, as was his father, but has not been an office seeker. He is a Mason, affiliated with the local lodge of that order at Milroy, and is also a member of the local lodge of the Knights of Pythias, in which latter lodge he has been "through the chairs."

From:
Centennian History of Rush County, Indiana
Edited by: A. L. Gary and E. B. Thomas
Historical Publishing Company
Indianapolis 1921


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