Miller's family history
Keywords: Blue Ball Inn; Brandywine Creek; Christiana Hundred; E.I. du Pont den Nemours and Company; Explosions; Green Hill Presbyterian Church (Wilmington, Del.); Gregg's store; Hagley Yard; Henry Clay (Del.: Village); Mills; Mt. Salem United Methodist Church (Wilmington, Del.)
Transcript: Miller: George Miller, after leaving the Blue Ball Inn, went back to farming in Brandywine Hundred. He was instrumental in building the Newark Union Church. John S. Miller, son of Joseph - or Jonas Miller - was instrumental in building Mt. Salem Church and he moved, after he passed his general store to his son-in-law, he built a house in the Highlands, which was called the Highlands, right next to Mt. Salem Cemetery. His father, William, Sr., was instrumental in Greenhill Presbyterian Church where he was the head of the cemetery burial for the church.
John S. Miller, Highlands, New Castle County, Delaware, son of Jonas and Jane Higgins Miller was born on a farm on the banks of the Brandywine August 15, 1828. Mr. Miller's father, Jonas W. Miller, son of George Miller and brother of Joseph and George L. Miller, old citizens of Brandywine Hundred, was born in Christiana Hundred February 13, 1804. His only educational advantages were offered by the public schools of the district. Mr. Miller was a close student and continued his education by reading and observation until he had acquired a large fund of general information. When quite young, he was apprenticed to Richard Rambo, millwright. On attaining his majority, Mr. Miller entered the millwright department, the DuPont Works. He was faithfully employed for more than fifty years.
The greater part of time being spent as foreman of the department, most of his life was passed on the banks of the Brandywine. He was a skilled mechanic and an infallible worker.
Jonas W. Miller was married to Jane, daughter of Andrew Higgins, who was a member of the Delaware Blues and during the Revolutionary War served for three years in the Continental Army. Mr. Miller was born June 1, 1808. Jonas W. and Jane Higgins Miller had 13 children, six of whom died in infancy, three reached maturity: those who reached maturity are (1) Jonas S., (2) Sarah J., Coatesville, Pennsylvania, born June 5, 1831, (3) Anna Maria, Mrs. James Newland, deceased, born April 14, 1833, (4) of Stockton, California, born February 14, 1836, (5) Catherine, widow of Joseph Walker, born December 16,1838, resides in Indian Territory, (6) William H., his father's successor at the Du Pont Works, born June 4, 1841, (7) Jonas W. of Kinsley, Kansas, born September 28, 1847.
Mr. Miller and his wife were members of the Presbyterian church. He died July 3, 1873 from effects of injuries received in an explosion which occurred that year at the DuPont Works. His widow died November 16, 1875. Both were buried in Mt. Salem M.E. Church - or cemetery.
John S. Miller attended the public schools at Sharpley, Brandywine Hundred and completed his scholastic courses at the Academy in Brandywine Village. In early youth he entered the service of the DuPont Company, having served his apprenticeship. Under his Father, became a skillful millwright and for 21 years, worked for the Company as a journeyman. In 1864 Mr. Miller abandoned his trade, opened a store for general merchandise at Henry Clay, New Castle Country, Delaware. In 1896, after carrying on a successful business for 32 years, he retired from active life and was succeeded by his son-in-law, Henry Gregg.
By close application to business, Mr. Miller acquired a competence and for the past two years has been enjoying well and rest in his beautiful home in the Highlands in Wilmington - in Wilmington Hundred. He is a life-long Republican and he has never sought to accept office. Mr. Miller is an influential citizen, highly esteemed in the County.
He was Past Master of DuPont Lodge, No. 29, A.F. & A.M., Post Grand of Brandywine Lodge No. 18, I.0.0.F.
Jonas Miller was married in Brandywine Hundred, March 6, 1856 to Anna Marie, daughter of Abraham and Rachel Jackson Husbands, old citizens of Brandywine Hundred. Their children are: Adelaide Henry Gregg, Mrs. Henry Gregg, of Henry Clay, Delaware, (2) Almira Day, Mrs. Henry Archer of New York City, (3) Catherine Walker, Mrs. George Casey of Brandywine Hundred, (4) Anna Maria, Mrs. William Jack, (5) Abraham - Abraham drowned at the age of two, and six - two years and six months, (6) Adam Lindsey, (7) Rachel H., (8) Sarah H. – died in youth, (9) Marion, one of the finest alto singers in this State, Mrs. Cora, and two who died in infancy.
Mr. Miller has given his children every advantage that he could command. Mr. Miller and his wife were members of Mt. Salem M.E. Church for nearly fifty years. His membership has been in a congregation in which he has different times served in every office except Superintendent of the Sunday School. That's it.
Wagner: You said one child burned - there was a fire and one child...
Miller: That wasn't John's, that was Martin's son. Yeah one of Martin's sons, and like I said, Martin had nothing in connection with the mills that I could ever find. That's why he's sort of left out on his own. I'm not sure which one of the sons it was, it's probably back in one of these other records that would tell that (flips pages searching for that information). That's the whole record of...
Wagner: On with Joseph.
Miller: Joseph Miller, P. O. Grubs Store near Wilmington, New Castle County, Delaware, son of George and Sarah Taylor Miller, was born in Christiana Hundred, New Castle County, Delaware, August 25, 1805. Mr. Miller's father, George Miller, was a native of Ireland. After his father's death, George, then quite young, accompanies his widowed mother and two brothers to America. They settled in Christiana Hundred where Mr. Miller devoted himself to cultivation of the soil.
He afterward moved to Brandywine Hundred in the same County and assumed the management of the Blue Ball Tavern. Five years later he purchased 80 acres of wild land which, with the help of his sons, he cleared and brought under cultivation. He erected on his farm a comfortable dwelling with a barn and outbuildings and by careful, intelligent labor, made of this wasteland a valuable property.
Mr. Miller was a Democrat and a follower of Thomas Jefferson, highly esteemed and respected in the County. George Miller was married to Sarah Taylor, a relative of the Springer family of New Castle County, Delaware, and a distant relative of the late John G. Blaine of Maine. Their children are (1) Martin, deceased; (2) James; (3) Jonas; (4) Joseph; (5) Hiram, deceased; (6) George of Brandywine Hundred; (7) Maria, widow of Robert Kirk; (8) Sarah, died in youth. Mr. Miller and his wife were consistent members of the Newark Union M.E. Church. He not only helped to build this church, but was always ready to contribute liberally to its support. He lived to celebrate his 87th birthday, beloved and honored by all who knew him. He and his wife died on the farm and are buried at Newark Union Cemetery.
Wagner: Give us a location, something we can relate to as to where this farm was located. Give us a landmark in today’ s terms.
Miller: I have to search out on the map I had because I don't recall just where that would be.
Wagner: Is it in the envelope?
Miller: Did I put it in the envelope? There it is. Joseph Miller's farm was right off of Carr Road, close to Newark Union Church.
Joseph Miller was educated in the subscription schools of Brandywine Hundred. He was unable to attend school except during the shorter winter sessions. The summer months, all his leisure hours were devoted to assisting his father in cleaning the homestead.
At the age of 15, Mr. Miller left home to learn carpentry under William Boyd, Manager of the carpenter shop at the DuPont Powder Company, and having become a skilled workman in that department, was placed under Mr. Murphy, millwright, also of the DuPont Works. For 18 years he was employed as carpenter in the millwright shop in the DuPont Works, receiving $24.00 per month.
In 1838 Mr. Miller purchased the homestead, 66 acres of land known as the Garland Tract. For the past 60 years he has devoted himself to farming, market gardening, and raising farm cattle. He has made many improvements to his property, erecting handsome buildings, barns and outhouses.
George L. Miller, P. O. Wilmington, Delaware, son of George and Sarah Taylor Miller. Was born in the Blue Ball Hotel, actually the Blue Ball Inn, Brandywine Hundred, New Castle County, Delaware, November 11, 1811. George L. Miller was educated in the subscription schools of the district.
He remained at home, attending school during the winter months and helping his father to clear and improve the homestead. At the age of 18 he entered the DuPont Works, studying under William Murphy, millwright, and having served his apprenticeship, worked at his trade in the same establishment for 20 years.
In 1848 Mr. Miller abandoned his trade and purchased his present home, a farm, 68 acres, then owned by his brother, Jonas Miller. The farm was located, which is now Miller Road and Lea Boulevard. He has lived, for the past 50 years, devoted his time to farming, market gardening and raising cattle. He has made many improvements, erecting house, barn, beautifying the property.
With the exception of his brother, Joseph Miller, he was the oldest inhabitant of Brandywine Hundred, as he was past his 87th birthday.
George L. Miller was married in May 14, 1834 to Jane, daughter of Robert Akin, an influential farmer in New London, Chester County, Pennsylvania. Mrs. Miller was born in Donegal, Ireland, and was in early youth when her parents immigrated to America.
Mr. Miller cast his first vote for Andrew Jackson in 1832, but voted for the Whig candidate, William Henry Harrison, in 1840. In 1860 identified himself with the Republican party.
In 1818, when Jonas left his home looking for work, he went down to the Brandywine and was standing looking across the Brandywine when four people came - I think it was four - and it ended out that it was Victor du Pont, this was March, 1818, the day that the Upper Yards exploded. Victor du Pont and Marshall Grouchie, who was one of Napoleon's generals and a friend of Victor du Pont - they saw Jonas standing on the shore so they called over, the boat from the other side and they took Jonas across. When they got in the middle of the creek, that's when everything exploded. And that's when he pitched in and really started helping them out, and that's when E. I. du Pont actually saw what he was doing and gave him a job on the spot.
In 1873 when Jonas died, he was working on three powder bins when they struck fire and all except Jonas got out of the building, but Jonas was caught in the explosion and he died three days later from burns and he had 55 years’ service.
Wagner: Okay, to get to Mr. Miller's house, go south on Union Street, take a left into Canby Park, Bill's Flowers will be on the right hand side, turn left into Prospect Drive, Mr. Miller's house is halfway down the block.