The Miller – Blissett Story
NOTE TO READER:
This chapter is a work-in-progress, but, because it has unexpectedly become such a lengthy investigation, it was decided to separate it into installments. Part 1 substantally completes the investigation of the Miller family being addressed by this investigation, but is still lacking that part that extends beyond Berkeley County WV into Maryland, and the work being performed on the Blissett side of this family. That remaining work will be incorporated into a future post identified as Chapter 16 – The Miller-Blissett Story (Part 2). Sorry for any inconvenience, but bear with me. When loading these manuscripts, the graphic images are stripped, and item numbering is destroyed. By downloading and reading from the .pdf file, the reader will be treated to the full array of graphic and documentary support.
DEDICATION: This work is dedicated to the loving memory of Marion Roy Miller (1946-2020) and his dear friend and companion, Mary Turek. The author had the good fortune of sharing this research with Marion and Mary and incorporating their memories, thoughts and insights into its development. The life of Marion is paid tribute in the following obituary:
Marion Roy Miller, 73, of New London, passed away at 8:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 15, 2020, at his home.Private graveside services will be in Calvary Cemetery in Quincy, Ill., with Father Mike Quinn officiating.James O’Donnell Funeral Home in Hannibal, Mo., is handling arrangements. Marion Roy was born May 2, 1946, near Frankford, Mo., to Henry Miller and Esther Raney Miller.He married Barbara Frese on April 19, 1969, at St. John’s Church in Quincy. She preceded him in death on Sept. 30, 1990.Survivors include his longtime companion, Mary Turek of New London; a son, Jared P. Miller (fiancee Wanda Smith) of Eolia; a brother, Melvin Miller of Troy; a brother-in-law, Lawrence Rodhouse; three sisters-in-law, Elsie Miller of Monroe City, Shirley Miller of Redondo Beach, Calif., and Frances Miller of Southgate, Mich.; and numerous nieces and nephews.Marion was preceded in death by his parents; seven brothers, Edgar, Lloyd, Ralph, Virgil, John, Raymond “Junior” and Darrel Wayne; and 2 sisters, Esther Sue and Mary Lee.Marion proudly served his country in the U.S. Army during the Vietnam War. He proudly belonged to the Adams County Vietnam Veterans Memorial Committee, where he helped raise funds and construct Quincy’s Vietnam Veterans Memorial.Marion began working at Stark Brothers Nursery in Louisiana out of high school. He later worked at Motorola in Quincy, where he met his wife, Barbara. Marion then worked at Gardner Denver before taking a position with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, where he worked until his retirement in 2006.Living in the country suited Marion. He loved to hunt and fish and enjoyed taking his four-wheeler around town to check in with friends and neighbors. Barbecuing on his grill, talking baseball with his brother, Melvin, or enjoying a cold beer with friends were a few of Marion’s favorites. Most of all, he simply loved the moments he shared with family and friends.Marion was Catholic by faith and was a longtime member of St. Peter’s Catholic Church in Quincy and later, Holy Family of Hannibal.Pallbearers include Jared Miller, Harold Caldwell, Chris Raney, Dave Lounsberry, Alex Dunker and Dave Houchins.Honorary pallbearers include Joe McGlasson, Ronnie Kelly, Tara Bergheger, Eric Bergheger, Roger Jennings and Rob Jennings.
The author received an e-mail on June 5, 2019 from a distant cousin, a descendant of George J. Miller, b. 1815 in Kentucky, d. 1873 in Illinois, contents of inquiry below:
“Hello, I am trying to determine how I’m related to Christopher J. Miller. I have an old photo album with tin type pictures of his wife Mary Ann Cain (Kane) and children William, Amos, Adolphus, Nancy and Alva Perry. The pictures are in the album with known Miller relatives. The pictures also have been posted to Christopher Miller’s family tree on this site. I know about Chistopher’s father and mother, but nothing else. I’ve been trying to link him to my GGGrandfather George J. Miller, born 1815 KY and died 1873 Greene or Jersey County, IL. Thanks for reading this….”
This rather benign call for assistance has launched a fairly complex and protracted research into one strand of the Arterbury/Atterbury family not previously given much attention. The reason for the past “neglect” and indifference for these Millers was due to their rather tenuous connection to the author’s Arterbury/Atterbury family lineage. After all, Christopher J. Miller was merely the father-in-law of the author’s 2nd great aunt, Rosella White, who had married Amos Leroy Miller, son of Christopher J. Miller (almost certainly the “Amos” mentioned in the above cited e-mail as a child of Mary Ann Cain-Miller). Rosella White was the baby sister of the author’s great grandmother, Martha Emeline White, pictured at right. Unlike Bettie Tennant Miller, the author’s maternal grandmother, this Christopher J. Miller family seemed too far removed to be of any further interest. At least that was the author’s belief until being contacted by his Miller cousin.
Thinking only to perform a quick study of the facts surrounding the Miller family photos and to render an opinion as to the possible kinship connection between our respective Miller ancestors, the author quickly became seduced by the genealogical mysteries they embodied. How had photos of the family of Christopher J. Miller come to be in the possession of the family of George J. Miller? Was there a connection to Jacob Miller, the purported founder of Millerstown Kentucky? Were Jacob Miller’s brothers held captive by Indians? These were mysteries indeed.
Being addicted to the challenge of solving genealogical entanglements, the author quickly became hooked. Particularly when it emerged that there had been contemporaneous intermarriages between these Millers and members of the Blissett family. Now, the Blissetts were a much more familiar group, as Reason Blissett had married the author’s 4th great-aunt, Anna Arterbury, daughter of Richard Arterbury, son of the American Arterbury immigrant, William Arterbury. The Blissett family had resided contemporaneously with the Atterburys along the drains of the Sandy River in Chester County South Carolina during the latter part of the 18th century, long before both families relocated to Hardin County Kentucky. Reason Blissett, along with Priddy Meeks and William Watkins [all three were sons-in-law of Richard Arterbury] initially filed for administration of Richard Arterbury’s estate in 1806. Reason Blissett ultimately went the security bond for Charles Arterbury and Richard Arterbury Jr. for the administration of Richard Sr’s. estate. Reason and Anna Blissett were among the first members of the Atterbury family to move to Wayne County Illinois around 1812, where Reason died sometime before 1820.
From the author’s earlier research it had been established that James Miller was the father of Christopher J. Miller, the father of Amos Leroy Miller. However, due to lack of curiosity, nothing further had been discovered by the author relative to James Miller until being contacted by his Miller cousin. What follows hereinafter will be the evolving story of these Millers and Blissetts as discovered and compiled by the author. James Miller is believed to have married Nancy Blissett, daughter of George Blissett, as evidenced by the following abstract from KentuckyCounty Marriages: 1783-1965:
Name: James Miller
Marriage Date: 30 Dec 1815
Marriage Place: Hardin, Kentucky, USA
Spouse: Nancy Blissit
A thorough search of census and other civil records during this time period disclosed the presence of only one family named Blissett or near facsimile in the entire nation during the 18th and 19th centuries, that being the households of George Blissett and his antecedents. Given the rarity of the Blissett surname in this country during this time period, it seems highly probable that Nancy Blissett and Reason Blissett were siblings, and children of George Blissett, thus making Anna Atterbury Blissett and James Miller brother and sister in-law. Marriages during this time period typically involved parties from the same neighborhood, unless there had been some prior association through kinship or close living proximity elsewhere. So, from this basic “fact” it is reasonable to assume that the George Blissett family and the Miller family most likely were near neighbors somewhere within Hardin County in the early part of the 19th century.
Unlike Blissett, the Miller surname was anything but rare, as there were a total of 15 separate Miller households recorded in Hardin County in 1810, five years before the intermarriage of James Miller and Nancy Blissett. Since Grayson County was erected in 1810 by partitioning from Hardin County, it is possible that James Miller’s family may also have been from the Grayson County area, which contained 9 separate Miller households in 1810. With so many Miller households existing in the Hardin and Grayson County area in 1815, how might it be possible to isolate and identify James Miller’s family? There may have been clues recorded in Illinois which could assist in refining the search for James Miller’s family in Kentucky. Let’s first look at the census records in Illinois which are believed to have been associated with James Miller. The 1840 census of Greene County Illinois records the household of a James Miller residing in Taylors Township. A review of the demographic composition of that household provides a strong inference that it was of our James Miller. Recorded immediately adjacent to the James Miller household in 1840 was a household headed by a Henry B. Miller. Because of the age range of the head of that household (20-30) and the apparent close living proximity, it seemed probable to the author that Henry B. Miller was a son of James Miller.
The 1850 census record believed to have contained our James Miller’s household is summarized in Figure 2. James Miller was identified in this record as having been about 59 years old, and born in Pennsylvania. Also in this household was Ailcey Miller, 59 years old, born in South Carolina, believed by the author to have been James’ wife, Nancy Blissett. Christopher J. Miller is believed to have been James and Nancy Miller’s son. Christopher was reported born about 1824 in Kentucky.
Another record was found in the 1860 census which the author believes to have contained our James Miller, summarized in Figure 3. This household was headed by a person named Jacob Miller, born about 1818 in Kentucky. Also in this household was an elderly male named James Miller, born about 1790 in Kentucky. Apart from the variance in the place of birth (Pennsylvania vs Kentucky) the demographics of this James Miller are a match for our James Miller. It is the author’s belief that the James Miller in Figure 3 was the same person as the James Miller in Figure 2, and that he was the father of Henry B., Christopher J. and Jacob Miller. This belief is supported by the fact that Jacob Miller, aged 61 years in the 1880 census living at Greenfield, Green County Illinois, reported his father born in Kentucky and his mother born in South Carolina. We also have the 1880 census record for Christopher J. Miller living in English, Jersey County Illinois in which he reported his father born in Maryland and his mother born in South Carolina. While these facts are not absolute proof of Jacob Miller having been a son of James and Nancy Miller, the circumstantial connections are very compelling.
Ironically, from the census records in which James Miller’s birth place ostensibly was reported, we have a variance between Pennsylvania, Kentucky and Maryland. Had these records consistently reported the same place of birth, that fact might have been helpful in tracing James Miller’s origins. Given the variances in his reported birth place, that piece of information is rendered less than helpful (inconclusive).
Now we come back to the question at hand, was there anything else found in the records of Illinois that might help us focus or refine our search for the ancestry of James Miller? As a matter of fact, there is just such evidence to be found in the obituary of Christopher J. Miller, which was transcribed by the author from a newspaper clipping provided by his Miller cousin:
“The Patriot”, Carrollton, IL
Christopher J. Miller Obit, September 23, 1898:
Was a Pioneer of Greene
Christopher J, Miller, who died on the 12th instant in Jersey County, was a pioneer of, and lived for some years in, this county. He was born in Hart County Kentucky, June 14, 1824. In 1839 his parents came to this state and settled near Greenfield. In his early life he worked on farms and ran a wood boat from Hardin to St. Louis. He was a member of the company raised at Greenfield to go and fight the Mormons at Nauvoo. He was married to Mary Ann Cain of Grayson County Kentucky, June 21, 1849, and they settled on a farm five miles southeast of Carrollton, near Mount Hope school house. In 1851 Mr. Miller sold his farm to his brother and moved to Jersey County. Of eight children, six are still living, as follows: William P., of Carrollton, Mrs. Elizabeth Downey, and Amos L. near Kane, Adolphus of Godfrey, Mrs. Nancy E. Vanbuskirk of Kincaid Kansas, and Alva P. of Cripple Creek Colorado…
The reference to Christopher J. Miller’s birth place having been Hart County could be very useful in our efforts to identify his father’s ancestry. First, it should be noted that Hart County was erected in 1819 from the southern part of Hardin County and the northern part of Barren County. By knowing that Christopher Miller was born in Hart County in 1824, and that his father was married in Hardin County in 1815, it seems reasonable to conclude that James Miller’s family probably resided in that part of Hardin County that was partitioned into Hart County in 1819. This “fact” would seem to substantially narrow the geographic territory within which our search for James Miller’s ancestors should be centered. Since the Green River delineated the boundary between Hardin County and Barren County before 1819, we might expect to locate James Miller and his family in that part of Hart County situated to the north of the Green River.
To begin this search we will first present the 1820 and 1830 census records from Hart County, which are believed to have contained our James Miller. Figure 4 contains the census record of the James Miller household in 1820. Unfortunately, the 1820 and 1830 census records from Hart County are ordered alphabetically, so it is not possible to infer any geographic location or proximity to other households, aside from the fact that James Miller was located within the Munfordville township in 1820, which probably places him to the north of the Green River, a placement which we had already deduced from his marriage record. The Munfordville township recorded a total of 376 households, as contrasted to 130 in the Woodsonville township (south of the Green River?). It should also be noted that James and Nancy appear to have had two sons prior to 1820, presumably George J. and Henry B. Miller.
The 1830 census record of the James Miller household is presented in Figure 5. In this census year the county was recorded as one entity, except for the area immediately surrounding the town of Munfordville, which area reported only 53 households. The rest of the county reported 781 households. Note that the James Miller household now contained four sons and two daughters, and that the two eldest sons were under age 14, giving them a birth year of 1815 or later. The two added sons are believed to have been Jacob and Christorpher J. Miller. In the obit for Christopher J. Miller it was reported that as a youth he “ran a wood boat from Hardin (County) to St. Louis”. There will be more discussion of this experience later in this work.
In the 1840 census in Greene County, IL the James Miller household was summarized as shown in Figure 6. James and his wife were reported aged 60 to 69 and 50 to 59, respectively. Their two youngest sons (Christopher J. and Jacob) and the two daughters appeared to still be living in their parent’s household. Additionally, there appeared to be a young married couple, aged 20 to 29 in the household. It is the author’s belief that this young couple was the eldest son, George J. Miller, and his new wife, Catherine Gough, who are recorded marrying in Greene County on 1Sep1840. It is curious that the apparent heads of this household: James Miller and his presumed wife were reported with ages that were older than might have been expected, when compared to the ages reported in the 1830 census. The author cannot explain this age discrepancy, except to point out that James’ age was reported as 70 years on the 1860 census, which suggests that he was born around 1790. Assuming 1790 to have been his approximate birth year, then the age reported in 1840 would have been understated by only one year, and his age reported in 1850 would have been virtually precise. This variance is well within the range of acceptance. Additionally, there was an elder female, aged 70 to 79. The identity of this older woman is uncertain. She may have been James Miller’s mother, but she just as easily could have been Nancy Blissett’s mother. She almost certainly was a kinsperson to the heads of this household, or of their new daughter-in-law, Catherine Gough.
So, we have tracked James Miller to Hart County Kentucky in the 1820 and 1830 census records, based on information obtained from the obit of his presumed son, Christopher J. Miller. We have also tentatively identified four sons for James Miller and Nancy Blissett named George J., Henry B., Jacob and Christopher J. We have also established that there may have been two daughters, who survived to their early teens and who moved with the family from Hart County to Taylor Township, Greene County Illinois by 1840. These presumed daughters were no longer living in their parents’, or their brothers’ households in 1850, so presumably they had moved away from home, married or had died. A search of marriage records for 1840 through 1852 for Greene and Jersey Counties failed to locate anyone matching their descriptions. There were a total of five marriages of Miller women in Greene County and one in Jersey County, but none were later reported to have been born in Kentucky. It is possible that the place of birth could have been misreported in those later records. It is also possible that these daughters may have married elsewhere, away from Greene or Jersey counties. Regrettably, Christopher Miller’s obit failed to mention the names of his siblings. Further attempts to identify these presumed daughters of James Miller and Nancy Blissett will be left to other, more intrepid researchers.
Now we will return to our search for the family of James Miller in Kentucky. Since James Miller married in Hardin County in 1815, we might expect to find a land record for James Miller in that area. Searching through the volume entitled The Kentucky Land Grants four records were found for a James Miller listed as follows:
- James Miller, 300 acres, Bk. A, p. 424, 8Nov1816, Hardin County, Nolinn Waters (p.642)
- James Miller, 50 acres, Bk. E, p. 526, 10Sep1818, Grayson County, Short Creek (p. 642)
- Nicholas and James Miller, 100 acres, Bk. F, p. 469, 8Apr1819, Hardin County, Millers Creek (p. 642)
- Nicholas and James Miller, 50 acres, Bk. F, p. 470, 8Apr1819, Hardin County, Clear Creek (p. 642)
It is possible that any or all of these records could have been for our James Miller, but the first record seems the most probable, given that it was a warrant, that it was filed the year after James Miller married Nancy Blissett, and that the tract was located in Hardin County. It may be significant that this tract reportedly was situated on the waters of the Nolin River, so keep that fact in mind. Also, the two records involving Nicholas and James Miller may be of particular interest later in this chapter. Having searched for land records related to James Miller, and having identified four possible candidates, the author then attempted to find any similar records for Blissetts. Searching the same volume, The Kentucky Land Grants, the author was unable to locate any records for persons named Blissett. However, it should be recognized that, although the records contained in this 1,844 page volume are arranged in alphabetical order, the records within each letter of the alphabet are not necessarily in alphabetical order. Consequently, the author had to visually scan more than 50 pages of persons whose names began with the letter “B”, and it is possible that entries for Blissett could have been overlooked.
As luck would have it, an inventory of land owners was compiled for tax purposes in 1819 when Hart County was erected. Several persons of interest to this inquiry were found in that list:
- Thomas Atterbury – 385 acres, Bacon Creek
- Elijah Atterbury – 140 acres, Nolin
- Michall Atterbury – 10 acres, Bacon Creek
- Elisha Atterbury – 150 acres, Bacon Creek
- George Blissett – 325 acres, Nolin
- Perdy [Priddy] Meeks – 450 acres, Nolin
- James Miller
- Robert Miller
- Abraham Peoples – 100 acres, Bacon Creek
- Bird Peoples – 100 acres, Bacon Creek
From this 1819 Hart County Tax List it was found that a George Blissett was reported with 325 acres on Nolin River. This list also contained an entry for a James Miller, but did not identify the amount or location of his land. Given the above cited warrant filing by James Miller, it is reasonable to assume that his tract reported on the tax list probably was on the Nolin River. Also, given that James Miller had married the daughter of George Blissett, it seems probable that their lands were located in relatively close proximity to each other, perhaps within a couple of miles. The author has highlighted a tract owned by Priddy Meeks, as it was also located on the Nolin River. This Priddy Meeks is believed to have been the same person who witnessed the LWT of Richard Atterbury I in 1806. It is also believed that Priddy Meeks’ son, Benjamin Meeks, married Rebecca Atterbury, daughter of Richard Atterbury I. Benjamin and Rebecca relocated to White County Illinois by about 1817.
So, from the 1819 tax list from Hart County we have evidence suggesting that George Blissett, presumed father-in-law of James Miller, may have homesteaded land along the Nolin River in the near vicinity of tracts owned by James Miller and several members of the Atterbury family and allied parties. However, it should be noted that the Nolin River formed the boundary between Hart County and Grayson County for a distance of almost 12 miles, so presumably lands described as having been on the waters of the Nolin River in Hart County may not necessarily have been in close proximity, or were they. Note the lands belonging to the Atterberrys and Peebles on Bacon Creek. Bacon Creek is a tributary of the Nolin River about 9 miles downstream from the northern border of Hart County. About midway between the northern boundary and Bacon Creek is another significant stream known as Roundstone Creek. A review of the 1819 tax list showed 56 entries for Bacon Creek , but only seven for Roundstone Creek. Almost half of these tax records contained no geographic reference at all. Only nine records were specifically identified with Nolin. Since the Nolin River extended along virtually the entire western border of Hart County, it might be assumed that the references to “Nolin” were associated with a smaller, specific geographic area, rather than to lands that were within the Nolin River drainage. A fairly thorough search of the Web failed to yield any reference to any specific locale identified as “Nolin”; only references to Nolin Creek or Nolin River were found. In the very early days of Kentucky settlement there was a site on the upper Nolin River known as Nolin Station, however, Nolin Station would have been within Hardin County after the formation of Hart County. Consequently, nothing was found with certainty that could fix the relative locations of lands identified as having been on “waters” of Nolin.
Absent any direct reference to the specific location of the James Miller and George Blissett tracts, aside from having been on the waters of the Nolin River within Hart County, the author then resorted to secondary connections. The first such secondary connection found was in the form of another member of the Blissett family, namely George Johnson Blissett. In the 1840 census George Johnson Blissett and his presumed son, Jacob Blissett, were listed immediately abutting the households of Adam Miller and his presumed son, Samuel Miller listed as follows:
Gideon Skag Hart Kentucky
Allie Fletcher Hart Kentucky
G I Blepel [sic] Hart Kentucky
Jacob Blepel [sic] Hart Kentucky
Adam Miller Hart Kentucky
Saml Miller Hart Kentucky
H L Hison Hart Kentucky
Fortunately, the 1840 census was not ordered alphabetically, so its listings might be construed as having a more geographical ordering, i.e. spatial continuity. These households appear near the bottom of page 27 of 72. There were a total of 967 households recorded in Hart County in 1840. Given the close proximity of these households within the 1840 census, and given the relatively large number of households in the entire county, it is reasonable to assume that these Millers and Blissetts were living on abutting or nearly abutting properties. Also recorded in this 1840 census, a few households removed from the Millers and Blissetts, was the household of Gideon Skaggs. Gideon Skaggs reputedly was the bastard son (born out of wedlock in about 1815) of Rebecca Skaggs, daughter of Henry Skaggs (long hunter?). The near presence of Gideon Skaggs may be relevant to identifying the geographic locale of these Millers and Blissetts in 1840. The main body of the Skaggs family was settled on Rock Creek in Grayson County, a few miles southwest of the community of Millerstown. It might be presumed that Gideon Skagg would not have strayed too far from his nearest relations, and consequently, it might also be presumed that he and these Millers and Blissetts were situated not too distant from Millerstown.
The location of Millerstown is of particular interest to this investigation into the possible ancestry of James Miller, due to the association of the James Miller tract and the Nolin River. Millerstown is situated on the Nolin River within Grayson County as indicated on Figure 7, but within one mile of the corner boundaries between Hart, Hardin and Grayson County. Because of this unique location of Millerstown being within a stone’s throw of three separate counties, the search for James Miller’s ancestral roots may need to extend into all three of these counties.
The summary of the households of Adam Miller and George Johnson Blissett in 1840 are presented in Figures 8 and 9, respectively. From the summary of the Adam Miller household it is shown that he was aged 50 to 59 years, and that his wife was aged 40 to 49, and that he appears to have had two sons and four daughters living at home. George Johnson Blissett was also reportedly aged 50 to 59, his wife aged 40 to 49, and three sons and three daughters still living at home. So, given their matching ages, it would appear that George Blissett and Adam Miller were of the same generation, or peers.
At least one researcher has suggested that George Johnson Blissett’s wife was surnamed Miller. With that in mind, the author went in search of proof and discovered a pension application record, which appears to substantiate that claim. This record has been inserted as Figure 10. The subject pension application was for Private George A. [aka J.] Blissett for services performed during the War of 1812. On this application it was asserted that George Blissett served almost two months between 18Sep1812 and 30Oct1812 in the company commanded by Captain Aaron Hart of Hardin County KY. It is also stated on this application that Private George Blissett’s widow was named Margaret [aka Peggy] Miller, and that they had married on 2Apr1812 in Grayson County, and that George had died on 9Jul1862 in Hart County. Margaret died in about 1884, presumably near Big Springs in Breckenridge County. For what its worth, the biography of Capt. Aaron Hart states that he made application in 1834 to erect a water grist mill on the Nolin River.
So, given the close geographic proximity between George Johnson Blissett and Adam Miller in 1840 and the rarity of the Blissett surname, it seems reasonable to conclude that George Johnson Blissett may have married a sister of Adam Miller. The fact that this marriage occurred in Grayson County will later be shown to be even more revealing.
We have now compiled a sufficiency of records for the author to posit a hypothesis relative to possible kinship connections for our James Miller:
Hypothesis No. 1: James Miller, Adam Miller and Margaret Miller were siblings; and Nancy Blissett, Reason Blissett and George Johnson Blissett were siblings.
This hypothesis was formulated based substantially on the intermarriages between Millers and Blissetts, the apparent close living proximity between George Johnson Blissett and Adam Miller [Time and Place Convergence], and the apparent close spatial proximity between lands owned by James Miller and George Blissett on the Nolin River. Assuming the foregoing hypothesis to be correct, we will now explore the background of Adam Miller in an effort to establish his ancestry. For, if we can establish the ancestry of Adam Miller, we will have indirectly established the ancestry of his presumed brother, James Miller.
However, before launching into a study of the background and possible ancestry of Adam Miller, let us first clarify the identity of George Johnson Blissett vis a vis the person identified as George Blissett in the 1819 tax record. Because of the singular character of the Blissett surname in Kentucky in the early part of the 19th century, namely its attribution to only one source, George Blissett, we can state with a high degree of certainty that Nancy Blissett, Reason Blissett and George Johnson Blissett were all siblings, and children of George Blissett Sr. However, given the presence of George J. Blissett [Jr.], we cannot state with certainty whether the owner of the tract of land on the Nolin River was George Blissett Sr. or George Blissett Jr. In the 1810 census of Kentucky there was only one George Blissett household, and that household contained one young male aged 16 thru 25, presumably George Johnson Blissett, so this clearly would seem to have been the household of George Blissett Sr. (see Figure 11)
In 1820 there was also only one household found for George Blissett, which is summarized in Figure 12. Given the age range of the heads of household being over 45 years, it seems highly likely that this was still the household of George Blissett Sr. Assuming that to be the case, then we are left to ponder the whereabouts of the George Johnson Blissett household in 1820. After all, according to the pension application, George Jr. and Margaret Miller had married on 2Apr1812 in Grayson County. Using every trick known to the author, no other Blissett households were found anywhere in Kentucky in 1820. One thing about this 1820 census record might appear to be somewhat incongruous with a person owning land on the upper Nolin River. The George Blissett household was recorded in the Woodsonville Township. The author had initially assumed that because Woodsonville is located south of the Green River, its township territory would have logically encompassed that part of Hart County to the south of Green River. However, closer scrutiny of the persons recorded living in the Woodsonville Township reveals that all the Atterburys living in Hart County were recorded living in the Woodsonville Township. From the earlier presentation of 1819 tax records it was shown that all four Atterberrys thus recorded were living on either Bacon Creek or Nolin River, both of which streams are situated to the north of the Green River. From this little test we might conclude that George Blissett Sr.’s household was also situated north of the Green River in 1820. So, we might further extrapolate that the 325 acre tract reported in the 1819 tax record in possession of George Blissett on the Nolin River, was in fact the property and home place of George Blissett Sr. in 1810 and 1820, not of his son, George Jr.
Now it is time once again for the author to posit another hypothesis:
Hypothesis No. 2 – George Johnson Blissett and his new wife, Margaret Miller, were living in the household of Margaret’s father in 1820.
Assuming that George and Margaret Blissett were not omitted from the 1820 census compilation, it seems possible that they may have been living in the household of a close relation, possibly Margaret’s father’s household. If only we knew the identity of Margaret’s parents! Well, as it so happens, we may just be able to establish her parent’s identity through an analysis of her presumed brother, Adam Miller. If we trace Adam Miller through successive census records, we find that he was captured in every census from 1820 thru 1870. We will not bore the reader by including each and every one of those census records, but we will include the records from 1820 and 1860, because they offer clues in support of identifying his presumed parents.
The 1820 census summary for Adam Miller has been provided in Figure 13. The significant element of this census record is the fact that it showed that Adam Miller was living in Grayson County in that year and not in Hart County. Why, you might ask, is that significant? Well, there are a variety of factors which suggest that Adam’s parents had moved to the west side of the Nolin River sometime prior to 1810. We will return to that discussion, momentarily.
First, let’s turn our attention to the 1860 census record for the Adam Miller household as summarized in Figure 14. Adam is now reported to have been 71 years old, born in Pennsylvania, and receiving his mail at the Millerstown Post Office. Adam’s wife, Nancy [Taylor] was still alive and in that household, but all other members of the family have reached adulthood and moved out of Adam’s care. The fact that Adam was reported living in the near vicinity of Millerstown is a clear indication that he was living in the extreme northwest corner of Hart County, nearby to the upper Nolin River.
And finally, we present the death record of Adam Miller abstracted as follows:
- “Adam Miller, white, Age: 100, Sex: male, Marital Status: married, Occupation: farmer, Date of Death: 16Feb1877, Cause of Death: old age, Place of Birth: Virginia, Residence at Death: Hart County, Place of Death: Hart County, Parents: Jacob and Nancy Miller, Parents Birthplace: not stated.”
Given the matching name, date, and locations, it seems a certainty that this was the death record of the same Adam Miller, who was living nearby to George Johnson Blissett in 1840. There are several important pieces of information provided in this record, the most important of which are the names of Adam’s parents: Jacob and Nancy. However, there was one piece of information that was clearly at odds with all of the census records, that being Adam’s reported age of 100 years at the time of his death in 1877. Such age would suggest a birth year of 1777, almost ten years earlier than reported in most of the census records, which consistently showed approximately 1787. Also, the place of birth was shown as Virginia. There were at least two contradictory citations which showed Pennsylvania as his birth place. Given that his place of birth was most frequently cited as having been Virginia, the author is inclined to accept Virginia as Adam’s correct place of birth.
Now, armed with the names of Adam’s parents, it may be possible to identify the household of his parent’s family. In 1810 and 1820 censuses there are records for the household of a Jacob Miller, which appear to fit with the father of Adam Miller, and which are summarized in Figures 15 and 16, respectively. Since this Jacob Miller was reported over the age of 45 in 1810, it follows that he was born sometime before 1765. If this Jacob Miller was Adam Miller’s father, and if Adam Miller was born around 1777 (as suggested by his death record), then Jacob Miller probably was born before 1755.
One important factor shown in each of these records is that Jacob Miller was living in Grayson County before 1810 and after 1820. Adam Miller is believed to have been one of the two young males in Jacob Miller’s household in 1810 in the age range of 16 thru 25. Adam Miller, himself, was recorded living in Grayson County in 1820.
The reader may remember that we promised to return to the discussion of the whereabouts of George Johnson Blissett and Margaret Miller in 1820. Since we could not find a household headed by George Johnson Blissett in 1820, it was hypothesized that he and Margaret might have been living with Margaret’s parents. Based on the theory posited in Hypothesis No. 2, above, we might expect to find George and Margaret Blissett living in Jacob Miller’s household in 1820. As it so happens, there does appear to be a young couple matching George and Margaret’s demographics living in Jacob Miller’s household. They would be the young male aged 26 thru 44 years and one of the females aged 16 thru 25. It is the author’s belief that the apparent young married couple living in Jacob Miller’s household, were in fact George and Margaret Blissett. It is further believed that the two young males under age 10 were the children of George and Margaret. For a basis of comparison and support for Hypothesis No. 2, the household of George J. Blissett from the 1830 census is summarized in Figure 17. One possible discrepancy in this interpretation is the fact that George and Margaret appear to have had a daughter in their household in 1830 aged 10 to 14 years, yet there does not appear to have been a corresponding female in Jacob Miller’s household in 1820. The author must admit that this discrepancy does cast a cloud over the proof of Hypothesis No. 2. That issue aside, the author is still inclined to believe that Hypothesis No. 1 and 2 are reliable.
To assist the reader in a better understanding of the probable connections of Adam, James and Margaret Miller as siblings, and as children of Jacob and Nancy Miller, the author has compiled a link diagram showing the probable connections between the households of each respective family in 1810, 1820 and 1830 as presented in Figure 18. It must be admitted that this link diagram has a few loose ends, which cannot be explained by the author, but which do not necessarily undermine the basic kinship assumptions asserted by the author. For example, there appear to have been two young males aged 10 to 18 years in Jacob’s household in 1820, which do not appear to have been in his household in 1810. It seems possible to the author that those young males may have been grandchildren from a yet to be identified child of Jacob Miller, who may have died in the previous decade. That discrepancy aside, the author believes that these families are generally a perfect match.
Having fairly reliably established the names of the parents of James, Adam and Margaret Miller as Jacob Miller and his wife, Nancy (mnu), is there anything further to be learned about the family of Jacob Miller? The answer to that question may well lie in the averred origins of the community named Millerstown. Figure 19 contains an image of the Millerstown Historical Marker. The inscription on this monument reads as follows:
“Pioneer Family – Millerstown, settled before 1800, founded by Jacob Miller Jr. He owned 500 acres along Nolin River and built a grist mill. Christopher, a brother, was prisoner of Indians for 11 years; rescued by spies of Anthony Wayne, he then helped Wayne secure peace, 1794. Christopher and his brother, Nicholas, both served in Kentucky House of Representatives. Town was at peak circa 1900, with population of 150.”
According to the Millerstown Historical Marker, the town was founded by Jacob Miller Jr., who built a water grist mill nearby on the Nolin River. This history further asserts that Jacob Miller Jr. had at least two brothers: Christopher and Nicholas, both of whom served in the Kentucky House of Representatives. While this “story” of a pioneering family, headed by a person named Jacob Miller, having been the namesake for Millerstown, the author must issue a word of caution regarding the averred connection between that Jacob Miller and the more celebrated Miller brothers: Christopher and Nicholas. While careful research has disclosed numerous references to Jacob Miller’s grist mill on the Nolin River in the vicinity of Millerstown, sod all has been found of any connection between that Jacob Miller and the Miller brothers: Christopher and Nicholas.
First, it must be stated that very little information has been found regarding the community known as Millerstown on current maps, and further, that whatever information was found appears to be undocumented and rife with discrepancy and incongruence.
However, before launching into the study of Jacob Miller Jr.’s averred siblings: Christopher Miller and Nicholas Miller, we offer the added historical narrative for Millerstown as follows:
By Ashlee Chilton
Historical Marker #1828 notes the town of Millerstown, which was settled before 1800.
Millerstown is the oldest settlement in Grayson County. Founded by Jacob Miller in the late eighteenth century, Millerstown was originally called Skaggs after the first postmaster, Jefferson G. Skaggs. In 1882, the name was changed to Millerstown after a pioneer family. The settlement was located in the farthest southeastern part of the county on the Nolin River, adjacent to Hardin County. Miller built a grist mill, or a flour or corn mill, near the river. As it is located between the Twin Lakes – Rough River Lake and Nolin Lake – Grayson County has produced a number of flour mills, corn mills, and lumber mills.
Millerstown was the first town in Grayson County to be incorporated, which was done in 1826. It would be forty more years before the county seat of Leitchfield was incorporated. In 1896, a professor named John McClure established the “Teachers College,” also called “Brick College” in the community. The purpose of this college was to train school teachers who also came from the counties surrounding Grayson County.
At its peak in 1900, Millerstown had a population of about 150 people. Maintaining its own law enforcement and jail for several years, the town also possessed two larger general stores, one roller mill, one drugstore, one grocery store, two blacksmith shops, and a wool carding mill. Millerstown is actually no longer incorporated.”
The foregoing “history” of Millerstown appears to have been little more than an embellishment of the Historical Marker, but does offer a couple of intriguing added elements. First, it should be noted that the historical marker credited the founding of Millerstown to Jacob Miller Jr., whereas the narrative offered by Ashlee Chilton states that Millerstown was founded “by Jacob Miller in the late eighteenth century”. Hereinbefore, the author has presented census records from Grayson County in 1810 and 1820 for a Jacob Miller family, which the author presumes to have been the father of James, Adam and Margaret Miller. Was this Jacob Miller the same person, who is credited with the founding of Millerstown? The Marker identifies the founder as Jacob Miller Jr., whereas Ashlee Chilton simply ascribed that honor to a Jacob Miller, who was residing in the area in the late-18th century. Are we talking about two different persons, or the same person? Was that person Jacob Miller Jr. or simply Jacob Miller?
It should further be noted that there was a discrepancy in the founding and naming of Millerstown. Ashlee Chilton states that it was originally named Skaggs, allegedly in honor of the town’s first postmaster, Jefferson G. Skaggs, and that the name “Millerstown” was only adopted after 1882. She further stated that the town was incorporated in 1826. These “facts” may all be accurate, but what is not mentioned is the fact that the name “Millerstown” predated 1882 by several decades. For example, the 1860 census recorded four census pages (85 thru 88) in Hart County as having been within the vicinity of the Millerstown post office. The Grayson County census in 1860 was not segregated by townships, so it is not possible to state whether Millerstown was recognized as a township in that county in 1860, but very likely. In 1870 and 1900 there was no mention of Millerstown in the census listings from Hart County, but there are listings for Millerstown in Grayson County. No listings were found in any census year in either Hart County or Grayson County for a township named “Skaggs”. So, it would appear that the name of Millerstown post office had emerged in the census records in 1860 and 1870, disappeared in 1880, but reemerged in 1900.
One further “fact” worthy of our note is taken from the records of the National Archives which tabulates the names and dates of Post Masters appointed at various towns and villages across the country. Of particular interest is a listing of post masters appointed for the post office at Millerstown, Grayson County Kentucky transcribed as follows:
- Adam Heyser – 16Jan1828
- William G. Bourman and S. McClure – 12Apr1837
- Charles Wortham and Isaac Thomas – 26Jul1842
These entries would suggest that the town was named “Millerstown”, when it was first incorporated, not decades later as suggested by Ashlee Chilton. Further, that Jefferson G. Skaggs was not the first post master of Millerstown, but rather that distinction probably should be accorded Adam Heyser. But, most importantly it would be inferred that Jacob Miller had already left an indelible mark on the region at a very early date.
Another interesting fact about the history of Millerstown as offered by Ashlee Chilton is the absence of any reference to an association between the averred town’s founder, Jacob Miller, and Christopher Miller, who was captured by Indians. Is it possible that the historical marker is in error? Clearly, further research is needed in order to bring clarity to these questions. Let’s begin this discussion by offering the following description of the boundary of Hart County at the time of its formation in 1819:
“An Act for the erection of the county of Hart, out of the Counties of Barren and Hardin, approved 28Jan1819… beginning at the mouth of Little Barren River, running thence up the same to Elk Lick; thence with the Green County line four miles and a half; thence a straight line to a point 10.5 miles due north of Barren courthouse; thence a due west line to the Warren County line; thence with the same to Green River’ thence down Green River to the mouth of Nolin Creek; thence up same to the mouth of Jacob Miller’s spring branch; thence a straight line to Benjamin Martin’s old place, where ___ Raglin now lives; leaving the same in the new county, and the same course to the Green County line; thence with the same to Green River; thence up the same to the beginning.”
From this description of the formation of Hart County we find a reference to Jacob Miller’s spring branch. From Jacob Miller’s “spring branch” the boundary turned easterly, away from the Nolin River on a straight course to Benjamin Martin’s old place. The foregoing description seemingly would place Jacob Miller’s spring branch at the extreme northwest corner of Hart County. Given that the census records during this period place the Jacob Miller households in Grayson County, it might be inferred that Jacob Miller’s spring branch actually flowed into the Nolin River from the west side, less than one-half mile upstream from the town of Millerstown. It is peculiar that the boundary description for the newly formed Hart County would reference Jacob Miller’s spring branch, if it were located across the river, in Grayson County. No such tributary is found on present day maps. However, there is evidence of a minor side channel or finger of the Nolin River main channel extending easterly from the river immediately adjacent to the county line corner boundary as illustrated on an excerpt of the USGS Quad map contained in Figure 20 (circled in red). This low-lying boggy protrusion may well be the remnant of the ancient water feature referred to as “Jacob Miller’s spring branch”. The fact that the county line is identified as “indefinite” at this location might be the result of the vague nature of the boundary description at the time of the formation of Hart County. Unless a precise survey of the boundary was performed, the determination of its location in future years would depend on the ability to establish the location of such generalized and transitory geographic features at “Jacob Miller’s spring branch” and “Ben Martin’s old place”. The author is inclined to believe that the location of Jacob Miller’s spring branch was that minor finger of the Nolin River channel protruding easterly toward the intersection of Akers School Road and Flint Hill Road. Whether this may also have been the location of Jacob Miller’s Mill is less certain.
Beginning two years earlier we find the following citations from the Hardin County Order Books:
14Oct1817 (p. 149) page 408 – On petition of Robert Tompkins and 24 others, it is ordered that Aylett W. Buckner, John Furguson, Samuel Finley and Lewis Brown or any three of them, do after being duly sworn before some magistrate of the county, view and mark the nearest and best way for a road to lead from Jacob Miller’s mill on Nolin to the iron works on Lyn Camp. And that they report faithfully…
10Nov1817 (p. 151) page 412 – The person appointed to view the road from Jacob Miller’s mill on Nolin to iron works on Lyn Camp… after being sworn, proceeded to view out a road from Jacob Miller’s mill on Nolin to iron works on Lyn Camp…
12Jan1818 (p. 162) page 438 – Ordered that an alias summons be awarded against Henry Buckner and John Furguson commanding them to appear here on the first day of the next term of the court, to show cause if any they can, why a road to lead from Jacob Miller’s mill on Nolin to the iron works on Lyn Camp should not be opened through their land.
13Apr1818 (p. 170) page 457 – The persons summoned to appear here to show cause why a road should not be opened through their land, agreeable to a report made by commissioners appointed for the purpose to lead from Jacob Miller’s mill on Nolin to the iron works on Lynn Camp Creek, failing to appear and the court being fully satisfied that they are willing, the said road should be established. Therefore it is ordered that the said road to be established agreeable to the report returned herein.
Ordered that Jesse Kirby be and he is hereby appointed surveyor of that part of the road leading from Jacob Miller’s mill on Nolin to the iron works, which lies between said Miller’s mill and where the same intersects the road leading from Elizabeth Town to Munsford’s ferry on the Green River, and that all the hands in the following bounds to wit: beginning at the mouth of Roundstone [Creek] running up the same to the head, thence to the road leading from Elizabeth Town to Munsford Ferry, thence running along said road to James Gilbert’s, including him and his hands, thence a straight line to the head of Sandy, thence down Sandy to the mouth, and from thence to the beginning, do assist the said Kirby in opening and keeping the road in repairs.
So, as early as 14Oct1817 we find references to Jacob Miller’s Mill on the Nolin in road orders in Hardin County. From these references it seems reasonable to assume that Jacob Miller’s presence in that part of Hardin County (near Millerstown) had been of some duration, probably for a decade or longer. This would seem to comport with the suggestion by Ashlee Chilton that Jacob Miller, alleged founder of Millerstown, had been resident in that area since before 1800. Moreover, whoever the Jacob Miller was that had built the water grist mill on the Nolin River, he had probably established that mill many years before 1817, and that mill had become an important center of industry in that area in order to be designated as the commencement point for a major new roadway.
The roadway described in the foregoing road orders was divided into two, roughly equal segments with the dividing point being where the new road crossed the existing Elizabethtown to Munfordville Road. The eastern terminus of this new road was near the “iron works” on Lynn Camp Creek. This roadway was to span a length of roughly 24 miles. Surveying, clearing and maintenance of the western half was to include all the “hands” between Sandy Creek (on the north) and Roundstone Creek (on the south). The area of benefit as evidenced by the hands designated to be turned out for construction spanned almost 50 square miles as illustrated by Figure 21.
Hart County was erected one year after Hardin County adopted the alignment for this new road. After the creation of Hart County, the northern part of this road would remain in Hardin County, whereas the southeastern portion of the road would fall within Hart County jurisdiction. It might be assumed that the efforts to establish this new roadway proceeded as planned, as roads can be found on modern maps which roughly approximate the alignment described in the road order.
It is the author’s belief that the impetus for the construction of this new roadway was driven by the centers of commerce and industry developing at each terminus of the road, and the perceived growing need to transport goods and materials to and from those centers of commerce and industry to the already existing Elizabethtown to Munfordsville Road. The emerging commerce at the road’s eastern terminus on Lynn Camp Creek probably consisted of the Aetna Furnace and the Lynn Creek Powder Works. A brief history of the Aetna Furnace is as follows:
“Aetna Furnace was located in Hart County on Lynn Camp Creek and began operations in 1817. It was a partnership operation involving Charles Wilkins, Jacob Holderman and Ruggles Whiting. This partnership was dissolved on 1Jul1818 when Holderman became the sole owner. The Aetna Furnace holdings comprised 10,500 acres of land, stock barns, slave cabins, store, tool shed, workshops, and cottages for workmen. A large portion of the ironware was floated down the Green and Ohio Rivers. In 1829 Brookings, Serret and Company acquired the Aetna Furnace.”
In addition to iron mining and smelting at the Aetna Furnace site, a major black powder factory was established on Lynn Creek during roughly the same time period, described as follows:
“John Courts lived in one of the first two-story frame buildings in the town of Nobob, Barren County (Simmons, 1940). The house served as stage stop and tavern. In 1810, Courts and his brother-in-law, Braxton B. Winn, operated a general store in Nobob (Goode and Woodford, 1980, p. 358). As their mercantile business prospered, a gunpowder factory was built in 1810, on Lynn Camp Creek. It was constructed on the west side of the creek near two large springs, in the vicinity of an incised meander bend called The Big Hill. The powder mill was strategically located on a wagon road connecting Munfordville with Greensburg at a ford on Lynn Camp Creek. They constructed two pestle buildings, sometimes referred to as separate powder mills (1820 U. S. Federal Census, p. 104/5). The pestle buildings were water powered; one was found at the upper and another one at the lower ford. A saw mill and grist mill was also in operation. Upon John Courts’ death, the mill site was reduced to a 500 acre tract of .land (Courts, 1817). John Courts died on February 21, 1817, leaving an exceptionally detailed last will and testament (Peden, 1979, p. 79-81~). Provisions were made for the operation of the powder mill and adjacent saw mill throughout the life span of his wife, Fanny Courts. If she or her assignees cannot make a success at operating the establishment, the powder and saw mills would be rented or leased out. Upon the death of Fanny, the estate was divided into equal parts to John’s nine children. Other money and property was provided to his deceased daughter’s (Polly Moss) two children. Powder manufactured at the mill was shipped down the Green River on a flat boat and used by Andrew Jackson in the Battle for New Orleans on January 8, 1815 (Collins, 1874, p. ))4). It should be noted that most war-related industries, the powder factorie~, iron foundries and saltpeter caves, claim individual involvement as the sole savior for winning Andrew Jackson’s battle against the British in New Orleans.”
The timing of the emergence of commerce along Lynn Camp Creek and the enactment of an order to build a new road between Lynn Camp and Jacob Miller’s mill seem too coincidental. It seems highly likely that there were proponents for this new road stemming from commercial interests at each terminus. The objective seems to have been the provision for overland transportation from these two rather remote regions northward to the Ohio River at West Point. Without the road, the Aetna Furnace and Lynn Creek Powder works had to float their products and goods almost 100 miles down the meandering Green River. Similarly, Jacob Miller would have had to use the Nolin River and Green River as his primary transportation route. Completion of the Millerstown to Lynn Camp Road would have provided an overland transport route to West Point on the Ohio River, a distance of about 50 miles from either terminus. If the market destination for these commercial interests included points upstream on the Ohio, such as Cincinnati and Pittsburgh, they would have cut almost 150 miles off of their transport routes via the new roadway.
Although the primary market for products and goods coming out of central Kentucky and Tennessee would have been downstream to New Orleans, there was also an upstream flow of goods via keel boats. In this era before the introduction of steamboat and rail travel, poling, cordelling and warping keel boats upstream on the Ohio held sway for over 50 years. Upstream transportation on the Ohio during this period is described in the following:
“Despite the utility of the ships and flatboats, they were limited to downstream travel. Thus, merchants and navigators sought some means of establishing a dependable two-way commerce. Bringing goods across the Appalachians to the Ohio Basin by land cost as much as $200 a ton,. and the small canoes, dugouts, and bateaux used initially for upstream. navigation had limited cargo capacities. By the early 1790s; the keel-:: boat was providing an economical means of upriver navigation. :The long, sleek craft were ribbed and planked like a ship,: and their heavy timber keel and pointed prow allowed for easier navigation against river currents as well as through shallows and rapids: 11. Keelboats varied in dimensions from 30 to 75 feet long and from 5 to 10 feet wide. They could .carry cargoes of 15 to 40 tons. One navigator described the craft’s superstructure as “a covered way, a kind of cabin-occupying the entire hold of the boat, excepting spaces for small decks at each end, and, a strip on each side the whole length of the boat, about 15 inches wide, called the ‘run,’ on which the men walked when ‘poling’ the boat upstream. Although some keelboats had masts and sails, they were commonly driven .upstream by crewmen with iron-tipped poles. They stabbed the pole into the stream bottom, braced it against their shoulders, and “walked” the . boat upriver until they reached the stern. The agonizing process was repeated over and over as the boat fought against the river.5 Keelboats usually remained near banks to avoid rapid currents, which often enabled the crew to bushwack (to pull the branches of trees to drag the boat along). When the opposing current became too swift, they resorted to “cordelling” and “warping.” The former consisted of putting the crew ashore to drag the boat along with an attached rope. The latter involved tying the rope to an upstream tree and reeling it in from the bow. Navigating the inland rivers was a dangerous business undertaken by rugged and profane men who faced Indian attacks, pirates, navigational hazards, and unrelenting daily toil. But the commercial ventures were often quite profitable. A keelboat owner reported in 1817 that the cost of operating a 36-ton .boat from New Orleans to Louisville was $1,750 and provided a profit of $1,490 for each trip on a total capital investment of less than $2,000.13 Thus, despite the Herculean efforts required to move the keelboats upstream, they significantly lowered transportation costs. The vessels eventually lost passenger traffic and long-distance freighting to steamboats, but for short routes, particularly on the headwaters of tributaries, they were extensively used until railroads and improved roads reduced their numbers at the close of the nineteenth century.”
The fact that the western terminus of the Millerstown to Lynn Camp Road was identified with Jacob Miller’s mill suggests that this mill and others like it on the Nolin were an important part of commerce in that region. Evidence of even earlier existence of Jacob Miller’s milling operations on the Nolin River can be inferred from the following statutes enacted by the Kentucky General Assembly:
“Approved 18Jan1811 – An Act to improve the navigation of Nolinn: Whereas it is represented to the present general assembly, that great advantage would accrue to the inhabitants of Hardin County, by the removal of the obstructions to the navigation of Nolinn, from Adam Coombes’s mill to the mouth of the same:
Section 1: Be it enacted by the General Asssembly, that Adam Coombes, Josiah Best, Aaron Hart, Jacob Vanmatree, Jacob Miller and George Keller, be and they are hereby appointed commissioners, who or a majority of whom, are hereby vested with power to raise by subscription, in money, property or labor, any sum not exceeding one thousand dollars, for the purpose of clearing and keeping in repair the navigation of Nolinn, from Adam Coombes’s mill to the junction of the same with Green River; remove all fish pots and dams, cut and clear away all timber projecting over said stream, shrub all points of islands, and remove such other obstructions in the channel as may impede the navigation of the said Nolinn River.”, and
“Approved 19Dec1810 – An Act erecting Election Precincts in the Counties of Hardin and Caldwell: Section 1. Be it enacted by the General Assembly, that all that part of Hardin County included in the following bounds, viz. Beginning at the mouth of Nolinn Creek; thence up the same to the mouth of Jacob Miller’s spring branch; thence a direct line to the Elk spring, near Jacob’s knob; thence a straight a straight line to the county line dividing Green and Hardin counties, so as to include Linncamp Creek within the bounds of the precinct; thence a with the said dividing line between the said counties of Green and Hardin, to Green River; thence down Green River to the beginning…”
The measure enacted in Jan1811 to improve navigation on the Nolin River predated the earlier referenced road orders by almost eight years. This bill appointed Jacob Miller and six of his neighbors, presumably all residing within the Nolin River watershed, to a commission authorized to raise the funds and resources necessary for clearing the Nolin River channel from Adam Coombes mill to the river’s confluence with Green River. The location of Coombe’s Mill is not known to the author with certainty, but very likely was situated just upstream from the confluence of Severn Valley Creek with the Nolin River, about 10 miles south-southwest of Elizabethtown. This site for Coombe’s Mill was identified by the author because the Coombes family progenitor in Kentucky, Samuel Coombes, formerly of Loudon County VA, is reported to have lived and died at Red Mill on the upper Nolin River in present day LaRue County. It seems probable that Adam Coombes was a son of Samuel Coombes, and had inherited the mill from his father. Jacob Vanmetre Sr. was one of the pioneer settlers to the Elizabethtown area, and who established his own grist mill on Severn Valley Creek. We have already mentioned Aaron Hart earlier in this chapter as having been George Johnson Blissett’s commanding officer during the War of 1812, and having, himself, applied to establish a water grist mill on the Nolin River in 1834. Josiah Best was recorded on the same census page with Jacob Vanmetre Sr. and Jacob Vanmetre Jr. in 1810, so presumably he had interests in commerce in the area along the Nolin River. George Keller appeared in the 1810 census in Grayson County, four households removed from Jacob Miller, so presumably he too had interests in commerce along the Nolin River.
The other measure enacted by the Kentucky General Assembly in Dec1810 created a new electoral district in Hardin County, which began at the mouth of Nolin Creek [aka River] (at its confluence with Green River), thence up said creek to Jacob Miller’s spring branch, thence on a straight line easterly to Jacob’s Knob (near Elizabethtown to Munfordville Road midway between present day towns of Sonora and Upton), thence in straight line to the County line between Green and Hardin (including the Lynn Camp area)… The area thus described encompassed essentially the same area that would be partitioned from Hardin County in 1819 to form the northern part of Hart County, above Green River. Of course, the relevant part of this act was its reference to Jacob Miller’s spring branch. This was one of the earliest records found by the author to be specifically linked to our Jacob Miller. From this information it can be stated with some degree of certainty that Jacob Miller had been situated on his spring branch on the Nolin River near present day Millerstown for several years prior to 1810.
The next earliest record source for locating Jacob Miller might be the All Kentucky Tax Lists, 1799-1801 accessed on Ancestry.com, which yielded a total of eleven hits for persons named Jacob Miller, summarized in Table 1. It seems probable that our Jacob Miller was one of the two Jacob Millers recorded in Hardin County in 1800 but just which one is undeterminable and possibly irrelevant. A quick review of the 1810 census revealed no Jacob Millers in Hardin County, but two are found in Grayson County, which had been formed from Hardin County in 1810. From these facts it can be inferred that at least one of the Jacob Millers reported in Hardin County in 1800 was still alive, and probably in that part of the county which was within the newly erected Grayson County in 1810. A review of those two Jacob Miller households in Grayson County in 1810 revealed the household headed by a male over age 45, which we have assumed to have been our Jacob Miller. The other household appears to have been headed by a male under the age of 25. That person may have been a son of our Jacob Miller, but could have been too young to have been independently reported in the 1800 tax list, unless perhaps it included all males over the age of 16. If that were the case, then it might have been possible that the younger Jacob Miller had been captured in the 1800 tax list. Whether that other Jacob Miller was a kinsperson of our Jacob Miller cannot be established from the information currently available.
It should be noted that there were a total of twelve persons named Miller captured in the Hardin County 1800 tax list, summarized in Table 2. Three of these names match up with the brothers reportedly connected with Indian captivity, namely: Adam, Christopher and Nicholas. Reportedly, Adam and Christopher were captured from near their father’s farm on Wilson’s Creek in about 1782, and Christopher was recaptured from the Indians by his brother, Colonel Nicholas Miller, in 1793/4. Whether any of these brothers were reported in Hardin County in 1800 is uncertain, but possible.
Table 3 contains a listing of all persons named Miller in Grayson County in 1810. Those persons in Table 3 which match with names of a person from Table 2 have been highlighted in red. Of the highlighted Millers, only our Jacob Miller was reported to have been over the age of 45. The John Miller who was reported as the only member of his household was reported to have been aged 26 thru 44, and appeared in the census on the same page as our Jacob Miller. Given this John Miller’s age range, it seems possible that he may have been the same John Miller, who was recorded in the 1800 tax record in Hardin County. Given the possibility of that John Miller’s arrival in Hardin County before 1800, and given his near proximity to our Jacob Miller in the 1810 census of Grayson County, it seems possible that this John Miller could have been a kinsman of our Jacob Miller, i.e., brother or older son. In the 1820 census there were three John Millers living in Grayson County, all three in the age range of 26 thru 44. One of those John Millers is readily recognizable as the 2nd John Miller from the 1810 census, given the matching children. From this it would follow that the other John Miller could not have been a brother of our Jacob Miller (too young).
From the foregoing analysis of Millers reported in Hardin County in the 1800 tax list, when compared to the 1810 Grayson County census record, it has been shown that there was only one Jacob Miller household headed by a person old enough to have been the grist mill owner and presumed founder of Millerstown. It was further shown that that Jacob Miller probably did not have a kinsman living nearby, neither brother nor father. From these “facts”, it might be inferred that our Jacob Miller arrived in Kentucky with only his immediate family, including wife and children. Assuming that to have been the case, then it would be very useful to know approximately when Jacob Miller arrived, and from whence he came.
In an attempt to answer those questions, we will first resort to a search of the The Kentucky Land Grants book for grants to persons named Jacob Miller prior to 1805. First, it should be noted that no grants were found for anyone named Jacob Miller anywhere in Hardin County during this time period. In fact, the only lands granted to anyone named Miller in Hardin County between 1780 and 1810 were two tracts awarded to Samuel Miller listed as follows:
- Samuel Miller, 870 acres, 4 Dec 1795, Hardin
- Samuel Miller 461 acres, 11 Aug 1798, Hardin
It might be worth noting that there were several tracts granted to a Jacob Miller on the waters of the Kentucky River in Lincoln/Madison County prior to 1800 listed below:
- Jacob Miller, 200 acres, 24 Mar 1784, Flint Creek, Lincoln
- Jacob Miller, 800, 22 Sep 1796, Station Camp Creek, Madison
- Jacob Miller, 400, 24 Sep 1796, Station Camp Creek, Madison
- Jacob Miller, 400, 18 Dec 1797, Drowning Creek, Madison
These filings could have been by our Jacob Miller or a kinsperson, but they were located almost 150 miles to the east of Millerstown. Moreover, there is evidence within the census records for members of the presumed family of our Jacob Miller, which would seemingly counter any assertion of an arrival of our Jacob Miller any earlier than about 1792/3, unless perhaps our Jacob had entered the territory around 1780, filed a patent in 1784, left the territory for almost 10 years, and then returned to file patents in 1796, or there were two different Jacob Millers filing patents on the same watershed.
Any “evidence” of the approximate arrival date of our Jacob Miller might be extracted from the records associated with his presumed children: James, Adam and Margaret Miller. For example, Adam Miller’s birth was variously reported as 1788 in Virginia (twice) or Pennsylvania (twice). Even though Adam’s reported place of birth varied between Virginia and Pennsylvania, it can be stated with some degree of certainty that his family was not in Kentucky in 1788. Similarly, James Miller was reported born in about 1791 in Pennsylvania, Maryland or Kentucky (twice). It should be noted that in the one record (1850) in which James Miller was the head of his own household, he was reported born in Pennsylvania. In two records he was reported born in Kentucky, but both of those records were in households headed by his presumed son, Jacob Miller, so it might be presumed that the information was furnished by someone else in the household other than by James Miller, himself, and therefore could have been unreliable. The report of Maryland as James Miller’s birthplace was from the 1880 census of Christopher J. Miller, so, again, its accuracy must be considered suspect. Lastly, we have the birth of Margaret Miller, which was consistently reported as about 1796 in Kentucky. If we accept that Adam, James and Margaret were all children of Jacob Miller, then it would appear that Adam Miller and James Miller were both born before the family arrived in Kentucky, but that Margaret was born after the family’s arrival in Kentucky. Ergo, we can tentatively place the arrival date of Jacob Miller’s family in Kentucky at sometime between 1791 and 1796.
One other wrinkle to consider is whether the younger Jacob Miller, recorded living in Grayson County between 1810 and 1860 was also a son of our Jacob Miller. Unlike Adam, James and Margaret, the author has been unable to infer any kinship, either through intermarriage or close geographic proximity for this younger Jacob Miller. However, kinship as a son of our Jacob Miller does appear possible based on his relative age, concurrent residency in the same county, and his reported place of birth having been Pennsylvania. Those circumstances aside, the author could find no other evidence which would link this younger Jacob Miller to our Jacob Miller. We were unable to establish the identity of his wife, other than her having been named Margaret, and born in Kentucky. The fact that the wife was reportedly born in Kentucky would seem to augur in favor of the marriage having occurred in Kentucky. There was no similarity in the naming of their children. The two known younger sons were named Horace and Morgan, both names totally unassociated with our Jacob Miller. However, if the younger Jacob Miller was the same person reported in six consecutive census records between 1810 and 1860, then it would appear that he had had as many as five sons born prior to Horace and Morgan, leaving open the possibility that there could have been several sons christened with names more familiar to our Jacob Miller’s family. A link diagram has been prepared by the author of the households presumed to have been headed by this younger Jacob Miller for the years 1810 thru 1850 as presented in Figure 22.
It should be noted that there are some peculiarities about these households which raise a question as to whether they may have involved more than one Jacob Miller. For example, an analysis of the 1810 and 1820 household compositions suggest that the eldest of the two apparent sons was 16 to 18 years old in 1820, giving him a birth year of before 1804. The 1850 census shows Jacob Miller (head of household) at age 54, giving him a birth year of about 1796. Jacob Miller’s calculated birth year, when compared to the birth year of his presumed eldest son, suggests that Jacob had fathered that son when he was only eight years old. Improbable! There is also the plethora of apparent children (13 in all) born to Jacob and Margaret Miller between about 1804/5 and 1840, when Horace, the youngest child, presumably was born. It seems highly unlikely that Margaret could have been the mother of all of those children, unless perhaps she was extremely young when the first child was born (say 11/12), and unusually old when the last child was born (say 44/45). Moreover, given the appearance of seven sons born to Jacob and Margaret between about 1804 and 1840, we might expect to find evidence of some of these numerous Miller offspring living in the vicinity of Millerstown in the 1830’s and beyond. If we were to accept this younger Jacob Miller as another son of our Jacob Miller, then we might refine the arrival date of our Jacob Miller to Kentucky even further. The younger Jacob Miller was twice reported born about 1796 in Pennsylvania. Comparing this Jacob’s birth to that of Margaret Miller, it might be assumed that our Jacob Miller brought his family into Kentucky around 1795/6.
So, if our Jacob Miller arrived in Kentucky around 1792-6, he could have been the person who filed for the three grants on the Kentucky River at Drowning Creek and Station Camp Creek in 1796/7, and still have been recorded in Hardin County in 1800, but such sudden migration seems improbable. However, one fact supporting that person having been our Jacob Miller is that no census record could be found for a Jacob Miller in either 1810 or 1820 in the vicinity of Madison or Estill counties where those grants would have been located. The author is inclined to believe that our Jacob Miller first arrived in Kentucky via transport down the Ohio River from Pennsylvania sometime between 1792 and 1796, that he could have taken out grants in Madison County in 1796/7 before settling in the Nolin River Valley, and that he likely purchased land from an earlier settler on the site associated with Jacob Miller’s spring branch, at which site he proceeded to erect and operate a grist mill.
Before moving forward with our search for the ancestry of our Jacob Miller, let’s see whether we can debunk the myth of a connection between the Millerstown Millers and the Miller brothers, who were captured by Indians. First, it should be stated that there were only a couple of references found which connected Christopher and Adam Miller, who were captured by Indians in about 1782, with their alleged brother, Jacob Miller Jr., who founded Millerstown. Following is an iteration of these references:
- “Pioneer Family – Millerstown, settled before 1800, founded by Jacob Miller Jr. He owned 500 acres along Nolin River and built a grist mill. Christopher, a brother, was prisoner of Indians for 11 years; rescued by spies of Anthony Wayne, he then helped Wayne secure peace, 1794. Christopher and his brother, Nicholas, both served in Kentucky House of Representatives. Town was at peak circa 1900, with population of 150.”
- “The following is a story of Joseph’s Grandfather Adam, and Adam’s brother Christopher Miller compiled by the Hardin County Kentucky, Historical Society. In 1779, Jacob Miller, Sr. left Virginia, via flat-boat, and landed at the falls of the Ohio, in Louisville. By 1782 they lived at Wilson’s Creek, which forms a part of the boundary between to-day’s Bullitt and Nelson counties. Here, in 1783, two of his young sons were taken prisoner by a war-party of Shawnee and Delaware Indians, and were carried to Indian towns northwest of the Ohio River. Adam, the younger son, was captive of the Delaware’s, who exchanged him after seven years; but fifteen year-old Christopher remained a prisoner of the Shawnees for eleven long years-before he was “rescued” (in March of 1794) by the Army of Gen. “Mad Anthony” Wayne. After his “recapture” from the Indians, young Christopher was taken by Gen. Wayne to fort Greenville, Ohio, where he was reunited with his brothers, Samuel and Nicholas Miller. He was then released from under guard by Gen. Wayne. After his release, he joined Gen. Wayne’s Army, and became a chief spy, bringing about the capture of numerous Indians by his knowledge of their languages he used to decoy them into traps. In August of 1794, he was selected to leave Fort Greenville, under a flag of truce, with an offer of peace to the Indians. Other white men had gone before him with similar offers and had been “murdered” by the Indians. There was little reason to believe that Christopher Miller would be any more fortunate than the others, but he had been “persuaded” by a promise from Gen. Wayne of an “independence and fortune” from his government, if he should succeed. He did succeed, but the promises made to him were kept no better than were those promises made by the white man to the Indians, and he received nothing at all for his perilous risks! After he left the army, Christopher settled in Hardin County, Kentucky, where he resided until his death on May 16, 1838. He was elected from Hardin County to The House of Representatives for the years 1818 and 1819 and to the State Senate in 1822 and 1823. Neither Rev. W. Miller records nor “who was who” in Hardin County made any further mention of Adam. However, his name is remembered in the Millerstown area, as the brother of Jacob Miller who founded that town.”
There are probably other similar references to the averred Millerstown connection with the captive Miller brothers, but, if so, the author has not found them. Neither of the foregoing referenced sources for the storied connection between Millerstown and the Miller brothers captured by Indians offers any documentary evidence to support this claim. Absent any documentation of this connection, it is difficult for the author to place any trust in its veracity. One intriguing element in reference No. 2 is the suggestion that Adam Miller “is remembered in the Millerstown area, as the brother of Jacob Miller who founded that town”. The author has already presented extensive evidence which supports the notion that a Jacob Miller was the person for whom Millerstown was named. He has also presented extensive evidence on an Adam Miller, who lived and died near Millerstown in the early part of the 19th century, and who the author has posited as a son (not a brother) of the founder of Millerstown. Let it be said that that Adam Miller was the only person of that name found in records to have had any direct connection with the Millerstown area. So, the suggestion in the piece attributed to the Hardin County Historical Society of Adam Miller, brother of Christopher Miller, having been associated with the founder of Millerstown appears to have been unfounded. The author suspects that someone has attempted to conflate the Adam Miller, who actually lived and died near Millerstown, with the brother of Christopher Miller, Indian captive. Evidence of such attempts can be found in the death record for Adam Miller in which it appears that someone has “doctored” the entry for his age at death. In that record it appears that the age was originally recorded as 90 years, and that someone has overwritten that age to appear as 100 years.
There has been a wealth of information published on the life of Christopher Miller, much of which relates to the circumstances of his capture by Indians, his recapture by General Wayne’s spies, and his life after repatriation with his family. Virtually none of that published matter makes any reference to Christopher’s ancestral roots or his origins. Most of this material also makes reference to Christopher’s brothers, but there is a wide disparity in the identification of those brothers. The most consistent theme is that Christopher was repatriated with his family by an elder brother identified as Colonel Nicholas Miller. However, in one account, that brother was identified with the name of Henry Miller, not Nicholas Miller. In a few accounts the younger brother, who was captured at the same time as Christopher, is identified as Adam Miller. However, in at least one other account, that brother is identified as William Miller. The foregoing referenced account in Item 2, above, identified yet another brother named Samuel Miller. So, between all of these various accounts there are named a total of seven brothers: Jacob Jr., Henry, Christopher, Adam, Nicholas, William and Samuel. Additionally, the two above references also refer to the boys’ father as having been named Jacob Miller (either by direct statement or by inference).
In searching genealogical histories, the author did discover one particular genealogy which has several elements that correspond to the information published about Christopher Miller. That Miller family genealogy is outlined below for the readers consideration:
Ernest Christian “Earnest” Miller
Born 1732 in Germany
Son of Adam (Mueller) Miller Sr and Anna Barbara (Koger) Miller
Brother of Mary (Miller) Mallow, Anna Barbara (Miller) Bär, Catherine Elizabeth (Miller) Bär, Adam Miller, Henry Miller, Anna Barbara Miller and Anna Christina Miller
Husband of Margaret (Linderman) Miller — married before 1763 in Pennsylvania
Father of Samuel Miller Sr., Jacob Miller, Adam Miller, Christopher Bryan Miller, Christley Miller, Nicholas Miller, Katarine (Miller) Hughes, Thomas Miller, Margaret Miller [Bush] and Leonard Miller
Died 25 Oct 1798 in Hardin, Kentucky, United States
The author is favorably disposed to the general reliability of this WikiTree genealogy for the family of Christopher Miller for a number of reasons. First, it should be noted that of sons ascribed to Ernest Miller, five match with the brothers named in the various accounts associated with Christopher, the Indian captive, namely: Samuel Miller, Jacob Miller, Adam Miller, Christopher Miller and Nicholas Miller. We also have Ernest Miller having been recorded on a list of voters for delegates from Jefferson County on 3Apr1781. Moreover, given as evidence on this WikiTree profile is the following deed abstract:
25 Oct 1798 Hardin Co. KY Deed Book A p. 399 SAMUEL MILLER and CATY his wife of the County of Nelson, ABNER HUGHES and CATY [Katherine Miller] his wife of the County of Jefferson, CHRISTOPHER MILLER, ADAM MILLER and Sarah his wife, NICHOLAS MILLER and JANE his wife and SAMUEL BUSH and PEGGY [Margaret Miller] his wife of the County of Hardin and State of Kentucky of the one part and THOMAS MILLER, LEONARD MILLER and JOHN MILLER of the County of Hardin and state aforesaid of the other part. Whereas EARNEST MILLER, late of Hardin, deceased leaving the said SAMUEL MILLER and CATY his wife, ABNER HUGHES and CATY his wife, CHRISTOPHER MILLER, ADAM MILLER and SARAH his wife, NICHOLAS MILLER and JANE his wife and SAMUEL BUSH and PEGGY his wife, THOMAS MILLER, LEONARD MILLER and JOHN MILLER, Heirs to his Estate and in the lifetime of said EARNEST MILLER for and in consideration of the love and affection which he had toward the said THOMAS MILLER, LEONARD MILLER and JOHN MILLER did give grant bargain and Make over to the said THOMAS MILLER, LEONARD MILLER and JOHN MILLER a Certain tract or parcel of land Containing two hundred acres by Survey bearing the date 5 March 1783 lying and being in the County of Hardin formerly Jefferson County on Buffaloe Creek and Severns Valley, a branch of Green River and bounded by a corner of JOHN SWANKS survey of 200 acres… to a stake in the barrens. (signed) SAMUEL MILLER CATY MILLER CHRISTOPHER MILLER ADAM MILLER SARAH MILLER NICHOLAS MILLER JANEY MILLER ABNER HUGHES CATY HUGHES SAMUEL BUSH MARGARET BUSH Recorded 14 December 1798 Hardin Co. KY Court
Within the foregoing deed for 200 acres on Buffaloe Creek and Severn Valley Creek are listed nine heirs of Ernest Miller, including presumed sons named Samuel, Christopher, Adam and Nicholas, all which names correspond with purported brothers of the Indian captives. This information, in and of itself, is not sufficient to establish Ernest Miller as the father of Christopher and Adam Miller, who purportedly were captured by Indians in 1782. However, other facts gleaned from this deed tend to lend such support. For example, the son, Christopher Miller, is not identified with a wife, and it is known from other sources that Christopher Miller did not marry Mary Wells [aka Wales] until 1799, the year following this deed recordation. Also, the son named Nicholas was shown with a wife named Jane, and it is known from other sources that Colonel Nicholas Miller married Jane Rawlings in Hardin County in 1796, two years before this deed was recorded. Additionally, it should be noted that the 200 acre tract being conveyed by the foregoing deed was situated on Buffalo Creek, tributary of Valley Creek. Such location would place this tract on the upper reaches of Valley Creek, just upstream from the confluence of Freeman Creek at the southeast side of Elizabethtown. From other sources it is known that Christopher Miller and other siblings held tracts on Freeman Creek. So, through this deed we find strong genealogical and geographic connections of the parties named in this deed to the family of Christopher Miller, Indian captive.
If the foregoing deed is accepted as having named all of the siblings of Christopher Miller, who were still living in 1798, and if we accept the Wikitree genealogy of the family of Ernest Miller, then we have a basis for further evaluation of any possible connection of this family to Millerstown. First, it should be recognized that there are a few differences between the children named in the Wikitree family and the heirs named in the deed. For example the Wikitree genealogy included a son named Jacob Miller, who was not named as an heir in the deed. This variance is of vital importance to our investigation into the founder of Millerstown. The deed made no mention of a sibling [heir] named Jacob. If there was a son of Ernest Miller named Jacob, then we must ponder his omission from the deed. Might there have been a son of Ernest Miller named Jacob, who was dead before 1798? If so, might that Jacob have had a son named Jacob Jr., who could have been the founder of Millerstown? This is all “airy-fairy” as Andy Dalziel might say, but really, isn’t that a bit of a stretch? After all, we have presented “evidence” which suggests that the founder of Millerstown was born before 1765, and still alive and well in Grayson County as late as 1820, and that some of his presumed children were born in Pennsylvania or Virginia as late as 1791. Is it possible that Ernest Miller had an adult son named Jacob, who remained behind in Pennsylvania, while his father and siblings floated down the Ohio River in 1779? Is it also possible that that son, Jacob Miller, later moved his family from Pennsylvania to Hardin County around 1792, and died there before 1798? Not very likely!
The author is of the opinion that sufficient evidence has been presented to establish that Jacob Miller, who is credited with the founding of Millerstown, had no direct or immediate kinship connection to the Ernest Miller family. Unless the author has completely erred in his ascription of Adam, James and Margaret as children of Jacob Miller (presumed founder of Millerstown) then the civic record data just doesn’t support a direct kinship connection to the family of Ernest Miller. Consequently, the author is inclined to believe that Jacob Miller, who founded Millerstown, was born before 1765, was the father of Adam, James and Margaret Miller, and is currently of unknown ancestry.
So, let’s cease with the unfounded, undocumented, and incongruous connections of our Jacob Miller to the Christopher Miller family, and focus our attention on things that we do know with some degree of certainty. We have reliably established the existence of a person named Jacob Miller in Hardin County on the Nolin River as early as 1810. That Jacob Miller was purportedly the owner of a grist mill on the Nolin River nearby to present day Millerstown, and has reliably been identified as the person for whom Millerstown was named as early as 1826. What other records might exist for this Jacob Miller? Well, we do have two deed records to present, which almost certainly involved our Jacob Miller:
- Hardin County Deed Book C, p. 471, etc.: Conveyance of 200 acres from Jacob Linder and Elizabeth, his wife, to Jacob Miller on 29Feb1808 for one dollar. “This indenture made this 29th day of February in the year 1808 between Jacob Linder and his wife Elizabeth of Hardin County and state of Kentucky of the one part and Jacob Miller of the said County and state aforesaid of the other part, witnesseth that for and in consideration of the sum of one dollar in hand paid by the said Jacob Miller before the signing, sealing and delivery of these presents, the receipt where of the said Jacob Linder and Elizabeth his wife do hereby acknowledge. Have granted, bargained and sold and by these presents do grant, bargained, alien, sell, release and confirm unto this said Jacob Miller his heirs and assigns forever a certain tract or parcel of land containing by resurvey 200 acres situate, lying and being in the County of hard and on the westwardly side of Nolan [in future Grayson County]. It being a part of an 800 acre survey granted to the said Jacob Linder by the Commonwealth of Virginia by patent bearing date the second day of December 1780, and bounded as follows, to wit: beginning at a black cloak with several notches on the bank of Nolan about three or 4 miles above the mouth of Roundstone Creek, the beginning of the said 800 acres running events South 20° east 160 polls to a stake, then it’s North 70° east and 60 polls to a stake, then it’s north 70° east 200 polls to a stake, thence North 20° West 160 polls to a stake, pence South 70° West 200 polls to the point of beginning. To have and to hold the said tract or parcel of land with the appurtenances there onto belonging to the only proper use and behoove of him the said Jacob Miller, his heirs and assigns forever, and the said Jacob Linder and Elizabeth his wife for themselves and their heirs do further covenant and agree to and with the said Jacob Miller his heirs and assigns that they will and shall forever warrant and defend the said 200 acres of land together with all and singular the appurtenances, hereditaments unto and advantages there onto belonging or in any wise there onto appertaining, from themselves and their heirs and from all and every other person or persons whatsoever claiming by or through them: but not from any other claim or claims by person or persons: he the said Jacob Miller hereby taking a quitclaim to the said land and be it further understood by and between the parties that this said Jacob Linder nor his heirs is in any manner whatsoever bound to refund the purchase money or pay any damages or costs in case the said Jacob Miller should lose the said land by any prior or better claim that no one hereby conveyed. In testimony whereof the said Jacob Linder and Elizabeth his wife have here unto set their hands and affirmed their seals the day and date first above written. Signed Jacob Linder and Elizabeth Linder.”
This was the earliest record found for our Jacob Miller in Kentucky. The author has reason to believe that it was on this tract of land that Jacob Miller erected and operated his grist mill along the west bank of the Nolin River in an area that two years later would become a part of Grayson County. From the description contained within this deed: “about three or 4 miles above the mouth of Roundstone Creek”, it can be established that this tract was situated on the Nolin River, just upstream from present day Millerstown. The 200 acres purchased by Jacob Miller from Jacob Linder and his wife, Elizabeth, was part of an 800 acre tract granted to Jacob Linder by the Commonwealth of Virginia on 2Dec1780. The author believes this grant to have been the same property involved in the following filing summary:
- Grantee: Jacob Linder; Number of Acres: 800; Survey Date: 1 May 1784; County: Jefferson; Watercourse: Nolinn; Book Number: 4.
Jacob Linder was a very active grant filer in Jefferson County KY during this time period, when he was recorded with nine separate grants totaling more than 6,000 acres, most of which were on Nolin, Clifty, Rough, Short and Cave Creeks. With such extensive filings, it would seem that Jacob Linder was primarily a land speculator. In the early part of the 19th century in Kentucky it seems very unlikely that any single individual could develop such large tracts of land. Moreover, there are numerous deeds from Jacob Linder to other parties during the early part of the 19th century, wherein he and his wife disposed of large parts of these early patents. In a couple of those deed documents, Jacob Linder assigned title for parts of tracts to individuals as repayment of “locator fees”. One of the earliest deed filings found for Jacob Linder in Kentucky is abstracted as follows:
Deed Book B, p. 452, 3Jan1804: Whereas Daniel Linder Sr. located a certain tract of land for Jacob Linder by virtue of a Land Office Treasury Warrant issued to the said Jacob Linder the ___ day of ___, No. 11825 for 5,000 acres and the said Daniel by virtue of the above recited warrant, entered 300 acres on the waters of Rough Creek, and the said Jacob Linder holding the same by patent, bearing date 2Dec1785, and now the said Daniel Linder being entitled to 250 acres for locating the above lands and other lands not necessary to be herein recited; Now this indenture… Signed 3Jan1804, Jacob and Elizabeth Linder.
From the foregoing deed record it would appear that Jacob Linder was somehow in possession of a Treasury Warrant from the Commonwealth of Virginia which authorized him to receive land totaling 5,000 acres. It would also appear from this record that Jacob Linder had given a power of attorney to his brother, Daniel Linder, to locate and patent lands in his name under the authority of said treasury warrant. A fairly exhaustive search of online archives failed to locate any record of a treasury warrant granted to Jacob Linder. Under the laws in force in Virginia following the end of the Revolutionary War, there were very few avenues for a person to be issued a warrant of this magnitude. Basically, you had to have been eligible for a warrant of 5,000 acres upon proof of service as a field officer (rank of Major, Lt. Colonel or Colonel) during specific periods of conflict, or you had to purchase the warrant at a cost of about £40 per 100 acres (roughly £2,000), or you had to purchase the rights to a warrant from some other eligible person or persons. Given the facts we will later learn about the earlier life of Jacob Linder, it seems highly unlikely that he could have been able to afford to purchase such a warrant. Seemingly, Jacob Linder’s warrant must have been based on the military service record of either himself, or a close kinsperson from whom he could have held some legal claim. The author is not sure whether we will ever know the source from which Jacob Linder obtained this warrant. Suffice it to say that he apparently was able to satisfy the Court of Jefferson County of its legality, as he was able to amass a large body of lands on its merit, summarized as follows:
- Grantee: Jacob Linder, Number of Acres: 737, Survey Date: 12 Apr 1783, County: Jefferson, Watercourse: Clifty, Book Number: 4.
- Grantee: Jacob Linder, Number of Acres: 1,000, Survey Date: 2 Dec 1783, County: Jefferson, Watercourse: Short Cr, Book Number: 4.
- Grantee: Jacob Linder, Number of Acres: 500, Survey Date: 1 May 1784, County: Jefferson, Watercourse: Nolinn, Book Number: 4.
- Grantee: Jacob Linder, Number of Acres: 800, Survey Date: 1 May 1784, County: Jefferson, Watercourse: Nolinn, Book Number: 4. [tract on which Jacob Miller’s grist mill was established]
- Grantee: Jacob Linder, Number of Acres: 200, Survey Date: 10 May 1784, County: Jefferson, Watercourse: Cave Cr, Book Number: 4.
- Grantee: Jacob Linder, Number of Acres: 500, Survey Date: 11 May 1784, County: Jefferson, Watercourse: Nolinn, Book Number: 4.
- Grantee: Jacob Linder, Number of Acres: 300, Survey Date: 11 May 1784, County: Jefferson, Watercourse: Cave Cr, Book Number: 4.
- Grantee: Jacob Linder, Number of Acres: 1,000, Survey Date: 28 Aug 1798, County: Hardin, Watercourse: Nolin, Book Number: 12.
- Grantee: Jacob Linder, Number of Acres: 1,000, Survey Date: 29 Sep 1798, County: Hardin, Watercourse: Rough Cr, Book Number: 11.
It would appear that Jacob Linder had been granted a warrant for 5,000 acres by the Commonwealth of Virginia, and that he had signed agreements (powers of attorney) with various parties to locate and file patents on his behalf, reimbursement to the “locator” for such locating service to be made by the assignment of a portion of any such patents thus resulting. One of the “locator fees” was paid to Jacob’s brother, Daniel Linder, in two separate deeds dated 3Jan1804 (Book B, p. 452-4) in which title was conveyed on parts of tracts situated on Rough Creek and Clifty Creek.
The fact that Jacob Linder relied on other parties to “locate” and patent lands in his name suggests that he may not actually have resided in Jefferson County Kentucky at that time. In fact, it seems probable that Jacob Linder was still residing in Frederick County Virginia in the early part of the 1780’s, when patents were being filed on his behalf in the area of future Hardin County. The earliest record the author was able to locate for Jacob and Daniel Linder in Kentucky was on the 1793 tax list for Nelson County, abstracted as follows:
By 1800 they were both recorded living in Hardin County. From later deed records it would appear that both Jacob Linder and Daniel Linder had established their residency in future Hardin County along the banks of Severn Valley Creek, nearby to Jacob Vanmeter. Based on “facts” soon to be revealed, the origin of Jacob Linder may become an essential element in our search for the ancestry of Jacob Miller.
Let’s get right to the point. The deed whereby Jacob Miller “purchased” a 200 acre tract on the Nolin River from Jacob Linder and his wife, Elizabeth, was of a very peculiar nature. First, it should be recognized that the purchase price of one dollar was merely a legal formality, a token sum. Even in the early 19th century “consideration” was an essential element in creating a binding contract. In almost all other deeds being recorded during this time period, the consideration paid was substantially higher, typically amounting to $.50 to $1 per acre, depending on the location and quality of the land involved. A 200 acre tract situated on the banks of a navigable stream should have fetched at least $.75 per acre. Why then had Jacob and Elizabeth Linder agreed to part with their land for such a piddling sum? One other element of this deed would seem to supply us with the answer. The land was conveyed by “quitclaim”. Following is a brief description of a “quitclaim” instrument:
Because of this lack of warranty, quitclaim deeds are most often used to transfer property between family members, as gifts, placing personal property into a business entity (and vice versa) or in other special or unique circumstances.
Does the manner in which title of this 200 acre tract was conveyed suggest something about the relationship between these parties? It is the opinion of the author that this conveyance was the legal equivalence of a “gift deed”, the type of transfer that frequently occurred during this time period to convey property between family members. If this interpretation is correct, then it would follow that there must have been some sort of kinship connection between Jacob and Elizabeth Linder and Jacob Miller (or Miller’s wife?). To reinforce the reliability of this interpretation, the author will introduce one additional transaction involving Jacob and Elizabeth Linder:
Hardin County Deed Book C, Page 466: 1Feb1808 – conveyance of 850 acres consisting of three separate tracts situated on the waters of Ashcroft’s Creek and Big Clifty Creek, waters of Rough Creek from Jacob and Elizabeth Linder to Nathan Vanmeter of Berkeley County Virginia for the sum of one dollar, title conveyed by quitclaim.
The foregoing deed was written just 28 days before the deed conveyance to Jacob Miller, and for essentially the same terms: one dollar purchase price, and title conveyed by quitclaim. There is a distinctive similarity between these two deeds. They were filed within only a few weeks of each other, and for exactly the same terms and conditions which emulated the equivalence of a gift deed. So, it would appear that there was very likely some sort of kinship connection between Jacob and Elizabeth Linder, and both Jacob Miller and Nathan Vanmeter. Ergo, there may also have been a kinship connection between Nathan Vanmeter and Jacob Miller. It may be noteworthy that Nathan Vanmeter was identified as having been a resident of Berkeley County Virginia at the time of the deed filing.
It is now time for the author to posit another hypothesis:
Hypothesis No. 3 – Jacob Miller and Nathan Vanmeter were kinsmen of Jacob and Elizabeth Linder, either by blood or marriage.
Before getting into the investigation of the implied kinship connection between Jacob Miller and Jacob and Elizabeth Linder, we should introduce the second deed between Jacob Miller and Jacob Linder:
- Hardin County Deed Book H, p. 170, etc.: Conveyance of 256 acres from Jacob Linder and Elizabeth, his wife, to Jacob Miller on 4Jun1821 for $224. West side of Nolin River in Grayson County, about 3-4 miles above mouth of Roundstone Creek. “This indenture made this first day of June in the year of our Lord 1821 between Jacob Linder and Elizabeth his wife of the County of Hardin and state of Kentucky of the one part and Jacob Miller of the County of Grayson and state aforesaid of the other part; witnesseth that the said Jacob Linder and Elizabeth his wife for and in consideration of the sum of $224 by the said Jacob Miller to this said Jacob under part in hand paid and partly note the receipt where of his hereby acknowledge has this day granted bargained sold and by these presents do grant bargain and sell to the said Jacob Miller one certain tract or parcel of land lying and being in the County of Grayson on the waters of Nolan containing 256 acres by survey being a part of a one 800 acre survey in the name of Jacob Linder of which the said 256 acres is a part bounded as follows to wit: beginning at the beginning corner of the said 800 acres survey, thence with the patent line North 70° East 216 poles to a black cloak and white oak corner to the patent thence South 20° east 160 polls to a black oak and hickory in the division line between Lyons and the said Miller’s, thence with the same South 70° West 256 polls to a white oak corner to “unreadable” line, thence with the same North 20° West 160 polls to a white oak in the original lines, thence with the same to the beginning. To have and to hold the said tract or parcel of land together with all and singular there appertaining to him the said Jacob Miller his heirs and assigns to his and their only proper use benefit and behoove and the said Jacob Linder and Elizabeth his wife death further covenant and agree to and with the said Jacob Miller that they the said Jacob Linder and Elizabeth his wife will forever warrant and defend the aforesaid tract or parcel of land to this said Jacob Miller his heirs and assigns forever from the claim of them the said Jacob Linder and Elizabeth his wife their heirs and assigns and from the claim of every other person or persons whatsoever claiming the same by through or under them but not from the claim of any other person. In testimony there of the said Jacob Linder and Elizabeth his wife had here unto set their hand and affixed their seal the day and year first written. Signed Jacob Linder and Elizabeth Linder. Recorded 4 June 1821.” (Transcribed by Robert Atteberry, 3Jul2019)
This tract is believed to have abutted the 200 acre tract previously “gift deeded” by Jacob and Elizabeth Linder to Jacob Miller. There is a reference within the boundary description for this tract to a preexisting boundary which separated Jacob Miller from an unknown Lyon. This 256 acre tract was partitioned from the same 800 acres surveyed for Jacob Linder, as was the original 200 acre tract. There was an elapsing of more than 13 years between the first tract deed and the second tract deed. The second tract deed was more of a normal nature, in that it was for a reasonable purchase price equivalent to about $.87 per acre, and there was no mention of a quitclaim. So, unlike the first transaction, which appeared to have been a gift deed, this transaction was by way of a normal purchase.
In an attempt to establish a possible kinship connection between Jacob Miller and Jacob Linder, we will first focus our attention on Jacob Linder’s purported ancestry, the premise being that such connection likely would have originated from an intermarriage between members of their respective families, given their different surnames and that they were both males. In order for such an intermarriage to have occurred, those parties probably would have resided in the same general geographic locality at the time of those marriages. If we can trace the origins of Jacob Linder’s family, we may be able to establish the origins of Jacob Miller’s family. At least one researcher believes they have a handle on Jacob Linder’s genealogical origins. The reader’s attention is directed to an item appearing in the Alabama, Surname Files Expanded, 1702–1981 published at Ancestry.com, page 273 of 297. This item consists of research contributed by Hazel Kraft Eilers of 2522 Thayer Street, Evanston Illinois, in which she reports three generations of the Linder Family. The author cannot attest to the accuracy of Ms. Eilers research, but can state that most of the main elements of this Linder family correspond with similar genealogies published by other researchers.
In Ms. Eiler’s research she reported the following genealogical tree for Jacob and Daniel Linder:
- Simon Linder Sr., b. 1680, Palatinate of Germany; arrived America 27Aug1733 (aged 53) with wife, Margaret (aged 39). Estate administered 12Feb1752, Frederick County Virginia. The family landed in Philadelphia PA with five children: Catrina, b. 1716, Simon Jr., b. 1717, Elizabeth, b. 1722, Laurence [aka Lorenz], b. 1725, and George, b. 1729.
- Laurence Linder, b. 1725, d. after 1780; [m. Rebecca Van Meter] served as a colonial soldier; also, as a patriot, furnished supplies for the colonial army. References: Gleanings of Virginia History, by Boogher, p. 81, Lawrence Lender (sic), and Virginia Colonial Militia, by Crozier. Recorded in Frederick County VA in Sept1758. Laurence resided in Berkeley and Jefferson Counties VA and had children: Jacob Linder Sr., b. 1745, and Daniel Linder, b. 1750.
- 1. Jacob Linder Sr., b. 1745, d. 1841 Hardin County KY, m. 1781 Elizabeth Van Meter, had children: Nathaniel Linder, Rebecca Linder, Abigail Linder, Jacob Linder Jr., Margaret “Peggy” Linder, m. 1803, Usher Ferguson, brother of Jane and Elizabeth, son of John Ferguson and Catherine Thomas.
2. Daniel Linder, b. ca. 1750, in Virginia, d. 1840 in Hardin County KY, m. Rebecca Van Meter, b. ca. 1752, d. 1830. Ref.: Kentucky tax list: DAR Nat’l Reg. No. 327-828 and No. 219-161, had children: Isaac Linder, b. 1775, Daniel Linder Jr., b. 1777, Israel Linder, Andrew H. Linder and Samuel Linder.
One important recurring theme within this Linder family genealogy is the reputed intermarriages with Van Meter women. First, it should be noted that Jacob Linder and his brother, Daniel Linder are both reported to have married Van Meter women. This report has a certain ring of truth to it, as the Linders and Van Meters are both recorded having lived in Frederick County Virginia for several decades prior to the Revolutionary War. Jacob and Daniel’s mother is also reported to have been a Van Meter woman. Then we have the “gift deed” from Jacob and Elizabeth (Van Meter?) Linder to Nathan Van Meter of Berkeley County Virginia, formerly Frederick County. So, we appear to have evidence of several intermarriages and a land transaction between the Linders and the Van Meters. It would seem that we cannot perform a thorough evaluation of a possible kinship connection between Jacob Miller and Jacob Linder, without also performing a thorough investigation of the Van Meter family. What strikes the author is the fact that both the Van Meter and the Linder families trace their roots to Frederick County Virginia before they migrated to Kentucky. Given that the presumed children of Jacob Miller were variously reported to have originated from either Pennsylvania or Virginia, then it seems very possible that Jacob Miller’s roots could also be traced to Frederick County Virginia.
Before delving into the Van Meter family genealogy, following are a couple more court records involving Jacob Linder and his presumed in-law, Jacob Van Meter:
- Court, 12 Jun 1790, , Nelson, Kentucky, USA. 772 Inventory and appraisal of the effects of Miles Hart, desc…. Taken 12 June 1790 by John Vertrees, Jacob Linder, Jacob Vanmeter.
Here is a curious collection of individuals, wherein John Vertrees, Jacob Linder and Jacob Vanmeter united as co-appraisers on the estate of Miles Hart. This teaming probably was not coincidental, as John Vertrees was married to Elizabeth Vanmeter, daughter of Jacob Vanmeter Sr., and Jacob Linder is purported to have been married to another woman named Elizabeth Vanmeter, clearly a possible kinsperson of Jacob Vanmeter, but identity yet unknown. It is the author’s belief that the Jacob Vanmeter in this record was Jacob Vanmeter Sr. There is a tragic story accompanying this record of which we will leave the telling to others momentarily. First, let’s give some identity to Miles Hart, as he was no stranger to these appraisers. Miles Hart and two of his brothers: Josiah Hart and Silas Hart were all married to daughters of Edward Rawlings and Rebecca Vanmeter, daughter of Jacob Vanmeter Sr. Miles Hart also had a twin brother named Aaron Hart, a name we have already encountered as a co-commissioner with Jacob Miller, Jacob Vanmeter [Jr.], etal, to clear the Nolin River channel for navigation. Now for the tragic story:
” The Hart brothers were known as the best Indian fighters in the country. Miles Hart, husband of Elizabeth Rawlings was, perhaps, the best of them, because he was so deadly with the rifle the Indians had called him ‘Sharp-Eye’. The Hart brothers married the three Rawlings girls, daughters of Edward Rawlings, namely: Miles married Elizabeth Rawlings, Josiah married Ann Rawlings, and Silas married Letitia (Letty) Rawlings. Miles Hart had a twin brother Aaron Hart. There is a mistake in Collin’s History of Kentucky where he says Silas Hart was the husband of Elizabeth (stolen by the Indians). Haycraft’s History of Elizabethtown gives the incident and name of Miles Hart correctly. Haycraft was a relative of Elizabeth. There is a letter from John VanMeter also a member of the family, in which he gives the name of Miles Hart. The Hart brothers and the other men of the settlement drove the Indians across the Ohio River at a point about West Point today, but in doing so, Miles Hart, or ‘Sharp-Eye’ as the Indians called him, had killed the Chief. With the chief dead, the settlers thought perhaps the raids would cease so they returned to the VanMeter Fort where Miles Hart had his wife and his three children, aged 7 or 8 years. The family returned to their home, a crude log cabin that Miles had built on a clearing nearby. The log cabin had only a small window and a solid door so there was little light in it. At night the log-burning fireplace and a candle furnished light. In the morning as they were about to eat their meager breakfast, they opened the door to let in more light. The Indians who had followed them back to their home had been prowling around the cabin of Miles Hart all night waiting for an opportunity to kill him in revenge for the loss of their chief. They pounced upon Hart and killed him after a desperate struggle, thus avenging the death of their chief. Joe Hart, the 12 year old son of Miles Hart, grabbed his father’s rifle and tomahawk hatchet and killed the Indian leader, who was the chief’s brother, and several other savages before they could overcome him. He struck them as they tried to enter the door to the cabin to take his mother and the children prisoners. The Indians, however, carried Elizabeth, Joe and the two smaller children into captivity. They killed the little girl just a short distance from the cabin because she cried and the Indians were afraid the followers would hear her. They killed Miles, Jr. because he had a sore foot and couldn’t keep up. They were in a hurry for they knew they would be followed as soon as the other settlers found out what had been done, and they knew the fury of the Hart brothers. This left Joe and his mother the only captives and she was ready to have another child and could hardly keep up. She was required to carry kettles and cook for the Indians. She finally had the baby in the snow unattended, and was made to resume the march the next day. She carried the baby strapped to her back and also some cooking kettles. During the day they waded waist-deep across an ice-filled creek. Elizabeth was considered a delicate woman of her day, according to Haycraft’s History of Elizabethtown. He says: ‘Mrs. Elizabeth Hart, wife of Miles Hart, was regarded as a very delicate woman for those days. She was enceinte when taken prisoner in an advanced state. She was burdened with camp kettles and other Indian plunder. They crossed the Ohio River into the Northwest Territory. At nightfall she was delegated to kindle fires for the Indians and then to go aside to kindle a fire for herself, raking up as best she could rubbish from under the snow and there alone, unaided by the kind assistance known to civilized life, was delivered of a son. The squaws then showed a little kindness in the morning by giving her a little water in which a turkey had been boiled. Then cutting a block from a tree, they wrapped a piece of blanket around the new-born infant, fastened it to the block and laid the block upon her back with camp kettles, etc., and pursued their way north. In the course of the day they waded a river waist-deep (filled with ice) and yet strange to tell, she experienced no serious inconvenience, but from hard usage and inhuman treatment the child died at the age of six months. She lingered in captivity and wretched slavery for several years until a trading Frenchman at Detroit purchased her from the Indians and restored her to her relatives.”
We included this tragic story so that the reader would have a deeper understanding of the close familial connections between the various parties involved in the appraisal of Miles Hart’s estate.
- Ordered that Stephen Rawlings, Jacob Vanmatre [Jr.] and Jacob Linder after being sworn, appraise the estate of Jacob Vanmatre [Sr.], dec’d and return a true and perfect inventory to the court.
Was it just coincidence that Jacob Linder would be appointed, along with Jacob Vanmatre Jr. and Stephen Rawlings to appraise the estate of Jacob Vanmatre Sr.? Jacob Linder is believed to have been married to Elizabeth Vanmeter (identity uncertain). Some researchers claim this Elizabeth Vanmeter to have been a daughter of Jacob Vanmeter Sr., however, most researchers claim that Elizabeth, daughter of Jacob Vanmeter Sr. was married three times to mssrs.: Capt. John Swan (killed by Indians while floating down the Ohio from Fort Pitt in 1779), Thomas McNeal, and John Vertrees. A few others claim that Elizabeth Vanmetre, daughter of Jacob Vanmetre Sr., married Jacob Linder. Clearly, there is some confusion related to the identity of the wife of Jacob Linder, which we will endeavor to sort out. Stephen Rawlings’ brother, Edward Rawlings, is believed to have been married to Rebecca Vanmeter, another daughter of Jacob Vanmeter Sr. Moreover, the Rawlings brothers originated from Frederick County Virginia, where they undoubtedly were acquainted with the Linder and Vanmeter families, before they migrated to Jefferson County Kentucky. So, the uniting of Jacob Linder, Jacob Vanmeter Jr. and Stephen Rawlings as co-appraisers on the estate of Jacob Vanmeter Sr. probably was not coincidental. Most likely it came about as a result of their close familial associations with the Vanmeter family.
Before we launch into a full-scale investigation of the Vanmeter family genealogy, let’s sweeten the pot a bit by jumping backward one generation. Jacob Vanmeter Sr.’s parents are reliably proven to have been Jan John Vanmeter and Margaret Molenaar [aka Miller]. Speaking of your coincidences, Jacob Vanmeter’s mother’s maiden name was Molenaar, which when translated from Dutch into English means “miller”. In fact, in earlier records of Margaret’s family the surname appeared as Miller or Millar, as evidenced by the following deed from Somerset County NJ:
“All that tract of land situate, lying and being upon the west side of the South Branch of Raraton River in the said County of Somerset aforesaid, now in the peaceable possession and enjoyment of him the said Hendry Millar… The deed is signed: John Vanmetere and Margaret [Molenaar] Vanmetere, who makes her mark. The tract was bounded by lands of John Campbell, John Drummond, of “Londine”, other lands of John Vanmetere and the South Branch, estimated to contain 37 acres…”
It occurs to the author that Margaret Molenaar very likely had male kinsfolk who, when they began to migrate outside the Dutch community of New Amsterdam, very likely anglicized their surname into either Miller or Millar. The probability of this morphing of the Molenaar surname into Miller or Millar is supported by the above cited deed abstract for Hendry Millar [aka Hendrick Molenaar]. Is it possible that our Jacob Miller may have descended from a branch of these Molenaars, who may have migrated westerly into the Valley of Virginia with the Vanmeters? This is certainly a possibility that we will keep in mind as we investigate the Vanmeters.
To begin our investigation of the Vanmeter family, we will start with the only Vanmeter, known with any certainty, to have had a direct association with Jacob Linder, and indirectly with Jacob Miller, namely, Nathan Vanmeter. Who was Nathan Vanmeter, and what might his connection have been with Jacob and Elizabeth Linder? Since the gift deed conveying 850 acres to Nathan Vanmeter in 1808 stated that Nathan was at that time living in Berkeley County VA, we will begin our search in Berkeley County. A search of the 1810 census records reveals the household of Nathan Vanmeter living in Berkeley County and summarized as shown in Figure 23. First, it should be stated that this was the only record hit for a Nathan Vanmeter in the entire 1810 census database, leaving little doubt but that this was the same person to whom Jacob and Elizabeth Linder had gift deeded the 850 acres. Next, it should be recognized that Nathan Vanmeter was reported being over the age of 45, and did not appear to have a wife in his household. But there did appear to have been several children, four males under age 25 and two females aged 16 thru 25. It is possible that two of the older young persons could have been a married couple. It would appear that Nathan Vanmeter was widowed.
For the identity of this Nathan Vanmeter we will refer to the tome written by Samuel Gordon Smyth, which is the singularly most superior publication found by the author on the Vanmeter family. Smyth describes Nathan Vanmeter as follows:
“Nathan Van Metre (John1, Henry2), son of Henry and [Hannah, possibly Pyle], born in Virginia ~1760; died ?; married ~1780 Mary Ann Pyle, daughter of Elizabeth Pyle, her father’s [step-father’s] third wife. Nathan lived in Virginia near his father in Berkeley County. By his father’s will Nathan was bequeathed the Berkeley County homestead, with the bulk of the personal property, subject to other children named in the Will. Nathan was presumed to have been the eldest son of Henry by his 2nd marriage to Hannah Pyle (the sister of his 3rd wife, Elizabeth Pyle?). There was probably no issue by the third marriage and the children of the first wife, Eva, being already provided for in the testator’s lifetime. To Nathan’s son Joseph was bequeathed the lands of Nathan’s deceased brother, Joseph, “lying on the west side of the Ohio.” This grandson of Henry afterwards went out to Ohio and took possession of the inheritance and was known as “Virginia Joe.””
So, Mr. Smyth would have us believe that Nathan Vanmeter was the eldest son of Henry Vanmeter and Hannah Pyle. Further, that Nathan had married Mary Ann Pyle, daughter of Nathan’s step-mother, Elizabeth Pile, 3rd wife of Henry Vanmeter. The author is inclined to accept this description of Nathan Vanmeter and his wife, but there are some corrections/additions wanting for the identity of Mary Ann Pile’s mother, Elizabeth Pile. Smyth, and numerous other Vanmeter family researchers report Henry Vanmeter’s 2nd and 3rd wives to have been sisters. Some even go so far as to identify Henry’s 1st wife as Eva Pile, another sister of Hannah Pile and Elizabeth Pile. Let’s leave aside the kinship connection, if any, between the wives of Henry Vanmeter, and concentrate for a moment solely on his 3rd wife, Elizabeth Pile Vanmeter.
The author’s research has found a strong inference that Elizabeth Pile Vanmeter was not born a Pile. In fact, there is strong evidence to support Elizabeth as a daughter of Col. Edward Thomas Sprigg and Elizabeth Pile [daughter of Dr. Richard Pile], who were recorded married on 26Apr1720 in Prince Georges County MD. Elizabeth Sprigg is reported to have married her 1st cousin, Dr. Richard Pile [another of several medical doctors or apothecaries in this Pile family], in about 1747 in Prince Georges County MD. No record of their marriage was found by the author, but the birth of a son, William Pile, is believed to have been recorded in St. Johns Parish, Prince Georges County MD on 14Dec1761. Pile family genealogists credit Richard Pile and Elizabeth Sprigg with at least two more children: Richard Jr. born about 1760, and Mary Ann born about 1764. It occurs to the author, that, if Elizabeth Sprigg and Richard Pile were married in 1747, as reported, then there certainly could have been several more children born to this couple, who are not on record.
Now, let’s return to the household of Henry Vanmeter. He is reported to have married Elizabeth [Sprigg] Pile on 8Apr1777 in Ohio County VA (see Smyth’s description of Henry Vanmeter, below):
“Henry Vanmeter (John1), third son of John Vanmeter and Margaret Molenaar, born circa 1717 in Somerset County NJ, died circa 1793 in Virginia; married 1st: Eva mnu (possibly Pile or Pyle); 2nd ante 1757, Hannah Pyle; and 3rd, Elizabeth Pyle [Sprigg], of Ohio County VA. License issued 8Apr1777. Henry inherited, by the terms of his father’s Will, 400 acres of land whereon he (father) lived. There is considerable documentary evidence regarding this Henry Vanmeter and his migratory movements; first of these is found recorded in the Journal of the Frederick County VA Court, under date of 11Sep1744, which states that Henry Vanmeter is appointed overseer of the road from Noah Hampton’s Mill, on the road to Cape Capon, near James Cody’s. On 5Apr1757, Henry Vanmeter, jointly with his wife Hannah, transferred to Abraham Vanmeter a tract of 150 acres of land, which had been granted to said Henry and Abraham by Samuel Bryan, 12Nov1747; on the same date Henry Vanmeter conveyed by deed another tract of land, containing 64 acres, which had been granted said Henry and Abraham Vanmeter by Jacob Vanmeter. This deed was unsigned, but is acknowledged by Henry Vanmeter and his wife, Hannah. Sep1758 Henry Vanmeter, Joseph Vanmeter, etal., soldiers of Frederick County VA, were paid 7 shillings each for services in resisting Indians. (privates in Capt. Thomas Speak’s Company, Virginia Colonial Militia). While still remaining in Virginia, Henry kept migrating westward, until he reached what is now southwestern Pennsylvania, the border land then in controversy between the Colony of Virginia and the Province of Penssylvania. He took up residence in the territory which later became Bedford, and afterward Washington, then Green Counties of Pennsylvania. Here he took up land on Muddy Creek adjacent ot his brother, Jacob Vanmeter, and his name appears on an assessment roll in Springhill Township in 1772-3, rated as a taxable. In the latter year some sort of disturbance of the peace occurred and Henry, Jacob and Abraham Vanmeter were indicted by the “Grand Inquest of Quarter Sessions”, 6Jul1773, on two bills, for riot. [Mason-Dixon Line Dispute?] These bills were found and presented to the Court of Yohogania County VA, which exercised Jurisdiction over this part of Pennsylvania. On 23Feb1775 Henry Vanmeter was recommended, among others, as a proper person to be added to the Commission of the Peace for the County of West Augusta (Virginia jurisdiction), and on 18Apr1776, Henry Vanmeter and Ebenezer Zane were appointed viewers, to view the old road from Conrad Walter’s to mouth of Wheeling [Creek] [south side of Ohio River near present day Wheeling, within Ohio County, same county where Henry reportedly married his 3rd wife, Elizabeth Sprigg-Pile]; and again on 20Aug1776, Henry Vanmeter was among those persons recommended to be added to the Commission of the Peace for Augusta County VA. Henry Vanmeter’s name appears among those who received warrants for lands for military services; 400 acres were granted in Washington County PA 25Mar1785, with 250 additional acres in 1786.
In his Will, dated 3Mar1790, and probated ___1793, Henry Vanmeter mentions his wife, Elizabeth and children: Nathan, Joshua, Hester, Henry and Joseph (the latter was already deceased), which recites “My son Joseph Vanmeter’s estate which lies on the west side of the Ohio River in the Indian country.” It is to be supposed that the above children, excepting Joseph, were the children of Henry’s 2nd wife, Hannah; the issue of the first wife, Eve, having already been provided for as they arrived at maturity. One of the executors of Henry’s Will was William Gorrell, who married a daughter of Henry’s brother, Jacob Vanmeter [same Jacob Vanmeter, who had floated down the Ohio River with a large contingent of his family in 1779 to the Falls nearby Louisville]. There were no children believed born of Henry’s 3rd wife, Elizabeth. Henry’s children are believed to have included: John, Joseph, Henry Jr., Isaac, Jacob, Hannah, Ruth, Nathan, Joshua and Hester.”
The author is inclined to accept the identity of Henry Vanmeter’s 3rd wife, as Elizabeth Sprigg, widow of Richard Pile. Assuming that to have been the case, then we may now have a basis for evaluating the possible kinship connections between Jacob and Elizabeth Linder, and Jacob Miller and Nathan Vanmeter. First, it would appear that Jacob Linder, Nathan Vanmeter and Jacob Miller were all of about the same age, probably born sometime between 1755 and 1765. We also know with some certainty that Jacob Linder and Nathan Vanmeter originated from that part of Frederick County that would later fall within Berkeley County at its formation in 1772. We also know that Nathan Vanmeter was bequeathed land in Berkeley County, described in Henry Vanmeter’s Will as follows:
“In the name of God, Amen. I Henry Van Mater, of Berkely County & Commonwealth of Virginia, feeling infirmity of body but of perfect mind and memory, and therefore reccolecting [sic] the mortality of human nature, do make and Constitute this my last Will and Testament. After my just debts and burial charges are paid, I do give and dispose of my wordly [sic] estate in manner and form following, that is to say I do give devise and bequeath unto my son Nathan Van Mater all my landed estate in the County of Berkeley and Commonwealth of Virginia, as well the plantation whereon I now live as all the tract or tracts of land which I have in said County of Berkeley, to him my said son Nathan and his heirs and assigns forever. I do give and bequeath unto my son Henry Van Mater five pounds Virginia currency, to be paid to him by my son Nathan. I do give and bequeath unto my son Joshua one hundred pounds Virginia currency to be paid to him by my son Nathan at the end of two years after my decease. I do further Will and bequeath unto my said son Nathan Van Mater, in addition to my Berkeley lands aforesaid, the following negroes namely: Sam, Gim [sic], Peter and Dinah, to him, his heirs and assigns, provided he takes his sister Hester into his family, or otherwise maintains her in a proper manner during her single state; and provided he fails or neglects to make such proper provision for her as aforesaid, then and in that case the three last mentioned negroes shall vest in her the said Hester forever. I do give and bequeath unto my wife Elizabeth, in addition to her third of my landed estate and in lieu of her part of my personal estate, the following legacy to wit; one negro girl to be purchased as soon as she may think it convenient, out of my estate, not exceeding eighteen nor under ten years of age; my two old negroes, viz: Beck and Jim, the feather bed and furniture whereon we now sleep together with her choice of six milch cows and one third of my dry cattle, her choice of two horses, a third of my sheep, and one third of all my household and kitchen furniture, together with all the movable estate which belonged to her when we were married, and of which I died possessed, to her, her heirs, and assigns, together with a full third part of my hogs and provisions and all the other moveable part of my estate, except the aforesaid four negroes bequeathed to my said son Nathan. It is also my earnest will and desire that she may have an uninterrupted home in my present dwelling house during her widowhood. The tract of land which did belong to my son Joseph Van mater lying and being situate on the west side of the Ohio River, in the Indian country and which did devolve to me on his death, together with all the said Joseph’s personal estate (my negro boy Gim only excepted) I do will devise and bequeath to my aforesaid son Joshua and his heirs and assigns forever, and the other tract of land lying and being situate in the Sufferer’s Valley [probably Severns Valley where his brother, Jacob had settled his family], in the District of Kentucky, Which was also the property of my said son Joseph, and at his death devolved to me by operation of law, I do give and devise to my Grandson Joseph Van Mater, the son of my aforesaid son Nathan, to him, his heirs and assigns forever. And the residue of my estate after the disposition and payment of the respective legacies above recited of every kind and of every determination, I do further give will devise and bequeath unto my aforesaid son Nathan Van Mater, his heirs and assigns forever, and he my said son Nathan is in consequence thereof is to pay unto my daughter also two hundred dollars specie within a twelvemonth of my decease. I do hereby make ordain, constitute and appoint my said son Nathan Van Matre and my friend William Gorrell [son-in-law of Jacob Vanmeter] my sole executors of this my last Will, interest for interest, for the intents and purpose in this my last will contained to take care to have the same performed according to my true intent[?] and meaning.
In Witness whereof, I the said Henry Van Matre have to this my last Will and testament set my hand and seal the third day of March, in the year of our Lord, seventeen hundred and ninety.
Henry (his H mark) Van Metre
Signed sealed and delivered by the
Said Henry Van Matre, as, and for
his last Will and Testament in the
Presence of us who were present
at the signing and sealing thereof:
John McCulloch William Allen
Jacob Vandever Abraham (his AM mark) Merlot”
So, from his father’s Will, it would appear that Nathan was the eldest son of Henry Vanmeter and Hannah (Pyle?), and the principal beneficiary of his father’s estate. Nathan was also named Executor, along with William Gorrell, son-in-law of Jacob Vanmeter and Nathan’s uncle. Nathan’s legacy included all of his father’s lands situated in Berkeley County, including Henry’s place of domicile. So, Elizabeth Sprigg Pile Vanmeter was doubly rewarded through the settlement of her husband, Henry Vanmeter’s, estate. Not only did she receive her legal one-third dowry, but also the following additional legacy:
“…one negro girl to be purchased as soon as she may think it convenient, out of my estate, not exceeding eighteen nor under ten years of age; my two old negroes, viz: Beck and Jim, the feather bed and furniture whereon we now sleep together with her choice of six milch cows and one third of my dry cattle, her choice of two horses, a third of my sheep, and one third of all my household and kitchen furniture, together with all the movable estate which belonged to her when we were married, and of which I died possessed, to her, her heirs, and assigns, together with a full third part of my hogs and provisions and all the other moveable part of my estate, except the aforesaid four negroes bequeathed to my said son Nathan.”
In addition to that, she had the peace of mind in knowing that her daughter, Mary Ann Pile Vanmeter, was being well cared for via Nathan’s legacy from his father’s estate.
Are we any nearer to discovering a possible kinship connection between Jacob and Elizabeth Linder, Nathan Vanmeter and Jacob Miller? Perhaps! Let’s digress for a moment and contemplate our reasoning for focusing on the Vanmeters at the outset. This redirection was based in large part on the alleged intermarriages between members of the Linder and Vanmeter families, compounded by the gift deed from Jacob and Elizabeth Linder to Nathan Vanmeter. What if this kinship connection was not due to Vanmeter-Linder intermarriages, but rather intermarriages with Pile women? For starters, we do not know with certainty the identity of either Jacob Linder’s wife, or that of Jacob Miller, other than their approximate ages and given names. What if the connection was through their each having married a daughter of Elizabeth Sprigg Pile Vanmeter? Some genealogical researchers credit Richard Pile and Elizabeth Sprigg with a daughter named Elizabeth, but no one has offered any information regarding her marriage or demise. Given the naming conventions in practice during this time period, it would be logical for Richard Pile and Elizabeth Sprigg to have named their first-born daughter, Elizabeth, as namesake for both of their own mothers: Elizabeth Hutchinson Pile, and Elizabeth Pile Sprigg. What if Elizabeth Pile, presumed daughter of Richard Pile and Elizabeth Sprigg, had married Jacob Linder? Would that connection be sufficiently strong for Jacob and Elizabeth Linder to make a deed of gift of 850 acres to Elizabeth’s sister’s [Mary Ann Pile] husband [Nathan Vanmeter] and nieces and nephews? Perhaps! Along this same vein, would the intermarriage of Jacob Miller with a sister of Elizabeth Pile Linder be sufficiently strong for Jacob and Elizabeth Linder to make a deed of gift of 200 acres to Jacob and Nancy Miller? Perhaps!
It is now time for another hypothesis:
Hypothesis No. 4: Jacob Linder, Nathan Vanmeter and Jacob Miller were all married to daughters of Richard Pile and Elizabeth Sprigg.
One thing that has troubled the author, since discovering the connection between Jacob Linder and Jacob Miller, was the fact that Jacob Linder appeared to have been granted a warrant for 5,000 acres by the Commonwealth of Virginia. This was a remarkably large warrant for land in this time period. However, as a result of the Treaty of Paris at the close of the French and Indian War, King George III issued a proclamation whereby men who served in military units from 1754 until such units disbanded were entitled to bounty land. Following is a description of the bounty grant program which permitted the issuance of such warrants:
The acreage allowed was based on the rank held. A field officer was entitled to 5,000 acres, a captain 3,000, etc. The same proclamation became the basis for soldiers seeking bounty land after Lord Dunmore’s War. In May1779 the Virginia Legislature placed a time limit of 12 months on receiving such land. The claimant, or his representative’s, had to produce a certificate from Lord Dunmore while he was the Royal Governor or from the county court before which proof of military service had been made. Thereupon the Land Office issued the appropriate warrant. Between 1779 and 1783 the Commonwealth of Virginia issued more than 1,400 bounty grants. Most of the land was in the western section of Virginia, i.e. present day Kentucky.”
At this point in our research the author must admit that, while there is evidence that several members of the Vanmeter family performed various military-related services from the French-Indian War through the Revolutionary War, no Vanmeter in known to have attained a field officer rank. In fact, the only evidence of potentially qualifying military service found in association with the Vanmeter family was through Elizabeth Sprigg, 3rd wife of Henry Vanmeter. Elizabeth Sprigg’s father attained the rank of Colonel in the state militia of Maryland, but died in 1752 and is not known to have served in any capacity that would have made him eligible for a bounty grant. However, there was one record found, which is believed to have pertained to Elizabeth Sprigg’s brother, Capt. Edward Sprigg abstracted as follows:
“Edwd. Sprigg, who is and has been a resident of this state [Virginia] 8 years, proved that his father, Edward Sprigg, served as Capt. in the requirement (Regt. ?) commanded by Geo. Washington, Esqr., and lost his life in the service; and that he is heir-at-law, etc. Prince William Co., July 3, 1780.”
The applicant in the above cited application for bounty grant service is believed to have been filed by Elizabeth Sprigg’s nephew, the son of her late-brother, Edward Sprigg Jr. This nephew is believed to have died shortly after filing this application. Is it possible that this application was approved by the Commonwealth of Virginia, and that entitlement to the land grant thus authorized somehow devolved to Elizabeth Sprigg Pile Vanmeter, Edward’s surviving heir at law? The author cannot stipulate with certainty that this filing was the basis for the Treasury Warrant later found in possession of Jacob Linder, but thinks it possible. Edward Sprigg III, the applicant for his father’s bounty grant, had been living in Fairfax County VA for at least eight years before his death. Very little is known of the life of Edward Sprigg III. It does seem possible that he may have died testate, and that he may have bequeathed his father’s bounty grant to his aunt, Elizabeth Sprigg Pile Vanmeter, possibly his only surviving heir at law.
The author may be leaning toward this scenario regarding the origins of Jacob Linder’s Treasury Warrant, because it could provide an element of “proof” for Hypothesis No. 4. Be that as it may, it does seem to provide a solution to an otherwise seemingly unsolvable riddle. The reader may ultimately need to be the final arbiter. The author is prepared to proceed with this investigation based on the assumption that the wife of Jacob Linder was Elizabeth Pile, eldest daughter of Elizabeth Sprigg and Richard Pile. It is further the belief of the author that the gift deeds from Jacob and Elizabeth Linder to Nathan Vanmeter and Jacob Miller may have been an attempt to distribute the estate of Elizabth Sprigg Pile Vanmeter.
This scenario of the spouses of Nathan Vanmeter, Jacob Linder and Jacob Miller having been sisters, and the daughters of Elizabeth Sprigg Pile Vanmeter, is pure speculation on the author’s part, but does offer a plausible explanation for the gift deeds from Jacob and Elizabeth Linder. After all, it is reasonable to assume that any unmarried children of Elizabeth Sprigg Pile would have become members of Henry Vanmeter’s household, upon Henry’s marriage to the widow of Richard Pile in 1777. By the author’s calculation, many of Elizabeth Pile’s children could still have been teenagers, when their mother remarried. It seems possible that it was through that close family association that Nathan Vanmeter and Mary Ann Pile would have established the personal bond that would lead them into matrimony.
It is now time to transport our search for the ancestry of Jacob Miller to Frederick County Virginia, the presumed principal place of origin of the Vanmeters and Linders prior to their settling in Jefferson County Kentucky. The beginning of our search in Frederick County seems best served by an introduction to the history of that region. Prior to 1720 the region west of the Blue Ridge Mountain range was recognized by the British monarchy as Indian territory, and off-limits to settlement by Europeans. However, adventurous white men had made incursions into that region for exploration and trading. Trading for animal skins harvested by the Indians had become a burgeoning business among the colonies all along the eastern seaboard of North America. This business had already been pushed extensively by the French, British and Dutch up the St. Laurence and Hudson Rivers into the Great Lakes region, and by the Spanish upstream along the Mississippi River basin. Fur trading was found to be a mutually beneficial commercial enterprise between the Native Americans and the European interlopers.
One of the Vanmeter ancestors was an important player in this unfolding drama. Samuel Smythe seems a bit confused about the identity of this early Vanmeter trader, but historians are in general agreement that his name was John Vanmeter. The following excerpt from Smythe’s history of the Shepherd-Duke-Vanmeter families provides one rendition of this Vanmeter tradition:
“Tradition relates that a man by the name of John Van Meter, from New York, some years previous to the first settlement of the valley [of Virginia], discovered the fine country on the Wappatomaka [South Branch of the Potomac]. This man was a kind of Indian trader, being well acquainted with the Delawares, and once accompanied a war party who marched to the South for the purpose of invading the Catawbas. The Catawbas however anticipated them—met them very near the spot where Pendleton Court-House now stands, encountered, and defeated them with great slaughter. Van Meter was engaged on the side of the Delawares in this battle. When Van Meter returned to New York, he advised his sons, that if ever they migrated to Virginia, by all means to secure a part of the South Branch bottom, and described the land immediately above ‘The Trough’ as the finest body of land which he had ever discovered in all his travels.”
In an article that appeared in the Virginia Historical Magazine [Vol. III, p. 191, footnote] an account of John Vanmeter’s excursion with the Delaware into the Valley of Virginia reads as follows:
“Mr. John Van Meter of New York gives an account of his accompanying the New York Delaware Indians in 1732 ( ?) on their raid against the Catawbas. They passed up the South Branch of the Potomac and he afterward settled his boys there.”
Yet, another writer relates the following account of a battle between the Delaware and Catawba tribes as follows:
“At the mouth of the Antietam, a small creek on the Maryland side of the river, a most bloody affair took place between parties of the Catawba and Delaware tribes. This was probably about the year 1736. The Delawares had penetrated pretty far south, committed some acts of outrage on the Catawbas, and on their retreat were overtaken at the mouth of this creek, when a desperate conflict ensued. Every man of the Delaware party were put to death… [no mention of John Vanmeter]”
The battle between the Delaware and the Catawba described in each of the foregoing historical accounts appear to have been one and the same. However, the precise date and location is at variance. The story related by Kercheval, etal., is more detailed as to location and events, but failed to mention John Vanmeter’s participation. However, there are other facts of record which would tend to support a John Vanmeter having been present in Maryland at around the same time as this reported Indian battle. That John Vanmeter is believed to have been born on 17Apr1683 at Marbletown, Ulster County, New York, son of Joost Jansen Van Meteren and Sarah Dubois. John Vanmeter is also reported to have married (1) Sarah Bodine and (2) Margaret Mollenaar. John Vanmeter is believed to have fathered ten children, listed in order of birth: (with 1st wife) Sarah Jansen Van Meteren; Johannes J. Van Meter; Maria Van Meter; (with 2nd wife) Rebecca Janson Hedges; Isaac van Metre; Elizabeth Shepard; Henry van Meter [husband of Elizabeth Sprigg Pile]; Rachel Lessige; Abraham Van Meter, Sr.; Jacob Jansen Van Meter and Magdalena Pusey. By 1730 John Vanmeter had relocated from New Jersey to Prince Georges County MD as evidence by the following deed abstract:
’25th March, 1730, John Van Metre, of Prince George’s County, Maryland, yeoman, conveys to Cornelius Newkirk [Newkirks also migrated to Frederick County Virginia], of Salem, N. J., 200 acres of land. The recitation in the deed shows that the land conveyed was part of the original purchase of 3,000 acres from Colonel Daniel Coxe, 19th June, 1714; that subsequently 400 acres were set apart by Jacob du Bois, Sarah du Bois and Isaac Van Metre to John Van Metre as his dividend…’
Smythe describes the possible circumstances and means by which John Vanmeter had resettled his family to the Monocacy Valley of northwestern Prince Georges County MD:
“The date of John Van Metre’s settlement in Maryland can only be approximated. He was perhaps long familiar with this part of the country, and may have traversed it with his father while following the trails with the Delaware Indians southward from the headwaters of the Delaware, which rose in the mountainous country adjacent to the Dutch settlements in Ulster County, N. Y. In 1730 Prince George’s County, Maryland, extended from the Patuxent River to the western limits of Lord Baltimore’s palatinate. This county was indebted for much of its earlier population to the emigrants from Pennsylvania and eastward. The border troubles between the two Provinces of Maryland and Pennsylvania had much to do with its settlement, and the disputes between these proprietary governments led many settlers of the adjacent counties of Pennsylvania to remove to the valley of Frederick, to the Monocacy and its neighboring streams. The Dutch element, perhaps, were the first to establish themselves in these localities; coming down from New York by way of Pennsylvania, they were found in western Maryland as early as 1725… It is probably due to him [John Van Metre] that his friends and relatives began to colonize along that stream, for here were found the Eltings, Vernoys, Croms, Van Metre and other families from the Hudson River communities. “
The earliest Maryland record found of John Vanmeter was in the following grant deed abstract:
- 8Nov1726 – John Vanmeter received a grant of 300 acres in Prince Georges County named “Metre” located near the mouth of a stream called Metre’s Run, falling into the Monocacy.
Clearly, this John Vanmeter would have been in Maryland at a sufficiently early date to have been the John Vanmeter described in the accounts presented hereinabove related to the Delaware and Catawba battle. Yet, Smythe opines that the John Vanmeter, Indian trader from New York, was actually Jans Joost Vanmeter, the father of the foregoing described John Vanmeter. He renders this opinion in spite of the fact that there is a record for the settlement of the estate of Jans Joost Vanmeter dated sometime in 1706. Perhaps there was more information in Smythe’s possession than he has seen fit to share with us. On the face of the facts known to the author, it seems fairly apparent that the John Vanmeter, who had settled along the Monocacy and Antietam sometime prior to 1726, about 10 years before the reported battle between the Delaware and Catawba, was the most likely candidate for the Vanmeter reportedly connected to that battle. The only potential contradiction being the reference to having been from New York. Yet, in fact John Vanmeter, who married Margaret Mollenaar was born in New York, and might have referred to himself as having been from New York. The solution to this mystery is unimportant to this investigation’s purpose, and nothing more will be said on the matter.
We will now turn our attention to the Vanmeter-Hite Grants. On 17Jun1730 several petitions were presented to the Virginia General Assembly at Williamsburg for leave to take up land on the Shenandoah River on the northwest side of the Great Mountains [Blue Ridge]. Robert Carter, Esq., Agent for the Proprietors of the Northern Neck moved that it might be entered that he on behalf of the said Proprietors claimed the territory in question, and objected to the Board’s consideration of approving said petitions. The Board then proceeded to hear a petition from John Vanmeter, outlined as follows:
“On reading at this Board the Petition of John Van Metre setting forth that he is desirous to take up a Tract of land in this Colony on the West side of the Great Mountains for the settlement of himself & Eleven children & also that divers of his Relations & friends living in the Government of New York are also desirous to move with their families & Effects to Settle in the same place if a Sufficient Quantity of Land may be assigned them for that purpose & praying that ten thousand acres of land lying in the forks of Sherando River including the places called by the names of Cedar Litch & Stony Lick and running up between the branches of the s**. River to complete that Quantity & twenty thousand acres not already taken up by Robert Carter & Mann Page, Esq”^, or any other,—lying in the fork between the sd. River Sherando and the River Cohongaroola [Potomac] & extending thence to Opeckon & up the South Branch thereof may be assigned for the Habitation of himself his family & friends. The Governor with the advise of the Council is pleased to give leave to the sd. John Vanmeter to take up the sd. first mentioned tract of ten thousand acres for the Set’lem’t of himself and his family. And that as soon as the Petitioner shall bring on the last mentioned tract twenty families to inhabit on that this Board is satisfied so many are to remove thither Leave be & it is hereby granted him for surveying the last mentioned Tract of twenty thousand acres within the limits above described in so many Several Dividens as the pet””. & his sd. partners shall think fit. And it is further ordered that no person be permitted to enter for or take up any part of the afsd. Lands in the meantime provided the sd. Vanmeter & his family & the twenty other families of his Relations and friends do settle thereon within the space of two years according to his proposal. 
Following approval of the petition from John Vanmeter, the Board proceeded with the hearing of another petition from Isaac Vanmeter as follows:
“Isaac Vanmeter of the Province of West Jersey having by his petition to this Board set forth that he & Divers other Germans Families are desirous to settle themselves on the West side of the Great Mountains in this Colony he the Petitioner has been to view the lands in those parts & has discovered a place where further such Settlement may Conveniently be made & not yet taken up or possesed by any of the english Inhabitants & praying that ten thousand acres of Land lying between the Land surveyed for Robert Carter, Esqr. the fork of Sherundo River & the River Opeckon in as many several Tracts or Dividends as shall be necessary ffor the Acomodation and settlement of ten ffamilies (including his own), which he proposes to bring to the sd. Land. The Governor with the advise of the Council is pleas’d to order as it is hereby Ordered that the sd. Isaac Vanmeter for himself and his Partners have leave to take up the sd. Quantity of ten thousand acres of Land within the limits above described & that if he bring the above Number of Families to dwell there within two yeares Patents be granted him & them for the same in such several Tracts & Dividends as they shall think ffit & in the Mean time that the same shall be reserv’d free from the entry of any other p’son.”
Thus began a protracted legal battle between John and Isaac Vanmeter, and later, their assignee, Jost Hite, and the house of Lord Fairfax over the rightful ownership of these tracts established within the Valley of Virginia. Perhaps fearing a looming battle with Lord Fairfax, the Vanmeter brothers conveyed their interest in 40,000 acres between the Opequon and the Potomac to Jost Hite and his partner, Robert McCoy on 5Aug1731. Following this transfer, on 25Oct1731 Hite and McCoy were granted 100,000 acres of land on the west side of the Blue Ridge under the same terms and conditions as were exacted from the Vanmeters. Hite and McCoy moved almost immediately with the subdivision and disposal of this property. On the formation of Orange County VA in 1734, the Hite-McCoy-Vanmeter tracts were then within that newly formed county. One of the first patents issued was for 1,020 acres, being part of the original Vanmeter grant, to Jost Hite on 5Aug1734. On 3Oct1734 thirty-four more patents were filed, aggregating to 19,033 acres:
“Among the various grantees are the names of John Van Metre, 885 acres; Thomas Shepherd, 220 acres ; Richard Morgan, 500 acres ; Richard Paulson, 834 acres, and Benjamin Burden [Borden], 1,142 acres. Some of these pioneers were from the Provinces of East and West Jersey, and were in all probability, more or less intimately associated with the Van Metres and Hite in earlier days and localities. Between 1734 and 1744—the year following the establishment of Frederick Co., out of Orange Co.—82 other grants were made to as many different persons ; these grants probably absorbed the whole of the Van Metre-Hite-McKoy original interests and the passing of title by these grantors to the many grantees occasioned long years of contention and litigation between Hite and McKoy of the one part and Thomas, Lord Fairfax, of the other part, upon the latter’s claim that he had prior ownership of the Northern Neck; the dispute lasted until 1786 and was finally settled by decree of Court in Hite & McKoy’s favor, and after the two principals had laid long in their graves.”
Cavaliers and Pioneers Volume IV, edited by Dennis Hudgins, pages 54 thru 59 contain a listing of 49 separate grants made to various parties, including two grants to John Vanmeter, and twelve grants to Jost Hite. The original Vanmeter tract was to extend from the Shenandoah River on the south to Opequon Creek on the north, and the Potomac River on the east. All of these grants were simply described as being in Orange County, on the west side of the Sherando [sic] River. Difficulty with these grants began almost immediately on several fronts. First, they were laid out in a fashion such that only the best lands were taken, leaving a scattering of intermediate, unpatented land of low value. This pattern alarmed the Virginia Land Office and caused some second-guessing as to the prudence of having granted such a large block of land without having placed more restrictions on its division and disposal. Moreover, Lord Fairfax’s interests were not to stand by quietly while territory which they assumed to have been part of their Northern Neck mega-grant, was carved up and sold by another party.
John Vanmeter settled his large family (wife and eleven children) on his grant near Opequon and pursued a life of farming. The Vanmeter homestead was surrounded by kinsmen and former neighbors from New Amsterdam. His children intermarried with families from the neighboring community, who in turn acquired homesteads of their own. Even his brother, Isaac eventually relocated his family from New Jersey to the Shenandoah Valley. Fast forward about ten years, we have the Last Will and Testament of John Vanmeter transcribed in its entirety in Appendix A, and summarized as follows:
- Margaret Vanmeter (wife) – one-third part of moveable estate, also one room in dwelling house, one-third part of orchard, one riding horse, two milk cows, linen and welling yarn to weave, bed and bedding;
- Abraham (son) – 100 acres bought of Francis Prichard on Opequon, half of 475 acres bought of Jost Hite on Opequon and half 400 acres (patent from Jost Hite);
- Isaac Vanmeter (son) – 250 acres, provided that Isaac sell land at Monocacy and share proceeds with brother, Jacob;
- Henry Vanmeter (son) – 400 acre tract on Opequon (mentions Henry’s wife, Eve);
- Jacob Vanmeter (son) – 233 acre from part of plantation whereon John Vanmeter lived;
- Sarah Vanmeter (daughter and wife of James Davis) – 220 acre tract;
- Mary Vanmeter (daughter and wife of Robert Jones) –
- Rebecca Vanmeter (daughter and wife of Solomon Hedges) – 200 acre tract;
- Elizabeth Vanmeter (daughter and wife of Thomas Shepherd) – 106 acres on Antietam bottom, at Potomac;
- Magdalena Vanmeter (daughter, unmarried) – 20 schillings and 250 acre tract;
- Rebecca Vanmeter (deceased daughter and wife of John Leforge) – 200 acre tract; (half of 400 acre tract)
- Johannes Vanmeter (eldest son, deceased) – to grandson: Johannes Vanmeter Jr. 238 acres, upper part of 475 acre tract shared with Abraham Vanmeter, purchased of Jost Hite, provided that Johannes delivers equal share of land at Monocacy to his sister, Joanna Vanmeter.
- Thomas Shepherd and Jacob Vanmeter, co-Executors.
From the foregoing summary of legacies devised from the estate of John Vanmeter it is clear that he had amassed a substantial amount of property, all situated along the banks of the Opequon, except for a property on the Monocacy in Maryland. In the description of several of the tracts of land devised by John Vanmeter, it would appear that some abutted one another. As might be expected, several of the tracts were described as having been granted or purchased from Jost Hite. Particular attention should be given to the 400 acres devised to John’s son, Henry Vanmeter, as Henry will become a central focus of our investigation into the possible ancestry of Jacob Miller. The tract devised to Henry Vanmeter was described as beginning at a Spanish Oak on the bank of the Opequon, thence on a line running east into the woods. Based on this description, and the fact that the Opequon flows generally from southwest to northeast, this tract would have been situated on the southeasterly side of the Opequon.
Following are deed records from Frederick County between 1743 and 1771 involving members of the Vanmter family, presented in chronological order and accompanied by the author’s interpretations:
- Book 1, p. 143 – 17Sep1744: I John Vanmeter of Frederick County, yeoman, send greetings… know that I, John Vanmeter, for the love and affection that I bear unto Isaac Vanmeter, eldest son of the said John Vanmeter, Henry Vanmeter, 2nd son, Absalom Vanmeter [Abraham?], 3rd son, Jacob Vanmeter, 4th and youngest son of the said John Vanmeter, and Maudlena, wife to Robert Ramsey [Pewsey], my youngest daughter, Solomon Hedges Esq., Thomas Shepherd, James Davis and Robert Jones, sons-in-law… I the said John Vanmeter being in perfect memory have given, granted, confirmed [to the above named] my outlying stallions, geldings, mares and colts of whatever kind now running in the woods… equally divided between them… to the said daughter shall be appropriated to her use under the care and conduct my Executors mentioned in my Will and Testament… four young likely mares of age of four or thereabout… to be appropriated to the use of my grandsons, Johannes Vanmeter, son to Johannes Vanmeter, deceased, and John Savage, natural son of my daughter, Rachael, deceased, to be divided equally between them… I give unto myself for my use one Crown Stallion by the name of Buck, one bay gelding by the name of jobber, one young bay gelding of four years old with star in his forehead, one young black horse of four years old, and one stallion [with] one ear cropped at home… Witnessed by Peter Hart, Charles Polk and Nicholas Johnson, recorded 11Nov1744.. This gift deed was written nine months before John Vanmeter’s LWT. Clearly, he anticipated his demise and was preparing, in advance, division of most of his equine stock. It is interesting that he did not include a specific devise to his wife, but did provide to her an assignment of livestock in his Will. At time of writing this gift deed, it would appear that two of John Vanmeter’s children had predeceased their father: Johannes and Rachael.
- Book 2, p. 26 – 8Jun1749: Know all men by these presents that I, William Chapman of Frederick County… do bargain and sell unto Solomon Hedges of the same County… all my beast and goods and chattels hereinafter mentioned to wit: one bay horse, one bay mare and one colt, and one black horse… one brown cow, one feather bed and furniture, four pewter dishes… Witnessed: Henry Vanmeter, William Chapman and John Sturman. Recorded 9Jun1749. This was the first record found for Henry Vanmeter, husband of Elizabeth Sprigg Pile, after the filing of his father’s Will.
- Book 2, p. 190 – 9Oct1750: Know all men by these presents that I, James Davis of Frederick County, for and in consideration of £33… in hand paid by Abraham and Jacob Vanmeter, farmers… bargain and sell unto said Abraham and Jacob Vanmeter one dark mare, two-year old horse, one brown stallion, one bay mare, one yearling mare with young colt, ect… Witnessed: Thomas Swearingen, Thomas Shepherd and Thomas Thornbary. Recorded 14Nov1750. It would appear that James Davis, husband of Sarah Vanmeter, was selling horses to Sarah’s brothers: Abraham and Jacob. This livestock may have been part of the gift deed from John Vanmeter to his daughter. Thomas Shepherd, witness, was the husband of another Vanmeter sister, Elizabeth Vanmeter. The identity of Thomas van Swearingen is unknown to the author, except to state that he was of Dutch descent, descended from Gerrit VanSwearingen, probably born near Shepherdstown on the Potomac River.
- Book 3, p. 3 – 9Nov1752: [Release] Between John Jones, son and heir of Robert Jones and Mary [Vanmeter], his wife, devisee of John Vanmeter, deceased, of Halifax County VA for £70 consideration, sold 350 acres situated on Cohango River to Edward Lucas. The tract being conveyed in this deed appears to have been the same tract devised to Mary Vanmeter and her husband, Robert Jones, by the Will of John Vanmeter.
- Book 3, p. 114 – 2Oct1752: [Release] between Jacob Vanmeter and Abraham Vanmeter, Executors of John Vanmeter, deceased, of County of Frederick sell to Simon Linder, heir at law to Simon Linder Sr., deceased… consideration of £100… 300 acres of land… No witnesses. Recorded 2Oct1753. This was the first record found in Frederick County in which a member of the Linder family interacted with a Vanmeter. Simon Linder Jr., the grantee, was the uncle of Jacob and Daniel Linder, and brother of Lawrence Linder, their father. The tract of land purchased by Simon Linder undoubtedly was property from the estate of John Vanmeter, but does not appear to match any of the tracts devised in his Will.
- Book 3, p. 332 – 9Jul1754: [Lease] Between James Davis of County of Frederick sold to Jacob Vanmeter of said County… consideration of £60… a certain tract or dividend of land containing 220 acres more or less being part of that tract of land of John Vanmeter’s deed which said land being granted to said Davis by Will… Witnessed: Archibald McNeal, and Richard Mercer. Recorded 7Aug1754. James Davis, son-in-law of John Vanmeter, sold to Jacob Vanmeter [aka “Valley Jake”], husband of Lettice Strode, 220 acre tract devised by Will of John Vanmeter. For what its worth, Jacob Vanmeter [aka Valley Jake] married an aunt of the wife of the author’s 4th great uncle, Henry Bedinger, who married Rachael Strode on 22Dec1784. Major Henry Bedinger, who married Rachel, daughter of Captain James Strode, was a town trustee, treasurer, and postmaster, and a member of the Virginia Assembly before moving to “Protumna,” near Martinsburg.
- Book 3, p. 442 – 31Mar1755 – [Lease] Between Jacob Vanmeter of County of Frederick to Henry Vanmeter and Abraham Vanmeter of said County… consideration of £50… a certain tract or dividend of land containing 170 acres more or less which said land being granted to said Jacob Vanmeter by patent, being part of land that Henry Vanmeter now lives upon, the upper end of said land… Lettis Vanmeter gave dower right. Witnessed: John Keywood and Jonathan Taylor. Recorded 1Apr1755. Jacob and Lettice Vanmeter sold 170 tract acquired by patent to Jacob’s older brother, Henry Vanmeter. Note that it was the tract upon which Henry Vanmeter was living at that time.
- Book 4, pp. 249-50 – 5Apr1757: [Lease and Release] Between Henry Vanmeter of County of Frederick to Abraham Vanmeter for £22, sold 64 acres, said land being granted to said Henry and Abraham Vanmeter by indenture from Jacob Vanmeter, situated upon east side of Opequon Creek. Witnessed: none. Recorded 5Apr1757. Henry Vanmeter conveyed to his brother, Abraham Vanmeter, his interest in a 64 acre tract that had been granted jointly to both Abraham and Henry.
- Book 4, pp. 253-4 – 5Apr1757: [Lease and Release] Between Henry Vanmeter of County of Frederick and Abraham Vanmeter of same, for £60, sold 150 acre of land granted to above Henry and Abraham Vanmeter by indenture from Samuel Bryan on 12Nov1747, situated on west side of Opequon Creek. Witnessed: Samuel Earle and James Wood Jr. Recorded 5Apr1757. Henry Vanmeter conveyed his interest in a tract of land containing 150 acres, to his brother, Abraham Vanmeter, said tract purchased jointly by Henry and Abraham Vanmeter from Samuel Bryan.
- Book 4, pp257-9 – 5Apr1757: [Lease and Release] Between Abraham Vanmeter of County of Frederick and Henry Vanmeter of same, for £21, sold 64 acres, granted to said Abraham and Henry Vanmeter by Jacob Vanmeter by indenture, situated on east side of Opequon Creek. Witnessed: Samuel Earle and James Wood Jr. Recorded 5Apr1757. Abraham Vanmeter conveyed his interest in a 64 acre tract to his brother, Henry Vanmeter, which had been purchased jointly by Abraham and Henry Vanmeter from their brother, Jacob Vanmeter.
- Bool 4, pp. 261-3 – 5Apr1757: [Lease and Release] Between Abraham Vanmeter of County of Frederick to Henry Vanmeter of same, for £60, 150 acres, which said tract being granted to said Arbraham and Henry Vanmeter by indenture from Samuel Bryan on 12Nov1747, situated on west side of Opequon Creek. Witnessed: Samuel Earle. Recorded 5Apr1757. When considered in combination with the deed presented in Item No. 9, above, it is suggested that Abraham and Henry Vanmeter had jointly purchased a tract containing 300 acres from Samuel Bryan, and that by these deeds, they were separating their interests by conveying half of the property (150 acres) to each other. There may be another explanation, but none occurs to the author. No record was found by the author of the original indenture when Abraham and Henry purchased the tract from Samuel Bryan. It is noteworthy to the author that this tract appears to have been on the west side of the Opequon, which might place it in closer proximity to Martinsburg.
- Book 5, pp. 235-7 – 5Mar1759: [Lease and Release] Between Simon Linder, son and heir of Simon Linder, deceased of County of Frederick to Lawrence Linder of same, for £50, 150 acres of land, just below Henry Vanmeter, being part of a tract of land purchased by Simon Linder, deceased of Jacob and Abraham Vanmeter, Executors of John Vanmeter, deceased. Witnessed: Thomas Wood and Richard Arnold. Recorded 1May1759. This conveyance from Simon Linder Jr. to his presumed brother, Lawrence Linder, appears to involve the same 150 acre tract described in Item No. 5, above, wherein Simon Linder Jr. purchased a tract from the estate of John Vanmeter. It is the author’s belief that this tract was situated on the west side of Opequon Creek in the vicinity of Martinsburg. It is noteworthy that this tract abutted the land of Henry Vanmeter, probably the same tract acquired by Henry from his brother, Abraham Vanmeter in Item No. 11, above. Lawrence Linder was the father of Jacob and Daniel Linder. Previously in this chapter we have opined that Daniel Linder had married a daughter [Rebecca Vanmeter] of Henry Vanmeter, and that Jacob Linder had married a step-daughter [Elizabeth Pile] of Henry Vanmeter. Now, through this deed record, we have evidence that Henry Vanmeter and Lawrence Linder (father of Daniel and Jacob) probably lived on abutting properties along the west side of Opequon Creek in the near vicinity of Martinsburg.
- Book 11, p. 215 – 24Sep1764: Articles of Agreement between James Renfro Sr. of Halifax County and Joseph Renfro Sr. of Bedford County and Henry Vanmeter Sr. and James Davis Sr. of Frederick County… in a certain tract of land lying and being on the waters of Potomack in the County of Hampshire… Item: that James Renfro is to have two parts out of five of the tract taken up by the parties… parties shall not dispose of any part of the tract without consent of each other. Witnessed: Jonathan Boone, John Vanmeter, Henry Feinsham, Henry Vanmeter Jr.. Signed: James Renfro, Joseph Renfro, Henry Vanmeter and James Davis. Recorded 4Nov1766. In this record we have evidence that Henry Vanmeter, in association with his brother-in-law, James Davis, was beginning to acquire land outside the Opequon settlement. This tract is described as having been situated on the waters of the Potomac within Hampshire County. It should be noted that Hampshire County was created in 1754 from the northwestern part of Frederick County, and that its northeastern boundary was formed by the Potomac River. So this tract of land could have been 12 to 30 miles distance overland from Martinsburg.
NOTE: Berkeley County was created from the northeastern (roughly one-third) of Frederick County in 1772. On its formation, Berkeley County contained most of the area that had been the Vanmeter-Hite Grant, and consequently contained most of the territory held by descendants of John Vanmeter during this time period. Following is a continuation of deed records for Vanmeters in Berkeley County.
- Book 1, Page 222 – 23 April 1772; William McNer and Mary (wife) of Frederick County, 127 acres for 40 pounds to John Vanmeter Sr. on the drains of Opequon Run. Adjacent to lands of Jacob Vanmeter, William Williams, Peter Bellor and Jacob Virtres. The identity of this John Vanmeter Sr. is not known with certainty to the author. This tract appears to have been in close proximity to land owned by Jacob Vanmeter, youngest son of John Vanmeter and Margaret Mollenaar. This deed identified another neighbor as Jacob Virtres, probably same person listed elsewhere as Jacob Vestres, and probably the father of John Vertrees, 3rd husband of Elizabeth Vanmeter, daughter of Jacob Vanmeter and Lettice Strode.
- Book 1, Page 362 – 20 August 1772; Jacob Vanmeter and Catharine (wife) of Bedford County Pennsylvania, 193 acres for 160 pounds to William Hancher of Berkeley County, on Mill Creek a branch of Opequon Run. Adjacent to lands of James Crabtree, Isaac Eaton, Robert Cunningham. This Jacob Vanmeter may have been a son of Isaac Vanmeter, the brother of John Vanmeter, and one of the original grantees in the Valley of Virginia. After selling their grants (40,000 acres) to Joist Hite, Isaac Vanmeter returned to New Jersey (around 1736). A few years later (around 1740) he is believed to have moved his entire family to the Valley of Virginia. From this deed record, it would appear that Jacob Vanmeter (son of Isaac) had moved his family to the north side of the Potomac into Bedford County PA. This tract was situated about 12 miles upstream from Martinsburg, near the small community of Middleway.
- Book 2, Page 239 – 10 September 1773; John Vanmeter Sr., 2 acres for 4 pounds to Jacob Vandevson. Adjacent to lands of William Morgan. Said Jacob Vandevson formerly Jacob Vanmeter. This John Vanmeter Sr. is believed to have been the same person named in Item No. 14, above. This tract was likely situated in the vicinity of Martinsburg.
- Book 2, Page 266 – 18 October 1773; Jacob Vanmetre and Lettice (wife) and son and heir Abraham Vanmetre and Elizabeth (wife) of the Muddy Creek settlement on the Ohio River in Pennsylvania, 232 acres for 500 pounds to Van Swearingen of Berkeley County. Land on Vanmetres Marsh of the Potomac part of a 1786 acre grant to John Vanmetre in 1734 and is part of a 40,000 acre purchase by Jacob Hite from John and Isaac Vanmetre in 1730. Land formerly adjacent to Isaac Vanmetre now John Carson. Clearly, this Jacob Vanmeter was the youngest son of John Vanmeter and Margaret Mollenaar, by virtue of the reference to his wife, Lettice [Strode]. This deed identified Abraham Vanmeter as Jacob Vanmeter’s heir at law, suggesting that he was the eldest son. Abraham is believed to have married Elizabeth Kline [aka Cline]. This record coincides with other sources which state that Jacob Vanmeter and several other members of his family had begun to explore moving northwesterly into the disputed territory of southwestern Pennsylvania. Apparently, Jacob and Lettice and his son were already located on Muddy Creek, and were beginning to dispose of their land in Berkeley County. This tract was apparently located near the Potomac River, probably in the vicinity of Shepherdstown, given that the purchaser was Van VanSwearingen. The so-called Muddy Creek settlement was situated on the west side of the Monongahela River, near present day Carmichaels PA.
- Book 2, Page 270 – 18 October 1773; Jacob Vanmetre and Lettice (wife) of the Muddy Creek settlement on the Ohio River in Pennsylvania, 42 acres for 120 pounds to Van Swearington, on Vanmetre Branch of the Potomac as surveyed by Richard Riggs and adjacent to land described in Deed Book 2, Page 266. Ditto.
- Book 2, Page 278 – 18 October 1773; Jacob Vanmetre and Lettice (wife) of the Muddy Creek settlement on the Ohio River in Pennsylvania, 180 acres for 50 pounds to Henry and Abraham Vanmetre of Berkeley County. Part of a larger tract granted to John Vanmetre in 1734 and willed to said Jacob in 1745. This appears to have been a sale of part of the land Jacob Vanmeter was devised from his father’s estate. It is important to note that Henry and Abraham Vanmeter [elder brothers of Jacob Vanmeter] were still described as living in Berkeley County.
- Grant Book Q, Page 74 – Henry Vanmeter of Berkeley Co. obtained 327 acres, 20 September 1766 [probably 1776] on Tuscororah Branch of Opeccon in said Co. Resurveyed by Richard Rigg, shows 360 acres 3 Rods (16 acre surplus & 17 acre, 3 Rod waste). Whole to Vanmeter. Adjacent Capt. James Wales, Elizabeth Morgan, Henry Vanmeter, George Tingle, Road from Martinsburg to James Forman’s, George Perkle. 18 December 1776 Northern Neck Virginia Land Grants – Virginia State Library; Richmond, Virginia. The author believes that the date of this conveyance should have been 20Sep1776, not 1766. The reason for this belief is that Berkeley County wasn’t created until 1772, and this deed was recorded on 18Dec1776. Note that this tract abutted land already in possession of Henry Vanmeter. Further note that it was described as abutting the road from Martinsburg and situated on Tuscarora Creek (more to follow).
- Book 4, Page 83 – 7 April 1777; Henry Vanmeter Sr. and Hannah (wife), 284 acres for 100 pounds to Isaac Vanmeter being part of two tracts of land. One conveyed to Henry and Abraham Vanmeter by Samuel Bryan in 1753 and Abraham conveyed his share to Henry. The other tract patented by said Henry in 1776. Land is on road from Opequon Creek to Vanmeters Mill and adjacent to John Vanmeter, son of Henry, and to Captain George Waler. This deed conveyed 284 acres from Henry and Hannah [Pyle?] Vanmeter to Isaac Vanmeter [son of Henry Vanmeter], being two tracts: one consisting of 150 acres conveyed from Samuel Bryan to Abraham and Henry Vanmeter (Item No. 11, above). There is one element of this deed that is very confusing. This deed was dated 7Apr1777, and was entered in Berkeley County. The confusion has to do with the fact that Hannah (Pile?) Vanmeter was a co-grantee, yet Samuel Smythe would have us believe that Henry is reported to have married Elizabeth [Sprigg] Pile on 8Apr1777 in Ohio County VA. Is it possible that Henry was disposing of this land, after the decease of Hannah, and in anticipation of his pending marriage the following day to Elizabeth?
- Book 4, Page 87 – 7 April 1777; Henry Vanmeter Sr. and Hannah (wife), 170 acres for 500 pounds to John Vanmeter, part of two tracts of land described in Deed Book 4, Page 83. Adjacent to Abraham Vanmeter, Isaac Vanmeter and Captain George Waler. Ditto. The identity of this John Vanmeter is unknown to the author. Samuel Smythe claims that Henry Vanmeter sold a tract of land to his son, John Vanmeter, described as follows:
“John Van Metre was granted land by his father, ante 1779, in Berkeley Co., Va., adjoining other lands owned by his brother Isaac and known as Flagg’s Mill; the latter was erected at the mouth of the Tuscarara as it empties into the Potomac [Opequon?], two miles from Martinsburg, W. Va.”
From the foregoing excerpt, it would appear that the John Vanmeter in this deed was the son of Henry Vanmeter.
- Book 4, Page 91 – 10 April 1777; Isaac Vanmeter, 284 acres for 100 pounds to Henry Vanmeter, part of two tracts of land conveyed by Samuel Bryan to Abraham Vanmeter in 1753. It appears that Isaac Vanmeter reconveyed to his father, Henry Vanmeter Sr., the same 284 acre tract, which three days earlier, Henry had conveyed to his son. It seems probable that these conveyances were effected as a means of expunging any interest in these tracts that inured to Henry’s late wife, Hannah Vanmeter. Thusly, following Henry’s marriage to Elizabeth Sprigg Pile on 8Apr1777, Elizabeth would be entitled to a dower interest in this tract acquired after their marriage. Such machinations may have been necessary, if Hannah died intestate. It also seems probable that this 286 acres was the homestead of Henry Vanmeter’s family.
- Book 5, Page 323 – 18 August 1779; Henry Vanmeter and Elizabeth (wife), 49 ½ acres for 69.10.06 pounds to Andrew Silling, being Lot #8.
- Book 5, Page 373 – 2 September 1779; Henry Vanmeter and Elizabeth (wife), three lots to John Millan for 453.11.03 pounds. Lot #1 of 87 ½ acres, Lot #2 of 24 acres, and Lot #3 of 87 ½ acres. Adjacent to Isaac Vanmeter and George Walls.
- Book 5, Page 375 – 2 September 1779; Henry Vanmeter and Elizabeth (wife), four Lots for 193.02.06 pounds to Henry Cockburn. Part of 212 acres granted to said Henry Vanmeter in 1764. Lots numbered 4,5,6,7 being 42 acres.
- [Northern Neck Grants] Book M, p. 258 – 2Mar1764: Henry Vanmeter of Frederick County, 212 acres on Tuscarora in said County, surveyed by Thomas Rutherford, adjacent Moridcai Morgan, Morgan Morgan, George William Fairfax Esq., Richard Morgan and John Ellis.
- Book 5, Page 385 – 20 September 1779; Jacob Linder and Grace (wife), 10 acres for 1000 pounds to Abraham Vanmeter Jr. This Jacob Linder is believed to have been a son of Simon Linder Jr. He is reputed to have married a woman named Grace [mnu], and to have died near Greensburg, Westmoreland County PA, where his estate was administered on 14Aug1789 [Will Book 1, p. 235].
- Book 5, Page 416 – 16 March 1780; Abraham Vanmeter, two tracts of 50 and 150 acres for 1000 pounds to William Jarrell (Garrell) on Opequon Creek and the 50 acres granted to Henry and Abraham Vanmeter. Abraham Vanmeter Jr. was likely the son of Abraham Vanmeter, brother of Henry Vanmeter.
- Book 5, Page 448 – 8 December 1779; Henry Vanmeter, 284 acres for 1000 pounds to Isaac Vanmeter. Isaac Vanmeter to Henry Vanmeter, part of two tracts, one by Samuel Bryan to Henry and Abraham Vanmeter in 1753 and to said Henry by Abraham. The other to Henry Vanmeter by Lord Fairfax. Land is on the road from Opequon Creek to Vanmeter Mill. Adjacent to John Vanmeter son of Henry.
- Book 5, Page 450 – 7 January 1780; Henry Vanmeter and Elizabeth (wife), to Isaac Taylor, Lot #3, 11 ½ acres for 40 pounds.
- Book 5, Page 457 – 16 May 1780; Isaac Vanmeter and Esther (wife), 284 acres for 1400 pounds to John Shively [Snavely?], part of a larger tract described in Deed Book 5, Page 448. This would appear to have been the same 284 acre tract sold by Henry Vanmeter to his son, Isaac Vanmeter, for ₤1000 on 8Dec1779 (Item No. 29, above). For what its worth, the buyer, John Shively, may have been a kinsman of the Snavely family discussed later in this section in connection with a person the author has dubbed “Jacob Miller of Spring Mill”.
- Book 5, Page 467 – 12 April 1780; Abraham Vanmeter, 150 acres for 10 shillings to Isaac Vanmeter son of Abraham. Land granted to said Abraham in 1754.
- Book 5, Page 468 – 12 April 1780; Abraham Vanmeter, 150 acres for 10 shillings to Jacob Vanmeter son of Abraham. Land granted to said Abraham in 1754. Adjacent to Samuel Roberts.
- Book 5, Page 469 – 12 April 1780; Abraham Vanmeter, 150 acres for 10 shillings to Abraham Vanmeter son of Abraham. Land granted to said Abraham in 1754. Adjacent to John Wright, William Burns, and John Strodes [probably father of Lettice Strode, wife of Jacob Vanmeter [Valley Jake]].
- Book 5, Page 470 – 16 May 1780; Abraham Vanmeter Sr., 100 acres for 1000 pounds to William Garrall. Two miles above Tuscaraca Branch on Opequon Creek and was granted in 1735 to Francis Pencher.
- Book 5, Page 627 – 17 April 1781; Simon Linder and Mary (wife), 200 acres for 27,000 pounds to Abraham Vanmeter Jr. On Opequon Creek and adjacent to Laurence Linder. Land granted to John Vanmeter and conveyed to said Linder by Abraham and Jacob Vanmeter as executors of the estate of said John. This is believed to have been a record of Simon Linder Jr., brother of Lawrence Linder, who arrived at Philadelphia with his parents in 1733. The 200 acre tract involved is believed to have been the tract which Simon Linder Jr. purchased from the estate of John Vanmeter. This tract abutted the land of Lawrence Linder.
Let it be said that there were several more Vanmeter deed records in Frederick and Berkeley County after 1763, which the author has not included in the foregoing list of deeds, reason being that they involved Vanmeters other than Henry Vanmeter or his immediate family, and were not deemed relevant to this investigation into the ancestry of Jacob Miller.
We will now direct our attention to the Linder family of Frederick/Berkeley County Virginia. The very first record we will present is a militia payroll record which shows that Henry Vanmeter and Lawrence Linder performed service together during the French and Indian War:
“Lawrence (1725 – ca 1793) is noted to have served in the French Indian Wars “The ‘valuable defensive service of Lawrence Linder was recognized by the Virginia General Assembly, meeting at Williamsburg on 24 Sept. 1758. They appropriated a large sum to pay the Home Guards, to be equal to the [colonial] Line soldiers. Listed as a private “Lawrence Lender [sic]” (Dean Linder in The Linders of the Revolution. Per Boogher in his Gleanings of Virginia History “To John Lamon, James Legat, John Dickson, Holoway Perry, Joseph Pierce, Henry Vanmeter, Lawrence Lender, Edward Mergee, Joseph Vanmeter, Jacob Mergee, Remembrance Williams, Joseph Polsen, William Field, Nicholas M’Intire, Edward Lucas, Robert Buchus, Benjamin Sweet, John Taylor and Arthur Turner 7s each = pounds 6-13-00″ Again we find the neighborly connection of the Linders and the Van Meters — now if only for a church or marriage record, a will… Lawrence last appeared on the tax rolls in Nelson Co., KY in 1791 and I suspect that is when and where he was buried.”
Aside from the close living proximity between the Henry Vanmeter and Lawrence Linder families which will be demonstrated from the myriad of land records, it would appear that Henry and Lawrence were also comrades in arms, having served together in the Militia.
We will now present all of the deed records found in Frederick County involving any and all members of the Linder family:
- Book 2, pp. 88-9 – 16-17Feb1749: Between Morgan Bryan of Anson County NC to Simon Linder of Frederick County VA, for £28, 100 acres on the west side of Opequon Creek. Witnessed: Andrew Campbell, William Green and Thomas Wood. Recorded 16Feb1749. This was the first record found for Simon Linder Sr. in Virginia. Note that this tract was situated on the west side of Opequon, probably in close proximity to the tract acquired from the estate of John Vanmeter in Item No. 2, below.
- Book 3, p. 114 – 2Oct1752: [Release] between Jacob Vanmeter and Abraham Vanmeter, Executors of John Vanmeter, deceased, of County of Frederick sell to Simon Linder, heir at law to Simon Linder Sr., deceased… consideration of £100… 300 acres of land… No witnesses. Recorded 2Oct1753. Repeated from Vanmeter deed list, above. From this record, it might be surmised that Simon Linder Sr. had died sometime before 2Oct1752.
- Book 3, pp. 344-5 – 3Sep1754: [Lease and Release] Between Nicholas Mercer of Frederick County to Robert Lemon of same… Witnessed: Thomas Wood, John Baker and Simon Linder. This probably was a record of Simon Linder Jr., as it would appear that his father was deceased at the time that he purchased the tract conveyed in Item No. 2, above..
- Book 5, pp. 235-7 – 5Mar1759: [Lease and Release] Between Simon Linder [Jr.] son and heir at law of Simon Linder [Sr.], deceased, and Mary, his wife, of Frederick County sold for £50 150 acres to Lawrence Linder, situated just below Henry Vanmeter, part of a tract purchased by Simon Linder from the estate of John Vanmeter. Repeat of Vanmeter deed Item No. 12, above. It would appear that Simon Linder Sr. had died, and that his eldest son and heir at law, Simon Linder Jr. was disposing of parts of his estate, including the sale of this moiety from the 300 acre tract purchased by Simon Linder out of the estate of John Vanmeter. This tract appears to have abutted land owned by Henry Vanmeter. The purchaser, Lawrence Linder, was a brother of Simon Linder Jr., and father of Jacob and Daniel Linder.
- Book 5, pp. 241-3 – 5Mar1759: [Lease and Release] Between Simon Linder [Jr.] son and heir at law of Simon Linder [Sr.], deceased, and Mary, his wife, of Frederick County sold for £40 100 acres to George Linder, situated on west side of Opequon Creek, part of a larger tract (400 acres [450?]) granted to Morgan Bryan by patent dated 12Nov—-, said Morgan conveyed 100 acres to Simon Linder… Witnessed: Thomas Wood, Lawrence Linder and Mary Wood. Recorded 1May1759. Another Linder brother, George Linder, purchased the 100 acre tract acquired by his father from Morgan Bryan, deed witnessed by Lawrence Linder, father of Jacob and Daniel Linder. This 100 acre moiety is believed to have been part of the tract granted to Morgan Bryan [Quaker] on 12Nov1735 (see Appendix B), abstracted as follows:
- Morgan Bryan – 450 acres, west side of Opequon, lowermost ford of Tuscarora. From this description, the tract acquired by Simon Linder Sr. would appear to have been on the lower part of Tuscarora Creek, near its confluence with the Opequon.
- Book 14, p. 20 – 4Nov1770: Know all men by these presents that I, Jerome Williams of Frederick County for diverse considerations and good causes – that whereas John Smith and Simon Linder of the same County did become my special bail… Witnessed: none. Recorded 9Nov1770. Undoubtedly a record of Simon Linder Jr., going security on a bail bond with John Smith.
- Book 14, pp. 256-9 – 6-7Mar1771: [Lease and Release] Between Michael Frits of Frederick County to John Linder of same, for £154 sells 150 acres situated on the drains of Opequon, corner of Moses Keywood, in line of Capt. Richard Pearis, granted to Jacob Vestres [Vertrees?] by deed from Lord Thomas Fairfax, and by said Vestres conveyed to said Michael Frits. Witnessed: Henry Bauen and Thomas Wood. Recorded 7Mar1771. Per the following deed record, John Linder was a son of George Linder, deceased brother of Lawrence and Simon Linder Jr. Jacob Vestres may have been a kinsperson of John Vertrees, husband of Elizabeth Vanmeter, daughter of Jacob Vanmeter and Lettice Strode.
- Book 14, pp. 263-5 – 6-7Mar1771: [Lease and Release] Between John Linder, son and heir at law of George Linder, deceased, of Frederick County to Michael Frits of same, for £225, 100 acres of land situated on west side of Opequon Creek, part of a larger tract (400 acres) granted by patent to Morgan Bryan 7Nov1735. This record established the identity of John Linder as a son of George Linder, and 1st cousin of Jacob and Daniel Linder. The tract being sold to Michael Frits appears to have been the same tract purchased by Simon Linder Sr. from Morgan Bryan on 16Feb1749, Item No. 1, above. This tract was sold from the estate of Simon Linder Sr. to his son, George Linder, which apparently devolved by law to George’s son (probably eldest son) John Linder.
Now for the Linder deeds from Berkeley County:
- Deed Book 2, p. 5 – 23Dec1772: Jerom Williams to John Smith and Simon Linder, various livestock as security, bonded for Williams. Witness: Samuel Oldham and James Graham. Probably Simon Linder Jr.
- Deed Book 1, p. 454 – 10Jan1773: [Lease and Release] Simon Linder [Jr.] and wife, Mary [Vanmeter] Linder 10 acres for £5 to Benjamin Hock, land granted to John Vanmeter, deceased, and by his executors, Jacob and Abraham Vanmeter conveyed to said Linder. Land adj. to John Newland. This probably was part of the 300 acre tract purchased by Simon Linder Jr. conveyed in Item No. 2, above. John Newland is believed to have been a brother-in-law of Simon Linder Jr. and Lawrence Linder, his having married their sister, Elizabeth Linder.
- Deed Book 1, p. 464 – 16Mar1773: [Lease and Release] Simon Linder and wife, Mary [Vanmeter] Linder 100 acres for £45 to John Newland on the east bank of Opequon, adj. said Linder. Witness: Jacob Morgan, Samuel Thompson. Simon Linder Jr. sold this tract to his brother-in-law, John Newland.
- Bk P p 270 [1775?] Michael Fritz of Berkeley Co., assignee of Jno Linder, 147 acres on Opeccon in said county. surveyor Richard Rigg. adjoining George Linder, heirs of EDWARD STRODE, EDWARD WILSON, JAMES BROWN, George Parkle, Vanmeter. Edward Strode is believed to have been the father of Rachael Strode, wife of Maj. Henry Bedinger. Edward Wilson (son of John Wilson) and James Brown were Quakers, who lived nearby and had interactions with a Henry Miller, presented later in this chapter.
- Deed Book 3, p. 558 – 20May1776: [Lease and Release] John Covenhaven and wife, Elizabeth Covenhaven, 107 acres for £100 to William Covenhaven, part of a greated tract as noted in the deed [page 555, above]. Witness: Robert Cockburn, Jacob Linder and Jacob Bellar [Beller]. This could have been a record of Jacob Linder, son of Lawrence Linder, whom the author believes to have married Elizabeth Pile. Although, there were two other Jacob Linders living in this area at this time, son of George Linder, and son of Simon Linder Jr..
- Deed Book 4, p. 237 – 12Aug1777: John Newland and wife, Elizabeth Newland 15 acres for £30 to Nicholas Coffenberry part of a grant to Simon Linder and wife, Mary [Vanmeter] Linder and they to the said Newland. Land on the Opequon Creek, adj. Leonard Rush and George Weekles [Perkles?]. Witness: Robert Cockburn, William Brown and George Weigel. (Germans) Ditto.
- Deed Book 4, p. 241 – 12Aug1777: [Lease and Release] John Newland and wife, Elizabeth Newland 15 acres for £30 to George Weigel, part of a grant to Simon Linder and wife, Mary [Vanmeter] Linder, and they to the said Newland. Land adj. to Leonard Rucker [Rush?], Nicholas Coffenberry, and Bedinger. Witness: Robert Cockburn, William Brown and Nicholas Coffenberrar [sic].
- Will Book 1, p. 117 – 6Nov1777: Estate Sale for James Graham: appraisal by John Vanmeter, Robert Cockburn and Daniel Davis: Buyers include: Daniel Linder, Lawrence Linder, Jacob Vanmeter (son of Abraham), etal… This Daniel Linder is believed to have been the son of Lawrence Linder, and brother of Jacob Linder, and husband of Rebecca Vanmeter, daughter of Henry Vanmeter.
- Deed Book 5, p. 31 – 13Jun1778: Simon Linder and wife, Mary [Vanmeter] Linder 200 acres for £100 to Lawrence Linder on Opequon Creek sold by Jacob and Abraham Vanmeter, executors of John Vanmeter to said Simon. Witness: Robert Cockburn, Daniel Kane and Edward Beeson. Ditto.
- Deed Book 5, p. 319 – 16Aug1779: Benjamin Hock and wife, Mary Hock 10 acres for £495 to Jacob Linder, granted to said Hock by Simon Linder and Mary Linder, adj. John Newland. This Jacob Linder probably was the son of Simon Linder Jr., and same person involved in the conveyance in Item No. 19, below.
- Deed Book 5, Page 385 – 20 September 1779; Jacob Linder and Grace (wife), 10 acres for 1000 pounds to Abraham Vanmeter Jr. Ditto.
- Deed Book 5, p. 362 – 21Sep1779: George Hollenback and wife, Hannah Hollenback to Ephriam Gaither Lot No. 170 of 75 square poles in Martinsburg for £2000. Witness: Robert Cockburn, John Shelding and Jacob Linder. The identity of this Jacob Linder is uncertain, as there were two persons of that name living in Berkeley County at this time.
- Deed Book 5, p. 385 – 20Sep1779: [Lease and Release] Jacob Linder and wife, Grace Linder 10 acres for £2000 to Abraham Vanmeter Jr., conveyed to Benjamin Hook and Margaret Hook by Simon Linder and wife, Mary Linder. Witness Robert Cockburn, Sarah Cockburn and Sarah Lydia Crawford. Ditto.
- Deed Book 5, p. 389 – 15Nov1779: [Lease and Release] Thomas Swearingen 100 acres for £130 to Jeremiah Prather, part of 342 acres granted to John Hough. Witness: Jonathan Seaman, James Hamilton and Jacob Linder. Ditto.
- Deed Book 5, p. 448 – 8Dec1779: Henry Vanmeter 284 acres for £1000 Pennsylvania currency to Isaac Vanmeter, Isaac Vanmeter to Henry Vanmeter, part of two tracts, one by Samuel Bryan to Henry and Abraham Vanmeter in 1753 and to said Henry by Abraham. The other to Henry by Lord Fairfax and the land is on the road from Opequon Creek to Vanmeter Mill, adj. John Vanmeter, son of Henry. Witness: Robert Cockburn, Nathaniel Linder and Emma Margaret James. Nathaniel Linder is believed to have been the eldest son of George Linder.
- Will Book 1, p. 188 – 20Dec1779: Will of Jacob Morgan: probated 21Mar1780. Names wife, Jane Morgan, daughters: Polly Morgan, sons: Richard Morgan and Jacob Morgan, neighbor: George Tabler. Executors: wife, Jane, son Richard, and Leonard Rush. Witness: Leonard Rush, Jacob Linder, William Morgan and Charles Scheibler. (Germans) Ditto.
- Deed Book 5, p. 409 – 19Jan1780: Simon Linder and wife, Mary [Vanmeter] Linder 93 acres for £80 to Michael Bedinger [author’s 4th great grandfather] on the east side of Opequon Creek, adj. to Leonard Rush. Witness: Robert C. Willis, Smith Slaughter, Philip Coons and Robert Cockburn. Michael Bedinger is believed to have been the author’s 4th great grandfather, Maj. George Michael Bedinger.
- Will Book 1, p. 192 – 7Mar1780: Estate appraisal of Jacob Morgan: by Abram Morelot [aka Morlatt], Jacob Linder and Leonard Rush. The identity of this Jacob Linder is uncertain for the reasons already presented. It is of interest to note that an Abraham Morlatt was one of the appraisers of the estate of Dr. Richard Pile. Also, that Abraham Morlatt Jr. is believed to have married Margaret Ann Linder, daughter of George Linder and Anna Newland. So, it would appear that George Linder married his 1st cousin, Anna Newland, daughter of John Newland and Elizabeth Linder.
- Will Book 1, p. 194 – 20Jun1780: Estate sale of Jacob Morgan: Buyers included: Michael Fritz, Dorley Wolgamont [Volgamot], Jacob Linder, Michael Bedinger, Isaac Vanmeter, etal…
- Deed Book 5, p. 450 – 7Jan1780: Henry Vanmeter and wife, Elizabeth [Sprigg-Pile] Vanmeter to Isaac Taylor a 11.5 acre Lot No. 3 for £40. Witness Samuel Gill, Isaac Vanmeter and Jacob Linder. Again, the identity of this Jacob Linder is uncertain, may have been the husband of Grace [mnu] and son of Simon Jr.
- Deed Book 5, p. 460 – 15May1780: [Lease and Release] John Newland and wife, Elizabeth [Linder] Newland 60 acres for £100 to Leonard Rush land granted to Simon Linder and he to said Newland, adj. Henry Bedinger on Opequon Creek. Witness: John Lemen and John Wright. This Simon Linder very likely was Simon Jr., brother-in-law of John Newland.
- Deed Book 5, p. 507 – 18Jun1780: [Lease and Release] Laurence Linder and wife, Rebecca [Vanmeter] Linder 128 acres for £1000 to Jacob Linder Jr., land to said Laurence by Simon Linder and wife, Mary Linder. Witness: Robert Cockburn, Enoch Wales and Ralph Potter. The identiy of this Jacob Linder Jr. may have been the son of Lawrence Linder, and the presumed husband of Elizbeth Pile.
- Deed Book 5, Page 627 – 17 April 1781; Simon Linder and Mary (wife), 200 acres for £27,000 to Abraham Vanmeter Jr. On Opequon Creek and adjacent to Laurence Linder. Land granted to John Vanmeter and conveyed to said Linder by Abraham and Jacob Vanmeter as executors of the estate of said John. Ditto.
- Deed Book 5, p. 674 – 18Jun1781: Andrew Gibson and wife, Sarah Gibson 250 acres for £20,000 Maryland Currency to Alexander McFadin of Baltimore MD on Middle Creek of Opequon, adj. George Jenkins, Duncan Campbell and Anthony Leis. The land was granted to Thomas, Samuel and Joseph Brown in 1752 and Thomas and Samuel to said Joseph, he to Thomas Ellis, he to Dougall Campbell, he to James Campbell, and he to said Gibson. Witness: Samuel Oldham, Jacob Linder and James Morrison. The identity of this Jacob Linder is uncertain. None of the persons named in this record are familiar to the author.
- Will Book 1, p. 243 – 19Mar1782: Estate appraisal of John Carlyle by Jacob Linder, John Miers and Allon Miller. Ditto. It is the author’s belief that Jacob Linder, son of Lawrence Linder, may already have relocated to Jefferson County Kentucky by this date, so this may have been the son of George Linder and Anna Newland, or of Simon Linder Jr.
- Deed Book 5, p. 742 – 15Jul1782: [Lease and Release] Jacob Linder Sr. and wife, Grace Linder, 82 acres for £250 to William Green, adj. William Maxwell, John Neely and Richard Pearis, granted to Jacob Morgan. Clearly, the son of Simon Linder Jr.
- Will Book 1, p. 299 – 20Jan1783: Estate Audit and Sale for James Graham: Executors: William Gorrell and Abraham Vanmeter Sr.: Buyers included: Jacob Vanmeter (son of Abraham), Henry Vanmeter, Isaac Vanmeter, Daniel Linder, Lawrence Linder, Simon Linder [Jr.?]. William Gorrell, Abraham Vanmeter, Jacob Bellar, etal… By the date of this record it is a virtual certainty that both Jacob Linder, and his brother, Daniel Linder, were both residing in Jefferson County Kentucky.
The following quotation from a letter written by the author’s 4th great uncle, Major Henry Bedinger II to his brother, Major George Michael Bedinger [author’s 4th great grandfather] (member of U.S. House of Representatives from Kentucky) gives a brief recollection of several Linders, who lived near the Bedinger family at Shepherdstown, and an added suggestion that Daniel Linder, son of Lawrence Linder and brother of Jacob Linder, may actually have been part of Jacob Vanmeter’s flotilla down the Ohio River in 1779:
“In 1833 Henry Bedinger thus wrote to his brother, G. M. Bedinger: “There were then (at the time of the Revolution), along Opequon four Linders, active young men, to wit, Daniel and Jacob, sons of Lawrence Linder; Jacob, son of Simon Linder, and Than, or Nathaniel, whose father was dead [George Linder]. Possibly one of those was an officer in your company.” Some claim that Dandridge provides evidence that Daniel Linder and his family accompanied the well documented journey (1779) of Jacob Van Meter with family and friends (late of Green Co., PA) on twenty-seven flatboats down the Ohio River to Bear Grass (present Louisville).”
If the foregoing account of Daniel Linder having been among the Jacob Vanmeter migration to Kentucky is correct, then it would explain the manner by which Daniel Linder could have been present in Jefferson County in 1782-3 to file patents on behalf of his brother, Jacob Linder. Also, Henry Bedinger’s suggestion that one of these Linders may have been an officer in Major George Michael Bedinger’s Company, may provide an alternative explanation for the authority for the Treasury Warrant in the possession of Jacob Linder. It may well have been that Jacob Linder qualified for that bounty warrant on his own merit, although the author thinks that unlikely.
We have now presented dozens of records for Henry Vanmeter and various members of the Vanmeter and Linder families, which clearly show that Lawrence Linder, father of Jacob and Daniel Linder, lived for many years along Tuscarora Creek in close proximity to the Henry Vanmeter family. Such close and protracted living proximity of those two families would have provided ample opportunity and incentive for intermarriages to occur between Vanmeters and Linders. Hazel Craft Eilers asserts that Lawrence Linder had married a Rebecca Vanmeter, but failed to provide the identity of Rebecca Vanmeter. At least one other researcher identifies Rebecca Vanmeter as a daughter of Henry Vanmeter and Eva [Pile?]. Given the close and contemporaneous living proximity of Henry Vanmeter’s family, juxtaposed with the Simon Linder family along the waters of Opequon Creek, the author is inclined to accept this identification of Lawrence Linder’s wife, if, in fact, she was a Vanmeter.
However, before proceeding with our search for the possible ancestry of Jacob Miller, the author needs to present what he considers to be a major discrepancy in the biography of Henry Vanmeter, as provided by Samuel Smythe, excerpted as follows:
“While still remaining a resident of Virginia, Henry kept migrating westward, until he reached what is now southwestern Pennsylvania, the border land then in controversy between the Colony of Virginia and the Province of Pennsylvania. He took up his residence in this territory which later became Bedford, and afterward Washington, then Green counties of Pennsylvania. Here he took up land on Muddy Creek adjacent to his brother, Jacob Van Metre, and his name appears on the assessment roll of Springhill Township in 1772-1773, rated as a taxable. In the latter year some sort of disturbance of the peace occurred and Henry, Jacob and Abraham Van Metre were indicted by the “Grand Inquest of Quarter Sessions,” July 6, 1773, on two bills, for riot. These bills were found and presented to the Court of Yohogania Co., Va., which exercised jurisdiction over this part of Pennsylvania (see History of Washington Co., Pa., p. 152, Crumrine). On 23 February, 1775, Henry Van Metre is recommended, among others, as a proper person to be added to the Commission of the Peace for the County of West Augusta (Virginia jurisdiction), and on the i8th of April, 1776, Henry Van Metre and Ebenezer Zane were appointed viewers, to view old road from Conrad Walter’s to mouth of Wheeling; and again, on 20th August, 1776, Henry Van Metre was among those persons recommended to be added to the Commission of the Peace for Augusta Co., Va. (see Carnegie Museum Annals, Vol. I., pp. 533, 564, 565; 1902). , t. • J Henry Van Metre s name appears among those who received warrants for lands for military services ; 400 acres were granted in Washington Co., Pa.,2Sth May, 1785, with 250 additional acres in the year 1786. There is also found in the entries on the old mill books in possession of the Shepherd family at Shepherdstown, Va., a brief memorandum referring to ” Henry Van Metre, Sr., £12. 3. 0 1785-“”
It is the author’s belief that Smythe has conflated the history of two different Henry Vanmeter’s. If we were to believe Smythe’s rendition of the later life of Henry Vanmeter, he would have upped stakes and followed his younger brother, Jacob Vanmeter, and other family members sometime between 1768 and 1772 to southwestern Pennsylvania into the area that later became Bedford County, then Greene County, and ultimately, Washington County. Further, that Henry Vanmeter would have established residency in that area near Carmichaels PA for a decade or more. Aside from the purported marriage record of Henry Vanmeter and Elizabeth Pile on 8Apr1777 in Ohio County, the author was unable to find any direct evidence that Henry Vanmeter had at any time lived outside of Frederick County, or its descendant counties after 1745. It is the author’s belief that Henry Vanmeter continuously lived along the waters of Opequon Creek, along with his brothers, Abraham and Isaac and their families, throughout most of his adult life, and that he died and is buried in Berkeley County, along the waters of Tuscarora Creek. The deed records presented hereinbefore involving Henry Vanmeter have all been situated in Frederick County, and later in Berkeley County. Even the citation above by Samuel Smythe re: the old Shepherdstown mill records of a Henry Vanmeter dated 1785, would seem to support this opinion.
As for the purported marriage of Henry Vanmeter and Elizabeth Pile, the author has found only one source for this information, namely Samuel Smythe. All other references to this marriage seemingly have relied on Smythe as their source. It is worth taking another look at the language actually used by Smythe:
“Elizabeth Pyle, of Ohio Co., Va. License issued 8 April, 1777.”
Now, we hate to be a stickler, but Smythe does not actually state that the marriage occurred in Ohio County VA. What he actually stated was that Elizabeth Pyle was of Ohio County VA, and that the license was issued on 8Apr1777. Smythe gave no reference for the source of this information, so the author has been unable to locate any actual record of this marriage license. Given the deed record filings by Henry Vanmeter in Berkeley County VA on 7Apr1777, and given that Ohio County VA is located approximately 180 miles away from Berkeley County, it would have been a physical impossibility for a marriage license to have been issued to Henry Vanmeter (of Berkeley County) in Ohio County the day following his having filed deed records in Berkeley County. It seems more probable to the author that the marriage license, if it exists, was issued in Berkeley County, and that Elizabeth Sprigg Pile’s family was residing in Berkeley County at the time of her marriage to Henry Vanmeter.
Then we have the estate administration records for Richard Pile, abstracted as follows:
- West Virginia Estate Settlements: Berkeley County: PYLES, RICH., App., 8-15-1780. PYLES, RICH., Sale, 8-15-1780
Although the date of this estate record does not align with the presumed death date of Elizabeth Sprigg’s husband at sometime prior to 8Apr1777, the name and location cannot be ignored. It seems probable to the author that this was a record of the administration of the estate of Elizabeth’s husband, several years posthumously. This record provides a strong suggestion that Henry Vanmeter and his new wife continued to live in Berkeley County. For the record, the author has transcribed the actual estate accounts for Richard Pile as follows:
Appraisal: In obedience to an order of Berkeley Court to us the subscribers directed. We have met this 26Jun1780 and have appraised as much of the estate of Richard Pile, deceased, as was brought to our view:
- Auger and Chisel and Cooper Tools: 45/0/0
- Old Hoe: 3/0/0
- Slate: 1/16/0
- Pepper Mill: 3/0/0
- Silver Tea Spoons, Tongs, and Strainer, and Salt Cellar: 25/0/0
- Parcel of Books: 30/0/0
- Old Pewter: 30/0/0
- Box Iron and Heater: 3/0/0
- Trunk: 30/0/0
- Whipsaw: 45/0/0
- Pots and Hooks and Tramel: 30/0/0
- Table: 7/10/0
- Negro called Panther: 3,000/0/0
- Negro called James: 1,000/0/0
- Negro called Rebeckey: 300/0/0
- Looking Glass: 100/0/0
- Tongs and Shovel: 6/0/0
- Grid Iron: 3/12/0
- Bed and Stead and Furniture: 200/0/0
Total Value: 4,882/8/0
Inventory and Appraisal recorded 15Aug1780
Amount of sales of the effects and estate of the deceased, Dr. Richard Pile, the quantity being the same as given in by Col. William Morgan and Abraham Mollatt, the vendue being made at my house 11Aug1780: Purchasers Names: Abraham Mollatt, Henry Vanmeter, Daniel Davis, David Osborn, Thomas Lafferty, Jacob Cores, William Duncan, William Kumbon, David Colgan, Capt. Thomas Swearingen, Richard Piles [Jr.?], and John Sheley. Total Sales Receipts 7,865/14/0. Four gallons of Whiskey served at Vendue at 45/0/0. Net Estate Value: 7,672/4/0.
Final accounting of estate of Richard Pile dated 12Aug1780 submitted to Court by William Duncan and Henry Vanmeter. Recorded 15Aug1780.
It is a bit peculiar that the estate sale occurred more than three years after the presumed death of Richard Pile, perhaps the estate settlement had been contested. From the title of “Doctor” ascribed to Richard Pile, it would appear that he had followed a professional tradition that had existed in his family for almost four generations. The author was unable to find any other record of Richard Pile in Berkeley County. Perhaps those records are to be found in Ohio County, or across the river in Washington County MD.
The reader may be wondering at this juncture why it matters where this marriage occurred. Well, it is the author’s contention that for the intermarriages posited between the daughters of Elizabeth Sprigg Pile and Nathan Vanmeter, Jacob Linder and Jacob Miller to have occurred, the respective Vanmeter, Linder and Miller families would need to have been near neighbors for a fairly long period of time for these implied marriages to have occurred. If Henry Vanmeter, and his immediate family, had been living for an extended period of time during the 1770’s in the wilderness of southwestern Pennsylvania, it is difficult to envision the kind of extended contact needed for these relationships to have developed. However, if Henry Vanmeter never moved his family away from Berkeley County, then there would have been ample time for this type of exposure to have occurred. So, it is vitally important to our research into the ancestry of Jacob Miller, that he should have had the opportunity to interact with the Henry Vanmeter and Lawrence Linder families.
Having provided more than ample record evidence establishing the close and contemporaneous residencies of both the Henry Vanmeter and Lawrence Linder families in Berkeley County from 1745 to 1780 and beyond, it is now time for us to turn our attention to the search for Jacob Miller’s family. If we accept the relationships posited in Hypothesis No. 4, namely that Nathan Vanmeter, Jacob Linder and Jacob Miller had each married Pile women, daughters of Richard Pile and Elizabeth Sprigg, then it is reasonable to think that we would find Jacob Miller’s family living in Berkeley County around the time of those marriages, which the author estimates to have occurred in the 1770’s or 80’s. This is particularly true if we accept the author’s contention that Henry Vanmeter and Elizabeth Sprigg married, lived and died in Berkeley County. Given the even closer living proximity of the Henry Vanmeter and Lawrence Linder family established by the author within the near vicinity of Martinsburg, it would seem reasonable that we should expect to find Millers living contemporaneously with the Vanmeter and Linder families in that same sub-region of Berkeley County.
We will begin our search with the 1810 census (the first year for which a Virginia census has survived) of Berkeley County. Since Jacob Miller was reported as over the age of 45 years in 1810, he would have been born before 1765. Such age would comport with his eldest known son, Adam Miller, having been born about 1787. Given Jacob’s approximate date of birth, it is reasonable to believe that his parents would have been born before 1740. Consequently, it seems improbable that we would find Jacob’s parents, or aunts and uncles still alive in 1810, but possible. However, we might expect to find siblings or cousins still alive, and possibly living in Berkeley County in 1810. A search of the 1810 census of Berkeley County reveals a total of 34 Miller households. Such population of Millers certainly points to the possibility of some of those households having been kinsmen of Jacob Miller.
Armed with the 1810 census results, the author was reassured that his scenario regarding the linkage of our Jacob Miller to Berkeley County and to the Henry Vanmeter family may have merit. In addition to the 1810 census, there is one other earlier database which might offer a further refinement of the Miller households in Berkeley County, that being the “rent roll” compilations. The rent rolls reportedly contain the names of the heads of households, who were registered as having paid “quit rents”, i.e., non-exempt freeholders. The author has compiled a list of all the Millers captured in the quit rent rolls from Frederick and Berkeley Counties for the period 1764 thru 1777 and presented the results in Table 4. This list of Miller quit rent records has been sorted by name, and then by date.
The reader is reminded that Berkeley County was not formed until 1772, so, in order to capture Millers living in that part of Frederick County that ultimately fell within Berkeley County prior to 1772, the author screened out the names of Millers from Frederick County, that did not appear in Berkeley County after 1772. This approach allowed the capture of persons residing in Frederick County prior to 1772, who continued to be reported in Berkeley County after 1772. One flaw in this screening methodology is to be found in the name of Jacob Miller. Through other research, the author became aware of the existence of a Jacob Miller, who lived in Frederick County prior to 1772, but who was located outside of that area that became Berkeley County. The instances of those Jacob Millers [Jacob Miller Sr., founder of Woodstock, and his son, Jacob Miller Jr.] have been highlighted in yellow in Table 4, and will not be considered in our search for our Jacob Miller’s ancestors.
So, from 34 separate Miller households in Berkeley County in 1810, we have narrowed the field dramatically to about 12 separate households in 1777. The actual number of households we might be considering for the identification of our Jacob Miller’s household in about 1790, when his presumed son, James Miller was born, would probably be around 25 households. This is still an inordinately high number of families to evaluate, even if we were able to identify records associated with those families, without some further means of narrowing the field.
There may be just such means available for further refinement and focusing of our analysis. Such means of refinement may be found in a deeper understanding of the social, cultural, and ethnic composition of these early settlers to the Valley of Virginia. Speaking in broad, aggregate terms, these early settlers came from three primary cultural and ethnic sources: (1) Dutch-German-Swiss-French, (2) Scots-Irish, and (3) English. For the first two or three generations after their initial migration into the colonies, these various cultural and ethnic groups tended to settle in communities inhabited by persons of like origins. During the 17th century immigrants were induced to such cultural and ethnic segregation by the governments that controlled and guided their immigration. Dutch, German Palatines and French Huguenots were steered mainly toward the Dutch Colony, whereas Scots-Irish and English were steered mainly toward Maryland and Virginia (and later toward the Carolinas and Georgia). A fewer number of Scandinavian settlers were planted in the Rhode Island/Delaware region between New Amsterdam and Maryland. In the latter part of the 17th century William Penn’s colony on the upper Chesapeake, introduced a wholly different “melting-pot” migration experience. While Penn initially intended his colony principally as a safe haven for his Quaker kinsmen, Pennsylvania soon opened its doors to all forms of protestants: Dutch Reformed, German Reformed, Episcopal, Puritan, Lutheran, Presbyterian, Mennonite, Dunker; followed by Methodist and Baptist.
These early colonialists tended to aggregate into enclaves of shared ethnicity and religion. Such aggregation tended to dictate recognizable patterns of social and cultural behavior, particularly in their chosen craft or trade, commerce, religious worship, militia service, participation in public office, and most importantly, intermarriage. Taking the Vanmeter family as an example, they were Dutch in origin, for the first generation in New Amsterdam they settled in communities principally comprised of fellow Dutchmen and Huguenots, they worshiped in the nearest Dutch Reformed Church, and they intermarried almost exclusively with persons of Dutch or French Huguenot extraction. Following the John Vanmeter strand of this family as it migrated westward, first into New Jersey, then to Maryland, and ultimately to the Opequon, they continued to exhibit the same cultural and social patterns as their forbearers. They settled primarily among fellow Dutch, German and Huguenot colonials, they engaged primarily in farming and milling, and, they continued to intermarry principally with persons of like ancestral heritage.
One manifestation of this behavior may be found in the intermarriages between the Vanmeters and the Linders. The Linders are believed to have been of German ancestry, whereas we know with certainty that the Vanmeters were of Dutch ancestry. Given these proclivities, it might reasonably be assumed that Jacob Miller likely had roots in either German or Dutch ancestry. So, as we proceed with our study of Miller records in Berkeley County, we will continuously monitor those records for any implied cultural or ethnic associations. Because there is such a large body of Miller records to be evaluated (more than 100), we will first separate these records into five recognized family groupings ordered from earliest to latest: (1) Scots-Irish Miller Brothers, (2) Opequon Henry Millers, (3) Spring Mills Jacob Millers, (4) Elk Branch Jacob Miller and (5) German George Adam Moler.
However, before launching into our analysis of the compilation of Berkeley County Miller records, the author would like to introduce some of the earliest records found of anyone named Miller associated with the Valley of Virginia:
- “some to declare that he [Joist Hite] was the first white settler in the Shenandoah Valley (this has later been disproved as it has been documented that Adam Miller settled in the Valley as early as 1726 or 1727.)” This Adam Miller has been reliably established as the first white person to settle permanently in the Valley of Virginia, almost six years before the arrival of Jost Hite. Adam Miller [aka Muller] was of German descent, and he and several other fellow Pennsylvania Germans settled on a branch of Hawksbill Creek, tributary to South Shenandoah River in the vicinity of present day Luray VA. The near descendants of Adam Miller never strayed far from their family seat in Page County. Despite the matching name of Adam Miller, there is absolutely no reason to believe that he had any connection to the family of our Jacob Miller.
- “William Miller and Abraham Hite were also among the earliest settlers. When the Indian wars broke out, Miller sold his right to 500 acres of land, and all of his stock of horses and cattle in the woods, for £25, and removed to the South Fork of the Shenandoah, a few miles above Front Royal. The 500 acres of land sold by Miller lies within two miles of Moorefield…” This William Miller is believed to have been descended from the New Jersey Molenaar family, into which John Vanmeter intermarried. However, this William Miller, after selling his lands along the South Potomac River at Moorefield, resettled on the North Branch of Shenandoah River, just a few miles upstream from Front Royal. Temptingly, the family of William Miller settled for several generations at Front Royal where many Millar and Vanmeter kinsmen’s graves can be found in the Millar Graveyard at Front Royal, including the graves of William Millar and his wife, Catherine DuBois in the Prospect Hill Cemetery at Front Royal. Yet nothing was found about this family of William Millar [Miller], other than his probably having descended from the Molenaar family of New Jersey, that would connect him or his descendants with our Jacob Miller.
- And, lastly we should not overlook Jacob and Barbara Miller, German born, who established the town of Woodstock [originally known as Miller Town] on the upper North Fork Shenandoah River, about 25 miles above Front Royal. Again, despite the matching names, there was nothing found about this Jacob Miller or his descendants to connect his family with our Jacob Miller.
Consequently, we will concentrate our search closer to the Opequon, and list in chronological order all records found for the Miller surname in that locale, grouped by the five established family groupings.
(1) Scots-Irish Miller Brothers
“David, Hugh and William Miller (brothers and of Scotch ancestry) came to Frederick County Virginia (now Berkeley County) from Lancaster or Chester Counties Pennsylvania. It is believed William came first, about 1748, and that David and Hugh came in 1750. William died in 1757 without any direct heirs and left his estate to his nephews and nieces. Hugh was married and had a family of five children: two sons: John, whose family sold their land in Berkeley County and move to Ohio in 1796; Hugh [Jr.], who sold his property in Berkeley County and moved to Greenbrier County VA about 1774, later moved to Kentucky with his family. Therefore all the Millers of Berkeley County are descended from our ancestor, David Miller. [This contention will be shown later in this section to be incorrect. There is evidence of several other Miller families in Berkeley County in the late-1700’s and early-1800’s, who were not descended from David Miller.]
David Miller was born in Chester County PA and it is believed he was the son of John Miller (however, this fact has not been proved beyond doubt). After coming to Berkeley County, he purchased from Thomas Thornburgh of Lancaster PA, 360 acres of land on the Old Pack Horse Trail about three miles south of Tuscarora, the deed issued on 4Mat1756. This was the first land he owned in Virginia and at his death this tract was willed to his son, James, and has passed thru succeeding generations and is now owned by Harry Smith Miller, father of this writer. David Miller in 1766 secured a Fairfax Grant for 251 acres on the Tuscarora and in 1769 purchased a tract of 400 acres on which he was living when he died. He also owned another large tract of land located near the North Mountain, which was assigned to him for debt, also some land in Martinsburg. It is not known definitely if he served in the Militia during the Revolution, but he did furnish supplies to the Army as noted by certificates issued him and Hugh and his son, James. These certificates are now in the Sate Library at Richmond.
David and his wife, Agnes, were married in Pennsylvania and had a family of nine children, several of whom were born in Virginia. These children were: John, James, Sarah, Elizabeth, David Jr., Absalom, Mary, Joseph and Alexander. David Miller died at his home in Mar1782, and so far as is known, is buried in the Tuscarora Churchyard. (The land upon which the Tuscarora Church stands was deeded to the church committee in 1774; David Miller [and Hugh Miller Sr.] was a member of this committee)…”
As we present the land and estate records related to this Scots-Irish Miller Brothers family hereinafter, the reader may recognize persons referenced in the foregoing Miller family genealogy. The author cannot attest to the accuracy of the information presented in this genealogy, but can state that persons with matching names, and occasionally with matching kinships are found in these records from Frederick, and later, Berkeley Counties. The author cannot with certainty, even identify the source of this genealogy, but is actively seeking to ascertain its origins. There will also be names of Millers encountered in the following records, who do not appear in this genealogy. The author will endeavor as best as possible to identify these various parties and their probable kinships, if any, in the analysis attached to each record:
- Mar 1749/50[?] — Northern Neck Warrants & Surveys: Robert Snodgrass, assignee of John Miller, Jun’r, assignee of William Miller, assignee of Samuel Harris for whom surv’d; no warrant, survey undated; Samuel Harris’s house on plat; warrant date might be Mar. 1749/50 [damaged]. Chain Carriers: Aaron Jenkins & Hugh Millor [Miller]. Surveyor John Mauzy. This was the earliest record found for anyone surnamed Miller in Frederick County. Although not stated in this abstract, this tract almost certainly was situated on Back Creek, nearby to the tract described in Item No. 4, below. The original assignee of both tracts was Samuel Harris. It is interesting to note that this tract was first assigned by Samuel Harris to William Miller, who in turn assigned to John Miller Jr., who is now assigning to Robert Snodgrass. According to the Miller Genealogy, William Miller conveyed parts of his property to his nieces and nephews, so it might be assumed that John Miller Jr. was a nephew, possibly a son of Hugh Miller, although David Miller also had a son named John. The curious aspect of this John Miller is that he would be titled “Jr.”, implying that there may have been another, more senior, John Miller in the area. The genealogy made no mention of an older John Miller, except to suggest that David Miller’s father may have been named John. Might we assume that that implied older John Miller was the father of these three Miller brothers, or was there another John Miller, not mentioned in the genealogy (more to follow). It is also interesting to note that Hugh Miller acted as a chain carrier on this survey. There is strong reason for believing that William Miller and Hugh Miller were the brothers mentioned in the genealogy.
Most of these Miller land records will be shown to have been situated on either Back Creek, Tuscarora Creek or near North Mountain. Figure 24 has been provided to give the reader a better geographic perspective.
To illustrate geographic features existing in the Martinsburg area in the early 19th century, Figure 25, which is an annotated excerpt from the Map of Frederick, Berkeley, & Jefferson counties in the state of Virginia created by Charles Varley in 1809 has been included. It is fascinating to note that this map illustrates the residence of Nathan Vanmeter, who inherited the residential property of his father, Henry Vanmeter, situated near the mouth of Tuscarora Creek, at its outfall into Opequon. Also, shown nearby is the home place [Portumna] of the author’s 4th great uncle, Henry Bedinger, husband of Rachael Strode, niece of Lettice Strode, the wife of Jacob Vanmeter. One other feature of interest on Varley’s map is the site of the Tuscarora Presbyterian Church, the land for which was conveyed by Hugh Miller Jr., and witnessed by David Miller and Hugh Miller Sr..
- 20 Sep 1750 — Northern Neck Warrants & Surveys: Robert Elder, assignee of Hugh Miller; 20 Sep 1750 – 31 Oct 1750; 296 a. where Miller lives on both sides of Back Creek. ca. 6 miles above Hugh Paul & land he bought of Wm. Snodgrass & Wm. Patterson. (House drawn on plat.) Chain Carriers: John Park & Robert Elder; Pilot: Hugh Miller; surveyor: John Mauzy. This survey was performed in conjunction with the conveyance of a 296 acre tract from Hugh Miller to Robert Elder. This tract was the first of many land records found in association with Hugh Miller and his descendants, and only the second record found of anyone named Miller in connection with the Opequon Creek area. This tract was situated on both sides of Back Creek, which is situated just northwest of North Mountain, which forms the headwaters of Tuscarora Creek. Back Creek flows in a northeasterly direction through an erosion valley, which parallels and is separated from Opequon Creek by about 10 miles. This record indicates that Hugh Miller had already established residence on this tract, and that his house was shown on the tract map. There is language in the survey notes which suggest that Hugh Miller may have purchased another tract from William Snodgrass and William Patterson, which was located about six miles downstream from the subject tract..
- Northern Neck Warrants & Surveys: John Kennedy, assignee of John Miller, assignee of Samuel Harris; 20 Sep 1750 – 1 Nov 1750; 140 acres between Widow Canady & Wm. Snodgrass on Back Crk. (John Miller’s house on plat.) Chain Carriers: Wm. Snodgrass & Hugh Miller. Surveyor: John Mauzy. John Miller, farmer, to Kennedy. Tract named Hollow Bottom. Witness: Robt. Jackson. This survey was performed in conjunction with the conveyance of a 140 acre tract situated on Back Creek from John Miller, farmer, to John Kennedy. This tract had previously been conveyed from Samuel Harris to John Miller (date unknown). The tract was described as abutting the land of William Snodgrass and Widow Kennedy. Hugh Miller and William Snodgrass acted as chain carriers for the survey. The identity of this John Miller is uncertain. Was he the same person identified as John Miller Jr. in Item No. 1, above? It seems very unlikely that this John Miller would have been a son of any of the Miller brothers, as the children of Hugh and David would still have been minors in 1750. Given the apparent close intersection between John Miller, and other Millers mentioned in these records, it seems highly probably that this John Miller was another brother or cousin of William, Hugh and David, who for some reason had been overlooked by the chronicler of the Miller genealogy, above, or perhaps their father.
- 3 Nov’r 1750 – By Virtue of a Warrant from the Propr’s Office dated the 29h day of Sep’r 1750. Survey’d for Wm. Snodgrass a parcell of waste land where he lives in the County of Frederick on both sides of Back Creek & bounded as Followeth Viz Beginning at (A) a Corner white Oak in John Millers line on a Piney hill Thence N 55 E 188 po: to (B) a white oak Thence S:E 172 po: to (C) a Corn’r white Oak on the No. side of Back Creek Thence S 41 1/2 W 224 po to (D) a Corner Black Oak on a hill Thence N 35 W 222 po: to the first station Containing 250 acres; 3 Nov 1750. William Snodgrass Pilot; P’r [Surveyor] John Mauzy; John Murphy & John Ford Ch’n [= chain] Carriers. (found among loose survey papers in the Virginia State Archives, Richmond, Virginia). [transcribed by Charlou Dolan]. Like the preceding tract (Item No. 1) to Hugh Miller, this tract was situated on both side of Back Creek. This tract abutted a tract in possession of a John Miller. As will be discovered in the LWT of Hugn Miller, his daughter, Mary Miller, was married to a Snodgrass [identity uncertain]. This survey was performed only a few days after the survey in Item No. 2, above, and may have referenced the same tract conveyed by John Miller to John Kennedy.
- 6 Dec 1750, Hugh (x) Miller sold to “Rov’t [prob. Robert] Elder, waver [weaver?] of the County. “Land between James Nail & Dan’l Kennedy. Miller reserves use of house until May next, to reap & carry away that rye “which his Brother Claims Likewise a Nursery of young apel treys [apple trees]…” (Signed) Hugh (x) Miller. Witnesses: Wm. Pattison, And’w Paul, David Croket. This conveyance very likely was supported by and involved that same tract of land surveyed in Item No. 1. The reference to Hugh Miller’s brother is meaningless, without that brother’s name. We know now that both William and John had held land on Back Creek around this time, so the reference was likely to one or the other. William Patterson will be shown later to have been a Miller kinsperson through marriage. David Crockett, reportedly was the grandfather of Davey Crockett of Alamo fame. It should be noted that, from other sources, persons living on Back Creek in the early part of the 1750’s were selling out and moving across North Mountain to the Opequon drainage due to “Indian troubles” in the Back Creek valley. This might explain these conveyances by Millers of their property on Back Creek.
- Book 2, pp. 225-6 – 20Dec1750: [Lease and Release] Between William Beeson, and Mary, his wife, of Frederick County to Hugh Miller, farmer, of same, for £100 Pennsylvania money, 200 acres situated on west side of Opequon, branch called Tuscarora, part of a tract containg 650 acres granted George Robinson and John Petite, dated 12Nov1735, now in possession of Richard Beeson Sr. by L&R from Robinson and Petite, and Ann, his wife, etc… Witnessed: William Patterson, Benjamin Thornbrough, and William Miller. Recorded 14May1751. The Miller Genealogy claims that David and Hugh Miller migrated from Chester County PA in about 1750. It is important to note that this tract was situated on the waters of Tuscarora Creek, the same stream that would later become associated with the families of Henry Vanmeter and Lawrence Linder. This transaction, when taken in context with the earlier conveyances on Back Creek, supports the reports of relocation due to Indian troubles. It should also be noted that this deed was witnessed by a William Miller, the probable brother of Hugh Miller.
- Robert Snodgrass & Joseph Snodgrass, assignees of David Snodgrass, heir at law of William Snodgrass; 20 Sep 1750-3 Nov 1750; 250 ac on Back Crk. where he (William Snodgrass) lives (house on plat); adj John Miller. Chain carriers John Murphey & John Ford. Surv John Mauzy. N.d. William Snodgrass died without will. David, heir at law, desires deed issue to Robt & Joseph Snodgrass. The widow relinquishes her right of dower. 25 Sep 1766 -Catherin Snotgrass, widow of Wm desires deed to issue to her 2 sons Robt & Joseph. It would appear that William Snodgrass was deceased. David Snodgrass is believed to have been William’s eldest son and heir at law, and that he was conveying this tract from his father’s estate to his two younger brothers: Robert and Joseph. William’s widow, Catherine Snodgrass’s maiden name was Patterson, probably a kinsperson of William Patterson, who witnessed the preceding deed record. William Snodgrass and Catherine Patterson had several sons, one named Robert Snodgrass married Susan Rawlings, daughter of Stephen Rawlings, and sister of Edward Rawlings and Stephen Rawlings Jr. Stephen Rawlings Jr. was the same person who, along with Jacob Linder and Jacob Vanmeter Jr., appraised the estate of Jacob Vanmeter Sr. in Hardin County KY. Edward Rawlings married Rebecca Vanmeter, daughter of Jacob Vanmeter and Lettice Strode. So, we have evidence of several of the families associated with Jacob Vanmeter and Jacob Linder in Hardin County, who were originally from the Martinsburg area, including Harts, Vertrees, Strodes, Rawlings, Glenn, etal. After William Snodgrass’s death, his widow married Aaron Jenkins, who will frequently appear in these compiled land records involving the Miller Brothers family. In fact, there was at least one Snodgrass-Miller intermarriage during this time period.
- Book 2, p. 400 – 19Aug1751: [Lease and Release] Between Benjamin Beeson and Elizabeth, his wife, of Frederick County to Andrew Paul of same, for £100, 226 acres, situated on west side of Opequon, branch called Tuscarora, part of tract containing 1,650 acres granted to George Robinson and John Petite… Benjamin Beeson by L&R from Richard Beeson Sr. dated 1743. Witnessed: Jonas Hedges, Hugh Miller, Robert Paul and John Baker. Recorded 11Feb1752.
- JOHN GLENN, assignee of Mordecai Beeson, assignee of John Beeson; 21 Sep 1751-4 Apr 1752; 247 ac. where he(Glenn) has a good plantation on brs. of Tuscarora; adj Richard Beason, Richard Thatcher, Hugh Miller, JAMES GLENN. Chain carriers David Crockett & SAML GLENN. Surv. John Baylis. Warrant in name of John Beeson, survd for JAMES GLENN. This tract sold by John Glenn abutted the 200 acre tract acquired by Hugh Miller in Item No. 6, above. James Glenn was married to Mary Emma Miller, daughter of David Miller and Sarah Agnes Callender. It seems probable that John Glenn and James Glenn were brothers, and sons of James Glenn and Martha Borland. James and Martha had another son named William Glenn, who the author believes to have been the same person that filed jointly with Jacob Linder on a 1,000 acre tract situated on the waters of Nolin River, 200 acres of which Jacob and Elizabeth Linder sold to Aaron Hart on 6Jan1810.
- Hugh Miller, Junr, assignee of Hugh Miller; no wart., survd 7 Nov 1751; 404 ac whereon he lives on Tuscarorah; adj JAMES GLEN, Andrew Paul, Wm Patterson. Chain carriers David Croket & James Minnes. Surv William Baylis. Hugh Miller Jr. conveyed a 404 acre tract to his father, Hugh Miller Sr., situated on the waters of Tuscarora Creek, abutting land of James Glenn.
- David Miller, assignee of Thomas Patton, assignee of Robert Knox; 15 Feb1752-4 Apr 1752; 251 ac where he(Patton) lives at North Mt, at Tuscarorah; adj JAMES GLEN, Richd Thatcher, Cornelius Breyson. Chain carriers JOHN GLEN & Wm Paterson. Surv William Baylis. This is the same tract mentioned in the Miller genealogy, and is the first tract found in this compilation involving David Miller, brother of William Miller, Hugh Miller, and possibly John Miller.
- Book 3, pp. 438-442 – 28Jan1755: [Lease and Release] Between Hugh Miller and Jannet, his wife, of Frederick County to John Miller of same, for £100, 200 acres situated on west side of Opequon, branch called Tuscarora, being part of a tract containing 1,650 acres granted to Robinson and Petite, by L&R from William and Mary Beeson to Hugh Miller on 21Dec1750. Witnessed: David Miller, and John Glenn. Recorded 1Apr1755. This record is believed to include the names of three of the Miller brothers: John, Hugh and David. Note that Hugh Miller’s wife is identified as Jannet [or Jennet]. Later Hugh Miller’s wife will be identified as Eleanor, probably his second marriage, following the death of Jannet. This conveyance appears to have involved the same tract acquired by Hugh Miller in Item No. 6, above.
- Book 4, pp. 184-5 – 3May1756: [Lease and Release] Between Thomas Thornbrough of Frederick County to David Miller of same, for £100, 360 acres, part of a tract situated on Middle Creek, part of 860 acres. Witnessed: Hugh Lyle, William Pattison, Hugh Miller and John Miller. Recorded 3Oct1756. Again, we have the intermixing of two of the Miller brother in the same deed. This is the 2nd tract of land acquired by David Miller. It was situated on Middle Creek, a tributary of Opequon Creek, just upstream of Tuscarora Creek.
- Book 5, pp. 48-9 – 1Aug1757: [Lease and Release] Between James Glenn of Frederick County to John Glenn of same, for £100, 150 acres, situated on branch of Opequon called Tuscarora, purchased by said Glenn from Mordecai Mendenhall… Witnessed: John Snodgrass, John Miller and David Snodgrass. Recorded: 2Aug1757. This James Glenn may have been either the father or brother of John Glenn, as James Glenn Sr. did not die until 1774. The author believes that all of the parties mentioned in this deed document were related in some fashion through various intermarriages.
- Book 5, pp. 209-11 – 27Nov1758: [Lease and Release] Between Richard Beeson Sr. and Charity, his wife, of Rowan County NC to William Patterson [aka Pattison] of same, for £200, 325 acres, part of 1,650 acre tract situated on Opequon, branch of Tuscarora, granted to Robinson and Petite. Witnessed Thomas Caton, Hugh Miller, Aaron Jenkins and John Miller. Recorded 2Feb1759. Aaron Jenkins is believed to have married Catherine Patterson-Snodgrass, widow of William Snodgrass. Hugh Miller and John Miller may have been brothers. Richard Beeson will later be identified with the Hopewell Quaker settlement.
- Book 7, pp. 246-7 – 28Apr1762: [Lease and Release] Between Robert Thornbrough of York County PA and Benjamin Thornbrough of Frederick County VA [heirs of Thomas Thornbrough] to David Miller of Frederick County, for £100, 360 acres, drains of Opequon near North Mountain, part of larger tract of 860 acres granted Thomas Thornbrough by Lord Fairfax 18Nov1752. Witnessed Hugh Lyle, James Brown and Samuel Parkes. Recorded 3Aug1762. This was the third, and final, tract listed in this compilation acquired by David Miller. The Thornburghs are believed to have been Quakers from Pennsylvania.
- Book 7, pp. 250, 28Apr1762: [Lease and Release] Between Robert Thornbrough of York County PA and Benjamin Thornbrough of Frederick County VA [heirs of Thomas Thornbrough] to Samuel Parks, for £100, 251 acres, drains of Opequon near North Mountain, part of larger tract of 860 acres granted Thomas Thornbrough by Lord Fairfax 18Nov1752. Witnessed Hugh Lyle, James Brown and David Miller. Recorded 3Aug1762. This tract conveyed to Samuel Parks appears to have been carved from the same 860 acre patent as the previous tract conveyed to David Miller.
- 5 Aug 1766 Book N, entry 91. David Miller of Frederick Co. 251 ac. on Tuscarora Br. in said co. Surv. Wm Baylis. Adj. JAMES GLEN, Richard Thatcher, foot of N. Mt., Cornelius Breyson. This tract acquired by David Miller appears to have abutted land owned by either his son-in-law, or that son-in-law’s father.
- 22 Aug 1766 Book N, entry 149. JAMES GLENN of Frederick Co, 247 ac. on Tuscorora Brs. in said co. Surv. John Baylis. Adj. his land, Richard Thatcher, Hugh Miller.
- 23 Aug 1766 Book N, entry 150. Hugh Miller Jr. of Frederick Co. 257 ac. on Tuscorora Br. of Opeckon in said co. Surv. Wm Baylis. Adj Beason, Andrew Paul, JAMES GLENN, Wm. Patterson. Again, we appear to have Hugh Miller Jr. acquiring a tract of land which abutted his Glenn and Patterson kinsmen.
- Book 13, pp. 4-5 – 2May1769: [Lease and Release] Between Hugh Miller Jr. of Frederick County to John Miller of same, for £70, 28 acres, situated near the North Mountain on Tuscarora Run, drains of Opequon, part of 400 acres granted to Hugh Miller Jr. by Proprietor 23Aug1766. Witnessed James Harrison and Thomas Hewitt. Recorded 2May1769. The identity of this John Miller is uncertain. The brothers are now getting old enough, that their children could now be acquiring land of their own.
- Book 13, pp. 93-4 – 2Jul1769: [Lease and Release] Between Aaron Jenkins of Frederick County to David Miller of same, for £250, 314 acres, head of Middle Creek, north side of Opequon, part of patent granted to Thomas Brown… Witnessed: James Gratham and James Forman. Recorded 2Aug1769. David Miller appears to be adding to his holdings along Middle Creek. The grantor, Aaron Jenkins, is believed to have been the husband of Catherine Patterson Snodgrass.
- Book 13, p. 47 – 30Jul1769: [Lease and Release] Between James Glenn of Colony of Virginia to James Glenn, nephew, son of John Glenn, of same, for £100, 247 acres, on branches of Tuscarora. Witnessed: John Glenn, Hugh Miller and William Glenn. Recorded 1Aug1769. At least, in this deed they attempted to clarify the identities of the parties involved. By virtue of the reference to the grantee having been the nephew, and son of John Glenn, we can assume that the grantor, James Glenn, was the brother of John Glenn, and son-in-law of David Miller.
- Book 14, pp. 349-0 – 6May1771: [Lease and Release] Between Hugh Lyle of Frederick County and Robert Lyle of same, for £300, 318 acres, head of Tuscarora Creek, part of larger tract patented to Hugh Lyle, 27Aug1762. Witnessed Thomas Hewitt, John Miller and Hugh Miller. Recorded 7May1771. Again, the identity of this John Miller is not certain. John Miller could have been a brother of David, Hugh and William, or he could have been a son of Hugh or David. He may also have been a son of John Miller [Sr.], as we have yet to be introduced to that John Miller’s family.
- Book 14, pp. 253-4 – 7May1771: [Lease and Release] Between Hugh Lyle of Frederick County to John Lyle of same, for £400, 451 acres, head of Tuscarora, part of larger tract granted to said Lyle 27Aug1762. Witnessed Thomas Hewitt, John Miller and Hugh Miller. Recorded 7May1771. Ditto.
- 16 Oct 1773 — Northern Neck Warrants & Surveys: Patrick Reed of “Newcastle County on Delaware in Pennsylvania,” 16 Oct 1773-20 May 1774; 118 acres (land John Miller got warrant for 24 Jul 1772 & did not execute); on Back Crk; adj. Stephen Rawlings, Edw’d Beeson, John Harr, Rob’t Snodgrass’ 334 acre patent. Chain Carriers: Stephen & Aaron Rawlings. Surveyor: Richard Rigg [Richard Bigg]. (undated) Caveated by Stephen Rawlings, Sen’r of Berkeley County. Again, the identity of this John Miller is uncertain, but these Rawlings very likely were kinfolk of Edward and Stephen Rawlings of Hardin County KY.
- Dec 1773, Hugh Miller, Junior, sold land to the Tuscarora Creek Presbyterian Church congregation, which was represented by Hugh Vance (minister), William Patterson, Hugh Lyle, Hugh Miller Senr, David Miller, John Snodgrass Senr, John Park, Dugal Campbell, Samuel Park, Matthew Duncan, Joseph W Car(?), and Thomas Kennedy. This record clearly involved the brothers: David and Hugh Miller, and Hugh’s son, Hugh Miller Jr. It would appear from this record that Hugh Miller Sr., David Miller, William Patterson and John Snodgrass were all affiliated with the Tuscarora Presbyterian Church. Such church affiliation would seem to auger in favor of these Miller’s having descended from Scottish ancestry, possibly migrating to America through Ireland. A new church was erected on this tract that was sold to the church by Hugh Miller Jr. That original church was replaced by the present stone structure shown in Figure 26, erected in about 1811. The Tuscarora Presbyterian Church is held by many historians to have been the site on which the gospel was first preached west of the Blue Ridge, some saying as early as about 1720, when a request was made to the New Castle Synod to supply a minister for the Potomoke people in Virginia.
Even though there are numerous other records available for this family unit, we will end our presentation of records related to the Scots-Irish Miller Brothers. From the foregoing record, which demonstrated the connection between Hugh and David Miller and the Presbyterian Church, it seems almost a certainty that they were of Scots-Irish heritage, certainly not of Dutch or German ancestry. Another test of this presumed Scots-Irish affiliation may be found in the Anglo-Saxon sounding surnames associated with these records. Assuming this ancestral background for the three Miller brothers and their families to be correct, it is the author’s belief that they had no kinship connection with our Jacob Miller. We will now analyze the records associated with the German-Dutch Henry Miller families.
(2) Opequon Henry Miller
Based on a variety of reasons the author believes the profile of Heinrich Miller, presented in Figure 27, was of the same person we will hereinafter refer to as “Henry Miller of Opequon“. This profile was one of 175 found on Ancestry.com, which seem to match the profile of our subject. It should be noted that most of these Ancestry trees show Heinrich Miller’s wife having been named Magdalena, some even reporting her maiden name as “Oswalt” or “Oswald”. No documentation was offered for Heinrich Miller’s wife’s ancestry. Several of these trees also report Heinrich Miller’s father to have been Daniel Miller, born about 1720, variously in Pennsylvania or Germany. A Civil War pension record is offered as proof for Heinrich’s wife’s and father’s names, even though it seems obvious that that record was for a different Heinrich Miller, as Henry Miller of Opequon died in 1817, long before the start of the Civil War. Following are the records found for Henry Miller of Opequon:
- Frederick County Deed Book 13, p. 437 – 6Aug1770: George Neily of Frederick County to Henry Miller of same, 235 acres for £66 situated on Opequon Creek, it being part of a greater tract of 285 acres which was granted to John Neily by Lord Fairfax, deed dated 18Oct1756, adjacent corner of Peter Bedinger. This was the first record found for Henry Miller in the Opequon region. This tract probably was located on the east side of the Opequon, between the mouth of Eagle Branch and Swan’s Pond. The fact that it abutted a corner of Peter Bedinger’s tract clearly placed it in the vicinity of Richard Morgan’s estate lands. The author was unable to locate the original grant to John Neeley, reportedly dated 18Oct1756.
- Berkeley County Deed Book 2, p. 306 – 16Aug1773: [Lease and Release] Henry Miller and wife, Maudlin, 80 acres to Jacob Sevier of the drain of Opequon Creek, part of a tract said Miller obtained from George Neeley and is adjacent to [Peter] Bedinger. Witness Jacob Morgan and James Graham. This was the second record found for a Henry Miller in the vicinity of Opequon Creek. The identity of Henry’s wife as “Maudlin” seems to comport with Magalena as reported in Figure 27. The grantee, Jacob Sevier, is clearly of Dutch-German-French origin. The tract abutted the land of a Peter Bedinger, also of known German origins, and the author’s 4th great uncle. From other sources it is known that both Henry Beginger and Peter Bedinger witnessed the LWT of Richard Morgan, and that Peter Bedinger acquired a 100 acre tract from the estate of Richard Morgan, through his executors:
- [Northern Neck Grants] Book M, p. 8 – 4Aug1762 : Capt. Richard Morgan of Frederick County, 373 acres on Opequon Creek, surveyed by Thomas Rutherford, adjacent Robert Stogdon, Jacob Morgan, Beal, George Linder, Samuel Shoud [Shroud?]. Also,
- [Northern Neck Grants] Book M, p. 259 – 4Apr1764: Henry Vanmeter of Frederick County, 212 acres on Tuscarora, surveyed by Thomas Rutherford, adjacent Moricai Morgan, Morgan Morgan, George William Fairfax Esq., Richard Morgan and John Ellis. Also,
- Frederick County Deed Book 12, p. 115 – 1Mar1768: [Lease and Release] Between John Neally of County of Frederick to Peter Bedinger of same, 50 acres for £40, on drains of Opequon. Witness: Thomas Swearingen, Thomas Ellery and John Ryan.
Through this series of deed records we have links connecting Richard Morgan to George Linder and Henry Vanmeter, and Peter Bedinger to John Neally. So, indirectly, we have Henry Miller linked to both Henry Vanmeter and George Linder. Although somewhat circuitous, through the foregoing series of deed records we have managed to connect Henry Miller with both a Vanmeter and a Linder along the banks of the Opequon, nearby to Tuscarora Branch.
- Berkeley Co., Va DB3 p 60 – 14Apr1774: James and Margaret Brown to Henry Miller, 14 April 1774, 343 acres for £525 Pennsylvania currency situated on the West side of Opequon Creek adjacent to Richard Beeson, Andrew Campbell, JOHN WILSON, George William Fairfax, and John Mendenhall, part of 493 acre tract acquired by Brown from William Morgan and Thomas Swearingen, the executors of the estate of Captain Richard Morgan, and 150 acres conveyed to William Campbell by said Brown. Witness: James Graham and James Gifford. This tract was simply described as having been on the west side of the Opequon. Heretofore, most tracts thus far compiled, and described as having been on the west side of the Opequon, were further described as having been near North Mountain or on Tuscarora Creek or Middle Creek. Was there something different about the location of this tract? It had been more than 20 years since any Millers had appeared in a record with a Beeson. Why all of a sudden this record? On reviewing all of the land records thus far analyzed in Frederick and Berkeley County, the only record previously reviewed which involved James Brown and a Wilson was a 1775 tract involving a Linder. As a basis for comparison, that record is reiterated herein below:
- Bk P p 270 [1775?] Michael Fritz of Berkeley Co., assignee of Jno Linder, 147 acres on Opeccon in said county. surveyor Richard Rigg. adjoining George Linder, heirs of EDWARD STRODE, EDWARD WILSON, JAMES BROWN, George Parkle, Vanmeter. So, in this deed conveyance from John Linder to Michael Fritz we have a tract that abutted Edward Wilson, James Brown, George Parkle and an unspecified Vanmeter. In the current record we have reference to James and Margaret Brown, and John Wilson.
Also, note that the same persons witnessed this deed as witnessed the preceding deed. So, clearly the deed conveyances involved the same Henry Miller and probably were in relatively close proximity (a couple of miles) of each other, probably both on the west side of the Opequon.
We hate to interrupt the flow of our analysis, but find that it is necessary to take a quick excursus into the world of Quakers and Mennonites, so that we might have a better understanding of the social and cultural setting into which this unknown Henry Miller was venturing when he purchased the 343 acre tract from James and Margaret Brown. Heretofore we have spent a great deal of time elaborating on the Vanmeter-Hite tracts, and the important role that they played in the settling of the Valley of Virginia. Yet we have completely ignored an equally important, and almost contemporaneous grant awarded by the Governor and Council of Virginia to the Quakers. Following is one persons description of that early Quaker settlement:
“Although Pennsylvania had been created initially as a haven for Quakers, the arrival of numerous immigrants with other religious beliefs provided in time such a shift in emphasis that many Quakers felt compelled to move elsewhere. In the year 1730 the Quaker leaders Alexander Ross and Morgan Bryan appeared before the Governor and Council of Virginia and from them received a grant of 100,000 acres on the Opequon River in Frederick County, Virginia. This encouraged the move of many Quakers who followed them to the back Virginia country. Because these people moved through the Monocacy area of Maryland it may prove interesting to list some who were named in the Virginia State Land Office records. . . . John Willson, Nathaniel Thomas, John Haitt, Jr., John Peteate, George Robinson, Robert Luna, Luke Emelen, Francis Pincher, John Frost, George Hobson and John Calvert were other Quakers who moved through Maryland to Pennsylvania [Virginia?].” [Tracey]… Also,
“An order of the Lieutenant Governor of the colony of Virginia, dated 23 April 1735, granted leave to Alexander Ross and Morgan Bryan to survey 1,000 acres of land for each of 70 families. John Wilson received 286 acres, “beginning at a red oak on the East side of a small Branch of Opeckon and about forty Poles below the head spring [Eagle Run] . . .” It included all woods and or wood swamps, marshes, low grounds, meadows, etc., rights to all mines and quarries found there, watercourses, with privileges for hunting, hawking, fishing and fowling. Dated 12 November 1735.”
“In the State Land Office at Richmond are to be found recorded in Book 16, pages 315-415, inclusive, the patents issued to the settlers who came to the Shenandoah Valley under authority of the Orders in Council made to Alexander Ross and Morgan Bryan. All bear date of 12 November 1735, and recite that the grantee is one of the 70 families brought in by them, and excepting location and acreage, are alike in wording and conditions, and are signed by William Gooch, Lieutenant-Governor of the Colony at that time . . .
AUTHOR’S NOTE: Cavaliers and Pioneers, Volume IV, Denis Hudgins, 1994, pp. 91-4, contain abstracts of the patent filings referred to, hereinabove. Hudgins writes in the introduction of these patents the following: “The Alexander Ross and Morgan Bryan allotment for 70,000 acres is like the Vanmeter-Hite allotment of Sherrando Land found in Patent Book 15 and at the rate of 1,000 acres per family…”
“These patents were issued under the seal of the colony and were grants from the Crown, free of any obligation of feudal services to the Fairfax family, who claimed the land as lords proprietors of the Northern Neck of Virginia. The 6th Lord Fairfax, who later established his home at Greenway Court near Winchester, instituted many suits against early settlers in the Shenandoah Valley, but it does not appear that any Friend who claimed under Ross and Bryan was ever ejected from his land.”
A list of these Quaker patentees is contained at the end of this chapter in Appendix B.
So, John Wilson was one of the first Quakers to receive a patent from the 100,000 acre grant authorized by the Governor and Council of Virginia to Alexander Ross and Morgan Bryan along the Opequon. In addition to John Wilson, note that John Peteate [Petite] and George Robinson, and James Brown were also identified among these early Quaker settlers. In fact, several of the deed conveyances we have already reviewed and analyzed were part of patents originally issued to Petite and Robinson. Also, note that the Edward Wilson, identified in the John Linder deed conveyance reiterated hereinabove was the eldest son of John Wilson, and of course, himself a fellow Quaker. The original 286 acre patent awarded to John Wilson was situated on the east side of Eagle Run, which was the next westerly tributary on Opequon downstream of Tuscarora Branch, and would fall within the southeasterly limits of present day Martinsburg. It is the author’s belief that the two foregoing tracts that involved Henry Miller and John Linder were very likely in the same general vicinity of John Wilson’s original patent.
It should also be noted that none of the Miller tracts analyzed prior to this Henry Miller tract involved any of these other parties associated with the two foregoing tracts, with the exception of Richard Beeson, who, himself, was a Quaker. It should further be noted that none of those previously analyzed Miller tracts directly or indirectly involved either a Linder or a Vanmeter. Yet, here we find that this Henry Miller, whoever he was, appears to have had a direct and/or indirect connection with both a Linder and a Vanmeter. The other party common to both of the foregoing tracts was James Brown. For the identity of James Brown we offer the following:
“The subject of this profile, [James] Brown-82507, went to Virginia from Maryland around 1732 and settled on the Shenandoah in northern Frederick County with his wife Abigail and daughter Abigail. This James was a Quaker and made his living as a weaver. He sold his northern land in 1738 and 1739. In 1739 his wife was described in the land document as very ill. By 1740 James had settled on Middle Creek. We do not have a land record, but he is described as being of Middle Creek in his daughter’s marriage record. The groom’s family [Thomas Thornbrough], the Thornburghs, were also “of Middle Creek.” Abigail’s mother did not attend the wedding. We do not know if she had died or was still alive but ill, as in 1739.”
So, in addition to the Quaker connections embodied in John and Edward Wilson and Richard Beeson, it would appear the James Brown was also Quaker. Thus ends our excursus into Quakers in the Valley of Virginia.
- Book P, p. 225 – 2Sep1773: George Perkle of Berkeley County 236 acres on Opecon in said County, surveyed by Richard Rigg, adjacent James Brown, Henry Vanmeter, road to Linder’s Ford on Opecon to Warm Springs, Abraham Vanmeter. Recorded 2Sep1773. This deed does not mention a Miller, but has been included at this point in our analysis in an effort to further assist identification of the location of the Henry Miller deed conveyance in Item No. 3, above. George Parkle [aka Perkle] was identified as an adjacent land owner, along with Edward Wilson [son of John Wilson] Edward Strode heirs, James Brown, and an unknown Vanmeter. Now, in this survey performed for George Perkle we find that his tract abutted James Brown, “road to Linder’s Ford on Opequon”, Henry Vanmeter and Abraham Vanmeter. By extrapolation this suggests that Henry Miller’s tract was in the same general neighborhood as Henry Vanmeter and Linder’s Ford. This indirect connection for the location of the tract acquired by Henry Miller from James and Margaret Brown, would seemingly place that tract somewhere along the Opequon, probably not far from the mouth of Tuscarora Creek, perhaps midway between Middle Creek and Eagle Run. Thusly, it would appear that we have a Miller acquiring land in the same immediate neighborhood with Henry Vanmeter and members of the Linder family. Not to place too fine a point on it, but this tract would have been directly across Opequon from the home of Nathan Vanmeter, as exhibited on Figure 25. As an aside, the author believes that Linder’s Ford very likely was the same crossing known as Vanmeter’s Ford on the Opequon, located adjacent to the mouth of Tuscarora Creek. Vanmeter’s Ford is reputedly the location of Vanmeter’s Bridge over the Opequon, which was erected around 1832 and is pictured in Figure 28. This bridge may have been erected on the land of Nathan Vanmeter, inherited from the estate of Henry Vanmeter.
- Deed Book 3, p. 280 – 17Mar1775: [Lease and Release] Henry Miller and wife, Magdalen Miller, 165 acres for £ 285 to Michael Clikes on the drains of Opequon, part of a 285 acre tract granted to John Neally in 1756, and he to George Neally and he to said Miller, adj. to Peter Bedinger, Robert Stockton [Stogdon] and Peter Myers. Witness: William Morgan and James Graham. This Henry Miller is believed to have been the same person involved in the preceding records. Again, Henry Miller appears to have been disposing of the remainder of the 235 acre tract he had acquired from George Neeley [aka Nealley]. In this record Henry’s wife was identified as Magdalen, vs. Maudlin in the earlier record, but believed to have been the same woman [which matches with Henry Miller’s wife shown in Figure 27]. This deed also identifies the neighboring Bedinger as Peter Bedinger. Having disposed of the entire 235 acres acquired from George Neally, Henry Miller was left with the 343 acres acquired from James and Margaret Brown on the west side of the Opequon, near Eagle Run.
- Deed Book 3, p. 226 – 20Mar1775: [Lease and Release] Samuel Stroud, son and heir of the late Samuel Stroud of Loudoun County VA, 50 acres for £125 Pennsylvania currency to Conrad Miller of Berkeley County, part of 100 acres conveyed to the elder Samuel and part of 450 acres granted to Morgan Bryan in 1735. The land is on a creek adj. to Couchman and Miller. This is the first of several records involving various Millers in the near vicinity of Henry Miller of Opequon. At this stage of our investigation the author has no means of identifying these various Millers, except to note their geographic proximity and contemporaneous timing with Henry Miller. Until such time as we have the means to provide an identity for these various Millers, they will be integrated with this analysis of “Henry Miller of Opequon”. The identity of Conrad Miller is uncertain. The land being conveyed from the estate of Samuel Stroud to Conrad Miller was part of a 450 acre tract originally patented by Morgan Bryan, the Quaker. It is the author’s belief that this Morgan Bryan tract was the same tract filed by Bryan on 12Nov1735 summarized in Appendix B, and reiterated as follows:
- Morgan Bryan – 450 acres, west side of Opequon, lowermost ford of Tuscarora.
Assuming the author’s identification of this tract to be correct, then the parcel acquired by Conrad Miller was situated along the lower drains of Tuscarora Creek. Samuel Stroud Sr. lived and died in Loudoun County, across the Blue Ridge to the south of Martinsburg. He almost certainly was a Quaker. In the 1810 census for Berkeley County there was a household headed by a Conrad Miller (page 27 of 91), immediately adjacent to the household of Christian Miller, and on the same page with a John Miller. George Lile’s household abutted Christian Miller. Neither Conrad Miller nor Christian Miller was reported in the 1776/7 rent rolls of Berkeley County, but both were reported in the 1787 rent roll.
This would be a good point at which to introduce a record of a militia company from Frederick County Maryland:
- Maryland Militia Roster – 1757: Capt. Jonathan Hagar’s [founder of Hagerstown MD] Company (Mennonites); Lt. Martin Casner; Ens. James White; Sgt.’s: John Casner, Jacob Casner; Soldiers: Leonard Snavely, George Casner, Jacob Miller, Conrad Miller, John Miller Jr., Frederick Unselt, Joseph Volgamott, John Miller, Daniel Cresap [grandson of notorious Indian Trader and namesake of Cresap’s War, Col. Thomas Cresap], Jacob Miller Jr., Abraham Teter, John Teter, Zachariah Miller, Philip Jacob Miller, Christian Rhoarer, George Davis, Jacob Miller (son of Conrad), Benjamin Mollatt [Arbraham Mollatt was an appraiser and purchased property from the estate of Dr. Richard Pile, deceased husband of Elizabeth Sprigg]
The foregoing record contains names which match persons already introduced, or soon to be introduced in this analysis of Millers in Frederick and Berkeley County Virginia. The author cannot attest to whether the Conrad Miller named as a soldier in Capt. Jonathan Hagar’s Company was the same person named in this deed record, but thinks it possible. Similarly, the soldier named Zachariah Miller may have been the same person, who will appear in deed records in this analysis of Henry Miller of Opequon. Joseph Volgamott almost certainly was Joseph Wolgamott Sr., who will also be introduced shortly in other deed documents. Given the unique character of the Mollatt surname, it seems possible that the soldier, Benjamin Mollatt, was a kinsman of Abraham Mollatt, who was an appraiser on the estate of Dr. Richard Pile in 1780. And, lastly, Frederick Unselt almost certainly was the same person from whom a Jacob Miller purchased a tract of land on Tilhance Branch, discussed later in this chapter under the section entitled “Jacob Miller of Spring Mills”. For what its worth, Frederick Unsult may also have been the same person identified as Friedrich Oneself (or Georg Friederich Unseldt), weaver, age 24, in the passenger list of the Elizabeth, arriving from Rotterdam at the port of Philadelphia on 27Aug1733, the same ship that transported Simon Linder and his family. Further, it might be noteworthy, that on that same ship with the Linders and Frederick Onself, was a Wolf Conrad Milor (or Wolffgang Miller), aged 41, and a Jacob Milor (or Jacob Muller), aged 17. Since the ship’s register did not attempt to record familial connections, it cannot be stated with any certainty that Wolf Conrad Milor and Jacob Milor held any particular kinship. However, given their respective ages, it does seem possible that Jacob Milor could have been the son of Wolf Conrad Milor. More to the point, the soldier identified as “Jacob Miller (son of Conrad)” could have been the same as Jacob Milor in the manifest from the Elizabeth. If those Jacob Millers were the same person, then Jacob Miller, the soldier, would have been about 39 years old in 1757. Does that seem plausible? More to the point, might that Jacob Miller have purchased land in Frederick County Virginia in 1760? (more discussion to follow under Jacob Miller of Spring Mills)
- Deed Book 3, p. 229 – 20Mar1775: [Lease and Release] Samuel Stroud, son and heir of the late Samuel Stroud of Loudoun County VA, 75 acres for £125 Pennsylvania currency to Conrad Miller of Berkeley County, part of 225 acres conveyed to the elder Samuel and Adj. to Couchman. Ditto. May have been a brother or son of Jacob Miller, son of Conrad Miller.
- Deed Book 3, p. 283 – 17Apr1775: [Lease and Release] Tuler Myre and Michael Cukes [Clikes?] executors of Jacob Seever [Sevier?] deceased and widow, Barbara Seever, 80 acres for £ 105 to John Allen on the drains of Opequon, part of a tract Henry Miller purchased from George Neally, and said Miller to Sevier, adj. to Bedinger. Witness: Moses Hunter, David Whipple and George Hollenback. This appears to have been the same tract conveyed by Henry Miller and his wife to Jacob Sevier in Item No. 2, above.
- Will Book 1, p. 209 – 26Jun1777: Estate Audit and Sale for Daniel May: Buyers names included: Edward Beeson, James Strode, Conrad Miller, Michael Fritz, etal… (mostly Germans). Ditto.
- [Northern Neck Grants] Book Q, p. 178 – 2Aug1777: Robert Jackson of Berkeley County, 178 acres on Back Creek in said County, surveyed by Richard Rigg, adjacent Mr. Jackson, John Harper, Thomas Loudan/Lowdan, Zechariah Miller and Pine Ridge. This was the first record encountered for Zachariah Miller. He may have been the same person identified as a soldier in the company of Capt. Jonathan Hagar.
- Will Book 1, p. 262 – 1777 (filed 20Aug1782): Estate sale for Barbara Merritz: Items sold to Henry Miller, John Miller, Henry Mooler, Jacob Mooler, Benjamin Rawlings, etal… (many Germans). Barbara Merritz [aka Merritt] is believed to have been the wife of George Merritt, who had land granted around 1762 on the drains of Opequon. There were almost 80 persons who purchased property from this estate sale, most of whom had German surnames. It is interesting to note the intermixing of Henry Miller with a John Miller, whose identity is unknown to the author [possibly son of Henry Miller as identified in Henry Miller’s Will (more to follow)]. Even more interesting is the involvement of Jacob and Henry Mooler, whose family will be discussed in a later section of this Chapter entitled “George Adam Mooler/Mohler”.
- [Northern Neck Grants] Book R, p. 100 – 16Feb1779: Zachariah Millar of Berkeley County, 306 acres on Back Creek, in said County, Surveyed by Richard Rigg. Adj. Peter White. Ditto. Other associated grant records place this tract in the vicinity of Whites Run drainage, which flows into Tilhance Branch, thence into Back Creek.
- [Northern Neck Grants] Book R, p. 101 – 17Feb1779: Zachariah Millar of Berkeley County, 263 acres, in said County, Surveyed by Richard Rigg. Adj. Thomas Loudoun, Laurence ONeil, Millar, Rawling’s Spring Branch, and White. This is believed to have been the same person as the preceding records. This tract very likely was situated on the northwest side of Tilhance Branch, by virtue of its having abutted Thomas Loudoun’s land, probably on the waters of White’s Run, about 5 miles westerly of Hedgesville.
- Bk R p 262 – 4Aug1779: Henry Millar of Berkley County, 4 aug 1779, Informed Office of Surplus in tract near Martinsburg in said county, part of 403 acres granted 2 May 1753 to Richard Morgan who conveyed to James Brown who conveyed 321 acres to said Millar. Resurveyed by Richard Rigg, 34(?) [343 acre, per deed conveyance in Item No. 2, above] acres (28 acres surplus) to George Miller, adjoining Edward Beeson, Capt. Richard Morgan, JOHN WILSON, George Tingle [Perkle?]. This almost certainly was Henry Miller of Opequon. It is believed that this resurvey involved the same tract of land conveyed by James and Margaret Brown to Henry Miller in Item No. 3, above. Through this resurvey record we have the introduction for the first time the name of George Miller. It is the author’s belief that this George Miller was a son of Henry Miller, as identified in Henry Miller’s Will dated 7Oct1816 (Appendix C). George Miller probably would have been born before 1758, in order to receive this tract from his father.
- Bk S p 75 – 3Aug1780: WILLIAM WILSON of Berkeley County said there is surplus in tract on Opecon about 2 miles from Martinsburg in said county, part of 225 acre granted Sept 14, 1764 to SAMUEL STRODE who sold his part. Residue at his death became property of his son Samuel Strode as heir at law, who conveyed to WILSON for 97 acres. Resurveyed by Richard Rigg shows 264 acres, 3 Ro 38 Po (167 acres 3 Ro and 38 Po. surplus). Deed to WILSON. adjoining Henry Miller, JOHN WILSON, James Blair, Samuel Strode. 3 Aug 1780. This Henry Miller is believed to have been Henry Miller of Opequon. This deed would seem to place Henry Miller’s land about two miles from Martinsburg, probably to the east.
- Deed Book 5, p. 559 – 18Sep1780: [Lease and Release] William Wilson and wife, Jane Wilson 264 acres and 3 rods, 38 poles for £1000 to David Wolgamot on drains of Opequon Creek, adj. Henry Miller, John Wilson, James Blair and Samuel Strode. This tract is believed to have abutted the 343 acre tract acquired by Henry Miller from James and Mary Brown. The grantee, David Wolgamot is believed to have been a son of Joseph Wolgamot, who received naturalization on the same date with George French and Jacob Miller at Annapolis Maryland in 1747 (more to follow). Also the same person recorded as a soldier in Capt. Jonathan Hagar’s company of militia in Frederick County MD in 1757.
- Deed Book 5, p. 560 – 18Sep1780: [Lease and Release] David Wolgamot and wife, Susannah Wolgamot 228 acres for £4200 to Henry Sherrod, land granted to William Wilson, then to Wolgamot, adj. Conrad Miller, Blair, Couchman. The referenced Conrad Miller is believed to have been the same person mentioned in the preceding records. The identity of Conrad Miller is yet unknown. The author believes the grantee, David Wolgamot was a son of Joseph Wogamot Sr.. We will explore the Wolgamot family in much greater detail later in this chapter. David Wolgamot would have retained 36 acres from the original 264 acres acquired from William and Jane Wilson.
- Deed Book 5, p. 563 – 19Sep1780: [Lease and Release] David Wolgamot and wife, Susannah Wolgamot of Berkeley County VA and Joseph Wolgamot and wife, Julianna Wolgamot of Washington County MD 118 acres for £3000 to William Hickson of Washington County MD on Sleepy Creek and Mountain Run, granted their deceased father, Joseph Wolgamot.
- [Northern Neck Grants] Book N, p. 304 – 30Oct1766: Joseph Vulgamore Sr., 188 acres on Sleepy Creek and Mountain Run in Frederick County VA, surveyed by Thomas Rutherford, near Warm Spring Road, Mountain Run.
The foregoing grant was the original patent filed by Joseph Wolgamot Sr., father of David Wolgamot and Joseph Wolgamot Jr. Apparently, Joseph Jr. and family were still residing in Washington County MD at time of this conveyance. The location of this tract is believed to have been situated on Mountain Run, tributary of Sleepy Creek, about 10 miles over the mountain from Tomahawk on Back Creek. It is possible that Joseph Sr. never actually occupied this tract, as he is believed to have lived in the vicinity of Williamsport MD where he owned and operated a grist mill.
- Deed Book 5, p. 722 – 20May1782: [Lease and Release] Michael Fritz 9.73 acres for £11.6 to Henry Baugh, adj. to Henry Miller and Wolgamot. Witness Robert Cockburn, Felty Fritz and Peter Deal. Same Henry Miller. Still living near Eagle Run on Opequon.
- [Northern Neck Grants] Book S, p. 214 – 27Apr1787: John Miller, assignee of William Askew, assignee of John Cowdry, heir at law to John Cowdry, deceased, 276 acres (patented 15Nov1752) in Frederick County on North Mountain, adj. James Jones, Richard Hatcher, Patton now Robert Knox, Cornelius Breson, David Crocket. The identity of this John Miller is uncertain, but possibly the son of Henry Miller, as identified in Henry Miller’s Will. He could also have been a son of Zachariah Miller, who was named an executor to his father’s estate in 1795.
- Berkeley County Deed Book 5, p. 429 – 11May1785: Henry Miller Jr. purchased 228.75 acres from Henry Sherrard for £332, with all houses, buildings, orchards, waters, water courses and appurtenances. This deed record reference was extracted from a book on the Hout Family, which contained a biography of the Henry Miller family. This referenced deed is believed to have involved the purchase of a tract by the son of “Henry Miller of Opequon”. The date of this purchase would suggest that Henry Miller Jr. was born sometime before 1764, as he would have had to have reached his majority in order to be allowed to purchase land. Following is another deed abstract, which the author believes to have been the means whereby Henry Sherrard acquired the land sold to Henry Miller Jr.:
- Berkeley County Deed Book 5, p. 560 – 18Sep1780: [Lease and Release] David Wolgamot and wife, Susannah, 228 acres for £4,200 to Henry Sherrod, land granted to William Wilson and he to said Wolgamot, adjacent Conrad Miller, Blair, Couchman. We have already introduced this record (Item No. 17, above). The author believes that this tract abutted the 343 acre tract purchased by Henry Miller Sr. from James and Margaret Brown on 14Apr1774 (Item No. 3., above), situated on the west side of Opequon Creek near head of Eagle Run.
- Will Book 1, p. 463 – 15Jul1787: Estate sale for Michael Fritz: Buyers names included: Zachariah Miller, Conrad Miller, etal… (mostly Germans) Michael Fritz is believed to have been the same person named in Item No. 19, above, selling land to Henry Baugh, which abutted the lands of Henry Miller and [David] Wolgamot. Zachariah and Conrad Miller are believed to have been the same persons whose names previously appeared in this section. Henceforth, Zachariah Miller’s records have been situated on the northwest side of Back Creek, whereas Conrad Miller’s references were related to the drains of Opequon near Eagle Run. There were only seventeen persons who purchased items from this estate, so it is curious that Zachariah Miller and Conrad Miller, who seemingly lived almost 15 miles apart, would appear at the same estate auction. Given the presence of so many Germans in Berkeley County in this time period, it hardly seems likely that it would have been merely their common ethnicity that would cause this convergence. This is highly suggestive of a common ancestral connection. Since Conrad Miller appeared in this record, and because the estate sale was for Michael Fritz (the same persons reported acquiring land adjacent to Henry Miller and Wolgamot in Item No. 19), we will assume that there may have been a kinship connection between Henry Miller, Conrad Miller and Zachariah Miller, to be discussed at the end of this compilation.
- Bk W p 628 T.W. 27- 24 Nov 1787 JOHN TURNER, assigned of Richard Sarjeant, 50 acres ( 16 Aug 1794) in Berkeley Co., on North Mountain adjoining Martin Miller, JOHN TURNER, GEORGE MILLER. 27 Nov 1795. We now have the introduction of yet another Miller, Martin Miller, seemingly associated with George Miller. There were no listings for either George Miller or Martin Miller in the 1776/7 rent roll for Berkeley County, yet there were two listings for Martin Miller in 1787 (none for George Miller). This George Miller is believed to have been the same person, who received the surplus land from the resurvey of Henry Miller’s tract in Item No. 11, above. Given the close geographic proximity of Martin Miller to George Miller, it might be inferred that they had a kinship connection. Aside from being near North Mountain, the location of this tract is uncertain. No estate record was found for a Martin Miller in West Virginia, and no record was found for him in the 1810 census of Berkeley or Jefferson Counties, so it seems plausible that he moved out of Virginia before 1810.
- [Northern Neck Grants] Book S, p. 372 – 31Mar1788: Jacob Bergman [Bingaman?], assignee of Christian Caliz?, 47 acres (patented 6Sep1775) in Berkeley County, adj. Edward Beeson, Robert Snodgrass, Stephen Rawlings, Gaspar Bonner on North Mountain, and Martin Miller. We have seen several records already involving various members of the Beeson, Snodgrass and Rawlings families. Many of the early records were on Back Creek, but later records were on the southeast side of North Mountain. This record being almost 40 years on, it is difficult to state exactly where these families may have been living in 1788. However, a grant to one of the adjacent landowners may give us a clue as to location:
- [Northern Neck Grants] Book R, p. 112 – 2Mar1779: Gasper Bonner of Berkeley County, 365 acres on drains of Potomac in said County, adjacent George Myles, Thomas Swearingen, Road from Rawlings on Back Creek to Warm Springs, Turd [Third] Hill Mountain. Also,
- [Northern Neck Grants] Book Q, p. 336 – 7Sep1778: Edward Beeson of Berkeley County, assignee of Stephen Rawlings, 336 acres on Back Creek in said County, surveyed by Richard Riggs, adjacent Shepherd, hills of Back Creek, Rawlings, Casper Bonner, Road from Rawling’s to Warm Springs.
The clue provided in these grant records is the reference to “the road from Rawlings to Warm Springs”. In order to get a geographic fix on the references being provided with these records related to Henry Miller, Conrad Miller, John Miller, George Miller, Zachariah Miller and now Martin Miller, it is helpful to understand the geology of this northeast panhandle of West Virginia. This area has been marked (at the earth’s surface) by tectonic uplifting and compression, which has created longitudinal folds in the earth’s crust. These folds in the panhandle area are oriented along an axis which runs from southwest to northeast. Over eons of surface erosion, a series of roughly parallel mountain ranges have been formed, divided by erosion valleys carved out by streams. The Catoctin Range forms the southeasterly-most range, followed in succession by the Blue Ridge range, then the North Mountain range, Speepy Creek [Third Hill] range, etc. The Potomac River has cut through this succession of uplifted or folded ridges. Early settlement of this panhandle region of Virginia (before it became designated West Virginia) generally migrated southwestward from the Potomac along the intervening erosion valleys. The bottom lands in these valleys was generally the most fertile and, therefore, most desirable among the first patentees. As settlement and developments advanced it became necessary to clear and maintain roadways to allow for further development and transport of agricultural, industrial, household and trade goods. Added to this mix was the presence of another geological phenomena, the Berkeley Springs or Warm Springs, as it was known in the 18th century. Situated on the banks of the Potomac between the Sleepy Creek and Cacapon ranges, the warm springs had been a major attraction for centuries, if not millennia, first for the native Americans, and then later the newly arriving European settlers. Certainly there was a need for wagon roads across this region to and from the earliest ferrying points at Watkins Ferry near Williamsport, Swearingens Ferry on Pack Horse Trail at Shepherdstown, and Harpers Ferry at the mouth of the Shenandoah. The need for other transportation routes to interconnect the growing populations radiating out along the eroded valleys soon became apparent, and on 5Aug1746 an order was enacted in Frederick County for the construction of the first major trans-valley roadway:
- Frederick County Order Book 2, p. 113 – 5Aug1746: On the petition of the inhabitants of Potomac River it is ordered that Israel Robinson, Gentleman, Thomas Berwick, and Thomas Cherry view and mark and lay off a road from the meeting house at the gap [Hedgesville] of the mountain [North Mountain] above Hugh Pauls to the Warm Spring [Berkeley Spring] and James Boyl is hereby appointed overseer from the said spring to Sleepy Creek, and Edward Robinson from Sleepy Creek to the meeting house, and it is further ordered that the tithables within six miles on each side of the said road clear and work on the same and when cleared that the said James Boyl and Edward Robinson keep the said road in good repair according to law.
The foregoing road order was the earliest record found by the author creating a road from North Mountain to Warm Springs. It is the author’s belief that this road began in the mountain gap on North Mountain (at present day Hedgesville) and ran in a northwesterly direction, first crossing Back Creek, then skirting around the eastern end of Sleepy Creek range, crossing Tilhance Creek, Gough Creek, Cherry Creek and finally Sleepy Creek, before making a beeline westerly to Warm Springs, following essentially the same alignment as present day State Route 9. Refer to Figure 29 for an illustration of the probable alignment of this new road. Assuming the author’s interpretation of the alignment of the road to Warm Springs to be correct, then the above cited patent, which included Martin Miller as an adjacent land owner, likely would have been situated on the northwestern slope of North Mountain, within the Back Creek drainage, and not too distant from Hedgesville.
- [Northern Neck Grants] Book U, p. 128 – 7Sep1789: James Laramore assignee of James Orr, 293 acres (patented 13May1772) in Frederick County, adj. John Moore, Zachariah Miller, between Back Creek and Sleepy Creek Mountains, and Bryan Bruin. Given the proximity of this tract to Zachariah Miller, it would appear that Zachariah Miller’s tract was situated on the southeast side of the Sleepy Creek Mountains, within the Back Creek drainage. Since Back Creek is such a long stream, it is difficult to pinpoint Zachariah Miller’s land other than to state that is was situated on the drains of Back Creek, possibly near White’s Run.
- [Northern Neck Grants] Book U, p. 130 – 7Sep1789: Monnis [Morris?] Plotner, assignee of John Miller, executor of Jacob Cale, deceased, 29 acres (patented 23Sep1788) in Berkeley County on Sleepy Creek, adj. Thomas Morgan and Peter Overly. The identity of this John Miller is unknown to the author. The location of this tract seemingly would place it in the near vicinity to Zachariah Miller, whose lands were across the mountain from Sleepy Creek.
- [Northern Neck Grants] Book V, p. 150 – 9Jun1791: John Miller 400 acres (patented 23Sep1790) in Berkeley County on Sleepy Creek, adj. Jonathan Rose, Thomas Harrison, John Miller and Joseph Watson. This patent filing by John Miller appears to have been within the Sleepy Creek drainage, which would place it further north and westerly from the preceding patent involving Martin Miller. Since Sleepy Creek is a relatively long stream (almost 35 miles) it is difficult to place this tract more precisely, but probably was on the lower reaches near the Potomac. It seems possible that this John Miller was the son of Henry Miller (Henry’s Will), but may also have been a son of Zachariah Miller.
- Will Book 2, p. 111 – 10Oct1791: Estate sale for John Plotner: Buyers names included: Henry Miller, Conrad Miller, Barney [Bernhard] Miller, Henry Miller Jr., etal… (about 40% Germans) It is difficult to ascribe kinship connection based solely on buyers at an estate sale, but, at a minimum, it seems reasonable to assume that Henry Miller Jr. was a son of Henry Miller. In the 1776/7 rent rolls there were records for two different Henry Miller’s, one clearly associated with David Osburn, who we will explore in the next section entitled “Jacob Miller of Spring Mills”. The other Henry Miller in 1776/7 is believed to have been Henry Miller of Opequon. In the 1787 rent rolls there are listings of three separate Henry Millers, probably a continuation of the two from 1776/7 with the addition of this Henry Miller Jr. We have already opined that Conrad Miller was possibly a kinsman of Henry Miller, based on earlier deed and patent record analysis. This was the first recorded instance found by the author of Bernard Miller. There was no listing for Bernard Miller in either 1776/7 or 1787 rent rolls, nor in the 1810 census or estate records. We will attempt of ascribe a kinship for Bernard Miller, as our record review and analysis proceeds. We will start our speculation on the kinship of Bernard Miller based on the following land records:
- [Northern Neck Grants] Book V, p. 152 – 10Jun1791: John Plotner, assignee of Nathaniel Hull or Hall, 73 acres (patented 21Aug1780) in Berkeley County, adjacent Col. Benjamin Chambers, John Richardson, John Plotner, and Nathan Rawlings, on Back Creek or Potomac. Also,
- [Northern Neck Grants] Book U, p. 130 – 7Sep1789: Monnis [Morris?] Plotner, assignee of John Miller, executor of Jacob Cale, deceased, 29 acres (patented 23Sep1788) in Berkeley County, on Sleepy Creek adjacent Thomas Morgan and Peter Overly.
From the forgoing records it would appear that John Plotner had lived in the vicinity of the Back Creek drainage, near its confluence with the Potomac River, i.e. not too distant from Tilhance and Gough Creeks. It seems doubtful that persons would travel very far from their immediate neighborhoods to participate in an estate auction. Consequently, it seems probable that all four of the Millers, who purchased items from this estate sale were residing in the area of lower Back Creek and the Potomac. Consequently, it seems reasonable to assume that Bernard Miller may have been yet another kinsman of Henry Miller Sr., whoever he was. Whether this Henry Miller [Sr.] was the same person as “Henry Miller of Opequon” is not yet clear to the author.
- [Northern Neck Grants] Book V, p. 355 – 3Feb1792: Morgan Gibbons, assignee of John Lamb, 226 acres (patented 19Jul1779) in Berkeley County, adj. Richard Rigg, Robert Pinkerton, Zachariah Miller, on Tilhance Branch of Back Creek, James Orr, George Myles, John Jenkins and Elias Stone. In this record we have Zachariah Miller as an adjacent land owner on Tilhance Branch of Back Creek. This is the same location that a Jacob Miller first filed a patent in 1760. That Jacob Miller will be analyzed later in this chapter under the identity of “Spring Mills Jacob Miller”. At some point in our analysis of Miller records from Berkeley County it may become suggestive that there were kinship connections between some of the five different groupings established by the author, but that is yet to be determined.
- [Northern Neck Grants] Book V, p. 570 – 30May1792: Martin Miller 53 acres (patented 1Oct1770) in Frederick County, adj. Allen Cox, Edward Beeson, Peter Hedges, Edward Davis, Gaspar Bonner on North Mountain. When the author researched patents having a filing date of 1Oct1770, only two records were found, one of which was located on the slope of the Blue Ridge (clearly not this patent), and another filed by the Honorable George William Fairfax, abstracted as follows:
- [Northern Neck Grants] Book O, p. 318 – 1Oct1770: The Honorable George William Fairfax of Fairfax County, 2080 acres on Dry Marsh of Opequon (including the improvement formerly Nicholas Mercer’s) in Frederick County, surveyed by Thomas Rutherford, adjacent William McMachon, David Brown, Mr. Charles Dick, John Nickland’s heirs, Samuel Littler, Andrew Milburn, Milburn’s heirs, land formerly Peter Falkner, deceased, Joseph Darnell, Richard Colbert, Benjamin Blackburn, the Waggon Road [from Watkins Ferry], Capt. Angus McDonald, and Henry Heth.
It seems probable that the 53 acre tract patented by Martin Miller on 30May1792 may have been part of the patent taken out by George William Fairfax on 1Oct1770, given that there were no other patents on that date in this part of Berkeley County. The precise location of this patent is uncertain, but probably was in the region between Opequon and Back Creeks, near the Potomac, and north of Shepherdstown, perhaps in the Falling Creek area.
- Will Book 2, p. 171 – 26Fed1793: Estate Settlement for Michael Shaver: Account Names: Barney Miller, Christian Miller, Henry Miller, etal… (mostly Germans) Again, we have the introduction of yet another Miller, Christian Miller, in association with Henry Miller and Bernard [Barney] Miller. Christian Miller appeared on the 1787 rent roll in Berkeley County, so he would have been born before about 1766, and probably a land owner in order to pay quit rents. The LWT of Christian Miller was dated 15Mar1809, naming wife, Christen [Christina], daughters: Sarah and Cathy, and a young son, named John, witnessed by Henry Dawson and John Shockey.
- Bk Y p 200 Exc. TW 540-18 Sept 1793 GEO. MILLER, 50 acres (31 Oct 1794) in Berkeley Co., on North Mountain adjoining Tunis Newkirk and JOHN TURNER purchased of Edward David [Davis?], George Myles, Robert Stephenson, Edward Beeson. 22 July 1796. This George Miller is believed to have been the same person involved in earlier records above, and a son of Henry Miller of Opequon. The location of this tract very likely was in the vicinity of Hedgesville or Spring Mills.
- [Northern Neck Grants] Book W, p. 628 – 27Nov1795: John Turner, assignee of Richard Serjeant, 50 acres (patented 16Aug1794) in Berkeley County on North Mountain, adj. Martin Miller, John Turner and George Miller. So Martin Miller and George Miller were neighbors, likely in the environs of Hedgesville.
- Will Book 2, p. 306 – 29Mar1794: Auction Vendue for Philip Sheets: Buyers: Bernard Miller, Jacob Miller, Henry Bedinger, etal… Administrators: Uliana Sheets and Henry Turney; Security By: Abraham Shepherd Jr. and J. Swearingen. This record is of particular importance to our investigation, as it is the first instance of a Jacob Miller appearing in the same record with other parties already tentatively identified. Henry Bedinger almost certainly was the author’s 4th great uncle. It can be further assumed that this Bernard Miller was the same person previously identified in association with Henry Miller, Conrad Miller, George Miller and Zachariah Miller. Unfortunately, this was an estate sale record, so it is not possible to establish close geographic proximity, based on this record alone. As we proceed with our investigation we will look for other instances of this Jacob Miller, if they exist. It seems possible to the author that this Jacob Miller was yet another son of Henry Miller of Opequon (see Henry Miller’s Will in Appendix C) Philip Sheets was not the son-in-law of Henry Miller of Opequon.
- [Northern Neck Grants] Book X, p. 177 – 8Jun1796: John Thornton, 439 acres (patented 21May1772) in Berkeley County, adj. his own land, Coulter, John Miller, Alpheus Gustin, Sleepy Creek and Potomac. Ditto. Possibly a son of Henry Miller of Opequon or Zachariah Miller.
- [Northern Neck Grants] Book X, p. 490 – 19Oct1796: John McLean, assignee of Joseph Turner, 116.5 acres (patented 19Mar1794) in Berkeley County, adj, heirs of Thacher, heirs of John Miller, deceased, North Mountain. Identity of this John Miller, deceased, is uncertain, but possibly related to the Scotch-Irish Miller brothers. This John Miller would not have been a son of Henry Miller of Opequon, as Henry made a bequest to that John Miller in 1816.
- Will Book 3, p. 87 – 28Aug1797: Estate Audit for Benjamin Thornburgh: Account Names: John Vanmeter, Henry Miller, etal… (mostly Germans) The Thornburgh family were Quakers. This may have been the same Henry Miller, who appeared in the previous records, and identified as Henry Miller of Opequon.
- Will Book 3, p. 279 – 27Jan1800: Estate Settlement for John Platner [Plotner?]: Account Names: Henry Miller, John Miller, etal… This may have been a record of Henry Miller of Opequon, and his son, John Miller..
- Will Book 3, p. 288 – 9Mar1800: Estate Settlement for Col. William Morgan: Account Names: Daniel Bedinger, Henry Bedinger, Jacob Bedinger. William Brown, William Lemen, Christian Miller, etal… (mostly Dutch and German) This Christian Miller almost certainly was the same person named in earlier record(s). He may have been a kinsman of Henry Miller of Opequon.
- Will Book 3, p. 351 – 14May1800: Estate appraisal for Jacob Miller; Appraisers: David Osborn Sr., Mason Bennett, David Moore and Adam Link. The identity of this Jacob Miller is uncertain. This estate record will be revisited in our analysis of Jacob Miller of Elk Branch in the next section of this chapter.
- Will Book 2, p. 637 – 4Nov1802: Estate sale for Conrad Stickler: Buyers names included: George Miller, etal… (mostly Germans) This George Miller probably was a son of Henry Miller of Opequon.
- Will Book 3, p. 452 – 25Oct1802: Estate Sale for Archibald Shearer: Buyers Names: Henry Miller, William Miller, etal… (mostly German) Archibald Shearer lived in the Falling Creek area, between Spring Mills and the Potomac River. This Henry Miller may have been Henry Miller of Opequon. This was the first instance of this William Miller. His identity is unknown to the author.
- Will Book 3, p. 583 – 27Dec1803: Estate appraisal for Zephaniah Brashear. Names on account: Jacob Miller, Edward Strode, Jeremiah Strode, John Strode, Susannah Strode, Thomas Swearingen, etal… The identity of this Jacob Miller is uncertain.. An extraordinary number of these accounts involved various members of the Strode family, suggesting a possible kinship connection to Zephaniah Brashear.
- Will Book 3, p. 664 – 25Feb1805: Estate Sale for Jacob Clise: Names of bidders: Jacob Miller, etal… (mostly Germans). There was still a Jacob Miller living in Berkeley County in 1805. His identity is unknown to the author. but possibly the same person who purchased from the estate of Zephaniah Brashear, above.
- 4Oct1816, Recorded 10Mar1817 – Will of Henry Miller Sr.; Sons: Henry, Jacob [possibly our Jacob Miller], George, Adam and John; daughters: Rosanna Horst [Hout or Haudt], Elizabeth Job, Mary Choppart, Hannah Vincenheller, Catherine Deel (wife of Peter Dell [Diehl]), granddaughters: Hannah Errett, Elizabeth Sheets and Sarah Sheets; grandsons: William and Henry Sheets; Executors: Jacob Weaver, Esq., and William Long; Witnesses: John Shober, Martin Myers, Edward Grub and Nicholas Moursquint [Marquart?]. This is believed to have been the LWT of “Henry Miller of Opequon”. A complete transcription of this Will is contained in Appendix C at the end of this chapter. It is a very lengthy Will which made substantial bequests to five sons: Henry, Jacob, George, Adam and John, and five daughters: Rosannah, Elizabeth, Mary, Hannah, Catherine, and several grandchildren of deceased daughters (married to a Mr. Errett and Mr. Sheetz). Henry’s wife was not named in the Will, so presumably she had died sometime before about 1815, when Henry disposed of a tract of land, without his wife relinquishing dower. The author believes that the George Miller, who received the surplus tract from Henry Miller (Item No. 14, above) probably was the son, George Miller, named in Henry Miller’s LWT. If so, it seems probable that this son would have been born before 4Aug1758. If it is assumed that Henry’s sons were named in his Will in their order of birth (oldest to youngest), then it seems likely that Henry Jr. and Jacob were older than George, and possibly born before 1757. NOTE: At the time that this Will was written, all of Henry Miller’s children were adults, married, and living away from his household. It is entirely conceivable that Henry Miller’s son, Jacob Miller, was the same person as our Jacob Miller, who had removed to Grayson County Kentucky in about 1795. It is known that Rosanna Miller Hout was living in Ohio in 1817, when her father made her bequest from his estate, so there is good reason to believe that other children were also living outside of Berkeley County Virginia in 1816.
- 1810 Berkeley County Census record for household of Henry Miller Sr. is summarized in Figure 30. This record lists five younger males, in addition to the presumed head of household, Henry Miller Sr. It also lists an older woman, over age 45, presumed to have been Henry’s wife, Magdalena. Additionally, there were two young females, the oldest aged 10 thru 25. It is the author’s belief that one of Henry and Madgalen’s married daughters, and her husband and children were living in Henry Sr’s. household. That being the case, then it would appear that all of the other children (with the possible exception of one son) were no longer living with the parents. It seems probable that Henry Miller was born sometime around 1735 [in Germany], so in 1810 all of his children would have been adults and probably living on their own.
- Henry Miller of Opequon’s Public Tree: There were 151 trees found on Ancestry.com for this Henry Miller, whose profile is summarized in Figure 27. It should be noted that some of these trees associated communicant records for a Henry and Magdalen Miller from the Christ Evangelical Luther Church of Lehigh PA in the 1790’s. Clearly, those records could not have been for Henry Miller of Opequon, as he had been living continuously in Berkeley County VA from about 1770 until his death in 1817, unless perhaps they had traveled briefly back to Pennsylvania. Also, many of those trees identify Magdalena with the surname of “Oswald”, and Heirnich’s father as Daniel Miller. However, no documentary proof is offered for those assertions.
- Henry Miller Family Biography: The best (if not only) biography to be found on the family of Henry Miller was published in a book entitled THE HOUT FAMILY For Two Hundred and Twenty-seven Years Ten Generations 1725 to 1952, written by Margaret Birney Pittis, 1952. Ms. Pittis has performed a Herculean task of researching her Hout family ancestry in an age before the advent of computers and electronic communications. The author stands in awe of her achievement. In Ms. Pittis’ work she has compiled a variety of information on the Houts and allied families in and around Martinsburg, some elements of which are reiterated as follows:
“Some names in Poll List of Berkeley County 1788-89
(Only “freeholders” voted)
Jacob Miller (quite possibly our Jacob Miller)
John Miller (quite possibly Jacob Miller’s younger brother)
- Peter Houte and Rosanna Miller [daughter of Henry and Madgalena Miller, and possibly sister of our Jacob Miller]: 21Nov1786, Hugh Vance, Minister.
- Henry Houte (son of Peter and Rosanna [Miller]) and Rachael French [French family will be explored in next section of this chapter]: 14Apr1812
Rosannah gave eight (possibly nine) of their ten children the same names as those of her father and brothers and three (or four) of her sisters. Her first son was named Henry, which was the name of her father and eldest brother…
Of the ten children [of Peter Hout and Rosanna Miller], Henry [Hout Jr.] was the only one to marry in Virginia before moving to Ohio. On April 14, 1812, the marriage of Henry Hout and Rachel French occurred, as was recorded in the marriage records of Berkeley County. This was a year previous to the removal of the Peter Hout family to Ohio. Henry and Rachel joined the migration and established their home in the land of new opportunity…
Henry Miller’s grandson, William Jobe, in his biographical sketch in the “History of the Lower Shenandoah Valley”, stated that Henry Miller served in the American Revolution. Several, and probably all, of his twelve children were born before the outbreak of the War in 1775 (Rosannah was born in 1765); it is doubtful, therefore, that Henry Miller actually enlisted in the army. He may have served in the local militia, as did many men who were fifty or more years of age…
We do hereby certify that there is due unto Henry Miller the sum of three hundred and ninety-six pounds seventeen shillings and six pence for nineteen bushels and three pecks and three quarts furnished by the said Henry Miller for the use of the State of Virginia, agreeable to an act of Assembly entitled “An Act for procuring a Supply of Provisions,” &c. Witness our hands this 24th day of October, 1780. (p. 58-9)…
Henry Miller is allowed one pound ten shillings for a gun impressed for the use of the Militia of this County in the service of the State, which is ordered to be certified. Henry Miller was a patriot, having furnished supplies. His daughter Rosannah married Peter Hout; hence these two records qualify the descendants of Peter and Rosannah Miller Hout for membership in the patriotic societies stemming from the American Revolution. Bars are used by these societies to de note the number of qualifying ancestors. The records of John George Hout, Peter Hout, and Henry Miller qualify the descendants of Peter and Rosannah Hout for membership and two bars in the patriotic societies…”
NOTE: Although the foregoing writer’s primary emphasis was on the Haudt or Hout family, and consequently, focused on the descendants of Rosannah [Miller] Hout having claim of ascendance from a Revolutionary War “patriot”, it should be pointed out that anyone descended from Henry Miller would be entitled to claim the same ascendancy.
This concludes our investigation into the family of “Henry Miller of Opequon”. We will return to this family when we conclude our complete analysis of Berkeley County Millers, toward the end of this chapter.
(3) Spring Mills Jacob Miller:
The author only became aware of the possible existence of this Jacob Miller through seven public trees on Ancestry.com. His profile is presented in Figure 31, below. Many of the owners of these trees aver that this Jacob Miller died at Spring Mills in 1788, and that he had two sons named Henry and Michael, each of whom had married daughters of Jacob French. The author has attempted to contact the owners of these public trees regarding their sources for this purported family of Jacob Miller, but has received no reply. These public tree records for the family of Jacob Miller are completely lacking in any source data. Consequently, the author is unable to reliably establish the existence of this Jacob Miller, or whether he may have had two sons named Henry and Michael.
That being said, it should be reported that there does appear to be record evidence of the existence in Berkeley County of two men named Henry and Michael Miller, who were married to Margaret French and Mary French, respectively, presumed to have been daughters of Jacob French II. The basis for these marriages is credited to a deed record abstracted as follows:
“1798 Jun 29 — Jacob French 2nd, who died in 1788, had his land split up among his children. But in 1791 when his son John died, John’s share needed to be split up [among his surviving siblings?]. John was the executor of his father’s will. Land was further divided among the following family members:
- George French, son, and his wife Mary Saveley [aka Snaveley or Schnabele]
- Barbara French Helm, daughter, who married Martin Helm
- Mary French, daughter, who married Michael Miller
- Margaret French, daughter, who married Henry Miller
- Henry French, son, had moved out of the area. [Relo to Mercer County KY]
All of Berkeley County, WV, sold to their sibling Jacob French 3rd two tracts of land adjoining each other: 220 acres, land which Jacob French 2nd, now deceased, had purchased from Edward Davis and James Davis.”
Now comes the author’s speculations. First, it is the author’s belief that there was a Henry Miller and Michael Miller living in Berkeley County in 1798, who were identified in the foregoing deed abstract as husband’s of Margaret French and Mary French, respectively, and that those wives were daughters of Jacob French II, who had died in Berkeley County VA in 1788. However, it seems questionable to the author whether that Henry Miller and Michael Miller were brothers, or sons of a Jacob Miller. Very little evidence could be located to establish the existence of a Jacob Miller anywhere in Berkeley or Frederick (prior to 1772) Counties VA. What little evidence that was found is presented as follows:
- Frederick County Deed Book 9, p. 186 – 1May1764: [Lease and Release] Between Frederick Unsult and Easter, his wife, of Frederick County VA to Jacob Miller of Frederick County MD for £180, 184 acres, patented to said Unsult by Lord Fairfax on 10Apr1751. This was the first record found in Frederick County VA for the man who we will tentatively refer to as “Jacob Miller of Spring Mills”. We have dubbed him thusly, because of the similarities between his demographics and that of the Jacob Miller reported in the Ancestry Public Tree profile presented in Figure 31. According to this public tree, Jacob’s origins were unknown, and the identity of his wife was unknown. However, this tree avers that Jacob had two sons named Henry and Michael, both of whom married daughters of Jacob French. The tract purchased by Jacob Miller appears to have been part of the 248 acre tract patented by Frederick Unsult, abstracted below.
- [Northern Neck Grants] Book G, p. 480 – 3Apr1751: Frederick Unsult of Province of Maryland, 163 acres in Frederick County VA, surveyed by John Mauzey, adjacent his former survey, John Harris [Harr?], and North Mountain, on Back Creek. This tract appears to have abutted the tract patented below, and adjacent to the tract sold to Jacob Miller.
- [Northern Neck Grants] Book G, p. 486 – 10Apr1751: Frederick Unsult of Frederick County [Maryland?], 248 acres in said County, surveyed by John Muazy, on Back Creek. It is the author’s belief that the tract granted in this patent filing included the land sold to Jacob Miller. In his LWT probated on 1Dec1755 in Frederick County Maryland, Frederick Unseld bequeathed to his eldest son, Frederick Unseld Jr. a tract of land in Virginia containing 228 [248?] acres, less 64 acres. If we assume a transcription error, and that the original size of this tract was actually 248 acres (as shown in this patent abstract), when reduced by 64 acres, would yield the 184 acres purchased by Jacob Miller.
- Maryland Militia Roster – 1757: Capt. Jonathan Hagar’s Company (Mennonites); Lt. Martin Casner; Ens. James White; Sgt.’s: John Casner, Jacob Casner; Soldiers: Leonard Snavely, George Casner, Jacob Miller, Conrad Miller, John Miller Jr., Frederick Unselt, Joseph Volgamott, John Miller, Daniel Cresap [grandson of notorious Indian Trader and namesake of Cresap’s War, Col. Thomas Cresap], Jacob Miller Jr., Abraham Teter, John Teter, Zachariah Miller, Philip Jacob Miller, Christian Rhoarer, George Davis, Jacob Miller (son of Conrad), Benjamin Mollatt [Arbraham Mollatt purchased property from the estate of Dr. Richard Pile, deceased husband of Elizabeth]. Captain Jonathan Hagar’s Maryland Militia Company, formed during the French and Indian War, was from that part of Frederick County MD that would be annexed to form Washington County MD in 1776, and which included the valley of Coconocheague, from its mouth at Williamsport on the Potomac, northerly into Antrim Township in Pennsylvania. By virtue of its member’s term of service having been limited to six-day intervals, it has been surmised that this company was composed mainly of men of the Mennonite faith, possibly also including Dunkers (or Brethren). Captain Jonathan Hagar himself is believed to have been a Mennonist, and founder of Hagarstown MD. The reader will recognize several names of soldiers, which match with names of persons already discussed in this chapter, including Frederick Unsult, Conrad Miller, Jacob Miller, Joseph Volgamot, and Zachariah Miller (not necessarily the same persons already introduced). This militia record was inserted at this juncture mainly for its reference to Frederick Unselt [sic], but it certainly should peak the reader’s interest for discussions to be presented later in this chapter.
- Virginia Militia Records – 9Oct1761: From Capt. Thomas Caton’s Company: The following fines were levied. Fined 10 shillings for being absent from 1 general muster: William Cherry, John Mercer, Josiah Hultz, Adam Pain, James Jack, Jacob Johnston, John Cherry, James Llogan, Thomas Applegate, George Pack, Samuel Pack, Thomas Pack, William Noble, Felix Hughes, Joseph Dunn, Frederick Unsult, Jacob Brown, James Morgan, John Morgan, Matthias Swin, John Swin, Matthias Swin Jr, Robert Caton, William Jackson, John Stewart, John McCoy, David Shaine, Richard Smith, Job Harrington and Thomas Copely. Frederick Unsult was recorded four years later as a member of the Virginia Militia Company of Capt. Thomas Caton, in company with two members of the Cherry family, who resided along the drains of Cherry Creek, just northwest of Back Creek, the same general neighborhood in which Frederick Unselt Sr. filed his patents. Since Frederick Unselt Sr. appears to have died before Dec1755, the Frederick Unselt in these militia records probably was Frederick Unselt Jr. And,
- “However, at his [Muhlenberg’s] request, Rev. Gabriel Naesman, pastor of the Swedish Lutheran Church at Wicaco, near Philadelphia, who could preach in German,… made a visit to Frederick [Maryland] in October, 1746… He caused a large and well-bound record book to be purchased and in it he entered the fact of his preaching there and the record of his baptisms. He also gave instruction to have the records of Candler and all other entries copied from private journals and family Bibles into the new church book Fifty-four baptisms previous to October 1746, were so entered. The earliest baptism in the record is dated 22Aug1737. The infant son of Frederick Unsult was baptized by a Rev. Mr. Wolf… The probability is that the baptism was performed at the place from which the parents removed before they came to the Monocacy settlement, possibly the Lutheran settlement on the Raritan in New Jersey, where in 1737 Rev. John August Wolf was pastor.” Frederick Unsult is such a unique name, it seems highly probable that the Frederick Unsult, from whom Jacob Miller purchased this 184 acre tract, was the same person, whose child’s baptism was recorded in the new Lutheran Church register on the Monocacy in October 1746. And finally,
- Ship’s register, Elizabeth, Philadelphia, 27Aug1733, Friedrich Oneself (aka Georg Friederich Unseldt), weaver, age 24. It is the author’s belief that this was the transport record for Frederick Unsult into the Americas from Rotterdam. It is curious to note that Frederick Unsult appeared in this ship’s log immediately following the entries for Simon Linder and Simon Linder Jr. Was this just coincidence, or does it suggest that Frederick Unsult and the Linders may have been previously acquainted before embarking for America? This puzzle is made even murkier by the baptism of Henricus Unseld (4th child of Frederick Unseld) on 13Jan1744, possibly in Antrim Township (future Franklin County) Pennsylvania, wherein Simon Linder and his wife were sponsors. It is also worth noting that there was a record of a Wolf Conrad Milor [Miller] aged 41, and a Jacob Milor [Miller] aged 17 aboard this same voyage of the Elizabeth. Is it possible that Wolf Conrad Miller and Jacob Miller were father and son, and that that Jacob Miller was the same person who purchased this tract from Frederick Unsult? (more to follow)
This was the first record found in Virginia for this Jacob Miller. It is important for establishing his identity that he was noted as being of Frederick County MD. Also, by tracing the title of this tract back to its original grant, it can be established that this tract was situated near the mouth of Back Creek near the Potomac River, probably between the waters of Tilhance and Gough Creeks. It is also important to note that the original grantee was Frederick Unsult (clearly of Dutch, German or Swiss origin) of Maryland.
- Berkeley County Deed Book 2, p. 345 – 26Jul1773: Jeremiah Dunn and Elizabeth Dunn of Bustow Creek settlement on the Ohio, appoint Ezekial Cox of Frederick Co. MD lawful attorney to deliver to Jacob Miller of Frederick County MD a deed for a 250 acre tract adj. to Isaac Pearce, and Jacob Miller on Back Creek and Tile Hanes Branch [aka Tilhance Branch], part of a prior tract of John Swan of Hagerstown and the residual being 120 acres. Witness: Robert Harrison and Joseph Crawford. The author believes this tract to have been situated on Tilhance [aka Tile Haynes or Tilhanzy] Branch, a northwesterly tributary of Back Creek, just upstream from the Potomac River, about five miles northeast of present day Hedgesville. This Jacob Miller was identified as having been of Frederick County MD at the time of the deed filing. He is believed to have been the same Jacob Miller, who purchased the 184 acre tract from Frederick Unsult in Item No. 1, above. It seems probable that this tract originated from the following two patents:
- [Northern Neck Grants] Book O, p. 177 – 17Aug1768: Jeremiah Dunn of Frederick County [Maryland or Virginia?], 161 acres on Tilchanzy’s Branch and Goff’s [Gough’s]Branch of Back Creek in said County, surveyed by John Mauzey, adjacent Charles Goff [namesake of Gough’s Branch?], Jeremiah Foulsom and Edward McGinnes. Also,
- [Northern Neck Grants] Book O, p. 299 – 7Aug1770: Jeremiah Dunn of Maryland, 162 acres near mouth of Back Creek, surveyed by John Mauzey, adjacent Frederick Unsult, Potomac River, Jeremiah Foulsan. By virtue of this tract having abutted the land of Frederick Unsult, it very likely was nearby to the earlier tract acquired by Jacob Miller from Frederick Unsult. The location of this tract is further established by the following records related to the abutting owner, Isaac Pearce:
- [Northern Neck Grants] Book H, p. 721 – 27Oct1756: John McGinnis of Fairfax County VA, 322 acres in Frederick County on Back Creek, surveyed by John Mauzy, on Tilhanzy’s Branch, adjacent Frederick Unsult. Also,
- Frederick County Deed Book 5, p. 490 – 6May1760: [Lease amd Release] Between John McGinnis of County of Loudoun VA to Isaac Peirce of County of Frederick for £150, 322 acres, situated on Back Creek. Witness: Thomas Wood. By virtue of the tract acquired by Isaac Peirce [Pearce] from John McGinnis having abutted the land of Frederick Unsult, it clearly was the same land which abutted the tract acquired by Jacob Miller from the Dunns.
There are some facts to be gleaned from the foregoing land records involving Jacob Miller, Frederick Unselt and Jeremiah Dunn, which may allow us to eliminate this Jacob Miller as the purported father of Henry and Michael Miller, as well as a possible kinsman of Jacob Miller of Millerstown. These so-called “facts” are connected with Jeremiah Dunn and his family, whom the author believes to have settled on Buffalo Creek [aka Bustow Creek], an easterly tributary of the Ohio River in Westmoreland County VA [aka Washington County PA] around 1772/3. The earliest record found by the author of Jeremiah Dunn was in survey certificate recorded in Frederick County VA dated Apr-Dec1753 in which it was stated that Jeremiah had just reached his majority and was heir at law of James Dun, who had died intestate. The next record was of a land purchase abstracted as follows:
- Frederick County VA Deed Book 6, p. 332 – 3Aug1761: [Lease and Release] Between Frederick Unsult of Frederick County VA to Jeremiah Dunn of same, for £22, 68 acres lying on the north side of Back Creek. This 68 acres probably was the residual of the 248 acre tract in possession of Frderick Unselt, from which he sold 184 acres to Jacob Miller.
This tract may have been in the same general area as the two tracts acquired by Dunn in 1768 and 1770 on the waters of Tilhance Branch. The tract filing by Jeremiah Dunn in 1770 indicated that he was residing in Maryland, so it seems probable that sometime between 1768 and 1770 Jeremiah Dunn had moved across the Potomac River, probably into Frederick County in the vicinity of Hagerstown. By 1773 Jeremiah Dunn had moved his family from Maryland to Buffalo Creek, tributary to the Ohio River, an area that would later become Washington County PA. From one researcher’s account, Jeremiah Dunn was joined in the “Bustow” Creek settlement by several members of his family, including two uncles: Benajah Dunn and Joseph Dunn, and two first cousins: Hezekiah Dunn and Zephaniah Dunn. Perhaps not coincidentally, a Jacob Miller also moved his family from Maryland to the Buffalo Creek drainage, settling on the Dutch Fork in about 1774. Jacob Miller [Sr.] acquired two tracts of land totaling 798 acres along Miller’s Run, a minor tributary of Dutch Fork on which he constructed one of the more formidable blockhouses in the region. On Easter Sunday, 31Mar1782, a marauding band of Shawnee Indians, having been repelled in an attack on Wheeling, sought to take vengeance on settlements to the east of the Ohio. This Indian band, estimated at about 20 in number, set an ambush and attacked and murdered Jacob Miller Sr. and John Hupp Sr., as they went out of the stockade in search of a lost pony. The occupants of the stockade, including members of the Miller, Hupp and Gaither families, valiantly fought the Indian onslaught until reinforcements arrived later that day. Elizabeth Jane Miller Hack provides an extensive description of the children of Jacob Miller Sr., none of whom match Henry and Michael Miller.
It is the author’s belief that Jacob Miller Sr., who was killed at Dutch Fork, was the same person who had purchased tracts of land on Tilhance Branch in 1764 and 1773. The basis for this belief is predicated on the fact that he was reported as living in Frederick County MD in 1764 and 1773, that he purchased the second tract from Jeremiah and Elizabeth Dunn the year after the Dunn’s are believed to have removed from the Hagerstown area to settle on Buffalo Creek, and that Jacob Miller Sr. appears to have himself removed from the Hagerstown area and settled on Dutch Fork, tributary of Buffalo Creek two years after the Dunn’s migration to that same area. One further connection between Jeremiah Dunn and Jacob Miller of Tilhance is the fact that they both purchase land from Frederick Unsult. If the author’s identification of the Jacob Miller of Tilhance Branch having been the same person as the Jacob Miller, who settled on Dutch Fork, then he could not have been the father of Henry and Michael Miller, who married daughters of Jacob French Jr.
Having reasonably eliminated the Jacob Miller, who purchased tracts on Tilhance Branch, as the father of Henry and Michael Miller, and being unable to establish the presence of any other person named Jacob Miller in the vicinity of Spring Mills, then we must direct our search for Spring Mills Jacob Miller elsewhere. We will commence this redirected search for Spring Mills Jacob Miller through a more in-depth investigation of Henry and Michael Miller:
- Deed Book 4, p. 461 – 16Mar1778: Henry Counce [Kuntz or Koonz] and his wife, Dorothy Counce, 52 acres for £120 Pennsylvania currency to Henry Miller land conveyed to the said Counce by David Ozborn on the Potomac River. The identity of this Henry Miller is not known with certainty at this juncture, but he may well have been the same person, who married Margaret French. He may also have been the son of “Henry Miller of Opequon”, already discussed in detail in the preceding section. The 52 acre tract acquired by this Henry Miller is believed to have been the same tract described in the following deed abstract:
- Berkeley County Deed Book 3, p. 122 – 22May1774: [Deed of Mortgage] Henry Countz and wife, Dorothy Countz, 52 acres for £59 Pennsylvania currency to David Ozburn part of a larger tract granted to Evans Watkins, and he to David Watkins, and then he to David Ozburn, and he to the said Countz. The land is on the Potomac River. Witnessed: Thomas Legitt, George Legitt and William McCleery.
Given that the original patentee was Evans Watkins, it is the author’s belief that this tract would have been within a couple of miles inland from Watkins Ferry on the Potomac. Watkins Ferry operated well into the 19th century under various, succeeding owners and was situated adjacent to present day Williamsport MD on the Old Wagon Road. Also,
- [Northern Neck Grants] Book K, p. 373 – 24Mar1762: Evan Watkins of Frederick County, 252 acres on Potomac River, in said County, surveyed by Thomas Rutherford, adjacent Maidstone Common, Jeremiah Jack. This may have been the tract from which Henry Miller’s tract was partitioned. Although, Evan Watkins already owned a tract in this area, which contained the ferry landing and Maidstone Manor house, pictured in Figure 32. Also,
- [Northern Neck Grants] Book O, p. 259 – 5Mar1770: Evan Watkins of Frederick County, 219 acres on Potomac in said County, surveyed by Richard Rigg, adjacent George Ross, Watkins, Maidstone Common, Jeremiah Jack and John White. Ditto.
“Maidstone-on-the-Potomac is a historic house and farm near Falling Waters, West Virginia. Located on the Potomac River immediately opposite Williamsport, Maryland, the property consists of a 218-acre (88 ha) tract with a main house dating from c. 1741. The house was built by Evan Watkins, who operated Watkins Ferry on the Potomac, which was used by George Washington and General Edward Braddock.”
- Berkeley County Will Book 1, p. 483 – 26Jun1787: Jacob Fisher estate appraisal, by Tunis Newkirk, George Myles, John Turner and Michael Miller. A male and female negro. Given the other appraisers names, this Michael Miller almost certainly was the husband of Mary French.
- Berkeley County Will Book 3, p. 219 – 10Nov1798: James Night estate appraisal, by Robert Stephen, Jacob French, Michael Miller and William Hedges. This Michael Miller almost certainly was the husband of Mary French. This Jacob French probably was the brother-in-law of Michael Miller, as his presumed father-in-law had died in 1788.
- 18Jan1805 – Will of Henry Miller; wife: Margaret [French?] Miller; children: only Jacob Miller (minor) named to be apprenticed; and daughter: Elizabeth Miller to receive grey mare; balance of estate to be held for two years, then sold and equally divided; Executors: Margaret Miller and Jacob French; Witnesses: John Gardener and Jacob Miller; Administrator: George Newkirk. This was certainly the LWT of Henry Miller, presumed son of Jacob Miller and husband of Margaret French Miller. Only two children were named in the Will, but reference is made to other, unnamed children. There is good reason to believe that several of Henry’s older children were already living outside his household in 1805. In fact, it seems possible that several of the other male Millers, who emerge in the Berkeley County records in the vicinity of North Mountain may have been sons of Henry and Margaret, i.e. Martin Miller, Bernard Miller, Conrad Miller and/or Christian Miller. The peculiar fact about this Henry Miller is that we have him appearing in only one other record, and that is in the purchase of 75 acres from Henry and Dorothy Counce in 1778. Where was he during the next 27 years? Also, we are left to ponder the identity of the Jacob Miller, who witnessed the signing of Henry Miller’s will. Almost certainly not the son, as he was a minor.
- 17Feb1809 – Michael Miller Estate Sale: Mary Miller, Jacob French, John Miller Sr., John Miller Jr., George Loco, James Grimes, Adam Spitsnoggle, David Kouch, Jacob Miller, William Thurston, Mary Spitsnoggle, George Newkirk, George Low, John Boughdine [Bodine?], Jacob Miller Jr., Jacob Miller Sr.. Michael Mowry, Andrew Toland, William Axe, Alexander Cockran, and Joseph Foreman. Total Sale Receipts = $182.20. Other Sources = $296.34. Appraisers: John Porterfield, Henry French, and [unreadable]. This almost certainly was the estate sale for Michael Miller, presumed son of Jacob Miller and brother of Henry Miller. The named Mary Miller is believed by the author to have been Michael Miller’s widow, Mary French. She appeared in the 1810 census as Molly Miller, living nearby to her presumed brother, Henry French, one of the appraisers of her husband’s estate. The identity of the other Millers, who purchased articles from the estate may have been kinsmen of Michael Miller, i.e., children, nephews, cousins, perhaps even brother(s). It is interesting to note that there appears to have been three separate Jacob Millers named in this record. The 1810 census record for Berkeley County contains the households of six separate Jacob Millers, possibly including the three named in this record. Two were recorded on page 11 of 91, living next to each other and to a John Miller, and nearby to Morris and John Plotner, names closely associated with the Hedgesville area. The eldest of these Jacob Millers in the 1810 census was over 45, with several children over 16, recorded on page 7 of 91, living nearby to several Keesecker households, which would clearly locate him in the vicinity of North Mountain/Hedgesville. Is it possible that the Jacob Miller Sr. listed in this estate sale may have been Michael and Henry Miller’s father? We know little or nothing about the age of Henry and Michael Miller, except that Henry’s only son named in his Will was still a minor. Consequently, it seems possible that their father could still have been alive in 1809.
Thus far we have presented two deed records for a Jacob Miller of Frederick County Maryland dated 1764 and 1773, for lands abutting one another on the drains of Tilhance Creek, tributary of Back Creek, near the Potomac River. Aside from these two patents, nothing further was found suggesting the presence of this Jacob Miller in Berkeley County, aside from the undocumented Ancestry Public Tree profile presented in Figure 31. We do have the 1777 rent roll record, which shows the existence to two different Jacob Millers in Berkeley County, one associated with an Engle tract on Elk Branch (whom we have dubbed Jacob Miller of Elk Branch). It might be reasonable to assume that the other Jacob Miller was the same person, who filed the deeds on Tilhance Branch, but that would not necessarily affirm his residence in Berkeley County. He may have been assessed quit rents on his property, and still have been residing in Frederick County Maryland. So, we really have found very little evidence to support the existence of a Jacob Miller who allegedly lived in Berkeley County, and who died near Spring Mills in 1788. Curiously, the purported date of Jacob Miller’s death coincides with the death of Jacob French II, and probably near that same general location.
In order to gain a better understanding of the possible identity and ancestry of Henry and Michael Miller, and their purported father, Jacob Miller, it will be necessary to explore the various Millers and allied families living in Frederick County MD during the latter half of the 18th century. Also, in order to separate and analyze these various Millers and allied families of Frederick County MD it will be useful to possess a better understanding of the circumstances contributing to and guiding the settlement and development of this region. First, we will narrow the geographic scope of our analysis by stating that a preliminary investigation of the Millers, who potentially could be the source of Henry and Michael Miller, most likely was limited to that region that ultimately fell within Washington County. Frederick County was formed in 1748 by partitioning the northwestern part of Prince Georges County, along a dividing boundary in the vicinity of future Washington DC. Frederick County limits remained unchanged until 1776, when it was further subdivided to form Washington County, northwest of the South Mountain range, and Montgomery County, south of Monocacy Creek.
To further set the stage for this investigation, it should be recognized that a territorial overlap was created by the Crown when it granted proprietorships to William Penn and Lord Baltimore. In Lord Baltimore’s case, his proprietary limits were almost immediately in conflict with the Virginia Colony (Eastern Shore), and the New Sweden Colony (Delaware) and later the Penn Colony. The disputed territory between Virginia and Maryland was settled in the mid-17th century, however, the dispute between Maryland and Pennsylvania continued to foment until 1769, just eight years before both proprietorships were lost to America during the Revolutionary War. The main area of dissention involved the placement of the east-west boundary between the two colonies. Lord Baltimore’s charter had placed Maryland’s northern boundary at the 40th parallel. However, due to surveying errors, Pennsylvania had assumed that boundary to be roughly 20 miles southerly of its true location. Such error resulted in both colonies authorizing land grants and issuing patents within this disputed territory.
Figure 33 illustrates the area of disputed territory between Pennsylvania and Maryland. A protracted legal battle ensued, during which a tentative compromise was reached, which placed the colonial boundary along an east-west line at the southern limits of Philadelphia (about 15 miles south of the 40th parallel). A contract was entered between the Penns, Baltimore, and Charles Mason and Jeremiah Dixon (London surveyors) on July 20, 1763. The ensuing survey established the Mason-Dixon Line, which demarked the boundary between Maryland and Delaware, as well as the boundary between Maryland and Pennsylvania. Until the establishment of the Mason-Dixon Line, title to lands within the disputed zone were frequently contested, and the settlers within that zone were often uncertain as to which colonial government held jurisdiction.
Each colony was eager to expand settlement into the Cumberland Valley, a constituent of the Great Appalachian Valley, bounded by South Mountain Range on the southeast, Susquehanna River on the northeast, and Potomac River on the southwest. Germans, Swiss and French immigrants were particularly sought by Penn and Baltimore for this westward expansion. In the 2nd quarter of the 18th century these ethnic groups comprised roughly 1/3 of the settlers to this region. With these early European settlers came their unique protestant religions, which in the main included Reformed, Lutheran, Mennonists and Dunkers (Anabaptists). Because of their strong religious affiliations, these early settlers tended to aggregate in relatively close geographic proximity, and typically intermarried with members of their respective religious communities. The history of the Mennonist community in the Cumberland Valley during the 18th century has been well-documented by Edsel Burdge Jr. and Samuel L. Horst in their collaborative work entitled Building on the Gospel Foundation, a resource that will frequently be referenced in our search for the ancestry of Henry and Michael Miller. Another excellent resource is a book entitled Pioneers of the Moncacy, by Grace L. Tracey and John P. Dern. These resources, combined with a few well-developed genealogical websites on various Miller and allied families will form the primary basis for our research and analysis into the ancestry of Henry and Michael Miller.
We will start this investigation by setting forth the nucleus of three separate Miller families known to have lived in Frederick County during the mid- to late-1700’s:
- Abraham Miller of Monocacy
Abraham appears to have been one of the earliest German Millers living in this region. He was first recorded in Prince Georges County Maryland on 11Jun1737, when he was listed along with five other fellow Germans as having settled on lands within Tasker’s Chance on the Monocacy which included the future townsite of Frederick MD. Tasker’s Chance abutted John Vanmeter’s tract called Meadows (1725), and his son’s [John Jr’s.?] Pipe Meadows (1727). Tasker’s Chance had first been surveyed for Benjamin Tasker, an Annapolis businessman, on 15Apr1725, and patented on 9Jun1727. Abraham Miller and his five fellow Germans (probably already squatting on Tasker’s Chance) approached Tasker with a proposal to purchase the entire tract, which contained approximately 7,000 acres for the sum of £2,000, making a down payment of £841/11, and taking out a note for the balance, payable within seven years. When the note matured, the German’s had failed to raise the money needed for its redemption, at which time the German’s transferred their interests in Tasker’s Chance to Daniel Dulany, who paid Tasker the balance due on the note on 13Jan1744/5. The German’s then entered into an agreement with Daniel Dulany to purchase their respective tracts directly from Dulany. Abraham Miller’s tract contained 294 acres and was situated about one mile below the confluence of Tuscarora Creek on the west side of a sharp bend in the Monocacy. Abraham Miller and eighteen other settlers received deeds for their Tasker’s Chance tracts from Daniel Dulany on 28Jul1746. In 1743 Moravian missionaries, Leonard Schnell and Robert Hussey, enroute on a journey from Bethlehem PA to Georgia, reported having stayed overnight at the home of a Mennonite family on the Monocacy, and receiving the reluctant hospitality of one, Abraham Miller. For whatever reason, Abraham Miller abandoned this tract around 1747, and moved his family about eight miles northward to the environs of Lewistown. At Lewistown on the waters of Fishing Creek, Abraham Miller acquired several tracts of land and erected three separate water mills. On 1Sep1748 he filed a patent for 100 acres on a tract called Miller’s Chance, situated to the southwest of Lewistown. In Mar1750 he purchased another tract called Cooper’s Point from Teter and Hannah Lehnich (former Tasker’s Chance tenants), containing 200 acres. On 26Oct1751 Abraham resurveyed Miller’s Chance, increasing its size to 1,289 acres. Although purportedly a Mennonist, Abraham Miller was cited in Nov1749 for operating a “tippling house”. Abraham Miller died at his home on 20Sep1754, just two days after having dictated his Last Will and Testament. In his Will he made bequests to his wife, Francis, sons named Jacob, Christian, Isaac, Abraham, and David, and a daughter named Mary. Two additional daughters named Louisa and Barbara had been referenced in his naturalization proceeding in 1740, but were not named in Abraham’s Will. Very little is known of Abraham Miller’s origins. He may have been the Abraham Miller who arrived at Philadelphia on 28Aug1733 aboard the Hope, which arrived one day after the Elizabeth containing several of the fellow Germans who settled on Tasker’s Chance. The sons of Abraham Miller would have been of the appropriate age range to have kinship association with Henry and Michael Miller, but their geographic location, while in Frederick County MD, was several miles easterly from such allied families as the Frenchs and Snavelys. The author is not inclined to believe that Abraham Miller or his descendants had any connection to Jacob Miller of Spring Mills.
- Brethren Johann Michael Muller
You may need to buckle your seat belt, as this will be a rather long and bumpy ride, but well worth the journey, as we will discover strong connections between the Brethren Johann Michael Muller and Michael and Henry Miller, who married the daughters of Jacob French II. Johann Michael Muller II is believed to have been born 5Oct1692 in Steinwenden, Germany He is reputed to have married Susanna Agnes Berchtol (b. 3May1688), daughter of Hans Berchtol and Anna Christina [mnu] on 4Jan1714 at Krottlebach, Germany. Johann Michael Miller and his family are believed to have immigrated to Philadelphia on 2Oct1727 aboard the Adventure from Rotterdam. The ship’s register for this voyage clearly shows passengers named Michael Miller and Christopher Miller (unknown relationship, if any). Several different published sources claim that Johann Michael Miller was accompanied aboard that voyage of the Adventure by his brother-in-law, Jacob Berchtol, his step-brother, Jacob Stutzman, and his step-mother’s husband, Hans Jacob Stutzman. Whether this assertion is true or not, there is later record evidence of his step-brother, Jacob Stutzman, in America in close association with Michael Miller, so undoubtedly his step-brother did immigrate at some point. There is also an alternative ship’s log, which includes the name of a Johann [Hans?] Jacob Stutzman, presumably Michael Miller’s step-father or step-brother. Also aboard this voyage of the Adventure were a Johannes Ulrich and a Christopher Ulrick, surnames which are closely associated in later years with the family of Brethren Michael Miller. Also, some researchers report that Michael and Susannah Miller brought as many as seven or more of their children with them on this voyage. Having married in 1714, it is reasonable to assume that they could have had several children in their family when they set sail in 1727.
On 21Oct1736 Governor Ogle of Maryland issued a proclamation offering a reward for the arrest of several parties believed to have sided with the government of Pennsylvania in the territorial dispute between those two colonies. Just prior to this proclamation a group of settlers within the disputed territory had signed a petition to the Governor and Council of Pennsylvania in which they pled their case for having been deceived in the past by miscreants from Maryland into believing the lands on which they had settled to have been the rightful territory of the Maryland proprietary, but since had come to realize the error of their way and vowed allegiance and loyalty to the province of Pennsylvania. In addition to the “ringleaders”, constables and magistrates, there were a total of 51 other signers believed to have been the actual settlers, mostly (over 75%) possessing German or Swiss sounding surnames, including one person named Michael Miller.
Although no previous records exist associating Michael Miller with the Church of the Brethren [Dunkers], there are several records in Pennsylvania and Maryland supporting such a connection. The first such record is the indirect association of Jacob Stutzman as a charter member of the Little Conewago Church (Brethren), along with Jacob Cripe and Stephen Ulrich. Michael Miller’s close association and living proximity to these Brethren families at Conewago has prompted speculation that he was also a member of that church. Later notable associations are the intermarriage in 1773 of the widow of Jacob Stutzman with Stephen Cripe Jr. Also, Michael Miller’s grandson married Elizabeth Ulrich, daughter of Stephen Ulrich Jr. Michael and Susannah Miller’s first born child was baptized in 1715 in a Reformed Church, suggesting that their conversion to the Brethren faith occurred sometime after that date. In 1744 Michael Miller was mentioned in correspondence among Brethren leaders in Pennsylvania. Also, an undated naturalization record (at Philadelphia, probably around 1762) of persons affirming, but not swearing an oath (typical of Quakers, Mennonites and Dunkers, aka Brethren) are the names of Stephen Ulrick, Michael Miller, Conrad Fox, Jacob Schnyder, Simon Stucky and Philip Jacob Miller, all of Frederick County MD, and Jacob Stutzman of Cumberland County PA.
On 16Feb1742 Stephen Ulrich Jr. (Baptist Minister and founder of Little Conewago Church) filed patents on two tracts of land on Little Conewago Creek, adjoining lands of his father. This land would later be subsumed into York County, and later into Adams County. Stephen Ulrich’s land was bisected by the Old Monocacy Road which ran between the Susquehanna River (at Wrightsville) and the Potomac River. It is believed that Stephen Ulrich Jr. and Jacob Stutzman organized the Little Conewago Church near Hanover, possibly on land owned by Stephen Ulrich. Stephen Ulrich sold this land to Jacob Stutzman (step-brother of Michael Miller). Stutzman later sold this land to George Wine. The lands owned by Stephen Ulruch Sr. and Jr. fell within the disputed territory between Pennsylvania and Maryland, such that in 1743 the “Germans” sent an agent named Martin Updegraf to Annapolis to check on the status of their patents near Hanover. It was discovered that their patents, which had been granted by the government of Pennsylvania, had also been patented by a John Digges in Maryland, thus resulting in disputed ownership:
“It was found that Digges had sold some land he didn’t own, so he got a new grant from Maryland which included farms of 14 Germans whose land had been granted under warrant from Pennsylvania. Both sides tried to intimidate the farmers. The Pennsylvania surveyor warned them against violating royal orders. Mathias Ulrich (possibly a brother of Stephen Ulrich Jr.) apparently told the sheriff “to go to the devil,” an action very out of character for a Brethren and remarkable enough that it was recorded. Eventually, the situation escalated further and Diggs’ son was killed but Pennsylvania would not surrender the killers to Maryland to be tried. It was clearly one hot mess on the frontier, and petitions and requests for help went unheard and unanswered by those (officials) back east who cared little if a bunch of Germans killed each other.”
On 7Feb1744 Michael Miller, Nicholas Garber, Samuel Bechtol, and Hans Jacob and Elizabeth Bechtol, who lived in Chester County PA, purchased a tract of land from John Stinchcomb containing 400 acres northeast of Hanover PA, called Batchelor’s Choice. This tract was just outside of the John Digge’s tract, and may have been part of the lands that came under dispute. This tract was subdivided with 150 acres each going to Michael Miller and Samuel Bechtol (Michael’s brother-in-law), and the remaining 100 acres going to Nicholas Garber. Michael Miller sold his 150 acre tract to Samuel Bechtol in 1752. Michael Miller married the widow of Nicholas Garber, at which time he would have taken possession of his wife’s 100 acre tract, formerly owned by Nicholas Garber. It is probable that Michael Miller also sold that 100 acres to Samuel Bechtol.
Prior to Michael Miller selling his Bachelor’s Choice land to his presumed brother-in-law, Samuel Bechtol, he is on record having purchased a tract of land in Prince Georges County MD from John George Arnold on 28Aug1745 for the sum of £200 called Ash Swamp containing 200 acres. In the deed (Liber BB, No. 1, Page 362) Michael Miller was described as being of Prince Georges County, suggesting that he had already relocated to that region with his family from Hanover, PA. Ash Swamp had been patented by John GeorgeArnold on 16Jan1739 (MSA S1203-252) containing 150 acres described as follows:
“By virtue of a special warrant granted out of his Lordships Land Office at Annapolis to Daniel Dulaney, Esq. for 150 acres of land bearing date May1739, being part of a warrant granted him, the said Dulaney and Horitta Maria, his wife, for 9,340 acres as appears… Therefore certifies Deputy Surveyor… I have carefully laid out for and in the name of him, the said Daniel Dulaney, all that tract of land lying in Prince Georges County called the Ash Swamp, beginning at a bounded Spanish Oak tree standing near the head of Ashton Swamp, being a draft of Conococheague Creek, about 500 yards from the dwelling house of John George Arnold and running thence NE66-120 perches, thence NE21-80 perches, thence NW27-140 perches, thence SW31-258 perches, thence by straight line to beginning, containing 150 acres, held of Calverton or Congocheigue Manor.”
A copy of the plat contained within that deed record is presented in Figure 34. The location of Ash Swamp has been established by the author as being about one mile south-southwest of Maugansville town center. The citing of Ash Swamp in that area was predicated substantially on the location of a historical building known as “Ashton Hall”. From numerous sources Ashton Hall is reputed to have been constructed by John Schnebley, son of Dr. Henry Schnebley, on a 196.5 acre tract of land purchased from Philip Jacob Miller, son of Brethren Michael Miller, on 25Sep1795 (Washington County Deed Book I, p. 360), and renamed by Schebley as “Ashton Hall”. Per the deed the tract purchased by John Schnebley was composed of three separate, but contiguous, tracts known as Prickly Ash Bottom, Keller’s Discovery, and part of Ash Swamp. According to the Washington County Historical Trust John Schnebley named his new acquisition Ashton Hall, and proceeded in 1803 to build a substantial stone house on that property. John Schnebley’s old home place still survives today and is situated at 13426 Chads Terrace, Maugansville.
Figure 35 shows an aerial view of the site of Ashton Hall. Figure 36 shows a groundlevel view of Ashton Hall from the intersection of Chads Terrace and Jennifer Lane.
The author has compiled a fairly complete history of the Ash Swamp tract and its surrounding parcels, through which we will analyze its familial connections with Brethren Michael Miller. To facilitate this analysis, the author has compiled a timeline and graphic “plat map” reconstruction for Ash Swamp and its neighboring patents. This timeline and plat map reconstruction will be presented and analyzed in chronological order, based on the earliest date associated with each tract:
- 3Apr1739 – Plat surveyed for Joseph Perre for 200 acres, called The Ash Swamp (Prince Georges County, MSA-S1203-251). This tract was described as “beginning at a bounded Red Oak, standing on the side of a valley, near an Ashton Swamp, being a draught of Conogocheige Creek…”. A plat map of this tract is presented in Figure 37. Make note of the point of beginning, and the date of this survey, as these facts will be important to sorting out the sequence of events relative to Ash Swamp, itself.
- 19Dec1739 – Plat surveyed for John George Arnold for 150 acres, called Ash Swamp (Prince Georges County, MSA-S1203-252). This tract was described as “beginning at a bounded Spanish Oak standing near the head of an Ashton Swamp, being a draught of Conogocheige Creek, about 500 yards from the dwelling house of one John George Arnold…”. A plat map of this tract is presented in Figure 38. Again, note the point of beginning and the date of this survey. This is the same tract that was purchased by Brethren Michael Miller on 14May1745. The metes and bounds description in the deed of conveyance of this tract matches with that of the original grant, except that the deed describes the parcel as containing 200 acres. In fact, the tract boundaries as described in both the patent and deed calculate to only 150 acres.
- 19Dec1739 – Plat map surveyed for John Keller for 150 acres, called The Head of Ash Swamp (Prince George’s County, MSA-S1203-2137). This tract was described as “beginning at a bounded Spanish Oak, the beginning tree of a tract of land taken up for John George Arnold called the Ash Swamp…”. A plat map of this tract is presented in Figure 39. It should be noted that this plat was described as beginning at the same bounded Spanish Oak as the beinning point for Ash Swamp. Using the metes and bounds description contained in this patent and that of Ash Swamp, these two tracts were found to fit together as illustrated in Figure 40.
- 19Dec1739 – Plat surveyed for Daniel Dulaney, assigned to James Toms, for 150 acres, called Toms Chance (Prince Georges County, MSA-S1203-2173). This tract was described as “beginning at a bounded Spanish Oak, being the beginning tree of John George Arnold’s tract called the Ash Swamp…”. It should be noted that this plat was described as beginning at the same bounded Spanish Oak as the beinning point for Ash Swamp and The Head of Ash Swamp. Using the metes and bounds description contained in this patent and that of Ash Swamp and The Head of Ash Swamp, these three tracts were found to fit together as illustrated in Figure 40. John Toms conveyed this tract to Lodowick Miller on 19Apr1751 for the sum of £160. Lodowick was described as being of Frederick County.
- 25Apr1752 – Plat resurveyed for Philip Jacob Miller on Ash Swamp totaling 290 acres (Frederick County MSA S1197-3708) called Resurvey on Ash Swamp. This resurvey verified the accuracy of the original patent, and added 140 acres of vacant land as illustrated in Figure 41. Ash Swamp was last known to have been in possession of Brethren Michael Miller. No document could be located which showed the title conveyance to Philip Jacob Miller. As will be discovered later in this analysis, Philip Jacob Miller was a son of Michael Miller, and that he became possessed of Ash Swamp following the death of his father.
10Aug1753 – Plats resurveyed for John Keller on The Ash Swamp and The Head of Ash Swamp totaling 363 acres (Frederick County MSA S1197-4358). This resurvey is quite revealing, in that it determined that the tract called The Head of Ash Swamp substantially overlapped the tract called The Ash Swamp, as illustrated in Figure 42. This resurvey also determined that The Ash Swamp overlapped 10 acres of Ash Swamp, but also determined that Ash Swamp was an elder survey. Consequently, Joseph Perre’s tract, The Ash Swamp, was reduced to 190 acres. Similarly, this resurvey determined that The Head of Ash Swamp substantially overlapped and was subordinate to The Ash Swamp. Thusly, The Head of Ash Swamp was reduced to a small sliver of land containing only 11 acres. Apparently as compensation, two adjacent vacant tracts of 62 acres and 100 acres, respectively, were added to The Head of Ash Swamp such that John Keller’s newly consistuted tracts contained 173 acres.
- 2Feb1765 – Plat surveyed for Thomas Keller (son of John Keller) for 39 acres called Prickley Ash Bottom (Frederick County – MSA S1197-3580). This tract was described as “beginning at the end of the 6th Line of a tract called Resurvey on Ash Swamp taken up be Philip Jacob Miller. Using the references and metes and bounds contained with this plat map, it was found to abut the Resurvey on Ash Swamp to the northeast as illustrated in Figure 43.
- 2Feb1765 – Plat surveyed for Thomas Keller for 11 acres called Keller’s Discovery (Frederick County – MSA S1197-2331). This tract was described as “beginning at 65 perches along the 1st line of a tract called of land called Ash Swamp taken up by Philip Jacob Miller…”. Based on the references and metes and bounds contained in this plat map, Keller’s Discovery was found to abut the Resurvey on Ash Swamp to the east as illustrated in Figure 43.
In addition to the foregoing patent records associated with Ash Swamp, there were also several key deed records listed chronologically as follows:
- 22Apr1774 – Frederick County Deed Book V, p. 278: Philip Jacob Miller purchased two tracts of land from Thomas Keller (of Cumberland County PA), viz., (1) a tract called Keller’s Discovery containing 11 acres, and (2) a tract of land called Prickley Ash Bottom containing 39 acres.
- 9Dec1783 – Washington County Deed Book C, pp. 563-7: Lodowick Miller of Frederick County sold to Philip Jacob Miller of Washington County for 5 shillings, all of his interest in a tract of land known as Resurvey on Ash Swamp, vested in Lodowick as a son and heir of Michael Miller, deceased. In the deed Lodowick acknowledged having already received his fair share of his father’s estate, presumably through other gratuities or devises. There is one clause within this deed that requires our particular attention, as it tends to contradict the conventional belief of researchers regarding the timing of the death of Brethren Michael Miller. Most researchers contend that Michael Miller did not die until about the year 1777. Additionally, many researchers state that Brethren Michael Miller was among a group of brethren, who traveled from Frederick County MD to Philadelphia for the purpose of becoming naturalized citizens. Some references to this event do not give it a specific date, but suggest that it occurred in the mid-1750’s. Another source, Roberta Estes, owner of a blog post entitled “Johann Michael Miller (Mueller) the Second (1692-1771), Brethren Immigrant, 52 Ancestors #104” states that she believes Michael Miller, Philip Jacob Miller (Michael’s son), etal., traveled to Philadelphia in 1762 and 1765 for naturalization.
The following clause from this deed would seem to belie these assertions regarding the death of Michael Miller:
“…said original tract [Ash Swamp] being resurveyed by and with my [Lodowick Miller’s] consent and free will as son and heir at law to my father, Michael Miller, deceased, and leaving no Will, I ordered and agreed that my brother, Philip Jacob Miller, should resurvey the said original tract called Ash Swamp, which was resurveyed on the 25th of April, 1752, and afterward patented unto him, my said brother, Philip Jacob Miller…”
In this clause Lodowick Miller refers to the Resurvey on Ash Swamp having occurred with his agreement, after his father’s death, and that Michael died intestate. This statement would seem to provide irrefutable proof that Brethren Michael Miller had died sometime before Apr1752.
- 26Dec1783 – Washington County Deed Book C, pp. 560-2: Philip Jacob Miller sold 144.25 acres, part of Resurvey on Ash Swamp to his brother, John Miller, for 5 shillings, said John Miller already residing on said land. John Miller received the equivalent of a “gift deed” from his brother, the land being conveyed described as John’s right of inheritance from his father’s, Michael Miller’s, estate. The conveyed tract was described as: “beginning at a Spanish Oak, being the beginning point of the original survey, thence along Line 1 of that survey NE66, 64 perches…”. The author has compiled a plat map reconstruction of this plat based on the metes and bounds contained in the deed of conveyance, which is depicted in Figure 44. This subdivision of the Resurvey on Ash Swamp resulted in the splitting of the tract into two, roughly equal parcels, with John Miller owning the southwest half and Philip Jacob Miller Miller owning the northeast half.
- 25Sep1795 – Washington County Deek Book I, pp. 360-1: Philip Jacob Miller sold three contiguous tracts, totaling about 196 acres, to John Schnebley, son of Dr. Henry Schnebley, for sum of £2,175, 5 shillings. All tracts said to be contiguous, and consisting of Keller’s Discovery, Prickley Ash Bottom and part of Resurvey on Ash Swamp (being remainder not sold to John Miller). The author has compiled a plat map reconstruction of the tracts conveyed to John Schnebley, which he reportedly renamed Ashton Hall as illustrated in Figure 45.
This concludes our analysis of the tract known as Ash Swamp presumably purchased by Brethren Michael Miller. From this analysis we have been able to reliably eastablished that a person named Michael Miller, presumed by many researchers to have been the same person described hereinbefore as Brethren Michael Miller, purchased the Ash Swamp tract from John George Arnold on 14May1745, and that he was described as “being of Prince George’s County”. So, even though he is on record having purchased 150 acres, part of a tract called Bachelor’s Choice near Hanover PA on 7Feb1744, he would appear to have established residency in Maryland sometime before May1745. There were several other land records found for a Michael Miller in Frederick County after its formation in 1748, however, there is good reason to believe that most of those records did not involve Brethren Michael Miller. The basis for that conclusion is that, per the deed record in which Lodowick Miller relinquished his interest in Resurvey on Ash Swamp to his brother, Philip Jacob Miller, on 9Dec1783, it is stated that Lodowick Miller had ordered and agreed to the resurvey of Ash Swamp on 25Apr1752 because his father, Michael Miller, had died intestate. So, from that deed record it was learned that Brethren Michael Miller had died sometime before 25Apr1752, when the survey map for the Resurvey on Ash Swamp was created. It was also learned from that deed record, and the deed of conveyance from Philip Jacob Miller to his brother, John Miller in 26Dec1752, that Philip Jacob Miller, John Miller and Lodowixk Miller were all sons of Brethren Michael Miller, and presumably Michael’s only sons still living in 1783. Had there been other sons still living at that time, they likely would have held a vested interest in Resurvey on Ash Swamp, which vested interest would need to have been acknowledged in the land records.
Now that we have reliably established the existence and identity of three of Brethren Michael Miller’s sons, it is time to conduct further investigations to determine whether there may have been any kinship connection between these Millers and Michael and Henry Miller, who married daughters of Jacob French Jr. Before commencing that investigation, let’s digress momentarily for a brief history lesson on the region of Maryland that would later become Washington County. County formation timelines and boundaries are always important and useful in the conduct of this type of investigation as we invariably resort to the use of land, court and road records as the primary tools for tracing our ancestors during colonial times, and understanding the evolution of county boundaries helps narrow the geographic location of the parties appearing in those records. Prince George’s County was erected in 1696, and extended from its present day southern boundary with Charles County, northward to the Pennsylvania border. In 1748 Frederick County was erected from the northern part of Prince George’s County and part of Baltimore County, extending from the mouth of the Monocacy River to the Pennsylvania border. In 1776 Montgomery County was erected from the southern part of Frederick County, and Washington County was erected from the northwestern part of Frederick County, extending from the South Mountain Range to the Pennsylvania border. And, finally, Allegany County was erected in 1789 from the northwestern tip of Washington County. Firgure 46 contains a graphic of the county boundaries as they existed in 1789.
It is also useful to understand the settlement patterns in and around Frederick County during the middle part of the 18th century. The earliest European settlement in the Cumberland Valley, and particularly along the Antietam and Conococheague watersheds commenced in about 1735, and continued at an accelerating pace through the end of that century. The earliest settlers were composed mostly of Scots-Irish, Dutch, German and Swiss immigrants, newly arrived from Europe at both Annapolis and Philadelphia. Most of these German immigrants arrived in North America at Philadelphia, and, as lands became scarce, these early immigrants began to move west and southward down the Cumberland Valley and into the Conococheague basin.
By 1750 there had been several hundreds of patents issued by both Pennsylvania and Maryland in the Conococheague basin. Ash Swamp and its immediate neighbors were some of these early German settlers. The pace of settlement was interrupted and hampered for several years during the Indian hostilities attendant to the so-called French and Indian War (1754-1763). Settlers along the Conococheague and Antietam were forced to flee their homesteads, abandoning their crops and property improvements. Although we find numerous records of land transactions along both the Conococheague and Antietam during this time period, life was in turmoil and disarray. This was particularly true for non-associators, the Mennonites and Dunkers (Brethren), because of their pacifist beliefs. They were disinclined on religious grounds to participate in the defense of their lands and families, and therefore more susceptible to attack from both the Indians and their European neighbors.
In the midst of this social and international unrest, we will resume our search for land records believed associated with the family of Brethren Michael Miller:
- 10Jun1749 – Frederick County Deed Book B, pp. 41-2: Michael Miller, yeoman of Frederick County, purchased from Col. Thomas Cresap a tract of land called Skipton on Craven for the sum of £220 Maryland currency containing 280 acres. This tract was described as lying on Antietam Creek, a draught of Potomac River, beginning at the original beginning tree, and running the several courses described on the original patent. This tract was originally surveyed on 27Nov1740 for Colonel Thomas Cresap for 100 acres. A resurvey was granted on 27Dec1745, which added 180 acres of vacant land, resulting in a combined total of 280 acres. The author has compiled a plat reconstruction of the original and resurvey on Skipton on Craven as illustrated in Figure 47. The grantee in this deed may have been Brethren Michael Miller. The tract was situated on Little Antietam Creek [aka Forbush’s Branch] to the northeast of Hagerstown, near the southeast edge of Leitersburg.
- 17Mar1755 – Frederick County Deed Book E, pp. 676-7: Michael Miller, of Frederick County MD for sum of £36, purchased from George Pow of same, two tracts of land being parts of a tract called Resurvey on Well Taught: (1) beginning at the end of 24 perches in the 35th line of the original tract called Resurvey on Well Taught, containing 292 acres, and (2) beginning at the end of the 55th line, containing 117 acres. The author has receated a plat map reconstruction of these tracts, overlaid on the parent tract, Resurvey on Well Taught as illustrated in Figure 48. Well Taught, the original patent for a 100 acre tract surveyed for Jacob Pow on 4Jul1749, was described as beginning at a bounded White Oak, standing on the east side and nearby Antietam Creek. A description presented with the patent filed for Resurvey on Well Taught stated that it included the original 100 acre tract plus an added 1200 acres of contiguous vacant lands. Some of the adjacent lands were described as having been taken up by earlier patents, but no reference to those patents was contaned within the tract description. By virtue of proximity of this tract to Antietam Creek, and relatively close dates, this may have been the same Michael Miller, who purchased Skipton on Craven described in Item 13, above.
- 6May1761 – Frederick County Deed Book F, pp. 1238-9: Michael Miller, farmer of Frederick County purchased from Joseph Perry for £50 a tract of land called Deceit, containing 108 acres. Tract was described as being part of a larger tract called Resurvey on Deceit, beginning as a bounded Black Oak, standing nigh Antietam Creek on the side of a steep hill, near the plat of land on which George Forbush once lived. Deceit was originally surveyed for John Darling on 16Sep1743, and later sold to Joseph Perry, who resurveyed the tract on 16Feb1760 for a total of 1300 acres, as shown in Figure 49. Again, because of the near geographic proximity and timing, this may have been the same Michael Miller involved in the two preceeding land purchases.
- 1Feb1764 – Frederick County Deed Book J, pp. 154-6: Michael Miller, farmer of Frederick County, purchased from Peter Apple, etal. for sum of £460 a tract described as being part of Rocky Creek, and containing 150 acres. Tract was described as beginning at end of 98 perches in the 2nd Line of the original survey. Rocky Creek was originally patented to Thomas Bordley on 22Nov1725 for 1,778 acres situated on the north side of the Moncacy River, between Rocky Creek and Tasker’s Chance. This tract was located to the west side of present day Frederick MD, approximately 20 miles to the south of Leitersburg. It is uncertain whether this was the same person involved with the three previous records, but unlikely.
- 9Jun1764 – Frederick County Deed Book J, pp. 603-4: Michael Miller, farmer of Frederick County, purchased from John and George Kizer of Virginia, for sum of 5 shilling a tract of land called Part of Rocky Creek, beginning at end of 98 perches in Line 2 of original, containing 150 acres. This tract appears to have been the same tract as recorded in the previous item.
- 21Aug1765 – Frederick County Deed Book J, pp. 1277-8: Michael Miller, farmer of Frederick County, sold to Michael Farmer, farmer of Tawney Town [aka Taneytown], same, for sum of £100, a tract of land called Miller’s Chance beginning at the end of the 2nd Line of a tract called Piney Grove, and containing 50 acres. The author was unable to locate a patent for Miller’s Chance, but there are two patents for tracts called Piney Creek. The oldest of these patents was dated 1751 and was located along the drains of Catoctin Creek. The other tract was dated 1760 for 50 acres to Samuel Tallabaugh, described as being on the road from York PA, and on the drains of Piney Creek, which is a tributary of Monocacy River in the vicinity of Taneytown. Given that the grantee in this deed was identified as being of Taneytown, and the matching name of Piney Creek with the geographic feature called Piney Creek, it seems highly probable that this tract was situated in northeast Frederick County in the vicinity of Taneytown. Because of the geographic distance between Hagerstown and Taneytown (almost 35 miles), it seems probable that this Michael Miller was a different person from the Michael Millers involved in the previous records.
- 28Oct1765 – Frederick County Deed Book K, pp. 140-2: Michael Miller sold to Jacob Good, both of Frederick County, for sum of £200, a tract of land called Hamburgh, being a part of a tract called Resurvey on Well Taught, beginning at the end of 61 perches on the 38th Line of the original. Hamburgh was the southern part of the 292 acre tract purchased by Michael Miller from George Pow on 17Mar1755, Item 14, above. Elizabeth Miller, wife of Michael Miller, relinquished her dower right. Some researchers aver that Jacob Good was the step-son-in-law of Michael Miller, his having married Elizabeth Garber, daughter of Nicholas Garber.
NOTE: Many researchers aver that Brethren Michael Miller married the widow of Nicholas Garber near Hanover PA in about 1750. Given the probability that Brethren Michael Miller had died before Apr1752, and given this association between Jacob Good and this yet to be identified Michael Miller, owner of Hamburgh, it seems probable that this Michael Miller was actually an elder son of Brethren Michael Miller.
- 28Oct1765 – Frederick County Deed Book K, pp. 166-7: Michael Miller sold to John Rife, both of Frederick County, for sum of £200, a tract of land called Quarry, being part of a tract called part of Resurvey on Well Taught, originally patented to George Jacob Pow, beginning at the end of 38 perches on the 51st Line. The tract conveyed by this deed appears to have been the balance of the 292 acre tract purchased by Michael Miller from George Pow on 17Mar1755, Item 14, above. Elizabeth Miller, wife of Michael Miller, relinquished her dower right. Some researchers aver that John Rife was the step-son-in-law of Michael Miller, his having married Anna Garber, daughter of Nicholas Garber.
- 25Oct1765 – Frederick County Deed Book K, pp. 175-6: Michael Miller sold to John Rife, both of Frederick County, for sum of £50, two tracts of land: (1) a tract of land called Miller’s Fancy, described as beginning at a bounded White Oak, and running various courses, containing 36 acres, and (2) part of a tract called Resurvey on Well Taught, beginning at the beginning tree, and containing 5 acres. A patent record for Miller’s Fancy could not be locate by the author, consequently, the location of this tract is uncertain, but likely on Little Anteitam Creek in near proximity to Skipton on Craven, Deceit, and Resurvey on Well Taught. The 2nd tract appears to have been part of the 117 acre tract purchased by Michael Miller from George Pow on 17Mar1755, Item 14, above. Elizabeth Miller, wife of Michael Miller, relinquished her dower right.
- 25Oct1765 – Frederick County Deed Book K, pp. 177-8: Michael Miller sold to Jacob Good, both of Frederick County, for sum of £300, a tract of land called Good’s Choice, being part of a tract called Skipton on Craven, and being the land whereon Jacob Good lived, beginning at the beginning tree of the original, and containing 163 acres. Good’s Choice constituted rough the southern half of the tract known as Skipton on Craven.
- 25Oct1765 – Frederick County Deed Book K, pp. 179-0: Michael Miller sold to Jacob Good, both of Frederick County, for sum of £60 , a tract of land called Luck, being part of a tract of land called Resurvey on Well Taught, beginning at end of 54th Line, containing 100 acres.
- 25Oct1765 – Frederick County Deed Book K, pp. 185-6: Michael Miller sold to John Rife, both of Frederick County, for sum of £200, a tract of land called Rife’s Lot, being part of a tract called Skipton on Craven, and being the land whereon Jacob Good lived, beginning 110 perches in the 7th Line of original. With the sale of this tract and the earlier tract to Jacob Good called Good’s Choice, Michael Miller had disposed of all of Skipton on Craven as illustrated in Firgue 50.
- 30Jun1769 – Frederick County Deed Book M, pp. 362-4: Michael Miller purchased from William Teagarden, both of Frederick County, for sum of £1000, parts of five different parts of tracts all contiguous and joining to one another: (1) part of Teagardens Delight containing 146 acres, (2) part of Addition to Teagardens Delight containing 28 acres, (3) part of Resurvey on Plunks Doubt containing 133 acres, (4) part of Maidens Walk containing 35 acres, and (5) part of Joneses Lot containing 16 acres; all combined into a new tract called Pleasant Garden containing 358 acres.
The identity of this Michael Miller is not known with certainty. However, it is important to note that the location of these tracts, which when combined, composed a tract called Pleasant Garden, were situated in close proximity to the Resurvey on Ash Swamp. To get a sense of just how close, we present Figure 51, which contains the reconstructed plat maps associated with the Resurvey on Ash Swamp, to which we have added the tract known as Teagardens Delight. As illustrated in this reconstruction, Teagardens Delight, 146 acre of which was included in the purchase of Pleasant Garden, immediately abutted Prickly Ash Bottom, which was purchased by Philip Jacob Miller in Apr1774.
Such close proximity lends strong inference that this Michael Miller was the elder brother of Philip Jacob Miller, John Miller and Lodowick Miller, and the same person, who had sold large parts of his holdings on Little Antietam Creek (Well Taught and Skipton on Craven) to his presumed step-son-in-laws just four years earlier. If the author’s interpretation of the 9Dec1783 deed between Lodowick Miller and Philip Jacob Miller is correct, and if the identity of the Michael Miller, who purchased Skipton On Craven, Deceit¸ and Well Taught, as a son of Brethren Michael Miller is correct, then this Michael Miller, who purchased Pleasant Garden from William Teagarden, would still have been entitled to a share in Resurvey on Ash Swamp. In fact, he may have had a particular affinity for that area, as all three of his presumed brothers: Lodowick, John and Philip Jacob, would have been living either on Resurvey of Ash Swamp or Tom’s Chance, at the time that this Michael Miller purchased Pleasant Garden.
- 21Jun1770 – Frederick County Deed Book N, pp. 154-5: Michael Miller purchased from Peter Apple, both of Frederick County, for £50, 20 acres, being part of a tract of land called Small Hopes, beginning at end of 53 perches on the 8th Line of said land…, containing 20 acres. Note: Small Hopes was originally surveyed for Henry Mayners for 80 acres on 1Aug1749, and patented by Charles and Francis Peirpoint. Tract was described as being part of a larger tract called Rocky Ridge, which was situated along north side of Monocacy River, bownstream of present day Frederick MD. The identity of this Michael Miller is not known with certainty, but is believed to have been the same person named in Items 16 and 17, above.
- 22Jun1770 – Frederick County Deed Book N, pp. 172-3: Michael Miller sold to Richard Richardson, both of Frederick County, for £40, 10 acres, being a part of a tract called Small Hopes, described in the previous Item No. 26, above. This tract was probably part of the 20 acres purchased from Peter Apple.
22Jun1770 – Frederick County Deed Book N, pp. 186-7: Richard Richardson sold to Michael Miller, both of Frederick County, for £200, 53 acres, part of the original tract known as Small Hopes. Ditto, Items 26 and 27, above.
- 14Apr1779 – Washington County Deed Book A, pp. 534-5: Michael Miller purchased of James Cross, both of Frederick County, for sum of £700??, 35 acres, a tract of land called Johnson’s Desire, abutting a tract of land owned by Abraham Cammer [aka Kemmerer]. It is the author’s belief that this tract was situated at the northern boundary of a tract called Resurvey on Plunk’s Doubt patented to Dr. Henry Snavely 27May1752. A plat map reconstruction of Resurvey on Plunk’s Doubt created by the author is illustrated in Figure 52.
We have already encountered a reference to Resurvey on Plunk’s Doubt in connection with the purchase of Pleasant Garden by Michael Miller on 30Jun1769, Item 25, above. Consequently, through the tract called Pleasant Garden, we have already presented an interconnection between the Resurvey on Ash Swamp and the Resurvey on Plunk’s Doubt, albeit somewhat tangentially. Figure 53 illustrates the point of intersention and convergence between the Resurvey on Plunk’s Doubt and the Resurvey on Ash Swamp. That point of convergence is embodied in a 146 acre tract carved out of Resurvey Plunk’s Doubt and sold by Dr. Henry Snavely to William Teagarden 23Feb1756. It is that tract, which was described in the deed conveyance of Pleasant Garden to Michael Miller in 1769 as having been part of Resurvey on Plunk’s Doubt.
The identity of the Michael Miller, who purchased Johnson’s Desire on 14Apr1779 is not known to the author with any certainty. We certainly have ample Millers owning land in the vicinity of Ash Swamp and Plunk’s Doubt from which this Michael Miller may have descended, perhaps too many. Given the continuity of the given name with the Brethren Michael Miller family, there would seem to be a strong possibility that this Michael Miller may have been a descendant of that family. In fact, absent any absolute proof of the earlier demise of the presumed son of Brethren Michael Miller, who the author believes to have purchased Pleasant Garden, it seems entirely possible that he may have been the same person who purchased Johnson’s Desire.
It is interesting to note that Johnson’s Desire was originally patented to Thomas Cresap on 20Aug1745 as a 65 acre tract. In the patent this tract was described as being situated near the provincial border, about five miles east of its intersection with Conococheague Creek. In fact, based on the author’s plat map reconstruction, this tract would appear to have actually been located just north of the provincial line within the Pennsylvania Colony. Keep in mind that until the final adoption of the Mason-Dix Line survey in the 1760’s, the patent by Thomas Cresap could have fallen within the disputed territory. This possibility is supported by the estimated location of another historical property known as “The Kammerer House”.
According to the Washington County Maryland Historical Trust (the same entity that documented the history of Ashton Hall) “Kammerer House history is as follows:
“Kammerer House, the home place of Lodowick [Ludwig] Kammerer, once stood within the present day Citigroup financial complex, east of Interstate 81, and north of the Maugansville Airport. Lodowick Kammerer’s patent for 150 acres was encapsulated within the boundary of the Resurvey on Plunk’s Doubt, filed by Dr. Henry Snavely in 1752. Following is a brief history of Kammerer House and its builder:
Just south of the Pennsylvania state line near Interstate 81, the efficient, modern buildings of Citicorp are fanned out around an 18th century farmstead. Tucked in the center of this banking complex at the corner of two new streets is the story-and-a-half stone house that Ludwig Kammerer built in 1774 and the frame barn that was rebuilt about 1910 after a fire. Here is a tranquil pause amid the bustle of a busy corporation. This continuum of history spans more than two centuries in a modern business center.
Ludwig Kammerer, who emigrated from Germany on the same ship as Jonathan Hager, purchased a tract of land called Beechspring and part of a tract called The Resurvey on Plumb’s [Plunk’s] Doubt. Here he built his home straddling a spring. Kammerer lived in his house until 1806 when he sold the farm to David Brumbach for £500 and moved near Pittsburgh, Pennsylania with his family. Three years later, he died at the age of 90. This farm has had only four owners. It remained in the Brumbach/Hartle family until 1961 when J. Allen and Elizabeth Clopper were the high bidders for the farm, then part of Charles Hartle’s estate. The Hagerstown-Washington County Industrial Foundation (CHIEF) purchased the remaining 109 acres from the Cloppers in 1985. CHIEF developed the farm for Citicorp, which now owns about two-thirds of the land.”
Based on the assumption that “Kammerer House” was located somewhere within the property owned by Ludwig Kammerer (see Figure 52, above), and that “Ashton Hall” was located somewhere within the Ash Swamp property purchased by John Schnebley from Philip Jacob Miller, the author set about attempting to conjoin the Ash Swamp property with Plunk’s Doubt. As it turned out, the Pleasant Garden tract purchased by Michael Miller in 1769 was described in the deed as abutting Prickly Ash Swamp and a part of Plunk’s Doubt. It was that description contained in the deed conveyance of Pleasant Garden that the author was able to conjoin these two sets of plat maps as illustrated in Figure 53.
Having successfully united the Ash Swamp tracts to the Resurvey on Plunk’s Doubt, the author then overlaid this composite of plat maps onto a Google Aerial Map base as illustrated in Figure 54. Although the plat map reconstructions compiled by the author were based on a combination of traced outlines from patent records, and reconstructed boundaries based on metes and bounds from deed documents, this aerial map overlay appears to matchup quite well with known geographic features on the ground. For example, the known location of “Ashton Hall” falls near the center of the 196 acre tract sold by Philip Jacob Miller to John Schnebley. Also, the assumed location of “Kammerer House” falls within the boundary of the tract sold by Allen and Elizabeth Clopper to the Washington County Maryland Historical Trust.
This concludes our presentation of all the property records found pertaining to a person named Michael Miller within Frederick and Washington Counties. From this presentation, it seems highly probably that the person named Michael Miller who purchased lands along Little Antietam Creek and nearby to Ash Swamp were very likely the same person, and very likely an elder son of Brethren Michael Miller. The identity of the person named Michael Miller, who purchased and sold tracts, parts of an older survey called Rocky Ridge, located to the west of present day Frederick MD, is unknown to the author, but very likely not the son of Brethern Michael Miller. Given the date and the relatively close geographic proximity, it seems possible that the Michael Miller, who purchased the 35 acres, part of a tract called Johnson’s Desire, could have been the elder son of Brethren Michael Miller, or a descendant.
Having fairly well exhausted all of the known land records pertaining to persons named Michael Miller in Frederick/ Washington County, are we any closer to establishing the ancestry of the Michael and Henry Miller, who married daughters of Jacob French Jr.? Perhaps, but we need to dig much deeper into Miller, French and Schnebley land and other records in Frederick County to further and more persuasively establish linkages than the mere matching of names. Before delving into other Miller candidates living in the vicinity of Conococheague and Antietam Creeks, we will first perform a more complete analysis of the other known sons of Brethren Michael Miller.
From our analysis of the history associated with the Ash Swamp tract, we reliably established that Brethren Michael Miller, likely died sometime before Apr1762, and that he almost certainly had at least three sons named John, Philip Jacob and Lodowick [Ludwig] Miller. We also established that all three of those sons shared, as heirs at law, in the property known as Resurvey on Ash Swamp. We also established that a person named Michael Miller purchased tracts called Skipton on Craven (10Jun1749) Well Taught (17Mar1755) and Deceit (6May1761), all believed to have been situated on the east side of Antietam Creek, two identified as being on Little Antietam Creek [aka Forbush’s Branch]. Michael Miller sold all of Skipton on Craven, and most of Well Taught to his presumed sons-in-law in Oct1765. No records were found in association with the disposal of the tract called Deceit. On 30Jun1769 a Michael Miller purchased five tracts, parts of Teagarden’s Delight, Addition to Teagarden’s Delight, Resurvey of Plunk’s Doubt. Maidens Walk and Joneses Lot, totaling 358 acres and renamed Pleasant Garden. This acquisition abutted Prickly Ash Bottom, a tract purchased by Philip Jacob Miller from Thomas Keller. Because of the timing and close geographic proximity, this Michael Miller was presumed by the author to have been the same person, who owned the tracts near Antietam Creek, and a brother of Philip Jacob, John and Lodowick Miller.
We will now present the land records associated with Philip Jacob Miller, Lodowick Miller and John Miller in chronological order:
Philip Jacob Miller
- 20Sep1751 – Frederick County Patent Book, Jacob Miller filed a survey on a tract called The Swamp¸ containing 50 acres, described as beginning at a bounded White Oak, standing on the north of a swamp, near a parcel of limestone rocks, and near the said Miller’s land, held by Conigocheige Manor. This patent identifies the patentee simply as “Jacob Miller”, however, it is the author’s belief that the filer was actually Philip Jacob Miller. The rationale for this belief is based on date, and the description as being “near the said Miller’s land”. As shown in Figure 54, The Swamp was located just to the northwest of Ash Swamp. Just six months after this patent filing, Philip Jacob Miller filed a patent for Resurvey on Ash Swamp. The close geographic proximity and timing of these filings provides a strong inference that The Swamp was patented to Philip Jacob Miller. If so, it may be noteworthy that it was described as being near Jacob Miller’s land. This statement suggests that Philip Jacob Miller may already have been in possession of Ash Swamp, further suggesting that his father may have been dead before Sep1751.
- 25Apr1752 – Frederick County Patent Book, Philip Jacob Miller patented a resurvey on Ash Swamp totaling 290 acres (Frederick County MSA S1197-3708) called Resurvey on Ash Swamp. This was the earliest land record found for Philip Jacob Miller. We have already studied this tract exhaustively, in Item No. 5, herein above.
- 22Aug1770 – Frederick County Deed Book E, pp. 283-4: Philip Miller of Lancaster County PA, farmer, purchased from Benjamin Biggs of Frederick County, for sum of £559, 10 schillings, part of a tract called Benjamin’s Good Luck, situated in Frederick County, beginning at the end of 100 perches on the 2nd Line of the last resurvey of said tract… In the original patent this tract was described as being on Stoney Branch, of Monocacy River. This location is south of present day Emmitsburg MD. Due to the extreme distance from the Conococheague, there is no reason to think that this person was Philip Jacob Miller.
- 22Mar1773 – Frederick County Deed Book P, pp. 637-8: Philip Miller sold to James Flemming, both of Frederick County, for sum of £300, a tract of land called Isaac’s Range, surveyed for Isaac Miller on 24Mar1752, containing 100 acres, described as being near the Catoctin Mountains. Due to the significant distance from the Conococheague, this is not believed to have been Philip Jacob Miller.
Until about 1752 these settlers had been permitted to establish their homesteads relatively unmolested by their Native American neighbors. Yes, there had been an occasional depredation, but usually with provocation from both sides.
It should be noted that there was actually a patent for a tract called The Head of Ash Swamp (MSA S1203-1128), for 150 acres to John Keller on 6Jun1739, which boundary began at the same “bounded Spanish Oak” as did Ash Swamp. So, it seems probable that these two tracts: Ash Swamp and The Head of Ash Swamp were locate on a tributary of Conococheague Creek known as Ash Swamp, but which name has not survived to the present day. It seems probable to the author that Ash Swamp was one of the branches of a small stream identified on current maps as Rush Run.
Ash Swamp is of particular importance to connecting several other persons named Miller with the Brethren Michael Miller. For example, on 17Mar1753 Philip Jacob Miller received a patent for a tract called Resurvey on Ash Swamp, said resurvey pursuant to a warrant dated 26Oct1751 to amend errors in the original survey, and to add 140 acres of contiguous vacant lands to original plat containing 150 acres, for a total single tract of 290 acres. The author has compiled a plat map reconstruction of Ash Swamp, The Head of Ash Swamp, and Resurvey on Ash Swamp as illustrated in Figure 16-XX. From this resurvey on Ash Swamp, it has been surmised by many that Philip Jacob Miller was a son of Brethren Michael Miller.
“The whole settlement of Conococheague in Maryland is fled, and there now remain only two families from thence to Fredericktown which is several miles below the Blue Ridge. By which means we are quite exposed and have no better security on that side, than the Potomac River, for many miles below the Shenandoah; and how great a security that is to us, may easily be discerned, when we consider, with what facility the enemy have passed and repassed it already. That the Maryland settlements are all abandoned is certainly a fact, as I have had the accounts transmitted to me by several hands, and confirmed yesterday by Henry Brinker, who left Monocacy the day before, and also affirms, that three hundred and fifty wagons had passed that place to avoid the enemy, within the space of three days.”
Beginning in 1745 and continuing up to about 1770 (year before Michael’s presumed death) Michael Miller was involved in numerous land transactions in Frederick County MD listed as follows:
- 15Oct1747 thirteen individuals were granted naturalization status by the Maryland General Assembly as exhibited on an index card contained in the Maryland State Archives and presented in Figure 33. Included on this list were the names of George French [presumed son of Jacob French I], Jacob Miller, Lodowick Miller, and Joseph Vulgamot.
27Aug2020 post on the”Brethren Michael Miller” blog site:
“Good Morning Roberta:
Don’t know what became of my most recent post, so I will attempt to recreate it. Since I have not received a contact from you via e-mail, I am left with no other option than to communicate via this blog page. Since you have invested so much effort into creating your wonderful work on the Brethren, Michael Miller, I am sure you would like to have it as factual and informative as possible. Toward that end I would like to share with you one more piece of information that has come to my attention in the course of my research into the Miller-Schnebley-French families.
Your blog, and many other Miller resources report Michael Miller’s death date to have been around 1777. There is a clause in the deed record between Lodowick and Philip Jacob dated 9Dec1783, in which Lodowick relinquished his rights vested in the property known as Resurvey on Ash Swamp, which merits our particular attention. That clause is transcribed (by me) as follows:
“…said original tract [Ash Swamp] being resurveyed by and with my [Lodowick Miller’s] consent and free will as son and heir at law to my father, Michael Miller, deceased, and leaving no Will, I ordered and agreed that my brother, Philip Jacob Miller, should resurvey the said original tract called Ash Swamp, which was resurveyed on the 25th of April, 1752, and afterward patented unto him, my said brother, Philip Jacob Miller…” (Washington County Deed Book C, pp. 563-567)
This clause would seem to make it quite certain that Michael Miller was already deceased when Philip Jacob Miller filed for the resurvey on Ash Swamp in Dec1752. If my interpretation of this clause is correct, then there are numerous other “facts” regarding Michael Miller, which must be readdressed and corrected. For example, he could not have been the Michael Miller, who is on record traveling to Philadelphia with Philip Jacob Miller, etal., to receive the oath of allegiance and become a naturalized citizen. He could not have been the Michael Miller, who is on record having owned several tracts of land along Little Antietam Creek and having been elected a Constable for the Leitersburg area. He may not even have been the same person, who disposed of the 150 acre tract, part of Bachelor’s Choice near Hanover. If he was not those Michael Millers, then we should be more than a little curious to know who those Michael Millers were. It is my belief that those Michael Millers may have been another son of the Brethren Michael Miller.
My research will continue, and I will from time to time post any additional pieces of new information that may be uncovered regarding this family. I would really like to know your thoughts regarding the foregoing. Sincerely, Robert Atteberry.”
“As one minister phrased religion on the frontier, “They joined the church of opportunity.” Perhaps it wasn’t exactly what they wanted, but they preferred worshipping to not worshipping… The Brethren (Dunkers) at this time were an open, inviting faith, so it would not be unusual for non-Brethren families to convert.”
We will introduce one further record which might suggest a connection between a Jacob Miller of Maryland and a member of the French family:
- 15Oct1747 thirteen individuals were granted naturalization status by the Maryland General Assembly as exhibited on an index card contained in the Maryland State Archives and presented in Figure 33. Included on this list were the names of George French [presumed son of Jacob French I], Jacob Miller, Lodowick Miller, and Joseph Vulgamot.
The identity of the Jacob Miller, who received naturalization status on 7Oct1747 at Annapolis, is not known with certainty, but may have been a brother of Lodowick Miller, who was also naturalized on that same date. The George French, who was naturalized in company with Jacob and Lodowick Miller, is believed by the author to have been a brother of Jacob French II, and uncle of Margaret and Mary French, presumed wives of Henry and Michael Miller. So, given the association of Jacob and Lodowick Miller in this naturalization ceremony with George French, we are logically drawn to the question of whether there may have been any connection between Jacob and Lodowick Miller and Henry and Michael Miller. If the answer to that question proves to be affirmative, then its explanation might lead us to an identity of the parentage of Henry and Michael Miller, and whether or not there was such a person as Jacob Miller of Spring Mills.
It should also be noted that Joseph Volgamot and Jonathan Hager were also naturalized at this same ceremony.
unknown to the author at this juncture, but may have been the same person, who purchased tracts of land on Tilhance Branch in 1764 and 1773. Further, there is good reason to believe that the George French, who was also naturalized on that date was a brother of Jacob French II, and son of Jacob French I. It is also believed that Joseph Vulgamot may have been the same person, who was reported as a soldier in Captain Jonathan Hagar’s Mennonite Company of militia in Frederick County Maryland in 1757, along with several Jacob Millers, Zachariah Miller, Frederick Unsult, etal. This Joseph Vulgamot is believed to have been the same person, who filed a patent for 188 acres on Sleepy Creek and Mountain Run on 30Oct1766, which was sold by his sons: David Wolgamot and Joseph Wolgamot [Jr.] to William Hickson on 19Sep1780 (Item No. 18, Henry Miller of Opequon). And, lastly, Jonathan Isagar is believed to have been Capt. Jonathan Hagar, commander of the Mennonite Company, and founder of Hagarstown MD.
The author has no way of proving that the father of Henry Miller and Michael Miller was not a Jacob Miller, who died in 1788 at Spring Mills, but is prepared to concede that this is a possibility. It does seem apparent from the records that there was a Henry Miller residing in Berkeley County in 1777, separate and apart from Henry Miller of Opequon. That Henry Miller is distinguished in the rent roll from Henry Miller of Opequon by the designation of “Henry Miller of Osburn”, seemingly a reference to the Henry Miller, who had purchased the tract from Henry and Dorothy Counce, abstracted in Item No. 3, above. See Table 6 for a listing of the Henry and Jacob Millers appearing in the 1776/7 rent roll. It seems probable to the author that the Henry Miller identified as “of Osborn” was the Henry Miller married to Margaret French, and that the other two Henry Millers were Henry Miller of Opequon, and his son, Henry Miller Jr. The LWT of the Henry Miller, husband of Margaret French was written on 18Jan1805, abstracted as follows:
We also have the LWT of Michael Miller, presumed son of Jacob Miller, abstracted as follows:
Before offering an opinion regarding the existence/identity of Jacob Miller of Spring Mills the author would like to provide some background on some of the persons who received naturalization at Annapolis Maryland on 7Oct1747. There is relatively strong evidence to support the fact that all 13 of these persons were of the non-associators, i.e., Mennonists, Dunkers or Quakers, and that they all were immigrated from either Germany, Holland or Switzerland, had likely entered the colony through Philadelphia, and that they were all settled in future Washington County along the waters of the Conococheague or Antietam Creeks. Those who are of particular interest to our study were George French, Jonathan Isagar, Jacob Miller, Jacob Stull, and Joseph Vulgamot.
George French – is believed to have been a brother of Jacob French II, and uncle of Margaret and Mary French, who married Henry and Michael Miller. Since George French went through the naturalization process, he probably was born somewhere on the Continent. He is believed born about 1725, whereas his younger brother, Jacob French II is believed born about 1728, possibly in either Britain or the Colonies, as he is not on record being naturalized. However, there are some French family researchers, who believe (although unproven) that Jacob Frans, on board the Elizabeth, arrived Philadelphia on 30Oct1738, to have been Jacob French I. The French family is believed to have settled in Antrim Township, Franklin County PA. shortly after arrival, as it was in that township that Louisa [Levina] French married John Sniveley [aka Snavely or Schnebli]. The earliest record found for George French was in his naturalization on 7Oct1747. According to one family researcher, George would need to have been a resident of Maryland for seven years prior to his naturalization, which suggests that he had been in Maryland since before Oct1740. Jacob French II did not appear in records until his patent filing for a 100 acre tract known as Deep Spring Joining to a Hard Rock in 1752, probably situated along Little Antietam Creek [Forbush’s Branch] near Leitersburg. George and Jacob II filed several patents, mostly along the drainage of Antietam Creek in future Washington County as listed in Table 7. In 1762 Jacob French purchased an old Daniel Dulany patent (filed 5Dec1742) containing 100 acres called Huckleberry Hall situated on a branch of Little Antietam Creek known as Forbush’s Branch, named for a local resident, George Forbush [aka Fairbush]. Remnants of the manor house constructed by Jacob French are described as follows:
“The main house, which faces the road, is built of stone and is nestled into the gentle slope of the land so that the basement level opens out into the back yard. A two-story, four-bay section is on the left with a two-story, two-bay kitchen wing on the right… Above, the severed ends of floor joists jut out; revealing that the porch roof had been cantilevered at one time–a pent roof. As this roof had sagged over time, earlier owners added columns. Finally the roof deteriorated to the point where it had to be removed. It was then that the new owners discovered the original pent roof construction. They also removed the roughcast that had been applied to the wall under this roof and found that the mortar joints between the stones had been painted with even, white lines about an inch wide. These lines enhance the regularity of the stonework and were probably drawn on all the mortar joints of the front elevation of the house. It is possible that the entire house may have been decorated in this way, but time has worn away any other evidence of this.”
A brief history of the Huckleberry Hall property is offered as follows:
Bell’s History of Leitersburg District describes Huckleberry Hall as originally being surveyed for Daniel Dulaney on December 5, 1742, but he died before completing title. The patent was granted to Jacob French, September 29, 1759, and contained 100 acres. It was next owned by John Schnebley, who leased it and an adjacent 140 acres to Jacob Good in 1770.
In Aug1766 in the settlement of the estate of Jacob Schnebli in Antrim Township, Franklin County PA, George French was recorded paying the executors £7 owed Schnebele, and Jacob French received money as part of his wife’s [Magdalena’s] share of her father’s estate. The 2nd owner of Huckleberry Hall, John Schnebley, was Jacob French II’s brother-in-law, they are believed to have married each others sister: John Schnebley married Levina French ~1743, and Jacob French II married Magdalena Schnebley ~1748/9. Jacob French is on record selling land (possibly Huckleberry Hall) to John Schnebley on 28Aug1769, and to Andrew Evey [aka Avey] [any relation to George Avey, naturalized in Oct1747?] on 25Jun1770. It probably was about this time at which Jacob French moved across the Potomac and purchased a tract of land in Berkeley County Virginia, abstracted as follows:
- Berkeley County Deed Book 1, p. 211 – 1Aug1772: Edward Davis and Mary Davis, his wife, of Frederick County sold 75 acres for ₤5 to Jacob French of same, land granted to James Davis Sr. and left to said Edward by his father, and is part of 1,175 acre tract, adjacent Peter Hedges and said Edward. The original grant of 1,175 acres was situated on Tullises Branch, tributary of Harlan Run, about midway between Hedgesville and Spring Mills.
The foregoing tract purchased by Jacob French would have been situated about six miles from the tract acquired by his presumed son-in-law, Henry Miller, about six years later. This acquisition suggests that Jacob French had relocated, or was in the process of relocating his family from Washington County MD into Berkeley County Virginia. The relocation of Henry Miller to this same general area a few years later, probably was attributable to their familial connections. No further record was found by the author for Jacob French II until the filing of his estate administration in Sep1788 in Berkeley County. There were several more estate records on which a Jacob French appeared as a purchaser or witness, extending all the way to 1804, presumably for Jacob French III or IV. One of those estate records was the settlement of the estate of Joshua Ward on 19Feb1794, in which Jacob French [probably III] and Henry Miller appeared in the accounts. Presumably this was a record of Jacob French III’s brother-in-law, as Henry Miller is believed to have married Margaret French, the sister of Jacob French III. On 18Jun 1794 the estate of Jacob French [III] was audited, in which Jacob French Jr. [IV] was named as an administrator, and George French [probably brother of Jacob French IV] was named in the accounts.
When Jacob French II died in 1788, he is reputed to have left a Will, which divided his real property (200 acres) among his children, and in which his eldest son, John French, was named executor. The author was unable to find any record of a Will, merely the aforementioned estate administration record. However, there appears to have been a deed record or estate action dated 29Jun1798, which made a further division of the 200 acres bequeathed by the Will of Jacob French II. Apparently, that Will provided that, should any child die without heirs of their body, their respective share would be distributed evenly to the other surviving children. The author has already presented this record earlier in this section but thinks it worthwhile to reiterate its fundamental elements at this time. This Court record from Jun1798 made a division of John French’s share of his legacy to five surviving siblings: George French, Barbara French, Mary French [wife of Michael Miller], Margaret French [wife of Henry Miller] and Henry French (no longer residing in the area). It should be noted that there was no mention of Jacob French III as a surviving heir, so presumably, he was the person whose estate was administered on 18Jun1794. The fact that there does not appear to have been a redistribution of Jacob French III’s legacy suggests that he probably died either testate or without heirs of his body.
Nothing further was discovered of George French of Huckleberry Hall aside from his patents in Washington County. As noted in Table 7, George French acquired several tracts of land in Washington County between 1747 and 1775, most of which were situated along the drains of Antietam Creek. Sometime around 1760 George French is believed to have constructed a substantial stone dwelling house on his property known variously as Resurvey on George’s Mistake, George’s Venture, and The Barrens, measuring roughly 30′ by 40′. Two years after completion of his new home, George sold this property to Barnabas Hughes. Over the years the old dwelling house of George French received several additions and improvements, until it came to appear as illustrated in Figure 34. This property came to be known as Old Forge Farm, situated as described below:
“Going west on Old Forge Road from Route 62, the highway dips across a one-lane bridge and rises again between fields and scattered homes. At the crest of a rise, an enormous stone structure seems to lie across the way in the distance, commanding the area from a small rise that slopes away from the building on three sides. Just before reaching this house, the road turns to the left, as though diverted by the stone presence, and proceeds over a humpbacked stone bridge that spans Antietam Creek.”
George French is on about 21 different deed conveyances between 1751 and 1769, including the conveyance of Old Forge Farm to Barnabas Hughes on 11Oct1764. He is believed to have died in Washington County MD in about 1772.
Joseph Volgamott – is believed to have been the Joseph Wohlgemuth, aged 20 arriving at Philadelphia on 1Sep1736 aboard the Harle from Rotterdam, in the company of Henrich Wohlgemuth aged 29 and Abraham Wohlgemuth aged 22 (presumably Joseph’s older brothers). Aboard this same ship was recorded the arrival of Jonathan Hager, believed to have been the same person, who received naturalization with Joseph Wolgamot, George French, etal. at Annapolis on 12Oct1747. Joseph Volgamot was recorded in Frederick County Maryland receiving four separate patents as listed in Table 8:
At some point before 1765 Joseph Wolgamot built a grist mill on the Conococheague, possibly on the 112 acre plat filed in 1746 known as Part of Dutch Folly Resurveyed. He is believed to have operated this mill until his death in 1774. At some point after his death the property came into the possession of David Kemp, who continued to operate a mill at this location, later devolving to Kemp’s sons. The old Wolgamot-Kemp mill was located on the east bank of the Conococheague at the intersection of Kemp’s Mill Road and Rock Hill Road, about two miles upstream from Williamsport. Figure 35 provides an overhead view of the structure known today as Old Mill Tavern, which is believed to stand on the site of Joseph Wolgamot’s grist mill, perhaps incorporating remnants of the old Wolgamot Mill foundations. Also visible in this image is the remnant of the dam, which diverted water through the headrace to power the under-shot water wheel. Joseph Wolgamot is believed to have had three sons: John, David and Joseph Jr. John Wolgamot predeceased his father, and an abstract of his estate settlement is as follows:
“60/p. 95 JOHN WOLGAMOT, late of Frederick County, appraised 2 May 1776, £178-1-0 Appraised in Maryland currency, inventory included a Negro Girl Named Nell £40 Appraised by Martin Kershner & Henry Due Next of Kin – Joseph Wolgamot & David Wogamot / Creditors – David Wolgamot & Joseph Wolgamot Mary Wolgamot, Executrix of John Wolgamot, swore to this inventory on 29 September 1781.”
Even though this estate appraisal of John Volgamot was dated almost two years after the date of his father’s Will it seems probable that he actually died before his father, otherwise, why was there no mention of John in his father’s Will? Joseph Wolgamot Sr. is believed to have died sometime in 1774, given the date of his Will, abstracted as follows:
“IN THE NAME OF GOD AMEN: I Joseph Wolgamot of the county of Frederick and Province of Maryland being weak in Body but of sound Mind and Memory (blessed by God) do this second day of August Dommi Seventeen hundred and seventy four, make and publish this my Last Will and Testament in the manner following ( that is to say) First and principally I recommend my Soul to God that gave it, and my Body to the earth to be decently buried at the Discretion of my Executors, nothing doubting but I shall receive the same again at the General Resurrection according to the mighty power of God, and as to my wordly Estate with which it has pleased God to bless me I give and bequeath it in the way and manner following.
IMPRIMIS. It is my Will and I do hereby allow that all my Estate both real and personal shall immediately after my Death be justly appraised and the sum arising from that appraisement (after all my just debts is paid and what the law allows Catherine Wolgamot my wife is taken therefrom) to be equally divided in the following manner between my Sons Joseph and David Wolgamot and my Daughters Ann Chambers, Hester Brandenburg, Elizabeth Meek and Sarah Wolgamot giving each of my sons Joseph and David as aforesaid, double as much as each of my daughters aforesaid, and should my Son David, or my Daughter or both of them, die before they are married his her of their part I allow to be equally divided amongst the Survivors aforesaid agreeable to the aforesaid proportion. Secondly, it is my Will and I do hereby allow that Ann Chambers Part shall be continued in the hands of my Executors for the use of her and the said Ann Chambers Children to be equally divided amongst them, and their respective parts to be paid to them as they come of age and for no other purpose. Thirdly, it is my Will and I do hereby allow my sons Joseph and David Wolgamot to hold my Lands betwixt them to be equally divided according to quantity and Quality (that is to say) let so much of the Land most convenient to the new Mill be given with her as will make her equal in value to the Remaining part of my Lands, and they the said Joseph and David to pay my Daughter’s portion in money, each one half share (should my sons chuse to do so) but if otherwise I allow my whole Estate real and personal to be sold and the money arising from such sale to be divided as before directed and I do hereby constitute and appoint my Sons Joseph Wolgamot and David Wolgamot jointly Executors of this my Last Will and Testament for the Intent and purposes before mentioned. In Witness thereof I the said Joseph Wolgamot have to this my Last Will and Testament set my hand and affixed my Seal the day and year first above written.”
From the records already presented herein before, it is known that David Wolgamot had settled in Berkeley County Virginia around 1780, when he acquired land on Opequon Creek nearby to Henry Miller of Opequon. His brother, Joseph Wolgamot Jr., was still living in Washington County MD, when he and his brother, David, disposed of their father’s tract on Mountain Run of Sleepy Creek, Berkeley County Virginia on 19Sep1780.
Jacob Stull – Virtually nothing was discovered regarding the origins and history of Jacob Stull, who took the oath of allegiance at Annapolis. No one with the surname of “Stull” is to be found in the book Pennsylvania German Pioneers, Vol. I 1727-1772, Ralph Beaver Strassburger, LL.D., 1934. “Stull” is not a recognized Germanic surname, and probably was “anglicized” from some other form, i.e., Stuhl, Stohl, Stahl, etc. There is one listing of the “Stuhl” surname [Strassburger], that being a Jacob Stuhl, who arrived at Philadelphia on 3Sep1739 aboard the Loyall Judith, age unknown. Given the virtual match of name, date of landing, and place of origin, there is good reason to believe that this Jacob Stuhl was the same person as Jacob Stull. Unfortunately, no other record could be found of Jacob Stull or Stuhl in Maryland, before or after Oct1747. Some researchers may be tempted to confuse Jacob Stull with the family of John Stull, which left a relatively large footprint around Hagerstown, including owning a mill on a westerly branch of Antietam Creek, known as Stull’s Mill which later came into possession of the Jonathan Hager family, briefly referenced as follows:
“Mills were established at an early date to process wood and grain grown by the settlers. They were important early trade centers and gathering places for residents of their vicinities. The Hager Mill was known earlier as Stull’s Mill which was established, according to historians, as early as the 1730’s. The Hager family bought the mill in the late 18th century.”
In Building on the Gospel Foundation, Edsel Burge and Samuel Horst made further reference to Stull’s Mill as follows:
“Four hundreds encompassed Maryland’s portion of the Cumberland Valley. Antietam Hundred north to south between Antietam Creek and the South Mountain. Between the Antietam and Conococheague creeks, twh hundreds, Salisbury to the north and Marsh to the south, were divided by the road between Wolgamot’s and Stull’s mills. The Conococheague Hundred to the west of the creek.”
The reference to the road between Wolgamot’s and Stull’s mills was a clear reference to the wagon road connecting between future Williamsport and Watkins Ferry on the Potomac, and Elizabeth Town (future Hagerstown). The author was unable to establish any kinship connection between the John Stull family and that of Jacob Stull, nor was any further reference to Jacob Stull found after Oct1747.
Jacob Miller – the fact that a Jacob Miller was among those supposed Mennonists who took the oath of allegiance at Annapolis in Oct1747 is particularly noteworthy for our investigation, when taken in context of the other parties; specifically Lodowick Miller, George French and Frederick Unselt. We have already presented a fairly thorough history the French brothers: George and Jacob II, and the connection of the daughters of Jacob French II with the purported sons of Jacob Miller of Spring Mills: Henry and Michael. We have also fairly thoroughly developed the history of Georg Frederick Unseldt, who was a fellow passenger on the Elizabeth with the Simon Linder family, and whose son, Frederick Unsult Jr., sold a 184 acre tract to Jacob Miller of Frederick County Maryland on 1May1764. Unfortunately, there appears to have been several Jacob Millers residing in Frederick County Maryland during this time period, who had Mennonists connections, as evidenced by the muster roll of the militia company of Capt. Jonathan Hager, which we will reiterate here for the reader’s convenience:
- Maryland Militia Roster – 1757: Capt. Jonathan Hagar’s Company (Mennonites); Lt. Martin Casner; Ens. James White; Sgt.’s: John Casner, Jacob Casner; Soldiers: Leonard Snavely, George Casner, Jacob Miller, Conrad Miller, John Miller Jr., Frederick Unselt, Joseph Volgamott, John Miller, Daniel Cresap [grandson of notorious Indian Trader and namesake of Cresap’s War, Col. Thomas Cresap], Jacob Miller Jr., Abraham Teter, John Teter, Zachariah Miller, Philip Jacob Miller, Christian Rhoarer, George Davis, Jacob Miller (son of Conrad), Benjamin Mollatt [Arbraham Mollatt purchased property from the estate of Dr. Richard Pile, deceased husband of Elizabeth].
In this roster dated about 1757 we have the listings of three separate Jacob Millers, in addition to a Conrad Miller, Philip Jacob Miller, John Miller and Zachariah Miller. One of these Jacob Millers was identified as a son of Conrad Miller, possibly the same Conrad Miller also appearing in this muster, but not likely. Another Jacob Miller was identified as Jacob Miller Jr., possibly a son of the third Jacob Miller appearing in this muster. If these associations are correct, then we would appear to have two Jacob Millers matched up with their fathers: Conrad Miller and Jacob Miller[Sr.]. The Jacob Miller, who took the oath of allegiance in Oct1747, can be assumed to have been in America for at least seven years prior to that 1747, as such duration of residence was a condition of becoming naturalized in Maryland at that time. That being said, then this Jacob Miller would have immigrated, probably to Pennsylvania, sometime prior to Oct1740. A review of the ships registers [Strassburger] of transports after 1727 revealed only five viable candidates:
- Jacob Miller – 5Sep1730, Alexander and Ann
- Jacob Miller, aged 17 – 27Aug1733, Elizabeth
- Jacob Miller – 16Sep1736, Princess Augusta
- Jacob Miller – 8Oct1737, Charming Nancy
- Jacob Miller – 6Sep1738, Winter Galley
It should be noted that the Jacob Miller, aged 17, arriving 27Aug1733, was on the same voyage with the Simon Linder family and Frederick Onself. Also on this same voyage was a person identified as Wolfcon Miller, aged 42. A fairly thorough search for any Germanic forename of “Wolfcon” yielded zero hits. However, alternative transcriptions of this same list twice interpreted this name as Wolfgang. Yet, in a third, and more comprehensive transcription, the name is reported to have been Wolf Con. Milor, aged 41, along with a Margret Milor, aged 52, and Jacob Milor, aged 17. There were no other younger Milors in this third transcription, even though it appeared to contain a complete listing of all men, women and children aboard the Elizabeth on that voyage. Given that the third transcription was the more complete listing of the ship’s manifest, the author is inclined to believe that it might have been the most accurate recreation. Assuming that to have been the case, then it might be interpreted that Wolf Con., Margret and Jacob were members of the same family. The age spread of Wolf Con. versus Jacob suggests that Jacob may have been the son of Wolf Con. Milor. Margret could have been Wolf Con.’s wife and Jacob’s mother.
Now, for our interpretation of the name of Wolf Con. Milor. If we accept this as a literal [unnuanced] transcription of the ship’s register, it would give the impression that this person carried both a first and middle name in addition to their surname. Assuming that to have been the case, then it seems probable to the author that both names may have been truncated. Most likely, this persons full name was Wolf [Wulf] or Wolfgang Conrad [Konrad] Muller. Let’s for the moment consider the possibility that the Jacob Miller, who swore the oath of allegiance in Oct1747 was the son of Wolf Conrad Miller. Is there anything else found in the records of Maryland during this time period that might support or refute this supposition?
Well, we do have the militia muster of Capt. Jonathan Hager which lists a soldier named Jacob Miller, son of Conrad. There was also a soldier named Conrad Miller in that same militia company. It seems possible to the author that this Jacob and Conrad Miller may have been brothers. If so, it seems possible that Conrad could have been older than Jacob. There is a record of a Conrad Millear arriving at Philadelphia on 25Sep1732 aboard the Loyal Judith, who could have been another son of Wolf Conrad Miller. All of this is speculation on the part of the author, and probably not provable.
In addition to the ship registers we also have land patents for Millers as listed in Figure 9.
Six of the foregoing patents are reported to have been part of or abutting a tract identified as Plunks Doubt. Following a fairly extensive investigation, the author was unable to establish the precise origin, location or size of the tract known as Plunks Doubt. However,
“In the fall of 1756, Indians scalped 20 people in Conococheague including one Jacob Miller, his wife and 6 children. Were they related? We don’t know. If they were Brethren, they would not have defended themselves.” Was this the father of Jacob Miller Jr., soldier in Capt. Hager’s company?
Most settlers fled east from Monocacy. George Washington received a report in the summer of 1756 that “350 wagons had passed that place to avoid the enemy within the space of 3 days” and by August the report was that “The whole settlement of Conococheague in Maryland is fled, and there now remain only two families from thence to Fredericktown…..”
The settlements remained abandoned in 1757 and into 1758 when General Forbes actions served to end the war. Were it not for Forbes, we might all be speaking French today.
List of delinquent taxpayers from Frederick County
- Conrad Miller
- Isaac Miller
- Jacob Miller Jr
- John Miller
- Lodwick Miller
- Michael Miller heirs
It is now time to wrap up our investigation of Spring Mills Jacob Miller with the author’s opinion that there is no apparent connection between this “family” and our Jacob Miller, other than their probable shared ethnic heritage as having descended from German ancestry. Before arriving at this opinion, the author had compiled a fairly extensive background on the French and Snavely families. So that that research effort will not be wasted, it has been included in Appendix E at the end of this chapter.
The deeds presented in Items 1 and 2, above, were the only records found by the author which could be linked to “Spring Mills Jacob Miller“. This linkage is established through the matching names and relatively close geographic proximity (about five miles) of lower Tilhance Branch to the locale known as “Spring Mills”, and the assumed age of these two Jacob Millers (born before 1740). The Jacob Miller, who purchased 184 acres from Frederick Unsult in 1764 probably would have been born sometime before about 1740. We cannot state with any certainty that he ever actually resided in Virginia, as both of the deed records give his residence in 1764 and 1773 as having been in Frederick County Maryland. It is the author’s belief that one or more researcher has studied these records of Jacob Miller who filed patents on the drainage of Tilhance Branch, coupled with the almost contemporaneous purchase by Henry Miller of a 52 acre tract in the same general area in 1778 and have connected them as father and son. This may be a reliable conclusion to be drawn, but is completely lacking in documentary “proof” at the present time.
We do have the 1776/7 rent rolls from Berkeley County which appear to show two different Jacob Millers and three different Henry Millers paying taxes in Berkeley County at the same time as abstracted in Table 6. The Henry Miller reported as “of Osborn” would seem to be a clear reference to the Henry Miller cited in Item No. 3, above, who purchased the 52 acre tract from Henry and Dorothy Counce [Kuntz] in 1778 near the Potomac, which had been assigned by David Osborn to Counce. This rent record makes it appear that this Henry Miller probably was already occupying the Counce tract in 1777, or earlier, and was paying the quit rent on the property before actually purchasing the tract. The other Henry Millers reported in 1776 and 1777 probably was the Henry Miller of Opequon, who we have already studied extensively, and his son Henry Miller Jr.. So, it would appear from these rent roll records that there were three different Henry Millers living in Berkeley County in 1777. Similarly, Table 6 also appears to contain records of two different Jacob Millers in Berkeley County in 1776 and 1777. The Jacob Miller identified as being “of Engle” is believed to have been located on Elk Run, tributary of the Potomac River, situated about five miles southwest of Shepherdstown. We will be analyzing that Jacob Miller in detail in the following section, and identified as “Jacob Miller of Elk Run”. It is the author’s belief that the other Jacob Miller could have been the same person identified as acquiring tracts in Items 1 and 2, above. It is further the author’s belief that this rent roll record provides evidence that that Jacob Miller may have taken up residency in Berkeley County sometime after acquiring the tract from Jeremiah and Elizabeth Dunn in 1773. However, it should be recognized that a person did not have to reside, but merely own land, in order to be assessed quit rents. We will end this analysis of Spring Mills Jacob Miller by stating that he could have existed, and could have been the father of sons named Henry and Michael, but that that family probably was not connected to our Jacob Miller.
(4) Elk Branch Jacob Miller
There is evidence of a person named Jacob Miller who resided in the lower part of Berkeley County on a stream known as Elk Run, tributary to the Potomac River, not to be confused with another stream in Berkeley County of the same name, tributary to Back Creek. This Jacob Miller left a very small footprint, but could have been the same person as our Jacob Miller. He was found in only two land records, abstracted as follows:
- Deed Book 3, p. 100 – 13Nov1774: Philip Engle Sr. and his wife, Mary Engle, Philip the son of Melger Engle, deceased and George Engle and his wife, Elizabeth Engle, also son of Melger Engle, sell 100 acres for £240, to Jacob Miller on Elk Branch, part of 397 acre tract granted to said Melger Engle in 1754. Witness: William Morgan, Joseph Smallwood, Johannes Blessind, William Endler, Philip Schult and Martin Endler. Given the name and timing of this deed record, it seems possible that this Jacob Miller could have been the same person as Spring Mills Jacob Miller. However, the location of this tract appears to have been almost 25 miles southeast from the earlier tracts on Tilhance Creek. This current tract is believed to have been on a small stream, directly tributary to the Potomac River, a few miles southeast of Duffield, called Elk Branch. Having performed the detailed investigation of the family of Henry Miller of Opequon, it occurs to the author that this Jacob Miller could have been the son of that Henry Miller, and may well have been “our Jacob Miller”. Henry Miller of Opequon named five sons in his Will in 1816: Henry, Jacob, George, Adam and John, presumably in the order of birth. Assuming that to be the case, then Jacob Miller would have been the second eldest son. We do not know the ages of any of these sons with any certainty, but we might be able to extrapolate their approximate age based on the resurvey of Henry Miller’s 343 acre tract in Feb1779 from which he granted 28 acres overage to his presumed son, George Miller. If we assume that George Miller had to be 21 years old to receive this land from his father, and that he was the 3rd born son, then we could surmise that Jacob Miller probably was born sometime before about 1757. This is not a very reliable measure, but the best information currently available to the author. Consequently, the Jacob Miller, who purchased this 100 aacre tract on Elk Run from Philip and Mary Engle could very well have been the 2nd born son of Henry Miller of Opequon. However, if this were the case, then our Jacob Miller would have been born before 1753. The author is inclined for the moment to accept that possibility. By virtue of this tract having been purchased from Philip Engle, it seems highly probable that this was the Jacob Miller identified in the 1777 rent rolls as being “of Engle”.
- Deed Book 4, p. 33 – 20Nov1776: Mary Engle, wife of Philip Engle and Elizabeth Engle, wife of George Engle relinquished their dower rights to a tract of land sold 14Nov1774 to Jacob Miller. Same as Item No. 1, above.
- Deed Book 5, p. 193 – 15Mar1779: Michael Engle sold 10 acres for £60 to Robert Lowery, adj. to Jacob Miller on the road from Elk Branch Meeting House to Shepherdstown (aka Mechlenburg). Witness: John Wright, Jacob Conklyn. The reference to Elk Branch Meeting House, places this tract not very far from the community of Duffield, the home of the Elk Branch Presbyterian Meeting House. Such location would place this Jacob Miller’s land near the road connecting between Duffield and Shepherdstown, identified on present day maps as Flowing Spring Road.
- Will Book 1, p. 435: Jacob Hum, Will dated 11Aug1786, probated 20Sep1786; Wife: Barbara, Sons: Jacob, Nicholas, Michael, John; Daughter: Catherine Potts. Devises land from Doctor John Brisco. Executor: son, Jacob Hum. Witness: Goodwin Swift, Thomas Hart Jr. and Jacob Millan [Miller?] Although this name was transcribed as “Millan”, it almost certainly was for Jacob Miller. This is made probable by the reference to a tract of land which was “from Dr. John Brisco”. Dr. John Brisco’s home place was known as Piedmont, situated about two miles north of Charlestown, which was about five miles south of Duffield. Given this connection to the Duffield area, it is a virtual certainty that the witness to this probate was Jacob Miller, who had purchased to 100 acre tract from Philip and Mary Engle. Jacob Ham [Jr.?] and Jacob Miller posted the surety bond for administration of the estate of Jacob Ham. On that surety bond Jacob Miller signed his name as portrayed in Figure 36. Close inspection of Jacob Miller’s signature would suggest that he knew his surname to have been “Müller”.
- Will Book 1, p. 448 – 27Feb1785: Estate appraisal of Jacob Ham [Hum?]. Appraised by Thomas Hart Jr., Jacob Miller and Thomas Hart Sr. Ditto. This record would seem to verify the identity of this person as Jacob Miller, not Millan. The identity of Jacob’s fellow appraisers: Thomas Hart Sr. and Thomas Hart Jr. may provide yet another important link between the Jacob Miller and our Jacob Miller of Millerstown.
There was one other record found for Jacob Miller of Elk Branch which might provide an explanation for his relocation to Grayson County Kentucky, abstracted as follows:
- “Paul vs. Hite–O. S. 310; N. S. 110–Bill, 21st January, 1794, by Margaret [Miles, sister of John Miles and Ann Thomas] Paul of Pennsylvania. Many years ago Joist Hite sold to Thos. Hart land in now Berkeley County. Hart sold a part to John Miles of Pennsylvania. On 2d April, 1747, Miles made his will and devised the land “intail” to oratrix [Margaret Miles-Paul], his only child, an infant. She married —- Paul, now deceased. Oratrix and father always lived in Pennsylvania. Fairfax claimed the land, was sued by Hite and lands decreed to Hite, but the Hite heirs refuse to give it up. Jacob Miller, Abraham Neil, Robt. Lowry, Philip Ingle, Godwin Swift, William Dark petition that they, with Giles Cook, are in possession of a tract of land on Elk Branch in Berkeley County, 1,300 acres, part was sold by Jost Hite to Thos. Hart and by him conveyed to petitioners. 17th June, 1803, Peter Martin, Sr., aged 73, 4 or 5 years ago, he was shown a tree that formerly stood in Cavalier Martin’s yard by Thos. Hart. 17th June, 1803, Thos. Hart, Sr., aged nearly 80 years, deposes, he was with the surveyor and his father when they surveyed Jost Hite’s 1,100 acres. 27th April, 1795, Ann Thomas, aged 78, deposes at Spread Eagle Tavern, kept by John Dunwoody in Philadelphia (285 High St.), she was married to John Miles in 1739 or 1740, that by him she had a son, Griffith Miles, who died when an infant, and Margaret, the plaintiff. 27th April, 1795, John Cart, aged 69 years, deposes, same place. 5th September, 1795, Edward Lucas, son of Edward Lucas, deposes. 19th March, 1787, Thos. Rutherford deposes, in 1752 as surveyor for Fairfax he made survey for Thos. Hart and an adjoining one for Miles Hart, son of Thomas. Joseph Darke owned adjoining land. In 1740 deponent saw a log house covered with clap board or shingle and nailed roof on north side of Elk Branch on land now in dispute. The house was said to be the property of John Miles, who had purchased from Thos. Harte, Sr. 5th September, 1795, John Wright, aged 70, deposes, he came to Virginia in 1747 or 1748 and was shown the land by James Glenn, Sr., who said John Miles claimed the land. A shingled house was uncommon. 17th February, 1795, Wm. Darke deposes, he was ordered out with the militia against the insurgents (in September) which prevented him from attending taking depositions in Philadelphia. Bond, 29th March, 1735, by Thomas Hart of Warminister in County Bucks, Penna., husbandman to Jost Hite of Orange County, Va. Gentleman title bond for 2 tracts, 1,000 acres on Elk Branch on the Waggon Road from Potomack to Opeckon, 500 acres northward from above. 27th September, 1794, Thos. Hart, aged 71 years, about 60 years ago his father, Thomas Hart, purchased 1,500 acres. In 1754 Thomas, Sr., was about to remove to Carolina.”
The foregoing abstract of a lawsuit filed by Margaret Miles Paul is fraught with generalities and obscure references. Perhaps the most thorough and lucid description of the background of this suit may be found in an article published in the Jefferson County Historical Society Magazine (2014), edited by James L. Glymph (ed.) The author will attempt to summarize the cause and purpose of this suit, in hopes of clarifying the roles of the various parties thereto. On 29Mar1735 Thomas Hart Sr., husbandman, of Bucks County Pennsylvania purchased two tracts of land from Jost Hite: 1,000 acres on Elk Branch, and 500 acres to the northward of the first tract, which, when surveyed, appeared to contain only 1,300 acres. Over the ensuing years prior to about 1755, Thomas Hart sold off various pieces of these tracts, including a 200 acre tract to his brother-in-law, John Miles of Pennsylvania on 2Apr1747. Another purchaser from the Thomas Hart tract was Melchor [aka Melger] Engle, who purchased a tract abstracted as follows:
- Frederick County Deed Book 3, pp. 311-3 – 4Jun1754: [Lease and Release] Between Thomas Hart and Ann Hart of Frederick County to Melger Ingle of Lancaster County PA, saddler, for £50, 105 acres, being part of a larger tract of land containing 268 acres granted to said Thomas Hart 2Jan1754. Below is abstract of original grant to Thomas Hart.
- [Northern Neck Grants] Book H, p. 413 – 2Jan1754: Thomas Hart of Frederick County, 286 acres surveyed by Thomas Rutherford, near Elk Branch, adjacent Samuel Dark and Hart’s Line.
Although the acreage is not an exact match (105 acres), the author believes that it was this tract which Philip and George Ingle sold to Jacob Miller on 13Nov1774. The reason for this belief is that Melchor Ingle was found to have acquired only two tracts of land: (1) the above purchase of 105 acres from Thomas Hart, and (2) the following Fairfax grant:
- [Northern Neck Grants] Book H, p. 412 – 1Jan1754: Melger Ingle of Pennsylvania, 397 acres in Frederick County, surveted by Thomas Rutherford, on Elk Branch, adjacent Thomas Hart, James Lloyd, Thomas Hart Jr., and Joseph Dark.
“To all to whom this present writing shall come sends greeting, Know ye that for good causes for and in consideration of the composition to me paid and for the annual rent hereafter reserved, I have given granted and confirmed and by these presents for me my heirs and assigns do give grant and confirm unto Melger Engle of Pennsylvania, a certain tract of waste and ungranted land on Elk Branch in Frederick county and bounded as by a survey thereof made by Mr. Thomas Rutherford Junr as follows:
Beginning at two white oaks and one hickory standing amongst rocks a corner to Thomas Hart then with his line So. 8(o) Et. 320 poles to two black Oaks and two Hickory Saplings in the line of James Lloyd, then with Lloyd’s No. 82(o) Et. 106 poles to a black Oak a corner to Thomas Hart Junr, then leaving the said Lloyd’s line and extending with the said Hart Junr’s Line No. 85(o) Et. 60 poles to two black Oak Saplings then leaving the said Thomas Hart Junr’s Line and extending No. 82(o) Et. 34 poles to two white Oaks and two Hickory Saplings thence No. 8 (o) Wt. 320 poles to a stake standing among Rocks near Joseph Darke’s house, then So. 83 (o) Wt. 201 poles to the beginning containing three hundred and ninety seven acres…
- Frederick County Deed Book 1, p. 202 – 1744: Conveyance between Thomas Hart of Frederick County, farmer, to Lewis Neill of same, for £106, all that tract of land containing 1,000 acres on Elk Branch being the land and plantation on which the said Thomas Hart now lives, and by him the said Hart purchased from Jost Hite the 29Mar1735. Witnessed: Sam Earle, J. Wood, and C Johnstone. This would appear to have been the 1,000 tract purchased from Jost Hite, so by 1744 Thomas Hart had disposed of the largest part of his 1735 acquisition. It seems probable that Lewis Neill subdivided and sold off parts of this tract, prior to the lawsuit filing by Margaret Miles-Paul.
At the same time that Melger Ingle filed his grant for 397 acres, Thomas Hart and Lewis Neil filed similar grants abstracted as follows:
- [Northern Neck Grants] Book H, p. 413 – 2Jan1754: Thomas Hart of Frederick County, 286 acres surveyed by Thomas Rutherford, near Elk Branch, adjacent Samuel Dark and Hart’s Line.
- [Northern Neck Grants] Book H, p. 414 – 4Jan1754: Lewis Neil of Frederick County, 392 acres surveyed by Thomas Rutherford, on Elk Branch, adjacent Henry Loyd, Peter Burr, near Waggon Road and James Loyd.
Almost from the outset of tract sales by Jost Hite, ownership and title became disputed by Lord Fairfax, described as follows:
“Over several decades, landholders on the Elk Branch were between a rock and a hard place as they had to variously prove land title derived from the Council or from Lord Fairfax, the Proprietor of the Northern Neck, depending on the vicissitudes of the lawsuit [Hite vs Fairfax] as it wound its way up and down the court system. Most Elk Branch settlers had come to the area having purchased from Thomas Hart of Pennsylvania parts of his 1,300 acre survey purchased from the Hites. When Lord Fairfax challenged the Hites’ title, the Hites could not give a good deed to Thomas Hart, who in turn was prevented from giving good deeds to the settlers. Hart and his sons, Miles and Thomas Jr. led the settlers into the precaution of obtaining deeds from the Fairfax, covering 976 acres of the original 1,300.”
So, when Jacob Miller purchased the 100 acre tract from Philip and George Ingle in 1774, he (perhaps unwittingly) became a party to the Hite-Fairfax dispute. Although the lawsuit filed by Margaret Miles-Paul was principally intended to establish her rightful claim to the 200 acres purchased by her father from her uncle, Thomas Hart, in 1747, it appears to have collaterally engaged the interests of all of the parties impacted by the sales from the Thomas Hart grant: Jacob Miller, Abraham Neil, Robt. Lowry, Philip Ingle, Godwin Swift, and William Dark. Whether William Dark was actually a co-complainant in Margaret Paul’s case is not certain, as he is described as acting as her attorney, and after achieving a settlement in Ms. Paul’s favor, General William Dark purchased her 200 acre tract.
There are several elements related to this lawsuit which may be of interest toward our efforts to expand our knowledge and understanding of Jacob Miller of Elk Branch. First, as an adjunct to this lawsuit, the court ordered a survey of the properties involved, which surveys give us a rare insight into the habitation of Jacob Miller and his neighbors:
“The disputed land was surveyed in 1786 as part of an ongoing lawsuit between Hite and Fairfax, which resulted in a detailed description of the land and improvements in that part of northwestern Virginia. All of the buildings listed in the Lick (Elk) Branch area still claimed by Hite were log or timber-framed construction, many described as “old” or “very old”:
William Dark – Buildings: one old round log dwelling house about 26 by 20 with stone chimney, a shed one end the width of the house 12 foot wide and [?] shed [?]; a good new log barn 60 by 20 with a shed on one side the length of the barn 12 foot wide and a shed on the other side 20 foot long and 12 foot wide; one round log house 16 by 12 covered with clap boards; one very old log house; land in cultivation and in good order 70 a. high land.
Jacob Miller – Buildings: one half worn 1 ½ story log dwelling house 28 by 24 with inside stone chimney; one old scalp’d log barn 48 by 22 covered with straw, no doors; land in cultivation and in pretty good order 50 a. high land; 10 a. meadow; 140 apple trees.
Philip Ingle – one new unfinished log dwelling house 30 by 22 with two inside double brick chimneys, one not carried above the roof and a stone cellar the size the house; one half worn round log barn 44 by 20 covered with straw, no doors; land in cultivation and in pretty good order 60 a. high land, 9 a. meadow.”
Second is the involvement of members of the Hart family as near neighbors of Jacob Miller. The reader may recall that during our investigation on Jacob Linder and Jacob Miller in Hardin and Grayson Counties, Kentucky, that we crossed paths on several occasions with various members of the Hart family. Perhaps the earliest such encounter was in the administration of the estate of Miles Hart, who had been killed by Indians, and his wife and son taken captive. Miles Hart’s estate was appraised by Jacob Vanmeter [probably “Valley Jake”], Jacob Linder and John Vertrees. Whoever this Miles Hart was, he almost certainly was descended from Thomas Hart and Esther [Easter] Miles of Elk Branch. Next we encountered Aaron Hart, as a co-commissioner with Jacob Miller, etal., for the clearing and maintenance of the Nolin River channel as a navigable waterway from Elizabethtown to the Green River. Next, we had an Aaron Hart applying for a license to operate a grist mill on the Nolin River. And finally, we had a Captain Aaron Hart as the commanding officer of Adam Miller, a presumed son of Jacob Miller. Who were these Hardin County Harts, and what was their connection to Thomas Hart of Elk Branch? Thirdly, we have the peculiar timing of the Margaret Mile-Paul lawsuit in Jan1794 and the presumed migration of Jacob Miller from Virginia? to Grayson County Kentucky in 1795-6. Was there a connection between the filing of this lawsuit and Jacob Miller’s decision to migrate to Kentucky? This motivation seems possible to the author.
Thomas Hart Sr.
Since Jacob Miller appears to have been a near neighbor and close associate of Thomas Hart Sr., Miles Hart and Thomas Hart Jr. in the 1780’s and 90’s, it might be helpful to know the identity of these Harts. From our earlier discussions of the lawsuit, brought by Margaret Miles-Paul, it was discovered that Thomas Hart [Sr.], husbandman, from Bucks County PA purchased two separate tracts from Jost Hite totaling 1,500 (1,000 and 500) acres along Elk Branch on 29Mar1735. Sometime before 2Apr1747, Thomas Hart sold 200 acres, presumably from the 500 acre tract, to John Miles, father of the complainant, Margaret Miles-Paul. The exact date of that sale, and the specific location of the 200 acre tract, relative to the balance of the grant is not known, but apparently the sale was proven to the satisfaction of the Court, as they found in favor of Ms. Paul. The remaining 1300 acres appear to have also been sold by Thomas Hart, as that remainder appears to have wound up in ownership of several separate parties named in the lawsuit, including: Jacob Miller, Abraham Neil, Robt. Lowry, Philip Ingle, Godwin Swift, William Dark. The author was unable to ascertain the particulars of just how the 1,300 acres came to be further subdivided and conveyed to the various named parties, except that one particular deed conveyance appears to have involved the residual, abstracted was follows:
- Frederick County Deed Book 1, p. 202 – 1744: Conveyance between Thomas Hart of Frederick County, farmer, to Lewis Neill of same, for £106, all that tract of land containing 1,000 acres on Elk Branch being the land and plantation on which the said Thomas Hart now lives, and by him the said Hart purchased from Jost Hite the 29Mar1735. Witnessed: Sam Earle, J. Wood, and C Johnstone.
Since no other land acquisitions by Thomas Hart were found prior to the date of this conveyance, other than the afore described purchase of two separate parcels from Jost Hite, it seems logical to conclude that the above conveyance from Thomas Hart to Lewis Neill was the sale of the 1,000 acre tract situated on Elk Branch. Presumably it was through this conveyance that Abraham Neill (probably an heir-at-law of Lewis Neill) became involved in the Thomas Hart lands. Following the sales of 200 acres to John Miles and 1,000 acres to Lewis Neill, Thomas Hart would have retained ownership of only 300 acres. Further, it was discovered that on 1 thru 4Jan1754 Melger Ingle, Thomas Hart and Lewis Neil each filed for patents with the Northern Neck proprietor for tracts abstracted as follows:
- [Northern Neck Grants] Book H, p. 412 – 1Jan1754: Melger Ingle of Pennsylvania, 397 acres in Frederick County, surveted by Thomas Rutherford, on Elk Branch, adjacent Thomas Hart, James Lloyd, Thomas Hart Jr., and Joseph Dark.
- [Northern Neck Grants] Book H, p. 413 – 2Jan1754: Thomas Hart of Frederick County, 286 acres surveyed by Thomas Rutherford, near Elk Branch, adjacent Samuel Dark and Hart’s Line.
- [Northern Neck Grants] Book H, p. 414 – 4Jan1754: Lewis Neil of Frederick County, 392 acres surveyed by Thomas Rutherford, on Elk Branch, adjacent Henry Loyd, Peter Burr, near Waggon Road and James Loyd.
It is the author’s belief that all three of these tracts had been part of the original 1,500 acres purchased by Thomas hart from Joist Hite. It is further believed that these patents were filed as a hedge against an unfavorable settlement in the Hite-Fairfax dispute. Regardless of their motivations, Thomas Hart followed this patent filing with the sale of 105 acres of that patent to Melger Ingle, abstracted as follows:
- Frederick County Deed Book 3, pp. 311-3 – 4Jun1754: [Lease and Release] Between Thomas Hart and Ann Hart of Frederick County to Melger Ingle of Lancaster County PA, saddler, for £50, 105 acres, being part of a larger tract of land containing 268 acres granted to said Thomas Hart 2Jan1754.
Three months later Thomas Hart Sr. filed a power-of-attorney with the Court granting to his son, Thomas Hart Jr., the authority to act in his stead in the sale of two separate tracts of land, abstracted as follows:
- Frederick County Deed Book 3, p. 343 – 3Sep1754: Know all men by these presents that, I, Thomas Hart of the County of Frederick have assigned and ordained and made in my stead and place… my trusty and well beloved son, Thomas Hart Jr. to be my true and lawful Attorney for me and in my name… to issue for, levy and receive all and every such debts, rents of money now due unto me… to bargain, sell and convey… two tracts of land lying in said County, viz: one tract containing 163 acres adjoining Lewis Neill, Gentleman, his land, the other containing 185 acres lying between my said Attorney’s own land and Benjamin Mackall… Witnesses: John Campbell, Absalom Hammond and Thomas Wood.
It has been gathered from numerous other sources that Thomas Hart Sr., shortly after filing this power of attorney with the Frederick County Court, removed himself and many members of his family from Virginia to the “Carolinas”. It is not known by the author exactly where Thomas Hart Sr. and his family moved immediately after leaving Virginia, but he did emerge in the records of Union County South Carolina in the Fair Forest community in the 1770’s. From numerous reports, Thomas Hart Sr. and his wife, Esther Miles were members of the Quaker Friends Society before leaving Pennsylvania to settle on Elk Branch in Frederick County Virginia. But, at some point, probably in the 1750’s the Miles and Hart families left the company of Quakers over some schism and joined a branch of the Baptists. It is presumed that it was that affiliation with the Baptists that led to Thomas Hart’s migration to the Fair Forest area of Union County SC.
Following the departure of Thomas Hart Sr. from Virginia, Thomas Hart Jr. continued to be reported in the records around Elk Branch, but without the “Jr.” appellation and several trailing transactions involving former lands of Thomas Hart Sr. and Miles Hart ensued as follows:
- On 26Oct1757 Thomas Hart Jr.’s brother, Miles Hart, also granted a power of attorney to Thomas Hart Jr. to attend to the disposal of a 192 acre tract of land situated on Elk Branch. It seems reasonable to assume that Miles Hart was also preparing to move away from Virginia.
- On 1Dec1762 deeds of Lease and Release were recorded for the conveyance of a 185 acre tract of land from Miles Hart, now of Orange County NC, to John Humphrey, said tract having been having been granted to Miles Hart by Lord Proprietor on 26Oct1756, adjacent corner of Thomas Hart on Elk Branch. Thomas Hart Jr., acting as attorney for his brother, Miles Hart, disposed of tract of land on Elk Branch.
- On 1Feb1763 Thomas Hart Jr., acting as attorney for his father, Thomas Hart Sr., conveyed a 168 acre tract of land to Nicholas Parker. Thomas Hart Jr., acting as attorney for his father, Thomas Hart Sr., disposed to the residual of the 286 acres, patented on 2Jan1754.
- On 15Jul1766 the 187 acre tract formerly in possession of Miles Hart, conveyed to John Humphrey on 1Dec1762 with Thomas Hart [Jr.] acting as attorney, was reconveyed to John Briscoe [Dr.?] and John Smith.
- On 8Aug1770 John and Margaret Ingle conveyed one acre trustees of Presbyterian Church of Elk Branch, said tract having been part of larger tract conveyed from Thomas Hart [Sr.] to Melger Ingle, joining land of Lewis Neill. Melger Ingle died in Apr1760 and bequeathed his land to his five sons, with Michael and Philip each receiving 100 acres, the remainder being divided between John, George and William Ingle. It would appear that this one acre tract was from the 105 acres conveyed by Thomas Hart to Melger Ingle in Jun1754.
- On 7Sep1770 honorable George William Fairfax leased an 1,119 acre tract of land to Giles Coke, which abutted lands of Thomas Hart Sr., Thomas Hart Jr., Benjamin McKalls [Mackall]. It was this leased land that became embroiled in the lawsuit brought by Margaret Miles-Paul. The 200 acres, which Thomas Hart had sold to John Miles, was also included in this 1119 acres claimed by Lord Fairfax. The court ultimately decided in favor of Margaret Miles-Paul, who following that judgment, sold the 200 acres to General Joseph Dark. FYI, Mary Dark, sister of General Dark, was married to Philip Ingle, son of Melger Ingle.
Further Supporting Evidence
One additional element to consider as possible supporting evidence for Hypothesis No. 4 is the geographic proximity of patents filed by various members of James Miller’s family, juxtaposed to Jacob Linder in Greene County, Illinois in the 1820’s thru 1850’s. The author has compiled a list of all the patents located for James Miller (and his presumed children) and Jacob Linder, which are presented in Table 7. The data in this table has been ordered first by individual filer’s name, then in ascending date order by person. The list is topped by a Henry Miller, who the author believes to have been Henry B. Miller, eldest son of James Miller, based on date and geographic proximity. Next in the list is a filing by a Jacob A. Miller in 1859, who the author believes to have been the second eldest son of James Miller. Third ordered in the list are a series of ten filings for a Jacob Linder ranging in date from Jul1821 thru Oct1835. The author believes this person to have been Jacob Linder Jr., son of Jacob Linder and Elizabeth Pile. Per the theory posited in Hypothesis No. 4, Jacob Linder Jr. would have been a first cousin of James Miller, their mothers having been sisters. Next in the list are a series of four filings by James Miller ranging in date from Apr1824 to Sep1835. The final listing is for a Nancy Miller on 1Jan1840. The identity of this Nancy Miller is uncertain, but she may well have been the eldest daughter of James Miller and Nancy Blissett, heretofore unidentified. The reasoning for this identification is based on the fact that Henry Miller, Nancy’s presumed brother, filed a patent on the very same date.
If the author’s identification of these patent filers displayed in Table 7 is correct, then it would appear that Jacob Linder Jr. commenced filing patents in Green County at a very early date. There was a deed filing found for Jacob Linder Jr. in Hardin County Kentucky as late as 16Sep1819, and Jacob Linder Jr. appears to have been captured in the 1820 census still living in Hardin County as illustrated in Figure 37. However, given the patent filings commencing in Jul1821 in Greene County IL, it would appear that he had either already relocated to Illinois, or was in the process of relocating. By 1830 Jacob Linder was recorded in the census records of Greene County IL, living nearby to his son, Isham Linder as illustrated in Figure 38. It should be noted that James Miller filed his first patent on 10Apr1824, just two miles removed from a patent filed by Jacob Linder on 12Apr1824. What are the odds that Jacob Linder Jr. and James Miller would file almost concurrently on patents in such close geographic proximity, if they were not kinsmen? The author believes that these patent filings provide extremely compelling circumstantial evidence of the kinship posited by the author.
What these patent filings also demonstrate is the fact that James Miller had started planning his relocation from Hart County to Greene County almost six years or more in advance of his actual move. He was recorded still living in Hart County in 1830, yet he filed an additional patent in Greene County in 1828. Finally, in 1834 and 1835 he filed two more patents in Greene County. All of James Millers patents were located in a small cluster in Sections 23 and 26 in Township 10N Range 11W. In all likelihood, James Miller probably moved his family to Greene County shortly after the 1830 census.
To provide a graphic illustration of the geographic proximity of the lands of Jacob Linder and James Miller, the author has identified the location of each of the patents listed in Table 7 on a Township grid map presented in Figure 39. James Miller’s patents are highlighted in red, whereas Jacob Linder’s patents are highlighted in black.
Since Jacob Linder was the first to file for patents in Greene County, it seems highly likely that it was he, who induced his cousin, James Miller to relocate to his new found neighborhood on the prairie near Taylor’s Flat.
Jacob Linder Jr., eldest son of Jacob Linder, was born in about 1783 in Madison County [later Hardin County], Kentucky. He married a nice Irish woman, named Jane Ferguson, and they had five children who lived to adulthood. The eldest, Sarah C. Linder lived to the age of 80 years, and died at Jacksonville, Jackson County Oregon. Sarah is pictured in her waning years in Figure 40.
- [Northern Neck Grants] Book H, p. 650 – 5Jul1755: Thomas Hart Jr. of Frederick County, 323 acres in said county on branch of Potomac called Cabbin Run where he now lives, adjacent Peter Burr, James Loyd and George William Fairfax, Esq.
- [Northern Neck Grants] Book M, p. 219 – 10Dec1763: Thomas Hart of Frederick County, 49 acres on Elk Branch, surveyed by Thomas Rutherford, adjacent George William Fairfax, Esq., and John Humphries.
- [Northern Neck Grants] Book H, p. 720 – 26Oct1756: Miles Hart of Frederick County, 187 acres in said county on Elk Branch, adjacent Thomas Hart, George William Fairfax, Esq.,
RENT ROLL OF BERKELEY COUNTY FOR THE YEARS 1774, 1775, 1776, 1777, 1778, 1779, 1780, and 1781: Jacob Miller, 100 acres.
(5) German George Adam Moler
- 12Jul1813 – Will of Zachariah Miller [Jr.?]; wife: Brabara Miller; sons: Michael, George and Henry; daughters: Polly, Catherine and Elizabeth Tabler; Executors; Barbara and sons, Michael; Witnesses: John Shober, George Tabler and George Cuthman.
- 26Apr1796 – Will of Zachariah Miller Sr.; wife: Catherine; sons: John (eldest), Zachariah [Jr.] (adjoining George Myles) and Jacob; dughters: Sarah, Catherine (Coonrod Cresman), Ann, Susannah, and Elizabeth (Jacob McLean); Executors: Catherine Miller and John Miller; Witnesses: William Miller, Charles Orick, John Shimp and William Shields.
- 25Mar1809 – Will of Christian Miller Sr.; wife not named; sons: [Gerard, not named] and John; daughters: Caty and Sarah; Witnesses: Henry Dawson and Jacob Shockley.
- 16Dec1788 – Will of Frederick Allen; son: Frederick Allen; daughter: Mary Allen; Executors: John Morrow and Peter Allen; Witnesses: Bernard Miller, Philip Suber and Conrad Allen.
- 10Dec1799 – Will of Henry Nace; Wife: Magdalen Nace; sons: Henry, George and Jacob; daughter: Catherine; Executors: Magdalen and Jacob Nace; witnesses: Bernard Miller, Jacob Craft and Kohn Fiddler.
- 14Sep1818 – Account Settlement for Michael Miller Estate: Payments: Jacob Miller, Michael Mowers, Josiah Hedges, John Belolus, Stephen Herd, Towson, Elisha Boyd, Jacob Miller, Stope’s Heirs, Robert Grimes, Bishop, Thomas C. Smith, William Runer, Jacob Bronsman, Robert Snodgrass, Andrew Pistar, Elizabeth Miller, William Axe, Emanuel Pepher, Newkirk, John Muma, Gurney, Harrison, David McClary, John Miller for Rochester and Beaty, Sheriff, Surveyor, Swope, two receipts of locks in favour of Jacob Miller, John Bodine for carrying chair, Newkirk, Emanuel Eversole, Clerks notes, Jacob Lerbert, and Adam Spitsnoggle. Total Payments = $848.61. From Property Sale = $469.43. Grain Sale = $112.00. Timber Sale = $20.50. Balance Due Administrator = $245.68. Administrators: George Newkirk and Charles Orrick. Recorded 14Sep1818.
- 17Feb1809 – Michael Miller Estate Sale: Mary Miller, Jacob French, John Miller Sr., John Miller Jr., George Loco, James Grimes, Adam Spitsnoggle, David Kouch, Jacob Miller, William Thurston, Mary Spitsnoggle, George Newkirk, George Low, John Boughdine [Bodine?], Jacob Miller Jr., Jacob Miller Sr.. Michael Mowry, Andrew Toland, William Axe, Alexander Cockran, and Joseph Foreman. Total Sale Receipts = $182.20. Other Sources = $296.34. Appraisers: John Porterfield, Henry French, and [unreadable].
- 2Apr1800 – Administration Bond for Jacob Miller, deceased. Administrators: Mary Miller, John Miller, Henry Miller, Joseph McMunson, and George Smallwood. Bondsmen: Nicholas Orrick, William Riddle, John Kearsey and George Porterfield. Bond Value: $1,000.
- 20Jun1806 – Administration Bond for Henry Miller. Administrators: George Newkirk, Henry French and James Wilson. Bondsmen: James Campbell, George Porterfield, Samuel Boyd, Charles Orrick, and George Cunningham.
- 21Sep1807 – Estate Account of Jacob Miller: John Dicks, Peach Brandy and Whiskey, Advance to Henry Miller, Administrator ($21.00 for mending still), Thomas Melvin, George Smallwood, Jesse Stall, Bernard Miller for transcribing account (German to English), John Miller, Clerks Note, A. Waggener, B. Stephenson, John Baker, James L. Lane, Michael Diduerover?. Net Value = $1,289.58. Payments to Heirs: Widow, Mary Miller $1,218; Mattias Swazely, Catherine Miller, Adam Brown, John Miller, Phillip Miller, Jacob Miller, and Elizabeth Miller, each received $25.12.
- 23Jan1788 – Will of Jacob Cole; wife: Barbara Cole; daughters: Barbara and Margaret; Executors: John Miller and George Bragovner Jr.; Witnesses: Robert Duke, Henry Fritz, and Charles Rumsey; Bondsmen: Robert Cockburn and David Wolgamott.
- 18Jan1805 – Will of Henry Miller; wife: Margaret [French?] Miller; children: only Jacob Miller (minor) named to be apprenticed; and daughter: Elizabeth Miller to receive grey mare; balance of estate to be held for two years, then sold and equally divided; Executors: Margaret Miller and Jacob French; Witnesses: John Gardener and Jacob Miller; Administrator: George Newkirk.
RENT ROLL OF BERKELEY COUNTY FOR THE YEARS
1774, 1775, 1776, 1777, 1778, 1779, 1780, and 1781
Lawrence Linder, 200 acres.
Simon Linder, 393 acres.
Daniel Miller, 415 acres.
Isaac Miller, 360 acres.
John Miller, 250 acres.
Hugh Miller, 202 acres.
Simon Miller, 223 acres.
Jacob Miller, 100 acres.
Henry Miller, 340 acres.
Stephen Miller, 429 acres.
Henry Miller, 526 acres.
John Miller, 200 acres.
Millan & Miller, 633 acres.
Zechariah Miller, 306 acres.
Zechariah Miller, 263 acres.
Henry Miller, 28 acres.
Henry Van Metre, 977 acres.
Jacob Van Metre, 173 acres.
Abram Van Metre, 1092 acres.
Having fairly thoroughly scrutinized the Miller family groupings resident in Frederick/Berkeley County Virginia, it is the author’s opinion that Jacob Miller of Millerstown did in fact originate from a family located in Berkeley County. More specifically, from the foregoing analyses of these various Miller families, it seems highly probable that Jacob Miller of Millerstown was the same person as Jacob Miller, son of Henry Miller of Opequon. Having arrived at that conclusion because of the close and contemporaneous living proximities of the Henry Miller family, and the other closely allied families of the Vanmeters and Linders, the author then directed his attention to the challenge of tracing the origins of Jacob Miller’s presumed parents: Henry Miller and Magdalena [mnu].
Because of the fact that Henry Miller bequeathed a tract of land situated in Pennsylvania, the author set his sights on the Pennsylvania Colony as the probable location of Henry Miller’s family, prior to his settlement in Berkeley County Virginia in about 1770. Further, based on Henry’s estate having contained a German family bible and a German hymnal, it seems reasonable to believe that Henry Miller was the original immigrant of this family, and that he was of German origin [a fact that had already been inferred by the high frequency of persons with Germanic surnames associated with this family]. Ms. Pettis, in her tome of the Hout family history, suggested that Henry Miller may have been a passenger on the Patience which arrived at Philadelphia on 9Sep1751, the same ship on which she presumed Peter Haudt [aka Hout] to have been a passenger. The author has completed a fairly thorough search of the records contained in the Ancestry database entitled: Pennsylvania German Pioneers: A Publication of the Original Lists of Arrivals in the Port of Philadelphia from 1727 to 1808, Vol. Iand is inclined to concur with Ms. Pettis. Although there are several other records of the arrival of persons whose names are near facsimiles, the Henry Miller aboard the Patience most closely fits the demographics seemingly associated with our target. If it is assumed that it was our Henry Miller, who arrived aboard the Patience, it may be noteworthy that he appeared in the ship’s manifest in the company of a Conrad Miller. We have already encountered several persons named Conrad Miller during the course of this investigation, most instances having occurred in Frederick County MD, but also including land records near North Mountain in Berkeley County.
Assuming that the Henry Miller, who arrived aboard the Patience was the same as our Henry Miller, the author then set about trying to locate any record of this Henry Miller in Pennsylvania. After a fairly extensive search of land, church and goverrnment records, only a very few records were located, which have a fairly high probability of having been our target:
“Name: Henry Mueeler
Marriage Date: 6 Feb 1758
Marriage Place: Lancaster Co., PA
Church: First Reformed Congregation at Lancaster, PA
Henry Mueeler, Groom
Magdalene Oswaed, Bride
Philip William Otterbein, Reverend”
This marriage record was the earliest Pennsylvania record which could reliably be attributed to our Henry Miller. There are several elements of this record worthy of our attention. First, the date of Henry and Magdalena’s marriage occurred almost seven years after Henry’s presumed arrival date. This fairly lengthy delay may suggest several causes: (1) Henry may have been only 16 years old at time of his arrival, (2) Henry may have been indentured for seven years following his arrival, (3) Henry may have been married and widowed before he married Magdalena. The fact that this marriage took place in a Reformed Church suggests that Henry and/or Magdalena were affiliated with the Reformed Church rather than the Lutheran Church. The fact that the ceremony was performed by Reverend Philip William Otterbein may indicate an even further refinement of the parties religious affiliation.
“Name: Henrich Mueeler
Residence Date: 27 May 1765
Residence Place: Adams Co., PA
Church: Lutheran Record, Adams Co., PA
Remark: Magdalena daughter of Georg Heiges and Anna Maria. Sponsors, Henrich Mueller and Magdalena.
Household Members Names/Role:
(1) Anna Maria Heiges, Mother
(2) Georg Heiges, Father
(3) Magdalena Heiges, Baptized (Daughter)
(4) Henrich Mueeler, Sponsor
(5)Magdalena Mueeler, Sponsor
(6) Lucas Rauss, Reverend”
Ship’s log 9Sep1751 at Philadelphia: Patience, with 255 passengers (including 8 Roman Catholics)
NOTE TO READER
This investigation into the origins of Henry Miller and the Blissett family is still in progress. The foregoing should be consider as Part 1 of this investigation. Part 2 will be posted in the near future, when the data has been compiled, analyzed and rendered to writing.
Last Will and Testament
John Vanmeter, written 13Aug1745
In the name of God Amen, the Thirteenth day of August one thousand seven hundred and forty five, I. John Van Metre in Frederick County in the Colony of Virginia being sick in body but of sound mind and Memory praise be given to God for the same and calling to mind the uncertainty of this Transitory Life, am willing tlirough Divine Assistance to settle and Dispose of those Temporal blessings which it hath Pleased God beyond my Deserts to bestow upon me and therefore making this my Last W’ill and Testament Disannulling all other wills and Testaments heretofore made by me, &c. Imprimis, I commend my soul into the hands of God that gave it, hoping thro the merits of the Lord Jesus Christ it will be accepted and my body to be Interred with Deacency at the Discretion of my executors hereafter named. I also will that all my Just Debts and Demands whatsoever in Right of Conscience is Due to any to be Discharged and paid (as also funeral expenses) By my executors and as to my Real and Personal Estate, I Will, Dispose Devise Give and Bequeath it in the manner following, that is to say. First my will is that my well beloved wife Margerat Van Metre Have the third part of my moveable estate, also one room which she likes best, to Dwell in, in my dwelling House, and one third part of the Orchard next the Run with the keeping of one Riding Horse and two Milch cows, Linnin and Welling Yarn to be wove her Bed and Bedding the said Room and Liberties to be by her possessed during Her Dureing Life, without controle hinderance or molestation of any person whatever. Second, Item, I give Will Devise and bequeath unto my son Abraham VanMiter and his Heirs Lawfully Begotten, a Certain Parcel Tract of Land Bought by me of Francis Prichard on Opekan Run against the Land formally Bequeathed to him, said Tract Begins at an Elm Tree being the East corner of the said Tract between a Line Tree Hickory Saplin and aforesaid Elm Saplin By Opekan Run side thence down the same to the Beginning Tree of afsd. Pricherds Tract, thence South Fifty five Degrees West, one Hundred and Ten Poles, to the afsd. Beginning Elm Tree, containing by Estimation one hundred acres of land be it more or less. Provided there should be no Heirs Male or Female of my said Son or Sons (Hereafter named) Live to arise to the age of Twenty one Years, that then after the Decease of my s’d son or sons afsd. or their Heirs, that then their part of Land to be equally Divided amongst the rest of my Surviving Devisees 3** hereafter mentioned. Furthermore I also give Unto my s’d son Abraham Van Meter on Certain Tract of Land being and Situate on Opequon Run in the County afrs’d and to his Heirs Lawfully Begotton being part of Four hundred and Seventy five acres of Land Bought of Jpst^Hite, Beginning at or about two yards below a Pine Tree on a high Bank on Opeckon Run called the Allaji Hill, and running thence by a Division Line North Sixty five Degrees””East sixty Polls, to a small Hickory thence North Twenty Degrees West Twenty Eight Poles to a Black Oak then North Twenty Degrees West Sixteen Poles then North Fifteen Degrees East two hundred and nine Poles to a Spannish Oak another corner of the Original survey Thence North twenty Degrees West sixteen Poles to the First Beginning head of the survey of the original Tract by Opeckon Run side near a White Oak marked thus IVM, then up Opeckon Run to the Beginning Pine, containing by estimation Two hundred and thirty seven acres of Land be it more or less &c. the same I also Give Devise and Bequeath to him my son Abraham and his Heir Lawfully Begotten, Under the same Restrictions and Limitations as I have Bequeathed unto him the above mentioned Land Bought of Francis Pricher, also I Give Devise unto my said son Abraham (a son of my wife aforesaid thirds of my Movable Estate and Legacies are paid) an equal proportioned. Childs’ part therefrom as well as Lands to be Disposed of if any there be as of all things else &c. Fourth I also Will, Give Devise and Bequeath unto my son Abraham Van Metre and to his lawful Heirs the Southernmost part and half moiety of four hundred acres of land for me and in my name to survey for him his Heirs afrs’d which land I have Jos Hite’s Bond for procuring a Pattent, which if he shall not obtain the said Pattent he is to have the said Bond for Recovering so much as will amount to his share or Proportion according to his dividend of s’d Tract and the same Land to be held and enjoyed by him under the same Restrictions and Limitations as the above mentioned Land Namely the Land Bought of Francis Pricher &c. Fifth, I Devise Will and Bequeath unto my son Isaac Van Meter and his Heirs Lawfully Begotten one Part or Tract of Land being part of the Tract of Land whereon I now Dwell, Beginning at a Bounded stake at the end of Sixteen Poles in the first Line of the Original Tract Running thence with the said Line South Thirty Degrees West Sixty full perches, then South Eighty one Degrees East One hundred and Eighty Eight Perches, the North Five Degrees East Ten Poles then South Eighty one Degrees East One hundred and Eighty Poles until it intersects the line of the Intire Tract then North one hundred Poles to two white oaks at corner of the Intire Tract then North Fifty two Degrees West Fifty Poles to a Black Oak another Corner of the Intire Tract then North Eighteen Poles then South Seventy-six Degrees West to the Beginning Stake, containing by computation Two hundred and Fifty acres of Land be it more or less. Provided the said Isaac Van Meter make sale of the Land he has at Monocacy and deliver one fourth part of the price thereof to his Brother Jacob and the other three fourths to be either applied toward improving the Land herein Bequeathed otherwise laid out in other Lands and the s’d. to be held under the same Restrictions and Limitations, as those lands Will and Bequeathed, to my son Abraham as aforementioned. Also I Give and Devise unto my said son , Isaac Van Meter after my afs’d wife’s thirds of my Movable Estate and Legacies are paid an Equal proportional Child’s part arising therefrom as well of my Lands which arc to be Disposed of if any there be as of all also my Movables &c. Sixth Item, I Give Devise and Bequeath unto my son Henry Van Meter his Heirs Lawfully Begotten one certain Parcel Tract of Land situate and being in Frederich County on Opeckon Run whereon the said Henry now dwells. Beginning at the Spannish oak standing by Opeckon at a Lick in the Branch of s’d Run and running thence into the woods East Twenty Poles to a Black Oak thence South Eighty three Degrees East Ninty two Poles to a White Oak then East one hundred and fifty one Poles to a Hickory in a Line of the original survey thence down the same to a Run that falls into Opeckon Run thence down the same into Opeckon Run where a Spring is at the mouth thereof then up Opcckan Run to the Beginning Spannish Oak containing by estimation about four Hundred acres of Land be it more or less, with Liberty to such as possessed the land below the mouth of the said Run to get the water and have and possess part of the said Spring at the mouth of said Run, and hold and enjoy the said land under the same Restrictions and Limitations as my son Abraham and his Heirs &c. and if my said son should decease before his wife Eve. . . . Also I give and Devise unto my said son Henry after my aforesaid wives third of my Movable Estate and Legacies are paid an equal proportional Child’s part arising therefrom as well as my lands which are to be disposed of if any there be as of all else &c. Seventh—Item I will Devise Give and Bequeath unto my son Jacob Van Metre and his Heirs Lawfully Begotten, one piece or tract of land, being part of Tract whereon I now dwell. Beginning at a Bound Hickory standing at the end of the Eighty Poles in the first Line of the Original and running thence with the said Line North Thirty Degrees West Fifty six Poles then South seventy one Degrees East two hundred and twenty four Poles then North sixty six Degrees East Twenty four Poles then North Eighty two Degrees East Eighty Poles then North Eighty five Degrees East one hundred and Forty Poles then North fifteen Degrees west twelve Poles to a Black Oak being one of the corner trees of the original Tract then North Forty two Degrees West Eighty two Poles to a Hickory then North sixty eight Poles until it intersects Isaac Van Meter’s Line thence traversing the several Courses of the said Isaac’s Line to the Beginning Containing by estimation two hundred and thirty three acres of Land with that part of the Plantation whereon I now dwell together with all the Houses, Orchards on the said part Parcel, Tract of Land excepting as before excepted unto my wife to hold and enjoy the same tinder the same Restrictions and Limitations as is aforementioned unto my son Abraham and his Heirs &c. Also I give Devise and bequeath unto my said son Jacob after my wifes Third part of my Movable Estate and Legacies are paid an equal proportional Child’s part arising therefrom as well as my lands which are to be disposed of if any there be as of all else &c. Eighth, Item, I will Devise give and Bequeath unto the Heirs Begotten [on] the body of my daughter Sarah wife to James Davis, one Piece or Tract of Land, part of the Tract of land whereon I now dwell Beginning for the same at the first Beginning Tree of the Intire tract and Running thence South Thirty degrees West Sixteen Poles to a stake then North Seventy-five Degrees East two hundred and ninty two Poles to a cross the Intire Tract then around the several courses Joining Rebeccas land to the Beginning Containing by computation two hundred and Twenty acres of Land, more or less to be held under the same Restrictions, Titles, Limitations as aforesaid. Also, I give and Bequeath unto my said Daughter after my said wife’s Thirds of my Moveable Estate and Legacies are paid an equal proportional Child’s part arising therefrom as well of my Lands wh are to be Disposed of if there be of all else. Provided, and it is my Soul Intent and Meaning that James Davis together with his wife Sarah give Good and sufficient security unto my Executors, for the sum of her Proportional part of my Moveable Estate arising to be paid unto their Heirs, equally divided amongst them when they shall arrive at the age of twenty one years, and on Refusal of such security the Proportional part so arising to remain in the hands of my Executors until the Heirs aforesaid arrive at the age aforesaid &c. Nin tjj^ Item, I will Devise Give and Bequeath unto my daughter Mary. wiTeoi Robert 7nnr’: and to the Heirs of her^ body Law fujiy Bfifixtttip one certain piece or Tract of Land J)eing~paiT oF^theTTract whereon I now Dwell beginning at a large White Oak by a Hole in the Ground it being a corner of the original Survey of the Whole Intire Tract and JRunning from the said oak South twenty one Degrees West two hundred and eight Poles then South forty two degrees west forty two Poles to a White Oak by a Mead on a corner of the Original Tract thence South forty two Degrees East Sixty Poles thence North Fifty four Degrees East three hundred and forty Poles until it Intersects the Line of the Intire Tract then with the same eighteen Degrees East Sixty five Poles to a Hickory Corner of the Original Tract thence North Thirty Degrees East eighty poles to the afs White Oak by Spring it being another Corner of the Original Tract then North Fifteen Degrees West Seventy Poles thence South Eighty three Degrees West Eighty Poles to a Black Oak then South ten Degrees West Fifty six Poles to a stake by a corner of a fence then East by the said fence to another stake then thirty Degrees then West one hundred and sixty four Poles to another stake then Northwest sixty six Poles to the Beginning containing by estimation three hundred and fifty acres of Land be it more less the same to be held and enjoyed under the same Restrictions and Limitations above mentioned in the Lands Willed and Bequeathed to my son Abraham Van Metre and his Heirs &c. Also, I give and Devise unto my said Daught^^Mary ^ife to the said Robert Jnnps after my afsd Wife’s ThirHT^oT^’my Movable Estate and Legacies are paid an Equal Proportional Child’s part arising therefrom as well of my Lands which are not to be disposed of if any there be as of all else, Provided, and it is my Soul Intent and meaning that Robert Jones With his wife Mary give Good and sufficient security unto my Executors for the sum of her proportional part of my Movable Estate, arising to be jjaid unto their Heirs equally divided arnongst them when^ they arrive to the_age of Twenty one years, and on Refusal of suich security, the Proportional part scT arisingTo remain in the hands of my Executors until the Heirs afs*^ arrive af^**. Tenth, Item, I Devise Give and Bequeath unto my Daughter Rebecca wife to Solomon Hedges, Esq., and to her Heirs Lawfully Begotten of her body one parcel or Tract of land being part of the tract I now Dwell on Beginning at a corner marked Black Oak the lower most corner on the east side of the meadow and running with the lines of the Original Tract North Thirty three Degrees West One hundred & ten Poles to a Black oak then South Seventeen Degrees West one hundred and Fifty eight Poles to a Hickory then South Sixty Degrees West and Ninty five Poles to a Black Oak then South Fifteen Degrees West one hundred and thirty six Poles and in a corner of the other Tract then crossing the said Tract North seventy nine Degrees East one hundred and sixty Poles until it shall intersect the Line of the Intire survey then with the same North Twenty five Degrees East two hundred and forty four Poles to the Beginning Black Oak containing by estimation two hundred acres of Land and meadow be it more or less to be held and enjoyed by the Heirs of the said Solomon and Rebecca Lawfully begotten of her body under the same Restriction and Limitations as is mentioned to Abraham Van Meter’s Heirs, &c. Also I give and devise unto my said Daughter Rebecca after my said wife’s Thirds of my Movable Estate and Legacies are paid an Equal Proportional Child’s part arising therefrom as well as of my Lands which are to be disposed of if any then be as of all else, &c. Provided, and it is my soul Intent and meaning that Solomon Hedges and Rebecca his wife give Good and sufficient security unto my Executor’s for the sum of her Proportional Part of my Movable Estate arising to be paid unto their Heirs Equally Divided amongst them when they shall arrive to the age of Twenty one years and on Refusal of such Security, the Proportional part so arising to remain in the hands of my Executors until the Heirs afs” arrive at the age afs” &c. Eleventh, Item, I give Devise and Bequeath unto my Daughter Elisabeth Wife to Thomas Shepherd and to the heirs of her body Lawfully Begotten One Certain Tract or piece of Land being part of the Tract whereon I now dwell beginning at the South corner of the above Devised Land and running thence with the same North Fifty four Degrees East Three hundred and Forty Poles until it shall Intersect the Line of the Intire Tract thence Traversing the Lines of the Intire Tract round to the Beginning, containing by computation three hundred acres of Land. Also one other Tract of Land Lying situate and being in Prince George’s County in the Province of Maryland known by the name of Pelmel. Beginning at a bounded Ash standing at the upper end of a Tract of land called Antetum Bottom on the Bank of Potomack River containing one hundred and sixty acres of Land according to the Certificate of Survey under the same Title Restrictions and Limitations as in afs” Bequest and Devise unto my son Abraham Van Meter and his Heirs. Also if Robert Jones should be scarce of Water or his Heirs, or anyother the Devises or their Heirs into whose Hands the Lands shall come into, then it shall and may be Lawful for them to Digg a Trench to Convey the Water from the Run into the said Land with [out] Interruption of him the said Thomas Shepherd or his heirs afore^*’*. Also I give and Devise unto my said Daughter Elisabeth wife to Thomas Shepherd after my afs* wife’s Thirds of my Movable Estate and Legacies are paid an equal Proportional Child’s part arising therefrom as well of my Lands which are to be Deposed of if any there be as of all else &c. Provided, and it is my Soul Intent and meaning that Thomas Shepherd and Elizabeth his wife Give Good and sufficient security unto my Executors for the sum of her proportional part of my movable Estate arising to be paid unto their Heirs equally Divided amongst them when they shall arrive at the age of Twenty one Years, And on Refusal of such security the Proportional part so arising to Remain in the Hands of my Executors until the Heirs afs* arrive at the age afsd &c. Twelvth, Item, I Devise Give and Bequeath unto my Daughter Magdalena the sum of twenty shillings, as her full Legacy whereby when paid or tendered to her by my Executors is discharged and fully acquitted from any Right Title or Interest or in or to my Real or Personal Estate and I do Devise Will and Bequeath unto her Heirs Lawfully Begotten on her body a Certain Tract or piece of Land being part of the Tract whereon I now Dwell beginning at a marked Red Oak saplin being a corner of the original survey of the Intire Tract and Running thence North Thirty Degrees East Twelve Poles, then South Seventy one Degrees East two hundred and twenty four Poles then North sixty six Degrees East twenty four Poles then North Eighty two Degrees East Eighty four Poles then south Eighty Poles then south ten West fifty six Poles then East twenty Poles then North West sixtysix Poles to a white oak by a Hole being a corner of the survey of the Intire Tract then with the Line of the same to the beginning Black oak saplin Containing by estimation two hundred and fifty acres of land be it more or less to be held and enjoyed by the heirs of my said Daughter under the Limitations and Restrictions according to the Devise made to my son Abraham van Meter’s Heirs, &c. Also I give and Devise unto the Heirs of my said Daughter Magdalena after my wife’s Thirds of my Movable Estate so arising to remain in the hands of my Executors until her heirs arrive to the age of Twenty one years and then equally between them and for want of such Heirs to be equally divided amongst the other Devisees &c. Thirteenth Item, I will Devise Give and Bequeath to the son of Daughter Rachael deceased (viz) John Leforge a certain tract of land containing two hundred acres being part of four hundred acres of land which my son Abraham Van Meter hath Divided to him, which two hundred acres of Land are to be held and enjoyed under the same Restrictions and Limitations and Tntails as aforementioned &c. as also two Breeding Mares, and if it so happen that he should die that then the said mares shall be given to his two cousins namely Johannes Van Meter son of Johanes Van Meter deceased and Joana daughter of the said Johanes deceased &c. Fourteenth, Item, I will Devise and Bequeath unto my Grandson Johannes Van Meter son of my Eldest son Johannes Van Meter Deceased and to his Heirs Lawfully Begotten a certain parcel of Land being the uppermost part of the afs** four hundred and seventy five acres of land which I purchased of lost Hite Beginning at the afs** Pine Trees mentioned in the second clause of my Bequest to my son Abraham Van Meter out of part of the same Tract and running thence with the same Division Line Between him and my son Abraham North sixty Degrees East sixty Poles to a small Hickory Saplin standing on the Line of the Survey of the whole Intire Tract then with the same South twenty three Degrees East two hundred and Fifty seven Poles to a White oak standing at a corner of the original survey and is the uppermost corner of the Land mentioned in Jost Hite’s Deed then running with the Line of the said Deed to Opeckon Run and Down the same to the afs’* Pine Tree containing by estimation two hundred and thirty eight acres be it more or less. Provided the said Johanas Delivers an equal share of his Land at Monokasy or the value thereof to his sister Joana Daughter of Johannes Van Meter Deceased, then this Land Willed and Bequeathed to my Grand son Johannes Van Meter is to be held by him Under the same Restrictions and Limitations as aforementioned in Abraham’s Bequest, Also I will that my said grandson Johannas have two Breeding Mares, &c. Fifteenth, Item. I will that if any veins or any sort of mines should at anytime hereafter be Discovered on any part of my Lands herein mentioned, Given Willed Devised and Bequeathed, and that the same should arise amount or become of more value than Fifty Pounds that then such Mines to be equally divided amongst my Devisees and every of them to have equal share or proportion of the same with Liberty of Roads to and from the same for Transporting of such mine also Liberty to Digg and make search and Trail for such Mines in Co-Partnership with the rest of the Devisees, &c. Sixteenth, Item, I also Will Devise Give and Bequeath the sum of Ten Pounds Virginia Money to be paid by my Executors to my grand-chidren to Johannes Van Meter and Joana Van Meter the sum of Fifteen Pounds when they arrive to the age of twenty one years of age. Seventeenth, Item I do nominate. Constitute and Appoint my son-in-law Thomas Shepherd, Abraham Van Meter and Jacob Van Meter my sons joint Executors of this my last Will and Testament Impowering them to act and perform according to what is contained in every Clause being Contained in five Sheets of Paper Disannuling and making void all other Wills and Testament’s by me in any wise by me heretofore confirming this and no other as my last Will and Testament. In Witness Whereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal the Day and Year above Written. signed John Metor [seal]
Signed sealed Published and Pronounced and Declared by the said John Van Meter as his last Will and Testament in the Presence of us
his Edward X Morgan mark Andrew Corn Joseph Carroll.
[Probated at Winchester Va. 3* Sept. 1745].
List of Quaker Patentees
- Morgan Bryan – 400 acres, above Underwood Lick
- Morgan Bryan – 264 acres
- Alexander Ross – 2,373 acres, foot of Grindstone Hill, adj. John Little and John Ballenger
- John Wilson – 286 acres, east side of small branch of Opequon (Eagle Run)
- Thomas Curtis – 418 acres, 2 miles above mouth of Tulisses Branch
- Nathaniel Thomas – 380 acres, west side of Opequon, on Red Bud Branch
- Isaac Perkins – 200 acres, near the Gap, adj. Thomas Babbs
- John Hiet Jr. [Hite or Heidt] of Lancaster Co. PA – 300 acres, north side of Opequon
- Thomas Anderson – 542 acres, south side of Mill Branch
- John Mills Jr. – 408 acres, small branch of Middle Creek
- John Peteate – 500 acres, Middle Branch, Opequon
- Robert Luna – 294 acres, near ford across Cohongornto, adj. Samuel Owens
- John Richards – 500 acres, south side Cedar Run, adj. John Branson
- John Litler – 448 acres, head of Yorkshire-Manns Branch, Opequon
- Giles Chapman – 400 acres, head of Yorkshire-Manns Branch, Opequon
- James Brown – 121 acres, south side of Cohongornta River
- Luke Emlen – 125 acres, west side of Cohongornta
- Morgan Bryan – 450 acres, west side of Opequon, lowermost ford of Tuscarora
- Francis Pincher – 100 acres, two miles above Tuscarora Branch, west side of Opequon
- Conelius Cockburne – 172 acres, south side of Cohono River, adj. James Brown
- Josiah Ballenger – 500 acres, surveyed for George Hollingsworth, at Hannah’s Spring
- William Hogg – 411 acres, adj. John Calvert and Thomas Dawson
- Benjamin Borden – 850 acres, near Round Hill, adj. Thomas Babb.
- John Litler and James Wright – 438 acres, one mile south of Giles Chapman and Samuel Bond
- John Frost – 380 acres, adj. Hugh Parrel, above path to Litler’s and Hollingsworth’s, adj .John Litler
- Thomas Dawson – 295 acres, adj. Hite and William Hogg.
- Thomas Branson – 850 acres, head of south branch Opequon, nigh Cattail Meadow
- Geroge Hobson – 937 acres, branch of Mill Run
- Morgan Bryan – 1,020 acres, head of Tulley’s branch
- Evan Thomas – 1,014 acres, NE side of branch into Opequon, near path to John Smith’s mill
- John Calvert – 850 acres, near Abraham Hollingsworth and Calvert’s Run
- John Litler – 1,085 acres, adj. Thomas Evans
- Morgan Morgan – 1,000 acres, branch of Opequon, adj. Morgan’s path to Great Spring, adj. John Mills and George Hobson
- Hugh Parral – 466 acres, NE side of Red Bud Branch, adj. John Calvert
- James Davis – 600 acres, crossing Tulisis Branch, near foot of North Mountain
- Thomas Babb – 600 acres,
- Edward Davis – 875 acres, branch of Cohongornto, called Tulisis, adj. James Davis
- John Mills – 1,315 acres, branch of Opequon called Mill Branch, path from Mills’s to Lewis D. Moss.
- John Peteate and Geroge Robinson – 1,650 acres, both side of Tuscarora
- Isaac Perkins – 725 acres, branch of Opequon below John Calvert’s
- John Hood – 1,175 acres, crossing Tylysses Branch, adj. John Davis
Last Will and Testament
Henry Miller Sr. – 7Oct1816
(Transcriber by Robert Atteberry, 4Aug2019)
In the name of God Amen I Henry Miller Senior of the County of Berkeley and state of Virginia being weak and infirm and my body but of perfect mind and memory thanks be given unto God, calling unto mind the mortality of my body and provided it is appointed for all men once to die, do make and ordain this my last will and testament, that is to say principally and first, I give and recommend my soul into the hands of Almighty God that gave it, and my body I recommend to the Earth to be buried in a decent Christian burial at the discretion of my executors who I shall hereafter appoint, nothing doubting but at the general resurrection I shall receive the same again by the mighty power of God and as touching such worldly estate wherewith it has pleased God to bless me in this life I give and devise in the manner following;
Firstly I ordered that my burying expenses and just debts be punctually paid out of my cash left at my decease and if that should be deficient my executors are to collect my outstanding debts be the same bonds, notes, or book accounts and with the monies recovered discharge all I just debts and;
Item my executors as soon as it can be done after my death and to expose at public sale on a reasonable credit to be at the option of my said executors of all my real and personal property of every kind and description and after having sold the same I fully empower my said executors or any of them to convey such real estate to the same land or lots to the purchaser by such a deeds or any other instrument of writing required by law and such conveyance or conveyances made by my said executors to be valid to all intents and purposes;
Item after my just debts and burying expenses as aforesaid are fully paid and discharged I order the residue of my estate to be distributed as follows:
I give and bequeath to my son Henry Miller the sum of $602.75 he having already received in lands and money the sum of $1397.25, and should it pleased God to prolong my life so that I may be able to furnish him with any part or the whole amount of the said some of $602.75, he is to discount with my executors for such part he shall receive;
Item after my son Henry has received a part or share devise to him and receipted for the same to my executors hereafter named my son Jacob Miller is to receive as follows I have hereto paid him in cash horse creatures and to the amount of $1500 as appears by his account and Absalom Ovendorf’s receipt dated 26 April 1814, which sum deducted from $2000 leaves a balance of $500 which said sum of $500 he is to receive from my executors out of my cash or if there should be a deficiency out of the first money that shall be collected by my executors, if he should receive any part of the said sum during my life he is to account with my executors for the same in the same manner as my son Henry is ordered to do;
Item my son George Miller is to receive of my executors after my son Jacob has received as aforesaid (as follows) I have paid him the sum of $1500 as appears by his note dated 26 April 1814 the sum of $1500 as specified in said note deducted from the $2000 leaves a balance of $500 which said some he is to receive from my executors out of my cash as aforesaid and in like manner discount with my executors as my son Henry and Jacob are ordered to do;
Item my son Adam Miller is to receive of my executors after my son George has received as aforesaid two wit I have paid him the sum of $1500 as appears by his note dated 26 April 1814 the sum of $1500 as specified in the said note deducted from the $2000 leaves a balance of $500 which said some he is to receive from my executors of the money then in their hands and if none as soon as the same can be recovered by them and in like manner discount with my executors as hereto for expressed and as my other sons are ordered to do;
Item I bequeath unto my son John Miller the sum of $2000 (he having received no part) to be paid him by my executors out of the next money recovered by my executors after my son Adam has received his balance as aforesaid but if he shall receive any part thereof during my life he is to account with my executors in the manner and form aforesaid should any of my sons afford named die and have no legal heirs such of my sons then living shall inherit their part by them and their heirs forever;
I give and bequeath to my daughter Rosanna Haupt at present a widow and to her heirs for ever, the sum of $1000 to be paid to her by my executors out of the first money recovered after my sons aforesaid have received their part specified as aforesaid;
Item I bequeath unto my daughter Elizabeth Job the sum of $2000 she having hereto for received the sum of $800 for which said sum Henry Job her husband did on 14th day of March 1815 execute his receipt in full the aforesaid sum of $2000 she is to receive of my executors out of the first money recovered after my daughter Rosanna Haupt has received her part as aforesaid;
Item I bequeath unto my daughter Mary Choppart wife of Jacob Choppart the sum of $1000 first deducting Jacob Choppart note for $50 dated 2 May 1814 which will leave a balance of $950 which said sum of $950 she is to receive of my executors out of the first money recovered by my executors after my daughter Elizabeth Job has received her part as aforesaid;
item my daughter Hannah intermarried with John Vincenheller is to receive one dollar of my executors she having hereto for received of me a tract of land in the state of Pennsylvania to the full value of her share, part or portion of my estate as appears by the said John Vinceheller’s receipt bearing date of 16 September 1811;
Item I bequeath unto my son in law Peter Deel [aka Dehl or Diehl] the sum of one dollar to be paid him by my executors when demanded debarring him from any further claim on any part of my estate the devise aforesaid being his part or share in full;
After my daughters, aforenamed have received there are several shares as devised to them and specified as aforesaid my executors are to lay out the sum of $984.50 on interest well secured, the interest from said sum accruing yearly is to be paid to my daughter Catherine Dell (to her alone and to no other person) debarring her said husband Peter Dell from receiving any part thereof or make a transfer or assign the same to any other person which interest is accruing my daughter Catherine Dell is to receive yearly during the natural life of her husband but after his death she is to receive the principal and interest to her own use and behoove, but should she die before her husband the principal sum is to remain at interest and the interest to be appropriated for the support of her young children and as soon as her youngest child shall arrive at lawful age the same is to be devised amongst them equally by my executors;
After the legacies aforementioned are paid my granddaughter Hannah Ehvrett is to receive of my executors the sum of $200 out of such fund then in the hands of my executors, also my granddaughter Elizabeth Sheetz is to receive the sum of $400, my grandson Jacob Sheetz the sum of $150 my grandson Henry Sheetz the sum of $150 by grandson William Sheetz the sum of $150 and my granddaughter Sarah Sheetz the sum of $150, my executors to lay out the monies devised to my grandchildren on interest from the time so much shall be in their hands and pay to each the principal and interest when each severally shall arrive to lawful age, should any of my grandchildren aforesaid die without legal heirs the survivors are to inherit the several parts or shares after the legacies aforedevised are paid and my executors have closed their accounts with the commissioners and there shall be in the balance left in their hands such balance my sons and daughters and their heirs are to receive from my said executors;
I likewise constitute make and ordain my friend Jacob Weaver Esquire and William Long, merchant my soul executors to this my last will and testament according to the true intent and meaning there of and do other early disallow, revoke and this and all and every other and former testament, wills, legacies, bequests and executors in any ways before named, willed and bequeathed satisfying and confirming this and no other to be my last will and testament. In witness whereof I the said Henry Miller Senior have here unto set my hand and affixed my seal this seventh day of October 1816.
Witnesses: John Schubert, Martin Myers, Edward Grubb, Nicholas Marquardt.
Proven by the oath’s of John Schubert, Martin Myers and Nicholas Marquardt three of the witnesses thereto and ordered to be recorded and on motion of Jacob Weaver and William Long, the executors there in named who made oath thereto according to law certificate is granted them for obtaining a probate thereof in due form they having entered into bond with security as the law directs.
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 The Kentucky Land Grants, Willard Rouse Jillson, Sc.D., 1921, p. 642.
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 http://www.hccoky.org/archives/ViewPage.asp?Book=DBC&varA=471&SType=DB&Submit=Open+Page, accessed 25Jun219, Transcribed by Robert Atteberry.
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 https://www.ancestry.com/interactive/61266/41904_539854-01435/240096?backurl=https://www.ancestry.com/family-tree/person/tree/16709819/person/441156731/facts/citation/682049361673/edit/record, accessed 3Jul2019.
 https://www.fold3.com/page/31-simon-linder-family/stories, accessed 8Jul2019.
 https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/75470727/miles-hart, Source: The American Descendants of Chretien DuBois of Wicres, France, Part Four, 1970. Compiled by William Heidgerd for the DuBois Family Association, Huguenot Historical Society of New Paltz, N.Y., Inc. Accessed 4Jul2019.
 North America, Family Histories, 1500-2000, Genealogy Duke-Shepherd-VanMetre Family, Samuel Gordon Smyth, 1909, pp. 13-14.
 Smyth, p. 65.
 Smyth, pp. 58-9.
 https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Van_Meter-6, accessed 9Jul2019.
 Virginia’s Colonial Soldiers, Lloyd DeWitt Bockstruck, 1988, p. 267.
 LAND BOUNTY CERTIFICATES FOR SERVICE IN THE FRENCH AND INDIAN WARS, http://genealogytrails.com/vir/land_bounty_certificates.html, accessed 1Jul2019
 Smythe, p. 21.
 A history of the Valley of Virginia, Samuel Kercheval, Charles James Faulkner, John Jeremiah Jacob, 1902, p. 32.
 Smythe, p. 17.
 Ibid., p. 19.
 Ibid., p. 27.
 Ibid., pp. 28-9.
 Smythe, p. 58.
 http://www.htracyhall.org/txt/IRH-Genealogy/Cabinent%201/Drawer%203/HistoryOfPendltonCounty&&&/West%20Virginia%20Estate%20Settlements.txt, accessed 19Jul2019.
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 Kercheval, etal., p. 73.
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https://www.ancestry.com/boards/thread.aspx?mv=flat&m=5930&p=localities.northam.usa.states.virginia.counties.frederick, accessed 19Jul2019.
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 The Hout Family for Two Hundred and Twenty-seven Years, Ten Generations …, Margaret Birney Pittis, 1952, p. 579.
 Frederick County [Virginia] Road Orders 1743-1772, Virginia Genealogical Society, 2007, p. 21.
 Hout, various pages.
 http://www.frenchfamilyassoc.com/FFA/CHARTS/Chart195/Genealogy.htm#_Death_of_Jacob, accessed 1Aug2019.
 Centennial History of the Evangenical Lutheran Synod of Maryland 1820-1920Centennial History of the Evangenical Lutheran Synod of Maryland 1820-1920, Rev. Prof. Abdel Ross Wentz, PhD., 1920, p. 17.
 Pioneers of Old Monocacy, Grace L. Tracey and John P. Dern, 1987, p. 183.
 https://www.werelate.org/wiki/Person:Benajah_Dunn_%287%29, accessed 12Sep2019.
 The History of the Jacob Miller Family of Donegal Township, Washington County Pennsylvania, by Elizabeth Jane Miller Hack, ~1953.
 https://dna-explained.com/2015/12/27/johann-michael-miller-mueller-the-second-1692-1771-brethren-immigrant-52-ancestors-104/, accessed 1Sep2019.
 http://washingtoncountyhistoricaltrust.org/ashton-hall-maugansville-md/, accessed 13Aug2020.
 NOTE: During the course of a patent process, there are several dates, which bear significance. Typically, the earliest date relative to a given patent is that date on which a warrant was issued. Typically, the next date of record is when the plat survey was performed and/or filed. The third, and typically the final date, is when the patent was issued. The patent issuance typically coincided with the date at which the relevant fees were paid.
 https://dna-explained.com/2015/12/27/johann-michael-miller-mueller-the-second-1692-1771-brethren-immigrant-52-ancestors-104/, accessed 23Aug2020.
 Frederick County Deed Book C, p. 564.
 http://washingtoncountyhistoricaltrust.org/kammerer-house-1774-north-washington-county-md/, accessed 1Sep2020.
 Excerpt of letter from George Washington to Lord Fairfax dated 29Aug1756. Pennsylvania: The German Influence in its Settlement and Development, Volume XXV, Prepared for Pennsylvania-German Society, by Daniel Wunderlich Nead, M.D., 1914, p. 154.
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 http://www.ourbrickwalls.com/subpageWills-Inventories.html, accessed 17Aug2019.
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 https://mht.maryland.gov/secure/medusa/PDF/Washington/WA-I-436.pdf, accessed 17Aug2019.
 Building, p. 72.
 Note: Also on this voyage was a Wolfcon Miller, aged 41, and the Simon Linder family and Frederick Onself.
 https://dna-explained.com/2016/04/10/philip-jacob-miller-c1726-1799-buried-on-a-missing-island-52-ancestors-119/, accessed 18Sep2020. NOTE: This listing of delinquent tax payers was taken from a webpage managed by Roberta Estes, the same person who manages the page for the Brethren Michael Miller. The reference to “heirs of Michael Miller”, would seem to be further confirmation of the demise of Brethren Michael Miller sometime before 1768/9.
 CHRONICLES OF THE Scotch-Irish Settlement IN VIRGINIA EXTRACTED FROM THE ORIGINAL COURT RECORDS OF AUGUSTA COUNTY 1745-1800 CIRCUIT COURT RECORDS, SECTION “I.” JUDGMENTS, page 231
 https://books.google.com/books?id=NpEHBgAAQBAJ&pg=PA31&lpg=PA31&dq=Paul+vs.+Hite–O.+S.+310;+N.+S.+110–Bill&source=bl&ots=FNDd3DCaiq&sig=ACfU3U1GKyCwY7p18fFQe8D1-RtcAeGkNQ&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwiv_siO6fDjAhUgJTQIHandDZwQ6AEwCnoECAQQAQ#v=onepage&q=Paul%20vs.%20Hite–O.%20S.%20310%3B%20N.%20S.%20110–Bill&f=false, accessed 7Aug2019.
 Jefferson County Historical Society Magazine (2014), edited by James L. Glymph (ed.), p. 29.
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4 thoughts on “Chapter 16 – The Miller-Blissett Story (Part 1)”
Hi, it would be nice if you could acknowledge my article that you relied upon for this chapter. You mention the Magazine of the Jefferson County Historical Society edited by Jim Glymph, but you don’t give the title or author of the article, which is Stephen Stec, “Too Many Cookes: A Recipe for Sorting the Giles Cookes of Old Berkeley and Jefferson Counties.” You may also have relied upon my article on Catarina Beierlin from a few years later that gives some of the history of the Hart and Engle tracts. I would be glad to provide you with some corrections especially regarding the Hite v Fairfax suit. For more on that, see the article I wrote last year in the Magazine on “The First Highway in West Virginia” which has quite a bit on the Hart tract in it and how it was affected by the suit. I have researched the Elk Branch area quite a bit and will be submitting an article to the Magazine on Thomas Hart soon. Contact me by email if you would like to correspond about this.
Thank you for your inquiry re: references in the subject manuscript. Sorry I am taking so long to respond, but was unaware of your posted comment until yesterday. It must have been initially received as “spam”. Anyway, thanks to an alert re: another person’s post yesterday, I was made aware of the fact that I had a total of six unread comments queued and awaiting action. As a newby to WordPress, I was unfamiliar with their protocols for handling comments on my account. As regards your suggestions on source citations, I will investigate and make corrections as appropriate. Sincerely, Robert Atteberry.
By the way, thank you for calling my article “thorough and lucid”!