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In the Beginning,
There was Salisbury North Carolina...
Casper's oldest son Adam, was born in Rowan County North Carolina. Adam was the first male Miller born in North America - the first American Miller. When he was born in North Carolina when it was a British colony. He became an American when America declared independence in 1776; he was 12 years old at the time. Adam lived 60 years of his life in Salisbury North Carolina before moving the Millers to Beck's Mill in Washington County Indiana.
Adam had two sisters who were older than him and two brothers, Jacob and John, were younger. Facts on the rest of his siblings are sketchy.
Court records indicate 2 orphaned children, Mary and Michael. Some genealogist believe there is a mistake in the record keeping, that these children may not belong to Casper Miller. There was another Casper Miller living south of Salisbury at one time and his court records may have confused things.
1800 & 1810 Rowan County NC - US Census with Adam Miller
Adam's orphaned sister Mary, who was cared for by one of the Elders of the Dunker church, evidently died before she was 18 years old. On August 26, 1815 Henry C. Kern was her guardian and she died after ailing for 5 weeks. She was buried in a 25 cent dress, a 50 cent pair of shoes, in a 7 dollar casket. Her funeral bill was 3 dollars. The estate paid for this plus it paid 15 dollars to Maryanagdelane Kern for caring for her for 5 weeks, and 5 dollars to the doctor for his treatment. Adam would have been about 51 years old when his sister died.
Mary Miller's Estate documents - Courtesy of Dwayne Meyer.
The court records clearly identify her as the deceased daughter of Casper Miller also deceased, but she would have been much younger than her siblings. She was an orphan of Casper who died in 1801, her death was in 1815. For this to be possible Casper's wife Mary would have to be much younger than him, as he was over 60 years old when this daughter was born.
Court records also show a another younger brother named Michael. He was orphaned in 1788 and apprenticed to a Peter Mock until he was 18 to be a shoemaker. A Michael Miller died in Rowan County in 1793 prior to Casper's death in 1801. This might explain why he was not an heir of Casper's estate, he would have only been 18 years old at the time of his death. It would be commonplace for Casper to have named a son Michael since it was the name of his father, and all his known children had biblical names.
Adam Miller's portion of Mary Miller's estate settlement - Courtesy of Dwayne Meyer.
Adam Miller spent 60 years in Rowan County, he was born there, he married there, and he raised his family there. He purchased 149 acres from his father one year before his father's death. He continued to live on that property until 1824.
The Town of Salisbury During Adam's Life
Adam Miller was born
in Rowan County in 1764. Two years earlier in 1762, Salisbury had
a candle-maker, a doctor, two lawyers, a potter, three hatters, an Indian
trader, a weaver, a tailor, a tanner, a butcher, two merchants, and a
wagon maker. Sixteen inns were licensed in Salisbury by the end of
The British under Lord Cornwallis occupied Salisbury on February 3-4, 1781, when Adam was 17years old. (It was later that his father Casper would serve as a guard of the Goal of Salisbury.) A traveler passing through in 1782 noted that the village was built on a hill and contained about 40 houses and none of them in any way elegant. Adam's home life and his "uptown" was not filled with a lot of fancy things.
George Washington's visit to Salisbury
President George Washington took a southern tour through Salisbury during 1791 pausing to write in his diary that:
"Salisbury is but a small place altho' it is the County town, and the district Court is held in it;-nor does it appear to be much on the increase,-there is about three hundred souls in it and tradesmen of different kinds."
Adam Miller would have been 27 years old when George Washington came to town. That same year, Adam married Hannah Sheets. On March 27, 1791 they were married in Rowan County. They got a license and that was not allowed by the Dunkers; in the past they could have gotten excommunicated for paying for something ordained by God. Adam may not have been a Dunker like his father Casper.
Adam and Hannah's marriage bond - Courtesy of Dwayne Meyer - Click image for a larger view.>>>
George Washington observed another big aspect of Salisbury; its importance as a western judicial center. Three types of courts were convened there before the Revolution and a large variety of cases originating in western North Carolina were tried there. This attracted a lot of talented attorneys to Salisbury.
Lawyers who practiced in Salisbury included:
Colonel Alexander Martin (1740-1807), afterward governor and United States senator;
Waightstill Avery (1741-1821), first attorney-general of the state;
Montford Stokes (l762-1842), 1ater United States senator and governor;
Colonel John Stokes (1756-1790), North Carolina's first federal judge;
Spruce Macay (?-1808), law teacher and superior court judge;
David Franklin Caldwell (1792-1867), member of both houses of the state legislature and later superior court judge;
William R. Davie (1756-1820), soldier, legislator, governor, and one of the men responsible for the founding of the University of North Carolina;
Andrew Jackson (1767-1845), United States senator of Tennessee, federal judge, and seventh president of the United States.
Archibald Henderson (1768-1822) was also a distinguished lawyer, a member
of Congress, and a three-term member of the North Carolina General
Daniel Boone was also from the Salisbury area, he lived near the Yadkin River, the same place Adam lived. Daniel Boone left the Salisbury area in 1769 headed for Kentucky. He came back a year later and got his family. Adam would have been only 6 years old when Daniel Boone moved away.
Adam grew up being a pioneer in the New World; he would have spent much of his life working an axe and a plow. Casper's land had had some clearing done on it and we can assume Adam was very much involved. The Dunkers abhorred slavery and believed that they could make a good life for themselves by the sweat of their brow and their own two hands. Hard work was a part of the culture; it was respected and honored.
The decades of the 1820s and 1830s witnessed an alarming increase in the rate of emigration from Rowan County. These decades also witnessed a general economic depression. Crop prices fell due to poor transportation from farm to market. Salisbury was an inland town making it more difficult to move goods; the best transportation was by water at that time. For this reason people wanted land adjoining rivers and deep creeks.
It was at this time that Adam Miller knew he needed to sell out and go to Indiana like many of his neighbors. Adam was determined to make it in Rowan County, he had a lot of his life invested in his farm, but with times being so bad and all of his neighbors selling out and going to Indiana, it just seemed like the smart thing to do - start over. Land was still cheap in Indiana, selling for as little as one dollar an acre. Indiana's statehood meant that Indiana was safe to live in and this prompted many from Rowan County to start all over as Hoosiers. When Orange County was cut out of Washington County years later, it was named after Orange County North Carolina, where many of its settlers came from.
The Millers Move to Indiana
1830 Washington County IN - US Census with Adam Miller
Adam was 60 years old when he decided to move his family to Washington County Indiana; his sons were spry and capable in 1824 when they made the trip. His second son, William S. Miller, didn't come up with the Millers though, he came up with the Winglers. There was a lot of Adam and Hannah's children getting married during this time, some before they left North Carolina. It was a time of movin' and marryin' for the Millers.
The Winglers were not Dunkers, they were of the Church of Christ. Many of Adam Miller's family is buried at the Kansas Church of Christ Cemetery in Washington County. It is believed that Adam either changed faiths or was never a Dunker; Adam's son may have, and many of his grandchildren did, attend the Church of Christ. During his dad's time, marriages were arranged. It could be the Adam and Hannah didn't get involved with the Dunker church because they fell in love and got married. Marriages had already started being arranged by the families less and less. Adam and Hannah may have been the first generation of Millers to marry out of love.
Washington County was booming by the time Adam and his family got there in 1824. There had only been about 250 people there just 15 years before he got there, about 11,000 by the time he arrived, and over 13, 000 people when he purchased his land. He purchased land in 1830 that bordered the Blue River near Beck's' Mill, he was 66 years old. Land was so cheap people were buying it and selling a few years later. This was true of North Carolina as well, some people did not make it on their farms. They had to sell out and move on to greener pastures in hopes of finding a location with a better chance of prospering.
1850 Washington County IN - US Census with Adam Miller. Here Adam has moved in with his daughter Elizabeth Smith; he died one year later. The 3 Millers at the top of the page are his grandsons, the children of Dave "the distiller" Miller.
Revolutionary Soldier George Beck established Beck Fort in the Beck's Mill area when it was still known as "The Indiana Territory" making Beck's Mill older than Indiana itself. The actual Beck's Mill still stands in the town called Beck's Mill.
The Beck's and the Miller's
Adam Miller's granddaughter, Lucinda Elizabeth Miller, married John Alfred Beck. She was the daughter of William S. Miller, Adam's second born son. There are some Beck's who are also Washington County Millers.
Washington County Indiana was formed in the Indiana Territory in 1814, before Indiana became a state in 1816. It bordered Knox County to the West and the Delaware Indian Territory to the North; and was the location of the Pigeon Roost Massacre in 1811. Since Washington County was split up, the location of the Pigeon Roost Massacre is now in Scott County.
The buffalo had been gone from Indiana since 1808, sixteen years before Adam came to Indiana. However, in 1830 one lone buffalo was killed at nearby French Lick; it was one of the last free roaming buffalo sightings east of the Mississippi River.
Adam Miller had two younger brothers, John and Jacob, who may have moved to Washington County Indiana. A Jacob and John Miller both show up in the US Census records for Washington County at the same time as Adam and his family.
Adam was about 72 years old when his wife Hannah Sheets died in 1836. Adam moved in with his daughter Elizabeth and her husband Joel Smith; they had a house full of kids under the age of 10 at the time. They lived in Jackson Township when Adam died on July 8, 1851 at about the age of 87. Adam spent the last 15 years of his life living with his daughter Elizabeth Smith. Adam's daughters Mary "Polly" Travis and Sarah "Sally" Adams died before he did.
It is Adam Miller's family that is buried at the Smith-Miller Pioneer Cemetery near Beck's Mill. This is how the Miller Cemetery became known as the "Smith's Miller" or "Smith-Miller" Cemetery. For good reason too, there is another Miller Cemetery in nearby Jackson Township, where Adam lived with Joel and Elizabeth Smith.
The Smith Miller Cemetery property is a portion of the original land purchase Adam made in 1830, his wife Hannah Sheets was the oldest known grave identified in the 1940's. Her death was in 1836, only 6 years after Adam bought the ground, so it stands to reason that she was one of the first people buried there. Now neither of their markers can be found at the cemetery; she is known to be buried there and he is believed to be buried there.
Adam Miller had three sons, two that remained in Washington County: David Miller, who ran a distillery; William S. Miller, who ran a covered wagon freight line down to the Louisville Kentucky area; and Andrew Miller, who became a teacher and moved to Harrison County, then to Missouri and finally to Kansas where he died.
He had four daughters; Margaret, Mary, Elizabeth and Sarah. Margaret and Sarah married the Adams brothers, Thomas and James respectively. Sarah and James moved to Knox County Illinois where she died in 1847 at age 46.
All of these Miller's spoke with a heavy southern drawl. Adam was the first generation of Millers to have English as his first language.
It's thought that the southern drawl was created when French settlers learned to speak English as their second language, and then the German and Dutch settlers who moved in, learned to speak English from the French, who still didn't have it right. Over time the southern states spoke a different version of English than the northern states. Radio and TV is causing much of the dialects in America to merge.
It is funny because of how Indiana was settled and by who, there are two distinct dialects in Indiana. Settlers in Northern Indiana came from the Northeastern States like New York and Pennsylvania, but Southern Indiana was settled by settlers from the Southern States and they brought with them a southern drawl that still exists in the area today.
Adam Miller saw Salisbury taken by the British during the Revolutionary War, and his children saw Salem Indiana taken by the Confederates during the Civil War. Evidently the Millers know all the good places to be if you want to be attacked!
Life isn't about being rich or poor, or right and wrong. Life is about being happy.
Happiness is true success.
James A. Miller
Adam Miller's Actual Probate - Courtesy of Dwayne Meyer
William Miller inherited land and does not receive money like his siblings.
Elizabeth Miller was born October 27, 1795. She had to be one of the oldest children in the family as the parents were married 1791. She married Joel R. Smith on March 24, 1828 in Rowan County, North Carolina. Elizabeth died May 12, 1879 in Washington County, Indiana. Joel was born January 11, 1801; he died February 5, 1868. Elizabeth and Joel had 4 children: William A., Henry F., Susan, and Willis James.
Margaret “Peggy” Miller was born ca 1798 in North Carolina. She married Thomas Adams in North Carolina, probably by 1828 by the birth of her first child. Thomas was born ca 1799 in North Carolina. Thomas and Peggy had 6 children: Sally, James, John, Margaret, Thomas and Andrew R. Margaret and Thomas probably lived most of their lives in Howard Township in Washington County Indiana.
David Miller was born ca 1799; he married Mary “Polly” Richardson on 25 February 1820. David died October 22, 1865, age 66 years. Polly was born November 6, 1814; she died April 29, 1894. David and Polly had 7 children - all boys: David, Milus, William, Ivy, James, Milton and Franklin.
Sarah “Sally” Miller was born ca June 1, 1802, a native of North Carolina. She married James Adams on November 4, 1840 in Washington County, Indiana. She died June 1, 1847 at age 45. James was born December 8, 1806, a native of North Carolina. He died July 8, 1879 at age 73 years. They moved to Rio Township, Knox County, Illinois ca 1839. He married two more times after Sally died. Sally and James had 8 children: Mary Carolina, Wilson Rowan, William Dupee, John Thomas, Lucinda F., Alexander Franklin, Phelps R, and Sarah E. James had 3 more children: Julia, Eliza and James W.
William S. Miller was born December 11, 1806 in North Carolina. He married (1) Elizabeth Wingler on January 20, 1833 in Washington County, Indiana. He married (2) Asenith “Sena” Sill on April 22, 1837 in Washington County, Indiana. Asenith was born September 29, 1819 in Shelby County, Kentucky, the daughter of Register Sill and Anna Hollis of Pennsylvania. Asenith died May 5, 1903 in Howard Township, Washington County, Indiana. William had 8 children - 6 girls and 2 boys: Sarah, Mary, Nancy, Lucinda E., Martha A., Lydia, James Bruce, and Eli Henry.
Andrew Miller was born ca 1811 in North Carolina; he married Frances Ann Owens on March 18, 1830 in Washington County, Indiana. Frances was born ca 1814 in Kentucky. Frances died after 1852 -but before 1860 in Missouri. Andrew died after 1865 in Kansas. The family moved to Shoal Creek, Newton County, Missouri. Andrew then married Margaret Reagan, born in Indiana. Margaret died after 1870 in Kansas. Andrew and Frances had 7 children - 3 boys and 4 girls: Nancy, Thomas, Rebecca, Milton, Phoebe, Selina, and John S. Andrew and Margaret had 6 children - 4 girls and 2 boys: Sarah, Lavina E, Louise, Woodard N., Mary T., and Charles N.
Mary “Polly” Miller married Jacob Travis on January 28, 1809 in Rowan County, North Carolina. In 1791 her parents married; she would have been born shortly after. If she was born in 1792, her age at the marriage would have been 18 years old. She would have been the first child of Adam Miller and Hannah Sheets. She died before 1852.
We don't know if Adam's brothers, Jacob and John came to Indiana or not, but here are some PDF documents to ponder:
Some of the descendents of Adam Miller have been Hoosiers for 180 years, some of them totally in Washington County; but all of them have been Americans since the beginning of America.
The Millers of Palatine Germany Have Two Hundred Seventy Eight Years in America
This information is the research of many people across the United States and may contain errors. It is presented as the best information to date. Like all of those whose work I have incorporated herein, my research is a work in progress and subject to change without notice. A special thanks to Marlene Ricci of CA, Dwayne Meyer of CA, Jacqueline Bean of TX, Debbie Dick of IN, Milus Miller of IL, Carol Hendricks Miller of IN, Clarence Miller of IN, and Harold Glen Miller of IN. There are numerous others too; many of which are unknown, but their findings and stories are still much appreciated. Much of this would not have been possible with out their information. Also this website includes historical facts gathered from Washington County History, Indiana History, Rowan County and Salisbury North Carolina Historical sources and other US Historical sources.
J. Arthur Miller- Great -Great -Great -Great Grandson of Adam Miller and Hannah Sheets.
©2004-2013 The Millers of Washington County
Last Updated 02/09/13 10:30:24 AM -0800