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Rowan County North Carolina Millers
They probably left the Rhineland in early September 1732 and arrived in the New World in mid October. They departed from the Port of Rotterdam Netherlands and arrived at the Port of Pennsylvania. Michael and Cathrina Miller brought their children, Cathrina, Philiphbena, Casper, Hans, and Michael to Philadelphia for a new life and a new beginning, in the New World.
They left the Rhineland Palatinate which had been the Holy Roman Empire of German Nations during the Middle Ages. The area had a long history with over 500 castles and the River Rhine. The cities of Worms, Mainz, and Speyer Germany are over 2,000 years old.
In 39 BC the far west part of Germany was settled by the Romans. By 300 AD, the city of Mainz had evolved into the capital of the Germania Prima province.
In the 1700's, the Millers were a strictly religious family, they were strongly opinionated and stuck by their beliefs. A chance to go to America would give them a chance to believe and worship as they thought they should, not the way the Roman Catholic Church had dictated. They were persecuted for their beliefs in Germany because of its Roman Catholic history; there was no separation of state and church.
Although the trip to America would be a rough one, full of fear, excitement, and adventure, they felt the benefits out weighed the dangers. Sometimes people got sick and died on the ships, they ended up in America with broken families or no way to support themselves. Traveling with the church made the trip much safer and the Millers were in a tightly knit group called the Brethren.
On October 17th 1732, Casper Miller, a child, is listed as a Palatine passenger of the ship "John and William" at the courthouse in Philadelphia Pennsylvania . His father is one of 11 sick people aboard the ship. They were considered a part of the Pennsylvania Germans who came to America for freedom of religion. October 17, 1732 marks the date the Millers took the Oath of Allegiance to the Queen of Great Britain at the courthouse.
The British needed to occupy the New World before another country could claim it. The problem was they didn't want to deplete their own population and become weak. They decided to send people from other countries as long as they took an oath of allegiance to England.
Casper has had his name spelled three ways: Casper, Caspar, and Gasper. On the passenger list it is Caspar, but by his adulthood in North Carolina, it appears as both Gasper and Casper. I suspect he didn't say Casper clearly and it was written by the court recorders as it sounded. Gasper sounds more German, and German was his first language.
The Pennsylvania Germans are split in their beliefs. There are the church people or "Kirchenleute" comprised of the Reformed church and the Lutheran church. Then there are the sectarians or "Sektenleute" which consisted of the Amish, Mennonites, and Brethren. The Brethren, unlike the Mennonites and Amish, rejected the Schleitheim Confession of 1527 and the Dordrecht Confession of 1632 , because they wanted no other creed than the New Testament.
Casper was a member of the Brethren Church. They were pacifist and were sometimes persecuted and imprisoned for their beliefs in Pennsylvania. They began to feel too much pressure from the locals and began to move south to Virginia, and eventually the Carolinas. The stockade was the most common form of punishment and it wasn't a comfortable way of living.
The Brethren were similar to the Mennonites and Moravians. Originally, Casper's Church had moved south to an area known as "Dunker Bottoms" in Montgomery County (New River) Virginia. The Brethren called it Mahanaim. This area is now under Claytor Lake near Virginia Tech in Blacksburg. The Brethren were officially known as the German Baptists.
However, Virginia was a British Colony with a State Anglican Church and did not have a true religious freedom. The Dunkers didn't like the fact that Virginia required a license and fee for the things ordained by God like marriage and burials. If a Dunker were to get a license he could be excommunicated, so they were always at odds with Virginia's government. There was already talk of being loyal to Great Britain or the United States amongst the Virginia locals - it was one or the other. The Dunkers were pacifists, they didn't want to take either side.
View the list of American born Millers up to the author. Click for a larger view
Thieves and Indians in Virginia found the Dunkers to be easy prey since they would not fight back. Virginia was just an uncomfortable place to live, so the church moved further south into North Carolina and settled around the Yadkin River, the home of Daniel Boone.
Casper settled near Grants Creek north of Salisbury, the county seat for Rowan County (rhymes/sounds like throne county). The Church was established at nearby Crane Creek about 1756-1759. Crane Creek is a fan shaped network of draughts that flows into one creek before entering the Yadkin River from its west side. Crane Creek was on the middle creek of the group of creeks in the fan.
Casper paid 115 Shillings for 540 acres on the north side of Grants Creek. He sold that same land for North Carolina money; the money then was made by the State of North Carolina. He bought 140 acres more in 1791 making his total land ownership at 680 acres.
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North Carolina Money at the time Casper purchased his property. This is a 2 pound bill front and back.
At the time of the American Revolution, North Carolina had 17 different forms of legal money because there was a shortage of official money.
Casper sold his property with money similar to the bills above, issued by the Revolution of Congress for the sum of $65 dollars. This was the first federal money.
In 1784, Jefferson proposed that United States money be based on the decimal system, then in 1792, it was adopted by Congress, and the legal coins were dollars, dimes, and cents. The nickel didn't exist until the end of the Civil War.
Nobody ever drowned in sweat.
Did you know?
There were 20 shillings to a pound, 12 pence to a shilling, and 4 farthings to a penny.
Farthings were described as fractions of a penny, such as six pence.
When the Revolution broke out, some of the people in Rowan county were calling the Dunkers cowards or torys for not taking a pledge of allegiance to the United States, but records show that Casper and other Dunkers did serve as Guards of the Goal of Salisbury during August, September, and October 1778. Casper was never a soldier, even a private received 600 acres of land for his service in the revolution. Casper already had his land when he served, he served for nothing for the Americans. Though the "Dunkers" were pacifists, they did have an opinion of what government they wanted, and they wanted to be Americans.
Casper's father Michael, had been a German who took an Oath to England just to get to America, and now Casper turned the tables on England and took sides with the Americans when he signed up as a Guard of the Goal. A goal was the jail used for captured enemy soldiers and the dunkers were well known for taking good care of the prisoners.
Casper appears in only the first US Census in 1790. As you can see there were other Millers living in Rowan County North Carolina too.
Casper Miller may have been in bad health near the end of his life. On January 5, 1800, Casper went to the court house with his 3 sons and sold them portions of his property for $300 each. He kept about 225 acres of land for himself and Mary. On July 12, 1801, 127 acres of his estate went to auction. Casper was dead at about the age of 73. Casper's wife Mary died in 1806, about 5 years later. Casper died sometime between February 1800 and July 15, 1801 in Rowan County North Carolina.
Casper's Estate Settlement Notes - Courtesy of Dwayne Meyer
During the time of Casper's life, it was common for the marriage to be arranged by the parents and love wasn't part of the marital equation. Casper and Mary more than likely had an arranged marriage. There is no record of their marriage as the Dunkers were against obtaining a license.
Mary may not have been a Swink as I have referred to her on this website. My information came from "The World Family Tree" and it may be questionable; I haven't seen any proof. She is called Mary Swink here but she would be more correctly be referred to as Mary Unknown.
Adam Miller was Casper's oldest son and he brought the Millers to Indiana. His brothers Jacob and John may have moved to Indiana too, there were people by these names in Washington County in 1840 and they appear to be about the right age. Adam married a neighbor's daughter, Hannah Sheets, and spent most of his life on the land he got from his father. Adam was 60 years old when he came to Indiana.Casper's son John married Mary Ritesman in Rowan County. His son Jacob sold the 155 acres he got from his dad shortly after Casper died for a whopping $560, nearly doubling his money. You can read more about Casper and Mary's children on the Adam Miller page.
You can't use your friends and have them too.
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.
James A. Miller- Great -Great -Great -Great Grandson of Adam Miller and Hannah Sheets.
©2004-2013 The Millers of Washington County
Last Updated 02/09/13 10:31:14 AM -0800