Johann Ludwig Miller

and his sons

Benjamin Miller
Lewis Miller

by Richard R. Wilt

Johann Ludwig (Lewis) Miller

             The earliest record of the Miller family was Johann Ludwig Miller¹ who came to America from Wttemburg, Germany with his wife Katharine Rothenberger from Heidelberg, Germany to Philadelphia in 1771. They later between 1784 & 1787 moved to the area of York County, Pennsylvania. Ludwig was a teacher in a parochial school of the Lutheran Church. Ludwig and Katherine had ten children: Joseph b. c.1784, Benjamin b. November 11, 1788, John² E. b. c. 1790, Lewis b. May 3, 1796, Michael, Elizabeth, David, Philip, Catherine and John³ M Miller

             Joseph became a Doctor , as noted in accounts of his younger brother, Lewis, being accompanied by his nephew Rev. Charles A. Miller, son of Dr. Joseph Miller. Lewis became a carpenter by trade as well as very talented and renowned frontier artist.

¹ Sources have Ludwig born in Nuremburg, Germany in 1747
² In previous research I have found that it is not uncommon to give two or more sons the first name of John or Johann in German families with a different middle name.

Benjamin Miller

1788 – 1861

             Benjamin Miller   was born November 11, 1788 in York County, Pennsylvania and appears to be the second child born to Johann Ludwig and Katherine Rothenberger Miller.
Benjamin was first married to Elizabeth Hibner, on October 28, 1811. Harrietta appears to be the only child born to this marriage. Elizabeth probably died prior to 1818 since Benjamin and Sarah Black, the daughter of Alexander Black, were married on March 14, 1818, as recorded in Book 1 Page 4 of marriages in Lewis County, Virginia.
Benjamin and Sarah were listed in the Lewis County, Virginia Census as follows:

1840 Lewis County Census 1 male under 5, 2 males 5-10, 4 males 10-15, 1 male 20-30, 1 male 40-50, 1 female under 5, 2 females 5-10, 1 female 10-15, 1 female 15-20, 1 female 30-40
1850 Upshur County Census: Benjamin Miller age 62, Sarah Miller age 50, Minter Miller age 17
1860 Upshur County Census: Benjamin Miller age 73, Sarah Miller age 61

             Benjamin and Sarah had 8 children, Lewis, Elizabeth, Mary, Catherine, Rachel, Sarah, Minter¹. Benjamin and Sarah appear to either being tenant farmer or rented land from Henry Jackson as noted in the Will of Henry Jackson dated November 20, 1848. The Jackson families owned a large parcel of land stretching from Turkey Run located on the Buckhannon River to Hacker’s Creek located on the West Fork River, approximately a distance of 20 miles. Benjamin and Sarah later moved to Upshur County Virginia either very near or with son, Minter. This probably occurred when Minter’s wife Frances died in 1858/59 leaving him with a small child. Benjamin died on January 1, 1861 and is buried in the Kesling Mills Cemetery. His grave is the oldest marked grave in the cemetery. There are no further official records of where Sarah lived until she moves to Washington in 1869 and was listed living with her son Lewis in the 1870 Washington Census.

Headstone for Benjamin Miller located in Kesling Mills Cemetery

Minter Miller Biography

¹ Minter later in 1871 changes his name to Thomas E. Johnson upon his arrival in Reno County, Kansas

Lewis Miller Jr.

1796 – 1882

             Lewis Miller   was born in York, Pennsylvania on May 3, 1796 to Johann Ludwig (Lewis) and Katarina Rothenberger Miller. He grew up in York, the eighth son and tenth child in his family. As a young boy he was educated in the German Lutheran Parochial School. He was a very bright and talented young man, absorbing everything around him, which became apparent in his later sketches and chronicles of life in York. He was apprenticed to his older brother, John, to learn the trade of carpentry. He grew up under the watchful eye of his parents and older siblings. At a very young age he was amazing in both sketches and keeping records in his journals. He completed over 2000 sketches during his lifetime. Several of his sketch books are in the safe keeping of the York County Historical Society and Virginia Historical Society at Williamsburg, Virginia.
One sketch depicts he and his brothers punishing another youth for stealing apples. In the caption on the page Lewis names his brothers as, Philip Miller, Joseph Miller, Benjamin Miller, John and little Lewis Miller. He also signed several of his sketches as Lewis jr.
             In another sketch was a description of a tragic accident when his brother, David, lost his hand in an apple press accident on October 13, 1800 from which David died on October 21, 1800. He ends the chronicle on this sketch writing “Struck with compassion of sad a state”.
             He also sketched scenes of the Militia in the second War of the Revolution, The War of 1812. The sketch is of the 1st Company 113 Regiment of the Pennsylvania Militia under the command of Captain William Rease consisting of 132 men. He lists the names of every member of the Company including his brothers, John Miller and Benjamin MIller.

             Lewis also made trips to other places in Pennsylvania and Virginia. His earliest recorded visit to Christiansburg, Virginia was in 1831 to visit his brother, Dr. Joseph Miller. His nephew Rev. Charles A. Miller, a minister in the Christ Lutheran Church was with him.

             In 1832 Lewis and George Small left on a tour from York, Pennsylvania to Baltimore, Maryland through Delaware to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and Jersey and onto New York City, traveling by stage, coach, and then by Steamboat.
             On June 25, 1840, accompanied by Alexander Small and Henry Hertzog, he departed on the Ship Garrick, Captain A.S. Palmer, bounded for Liverpool, England arriving safely on July 16th. London, Scotland, Paris, Frankfurt, Damstadt, Heidelberg, and Worms were but a few of the places Lewis toured while in Europe while making sketches and writing descriptions of his travels. One of his trips was made to observe the newest railroad bridge across the Susquenhanna River at Wrightsville in October 1868. Written across the bottom of the sketch he states that he was accompanied by his nephew, Lewis Miller visiting from Pekin, Clark County, Washington Territory and they were there to make sketches of the bridge. This Lewis Miller was the son of Benjamin, his brother who had gone west on the Oregon Trail to settle in the North West Territory.
             Lewis left on October 4, 1842 accompanied by Rev. Charles A. Miller his nephew to sketch and tour New York, the Brooklyn Navy Yard and Hoboken, a mile up the Hudson River.
             He later made a trip to West Virginia going to Buckhannon where he visited another nephew, Minter Miller, staying from May 6 to May 24, 1869. This was another son of Benjamin his older brother.
             Lewis spent considerable time in Christiansburg, Virginia with relatives. Many of his sketches of the Christiansburg area were drawn in 1856 through 1857. He also lived the last twenty years of his life in Christiansburg where he died in 1882 at the age of 86. He is buried in the Craig Cemetery in Christiansburg, Virginia. Lewis never married but appears to have lived a long and fruitful life.

Your attention is directed to the following Web Site.
Sketches of Lewis Miller
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The Will of

Henry Jackson

November 20, 1848


Wife, Elizabeth Jackson, ex.
             Testator bequeaths as follows: “ I have given unto my sons by the first wife all that I intend to or can except EDWARD C. JACKSON. I give to my three daughters ELIZABESS P. PREBBELL, AMANDA M. PREBBEL, RACHEL C. MILLER the land that John Cozad let me have known as Crutslow Bend to be sold at one, two and three years payments for AMANDA M. PREBBELL to have one half and the other to be divided between other two daughters. To my son EDWARD the land promised to me by John B. Shrev and Henry O. Middleton where Benjamin Miller Lives, a cow worth Twelve dollars, a Horse and saddle worth Forty five dollars but the one hundred acres is not conveyed Middleton and Shrev for him to have two hundred dollars money, Notes or land. The land or money to be on interest for him as he is not of sound mind…He has pat of land that his mother owned that is to be on interest to support him. To my daughter MARY S.M. ROSA WYRICK fifty dollars when there is so much of the land sold to pay her with out pressing on my ife, One cow one saddle worth thirty dollars. To my wife ELIZABETH as long as she is my widow the whole of my land and moveable property not otherwise disposed of for school and board and raise my children on that she is the mother of, to wit: DECATURE, SAMUEL, DEXTOR, JAMES ALONZO, MARION ORLANDO, MELISSA, GEORGE WASHINGTON, ARTEMISHA, GALISPO MERO as she may think best but she must sell that worthless Negro gale if she is not sold in my time also I have several law suits now pending and if I go out of time before they are decided, then suites to be renewed in the names if my last wife’s children. School the children if possible, If any of my children or wife after my death shall dispute my right to dispose of foregoing property they shall be cut off from all that is devised to them that it shall be devised to the last wife’s children”’ states that foregoing will is “wholly in my own handwrite.”


Teste’, James T. Hartman, David Hall, Robert Johnson, John B. Shreve. Upshur County, Virginia Bk. A, pp. 5-7

Note:   Spelling and wording matching the hand written text as nearly as possible.

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