Sangamon County ILGenWeb © 2000
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By Joseph Wallace, M. A.
of the Springfield Bar
The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co., Chicago, IL

JOSEPH MILLER. - Almost seventy years have elapsed since Joseph Miller came to Sangamon County and he is justly numbered among her honored pioneers and leading citizens. He has been prominently identified with her agricultural interests and is still actively engaged in farming and stock raising on section 7, Cooper Township. His is an honorable record of a conscientious man, who by his upright life has won the confidence of all with whom he has come in contact.

Mr. Miller was born in Loudoun county, Virginia, August 18, 1826, a son of Christian and Sarah (Neer) Miller, also natives of the same county, where they continued to make their home until after the birth of all of their children. In 1832 the father moved his family to Ohio and the same year came to Illinois on a prospecting tour, traveling over much of this state in search of a location. Finally deciding on Sangamon County, the family took up their residence here in November, 1834, Mr. Miller having entered twenty-two hundred acres of land in Cooper and Rochester townships, where he was engaged in farming throughout the remainder of his life. He died here in 1842. His wife survived him for several years.

Joseph Miller is the eighth in order of birth in their family of ten children, all of whom reached mature years except two, but he is now the only survivor. Coming to this county during boyhood, he was reared amid pioneer scenes and can relate many interesting incidents of those early days when Sangamon county was a frontier settlement. He has broken hundreds of acres of wild prairie land and for twenty-five years farmed with ox teams. He has seen Springfield develop from a crossroads village into a thriving city and in the work of improvement has ever borne his part. Before the days of railroads he used to drive hogs and haul wheat to St. Louis and Chicago over the open prairies with no fences to impede his progress.

For several years Mr. Miller and his brother had charge of the home place and his entire life has been devoted to agricultural pursuits. After his marriage he located near his present farm, where he had about one hundred and ninety acres which he operated until 1853 and then removed to the farm where he now lives, it being a tract of one hundred and ten acres on section 7, Cooper township. About 1867, he erected thereon a large brick residence and has made many improvements which make the farm one of the most desirable of its size in the county. Besides this property Mr. Miller has one hundred and ninety acres of land in Mechanicsburg township and ninety-five acres in Rochester township. He has met with excellent success in his farming operations and the property he has acquired is but the just reward of honest effort.

In Rochester township, this county, Mr. Miller was married October 4, 1849, to Miss Louisiana Branch, a native of that township and a daughter of Edward and Rebecca (Cassady) Branch, who were born reared and married in Kentucky. Unto Mr. and Mrs. Miller were born ten children, as follows: Samuel J., who is married and living on a farm near Mechanicsburg; David F., who is married and resides on a farm in Cooper township; Ed, who is married and follows farming in Rochester township; Albert, who is married and lives upon a farm; George, who died at the age of twenty-two years; Ida, wife of James Warwick , a farmer of Cooper township; Della, wife of Robert Green, of Rochester township; Rebecca, wife of Christopher Chnirring, a merchant of Springfield; Joseph L., who is married and resides with his father; and Myrtie, at home.

In his political views Mr. Miller is an ardent Democrat, having supported that party since casting his first presidential vote for James K. Polk, in 1848, but he has never been an aspirant for office. He takes an active interest in educational affairs, however, and was an efficient member of the school board for fourteen years. His estimable wife is a member of the Christian church and they are held in the highest regard by all who know them. Their home is noted for its hospitality and their many friends are always sure of a hearty welcome within its doors. As honored pioneers and representative citizens, they are deserving of prominent mention in the history of their adopted county.

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