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By Joseph Wallace, M. A.
of the Springfield Bar
The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co., Chicago, IL

Page 1589

REV. JACOB H. MILLER - Rev. Jacob H. Miller, who in the early years of his manhood devoted his life to the work of the ministry and after becoming a resident of Springfield engaged in the furniture business, was born in Switzerland on the 1st of December, 1831. His parents spent their entire lives in the land of the Alps. Four of their children, however, came to America, but all are now deceased. Reared under the parental roof Jacob H.; Miller acquired his early education in the schools of his native country and on the 10th of September, 1848, he arrived in Baltimore, Maryland. From there he went to New York city, where he entered upon the active work of the ministry as a preacher of the German Baptist church. After residing in the eastern metropolis for a few years he began traveling and preaching the gospel and visited every state east of the Mississippi river, continuing his unremitting labor as a representative of the German Baptist church.

In 1873 he came to Springfield and decided to make this city his home. Here he continued his ministerial labors as pastor of the German Baptist church, but after a few years, on account of ill health, he turned his attention to the furniture trade, and remained in active business up to the time of his demise. It would be tautological in this connection to enter into a series of statements showing that he was a man of strong character, of honorable purpose and upright principle, for those have been shadowed forth between the lines of this review. His life was ever in harmony with his professions and his influence was a permeating element for good in every community in which he resided for any length of time. He continued to engage in the retail furniture business up to the time of his demise, his store being located at No. 715 East Washington street. He made for himself a most creditable record in trace circles and enjoyed a good patronage, given him by reason of the excellent stock which he carried and his enterprising methods in all trade transactions.

On the 13th of March, 1874, Mr. Miller was united in marriage to Mrs. Barbara (Wolfring) Kunz, who was born in Germany, March 27, 1834, and is a daughter of Frederick and Elizabeth (Kipp) Wolfring, both of whom were natives of Germany, where they spent their entire lives, the father following the occupation of farming. Mrs. Miller was first married on the 3d of October, 1855, to William Kunz, of Germany, who came to Springfield in an early day and was well known in this city. He conducted a grocery and saloon and continued to make his home here until his death on the 5th of October, 1871. There were six children born of that marriage; William, who married Elizabeth Boissdoirfer and is a farmer, residing in Springfield township; Henry, who married Julia M. Ford and is engaged in the retail furniture business in Springfield; Julius S., a newspaper man of Chicago; Richard F., deceased; Charles F., who married Nellie Koob, and is a furniture merchant of Springfield; and Alice, the wife of Henry Walter, who is employed as a clerk in the freight office of the Chicago, Peoria & St. Louis Railroad Company at Springfield. By her second marriage Mrs. Miller became the mother of one daughter, Clara Lillian, who is now the wife of Henry F. Janssen, a florist of Springfield. They have one child, Raymond Ellsworth, and they reside at No. 109 North State street.

Mr. Miller was an advocate of Republican principles and after his marriage he and his wife united with the German Methodist Episcopal church of Springfield, in which they became active and influential workers. In the spring of 1891 Mr. Miller became ill and disposed of his business, and afterward went to Eureka Springs, Arkansas, in the hope of benefitting his health, but there died on the 6th of December, 1891. He was well known as a successful business man of this city, but it was not his prosperity that endeared him to his friends, but his kindly spirit, his charitable thought, his ready sympathy and willing assistance. He made his religion a part of his daily life and so lived as to win the honor and respect of his fellow men. His death, therefore, was the occasion of a sorrow that was at once general and sincere and though thirteen years have come and gone since he departed this life his memory is yet cherished by many who knew him. Mrs. Miller has recently sold her residence property to her son-in-law, Mr. Janssen, with whom, however, she makes her home, at No. 109 North State street.

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