Transcribed by Mary Ann Kaylor
MILLER, HENRY - When the alarm of fire is sounded, those in danger begin to appreciate the value of an efficient fire department, and show their gratitude to the brave men who risk their lives in defense of property. Henry Miller, captain of Chemical Engine No. 1, Springfield, is an experienced fire fighter and a man of unquestioned bravery and resource. He was born in St. Louis, Mo., April 6, 1841, a son of John Henry and Catherine (Zehe) Miller, both natives of Germany. The father was a cloth cutter who came to America at a very early day, settling in St. Louis where he met and married Catherine Zehe. Here the father followed his trade until he came to Springfield, Ill., in 1852, and settling in this city, resumed his work, continuing thus engaged for many years. He was successful in a business way, and left a valuable property, dying in 1879, at the age of sixty-two years, six months and eleven days. He had three sons and two daughters, all born in St. Louis, but only Mr. Miller and a sister, Mrs. Louisa Opel, of Springfield, survive.
Mr. Miller went to school in St. Louis and Springfield before the present school houses were erected. As a boy he assisted in hauling the brick used in building the first two public schools here. After finishing school and working in a country store for two years, Mr. Miller found employment in a department store in Springfield. In January, 1861, he began learning the carpenter's trade with A. Morris, which he followed for many years. On October 17, 1858, he joined the volunteer fire department. In May, 1868, the Volunteer Fire Department was converted into a paid Fire Department. At this time there were only two engine houses with three full paid and four extra hosemen. The extra men worked at their trades receiving pay for service at each fire, Mr. Miller serving as one of the extra hosemen. In the fall of 1872, he became regularly employed on the ladder truck, and from that up, he has held every position except that of driver in his department, acting many times as chief during the absence of the regular officer. In 1872, during the great Chicago fire, he was sent with a crew of five men to that city. On April 15, 1887, he was made captain of the chemical engine, which was then stationed at No. 2 Engine House, but on March 14, 1890, the chemical engine was moved to its present quarters on Fourth Street, where Captain Miller still remains in active service. He is not only one of the oldest fire fighters in the State, but also one of the oldest in the country, and as a seasoned veteran, is one of the most efficient officers in this line.
On June 19, 1868, Mr. Miller was married in Springfield to Angeline Morris, born in Ohio, May 4, 1848, a daughter of Alexander Morris. The later was a carpenter and contractor who brought his family to Springfield at an early date. Here he followed his trade for a number of years, later moving to Topeka, Kan., but is now deceased. Three children have been born to Mr. and Mrs. Miller; Otto G., born August 11, 1871, a commercial salesman of Springfield; William Clint, born September 3, 1878, is in the employ of the Illinois Watch Company; and Mary A., born October 25, 1883, now the wife of Walter O. Brown. There are two grandchildren in the family, sons of Otto G. and Ada (Hallowell) Miller: Kenneth H., born January 7, 1900, and Russell H. Miller, born June 5, 1903. The family residence at No. 522 South Eleventh Street is owned by Captain Miller, who also owns other city reality.
In politics Captain Miller is a Republican. He belongs to Court Camp No. 460, Modern Woodmen of America. He takes a good deal of pride in the act that he was personally acquainted with Abraham Lincoln, and is happy to belong to the political party he helped to found. There are few men who are more pleasant to meet than the genial veteran fire fighter, whose courage and fearlessness have saved countless lives and kept from destruction millions of dollars worth of property.