SEBASTIAN MILLER - Sebastian Miller, who resides in section 8, Gardner township, is now living retired upon his farm, which comprises two hundred acres of well-improved and valuable land. He is numbered among the old settlers of the county, for he dates his residence here from 1848. A native of Bavaria, Germany, he was born December 12, 1835, and is a son of Peter and Christina Barbara (Phillips) Miller, who were also natives of Germany. The father carried on farming in Bavaria and there four of his children were born. In 1848 he completed his arrangements for emigrating to the new world, and, accompanied by his wife and children, he took passage on a sailing vessel at Bremen, which after forty days spent in crossing the broad Atlantic dropped anchor in the harbor of New Orleans. He then proceeded up the Mississippi and Illinois rivers to Beardstown, whence he made his way across the country to Sangamon county, establishing his home in Gardner township, where lived his brother, Matthew Miller, one of the honored pioneer settlers of this portion of the state. The father of our subject purchased land in Gardner township, and as it was a wild and unimproved region he at once began clearing and breaking it, building fences and carrying on the work of cultivation until he wrought a great transformation in the appearance of the property. Subsequently he removed to Lincoln, Illinois, where he established a brewery, which he conducted for several years. It was then destroyed by fire, and he afterward removed to Kansas, taking up his abode upon a farm, where he spent his remaining days, his death occurring about 1883. His wife had died during her residence in Sangamon county in 1860. Of the family of this worthy couple, Sebastian and his brother, George Miller, are now the only survivors, and the latter is a resident of Kansas.
Sebastian Miller was a youth of thirteen years when he crossed the briny deep to the new world and came with his parents to Sangamon county. He had attended school in his native country, but his education in English has been largely self-acquired. To his father he gave the benefit of his services until he had attained his majority, when he started out in life on his own account, and whatever success he has achieved since that time is due entirely to his perseverance, his business foresight and his unflagging labor.
Mr. Miller was married in Sangamon county, June 22, 1856, to Mary Magdalen Green, a native of Bavaria, Germany, who was brought to the United States in 1845 when a little maiden of seven summers. Her father was George Michael Green, who engaged in farming and later in quarrying. His last years were spent in retirement from active labor in St. Louis, his home being on Broadway, where he died in 1881. Mrs. Miller's mother passed away in 1855. In their family were five daughters, three of whom are still living: Barbara Anna, wife of William Delmer, of St. Louis; Mrs. Catherine Klein, also a resident of that city; and Mrs. Miller. The others were both married at the time of their deaths. Five children have been born unto our subject and his wife: August, who is married and follows farming in Kansas; John, who is married and resides in Parsons, Kansas, being employed on a railroad in that state; Barbara Christina, the wife of George Minder, a farmer of Gardner township; Louis and Frank, who are at home assisting in the operation of the farm. They are both energetic young men, well known as enterprising farmers and stock-raisers.
At the time of their marriage Mr. and Mrs. Sebastian Miller took up their abode upon a rented farm, and for eight years he operated leased land, after which he purchased forty acres, and from time to time he added to his original farm, until now he has two hundred and fifty acres in the home place. In addition to this he owns one hundred and thirty acres elsewhere in the county and a valuable farm of two hundred and forty acres in Sedgwick county, Kansas. He commenced life a poor man, empty-handed, having nothing to assist him save his own strong purpose and perseverance. He has accumulated three good farms and is one of the substantial men of the county. he is well known politically, also, being an earnest Democrat. He cast his first presidential ballot for James Buchanan in 1856, and has supported each presidential nominee of the party since that time except in 1872, when he voted for Greeley. He has never sought or desired office, preferring to give his attention to his business interests. Both he and his wife were reared to the Catholic faith and are members of St. Peter's and St. Paul's church of Springfield.
Fifty-four years have passed since Mr. Miller became a resident of Sangamon county, and therefore the history of its growth, improvement and progress is largely familiar to him. He saw the timber and brush cleared away, the roads put through, and in fact witnessed the beginning of development here. When he arrived there were a great many deer in this part of the state and lesser wild game was to be had in abundance. Springfield was but a village, and even the most far-sighted could not have dreamed that within a few years a wonderful transformation would be wrought through the efforts of the sturdy pioneer settlers who have made the county what it is today. Mr. Miller is well known in Springfield and in Gardner township as a man of upright life, charitable and kindly. He and his estimable lady have a hospitable home and many friends, and in the history of the county they well deserve representation.