Transcribed by Mary Ann Kaylor
MILLER, JOSEPH R. (deceased) - All the soldiers of the Civil War were not killed on battle fields nor died in the hospitals of that day, that many only survive to pass away later on, but before their time, because of injuries received or disabilities contracted while serving their country. Sangamon County sent into the field as fine a lot of men as any section of Illinois, and is proud of her veterans. Too many, though, have answered to the last roll call, and their decorated graves on Memorial Day, serve to remind the present generation of the cost of the preservation of the union. One of the men who was thus representative of the best class of soldiers and citizens this county has ever known, was the late Joseph R. Miller, formerly a resident of Williamsville.
Mr. Miller was born in Franklin County, Pa., March 3, 1828, a son of Joseph Miller, also a native of the Keystone State. Both parents of Mr. Miller died in their native State, having attained a ripe old age. Their lives were peacefully spent, and their upright characters set a good example for their children.
After attending school in Pennsylvania, Mr. Miller learned the trade of blacksmith, but feeling that he could secure larger opportunities in a newer State, he came west to Illinois. At that time everything was unsettled, and a good blacksmith found no trouble in securing employment. Eventually he settled in Williamsville, set up a shop, and operated it to the time of his death, which occurred August 30, 1903.
In May, 1864, he enlisted in the One Hundred and Thirty Third Illinois Volunteer Infantry, for 100 days' service and the regiment was on duty most of the time guarding rebel prisoners at Rock Island and Camp Butler until its discharge, September 4, 1866.
The maiden name of Mrs. Miller was Nancy Harris. She was born in Ohio December 22, 1827, being a daughter of John and Rebecca (Wiley) Harris, natives of Virginia. The Harris family migrated at an early day to Ohio, where the father died, but his widow survived to die in Illinois. Four children were born to Mr. and Mrs. Miller, two of whom survive: Mary, born January 6, 1859, married Edward Miller, and three children have been born to them; and Annie, born January 22, 1816, married Charles N. Selby, and they have three children. Mrs. Joseph R. Miller resides in the family home on Church Street, which belongs to her. Advanced in years, she still takes an interest in church matters and is a very lovable lady, and has been a kind neighbor through all her useful life. Mr. Miller was a member of the Christian Church, and took his religion with him into everyday life. He regulated his business according to the Golden Rule and was accounted one of the best at his trade in Sangamon County. His political opinions made him a Republican, and he always voted the ticket of his party.
No history of Sangamon County would be complete without a record of Mr. Miller's life, although unfortunately he left behind so little authentic data relative to himself and his family. However, in his own life he displayed the effects of careful, Christian training, and proved that his own parents had brought him up properly. His widow and daughters treasure his memory, and he is very kindly remembered by a wide circle of friends and those with whom he was associated in business dealings. The G. A. R. had in him a faithful and devoted member and he enjoyed meeting with old associates and living over again those exiting events when "The Boys in Blue" took so important a part in preserving a nation's glory and perpetuating its existence.