John H. Miller
A veteran of the War of the Rebellion and a worthy citizen is John H. Miller, who has been accorded many marks of popular confidence and esteem in the community which for so many years has been his home. He was born in Van Buren township, Shelby county, on the 28th of March, 1840, and is a son of Jacob K. and Elizabeth (Kern) Miller, the latter an aunt of Hon. John W. Kern, of Indianapolis, which makes the subject a cousin of the distinguished lawyer and politician, who was in 1908 the Democratic nominee for the Vice-Presidency. The Miller family had it origin in Virginia, of which state Jacob K. Miller was a native and the early history of the Kerns is also intimately associated with certain counties of the same commonwealth. Some time after their marriage J. K. and Elizabeth Miller moved to Ohio, thence in 1839 to Shelby county, Indiana, and settled in the forest of Van Buren township, where they spent the remainder of their lives, the husband and father dying in the prime of manhood, being but forty-eight years of age leaving to his widow and thirteen children a farm of one hundred and twenty acres, and the name above the suspicion of dishonor.
Mrs. Miller assumed the heavy responsibilities which her husband's death entailed and right nobly did she discharge the duties of her position. Her desire was to rear her children to honorable manhood and womanhood, and that she succeeded in this laudable ambition is indicated by the fact that they all grew to mature years, married and had homes of their own and so far as known not one of them has ever caused the blush of shame to mantle the face of the devoted mother, or in any way dimmed the luster of their family name. Four of the sons, Nicholas, John H., Lewis and Ephraim, served with distinction during the War of the Rebellion, while all dignified their stations in life and stood high in the confidence and esteem of the people of their respective communities.
John H. Miller's early life was largely a routine of hard labor on the farm and by reason of his services being required at home he had few advantages in the way of obtaining an education. He made the most of his meager opportunities, however, and in due time acquired a sufficient knowledge of the common branches to enable him to transact business and take a broader view of life and duty than he otherwise might have done. Reared to agricultural pursuits, he very naturally chose this time-honored vocation for his life work, and from a very modest beginning he gradually added to his possessions until he became the owner of considerable real estate which he improved.
In 1862 Mr. Miller responded to the President's call for volunteers by joining the Seventy-ninth Indiana Infantry, with which he served with a creditable record until mustered out June 9, 1865. He shared with his comrades the dangers and vicissitudes of war in a number of noted campaigns and bloody battles, including Stone River, Chickamauga, Missionary Ridge, Lookout Mountain and Knoxville, Tennessee; thence to the Atlanta campaign, where he took part in several engagements which led to the fall of that noted stronghold. From the latter place his regiment was sent with the force to check the Confederate advance under General Bragg, and he had the satisfaction of contributing to that leader's defeat in the battles of Franklin and Nashville, which practically ended the war in Tennessee and hastened the final collapse of the rebellion at Appomattox.
After being mustered out of the service at Nashville in 1865, Mr. Miller returned home and resumed the pursuit of agriculture, which he has since successfully prosecuted. Being in independent circumstances he no longer labors as in former years, but nevertheless he manages his extensive interests with characteristic ability and is still keenly alive not only to his own affairs, but to all enterprises having for their object the welfare of his fellow men.
Mr. Miller has been twice married, the first time on October 21, 1866, to Mary J. Robinson, who was born in 1847 in Shelby county, of which her father, Able J. Robinson, was an early settler. Three children were born to this couple, one son and two daughters, both of the latter dying in 1880. Harry, the oldest of the number, was born August 3, 1867, taught school in his young manhood, later read medicine, and shortly after graduating from the Indiana Medical College was appointed surgeon of the National Soldiers' Home, near Marion, Indiana, which responsible position he still holds. Mrs. Miller departed this life August 10, 1898, and later Mr. Miller married Mrs. Wright (nee Callahan), who was born January 21, 1863, in Henry county, Indiana.
Mrs. Miller spent here[sic] early life on a farm, but at the age of fourteen accompanied her parents, John and Amanda (Baughlian) Callahan, to Knightstown, where she grew to womanhood and received the greater part of her education. In 1884, she married Milton A. Wright, who died November 21, 1897, leaving besides herself two children to mourn their loss, the older of whom, Ermadell, born May 30, 1887, is now the wife of Fory Engle; Russell, whose birth occurred May 19, 1891, is a member of the home circle and a student in the high school of Morristown. Mrs. Miller, who is a lady of more than ordinary intelligence and culture, has been much before the public and is widely known in religious circles throughout the state. Early in life she manifested strong religious convictions, and, while still young, became an active and influential worker in the United Brethren church, and in due time developed a marked talent as a public speaker. Her abilities being recognized by the ecclesiastical authorities, she was finally induced to enter the ministry, and for a number of years her labors in this capacity resulted in great success, and there were always demands for her services. Her first regular work was as supply of the Second United Brethren church, of Indianapolis, where she remained six months, after which she served four years with the church of Marion, and three years on the Blue River circuit, and one year in Delaware county, in all of which places her efforts were greatly blessed, the various churches under her charge continuously growing in strength and influence during her pastorates. Since her marriage she has done supply work where her services were needed, in addition to which she has dedicated a number of churches in Indiana and other states, besides solemnizing the rites of marriage and officiating at funerals. Hers has indeed been a very busy and useful life, and wherever she has gone her able ministration and kindly words are held in grateful remembrance.
Mr. Miller is Methodist in his religious belief, and one of the trustees of the church with which he holds membership. He is also a member of the school board and of the Board of Town Trustees and takes great interest in all matters relating the municipality.
History of Shelby County, Indiana, by Edward H. Chadwick, B.A., assisted by well known local talent, 1909, pages 643-5.
Copied by Gloria Collins Jackson and Phyllis Miller Fleming