The Death Watch and Harkening Back

Have you noticed that I’ve been a little quiet lately? My publishing goal is for one genealogy related DNA story each week, typically a 52 Ancestors article, and one other technical article as well. I’ve been a little shy recently, and will be a for a little while longer.

In my world, August has been a brutal, brutal month.

I have trouble with August anyway, truthfully. August 26th is when my father was killed in an automobile accident when I was 7, and my dearly beloved step-father died over Labor Day weekend 31 years later. Those kinds of deep wounds never heal entirely, they simply scar over a bit and we remember them with both sadness and fondness forever. But in reality, we never forget, either the person or the pain of their absence – or the circumstances surrounding their death. In the vernacular of days gone by…the death watch.

In early August, this year, we received news that a family member had been diagnosed with cancer after a routine colonoscopy. Now, that could even be construed as good news, if you’re a glass-half-full person, because it means they found the cancer early enough to do something about it. In other words, while cancer is horrible and terrifying, finding it early increases the survival odds dramatically.

At that point, I did what quilters do – I set about making a “care quilt” for the family member, Mary, with help from my quilt sisters – to let her know the family is thinking of her, to send positive energy her way, to let her know she is loved and to give her something to take with her to the hospital, rehab, chemo…whatever. Being wrapped in a quilt is being wrapped in love. Need a hug, grab a quilt.

I’m glad we made the quilt and shipped it when I did, because little did we know time would be so short.

Mary with quilt

The Dentist and Never-Ending August

Have I ever mentioned how much I hate going to the dentist for dental “work?” Well, I do. It almost never goes well and there is always some complication. That could partly be due to a car accident many years ago, but whatever the reason, it’s always some flavor of quite unpleasant.

So, of course, I was on the way to the dentist’s office when I received the text on August 9th that subsequent scans indicated that the cancer was more advanced than originally thought, but that surgery was scheduled for the 17th. Not good, but still hopeful. I was a bit shaken, understanding how unsettling this news must be to her immediate family members.

A few minutes later, standing IN the dentists lobby, I found out that my friend’s house had burned to the ground that morning and her son did not escape the fire and perished. The terrible irony is that my friend is a firefighter. I will also say that thankfully, Andrew, her son, did not burn to death, but died of smoke inhalation. I know, that is small consolation but it is some. Additionally, I later discovered that the family pets perished as well. Needless to say, it was a horrible, horrible day that rocked this entire community.

I had what I think is known as a meltdown, right there, in the lobby. Thankfully my friend works there. They graciously rescheduled me because the dentist cannot work on a sobbing blob.

The next few days were consumed with trying to figure out how to help. How to help the family who lost everything in the fire. How to help my family member with cancer and the other family members caring for her.  How to be useful but not in the way or overbearing.

And truthfully, I felt like a zombie. I spent some time with my friend’s daughter and her fiancé who had escaped the fire. Loren, the fiancé, had tried to rescue Andrew, but a middle-of-the-night fast moving fire offers very little opportunity to do anything – even to escape yourself. The family members who survived barely escaped – with maybe 30 second to spare. If not for Loren, they wouldn’t have escaped either.

And so, two more quilts were delivered, and I am still finishing the third.

A four quilt week, in total. I never, ever want to live to see another four quilt week. But I wasn’t done yet.

My cousin’s husband had a stroke. This isn’t a distant cousin I’ve never met, but a couple we’ve traveled with. We saw them last fall at a reunion. Yep, a fifth quilt is in the works.

On the 17th, Mary, the cancer victim, underwent surgery which, as they say, did not go well. She was consumed with cancer and died eight days later, August 25th. Needless to say, this was not the result we expected and two days before her death, optimism and hope turned to resignation and immediate family received the “come now” call. Thankfully, most of the family did make it in time, by the skin of their teeth, and she retained enough consciousness to know they were there.

Mary had asked for her quilt to be brought to the hospital. The quilt was doing its job, bringing her comfort.

Andrew’s memorial took place in the midst of all of this, and I discovered that another friend had lost both her husband and father within the past few months, on Christmas Day and Father’s Day, respectively.

And of course, the anniversary of my father’s death was mixed into this painful brew.

Is August ever going to end???

The Death Watch

I’ve been thinking a lot about death this month. It’s OK to laugh at this slight understatement.

My last ancestor story that was published, about Daniel Miller, recounted that his death, on August 26th, was probably unexpected. (I told you August was a rough month.)

Unexpected. The norm then. Aside from accidents, few deaths are unexpected today.

My ancestor Joseph Bolton reportedly got up from the breakfast table and walked out to the fields to work and died of a heart attack. That’s rare, very rare today. He was probably having warning symptoms long before that fateful and fatal attack, but had no way to recognize them, and nothing to do medically in 1920 in Claiborne County, Tennessee if he had.

At that time, most deaths weren’t protracted. Today, it’s a different story.

The following death information was extracted randomly from a dozen chronological Claiborne County, Tennessee death certificates from 1917 beginning in May and ending in late June. 

Name Cause of Death Duration Contributory Cause Duration Comments Death Watch
Nancy Roark Asthma 30 years Acute indigestion 10 days Probably a heart issue 10 days
Demis? Cosby? 7 month child No medical attention 0
Lonie Cosby Tuberculosis No medical attention, mother of child above ?
Esker Brooks Whooping cough No medical attention ?
Shrelda Yeary Dropsy No medical attention ?
Child Fulty Stillborn No medical attention 0
Ansel Ellison Diphtheria No medical attention ?
Alexander Welch Homicide by shotgun Right groin, left side chest 0
James Carr Pernicious anemia 2 years Was a physician ?
Jordon Welch Suicide by shotgun Heart wound 0
Gareth Overton Bowel complication 4 months Tetanus 1 yr 4 months 4 months
James Kivett Drown 0

Looking at these records, it’s easy to see how many of these deaths today would have been preventable, or the disease curable or at least treatable.

When I first started visiting Claiborne County, Tennessee in the 1970s and 1980s, many people still eschewed going to the hospital in Knoxville, about an hour away. When antibiotics were first introduced, people began to seek doctors and medical attention more routinely, but by the time you were bad enough to go to the hospital, it was assumed you were going to die anyway. People gave reasons like “didn’t want the family to be split apart,” but in reality, it was hopelessness. Hospitals, at that time, couldn’t do any more for the ailing family member than the family could do at home, and hospitals were viewed as simply places to go to die. Then, it seemed that going to the hospital “assured your death” and people became even more afraid and superstitious with the stigma of a “wives tale” attached.

Looking at Indiana death records which began earlier than Tennessee death records, we find the following for Elkhart County, Indiana beginning in 1902 where records were clearly kept in alphabetical order:

Name Cause of Death Duration Contributory Cause Duration Comments Death Watch
Elizabeth Miller Inflammation of bowel 12 days Valvular insufficiency of heart Several years 12 days
Harry Miller Typhoid malaria 3 weeks Typhoid ? One week 1-3 weeks
Baby Miller Premature birth 4 hours 4 hours
Jacob Miller Typhoid Intestinal hemo??? ?
John David Miller Senile gangrene 7 months ?
Joni Miller Inflammation of bowels 10 days 10 days
Ruth Miller Malignant jaundice 2 weeks 2 weeks
Solomon Miller Abscess in liver 2 months Probably cancer ?
Rettica Minnich Collapse 10 hours 10 hours
Sadie Michler Bloody flux 11 days Followed by cerebral meningitis 3 days 3 days
Jessie Mitchell Cancer of stomach Don’t know ?
John Mitchell Brain lesion 14 days 14 days
Rebecca Mitchell Old age Dysentery One week One week

In terms of the length of the death watch, Indiana records are more informative.

Today, medicine can “save” many, and I put the word save in quotes on purpose.

Before I say what I’m going to say, I want to be very clear that I am an advocate for medical care, both preventative and remedial. However, sometimes medical care simply extends the death, not extending a useful, meaningful life that has quality.

I was speaking with a physician this past week who is also a friend. She told me that she had “finally” lost her father. She is not an insensitive woman, but it took her father 10 years to pass away. His life was repeatedly “saved,” only for him to go back home to wait for the next medical disaster to befall him. He was immobile, diabetic, had kidney failure and finally died of sepsis. His life had no quality – and the family literally had a 10 year death watch with no hope of real recovery. Should I even mention what that, along with 10 years of 24X7X365 caregiving, did to her mother’s life???

Our generation is the first generation to experience these truly prolonged death watches. In my own family, my 4 grandparents passed as follows:

  • Mother’s mother (1960) – heart attack, death watch 4 days
  • Mother’s father (1962)– liver cancer, death watch about 10 days
  • Father’s mother (1955) – congestive heart failure, death watch probably days to weeks
  • Father’s father (1971) – old age, heart failure, death watch just days

Contrast that to 10 years for my friend’s father, or two years while my brother died of cancer, multiple surgeries and chemo rounds one after another. I surely wonder, in retrospect, if my brother wished that he had foregone all of that and lived just a few months, but pain free and with some quality of life as compared to two years of one bodily insult after another. I guess the price of opportunity and possibility was surgery and chemo.

My other brother spent 18 months on a liver transplant list and then died of liver cancer, without a transplant. My sister had surgery for breast cancer which had returned when she died of a heart attack.

These protracted deaths make for an extremely long and draining death watch for anxious family members who so desperately want the person to be healed, especially if more than one death watch is in process concurrently.

More Deaths Than Births

As my physician friend and I continued to discuss this situation, we were talking about how our generation is the first to routinely experience this phenomenon of the extended death watch.

The death watch used to be characterized by the family sitting by the bed of the person who was going to pass over shortly – usually for hours or a few days, generally after they were too sick to get out of bed anymore. Today, the death watch is very different and often significantly prolonged.

One observation we made is that there just seems to be so MUCH death now. It surrounds us. We realized that this is, in part, because of the lifesaving measures that are underway. We never had these opportunities before, and yes, they do turn into death watches in many cases. But not always. My sister-in-law has had cancer twice and remains cancer free today – 15 years later.

Another observation is that there are a lot fewer births today. That same sister-in-law has 7 siblings, and only one has passed away. My step-father had 12 siblings and my father was one of 10.

By comparison, my sister-in-law had 3 children, I had 2 children that lived, my mother had 2 children that lived, my uncle had 2 children and my other brother had 2 children. Much smaller families today.

By virtue of simple math, in our generation, there are simply more deaths to experience and fewer joyous events like births. The scales have tipped, for now. In the next generation, the balance should be more even, although that doesn’t make the deaths any easier to handle – but there should be fewer of them. That also means fewer family members to love.

Another item of note is that when a joyous event like a birth or marriage does occur, it’s over rather quickly and everyone goes back to what they were doing. Death watches have become prolonged, along with the grieving.  So yes, it does often seem that there is much more death than before, and that the negative outweighs the positive.  In terms of the number of days we are feeling the immediacy of grief through a death watch as compared to the joyful days, the number of grief days has increased while the number of joyful events has decreased with smaller families.  This phenomenon isn’t imagined, it’s real.

How does this stack up in your own family?  How has it affected family members?


Empathy, according to the dictionary, is the distinctly human ability to understand and share the feelings of another.

Sympathy is when you feel sorry for another’s misfortune, but empathy means putting yourself in their shoes.

How to we acquire empathy? From experiencing those same things ourselves. Those experiences are what give us the ability to be empathetic. Sitting those long days and nights in an uncomfortable chair by a hospital bed holding a death vigil ourselves – watching the breath becoming shallower and shallower, more irregular as the hours and day pass, until there are no more breaths and the heart beats for the last time – as the last bit of life slips from our loved one and we know they are gone.   Passed over to the other side.

As my husband said, tears welling in his eyes, on a particularly difficult day this past week, “I can’t hear about this without harkening back to my own experiences of when my parents and grandparents passed away.” That’s empathy.  Harkening back.

Empathy is how we know how the other person is feeling, not just feel sorry for their misery. In essence, it’s how we make lemonade out of the lemons we’ve all experienced and continue to experience as humans.

Based on this, the current generation of older adults should be extremely empathetic, helpful, understanding and willing to lend that helping hand.  I find that empathy often increases with age, as people experience more of these events personally.

Empathy – it’s how we know that people need care quilts, and why we make them.  Many times, it’s all we can do.

In Summary

August is nearly over, thank goodness.

Please bear with me as I catch up with my hundreds of unanswered e-mails and write new articles – along with finishing those two quilts and a sixth quilt that is needed now. I’ve used all of my reserve – emotional, blog articles and quilts.

On the other hand, I’m very grateful that I can write these articles and make care quilts. I much prefer this to being the person in need. It’s just that I have not yet figured out how to forego sleep entirely to harvest those extra hours.

There are exciting things that have happened and come my way over the past couple of weeks that I haven’t been able to attend to. For example, I have finally had my 23andMe account transitioned. I need to look at that, along with a new tool developed by a genetic genealogist. I’m looking forward to getting back in the groove. I miss the sanity/insanity of genetic genealogy.

As I said to my husband yesterday, “You got to work.” He replied, “You say that like it is a privilege.” It is actually, especially when you can’t for whatever reason.

Thank you everyone for your understanding during this difficult period and while I catch up from under a seemingly bottomless pile. I’m back at work!



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Daniel Miller (1755-1822), Musical Graves, 52 Ancestors #130

There are just too many Daniel Milles in Montgomery County, Ohio in the early 1800s, all Brethren, of course, and therefore, running with the same crowds and very difficult to tell apart.

In order to sort through the confusion surrounding the various Daniel Millers, and who they are related to, and how, I’ve numbered them.  This must be the German trait for love of organization coming out in me:)

Daniel (1) is the subject of this article and my ancestor. Daniel Miller was born to Philip Jacob Miller and his wife, Magdalena, whose last name is unknown, on April 8, 1755 in Frederick County, Maryland. Daniel was married to Elizabeth Ulrich and died in Montgomery County, Ohio on August 26, 1822. Those are the easy dates. The rest are difficult.

Daniel (2) arrived in Montgomery County from Huntington County, PA. Daniel (2)’s wife was Susanna Bowman and Daniel (2) lived in what would become the City of Dayton proper where he settled on Wolf Creek in November of 1802, according to the History of the City of Dayton and Montgomery County, Ohio, Volume 1.   For those specifically interested in this line, the Brethren Heritage Center has an article available written by Gale Honeyman.

Daniel (3) is the son of Daniel (1). According to the family Bible he was born on March 30, 1779 and he died on June 25, 1812. He would have been 33 years old, and unless he was disabled in some way, he was likely married and may well have had children. He would only have been about 20 when his father Daniel floated down the Ohio on a raft, probably in 1799. Daniel (3) could have remained in Clermont County when his father and uncle, David Miller, left for Montgomery County sometimes around 1802. There is no mention of an estate for Daniel (3) in Montgomery County.

Daniel (4) is the grandson of Daniel (1) through his son Stephen Miller. Daniel (4) was born in 1797 in Bedford County, PA and died in 1879 in Preble County, Ohio.

Daniel (5) is the son of Michael Miller and Salome Cramer of Montgomery County. Michael is the son of David Miller who died in 1845. David was the brother of Daniel (1). Michael obtained and farmed his father’s farm in Randolph Township. Daniel (5) was born in 1822, died in 1903 and was married to Isabella Cook.

Daniel (6) is the grandson of Daniel (1) through son Jacob A. Miller born in 1776 who married first to Elizabeth Metzger and second to Catherine Zimmerman. Jacob farmed his father’s land in Randolph Township past 1851 and likely until his death in 1858. Jacob’s son Daniel (6) by his first wife was born about 1800, married Susanna Hardman on November 1, 1819 and died about 1835 in Montgomery County.

Daniel (7) born in 1815 is the son of Isaac Miller, son of Daniel (1) and his wife Elizabeth Miller who is the daughter of David Miller, brother of Daniel (1). I know nothing more about Daniel (7).

Daniel Y. (8) born in 1808 is the son of John Miller, son of Daniel (1).  John’s wife Esther Miller, daughter of David Miller, brother of Daniel (1). Daniel Y. (8) married Margaret Bainter and died in 1833.

Daniel (9) is the son of Daniel (2) and his wife, Susan Bowman. Daniel (9) was born about 1808 and died about 1863 in Montgomery County, marrying Susan Oliver.

Daniel (10) is the son of the Elder Jacob Miller by either his first or second wife, who are unknown. This Daniel was born on September 6, 1780 and died on November 15, 1858 in Monroe County, Iowa. Daniel (10) married Elizabeth Shidler or Shideler on April, 13, 1808 in Montgomery County, Ohio, but by 1813, it appears that they had moved on to Union County, Indiana. When Daniel lived in Montgomery County, he owned land near the 4 Mile Church, east of Cottage Creek, about one and one half miles west of the Lower 4 Mile Church.

Y DNA testing has proven that the Elder Jacob Miller and Johann Michael Miller lines were not related through their paternal Miller line.

Therefore, Daniel (2) and (9) are related to each other, but probably not the rest of the Daniels. We know that Daniel (10) is not related to the Daniels descended from Philip Jacob Miller (son of Johann Michael Miller) because Y DNA testing eliminated that possibility. If a Miller male descendant of Daniel (2) or (9) were to test, we could determine if that Miller line shares a common male ancestor with either the Elder Jacob Miller of Johann Michael Miller lines. Please note that you can click on any of the graphics to enlarge.

Daniel Miller Daniel descendants

Judging from 5 grandsons names Daniel Miller, Daniel who died in 1822 was both well-loved and well-remembered. I wonder if there are any Daniels today who still descend through a line of Daniels, named for the original Daniel Miller.

Let’s take a look at the life of Daniel Miller (1), the subject of this article.  For a Brethren man with no church records to depend on, we’ve amassed a huge amount of information – probably because I had to dig so deeply and in such obscure places to find hints about his life.  This was not a short process.  I’ve worked on Daniel for at least 20 years now.  And he has frustrated me for all of those 20 years!

Having said that, and having FINALLY finished researching Daniel’s life, he is one of my most interesting ancestors.  The fact that I was able to track him across the country, on four different frontiers, and that he managed to survive in the middle of multiple wars and Indian attacks, a Brethren man unwilling to defend himself, is nothing short of miraculous.

Make yourself a pot of coffee or tea, and come along on this most amazing journey…

Daniel Miller (1), the Amazing Brethren

Daniel Miller was born to Philip Jacob Miller and his wife, Magdalena, whose last name is unknown and probably not Rochette, on April 8, 1755 in Frederick County, Maryland. We know this for a fact because both Philip Jacob Miller and Daniel Miller had a family Bible and Daniel’s birth is recorded in that Bible, along with those of his siblings.

In fact, the Bible that was once believed to be the Philip Jacob’s Bible wasn’t the original Bible, and was recopied at some point and found in the possession of Daniel – so it may have been recopied specifically for Daniel. You can see that the entries for Philip Jacob’s children look to be in the same writing, probably copied at the same time – although the copying may well have been done by Philip Jacob himself.

Daniel, along with his parents and grandparents were members of the Brethren faith, which means that there are no church records available today to help with our search. It also means that other records, such as marriages, deeds and wills were sporadically filed, since Brethren by and large tried to avoid courthouses, avoided having to swear an oath having to do with anything, or fees of any kind. So we are exceedingly lucky to have this Bible – otherwise we would know much less about the Miller family.

Let’s take a look at that wonderful Bible and see what secrets it holds for us.

The Philip Jacob Miller Bible 

First, this Bible is simply stunningly beautiful.

Philip Jacob Miller Bible front

Philip Jacob Miller probably sat in front of his fireplace in his home on Ash Swamp, about the time of his father’s death in 1771, reminded of his own mortality, and dutifully wrote the names and dates of his children’s births into his new Bible. His old Bible may have been destroyed during the two evacuations of Frederick County during the Indian Wars. If the old Bible was left behind in a hurried exit, it assuredly burned when the houses and barns were torched. Regardless of why, Philip Jacob Miller obtained a new Bible about the time his father died. We know Philip didn’t purchase the Bible before 1770, because that is the printing date, in Germany.

Philip Jacob Miller Bible front page

On February 11, 2009, I was fortunate enough with some hints and sleuthing to find the Philip Jacob Miller Bible in Elkhart, Indiana. The custodial family, who has no idea how the Bible originally came to be in their family, has taken wonderful care of the Bible and allowed it to be photographed.

Both the custodial family and I spent a significant amount of time trying to figure out how they came to be in possession of the Miller family Bible, which they greatly cherish as a family heirloom. I suspected a second marriage or something of that sort, but the only connection we could find was that their family bought a house that was in a John Miller family. Although further research suggests that John Miller is not from our line. However they obtained it, thank goodness they do cherish it, because that’s the only reason it still exists today.

Upon arriving to visit the Bible, another surprise was awaiting me, as the front section holds the children’s birth records of Philip Jacob Miller, and the back holds the same for the children of Daniel Miller, son of Philip Jacob Miller. Given a signature in the Bible, along with Daniel’s estate records, Daniel’s son John was the next custodian, taking the Bible to Elkhart County, Indiana, where he subsequently settled.  This John Miller is NOT the same John Miller that the custodial family’s ancestors bought the house from.

This Bible was printed in 1770, but the first child’s birth recorded is in 1752, and Philip Jacob’s children are not entered in birth order. Furthermore, the handwriting in the back matches Daniel’s exactly. This tells us that this Bible is probably not the original Philip Jacob Miller Bible. One look at what happened in Frederick County, Maryland in 1750s and 1760s and we’ll quickly understand why.

The residents all evacuated twice and their houses were burned. If the family Bible didn’t manage to somehow get put in the wagon as the family was evacuating, then it burned. The Miller family was back in the region by 1765 when Michael Miller, Philip Jacob’s father, was deeding land, but I’m guessing a new Bible didn’t get purchased until after Michael’s death in 1771. Perhaps Philip Jacob thought the purchase of a new Bible would be a fitting remembrance for funds received after his father’s death. Or maybe Michael bought it for Philipp Jacob. Or perhaps Philip Jacob bought a Bible for each of his children when they married or when they left the area. We’ll never know. I’m just thankful this one still exists.

A single entry gives away the subsequent owner. Beside the first entry in the Bible, which is the birth of Daniel in 1755, there is another entry which says “1775 Daniel Meines Sohn Sohn zur Welt geboren” (my son’s son was born into this world). In the back portion, we show the birth of Stephen in 1775, the eldest son of Philip Jacob’s eldest son Daniel. An earlier 1947 translation (apparently before the tape was applied) says “my grandson was born March 7, 1775”, which was obviously translated before the tape was applied, and matches exactly with Daniel’s own entry of his son’s birth.

Philip Jacob Miller Bible Daniel entry

The fact that this entry says “My son’s son” tells us that in 1775, Philip Jacob indeed was in possession of this Bible, so it was not given to Daniel for his marriage in 1774 and did not travel with Daniel to Bedford County in 1775. Philip Jacob was recording the births of his grandchildren.

This photo is me holding the Bible. What a glorious day.

Philip Jacob Miller Bible and me crop

The following page is the front inside page with Philip Jacob’s children’s births recorded.

Philip Jacob Miller Bible children

The births are recorded as follows:

  • My son Daniel Miller was born at 4 o-clock at night April 8, 1755. He died August 26, 1822.
  • My daughter Lidia was born at 3 o’clock at night, December 18, 1754. The zodiac sign was the Waterman (Aquarius).
  • My son David was born December 1, 1757, at 3 o-clock at night. The zodiac sign was the lion (Leo).
  • My daughter Susannah was born March 2, 1759, at 7 o’clock in the morning. The sign was the Bull (Taurus).
  • My daughter Christine was born December 4, 1761 at 10 o’clock in the forenoon, the sign was the Fish (Pisces).
  • My daughter Mariles was born — 1762 at 8 o’clock in the morning. The sign was the Virgin (Virgo). (Virgo runs from September 17 to October 17)
  • My son Abraham was born April 28, 1764.
  • My son Solomon was born March 20, 1767.
  • My daughter Ester was born February 13, 1769.

I find it interesting that Michael recorded the astrological signs for the births of some of his children, but not all.  I’m not at all sure of the significance of the signs, if any.

The following page is the inside back page recording the births of Daniel’s children.

Philip Jacob Miller Bible Daniel children

The first entry is that of Daniel himself, again, and the second entry is that of his sister Lizbeth born in 1752 who was not recorded on the page with the rest of Philipp Jacob Miller’s children.

  • Lizabeth Miller was born in April 1752.

The fact that Elizabeth was omitted suggests a recopy after all of the children were born in 1769. Daniel’s children begin after Lizabeth Miller’s entry, so the Bible appears to have been recopied after 1770 and before 1775.

The only other possibility is that Lizabeth Miller in the Bible was referring to Elizabeth Ullery (Ulrich) Miller, Daniel’s wife, not Daniel’s sister, Elizabeth. I don’t believe that to be the case because Lizabeth is actually referred to in the Bible entry as Elizabeth Millerin, which indicates a maiden name of an unmarried woman. We know that Philip Jacob did indeed have a daughter, Elizabeth, because she married Jacob Shutt or Shott, both signing the agreement between siblings as to the land distribution of Philip Jacob Miller after his death in 1799.

This Bible survived the trip west in a wagon, then floating down the Ohio River. This Bible has been wet one or more times. We know that in the early 1800s, this Bible went to Clermont County, Ohio, then Montgomery County, Ohio, then in the 1830s, to Elkhart County, Indiana where it remained for the next 177 years or so. An amazing journey for a Bible!

The top back entry for Daniel also has his death entry beside it to the right in a different hand and ink.

Philip Jacob Miller Bible Daniel's death

Following those entries we find Daniel’s children. Oddly, we find no other deaths recorded, nor marriages. It pains me greatly that there is no information for Daniel’s wife, Elizabeth Ulrich, or her parents.

Daniel’s children are recorded as follows:

  • My son Stephen was born March 1 (or 7) 1775
  • My son Jacob was born November 20, 1776
  • My son Daniel was born March 30, 1779. He died June 25, 1812.
  • My son David was born July 30, 1781.
  • My son Samuel was born March 17, 1785.
  • My son Johannes was born December 15, 1787.
  • My son Isaac was born December 8, 1789.
  • My son Abraham was born March 16, 1794.
  • My daughter Elisabeth was born April 2, 1796.

We do find the signature of Daniel’s son, John, in the Bible twice, once at the bottom of the back page (shown second image above) and once a few pages inside the front on a water-stained page. I wonder why John never recorded his children’s births in the Bible as well.  There was clearly a blank page available.

Philip Jacob Miller Bible John signature

It looks like Philip Jacob Miller and his wife lost a child in 1756, as there is a child born in April 1755 and then not another one until 2 and a half years later, suggesting that they lost a child about September 1756. 1756 was the year that the Brethren were evacuated and was reported to be the worst of that time. Did Magdalena have that child in a wagon perhaps? We are left to wonder what happened. One thing is for sure, that child’s death and the grief it brought to the family would have made whatever else was happening in 1756 even worse. For all we know, that child may have had to be laid to rest along the roadside someplace in an anonymous grave.

Daniel and Elizabeth also have a nearly 5 year gap between children born in 1789 and 1794.  It looks like they lost at least one if not two children during that time.

Philip Jacob Miller Bible corner2

The beautiful leather and metal workmanship on this Bible is just incredible.  I can just see both Philip Jacob and Daniel lovingly handling the same Bible I held and lovingly opened too, to step back hundreds of years into their world.

Bible Chain of Possession

The strange thing is that the custodial family has no, and I mean no, idea how they obtained this Bible in the first place or if or how they are related to the Miller family.  I did some research as well, and for them to be related looks virtually impossible.

Here’s what I have between the custodial family, their research and mine:

This Bible was handed down from:

  • Mollie Knopp Rupp to
  • Sophia Rupp Rowe to
  • George Rowe
  • Chester Rowe
  • William Rowe Beardsley (sister of Chester) and then we’re down to the last couple of generations.

This is documented on a paper with the Bible.

So I started by finding Sophia.  The Bible would have come into that family’s possession above Mollie Knopp Rupp for her to have passed it on.

The 1880 Elkhart County census shows Sophia with husband Benjamin.  Sophia was born in 1843 in Ohio and her parents were born in Pennsylvania.

Her son George was born 1876.  Benjamin Rowe was born in 1843 in Indiana.

Benjamin Rowe is the son of either Peter or Henry (two census look different) and wife Eliza both born in PA in 1815. According to their children’s ages, they were in Ohio between 1838-1842 then moved on to Indiana.  Of course, Eliza could be a second wife.

We find Sophia with her father George Rupp who was born in 1805 in PA along with his wife, Magdalena, born in 1807 in PA.  They migrated to Ohio from PA between 1831 and 1838 according to kids ages, and were still in Ohio in 1844, but in Elkhart County by 1850.  They were also not living near the Millers in Elkhart County, and they were all grouped together in Concord Township.

According to the document, Mollie Knopp Rupp would be Magdalena Rupp, wife of George so Mollie would be a nickname.  I could find no Mollie’s.  There is nothing on Rootsweb, nothing on Ancestry and neither can I find anything with the name Knopp, Rupp or Rowe in the Miller book by Mason.

My issue with all of this is that there is no reasonable opportunity that I can see for the Bible to get from the John Miller (son of Daniel) family to Mollie Knopp Rupp, but yet it did.  We know that Daniel had this Bible until his death in 1822 when it was purchased by John from Daniel’s estate, we know where this Bible was until the 1830s when the first Miller settled in Elkhart County, probably the 1840s and possibly as late as 1856 when John Miller died. This Bible was the second highest item in price at Daniel Miller’s estate sale, so obviously quite valuable to his son John.

Of course, we can’t determine what happened to his Bible after John’s death, but given that he paid top dollar for this Bible, it’s very unlikely that he intentionally allowed it to exit the family. John Miller and his wife Esther Miller were first cousins and both descended from sons of Philip Jacob Miller, meaning the Bible had personal significant to both of them.  John Miller died first in 1856 and Esther lived with her son Jacob until her death in 1861.  I suspect that the Bible never entered the estate and may have been inherited by son Jacob by virtue of the fact that his mother was living there when she died. Jacob died in 1872.

In the 1880 census, Magdalena and George Rupp who are age 72 and 75 are living beside John W. Miller, age 43, born in Indiana, in Concord Twp.  John’s wife is Mary Stutsman, age 48, children Cyrus 19, Manerva 17, Ira 16, Lewis 14, Ortha 11, Edward 5 and Lawrence 3.  John is reportedly the son of Jesse Miller, born in 1809 in Pennsylvania and who married Lucy Dalrymple. So if John W. Miller is related to our Miller line, his line never went to Montgomery County, nor is there a connection that I can discern aside from the fact that his wife was a Stutzman, a family long associated with the Brethren Miller family.

The man who owns the Bible presently has a note that says: Bible was passed from Mollie Rupp to Sophia Rupp Rowe to George Rupp.  George was his grandfather and the Bible owner tells me that his grandfather “bought the Miller farm.” Apparently from the plat map, that was the Miller farm that belonged to John W. Miller that was beside Magdalene (known as Mollie) and George Rupp in the 1880 census.

Philip Jacob Miller Bible 1880 census

I have simply found no reasonable explanation for how the Bible came into the possession of the current family, sometime after John Miller settled in Elkhart County and died, in 1856, and Mollie Knopp Rupp’s death at 88 years of age in 1896, when she passed the Bible to her daughter. Sophia.  If anyone ever solves this mystery, I’d love to know.

Let’s go back to Frederick County where both the Bible and Daniel had their beginnings.  

Frederick County, Maryland

Daniel Miller’s parents had moved to Frederick County, Maryland with a group of Brethren settlers from York Co., PA in 1751 or 1752, so by the time that Daniel was born, in 1755, they would have had at least some land cleared and been farming in Frederick County, at least in some capacity, for 3 or 4 years.

Stephen Ullerick or Ullery was the first Brethren to settle in this area in 1738 and is the father of Elizabeth Ulrich, Daniel’s eventual wife.

We’re actually assuming that Daniel was in fact born IN Frederick County, because we don’t know otherwise. I know that’s an odd statement to make, but Daniel was born in April of 1755 just before his father, Philip Jacob Miller, had his land resurveyed in May. In July, General Braddock was defeated, leaving the entire frontier exposed. The residents evacuated and left Frederick County and surrounding areas, for approximately six years, returning to find their farms destroyed, their buildings burned and of course, their livestock long gone. Given that we know Philip Jacob was still in Frederick County in May, it stands to reason that Daniel was born there the previous month.

The Brethren, of course, being pacifists, would not defend themselves. Many died. In the fall of 1756, 20 people were scalped in the Conococheague Valley, which includes the area where Philipp Jacob Miller lived, including one Jacob Miller, relationship, if any, unknown. By August, the entire valley was vacant, except for two families, according to a report received by George Washington.

We don’t know where the Miller family went when they evacuated, but Daniel spent his early years with his family wherever they lived. They may well have gone back east to join other Brethren settlements that were less endangered.

The French and Indian War ended officially in November of 1758 and Indian attacks had diminished by 1762.

We also don’t know when the Miller family returned. Certainly not before 1759, and we know they were back by 1761 when Daniel’s grandfather, Michael Miller, was purchasing land.

Daniel would have been 6 years old in 1761, so while he certainly didn’t remember the evacuation when he was 4 months old, or maybe slightly older, he probably did remember returning to Frederick County. To him, it wasn’t a return, but the first time he laid eyes on the land that his father owned, originally purchased by his grandfather.  I wonder if Daniel’s parents cried when they saw what had become of their home.

There is no sign today on this essence-of-Americana landscape of the bloodshed and terror that took place on this gently rolling farmland owned by Philip Jacob Miller with the mountains in the distance, foreshadowing the future.

Miller farm west 2

This is the land where Daniel grew up, looking at those mountains. One has to wonder if the boy ever dreamed of crossing them, or wondered what was on the other side.  The mountains were probably equated with danger when he was a child.

Miller farm mountains

Braddock’s Road

The land that General Braddock was fighting for, between Frederick County, Maryland and what is today Pittsburgh, PA, then Fort Duquesne, would be a very important road in the history of the Miller family, 20+years down the road, pardon the pun, and again, 40 years into the future.

While General Braddock was killed in 1755, a victim of his own insolence and unwillingness to heed the advice of men who knew Indian war tactics, General Forbes picked up the ball and came up with a strategic plan. Were it not for Forbes, we might all be speaking French today.

In 1758, General Harris extended a road from Harrisburg, PA to Fort Duquesne on the Ohio River (Pittsburgh.) Highway 30 follows this road most of the way today.

Forbes road went from Cumberland to Bedford and by August 1758, 1400 men had completed the road to Bedford, just wide enough to get a wagon through. A contemporary writer said it took 8 days to travel from Bedford to Ligonier, a distance of about 45 miles.  This military strategy succeeded.  General John Forbes took Fort Duquesne, now Pittsburg, the French abandoned it, and ended the French and Indian War on November 25, 1758.  Indian attacks diminished and by 1762, the French had given up Canada.  Replogle 107-108, 110

Forbes Road

There is one item of particular significance – during the war, a small fort was built at Raystown, which would eventually become Bedford, PA, a location that would, in the 1770s and 1780s, become quite important to the Brethren Miller family. It was the next stop on the frontier and four of Philip Jacob’s children, including Daniel Miller, would find themselves traveling that road and settling in in Bedford County, Pennsylvania for a few years, at least until their father rallied the family round once again.

Philip Jacob Miller would eventually follow Forbes old road, as would his son Daniel, to Pittsburgh, then down the Ohio River to Campbell Co., KY, where Philip Jacob Miller would settle one last time – this time, with his adult children – in a place where he could purchase land for each of them.

But before Daniel Miller can do any of that, he has yet to grow up – and that he did in Frederick County. But things were not always peaceful and his life was probably far more exciting that a little Brethren boy would have wished.

Pontiac’s War

After returning to Frederick County after the long evacuation caused by Braddock’s defeat, the years of 1761 and 1762 were probably spent rebuilding homes, barns and sawmills, trying to normalize life once again. Sunday would bring church services, held in one of the homes or barns of the Brethren families. Life slowly returned to normal as the seasons changed, but then, once again, they had to run for their lives.

Pontiac’s War descended upon them and from 1763 to 1765, the Brethren families in this area had to take shelter elsewhere. According to historical records, the devastation and fear was even worse than the first time. And true to form, we don’t know where the Miller family went, or for how long. What I wouldn’t give for a journal…even just one sentence a week…anything.

The Maryland Gazette, written at Frederick on July 19, 1763 said:

The melancholy scene of poor distressed families driving downwards through this town with their effects…enemies, now daily seen in the woods….panic of the back inhabitants, whose terrors at this time exceed what followed on the defeat of General Braddock.

Ironically it also reported that the season had been remarkably fine and the harvest the best for many years.

Once again, Frederick County put together two companies of militia and once again, no Brethren names appeared on the list. Replogle 113 – 114

By this time, Daniel would have been eight years old. Was he thrilled at the excitement, or terrified? Did he understand the imminent danger, or did his parents attempt to shelter the children? Was there any sheltering the children from something like that?

Perhaps the entire group of Brethren returned to Conestoga. Conestoga is near present day White Oak in Lancaster County, PA and both Conestoga and Conewago, another Brethren settlement, aren’t far from the Brethren settlement in Ephrata. It would make sense for the Brethren to return to areas they knew and relatives with whom they could shelter for as long as need be.

Ephrata to Hagerstown

I suggest this possibility because we know that two Brethren, Nicholas Martin and Stephen Ulrich, are found attending the Great Council of the Brethren in Conestoga in 1763. Where you find one Brethren, or a group, you’re likely to find more – and we know that Stephen Ulrich lived in Frederick County.

By 1765, we know that the Millers are back in Frederick County once again, because Daniel’s grandfather, Michael Miller is selling land to his children.

Daniel would have been 10 by this time, certainly old enough to help. Once again, the homes and barns would have needed to be rebuilt – and you can rest assured that Daniel did what he was capable of doing. On a farm, every able hand helped, from the youngest to the oldest.

Beyond the Allegheny Mountains

Philip Jacob Miller land Allegheny Mountains

Pontiac’s defeat served to make the lands west of the Allegheny Mountains, the ones seen in the distance, standing on Philip Jacob Miller’s land, safe, or safer, anyway, for settlement. Events began to happen that enabled the settlement of these areas. The British government bought large tracts of land from some Indian tribes, but unbeknownst to them, they were not negotiating with all of the interested parties, and new raids ensued.

It would take decades for the European takeover of the Native lands to be complete. But settlers didn’t wait on that eventuality. In 1755, the first Brethren settlers found their way to Bedford County, Pennsylvania, an area that would soon attract other Brethren as the next frontier. Why people who would not defend themselves continued to put themselves in harm’s way is beyond me, but they did consistently on every frontier.

Johann Michael Miller’s Death

Daniel would have been 16 or 17 when his grandfather, Johann Michael Miller, died. This family had been close, evacuating twice together, and returning together. Michael Miller had purchased the land eventually owned by Philip Jacob and his brothers, John and Lodowich. This, of course, is the land where Daniel grew up. The fields he roamed. The lands they left and returned to, twice, and built upon, three different times.

Daniel would have known his grandfather well, and he would have wept at his graveside, probably on the now missing cemetery on his uncle John’s land, the farm next to his father, Philip Jacob Miller. The patriarch was gone – the original German immigrant – the original Brethren in the family – the anchor.

There was one less thing to hold Daniel in Frederick County.


We don’t know exactly when Daniel Miller married Elizabeth Ulrich, but we can estimate based on the birth of their first child, conveniently recorded in the Bible.

Their first son, or at least the first child recorded in the Bible was born on March 1, 1775. This would have been slightly less than a month before Daniel’s 20th birthday, so it’s safe to say this was their first child, and that Daniel and Elizabeth were married sometime in 1774. Most brides were pregnant shortly after marriage, so a child born in 1775 would be expected.

Unfortunately, Brethren marriages were generally not recorded civilly and were simply performed by the Brethren clergy.

Alexander Mack, the son of the founder of the Brethren movement, on Feb. 14, 1776 says that he is shunning his daughter Sarah because “she married outside of the brotherhood; secondly because [the marriage] was performed with a license; and thirdly because her husband had not quite completed his apprenticeship….” Replogle 70

This certainly explains why we have so few Brethren marriage records.

We know that Daniel did marry Elizabeth Ulrich, daughter of Stephen Ulrich Jr. and wife Elizabeth, whose last name is unknown but said to be a Cripe/Greib (without any documentation that I’ve been able to find.) We’re fortunate that when Elizabeth Ulrich’s father, Stephen Jr., died and the heirs sold his land in Washington County (formerly Frederick), Maryland in 1785, Daniel Miller is listed as one of the signing heirs.

Furthermore, the Miller, Stutzman and Ulrich families had a close relationship, not only here in the US, but in Germany where they are found together as well. However, that part of the story must wait for another day, specifically, until the German research is finished.

The Revolutionary War

In 1775, about the time that Daniel’s first child was born, the Revolutionary War broke out and Frederick County, Maryland was in the midst of the conflict. A notoriously bad place to be for a Brethren family, especially a newlywed family with a new baby.

The Revolutionary War begin in April of 1775 when British troops and American Minutemen clashed at Lexington and Concord. When this news reached Pittsburg and the western counties, military companies were formed. Donald Durnbaugh, noted Brethren historian, says that about one third of the populace remained loyal to the English government, one third favored the Revolution and the final third tried to maintain an uneasy neutrality. Many Germans, especially, opposed the war. They felt that “the English government had allowed them to settle in the rich land of America and spared them the harsh feudal exaction of the princes of Germany and the city governments of Switzerland which had caused them to migrate. Furthermore, British taxes had little effect on subsistence farming.

Those volunteering for the colonist causes were early called Associators, later called Militia Companies. The Committee on Observations made lists of those not participating, whether Loyalist or members of the Peace Churches, and they were called non-enrollers or Non-Associators.

In 1775 Congress required all able-bodied men between the ages of 16 and 50 to join militia companies. “Non-Associators” could hire replacements. But Frederick County was less liberal. In Hagerstown, the Committee of Observation proclaimed that rights required responsibilities and on Dec. 18, 1776, “resolved that the Dunkard and Mennonists” pay fines for non-participation. They also had to march with the militia to help with intrenching and to care for the sick. Non-compliance would result in “rigorous measures … immediately taken.” Mennonites and Brethren petitioned to substitute produce for cash. Some had already contributed blankets and rugs.

Early in the Revolution, Mennonites, Dunkers and Quakers were given freedom to remain true to their peace positions of non-violence, but in return they would pay an additional tax of 2 shillings and 6 pence per week. This was granted at Philadelphia and Annapolis for all of PA and MD but it was carried out in the local towns and villages. Local Committees were free to make their own rules and interpretations.

Floyd Mason, in his book, “The Michael Miller and Susanna Bechtol Family Record,” tells us what he discovered about the Brethren in Frederick County during the Revolutionary War.

During the Revolution, the colonists held their national conventions and appointed certain committees of local leaders to carry out local responsibilities. In PA and MD, the main committee was the Committee of Observation who had the responsibility for raising funds to promote the war, select its leaders and furnish themselves with one committee member for each 100 families. This committee had full power to act as it saw fit, answered to no one and there was no appeal of their decisions.

The war issues divided the people’s loyalty. About one third favored the revolution, one third were Loyalists or Tories who favored the English and one third were neutral or did not believe in this manner of settling the issues. This threw the Quakers, Mennonites and Dunkers in with the Tories or Loyalists and in opposition to the efforts of the Committee of Observation, at least as the committee saw it.

The Brethren churches were bringing discipline to bear on members who did not follow the historic peace teachings of the church. Annual Conferences were held each year and members were asked to remain true to the Church’s nonviolent principles, to refrain from participating in the war, to not voluntarily pay the War taxes and not to allow their sons to participate in the war. This caused a lot of problems for the church members who wanted to be loyal to the church, loyal to the Loyalists who had brought them to the new country and loyal to the new government which was emerging.

As the war wore on and it looked as if the patriots efforts might lose, emotions raged. Non-Associators found themselves having to pay double and triple taxes. Their barns were burned, livestock stolen or slaughtered and their crops destroyed. They were often beaten and “tarred and feathered.” Church members came to the aid of those who endured the losses.

Some members chose not to pay the war taxes or participate in the war activities and chose to wait until the authorities came and presented their papers to have taxes forced from them. This was in compliance with the Church of the Brethren Annual Conference Action. The Committee of Observation provided that non-Associators could take as much of their possessions with them as they could and then they would seize the property and remaining possessions and sell them to fill their war chests.

During this time, the Revolutionary War was taking place and the Brethren would take an oath of loyalty, but would not belong to a militia unit nor fight. Many non-Brethren residents suspected them of secretly being allied with the Tories and resented their refusal to protect themselves and others. Laws of the time allowed for the confiscation of property of anyone thought to be disloyal. Records of this type of event have survived in the oral and written histories of some of the Brethren families, in particular some who migrated on down into the Shenandoah Valley. Perhaps others thought it wise to move on about this time as well.

Taken from several sources, these are some of the names of non-Associators and others who were processed by the Committee of Observance that are descendants of Johann Michael Mueller (Jr.) who died in 1771.

  • Samuel Garber who may have married one of Michael Miller’s daughters, and their sons Martin and Samuel Garber
  • Jacob Good, Michael’s step-daughter’s husband
  • John Rife, Michael’s step-daughter’s husband
  • David Miller, the son of Philip Jacob Miller
  • Michael Wine, married Susannah, the daughter of Lodowich Miller, son of Michael Miller
  • Jacob Miller, son of Lodowich Miller
  • Abraham Miller, relationship uncertain
  • Another source lists Elder Daniel Miller, stated as Lodowick’s son, as being fined 4.5 pounds.

Susannah Miller Wine told her children and grandchildren that Michael Wine, Jacob Miller, Martin Garber and Samuel Garber had their property confiscated by the authorities for remaining true to the non-violent principles of their church.

Lodowich Miller’s family group removed to Rockingham County, VA about 1782 or 1783.

William Thomas, on the Brethren Rootsweb list in 2011 tells us:

I have a copy of the 1776 non-enrollers list for Washington County, MD, that lists “Dunkars & Menonist” fines. The list includes Abraham Miller, David Miller, and David Miller son of Philip. It goes onto list an appraisal of guns (whatever that means) in 1777 and includes a Henry Miller.

Point being there were several Miller’s in Washington County, some of who were Dunkers or Mennonites, a name common to both denominations.

If you move to the 1776 non-enroller list for Frederick County, MD, you have even more Millers. You have Jacob Miller, Jacob Miller s/o Adam, Abraham Miller, Peter Miller, Stephen Miller, Solomon Miller, Robert Miller, Henry Miller, Philip Miller, David Miller and Daniel Miller, all fined, and implying a Dunker/Mennonite/Quaker religious affiliation.

Washington County, Maryland was formed in September 1776 from the portion of Frederick County where Philip Jacob Miller lived.

In March 1776, Congress declared adherence to or support of the British King as “high treason,” so the stakes became even higher for the Brethren.

Dunkers were taken into court and fined in 1776. It is stated that Maryland Dunkers fared better than Pennsylvania Dunkers and that is perhaps why many of them moved from York Co., PA to Maryland in the 1760s.

When they did not pay their fines officials confiscated their land, sold it and paid their fines for them. Some say that the court gave them permission to destroy these records and therefore the records of some of these confiscations are not available.

  • Elder Jacob Danner – 10 pounds
  • Eld Samuel Danner, son of Jaob Danner – 6.5 pounds
  • Elder Martin Garber so of John H. Garber, 7.5 pounds – then remitted
  • Elder Samuel Gerber son of John H, – 6.5 pounds – then remitted
  • John Garber (may be Elder John H.) – 6.5 pounds – then remitted
  • Elder Daniel Miller (son of Lodowich) – 4.5 pounds
  • Elder Michael Wine, son-in-law of Lodowich Miller – 6.5 pounds, reduced to 5.5 pounds. 1782 – farm and land confiscated.
  • Christopher Steel, brother-in-law of Michael Wine – 5.5 pounds reduced

Mennonites and Dunkers were watched very closely because some though they were Loyalists.

In 1777, a law was passed requiring a loyalty oath of all male citizens above age 18. Maryland allowed “Dunkers and Menninists” to make a right of affirmation instead.

There is an oath of fidelity recorded for one Daniel Miller in Washington County, Maryland in 1778, although an oath of fidelity would be quite unusual for a Brethren man. However, Daniel’s father was naturalized so maybe an oath of fidelity was simply viewed as a necessary evil of survival at that time, given the 1777 legislation, even for a Brethren. Or maybe Daniel was shunned in Washington County, Maryland after his oath. Or maybe that Daniel Miller isn’t our Daniel Miller.

In April 1778, a law made it possible to banish non-oath-takers and confiscate their property. Punishments kept escalating until in October 1778 two Quakers were hanged despite a petition with 4000 names sent to the Assembly. In 1784 John Frederick Rachel, a Moravian, wrote, “No Dunker, no Quaker took up arms. What is more all these people were so sympathetic and loyal to the government of Great Britain that they could not be persuaded to abjure the King….”

Some Brethren did take the oath, but the church took a hard line with them. At the 1778 annual meeting the official policy was unyielding: “Brethren who have taken the attest should recall it before a justice, and give up their certificate and recall and apologize in their churches….If they cannot do this, they will be deprived of the kiss of fellowship of the council, and the breaking of bread….” Replogle 147

In 1778, failure to report loyalist sympathizers became punishable and refusing to take the allegiance oath made one ineligible to buy or sell property or collect debts. Residents traveling without an oath certificate were to be considered spies. Should they refuse to take the oath, they “shall be thrown into prison without bail.” This left pacifists very little room for compromise. Replogle 147

On the matter of paying for military substitutes, the 1781 Annual Meeting said money “should not be given voluntarily without compulsion.” Replogle 147

In both Pennsylvania and Maryland, Committees of Observation operated at the local level. One member represented each 100 families. These, in effect, were the courts. In Frederick Co, Maryland they had, of course, many ”non-Associators” to investigate.

Many people migrated to Virginia about this time. Family verbal history says that in 1782 a number of Brethren farmers went to the Shenandoah valley because of property lost to the Committee. Among them were Jacob Miller, (Michael Sr.’s son) and 2 sons of Barbara Miller, (Michael Sr’s daughter) and Michael Wine (Lodowich Miller’s son-in-law). Replogle 148

Regarding the above, please note that Michael Sr. has no proven son Jacob and no proven daughters at all.

The tax list of 1783 shows that Philip Jacob Miller owned 167 acres of land in Frederick County with 98 acres in woodland and 14 acres in meadowland and 55 acres of cultivated land. He had 9 horses, 4 cows and his oldest son Daniel owned no land but had 5 cows and 5 horses. Land costs were rising in the Washington County region as the area became more settled, as witnessed by the fact that Daniel at the age of 28 still did not own any land.

It is believed that at this time Daniel and his brother David who had by this time married Magdalena Maugans, a daughter of Conrad Maugans, moved to Morrison’s Cove, Woodberry Township, Bedford County, PA.

Hagerstown was a supply point for the newly opened land in still primitive Bedford County. Miller 31

The Next Frontier – Bedford County, Pennsylvania

In 1775, families living around Hagerstown had several routes to choose from if they wanted to migrate to Bedford County, PA. If they planned to go straight west, they took the road to Cumberland which was improved and straightened in the 1750s.

Those going to Frankstown Township in Bedford County, which at that time encompassed all of Morrison’s Cove, could travel the 60 miles to Cumberland, then take Burd’s road north to Bedford, about 30 miles. It’s possible that some took a trail up the east slope of the ridge, just west of Hagerstown. This one ran very close to or over the property of Jacob Stutzman and Stephen Ulrich II, shown below.

Stephen Ulrich land Frederick County

North of Fort Bedford, there were no improved roads. An Indian trail led through the Juniata Valley. Another went along Snake Creek to a gap at the north end. This gap opened out into a much larger flat, about 20 miles long and 5 miles wide at the widest. This was Morrisons Cove, or would be.

Settlers addresses up there were vague. Before 1775 living in Frankstown meant being somewhere in a large expanse. Generally speaking, in 1770 Frankstown is the country north of Bedford Town and Colrain is the area just south. One local history says that the dimensions of the townships before 1771 cannot be ascertained. In 1767 the vague political tracts began to divide in very complex ways. One that concerns our history occurred in 1775 when Woodberry Township was carved out of Frankstown.

When the Germans first came to Frankstown, no settlers had been here legally before and not many squatted illegally. In 1748 Conrad Weiser passed through and said, “Came to Frankstown but saw no houses or cabins” and Raystown, later Bedford, to the south was just a trading post in the 1750s. Nothing but an Indian trail passed through it until Forbes Road in 1758. Replogle 126-127

The 1850 census for Daniel Miller’s son, David Miller, living in Elkhart County, Indiana, stated that he was born in Maryland, not Pennsylvania.

David Miller 1850 census

We know David’s birth date from the family Bible – July 30, 1781.

It appears that Daniel Miller actually moved to Bedford County in the 1770s, and removed back to Frederick County, Maryland, for safety.  This back and forth yo-yo settle, evacuate and resettle routine would have been all-too-familiar to Daniel.

The Historical Society of Somerset County re-published the journal of Harmon Husband a few years ago. The Journal talks about Indian uprisings in Somerset County beginning in 1778. It talks about the 250 militia from York, Cumberland and Lancaster County were called up in 1779 to defend Westmoreland and Bedford Counties. It also includes a July 4, 1779 letter from a resident of the town of Bedford, stating the county was pointed toward destruction, and mentions Simon Girty.

Simon Girty

Simon Girty, an Irish child captured and raised by the Seneca was known as “the White Savage.”

The History of Bedford & Somerset Counties has a February 16, 1779 letter from the Bedford commissioners, noting that for the last 18 months they had been dealing with Indian uprisings, and that many of the settlers didn’t grow or harvest crops resulting in food shortages, and that many had already left the county. The History goes on to talk about an evacuation that occurred in 1782, after Girty burned Hannastown (outside Greensburg, PA).

It states the settlers (including Husband) evacuated to Conococheague (Hagerstown, Maryland area), as well as Cumberland and York Counties in Pennsylvania, the area where the Miller family resided before moving to Frederick County, Maryland in 1751 or 1752. It goes onto describe the local forts, noting that they were only occupied by a few militia and rangers, had only minimal provisions, and no money to buy additional supplies.

Fort Bedford was the nearest fort, but built in the French & Indian War, and was likely in poor shape by this time. The only option was to move to a place that had food, and was safe from the Indians who were being encouraged to attack settlers.

During a visit to the Allen County Public Library, I extracted the following information from a 1776 “List of Inhabitants” from Bedford Co., PA:

  • Daniel Gripe – Frankstown Twp
  • Jacob Gripe – “
  • Jacob Gripe Jr – “
  • Ullerick – none listed
  • Adam Miller – Colerain Twp
  • Christian Miller – Colerain
  • Christian Miller – Que – not sure which township this is or where
  • Felix Miller – Hopewell
  • George Miller – Bethel Twp
  • Jacob Miller – Barree Twp
  • John Miller – Bedford Twp
  • John Miller – Brother’s Valley
  • John Miller – Que
  • Joseph Miller – freeman – Frankstown Twp
  • Joseph Miller Sr – inmate – Frankstown Twp
  • Michael Miller – Brother’s Valley
  • Nicholas Miller – Brother’s Valley

The location, “Que,” is a bit of a conundrum.  Gale Honeyman from the Brethren Heritage Center indicates that Quemahoning Township is in Somerset County, organized in 1775, and that Christian and John were likely part of the Amish community that settled in Bruder’s tal/Broterh’s Valley coming from Berks County, Pennsylvania.

Names may be listed more than once because if they are property owners, they may own more than one location. At this time, there is no mention of Daniel or his brother David Miller. Daniel’s two brothers-in-law, Daniel Ulrich married to Susannah Miller and Gabriel Maugans who married Esther Miller were probably too young to have been in Bedford County this early. Gabriel and Esther married in the late 1790s and Daniel and Susannah married about 1780.

However, a 1775 road petition in Bedford County provides evidence that several Brethren families were indeed in Bedford County including both Daniel Miller and Daniel Ullery. The petition text is as follows:

To the worshipful justices of the Court of General Quarter Sessions of the Peace held at Bedford for the County of Bedford the third Tuesday in October in the Year of our Lord 1775 ~

The Petition of diverse inhabitants of Colerain Township and FranksTown Township in the County of Bedford humbly sheweth.

That your petitioners labour under many inconveniences for want of a road leading from Robert Elliott’s at the Snakes Spring to the Gap in the Dividing Ridge between Croyle’s Cove and Morrison’s Cove, from thence to Daniel Oulery’s Mills and from thence to Frankstown Gap in Dunnings Mountain.

Your petitioners therefore pray your worships would nominate and appoint men to view and examine the same and if they find it necessary and convenient then that they lay out the same as a public road, as they shall think may be least to the damage of the neighbor or parties concerned and least injurious to the inhabitant thereabouts and make return thereof by courses and distance under their hands to the next court agreeable to an act of assembly in such cases made and provided.

The actual petition is shown below.

Daniel Miller 1775 Bedford petition 1Daniel Miler 1775 Bedford petition 2Daniel Miler 1775 petition 3

Daniel Miller 1775 Bedford petition 4

Apparently, the 1775 petition didn’t gain traction, because in the spring of 1776, an identical petition was submitted on the third Tuesday of April, but this time, there were far fewer signatures. One other difference is that one of the landmarks was slightly different, stated as “Daniel Woolrey’s Mill in Morris’s Cove.”

The petition signers are shown in the chart below.

Petition Signers 1775 1776
Conrad Brombach X
Philip Metzger X X
Johannes Martin X X
Joseph Cellar X
Jacob Kaff X
Daniel Miller X
Henrich Bender X X
Henry Braun X X
John Deeter X
Michael Hay X
Martin Miller X X
Georg Knie X
Daniel Paul X
David Ulry X X
John Kroll (Correl) X X
Jacob Neider X
Peter Bayer X
Christian Whetston(e) X X
Phillip (Philippus) Knie X X
Georg Roth X X
Daniel Oulery X
John Gillingham X
Stophel Markly X
Joseph Morrison X
Rinehart Replogle (Reblogle) X X
Jacob Easter X
Robert Frigs X
John Houser X
Powel Rood X
Daniel Frazer X
Philip Stoner X X
William Parker X
Robert Elliott X
Benjamin McFerran X
William Phillip X
Johannes Metzger X
George Brumbaugh X
Heinrich Holding Zander X
Paul Roth X
Abraham Dieter X
Feld Ober X
Jacob Neif Braller X

Was Daniel Miller still living there, but simply didn’t sign the petition, or had he returned to Frederick County, Maryland?  He’s not on the 1776 list of inhabitants either.

It’s likely that Daniel Ulrich was still there, because his mill was mentioned, and his mill is further mentioned in local histories.  He is not listed on the 1776 list of inhabitants either, which causes me to wonder if the list is incomplete.

The following year, 1777, is the year that the British launched their Indian attacks in Morrison’s Cove and Koontz says that these “frequently compelled settlers to seek safety at Fort Bedford.”

The local history agrees that “Indian hostilities were so frequent that nearly all the inhabitants left the cove….” Replogle

The 1777 Dunkard Massacre was part of the large British strategy. The main attack was probably an area between Roaring Spring and Martinsburg in Morrison’s Cove. At least 30 people died. No first-hand account exists, but U. J. Jones says, “Some few of the Dunkards….hid themselves away; but by far the most of them stood by and witnessed the butchery of their wives and children….” Jones is not entirely reliable and doesn’t like the Brethren much, but something like this surely happened. Replogle 158

Other reports from this area in 1777 are gruesome and grisly. Many people were killed. One report said that “We came safe to Bedford…the people on the road all fled for 42 miles from Ligonier.”   Another report said that “people from Morrisons, Croyals and Friends Coves are fled or fortified.”

A 1779 extract from the commissioners’ books said that so many citizens fled that the full board couldn’t meet, collect taxes, nor could they say when they could. Replogle 161

The best evidence for these families being involved in an Indian attack is the following story repeated in many accounts. Jacob Neff, a Brethren man supposedly shot and killed an Indian or two at the Neff mill. In retaliation the Indians burned the mill. The local Brethren congregation forgave him for his breach of pacifism but later banished him for bragging about it. James Sell investigated this story and found the killing and expulsion to be true, but the mill belonged to Daniel Ulrich. Though one account says he bought it later. In fact Daniel Ulrich not only owned the mill, but land that is today Roaring Spring. It is not certain which Daniel Ulrich this is, but the one that best fits is the Daniel Ulrich who married Susannah Miller, the daughter of Philip Jacob Miller. Her husband Daniel Ulrich was probably the grandson of Stephen Ulrich Sr. Susannah’s brothers Daniel and David Miller also lived in the Cove.

From the History of the Church of the Brethren in the Middle District of Pennsylvania:

During the Indian Wars of 1762 and onward there were quite a number of murders committed and captives taken. The particulars will never be known. The greatest massacre was in 1777. One history says there were thirty killed. Our tradition says twenty. The number of prisoners taken we cannot conjecture. A Brother Houser and family are mentioned among the number.

John Houser did sign the 1775 road petition, so a man by that name is present in the valley.

John Martin, a pioneer preacher, whose name heads the list of ministers of the Clover Creek congregation, suffered greatly from these Indian depredations.

John Martin signed both the 1775 and 1776 road petitions.

For want of the original, copy is taken from Jones’ History of Juniata Valley, relating the incident as follows:

Page 20:

During the Great Cove massacre, among others carried into captivity was the family of John Martin. This incursion was indeed a most formidable one, led by the kings Shingas and Beaver in person. How many were killed there is no living witness to tell; neither can we conjecture the number of prisoners taken.

The following petition was sent by John Martin to council:

August 13, 1762

“The Humble Petition of Your Most Obedient Servant Sheweth, Sir, may it please Your Excellancy, Hearing me in Your Clemancy a few words. I, One of the Bereaved of my Wife and five Children, by Savage War at the Captivity of the Great Cove, after Many & Long Journeys, I Lately went to an Indian Town, viz., Tuskaroways, 150 miles Beyond Fort Pitts, & Entrested in Co. Bucquits & Co. Croghan’s favor, So as to bear their Letters to King Beaver & Cap. Shingas, Desiring them to Give up One of my Daughters to me, Whiles I have Yet two Sons & One Other Daughter, if Alive, Among them — and after Seeing my Daughter with Shingas he Refused to Give her up, and after some Expostulating with him, but all in vain, he promised to Deliver her up with the Other Captives to yr Excellency.

Sir, yr Excellency’s Most Humble Servt Humbly & Passionately Beseeches Yr Beningn Compassion to interpose Yr Excellencies Beneficent influence in favor of Yr Excellencies Most Obedient & Dutiful Servt.

John Martin”

Page 21:

Brother Sell writes further :

The Brethren came into the Great Cove, now Morrison’s Cove, and by taking possession of the valley in the vicinity of Roaring Springs, the western portion of the Clover Creek congregation, were among its first settlers.

They set to work to clear away the forests, till the soil, build mills, and labored to promote the peace and prosperity of the country. It has been conceded to them, even by people who took no interest in their religion, that as good farmers, good taxpayers, quiet and inoffensive people — they were of the best of citizens.

But their exclusiveness, opposition to education, their lack of interest in political matters, and above all, their non-resistant principle brought them into disrepute with their neighbors.

This made their situation unpleasant and at times exposed them to more danger from their common enemy. Had they been permitted to treat with the Indian alone and manifest their love of peace and fair and honorable treatment, there is every reason to believe that not only they but their fighting neighbors would have escaped the assaults of the savage’s tomahawk and scalping knife.

The settlers all suffered from the incursions of the Indians from the time of their coming into the valley up to the time and during the Revolutionary War.

By this time by purchase and force the Indians were driven west of the Allegheny mountains. But out of hatred to their white brothers from real or imaginary wrongs, and also for spoils and scalps on which they were paid a bounty by the British government they made frequent raids into the valleys east of the mountain. When invasions were made the news was heralded as rapidly as the circumstances of the times permitted and the warning was to flee for safety. Some left their homes, others did not. All perhaps did not hear the alarm. Some could not go, and others preferred not to go. The result was that a number of them were murdered. In 1777 between twenty and thirty were killed.

During all these trying experiences of frontier life covering a period of nearly a quarter of a century, but one breach or violation of the peace principle held by our people is recorded.

Page 22, 23:

This single instance, which Brother Sell calls the “Jacob Neff Episode” occurred within the bounds of the Clover Creek congregation. U. J. Jones, after giving a copy of a report of “Thomas Smith and George Woods”, both, we believe, Justice of Peace at the time to President Wharton in which there is no direct reference to the Brethren, refers to the Neff incident as follows:

The band of Indians, after the Dunkard massacre, worked their way toward the Kittaning war path, leaving behind them some few stragglers of their party whose appetite for blood and treasure had not been satisfied. Among others, an old and a young Indian stopped at Neff’s Mill. Neff was a Dunkard; but he was a single exception so far as resistance was concerned. He had constantly in his mill his loaded rifle, and was ready for any emergency. He had gone to his mill in the morning without any knowledge of Indians being in the neighborhood, and had just set the water-wheel in motion when he discovered two Indians lurking, within a hundred yards, in a small wood below the mill. Without taking much time to deliberate how to act, he aimed through the window, and deliberately shot the old Indian. In an instant the young Indian came toward the mill, and Neff ran out of the back door and up the hill. The quick eye of the savage detected him, and fired, but missed his aim. Nothing daunted by the mishap, the savage followed up the cleared patch, when both, as if by instinct, commenced reloading their rifles. They stood face to face, not forty yards apart, on open ground where there was no possible chance of concealment. The chances were equal; he that loaded first would be victor in the strife, the other was doomed to certain death. They both rammed home the bullet at the same time — with what haste may well be conjectured. This was a critical juncture, for, while loading, neither took his eye off the other. They both drew their ramrods at the same instant, but the intense excitement of the moment caused the Indian to balk in drawing his, and the error or mishap proved fatal, because Neff took advantage of it, and succeeded in priming and aiming before the Indian. The latter, now finding the muzzle of Neff’s rifle bearing upon him, commenced a series of very cunning gyrations and contortions to destroy his aim or to confuse him, so that he might miss him or enable him to prime. To this end he first threw himself upon his face; then, suddenly rising up again, he jumped first to the right, then to the left, then fell down again. Neff, not the least put off his guard, waited until the Indian arose again, when he shot him through the head.

Neff, fearing that others might be about, left the mill and started to the nearest settlement. A force was raised and the mill revisited; but it was found a heap of smouldering cinders and ashes, and the dead bodies of the Indians had been removed. It is altogether likely that the rear of the savage party came up shortly after Neff had left, fired the mill, and carried away their slain companions.

For the part Neff took in the matter he was excommunicated from the Dunkard society. Nevertheless, he rebuilt his mill; but the Dunkards, who were his main support previously, refused any longer to patronize him, and he was eventually compelled to abandon the business.

Brother Sell speaks of the same incident as follows :

Daniel Ullery was the original owner of Roaring Spring. He built the first mill. Jacob Neff was his miller. During the Indian massacre of 1777 he shot an Indian. He was counseled by the church for his violation of her peace principles. He did not plead justification. He admitted that it was wrong to take human life but said his deed was done under strong temptation and excitement. He was excused, but required not to speak of his act in company in a boasting or justifying way. This restriction he frequently violated and he was expelled from the church.

This story has been repeated and exaggerated and the church through it is represented so that we take this opportunity to tell the story as we have it from our own traditions. The history of Juniata Valley says that when Neff rebuilt his mill the Brethren refused to patronize him. This is not correct. The chain, or abstract of title shown that Neff never owned the mill, did not build it in the first place, did not in the second place.

Pages 25, 26:

Ullery built and rebuilt it. It was a necessity in the new settlement.

The first Indian depredators, or at least the greater portion of them, were seen at a camp-fire by a party of hunters; and if the proper exertions had been made to cut them off, few other outrages would have followed. The supposition is that there were two parties of about fifteen each, who met at or near Neff’s Mill in the Cove. On their way thither, the one party killed a man named Hammond, who resided along the Juniata, and the other party killed a man named Ullery, who was returning from Neff’s Mill on horseback. They also took two children with them as prisoners.

The savages swept down through the Cove with all the ferocity with which a pack of wolves would descend from the mountain upon a flock of sheep. Some few of the Dunkards, who evidently had the latent spark of love of life, hid themselves away; but by far the most of them stood by and witnessed the butchery of their wives and children, merely saying, “Gottes wille sei gethan.” *

This sentence was so frequently repeated by the Dunkards during the massacre, that the Indians must have retained a vivid recollection of it. During the late war with Great Britain, some of the older Indians on the frontier were anxious to know of the Huntingdon volunteers whether the ” Gotswiltahns ” still resided in the Cove. Of course our people could not satisfy them on such a vague point.”

* God’s will be done.

Back to Maryland?

We have a couple of pieces of evidence that Daniel Miller went back to Maryland.

First, the local history says that the area was indeed nearly entirely evacuated and that the Conococheague Valley was one of the locations where the refugees located. For Daniel, this would simply have been going home.

Secondly, Daniel’s son indicated he was born in Maryland in 1781.

Third, in 1776 when they do not sign the road petition in Bedford County, both Daniel and David Miller appear in Frederick County on the list of non-enrollers, but there is also another Daniel Miller living in Frederick County, son of Lodowich Miller, so these two can be confused.

Fourth, in 1778, some Daniel Miller took the oath of fidelity in Washington County, Maryland, formerly the area Frederick County.

Fifth, in 1783, after Lodowich’s family, including the other Daniel, had removed to the Shenandoah Valley, Daniel Miller remains and is taxed in Frederick County with animals but no land.

However, Daniel wasn’t to stay long in Frederick County, because by 1786, we find him once again in Bedford County.

Return to Bedford County

1783 was an important year. The Revolutionary War had lasted for 7 years. On April 11, the Continental Congress proclaimed an end to hostilities. However, most of Ohio was still in dispute with the Indians which held back settlement there for another 20 years. Replogle 162

Also, in 1783, the road from Cumberland to Bedford County was improved and was eventually 12 feet wide. Replogle 57

This would have allowed wagons and might have made resettlement very attractive to Daniel Miller.

The 1784 Bedford County tax list tells us that Daniel hadn’t yet made that return journey.

1784 Bedford Co. tax returns:

  • Daniel Ullery – 408 acres in Frankstown Twp
  • No David or Daniel Miller listed but lots of other Millers
  • Jacob Stutzman – 0 acres, 1 dwelling, 2,0
  • Jacob Cripe – 900 acres

1784 Bedford County, in Brother’s Alley:

  • John Miller (1-6)
  • Peter Miller (1-5)
  • Michael Miller (1-6)
  • Christian Miller (1-6)
  • William Miller (1-2)

The Kernel of Greatness, An Informal Bicentennial History of Bedford County by the Bedford County Heritage Committee, page 134:

It is known that some Brethren settled here as early as 1785, for that was the date in a deed for a grant of land in Morrison’s Cove made jointly to Jacob Brumbaugh and Samuel Ullery. The latter was the first minister of the denomination known to have preached hereabouts. Centered around New Enterprise, the Yellow Creek (or Hopewell) congregation embraced all the territory of our county and most of Fulton. From this first group sprang the majority of all local Brethren Churches.

In 1785, Woodbury Township was formed from Frankstown. This is where Daniel Miller would live. Settlers had arrived there at first 40 years earlier, but settlement was still sparse.

The nearby town of Hollidaysburg was not laid out until next year and entire township only had 118 households. Replogle p 29

In 1786 Jacob Snyder settled in Snake Spring Valley. At his home Brethren of the area held meetings over a period of years until in 1840 a congregation was organized.

1786 Woodbury Twp. tax list

  • Daniel Miller (Cox’s land)
  • David Ulerick
  • Stephen Ulerick
  • Daniel Ulerick
  • Jacob Stutzman (Cox’s land)
  • John Ulrick – single – Cox’s land

From the tax lists, we find evidence that Daniel Miller, along with several other Brethren is living on Cox’s land. I found mention of Cox in the early deed books.

In 1780 Charles Cox in Morrison’s Cove sells John Snyder 500 acres near where Three Springs enters Yellow Creek. This tells us that Daniel Miller probably lives someplace in this vicinity as well.

Undated Tax list:

  • David Ulrich – Cox’s land
  • Stephen Ulrich – Cox’s land
  • Daniel Ulrich

In 1787, Woodbury Township was divided between Bedford County and Huntingdon County, but Daniel continues to be listed in Bedford County. In 1838, the Bedford portion is further divided into Woodbury and South Woodbury.

1788 Bedford Tax list:

  • Daniel Miller
  • David Miller
  • Daniel Ullery
  • David Ullery
  • Stephen Ullery
  • John Ullery – single

Several other Brethren families went to Morrison’s Cove and were there by 1789. At least four of Stephen Ulrich Jr.’s children: Hannah who married George Butterbaugh. David Ulrich and Stephen Ulrich III were “made subject to law to the performance of military duty” in 1789. Lydia Ulrich married Jacob Lear. Daniel Ulrich owned a mill where Roaring Spring is today. Replogle 129

Jason Replogle notes that the word “inmate” on the tax records, according to the Bedford County Historical Society means renter, non-owner.  They also say that tax assessing went on at that time every 3 years which would explain the sequence of 1782, 1785, and 1788 in Frankstown. Replogle 131

In 1789, in Morrison’s Cove, David Miller was assessed for 474 acres, 2 horses and 3 cows and Daniel for 214 acres, 3 horses and 4 cows. Replogle 129

The 1789 tax list has an unexpected benefit – ages, I think. Never before, or since, have I seen a tax list that included ages, but this one appears to. Daniel Miller was actually 34, and is shown as 37. His brother, David was 32 and he is shown as 23. If these aren’t ages, I don’t know what they would be.

1789 Bedford County Tax List

Age? Name – Woodbury Twp – Martain Loy’s Return ? Land Horses Cows
Thomas Veccory?                                             Va 125 500
Martain Loy 164 241 2 2
36 Henry Werner 96 or 46 50 2 2
43 Abraham Feeter or Jeeter 145 327 5 5
35 Jacob Good 92 150 3 4
28 Jacob Bowman – Coxes Land 102 230 2 3
40 John Bair – Coxes Land 109 230 3 1
Peter Sensebaugh – Coxes Land 76 153 1
20 John Sensebaugh – stricken through 10 Checkmark
Peter Witmar 100 300
30 Philip Mixcelle? – Snivel’s Land 182 300 2 4
40 George Bowman 10 0 1- 0
William Tatorious – one still 61 100 2 3
40 Christian Dridl 38 50 2 3
50 William Yortea – one still 36 0 2 2
45? John? Forgeson (crease in paper) 50 ? ? ?
28 Jacob Cravenston – Coxes Land 10 1- 0
Nicholas Cravenston – Coxes Land 189 279 3 3
William Beaman – Coxes land 176 278 2 2
18 George Beaman
26 Gabriel Magin – Coxes land 261 0 2 2
42 Jacob Viant – Coxes land 133 1- 1
23 David Miller – Coxes land 149 474 2 3
34 Jacob Lear – Coxes land 136 215 3 2
37 Daniel Miller – Coxes land 142 214 3 4
36 Stephen Ullreck – Cox Land 145 148 3 5
26 David Ullreck – Cox land 142 148 3 4
Ditto 37 150
56 Jacob Stutzman – Cox land 142 148 3 4
50 John Snyder 350 250 3 8
Abraham Overholtzer – one saw mill 149 220 3 3
30 John Hipple 126 419 2 2
Peter Sherman? 45 100 Torn Torn
25 Jacob Bain 60 100 2 2
34 or 39 Peter Folks 76 200 2 2
John Brannon on Capt. Hunter’s land 76 100 2 2
30 John Welch – single freeman
40 Nicolous Peticot – Capt. Hunter’s land 66 0 1- 2
37 James Ray 56 100 2
37 Henry Erllabaugh on Hunter’s land 63 5 5
36 Thoma Eyl 25 50
40 Edward Mceroy 63 100 1- 5
45 William Gilson or Gibson 66 100 5 2
John Sherley 101 150 2 2
18 Richard Sherley – struck through
Peter Werner or Verner 23 2 1
John Peterbaugh 25 100
Thomas McCune 17 70 Smudged 2
Name illegible on fold – Cox’s land 100 Hole ? 2
49 John Falkner – Cox’s land 89 Smudge 2 3
Ditto for land 25 100
30 Henry Dial 18 60 Smudge ?
27 William Adams 38 100 1 1
40 Peter Adams 65 100 2 2
44 Philip Knee, Knu or Jones 64 100 2 3
George Roth 65 100 3 2
20 Philip Roth – struck through
44 Abraham Deeter- one grist mill 175 150 3 ?
John Mets?er 11 200 3 6
40 George Broombaugh 92 130 3 4
24 John Engle 179 600 2 3
28 Casper D (or B)illinger 29 2 3
30 John Hall – half taxes 50 300 1 3
22 Daniel Hall – single freeman – one still 80 172 2 torn
21 Jacob Overholtzer – single freeman
23 John Cramer – single freeman
30 Daniel Ullerick 154 150 2 3
45 Jacob Nave 200 400 4 4
39 Ludwick Wissenger 60 100 3 2
40 Simon Hay 25 50 1 1
35 Michael Hay 51 100 2 2
35 Martain Housen? – quantity of land unknown to me 25 100
24 Edward Cowen – quantity of land unknown to me 76 209 2 2
30 Christopher Rohrer – single freeman – one still 15
Christian Newcomer 15 60
40 Harmon Deik? 100 150 2 2
23 John Ullrick – a sawmill – single freeman 70 100 2 2
40 Michael Pot? 79 227 2 3
Ditto for land 25 100
26 Nicolous Shell for Hollis land 38 100 1 1
Ditto for land 37 100
John Croal for Wallyses land 123 250 2 1
40 Abraham Newswander – Wallis land 76 2 2
23 George Faring? For Wallysis land 110 1 2
26 Rinehart Replogle Jr on Wallysis land 26 2 2
18 John Replogle – struck through
Rinehart Replogle Sr, on Wallysis land 296 476 5? 2
30 William Cohanico? – Wallysis land 226 352 2 2
46 Peter Beltser 3 1
48 Joseph Cellers 192 200 3 4
43 James Knot 25 100 2 2
40 William Nichlous 38 50 2 2
William Findley 38 50 2 2
John Adams Sr. 25 50
25 George Hanay – single freeman 35 50 1
40 John Lower 25 100
Abraham Lingin ?? 75 175 1 1
30 Jacob Devil? 75 75 1 1
23 Peter Embler 3 1 1
3? George Lingerfelt ? ? Torn Torn
25 John Overholtzer 43 80 2 1
42 Abraham Leedy 64 110 5 3
48 Henry Brown 61 110 3 2
32 William Ditts? Or Ditto? 101 200 2 2
23 George Dell or Doll 12 50
John Cellars 100 200
47 Christopher Week 58 50 4 2
22 Daniel Magin – Wallis land 160 1-
48 Crestian Wetstone – ditto 173 2 1
45 Valentine Oster 142 200 3 4
Ditto 12/10? 62
23 John George Priceler 20 70
David Hootsman 50 100
Joseph Long 326 750 2 2
Ditto 75 300
32 Daniel Ullerick 76 200 2 2
40 Lutwidk Low 28 50 1- 2
Jacob Broombaugh 275 700
Cronkleton 25 100
30 Jacob Puterbaugh 50 50 3 3
Ditto at the Long Meadows 12 25
Ditto on the Plow He?lievg 100 210
George Puterbaugh Jr 25 100
29 Adam Burcket 129 210 2 3
30 Abraham Gantsenger Jr? 75 200
25 Thomas Jones – single freeman
39 Jacob Smith – Cox’s land and tanyard 111 2 3
William Bower – single freeman 15 10 1 1
John Ditts or Ditto 54 100 2 3
George Bower – single freeman
27 Isaac Cronck – single freeman 1
John Martain 272 449 4 4
20 Coonrod Martain – struck through
John Teeter or Jeeter 172/80/1118 125 150 3 6
Ditto land 25 100
Woodbury Township Nonresident Persons Names
Samuel Wallis
Jacob Brumbaugh (4 tracts adjacent) 897
John Brumbaugh 200
Israel Brumbaugh 190
Dickson Children? 272
Ditto 84
Henry Huffman 76
Martin Houser 250
Abraham Kinsinger 200
Joseph Morris 200
Thomas Mchune 80
George Buterbaugh Jr 225
John Buterbaugh 103
John Sellery 200
Ditto 138
Daniel Hall (or Stall) 172
David Stutzman 60
Henry Snively Doc? 250
Thomas Vickroy 464
Joseph Krootleton 100
John Darne 100
Jacob Stevens 200
Joseph Long 370
Richard Vanbell 219
John Moore 503
George Ruch 369
William Gerrgas 237
Benedict Dorsey 232
Robert Lasley 298
Moses Patterson 315
Samuel Richards 367
Isaac Harvel 352
Thomas Walker 398
Abraham Robison 475

On another tax list, a Jacob Miller is listed as a nonresident in 1789.

A list of the inhabitants of Woodberry Township made subject by law to the performance of militia duty, taken by Martin Loy the 26th of January 1789 includes the following names:

  • Gabriel Magin (Maugans)
  • David Miller
  • Jacob Lear (this family later found in Elkhart County, Indiana)
  • Daniel Miller
  • Steven Ullrech
  • David Ullrech
  • Jacob Stulsman (Stutzman)
  • Daniel Magin (Maugans)
  • Samuel Ullrich
  • Coonrath Martin (Conrad)
  • Daniel Ullric
  • John Ullrick
  • George Haney (descendants later found in Elkhart County, Indiana)

1789 Woodbury Twp tax list, extracted for Miller, Maugans and Ulrich by various spellings:

  • David Miller
  • Daniel Miller
  • Gabriel Maugans
  • Stephen Ulrich
  • David Ulrich
  • Samuel Ulrich
  • Daniel Ulrich

1790 or 1791 tax list

  • David Miller
  • Daniel Miller
  • Peter Maugons
  • Daniel Maugons
  • David Ulry
  • Samuel Ulry
  • Daniel Ulry
  • Stephen Ulry
  • Yearty Ulry

Daniel Miller first appeared on the Woodbury Township tax list in 1785 and by 1789, is well established, farming 214 acres with 3 horses and 2 cows. There was just one problem, those 214 acres weren’t his. He rented land from a man named Cox who was somewhat of a land speculator. Many Brethren families are noted on the tax lists as renting land from Cox. According to the “History of the Church of the Brethren in the Middle District of Pennsylvania,” by 1790, all of the desirable lands were owned and all of the good land was claimed many years before. This area began to be settled initially in 1755.

No land records have been found in Bedford County for David or Daniel Miller.  Presumably the land they rented from Cox was located near what is now New Enterprise in the southern end of the valley. This is where Samuel Ulrich, Elizabeth’s brother, was located, and many other German Baptists from the Washington County, area.

This beautiful rolling valley named Morrison’s Cove would have been where Daniel and Elizabeth farmed and raised their children among like-minded families in the Brethren church. Bedford County at that time had no established church buildings, and services were held in member’s homes and barns. Daniel, like everyone else, would have taken his turn.

David Miller Bedford fall

Daniel Miller wasn’t the only child of Philip Jacob Miller to move to Bedford County. His brother David Miller settled there too, along with sister Esther who married Gabriel Maugans and sister Susannah who married Daniel Ullery.

Susannah Miller and Daniel Ullery owned the mill at Roaring Springs, today the old mill pond with a beautiful fountain.

David Miller Roaring Springs

Daniel certainly lived nearby and visited this mill regularly, as did all farmers.

Daniel Miller roaring springs

The first census was taken in 1790, and the Bedford County census fortunately appears to be recorded in house order.

Daniel Miller 1790 Bedford census

We find Gabriel Maugans beside Daniel and David Miller. Another Maugans appears to be next door, and the entire group is near to the Ullery, Replogle and Stutzman families. All known Brethren.

It never really struck me until I saw this census that Daniel’s first 7 children were all boys.

I put together a 1788-1791 Cross Match Census and Tax lists table for Miller, Stutzman, Ullerich and Cripe in Bedford County.

Name 1790 M16+ 1790 M<16 1790 F 1788 tx 1789 tx 1790 tx 1791 tx
Phillip Miller – Ayr/Dublin – no land tax 2 1 7
Jacob Miller 1 2 4 H H
Felix Miller 2 3 1 H H
Jacob Miller 1 1 4 H
John Crull 1 3 7 W W W
David Miller 1 2 4 W W W
Daniel Miller 1 7 1 W W W
David Ullery 1 5 2 W W W
Samuel Ullery 1 1 5 W W
Jacob Miller – Bedford Twp – no land tax 1 2 2
Andrew Miller 1 6 Bd
John Crull 3 1 7 W W
Daniel Ulrick 2 2 4 W W W
Jacob Miller 4 3 3 Bd Br
Peter Miller 1 2 Bd
Peter Miller 1 1 Bd Bd
John Miller 1 2 Bd Bd
Elles Miller 1 2 Bd
Michael Miller 1 2 3 Br Br
Nicholas Miller 1 0 0 Br Br Br
Christian Miller 2 1 0 Br Br Br
Abraham Miller 1 1 Br Br
Andrew Miller – no tax lived in Br 1 1 1
John Miller 1 2 Q Q Q
Nicholas Miller 1 1 2 Br Br Br
Michael Miller 1 1 6 Br Br Br
Nicolas Miller 1 1 1 Br Br
Mary Miller, widow 0 3 1 Br
John Miller 2 3 3 M M
Barbara Miller 0 1 5 Q Q Q
Christian Miller 1 3 5 Q Q
Christian Miller 1 3 5 Q Q Q
Abraham Miller ! 1 4 Q Q Q
Christy Miller 1 3 2 Q Q Q
Hendrey Miller 1 3 2 E E
John Miller 1 1 E E
John Miller 1 1 3 E E
Peter Miller 1 3 2 E E E
Jacob Miller 1 3 2 E E E

Bd = Bedford
Br = Brother’s Valley
M= Milford
E= Elklick

If you’re thinking to yourself, there certainly were a lot of Miller men in Bedford County by this time, you’re absolutely right, and we know they weren’t all ours. It’s no wonder that there is so much confusion surrounding this family and surname.

The last tax lists where we find Daniel Miller are the available group from 1796-1799.

Daniel Miller 1796 Bedford tax

The 1796 list, above, shows Daniel Miller with a house and sawmill, both.  I can’t read all the column names, but he looks to also have 2 horses and 4 cows.  He was quite well off, comparatively.

Daniel is present in 1797 and 1798, but David Miller is not on the list anytime from 1796-1799. In 1799, both are absent, gone to the land of Kentucky and Ohio, the next frontier.

Bedford County Maps

What can we discern about where Daniel Miller lived in Bedford County?

From various deeds, we know that Cox owned land near where 3 Springs empties into Yellow Creek, near New Enterprise today.

Daniel Miller Cox land

The little grey balloon in the lower right quadrant marks that intersection.

Daniel Miller Cox land satellite

The road through Loysburg Gap is Woodbury Pike in present day South Woodbury Township.  The intersection of 3 Springs and Yellow Creek is just above Loysburg, shown on the topo map below.

Daniel Miller Loysburg Gap

The Topozone map below shows Dunnings Mountain forming the western border of Morrison’s Cove.

Daniel Miller Dunnings Mountain

The topographical map below shows the location of Dunnings Mountain, with the red balloon, forming a western border for Morrison’s Cove but more importantly, it also shows the valley area which is roughly 5 miles across and 20 miles north to south which constitutes Morrison’s Cove, enclosed by the mountains.  Morrison’s Cove is a beautiful valley.

Daniel Miller Morrison's Cove

This valley encompasses Roaring Spring on the North to New Enterprise on the South, Dunnings Mountain on the West to the state Game lands 73A East of 866, near Loysburg Gap where 36 crosses the mountain between New Enterprise and Yellow Creek.

Daniel Miller intersection 3 Springs

In fact, look at this beautiful historic building on 3 Springs at the intersection of 869 and Woodbury Pike, PA36.  Could this have been Daniel’s mill?

Based on the description of Cox’s land location, Daniel Miller probably lived someplace in the southern part of Morrison’s Cove. We know that Daniel Ullery owned the mill in Roaring Springs.

The headwaters of Snake Spring are about 3 miles below Loysburg, where the two mountain ranges come together and Upper Snake Spring Road becomes Church View Road which becomes Lower Snake Spring Road. This is the southernmost part of the 1775 and 1776 road petition, beginning at Snake Spring to the Gap in the dividing ridge.

Croyle’s Cove today is Snake Spring Township, and the Gap referenced would be the Gap leading between Lower Snake Spring Road and Upper Snake Spring Road. Morrison’s Cove is noted as being above this gap.

Daniel Miller Croyle's Cove

Today, Woodbury Township and South Woodbury Township are in Bedford County, while North Woodbury Township later fell into Blair County. We know that Daniel Miller lived in what was then Woodbury Township in Bedford County.

Daniel Miller Woodbury Twp

Today’s Woodbury Township

Daniel Miller South Woodbury Twp

Today’s South Woodbury Township.

Daniel Miller North Woodbury Twp Blair Co

Today’s North Woodbury Township, Blair County, PA.

On the USGS topo map, North Woodbury is not labeled as Morrison’s Cove.

Roaring Springs is in present day Taylor Township and it is also not labeled as Morrison’s Cove.

Only Woodbury and South Woodbury are labeled as Morrison’s Cove, between Woodbury and New Enterprise.

Daniel Miller lived in what was then Woodbury Township, probably near New Enterprise, and clearly on one of the streams strong enough to power a sawmill. The creeks in that area are Yellow Creek and 3 Springs and I would not be one bit surprised if the building near that intersection that still exists today was Daniel’s mill.

Philip Jacob’s Decision

In 1795, the Treaty of Grenville followed the defeat of the Indians at the Battle of Fallen Timbers near the Maumee rapids. Indians agreed to give up about two thirds of Ohio and a part of Southeastern Indiana. In Ohio large-scale Indian dangers ended and large-scale migration began. Replogle 165

Following the treaty, regular trips were established from Cincinnati to Pittsburg and back. They took a month. Boats dotted the Ohio as far as the eye could see.  A Second source says a one way trip from Pittsburgh to Cincinnati took about a week.


As family members moved to Bedford County, and other Millers migrated to other frontier locations, the family in Frederick County was becoming thin.

Philip Jacob’s brother Lodowich had either moved to Rockingham County, VA or died in about 1782 or 1783 and their brother John died in 1794. John farmed the other half of the same land that Philip Jacob farmed. Those two men would have been extremely close, and dependent to some extent on each other for help with farming. With John’s passing, and several of Philip Jacob’s children already gone for a decade or more, he must have been thinking about what to do with his own land and assets, as well as his legacy to his children.

Philip Jacob Miller made a monumental decision. When he sold his brother, John’s land, as executor, he sold his own land to the same man in 1796.

Philip Jacob then proceeded to “sell out” as it was known, selling everything he didn’t need to be able to pack what he did need into a wagon to set off for the new frontier where he had arrived by August of 1796. Not the frontier in Bedford County. That was no longer a frontier and the land was mostly gone – but the real frontier, beyond Pittsburgh – down the Ohio River to near Fort Washington, a location that would one day become Cincinnati, Ohio. That was the real frontier where the Indians had just been defeated the year before. Trees were waiting to be chopped and land was waiting to be cleared. A repeat, for Philipp Jacob Miller, of what he had done nearly half a century earlier when Frederick County was the frontier. However, in 1751, Philip Jacob was in his 20s. In 1796, he was roughly 70.

I can just imagine an older Philip Jacob Miller sporting long grey hair, the signature look of an older Brethren man who, then, would have been considered elderly. A man that everyone knew would not defend himself, carrying his life savings in a wagon, then on a river flatboat, floating down the Ohio, landing in an untamed wilderness on a frontier that was in some ways akin to the Wild West.

I don’t know whether to be astounded or horrified. Clearly, nothing bad happened, because Philip Jacob bought about 2000 acres of land, seven times what he sold, enough for all of his children after his death to have 200 acres each. Ironically, he never got to live on the land he purchased. He never owned land in either Kentucky where he died or technically, in Ohio either, because the surveying and title transfer did not happen until after his death. So Philip Jacob actually died landless.

Thank goodness for the beginnings of his land purchase, because the transactions surrounding that land following Philip Jacob’s death in 1799 inform us of which children were still living and the names of the daughter’s husbands. 

Philip Jacob Miller left Maryland in early 1796 and arrived in Campbell County, KY later that year, just across the river and upstream a few miles from Cincinnati, then just a small village.

Son David may have actually traveled with his father in 1796, but he had assuredly joined him by 1797. In 1799, Daniel left Bedford County and followed.

The Land That Becomes Ohio in 1803

As a compromise with the other colonies during ratification deliberations on the Articles of Confederation, Virginia ceded its territorial claims to lands northwest of the Ohio River and was granted lands in the southwestern quarter of Ohio in 1784 to give as payment to Virginia’s soldiers who served in the Continental Army. This area was called the Virginia Military Reserve.

During the Constitutional Convention, Congress passed the Northwest Ordinance of 1787, which, among other things, prohibited slavery north of the Ohio River, partly to prevent farmers in the Northwest Territory from competing with the South. Nevertheless, such a prohibition was attractive to the German Baptist Brethren.

From Troy Goss’s website:

Philip Jacob Miller having acquired considerable funds from selling his property in Washington Co, MD now sought to provide for the future of his children. Sometime after Phillip’s settling in Campbell County, he purchased land warrants for two tracts of land in the still unsettled country soon to be the State of Ohio. He purchased the warrants from William Lytle who was acting as agent for James Taylor. The land was yet to be surveyed. The land was purchased for $1.10 per acre while other tracts I the area were selling for $2 per acre.

Philip Jacob’s land was comprised of 2 surveyed tracts. Tract 3790 (in Clermont and Warren County) was for 1766 2/3rd acres, according to the US National Archives. Tract 3790 consisted of 8 military warrants purchased and assembled to James Taylor and William Lytle. Philip Jacob sometime before his death acquired an interest in these warrants. The tract was then surveyed after his death and several years later, the patents were issued to his heirs.

This tract was comprised of the following warrants:

  • Warrant 4617 200 acres Robert Underwood May 19, 1798 acquired by Lytle
  • Warrant 4888 200 acres Eppa Fielding April 19 1799 acquired by Taylor
  • Warrant 3583 200 acres
  • Warrant 4828 200 acres William Lytle
  • Warrant 4902 100 acres Henry Sanders Aug 1 1799 acquired by Taylor for Reuben Rose’s service for 3 years as a private in the Virginia continental line – heir of Reuben, Feb. 7, 1802
  • Warrant 4903 for 100 acres William Plunkett Aug. 13 1799 acquired by Taylor, heir of James Feb 7 1800, for James Plunkett service for 3 years as private on Virginia line
  • Warrant 4899 for 100 acres Martin Holloways Aug. 1, 1799 acquired by Taylor Feb. 7, 1800
  • Warrant 4905 for 666 2/3 acres John Nelson Aug. 2, 1799 acquired by Taylor Feb. 7, 1800
  • Total acres 1766 2/3

The property was surveyed Feb. 20, 1800 and William Lytle acquired James Taylor’s interest in the property on June 24, 1802. A patent was issued to James Taylor, William Lytle and Robert Underwood on May 2, 1803. The property was then conveyed to David Miller and Abraham Miller administrators of the Philip J. Miller estate on Sept. 7, 1803 for $2000.

Tract 3791 was located in Warren County.

In August or September of 1799, Philip Jacob Miller died in Campbell Co., KY, before he could complete his land purchase transaction. His widow, Magdalena, lived until 1808.

An agreement was made by his heirs and children as to the disposition of the two tracts of land Philip had purchased. In an agreement dated December 19, 1799, the heirs decided to divide the 2000 acres into ten 200 acre parcels with John Ramsey and Theophilus Simonton acting as appraisers and administrators. They were to draw lots as to who received which parcel. Magdalene Miller Cripe elected to take her share in cash. In order to equalize the draw for those heirs at the last of the drawing, the following procedure was used:

  • The 10th lot was to pay $55 to the 4th
  • The 7th lot was to pay $38 to the second lot.
  • The 6th lot was to pay $33 to the 3rd lot
  • The 8th lot was to pay $28 to the first lot
  • The 9th lot was to pay $24 to the 5th

As it was in the dead of winter, the survey would have to wait until spring. On Feb. 8, 1800, entry 3790 was made for 1766 2/3 acres. On Feb. 20, 1800 the survey was made with David Miller and Jacob Snyder as chain carriers and Abraham Miller as marker. Sons David and Abraham were the executors of Philipp Jacob Miller’s estate. The survey being completed, the agreement was finalized and signed and recorded on March 29, 1800. The patent was not issued until the later part of 1803 and the heirs received their parcels during the years 1805 through 1809 as they settled into the region to receive their land.  Miller 51

Clermont County, Ohio

Excerpt from “The Brethren Encyclopedia”:

In 1796 Philip J. Miller moved to Campbell Co., KY, where he died in 1799. Members of his family were charter members of the Stonelick, OH, congregation in 1802. Later some family members (Daniel and David) moved into Montgomery Co., OH. Philip’s daughter Magdalene married Daniel Cripe, who was a leader in the southern Ohio church and later established the congregation in Elkhart Co., Indiana (1829).

While Philip Jacob Miller lived in Campbell County, KY on the south side of the Ohio River, Daniel Miller made his way 50 miles or so north into Ohio, winding up on the Clermont County border with Warren County.

While we know that Daniel Miller did wind up in Clermont County, there is one piece of evidence that suggests he may have lived in Kentucky near Philip Jacob Miller for at least a short time.

History of the Church of the Brethren of the Southern District of Ohio, 1920, p 509

When [Daniel was] eighteen months old (middle of 1799), his father (Stephen, son of Daniel, son of Philip Jacob Miller) built a raft on the Ohio River and floated down the stream to Kentucky, where they landed and lived for a while in that state. They, then, moved to Clermont County, Ohio. They next moved to Montgomery County, Ohio, where Daniel’s father (Stephen) in 1816, built the first frame house in Jackson Township.

Extracted from the History of the Church of the Brethren of the Southern District of Ohio, published originally in 1916, reprinted in 2007, page 50 – regarding the organization of Stonelick Church in Clermont County:

The following persons are remembered as being members at or soon after the final organization of the Stonelick Church in 1802: John Garver and wife, Abraham Miller, Catherine Miller, David Miller, Magdaline Miller, Stephen Miller and wife, Frederick Weaver, Elizabeth Wever, Mathias Maugans, David Bowman and wife, Joseph Myers and wife, Michael Custer and wife, Stephen Miller Jr., Lewis Caudle and wife, Gabriel Karns and wife, Jonas Bowman, Lydia Belar, Catharine Gray, Arthur McNeal and wife, Rachael Frybarger, Sarah Stouder, Sarah Binkley, Daniel Miller and wife, Daniel Replogle and wife, Jacob Metzger and wife, Esther Maugans and Daniel Maugans and wife. The first deacons included Daniel Miller. Daniel Miller was also a minister.

Magdalina was the wife of David Miller. However, Magdalena was also the widow of Philip Jacob Miller who died in 1808. Elizabeth was the wife of Daniel Miller. Abraham and Stephen were brothers to David and Daniel Miller, and all were sons to Philip Jacob Miller, deceased and Magdalena Miller.

Daniel Miller became known as the Elder Daniel Miller when he was ordained a minister in the O’Bannion Church in Clermont County, Ohio in about 1797. The O’Bannion, Obannon and Stonelick Churches are one and the same, according to the Brethren historian and minister, Merle Rummel.

What does it mean to be a Brethren Elder? From an article by Wayne Diehl titled “Miller Connections”:

What did it mean to be an Elder in the Brethren Church? “There were three levels of leadership within the church: the deacon, frequently considered the first step in the ministry in the nineteenth century: the preacher, who was frequently called a teacher; and the elder or bishop.

The deacons and preachers were elected by the vote of the local congregation, while the elders were ordained “after they have been fully tried and found faithful.”

An elder is, in general, the first or eldest chosen teacher in the congregation where there is no bishop: it is the duty of the elder to keep a constant oversight of that church by whom he is appointed as a teacher. It is his duty to appoint meetings, to baptize, to assist in excommunication, to solemnize the rites of matrimony, to travel occasionally, to assist the bishops, and in certain cases to perform all the duties of a bishop.

The O’Bannion Church was the first Brethren Church north of the Ohio on the old Indian Trail north from Bullskin Landing, the location where people landed and unloaded those flatboats.

The old log O’Bannon Church Building (c1823) was at the Stoddard (Stouder) Cemetery, shown below, about a mile east of the south edge of Goshen – so these families were in the immediate Church area, according to Merle Rummell, Reverend and Brethren Historian.

Stouder Cemetery

Daniel and David Miller didn’t wait on their inheritance of land from Philip Jacob Miller, but bought their own and lived at 132 and Woodville Pike, in the lower left hand corner of the map above.

Merle Rummell tells us the following:

Gabriel Karns lived about a mile on east of the Millers, on Manila Pike, the old Indian Road. Daniel Miller was put into the ministry at the Obannion Church.

In eastern Ohio Territory, the land back from the River was not good farmland. It was Appalachia Hills that crowded the River. David Horne travel 60 miles up the Muskingum River to the Forks of the Licking at the new Zane Trace, before he found land. John Countryman left the Massie Fort at Three Islands (now Manchester OH) and went 30 miles up the Ohio Brush Creek till he found farmland. It was at the Little Miami River, just before Cincinnati where the Brethren stopped at good farmland along the Indian Trace, the Obannon Church.

The Bullskin Landing was a goal for the Brethren migration down the Ohio River by flatboat. It was probably the best landing on the river, being a sunken valley back into the Ohio Hills.

Bullskin creek

Bullskin Creek is flooded by the Ohio River for half a mile back from the River, a wide valley opening. It was the first major landing for Ohio River flatboats above Fort Washington (Cincinnati). Here the flatboat was protected, off the river, with easy unloading facilities.

Most of the settlers on the New Frontier were frontier folk from the Old Frontier, very few were from the Settled East. The River brought them from Old Fort Redstone (now Union and Brownsville, PA), Brothers Valley and Washington Co. PA in the west; from Penns Valley, Brush Valley and Northumberland Co., PA in the north; from the Conococheague and Middletown Valley, MD; from Morrison’s Cove, Cambria Co. and the Juniata Valley, PA. The Kanawha Trace brought them from the Carolina settlements on the Yadkin; from Franklin and Floyd Counties and the lower Valley of Virginia.

These areas were the Old Frontier. It showed in the type of people who came, in their self-reliance and independent thought. They didn’t just accept being told something was true, they tried it out for themselves, and used it. They had to, or they died on the frontier. They were not stupid, while some were illiterate, most could read their Bible – maybe a Berleburg Bible, some read Greek. The Brethren knew what the Bible said, and lived it. They were definitely Brethren, and they took their Brethrenism with them, making a real Christian witness to their neighbors!

South of Goshen, came first David Miller, then his brother, Daniel. Daniel was put into the ministry there about 1798. The first minister was Elder John Garver, from Stony Creek in Brothers Valley, Pennsylvania, by way of Virginia, to North Carolina, to Kentucky. In 1805 he moved to the Donnels Creek Church, up the Indian Road. By tradition, the founding of the Obannon Baptist Church was 1795 by Elder David Stouder. He seems to have come over from Kentucky, and by research, may be the David Stover near Limestone, probably from the Log Union Church. This was the beginnings of the Obannon Church, but these families weren’t allowed to stay.

These were the Bounty Lands, claimed by Virginia as payment for service to their Veterans of the Revolution. Government survey of the lands began in 1802, and it did not matter to the Government or the surveyors if people already lived on these lands, if there were homes built and fields cleared. That the Dunker custom often included getting title from the Indians to homesteads gave them no claim to their lands in the eyes of the surveyor or state. Legally, they were squatters. There was no appeal for their claim to the land, all they could do was leave. They moved north, beyond the Bounty Lands, to the little Village of Dayton. Their move was easy, they went up the Indian Trace. From Little’s Bounty Lands Survey (1802) we have been able to identify the adjoining farms of David and Daniel Miller, they were surveyed as cleared lands.

Now other Brethren families came to Bullskin Landing. These were the second line of Brethren, moving west from the Old Frontier lands in Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia or Carolina, and some moved up from the churches in Kentucky. They used Bounty claims to get land, Bountys purchased back home, by self or through kin, from those who had no wish to leave for the west. The families at Obannon were mostly from Maryland and Pennsylvania: Binkley, Cripe, Grossnickle, Frey, Karns, Maugans, Miller, Moler, Pringle, Stouder; Elder John Garver and Frederick Weaver as ministers. Stonelick was a meeting house of the Obannon Congregation. This was good farmland, but it was a heavy clay and many Brethren soon moved north to better lands on the Great Miami headwaters near Dayton Ohio, where they remain strong today.

From Troy Goss’s site:

Right around the time that Daniel moved to Preble (this is an error, it was Montgomery) County, Daniel and David purchased plots from Ohio land magnate William Lytle (1770-1813), in Clermont County, on May 9, 1801. Daniel’s lot measured 100 acres (91 poles by 177 poles [1501.5′ by 2,920.5′]) for $200 and David’s, a triangular 204 acres, he bought for $400. [Deed 1801] Daniel’s plot lie between Captain William Barret’s survey (Virginia Military Reserve Survey Tract 710) to the north and David’s triangular tract to the south.

Daniel Miller Barrett MS 170

On this map from the Clermont County GIS system, Barrett MS 710 is in the upper left region in Goshen Township, where the G is located.

Troy continues:

The lot is estimated to lie to the south of Smith Road, paralleling Ohio State Route 28 (perhaps referred to as “Goshen Road,” as noted above) about 840 feet to the northwest, and up to the intersection of Smith Road and Fay Road (believed to be the southern corner of Survey 710,) shown on the maps below. Daniel and Elizabeth sold this property on April 28, 1809, to Alexander Hughey for $600, tripling what they paid for it eight years earlier. Daniel and Elizabeth were noted as living in Montgomery County at the time.  If this is correct, Daniel’s land would be in the area, shown below.

Daniel Miler 28, Smith, Fay

The corner of Barrett’s 710 is reported to be the corner of Smith Road and 28, shown above and below.

Daniel Miller Barrett land Clermont satellite

Along Smith Road, the land is much like it was 200+ years ago.  The area along 28 is sporadically developed, with homes and businesses fronting 28, so Smith Road is much more authentic to the time Daniel lived there.

Daniel Miller Clermont Smith Road field

After Daniel’s death, his heirs sold the 200-acre lot in Hamilton Township, Warren County, that he inherited from his father, to nephew-in-law Benjamin Eltzroth for $500. [Deed 1828]

There is a slightly different location for Daniel’s land provided by Merle:

Elder Daniel Miller and his brother David owned adjacent tracts of 200 and 100 acres about 2 miles south of Goshen, Ohio, on the northwest corner of OH132 and Woodville Pike – in the O’Bannon Church area.

 This area is shown on the map below, today.

David and Daniel Clermont land map

David and Daniel’s land is shown, beginning at this intersection of Ohio 132 and Woodville Pike.

David and Daniel Clermont land

Here’s a map of the two locations.  As you can see they are a little over a mile apart, not far from Goshen.

Daniel Miller map possible land locations

David and Daniel Miller’s land as reported by Merle is shown below in relation to the location of the Stonelick Brethren Church today.

David Miller Clermont

I would like to resolve this discrepancy and have contacted the GIS (Geogaphic Information Systems) Department in Clermont County to see if they have a map with the various military surveys overlaid over the current roads and landmarks.

They were very kind and sent the following map, showing Barrett’s survey 710 as well as an inset for 132 and Woodville Pike.

Daniel Miller Barrett GIS

Additional deed work, either running Daniel’s deeds backwards to the military survey, or forward to current, could probably pinpoint the exact location of Daniel’s land in Clermont County.  Regardless of exactly where he lived, we know he was very closely involved with the O’Bannion, now Stonelick Church.

Stonelick church today

The Stonelick covered bridge, shown below, now closed and undergoing renovation is located near the Stonelick Brethren Church, above, where several of Philip Jacob’s children, including Daniel, were founders.  For Daniel, this church would have held a very special place in his heart, where he was called into the ministry.

Stonelick bridge

After living between 5 and 8 years in Clermont County, the Miller clan would be on the move once again, this time to Montgomery County, Ohio.

Montgomery County, Ohio

The Ohio land office opened in 1801 and Ohio was admitted to the Union in 1803. It was about that time or shortly thereafter that Daniel Miller moved from Clermont to what would become Montgomery County, Ohio, at about the same time the state was admitted to the Union.

The government was trying to attract settlers to frontier areas by passing the Public Land Act where land could be purchased very cheaply. In 1804, the amount of land you could purchase was reduced to 160 aces from 320 acres, but the price was still $2 an acre.

We know that Daniel was in Montgomery County in 1804 because he was listed on the tax lists. He may not have been sure he wanted to stay, because he didn’t sell his Clermont County land until 1809. One of his sons could also have been farming that land as well. Daniel’s eldest son was born in 1775, so he had several sons of an age to farm.

From “Early Settlers of Montgomery Co Ohio”:

1804 Tax List:

  • Miller, David
  • Miller, Daniel
  • Miller, John Brown
  • Miller, John
  • Miller, James Sr
  • Miller, Jacob
  • Miller, James Jr

By 1805 some of the members of the Stonelick (Clermont County) group moved on to north of Dayton in Montgomery County. Magdalene Miller Cripe and Daniel Cripe moved in 1805 along with Daniel’s brothers John, Joseph and Samuel (Miami Valley Index, Lib. Of Congress, Wash DC).

In 1805, Daniel Miller was co-executor of the estate of Peter Gephart, along with the widow Catherine Gephart. David Miller, son of Daniel, married the widow, Catharine later in 1805.

In 1805, Daniel purchased land on Bear Creek in section 34, Twp 3 Range 5 in Jefferson Township (now Miami) on the east part of the section east of the creek. He purchased 150 acres. The 1806 tax list for Montgomery County also shows others living in that section were:

  • John Bowman Sr – 136 acres
  • John Bowman Jr – 100 acres
  • Daniel Bowser 75 acres
  • John Kripe – 50 acres
  • David Miller – 50 acres

Miller P 52

From the book “History of the City of Dayton and Montgomery Co., Ohio” by Rev. A.W. Drury, 1909.

Page 828 – December 9, 1829 Miami Township was formed. Parts were taken from Washington Twp. and Jefferson Twp. This township runs along the Miami river and includes her rich bottom lands. In 1788 the first exploration party was recorded, and in 1795 the first “road” cut to present day Dayton. Miamisburg is in this original township area. In 1797 Zachariah Hole settled and created Hole’s Station, several blockhouses to protect settlers from possible Indian attack.

The land in what would become Miami Township was all purchased early.

West of the Miami River in Township 2, range 5, Alexander Scott purchased sections 2 and 3, Oct. 19, 1802, William Emrick purchased section 4 Aug. 10, 1804 and G. Myers and P. Gephart purchased sections 9 and 10 on July 9, 1804. George Stettler purchased sections 15 and 16 on July 18, 1804. Samuel Tibbals purchased sections 21, 22, and 23 on Dec. 26, 1801. Arthur Vandevere purchased section 26, 27 and 28 Aug. 17, 1801. Jacob Miller purchased Township 3 range 5 sections 34, 35 and 36 in July 28, 1801. David Longhead purchased in Township 1 range 6 sections 19, 20, 29, and 30 on Dec. 28, 1803, The above descriptions include all of the land west of the Miami River, belonging to Miami township and also parts of sections 26, 27 and 28 lying south of the Montgomery Co line. Jacob Miller, named as one of the purchasers has special interest to us as he was the first Dunker preacher, settling within the limits of Montgomery Co.

It’s possible that the Elder Jacob Miller was involved in a bit of land speculation. Daniel Miller purchased his land from Jacob Miller. He probably felt that being a fellow Brethren, he could trust Jacob.

We don’t find Daniel on the 1806 or 1808 tax lists, but they may be incomplete. We do find him in 1809 and 1810. The 1810 tax list is particularly helpful because it includes a list of who entered the land patent for this land.

1810 Lands Recorded July 21, 1810

Proprietor’s Name Twp Range Twp Section By Whom Entered
Gephart, Peter (heirs) German 5 2 10 Note – more Gepharts
No Lentz
Miller, Aaron Jefferson 5 3 11 Jacob Miller
Miller, Daniel Dayton 6 2 30 D. Miller
Miller, Daniel Dayton 5 4 11 D. Miller
Miller, Daniel Jefferson 5 3 34 Jac. Miller
Miller, David Jefferson 5 3 11 Jacob Miller
Miller, David German 5 2 10
Miller, David Randolph 5 5 17
Miller, George German 4 4 26
Miller, Isaac Sr. Jefferson 5 3 7 Peter Weaver
Miller, James Wayne 6 3 33 Fryback and Miller
Miller, John Dayton 6 2 32 Jona Donnel
Miller, John German 4 4 27
Miller, Phillip Wayne 8 3 22 P. Short
Miller, Susannah Jefferson 5 3 29 John Miller

We know in the above tax list that Daniel’s son David is living in the same location as the Gephart land. David Miller married Peter Gephart’s widow in 1805. I also suspect that the Daniel and David who own adjacent land, both entered by Jacob Miller are our Daniel and his brother David, although I have no way to prove it. The Daniel in Dayton is Daniel (2) and the land owned by David in Randolph Twp. is Daniel’s brother, David. The Randolph Township land would be David’s last land purchase, as he was buried on that land in 1845.

1814 Tax List

Name Range T S Orig Patent
Dayton Twp
Daniel Miller 6 2 30 Self
Daniel Miller 6 4 11 Self
Daniel Miller 6 2 19 Self
Daniel Miller 6 2 29 Self
John Miller 6 2 25 Andrew Robinson
John Miller 6 2 15 John Neff
John Miller 6 2 15 John Neff
German Twp
David 5 2 9, 10 Moyer and Gephart
George Miller 4 4 26 Amos Higgins
Jacob Miller 4 4 30 Abraham Horner
John Brown 4 4 27 John Miller
John Carpenter 4 4 27 John Miller
Jefferson Twp
Daniel Miller 5 3 34 Jacob Miller
Elizabeth Miller 5 3 26 Bowser and Waggoner
Isaac Miller 5 3 7 Peter Weaver
Jacob Miller 5 3 11 Self
Peter Miller 5 3 36 Wm. Waggaman
Susanna Miller 5 3 29 John Miller
David Miller 5 5 13 John Miller
Randolph Twp
David Miller 5 5 17 John Miller
John Miller 5 5 17 John Miller
Michael Miller 5 5 17 David Miller

Montgomery County township map

On the Montgomery County map, above, you can see the various Township locations. While the portion of Miami where David Miller lived, German and Jefferson were located in the southern part of the County, on the west side of the Miami River, Randolph Township was located on the North side of the County. David, Daniel’s brother bought land in Randolph Township, and eventually, so did Daniel.

Jefferson Township butts up against both German and Miami Township and Daniel definitely bought land from Jacob Miller according to Montgomery County deeds, in Jefferson Township, the part of which later became Miami Township.

A review of the Daniel Miller deeds in Montgomery County shows us the following information:

Daniel Miller land

Daniel’s land in Jefferson Township was interesting, in particular, because in addition to being owned by Daniel for more than a decade, he also established a cemetery in that location. During that time, Daniel’s son, Daniel died in 1812 at the age of 33, with no sign of having married. It’s likely that Daniel buried his son on his land.

Daniel Miller land Bear Creek

The land that Daniel owned includes what is known as the Troxel Cemetery, named after the man Daniel sold it to who was also a neighbor. It was already a cemetery at the point that Daniel sold it, and it was undeveloped when Daniel bought the land from Jacob Miller who had not lived there but was engaged in land speculation – so that cemetery had to be the Daniel Miller cemetery. It may also have served other Brethren families in the area.

The burial records were obtained from the Salem’s Church in Ellerton.

There are only 14 known burials, the earliest of which was Christian Troxel, buried in May 1814, before Daniel sold the land, so it was apparently serving as a community cemetery.

Daniel Miller land Troxel

According to Find-A-Grave, this is the location of the Troxel Cemetery with the following cemetery notes and/or description:

This cemetery no longer exists. Only one stone remains. The cemetery was located between two fields and was destroyed to make access from one field to the other.

Daniel Miller land Troxel fields

If that is in fact accurate, there are a very limited number of places on this tract of land where the cemetery could have been located.  On the map above, the cemetery would be in the upper area where Bear Creek Road and the blue Bear Creek appear side by side, where the creek approaches the road.

I don’t think the Find-A-Grave location is exactly accurate, because the deed description when Daniel sold the cemetery to Troxel says that it is on the bank of Bear Creek, measured from the middle of the head race of the great mill, containing half an acre.  The Mill appears to be located approximately where the white roof building is today, so the cemetery would be right there as well.  The tree line across from the white roof building is the north end of Daniel’s property.

Daniel Miller cemetery and mill location

If the cemetery was destroyed for field access, the only location on the banks of Bear Creek with anything resembling fields was at this location.

Daniel Miller Bear Creek mill closeup

The succession of deeds confirms that Daniel Miller was indeed a miller in the truest sense of the word. His land included a mill, and given that his 1796 tax record in Bedford County also indicated that he had a mill, this would simply be a continuation of his livelihood. And who better to trust with your business than the local church elder?

This 1851 plat map shows Beck’s Mill where Daniel Miller once owned land on Bear Creek.

Daniel Miller 1851 Bear Creek

Using Google Maps and street view, I took a “drive” of the area where Daniel lived.

Daniel Miller Bear Creek distant

Daniel’s property began as the field line below South Union Road on Bear Creek Road. The mill must have been on the far north side of Daniel’s property, just about 500 feet south of the intersection of South Union Road and Bear Creek Road, where homes are located today, based on the 1851 map and the deeds referencing the cemetery, which was clearly very close to the property line as well.  You can see Daniel’s property line on the current map today, shown below.

Daniel Miller Bear Creek mill location

From the bridge on South Union Road, we can see Bear Creek. This is looking south towards Daniel’s land.

Daniel Miller Bear Creek view

Driving south of Bear Creek, we follow the road through Daniel’s land, but the creek is obscured by trees on the right.

Daniel Miller corn fields

Daniel’s land is growing fine crops of corn. As a farmer, he would be very pleased.

Daniel Miller home place

Based on the 1851 map, and the lay of the land, I’m sure this is the old homeplace. Some of these structures could have been Daniels. Perhaps his original house is “inside” one of these homes today. This hill is the highest elevation on the property, and Bear Creek is right across the road, so Daniel clearly built where he was least likely to be flooded.

Daniel Miller farm

It’s certainly not beyond the realm of possibility that at least one of these barns was Daniels.

Daniel Miller farmscape

This land probably hasn’t changed much in the last 200 years. It was exactly 200 years ago that Daniel sold this land.  What an incredibly beautiful Americana farmscape.

Daniel (2) of Dayton

There is a second Daniel Miller on the Montgomery County tax lists that lived in what would become the City of Dayton. That isn’t our Daniel, and these two Daniel Millers have been confused for years. I spent a lot of time when I initially began researching Daniel Miller in Montgomery County barking up the wrong tree.

Gale Honeyman wonders if this Daniel Miller is also related to Philip Jacob Miller, perhaps through an unknown son of Johann Michael Miller. That’s certainly a possibility, especially with an association with the Ullery family. If a male Miller descendant of this Daniel Miller ever decides to take a Y DNA test, we’ll know immediately if Daniel (2 )descends from the same line as either Johann Michael Mueller/Miller or the Elder Jacob Miller.

Extracted from the History of the Church of the Brethren of the Southern District of Ohio, published originally in 1916, reprinted in 2007:

P 93 – The south line of Lower Stillwater was finally established along the line of the Pennsylvania Railroad from Trotwood south-east to what is now called Gettysburg Avenue: thence south a half mile and east to Miami River. This detour was made to include the lands of an early settler who needs more than passing mention. Upon a marble slab erected in the family cemetery on this farm this inscription appears:

“Daniel Miller Sr. Emigrated from Huntingdon County, Pennsylvania, 1804, to this place where he died January 24, 1849. Aged 83 years, 8 months and 19 days.”

His wife Susan, was a sister of Elder David Bowman, Sr. She died December 10, 1851. When they landed at Dayton its oldest house had been built 8 years. They made their way up Wolf Creek Valley by the men going ahead and cutting away trees and vines for passage and taking possession of Section 30, three miles west of Dayton, but now adjoining the corporation. The encroachment of the city caused the removal of their remains to Fort McKinley, where their monuments now stand.

They raised to maturity 4 sons, namely: Benjamin (Elizabeth Bowser), Daniel (Susan Oliver), John (Anna Winger Sollenberger), Joseph (Catherine Funderburg) and 7 daughters: Mary who married Samuel Ullery and died leaving a daughter Susan who married David Beeghly. Elizabeth married Moses Shoup of Beaver Creek Church, Susan married Joseph Etter, Esther married Isaac Long, Margaret married Abraham Denlinger, St., Catherine married Jacob Wolf, Sarah married John Denlinger, Sr.

Indeed, there is quite a bit of information about Daniel (2), extracted from several source, including the following by Carolyn T. Denlinger:

In late 1802 or early 1803, Daniel Miller came from Huntingdon County, Pennsylvania to prospect for land. In Harrison township in Montgomery County, he found a squatter by the name of Billy Mason who had built his cabin and cleared some land in 1800, the first squatter in Harrison Twp. Daniel Miller liked the land which lay along the Wolf Creek and he bought it from Mason. The US patent for this plot was granted to him on Feb 11 1804 above the signature of President Thomas Jefferson. Miller then returned to Pa. and brought his wife and family back to Ohio.

In 1808 a large brick dwelling was erected on a rise overlooking the Wolf Creek. This house is still standing at 3525 Dandridge Avenue and is registered as a Historic Site.

Daniel Miller 2 home

In 1804 or 1805 Miller built a saw and grist mill on Wolf Creek near his home. The grist mill was later equipped with a set of French Buhrs weighing approximately 1500 pounds each which were bought in Cincinnati. Millers Mill burned in 1825 or 26 but were rebuilt shortly thereafter.

Later he added a distillery and made large quantities of liquor. He and his sons made three trips down the Mississippi River to Natchez and New Orleans to sell the products of their labors. They did so well that Daniel Miller became the owner of a large amount of land ranging in estimates from several hundred acres to two thousand acres.

When Miller arrived in Montgomery county, it was necessary for him to cut a road through the forest to his land from Dayton which was only a tiny hamlet. This was the start of his involvement with the building of roads in the area. According to the road records of the Montgomery Co. engineers office, Daniel Miller was an active participant in the building of these roads: Liberty Road (1809), road from Dayton to New Lexington (1807), Wolf Creek Pike (1810), alteration to Wolf Creek Pike (1813), Western Avenue (1818) and other transactions. A Denlinger family tradition explains the crookedness of Wolf Creek Pike from Dayton to Trotwood this way: as the ancestors were clearing the forest to build the road, it was easier to go around the largest trees than to cut them down.

Daniel Miller’s wife was Susan Bowman, daughter of John Bowman Sr. and wife Esther (maiden name unknown). The Miller’s were the parents of ten children: Benjamin, John, Joseph, Betsy (m. Shoup), Susannah (m. Etter), Catharine (m Jacob B. Wolfe), Esther (m. Long), Margaret (m. Abraham Denlinger), Daniel Jr., Sarah (m John Denlinger). The Millers were devout members of the German Baptist Brethren Church. Their large brick home was built with removable partitions between the rooms so that worship services could be held there. The Annual Meeting of the denomination for the whole country was held at Millers Crossing in 1884.

Daniel Miller lived a long, eventful and prosperous life. He saw Montgomery County change from dense forest to a populous area and he played a prominent part in that development. He died in 1849, his wife in 1851. Both were buried near their home, but the encroachment of the city necessitated their removal to the Ft. McKinley Cemetery on Free Pike.

Fortunately, between being geographically separate along with this additional information, we have enough to separate the two earliest Daniel Millers found in Montgomery County.

Daniel Miller (1) as Executor

In 1805, Daniel Miller was appointed executor of Peter Gephart’s estate.

Daniel’s son, David, would marry Peter’s widow, Catharina Gephart in late 1805.

Montgomery Co. Administrations, Wills and Guardians 1805-1850:

Peter Gephart of German Twp administrators Catherine Gephart and Daniel Miller, security John Bowman and Zachariah Hole, Jan. 4, 1805 #12 p 19

Elizabeth Gephart 8 years and John Gephart 5 years, heirs of Peter Gephart decd, guardian Valentine Gephart and Mathaias Rigal, Aug 26,1806 #29 p 41

In May 1810, Daniel Miller as executor of Peter Gephart’s estate, Catherina Miller as his former wife and the mother of his 2 children, and David Miller as her current husband and guardian of her two Gephart children, petition the court and explain how Peter Gephart and Philip Moyer divided land they bought together.

At the August 1816 court session, Betsey Gephart 10 (age is incorrect) and John 15, heirs of Peter Gephart chose Peter Barta guardian. Security George Parsons and James Chatham.

In 1810, Daniel Miller was also the administrator of the estate of one John Miller of Jefferson Township along with widow Susannah and John Mikesell. We really don’t know who this John was, but given the 1790 census, it’s a distinct possibility that John Miller was a son of Daniel’s brother, David. David has two unexplained males on the 1790 census where he is known to have only female children at that time. John was a farmer and had an extensive estate.

Daniel Miller 1810 exec

In 1813, Daniel serves as an appraiser of the estate of his neighbor, Daniel Bowser, along with the English Brethren minister, Samuel Boltin. 

Daniel Miller 1813 appraiser

Given that Daniel Bowser was Daniel Miller’s neighbor, I wonder if Daniel Bowser is buried in the cemetery on Daniel Miller’s land.

Based on this entry from Montgomery Co. Administrations, Wills and Guardians 1805-1850, it appears that Daniel Miller might well have served once more as an administrator for Adam Miller, although I don’t know who Adam is.

Page 30 – Adam Miller, administrators Daniel and John (Johannes) Miller. Securities Michael Hagar and Adam Weaver?, July 1821. Adam died in June and paperwork within the estate packet indicate he owned land in Dayton Township.

Daniel Miller 1821 exec

In 1822, just 5 months before he died, it looks like Daniel was a witness in another estate for Jacob Ullery, probably related to Daniel’s wife.

34 – Jacob Ullery will Book A p 228 exec David Miller and Samuel Stutzman witnesses David and Daniel Miller, wife Susannah, children Daniel, Jacob, John, Mary, Susannah, Lydia, Cathy. March 4, 1822.

Moving On Up, to the North Side

When Daniel first arrived in Montgomery County, he bought land in Jefferson Township in the southern part of the county, along the Miami River bottomlands.

In 1814, according to the tax list, Daniel Miller is still farming the same land, but in 1815, that would change when Daniel sells that land and buys land in Randolph Township, closer to his brother David and very close to the Happy Corner Church, then known as the upper house of Lower Stillwater.

May 27, 1815 – Daniel Miller to Michael Hoovler $2980 section 34 Twp 3 range 5 begin at Abraham Troxel SE corner…D. Bowser corner…meandering to John Bowman’s and Abraham Troxels…149.5 acres. Signed by Daniel Miller, Elizabeth Miller her mark. Witness Philip Mikesell, A. Troxel. Elizabeth releases dower.

May 27, 1815 – Daniel Miller to Abraham Troxel, $20, section 34 Twp 3 range 5, on the Bank of Bear Creek south of the mill N 25 degrees west 7 chains 81 links to post then west one chain and 25 links to the middle of the head race of the great mill, then south 43 degrees east 8 chains and 80 links to beginning containing half an acre. Daniel Miller signed, witnesses Philip Mikesell and George Hoobler – Jefferson Township

This deed of sale tells us that there was a mill on Daniel’s property. This is the only record of that mill, with the exception of the 1851 plat map. The description of this cemetery suggests that it is between the road and the creek.

When Daniel bought this land, it was bordered by the Troxel land, and he sold the cemetery to the Troxel family.  By this time, there was at least one Troxel burial in the cemetery – at least one where the stone remained a few years ago.

Daniel sold his interests in Sec 34 in Montgomery Co, on Bear Creek, selling his 150 acres for $3000 or $20 per acre, an increase of 10 times in a period of 8 years. Of course, he had built a mill. He paid $12 per acre for his new land in Randolph County.  Daniel seemed to be an astute businessman.

Sept. 1, 1815, William Farmer and Prudence his wife to Daniel Miller for $1689,12 section 26 Twp range 5 beginning at SW corner of the section…west boundary line of said section…140.76 acres. Witness Robert Russell and Archibald E. Mickle

Where did Daniel live between May and September of 1815? A receipt in his estate indicates that he hired Michael Wiltfong to assist him with looking for land. Apparently the land they found was what Daniel purchased in Randolph Township, although why Michael wasn’t paid until after Daniel’s death in 1822 is a mystery.

In 1817, the Public Land Act acreage reduced to 80 acres. Price still $2 an acre.

After Daniel’s death, his heirs straightened out the deed to his property.  He had clearly meant to take care of this before he died, another reason to think he died unexpectedly.

March 21, 1826 – David Miller administrator of Daniel Miller to Jacob Miller – Daniel Miller died seized of the SW quarter of section 26 Twp 5 range 5 and on August 22, 1820 sold 100 acres of north side of said quarter to Jacob for $1000 who is one of the sons and heirs of said Daniel who died intestate and without executing the deed to said Jacob. Some of Daniel’s heirs are underage. Court ordered the deed to be recorded. Signed by David and John Miller. Witnessed by Henry Stoddard and John Folkerth.

Received Dec 18, 1827 recorded Jan 1, 1838

On Sept. 24, 1834 John Miller of Miami County, Ohio filed in the court of pleas and quarter sessions against Stephen Miller, Jacob Miller, Samuel Miller, Abraham Miller, John Boogher and Elizabeth his wife, Daniel Miller, Samuel Miller, Abraham Miller, Daniel Cripe and Magdalena his wife, Nancy Miller, David Miller and Elizabeth Miller demanding partition of certain real estate here-in-after described. Heard at February court 1835. Real estate sold at public auction to Peter Hoffman for $500…40 acres off the south side of the SW quarter of section 26 Twp 5 range 5 lying south of and adjoining 100 acres part of said quarter with Daniel Miller deceased in his lifetime sold to his son Jacob Miller and since his death his administrators have conveyed by virtue of an order of the court February term 1826. Signed by the sheriff of Montgomery County, James Brown and witness Abraham Barnett and David John.

This is the 40 acres with a home built in 1832 that stands today. Elizabeth did not die until October 1832, so it’s at least feasible she had the home built.

Daniel originally owned a total of 140 acres in Randolph Township. In 1820 he sold 100 acres to son Jacob, but the deed was never filed. Daniel’s heirs filed it in 1826. Part of the condition of that sale was that Jacob give up his interest in the balance of the 40 acres which may have included the Daniel Miller homeplace. However, according to Daniel’s estate paperwork, he may well not have been living there at the time he died, given that a receipt to son John indicates that he moved from “Stillwater.”

Jacob Miller owned his 100 acres at least as late as 1851 according to the plat map.

The 1851 Montgomery County plat map, Randolph Township section 26 still shows Jacob Miller.

Daniel Miller 1851 Randolph

The 1827 tax lists from Montgomery County show a listing in Randolph Township for “The heirs of Daniel Miller” for tax on 40 acres of land located at Range 5, Township 5, section 26. That land is located on a later plat map, still configured as a 40 acre farm, having not been split, shown below, with the 10 acres showing above. The upper house of Lower Stillwater, now Happy Corner Brethren Church is located about a mile to the west, just past the fruit farms, visible on the corner.

Daniel Miller 1851 Randolph 40 acres

Given this information, it’s not terribly difficult to find this land today using Google maps.

Daniel Miller Old Salem Road

On this map, Daniel’s land in Randolph Township is at the red balloon, and the Happy Corner Church, then the upper house of Lower Stillwater is located at the intersection of North Union and Old Salem Road about a mile west.

Daniel Miller Randolph google

I found the land at 3705 Old Salem Rd Dayton, OH 45415, and immediately became very excited because I was just sure I saw an old cemetery, at the green arrow.

As luck would have it, my husband wandered into my office and announced that he had to go to Cincinnati the following day.  We live in Michigan, so he had to drive through Dayton. He probably wondered why I was so excited about him leaving for a business trip, and maybe a tad bit confused.  When I asked him to go to that location where I thought the cemetery might be, he thought I had lost my mind. I asked him to take a picture, and if the owners were home, to talk to them. He discovered that it isn’t a cemetery, but a garden, created by the current owners, and he also discovered that the original farmhouse actually still stands two structures away, to the east. It pays to talk to current owners.

Daniel Miller Randolph house

Was this Daniel Miller’s house? It’s certainly possible. This address is 3625 Old Salem Road. Realtor listings tell us this home was built in 1832. If they are accurate, this wasn’t Daniel’s, at least not the original home, although the original could be underneath.  The realtor’s date may not be accurate either.

Daniel Miller Randolph house 2

However, Elizabeth lived until in 1832, so the family could have potentially built this for her. I surely would love to know if there is a log cabin under this structure. I also wonder if these trees were growing when Daniel lived there.

Maybe I need to send my husband back to talk to these owners!

Daniel Miller Randolph house close

Daniel owned one more piece of land not recorded above. In 1820, he received a land grant and based on the Land Grant Act, he would have paid $2 per acre or a total of $320 for 160 acres.

Daniel Miller land grant

This is the land Daniel’s estate was paying tax on in Darke County.

On April 27, 1829 after the snows were thawed, John Miller the SE ¼ of section 8, Twp 9 Range 4 in Adams Twp, Darke Co., 160 acres. This was formerly owned by John’s father, Daniel Miller and is the 1820 land grant. It was purchased from the heirs for $200. Earlier on Nov. 13, 1816, David Miller, John’s father-in-law (and Daniel’s brother) had obtained a patent for 160 acres on Section 7 Twp 9, range 4 in Adams Twp. This land later went to David’s heirs. There is a Miller cemetery located on Daniel’s property. It is located in the corner of the SE quarter and the section line of 7 and 8 passes on the west side of the cemetery. It is fenced but not taken care of. The stones are no longer standing. Inscriptions were takin in 1966.

Darke County Common Pleas Court, July term 1829: Stephen, Jacob, David, John, Abraham Miller, John Booker & Betsy his wife vs. Samuel, Daniel, Magdalena, Nancy, David & Betsy Miller. Petition for partition. Land described as SE 1/4 section 8, Town 9, Range 4, Darke County OH. That Daniel Miller, late of Montgomery County OH, died seized of the above described land and that he left 8 heirs to which land descends, to wit: Stephen, Jacob, David, John, Abraham, Betsy, along with Samuel Miller who resides in Montgomery County OH and who is deaf and dumb and also Isaac Miller who died leaving as his heirs at law: Daniel age about 14, Nancy age about 10, David age about 8, Betsy age about 6 & Magdalena aged about 12. Said minor heirs of Isaac Miller, dec’d, reside in Miami County OH. That Jacob has since relinquished his claim because of advancements made by his father to him, in his lifetime. Widow of Daniel Miller, Dec’d relinquishes her right to dower [she is not named]. above described land sold to John Miller. Chancery Book B-1, p 277

Daniel Miller Darke County

The map above shows the location of the Miller Cemetery on this land, and the FindAGrave entry below.

Daniel Miller Darke FindAGrave

I have never before had an ancestor who owned two pieces of land that included cemeteries, and him not be buried in either.

Gale Honeyman at the Brethren Heritage Center informed me of additional land patents, although there is no record of our Daniel selling this land, nor of his estate paying taxes for this land, so these patents could be for one of the other Daniels (2 or 10) in Montgomery County, including Daniel #1’s son, Daniel who died in 1812, although there is no Montgomery County estate for him. This is the most likely possibility since the word “Jr.” is attached to one of the patents. They could also have been sold directly and never registered, so we’ll likely never know which Daniel these belonged to.  There is no record of a Daniel Miller selling these lands in Montgomery County.

Daniel Miller of Montgomery County OH had two land patents in Perry Twp, Montgomery County in section 36 on 19 Jul 1804 and section 11 on 15 Aug 1804. Daniel Miller Jr. of Montgomery County obtained a patent in the same Twp for section 19 on 20 Aug 1805. Early Ohio Settlers, Purchasers of Land in Southwestern Ohio, 1800-1840, 1986, Ellen T. Berry & David A. Berry, p 223. Section 11 is 4 miles from the Preble County line and section 36 is 5 miles from the line.

Daniel’s Death

Daniel died on August 22, 1822. We can presume from a couple of different pieces of evidence that Daniel was not ill before he died, and may have died rather unexpectedly. Daniel had just celebrated his 67th birthday. By today’s standards, that isn’t old at all, and he was clearly still very active and involved.

First, Daniel was building something and had apparently recently moved.

Second, Daniel had no will, suggesting he did not expect to die.

Third, Daniel, apparently, did not die at home, and he may have passed rather unexpectedly.

Fourth, Daniel never registered the deed to his son Jacob from the time he sold Jacob 100 acres of the home place on August 22, 1820 until his death 2 years and 4 days later.  Had he thought he was gravely ill, he would have registered that deed.

Ohio was ravaged by illness between 1820 and 1823, as is told in the following excerpt from the book, “The Midwest Pioneer, His Ills, Cures and Doctors” by Madge Pickard and R. Carlyle Buley published in 1946, page 14:

In Ohio, too, generally prevailed the most distressing sickness and great mortality, particularly from bilious fevers and cholera morbus.

Said James Kilbourne, prominent Ohio journalist and legislator:

“Respecting the healthfulness of this country, I have to repeat that it is in fact sickly in a considerable degree.” He reported the presence in 1800 of bilious fever which returned with more violence the following year: “Almost all were sick, both in towns and country, so that it became difficult, in many instances, to get tenderers for the sick. In many instances whole famihes were down at a time and many died. What seems strange to me is that the Indians who were natives of the country are as subject to the disorder as the whites. Of the few who remain in the territory some are now sick with it and they say it has always been so, and that they have often been obliged to move back from the meadows and bottoms where they always lived, into the woods and uplands during the sickly season to escape it.”

The autumn of 1819 in Ohio was particularly bad along the Scioto River bottoms, “whence deleterious exhalations arise.” “The angel of disease and death, ascending from his oozy bed, along the marshy margin of the bottom grounds . . . floats in his aerial chariot, and in seasons favorable to his prowess, spreads mortal desolation as he flies,” mourned the Portsmouth Scioto Telegraph in 1820. In 1821, “even in the memory of the oldest Indian, so unhealthy a season was never known here before,” reported the Piqua Gazette. Of the one hundred sixty-five thousand people in the seventeen counties within a radius of fifty miles of Columbus, more than one-half were sick in September, 1823. “The most extravagant imagination can hardly picture desolation greater than the reality.”

Ironically, the mystery surrounding Daniel’s death and where he is, or was, buried in one of the most profound of his life.

And I must admit, it’s driving me crazy.

Let me first share with you what we do know.

Because Daniel did not have a will, his estate was involved and generated a lot of paperwork, which still exists today. That’s the wonderful news.

Daniel’s Estate

Montgomery Co. Administrations, Wills and Guardians 1805-1850:

Page 34 – Daniel Miller will probated Sept. 23, 1822. Security John Becher and Stephen Miller, admins David and John Miller

After Daniel died, David Miller, John Miller, John Becher and Stephen Miller are all four bound as securities for David and John Miller as administrators of Daniel’s estate. There is also a receipt where Daniel Miller promises to pay Henry Marquet $7 on January 22, 1822, not long before he died. This receipt contains Daniel’s signature and is the first signature of Daniel’s I found. Today, there are a few more.

Daniel Miller 1822 signature

Daniel’s estate receipts include tax documents for taxes in Darke Co in 1822, 23 and 24, along with Montgomery Co. It also includes a charge in March 1822 for “moving him from Stillwater” and in August for hauling one load for him on Twin. Then another entry for tax in Darke Co. in 1828 and 1829 and also in Montgomery.  The taxes in both Darke County and Montgomery County are for the land we knew that he owned, so no surprises there.  Had he owned additional land, his estate assuredly would be paying taxes on that land.

Surprisingly, there are also receipts relating to the estate of Peter Gephart. Daniel was the administrator of that estate, beginning in 1805. The last child had already come of age, so this must have simply been the final “cleanup,” although Elizabeth Gephart’s husband, William Hipple filed suit against the estate, then dropped the suit. All may not have been entirely friendly.

Samuel Studebacher filed a bill for 2750 bricks at $4 per thousand.

If Daniel had built a house outside of Montgomery County, there would have been land taxes on an additional property, and his estate would have been filed in the county where he lived when he died. Clearly, he died in Montgomery County. But what and where was he building?

Daniel’s estate sale was held September 22, 1822 and the following people purchased items. Note that the purchasers all seem to be family. Johannes Bucher was his son-in-law, married to his daughter Elizabeth. His widow seems to have purchased only one thing. John was his son who bought the family Bible and subsequently took it with him to Elkhart County, Indiana.

Who What $ Cents fractions
John Bugher One stove 20
Abraham Miller One sattle 14
Abraham Miller Two axes 4 61
Steven Miller One chorn 4
Steven Miller One box of sundry articles 2 25
Abraham Miller One mans sattle 2
Samuel Miller One clowiny? Knife 1 56 2/4
Abraham Miller One cut of augers 2 18 ¼
Abraham Miller Chisels 1 81 ¼
David Miller One hand saw 1
John Miller Shackers? forge and hoes 2 50
Jacob Miller One tin and cobs sheet 1 06 ¼
Steven Miller Tin cups and funnel 37 ½
Abraham Miller Holter chain 1 61 ½
Jacob Miller Halter chain 50
Abraham Miller Lot of sundry articles 3 12 ½
John Bucher Col and books 1 38
Abraham Miller Bale and square 1 62 ½
Steven Miller One gross snet 1 6 1/9
David Miller One smelting lien? 87 ½
Stephen Miller One bair skin 75
Abraham Miller One mattik 2 61 ¼
Abraham Miller Waking can (walking cane?) 1
Steven Miller One stovel 25
David Miller Chaier and lasts 1 81 ¼
Steven Miller One bar of iron 2 55
Steven Miller Crout cutter 62 ½
Steven Miller Hors geers 9 75
Jacob Miller Hors geers 4 25
John Miller Hors geers 1 75
Chraha Miller Two bridles 1 6 ¼
John Miller One bible 44
David Miller Set of crocks 75
Abraham Miller One bottle 37 ½
David Miller One chisel 2
Abraham Miller One had? 19
Steven Miller One barrel of whiskey 6
Abraham Miller One brittle 85 ½
Steven Miller One hogsherd 1 37
Jacob Miller Bort mantle 68 ¼
Elisabeth Miller One mans saddle 5
Steven Miller One mare 58
Steven Miller One ink stand 86
Abraham Miller One stove 33
Steven Miller One crosscut saw 8
Steven Miller One grind stone 6 25
John Miller One crosscut 7
Steven Miller One logogars?? 5
David Miller Shab skin and heb stubs 25
John Bugher Cantle mats 43 ¼
Jacob Miller One dony? (dung?) Fork 87 ½
Jacob Miller One hamer 1
John Bugher Two bags 25
John Bugher Pitch fork 50
Jacob Miller Two blains 50
John Bugher One pot 3
Jacob Miller One oven 75
Steven Miller One half bushel 62
Abraham Miller One rifel and pony? 13
Abraham Miller 30 bushels whet 15
John Miller 13 bushels whet 8 19
Abraham Miller 25 bushels corn 4 62
Jacob Miller 28 bushels of corn 5 25
John Bugher 24 bushels of oats 5 6
John Miller Sith an cratle?? 5 12 5
John Bugher 17 bushels of ray 3 56
Abraham Miller One lame (lamb?) 2 12 1
John Bugher Frying pay and spinning whele 2

Surprisingly, Daniel had a barrel of whiskey. Medicinal perhaps? That’s a lot of medicine.

I love the crout cutter.  He was truly still German.  But I must admit, I don’t know what a crout cuter looks like, so I turned to google to find out.

Daniel Miller kraut cutter

This kraut cutter is probably not as old as Daniel’s, but I’d wager that kraut cutters hadn’t changed much.  The cabbage was put into the wooden box (to preserve knuckles and fingers, I’m sure) which was then slid back and forth over the blades to shred the cabbage into small pieces.  Further reading discloses that the Germans would set this contraption on top of a large crock into which they shaved the cabbage and then added salt, allowing the cabbage to naturally ferment, turning the cabbage into sauerkraut.  Daniel had a set of crocks, which were probably used for making sauerkraut.

I do wonder about the “bair skin.”  We don’t really think of bear in Ohio today, but he did live on Bear Creek when the county was quite new.  Of course the skin could also have come from any of the other frontiers Daniel helped to forge.  I wish I knew the story behind that bear skin!

I love estate inventories.  They tell us so much about our ancestors.  Daniel had 3 saddles, but only one mare and pony.  He was obviously still farming, because he had oats, corn, wheat and probably rye.  Surprisingly, Daniel had no livestock except possibly for that lamb.  The shab skin may be a sheep skin.  Also surprisingly, Daniel didn’t have a wagon – a staple on every farm.  Nor did he have a buggy.  So how did Daniel and his wife get from place to place?  He may have ridden a horse, but surely she didn’t ride a horse to church.  Besides, they only had one horse.

This is what is shown in his estate packet, but I surely wonder if it is complete.  There also doesn’t seem to be enough kitchen gear.  Everything in the house was included, as the husband was considered to own everything.  The wife was provided for by having a right to one third of the proceeds, but still, everything was sold at auction unless she bid and the items were then deducted from her one third share.  In this case, Elizabeth, assuming this Elizabeth was the widow, only purchased one man’s saddle.

Daniel’s “simple” son, Samuel, who was often described as an “idiot,” meaning in the vernacular of that time, developmentally disabled, purchased his father’s knife.  I’m glad he was allowed to buy something.  From a later deed, we discover that he was actually “deaf and dumb,” so his mind may actually have been just fine, but he was unable to hear or communicate, sadly locked into his own world, out of ours and unable to provide for himself.  There are more instances of “deaf and dumb” children in later generations, especially where the Millers married their first cousins.

From the Book Montgomery Co. Ohio Common Pleas Law Record 1803-1849 by Rose Shilt and Audrey Gilbert:

David and John Miller admins of Daniel Miller decd, petition to convey land to Jacob Miller SW ¼ S 26 T5 and R5e agreement to sell to Daniel Miller decd, son Jacob 100 acres off N end of section. Heirs of Daniel Miller being Jacob, David, John, Stephen, Abraham, Samuel (who is an idiot) and Betsey Bugher wife of John Bugher all of age, also son Isaac Miller decd leaving 5 children being Daniel, Magdalena, David, Betsey, and Nancy, all minors.

The date right below this entry is May Term 1826, so this would be the term before that, probably Feb 1826.

From the Book Mont Co. Ohio, Chancery Records 1824-1854 by Rose Shilt:

In the Chancery court in the July term of 1835, Daniel’s estate in being heard in chancery. John Miller of Miami Co., vs Stephen, Jacob, Samuel and Abraham Miller, John Boogher and wife Elizabeth all of Montgomery Co, David Miller of Elkhart, Indiana, Daniel, Abraham 2nd and wife Magdalena, Nancy, David 2nd and Elizabeth Miller. Petition – Daniel Miller of Mont. Co decd owned 40 acres off S side Sw ¼ S26 T5 R4 adjoining 100 acres Daniel decd sold to his son Jacob Miller. Daniel Miller decd left 8 children, John, Stephen, Jacob, Samuel, Abraham Miller, Elizabeth wife of John Boogher of Mont. Co Ohio, David Miller of Elkhart Indiana, Isaac Miller late of Darke Co Ohio decd who left 5 children: Daniel Miller, Magdalena wife of Abraham Miller 2nd, Nancy and David Miller 2nd, and Elizabeth Miller, last 3 minors who reside in Elkhart, Indiana. Samuel Miller is an idiot and Jacob Miller his guardian and Jacob’s share forgeit according to terms of agreement for 100 acres leaving each 1/7th share. Sold to eter (is this supposed to be Peter) Hoffman. (page 1)

This petition is particularly important because if definitively connects David Miller of Elkhart County to Daniel, as well as Isaac from Darke County and his children.

From the book Court of Common Pleas 1803-1849, I found the following for Daniel Miller:

  • Page 22 – David and Daniel Miller petition to sell the Gephart land – as admins
  • Page 38 – Benjamin Miller assignee of Daniel Miller vs Robert Graham in debt
  • 39 – John Miller admin of Daniel Miller vs John Emrick debt
  • 41 – Gephart estate – Phillip and Jacob Gephart exec of Henry Gephart decd vs Adam Whinehart and Daniel Miller in debt
  • 22 – Gephart estate – petition to deed
  • 62 – Daniel Miller vs Henry Howman debt – Vol D1- 1818-1820
  • 101 – William Hipple vs Daniel Miller – discontinued May 1823
  • 102 – David and John Miller admin of Daniel vs widow Hurdmor (can’t read my writing for her name) debt

Estate Documents

I visited Montgomery County in 2004 and photographed Daniel’s estate packet at the Montgomery County archives building. Today, his estate papers are available through Ancestry here.

Daniel Miller estate 1

Daniel Miller estate 2

This next item is a list of bills paid out of Daniel’s estate. These can be enlightening as well.

Daniel Miller estate 3

The following document is a bill from John Miller, his son, which includes the notation for moving Daniel “from Stillwater.” Given that Daniel doesn’t seem to have purchased more property and clearly lived in Montgomery County when he died, where did John move Daniel to? Did Daniel and his wife move in with one of his children? If so, why? Who was then living on Daniel’s 40 acres in Randolph Township? Was there a separate house on that 40 acres, or was the main house on the 100 acres that Daniel sold to Jacob, and Daniel simply lived with Jacob’s family until he moved? So many questions and absolutely no answers.

Daniel Miller estate 4

Twin, noted above, likely refers to the area near the Montgomery/Preble County border where the Sugar Hill Cemetery is located, probably the location of an early Brethren Church, located on Twin Creek just east of West Alexandria in Preble County. This and the note about moving both suggest that perhaps he moved to son Stephen’s place, along with his burial location.

Daniel Miller Twin

Daniel Miller 1815 bill

Apparently, in 1815, Daniel Miller’s mare escaped and Michael Wiltfong searched for her for a day and a half, and found her. I wonder if this was involved with Daniel’s move from Bear Creek in Jefferson Township to Randolph Township.

Daniel Miller estate wood

John Becker operated a sawmill in Randolph Township. If Daniel was building something, he would have purchased the lumber near where he was building.

Daniel Miller Becker mill

He would have visited John Becker’s mill, shown above.  Notice that the barn is much larger than the house.  This was typical in Indiana where I grew up as well.

Daniel couldn’t build much with 300 feet of plank. At 10 feet per plank, this is only 30 boards. If they were 8 inches wide, and didn’t overlap, he could only have covered an area 10 feet wide, the length of the planks, and 20 feet tall. Again, not enough for a house. What was Daniel building? And where? Did this have anything to do with his move?

Daniel Miller estate 5

This receipt, above, is in German script.  Not something I can read.

Daniel Miller estate Gephart

The receipts above and below are the final settlements as Daniel’s administration of the estate of Peter Gephart. John is Peter’s son.

Daniel Miller estate Gephart 2

Daniel Miller estate Gephart 3

William Hipple married Elizabeth Gephart, daughter of Peter Gephart. These receipts are the final settlement with her, or actually, her husband since at that time the husband obtained all rights to the woman’s property when they married.

Daniel Miller estate Gephart 4

Daniel Miller estate Gephart 5

Catherine Schaeffer Gephart, widow of Peter Gephart, married Daniel’s son, David Miller in 1805. The receipts above and below contain Catherine’s mark and David’s signature.

David Miller 1823 receipt

I have omitted the several receipts that were for payment of taxes, since we already know the location of his land and those receipts don’t serve to inform us of anything unknown and several marginally legible.

Those receipts do confirm that he owned land in Darke County, Ohio as well as in Montgomery County.

Receipts also show that he had recently built something and moved, although those two things may not be connected. There was a receipt for both lumber and bricks, but not enough bricks to build an entire house, only a chimney and hearth. The receipt was for 2750 bricks. A contemporary brick calculator using bricks that are 7 5/8 by 2 1/4 indicates that to cover a 19X20 foot area, you would need 2726 bricks. Clearly a 19X20 foot area is not enough to cover a home, so this must have been a fireplace, chimney and hearth or something similar. Did he just build a room onto a house?

Apparently Daniel died rather suddenly. We can presume he was not ill because he seemed to be quite active. In 1822, Daniel Miller was 67 years old, not a young man, but neither with one foot in the grave, or so one would think. It appears that his creditors didn’t expect him to die either, as at least one of them from the building project had to swear to a bill for supplies after his death, and the man who helped him hunt land in 1815 had to submit a bill to collect for his services as well.

We know where Daniel lived most of his life, right up until the last few months, and then we not only lose track of where he lived, we also don’t know where he died and was buried, at least for awhile. Daniel Miller was not originally buried where his stone rests today.

In fact, given the size of his grave, not much of Daniel is buried in Sugar Hill Cemetery.

Daniel’s Stone in Sugar Hill Cemetery

When I visited Montgomery County in 2004, I found Daniel’s stone in Preble County, just over the county line. Like a good genealogist hot on the trail, I went right over and took photographs of the cemetery and his headstone.

But things didn’t seem right.

I noticed that the marker seemed much too new for an 1822 death, but with a large number of descendants, I figured that a new marker replaced an old one. I took pictures, said my typical ancestor prayer, and left. Little did I know the mystery that would evolve.

In the first photo, you’ll notice that Daniel’s stone is wedged in-between two others. It doesn’t look like there is room for a grave here, but at the time, I just noted it but didn’t think much of it. In retrospect, there is not room for another adult burial between the two older stones.

Daniel Miller Sugar Hill

Below is Daniel’s stone. It’s not original, but I assumed that the original stone had either been replaced or that his descendants had placed a stone later and he had never had one originally. That’s not unusual.

Daniel Miller Sugar Hill 2

However, take a look at the stones on either side of him. The following photo shows the stone that says, Hannah, wife of Daniel Miller, died October 4, 1876, age 65 years, 8 months, 20 days.Daniel Miller 4 Sugar Hill

The gravestone on the other side of Daniel’s stone marks the grave of Sarah Miller, wife of Daniel Miller who died on July 22, 1831 at the age of 28 years and 3 months. This woman was born in 1803. Daniel Miller is buried in-between them.  However, as confusing as this is, NEITHER of these women are the wife of the Daniel who is buried between them.  Yes, you read that correctly.  Is this some kind of morbid genealogy joke?  I mean, seriously???  Not funny.

Sarah Miller Sugar Hill

The stone directly behind these three belongs to Samuel Miller. Below is a list of all the Miller burials in Sugar Hill cemetery.

Miller Abraham       died Apr. 12, 1876, age 73y 11mo. (so born 1802)
Miller Lydia            died Jan. 7, 1891, age 87y 11mo 11da. (born 1804)

Miiller Daniel (4)           died June 8, 1879, age 8ly 5mo 9da. (born 1798)
Miller Hannah         died Oct. 4, 1876, age 65y 8mo 20da. (born 1811)
Miller Sarah                     died July 31, 1831, age 28y 3mo. (1803)

Miller Margaret       died Feb. 6, 1924, age 87y 9mo 11da. (born 1837)
Miller Samuel         died Nov. 14, 1930, age 96y 9mo 24da. (born 1834)

Miller Catharine      wife of Fred’k., died Oct. 31, 1865, age 55y 8mo 20da. (born 1810)

Miller Daniel (1)          died Aug. 26, 1822, age —.

Let’s piece these families together to see who we have and their relationships.

Abraham was the son of Stephen Miller and Anna Coleman. Stephen was the son of Daniel (1) Miller and Elizabeth Ulrich. Daniel is the man who died in 1822. Daniel’s widow, Elizabeth died in September 1834 but she does not seem to be buried here. Abraham Miller was married to Lydia Rodebaugh who is buried here as well.

Daniel (4) Miller who died in 1879 was born on Dec. 30, 1797 to Stephen Miller and Anna Coleman. His first wife was Sarah Harris whom he married on November 15, 1821 in Bedford County, Pa. and who died on July 31, 1831, as noted above. His second wife was Hannah Ernest, also noted above.

Samuel Miller was born in 1834 and died in 1930 in Preble County “on the farm where he was born.” He was the son of Daniel (4) Miller and Samuel’s wife was Margaret Marker.

In 1850, there is a Catherine Miller who lived in Perry Township, a widow and had children Levi 19, b Pa, Jeremiah 11 and Noah 3. One house away lived Joseph Miller, age 32 born in Pennsylvania and his wife Christena. Joseph is listed on Ancestry as the son of Frederick Miller and Catherine Hammer, so this Catherine who lived next to Joseph would be his mother.

Doing a bit more research on Frederick, Catherine and Joseph, we discover that in 1840, indeed we do find Joseph and Frederick living a few houses away from each other in Montgomery County, but both are age 30-40, so clearly not father and son, more likely brothers.

In 1830, in Jackson Township we find a group of men that includes Stephen (son of Daniel who died in 1822), age 50-60 and then a group of 4 men, George, 30-40, Daniel 30-40, John 20-30 and Joseph 20-30. These 4 men are likely sons of Stephen Miller   On the next page we find John B. Miller, age 50-60.

In 1820, we find two groups of Miller men in Randolph Township. Jackson was formed in 1814, so if they were living in Jackson they would have been listed there in 1820.

We have Jacob, 26-45 with Daniel, over 45. Then we have David, over 45 with John, also over 45 and Michael, age 26-45.

Looking now at the 1820 and 1830 census in Preble County, Twin Township, we find a Frederick and Jonathan in 1820. Frederick is not young then. They are still there in 1830 and Frederick is 60-70. These men don’t appear to be connected to our group of men, but one can’t be sure. What we do know is that there is no Daniel in 1820 nor are his children found there. In 1830, we do find a Daniel in Twin Township.

The pedigree below shows what we know about the relationships between the Miller burials in the Sugar Hill Cemetery. The individuals in bold are buried there.

Daniel Miller Sugar Hill pedigree

In the book, “History of the Church of the Brethren of the Southern District of Ohio” by Wayne Webb, the photo of the cabin on page 36 states that the Elder Daniel Miller built that cabin in 1830 and his son Samuel was born there in 1834. This does indeed mesh with the genealogical record that indicates Samuel lived died on the farm on which he was born. This also ties in with Daniel whose wife Sarah died in 1831. We know he was living in this vicinity by then because his wife is buried in the Sugar Hill Cemetery, so this 1830 census in Twin Township reflects what we know to be accurate based on other records.

Note:  It has come to my attention that this photograph was reproduced without permission in the book above mentioned.  According to the Brethren Heritage Center, the proper attribution should be the “History of the Church of the Brethren of the Southern District of Ohio” by the Historical Committee, 1920, published by the Otterbein Press, Dayton, Ohio.

Daniel Miller 4 cabin Twin

The problem is that the interpretation has been that this cabin belonged to the Daniel (1) Miller that died in 1822, but subsequent research shows nothing to connect the eldest “Elder Daniel” with this land, aside from the fact that a cemetery marker placed over 100 years after his death is located in the cemetery with his son, Stephen’s, children, including the Daniel (4) born in 1797, grandson of Daniel (1) who died in 1822 – whose wives Daniel (1) is buried between.

Again referring to the History of the Church of the Brethren book, on page 509, we find the following story about Stephen, son of Daniel (1) who died in 1822, and his son Daniel (4):

Stephen Miller, the father of the subject of our sketch, was twice married, first to Anna Coleman, of whose children, Daniel was the eldest. She died in Clermont County. Stephen’s second wife was Anna Deardorff (nee Lesh), who also bore him children, among whom were John J. and Stephen, who became ministers in the church.

Daniel was born in Bedford County, Pennsylvania, December 30, 1797. When 18 months of age, his father built a raft on the Ohio river and floated down the stream to Kentucky, where they landed and lived for awhile in that state. They, then, moved to Clermont County, Ohio. They next moved to Montgomery County, Ohio, where Daniel’s father in 1816 build he first frame house in Jackson Township. On November 15, 1821, he was united in marriage to Sarah Harris of Clermont County, Ohio. To this union were born 3 daughters, Anna, November 18, 1822, Sarah, November 1, 1824 and Mary, September 3, 1828. He united with the Church of the Brethren when about the age of 27, bring brought under conviction through a serious illness. A short time after this he was elected to the ministry in the Stonelick Church, and later on was ordained in the Upper Twin Church.

After his marriage he lived in Clermont County where he bought a small farm on easy terms but in the fall of 1828, he sold this farm and purchased 160 acres for $625 in Preble County, where he moved April 13, 1829. His new home consisted of a log cabin built near the center of the place surrounded by the forest.   The following winter he built a more comfortable house from hewed logs, which is yet standing. August 22, 1831, his helpmate died leaving him with three small children. January 31, 1833, he was married to Hannah Earnest, to whom were born one son, Samuel, and one daughter, Catherine, who died in 1847. All his children united with the church while young. Anna married Robert Wysong, Sarah, Josiah Woods and Mary, James Swihart. These Brethren all became deacons in the church.

Elder Miller served the Upper Twin Church as Presiding Bishop for 30 years. He was one of the first advocates of the pastoral visit and made regular calls on all the members in the congregation. He solemnized many marriages, preached many funerals and assisted in organizing many churches. His useful life came to a close June 8, 1879.

P 510 – Samuel Miller, son of Elder Daniel Miller, was born January 20, 1834. He was married to Margaret Marker Miller, Sept. 30, 1855. He was elected deacon in the Upper Twin Church in 1874, and to the ministry in 1881. His father, Elder Miller, in order that he might give more of his time to the church, sold his possessions to Samuel, with whom he and his wife lived, for 24 years. Brother Samuel and his good wife, Margaret, have grown old in the service of the Master, still living on the old home place.

Daniel Miller (1) who died in 1822 would be the oldest burial in the Sugar Hill cemetery. It seems inconceivable that his grandson, Daniel (4) Miller’s 2 wives would be buried in such close proximity to him on either side as to be touching him. If any Daniel was to be buried between the wives, it would be Daniel (4), their husband. Daniel (4) the husband of Sarah and Hannah died in 1875, a year before Hannah, and he is buried to the right of Hannah, not between his two wives. It appears that Daniel (1)’s stone was wedged in later.

So here’s the situation. Daniel (1) who died in 1822 was clearly not buried in the location where his tombstone is located today. In fact, in 1822, it’s not likely that this cemetery was even in existence. The first burial with a tombstone is in 1831, and it’s Sarah, forever resting to the right of Daniel’s stone.

The History of the Church of the Brethren of the Southern District of Ohio tell us about this location.  On page 170 the Lower Twin church is also discussed, whose name was later change to Sugar Hill, and the church later torn down. I believe, although it doesn’t say this, that is where Sugar Hill cemetery is located today. This church was organized in 1830.

As we later discover, the Elder Daniel’s grave was moved to this location, but if that was the case, why not also move his wife, Elizabeth, who died in 1834 and mark her grave as well?

It’s nearly 15 miles, and that’s 15 miles with a horse and wagon, between Daniel Miller’s land (B) in Randolph Township and the Sugar Hill Cemetery (A). Furthermore, his brother David had a family cemetery on his land and Daniel could have been buried on his own land. There was no reason to go to Sugar Hill. There has to be something we don’t know.

Daniel Miller to Sugar Hill

The answer bantered about is that Daniel Miller (1) was visiting his son Stephen at the time of his death – Stephen reportedly lived near West Alexandria, close to the Sugar Hill Cemetery. However, Daniel could easily have been transported 15 miles home in a wagon for burial, unless getting the body in the ground was a priority that trumped everything else. Daniel died in August. It could have been very hot and he could have been contagious. Others could have been ill too.

Sugar Hill Brethren Cemetery where Daniel Miller is buried is on Eaton Pike just across the county line into Preble county, slightly east of West Alexandria. Eaton Pike above is 35 on the southern border of the township line in the section map, above.

Daniel’s son Stephen owned land at the SW corner of Farmersville/West Carrollton Road and Diamond Mill Road, not in Preble county near Sugar Hill Cemetery.

On the map below, you can see Daniel’s home location on Old Salem Road, Stephen’s home on Farmersville Road and Sugar Hill Cemetery.

Daniel Miller to Stephen Miller to Sugar Hill

As it turns out, there is more to the story, much more.

Where Was Daniel Buried?

This question sent me on an incredibly frustrating journey that took about two years, and still may not be complete, because still don’t have a definitive answer, but we have tantalizing tidbits.

From Gene Edwin Miller in “Daniel Miller (1755 – 1822), a working copy and a collection of current data on Daniel Miller (1755 – 1822) son of Philip Jacob Miller, son of Michael Miller,” unpublished:

April 1979

One explanation might be as follows……….Elmer C. Miller a son of John R. Miller, son of Jacob Y. Miller, son of John Miller, son of Daniel Miller (1755 – 1822) was an evangelist and traveled throughout the midwest conducting services. In 1924, while in the Dayton, Ohio area, he wrote home to his father, telling of his meeting with a Samuel Miller. Samuel was the son of Daniel Miller, the well known Elder in the Montgomery Co. area.

Daniel was the son of Stephen Miller, oldest son of Daniel Miller (1755 – 1822).

Samuel was then 90 years old and lived in Preble Co. Samuel recalled how that he had helped his father Daniel to locate the body of Daniel Miller (1755 – 1822) from the cemetery at Farmersville to its present resting place at Sugar Hill. He said that when they found the burial place at the original location that it was marked with a little piece of marble about 12″ square and inscribed with the letters “D.M” and dated Aug. 1822. 

Then, from Merle Rummel, Brethren Historian, we have the following: 

  • Stephen William MILLER 1/m  Anna Barbara Kphlman
    born 7 Mar 1775 Conococheague MD b. 12 Apr 1774 Bedford Co PA
    died13 Jan 1851 Montgomery Co OH d. 26 Jan 1813 Clermont Co OH
    bur: Old Brower Cem, Farmersville
    Son of Daniel Miller and Elizabeth Ulrich

Merle shows Daniel’s son Stephen being buried in the old Brower Cemetery in Farmersville in 1851, roughly 30 years after Daniel’s death. However, if Daniel (1) who died in 1822 was buried with Stephen who died in 1851, why would Daniel (1)’s grave be moved? And if they moved Daniel’s grave from the Old Brower Cemetery, why didn’t they also move Stephens? This doesn’t seem logical. 

The Brower Cemetery is located just across the county line into Preble County at the intersection of 70 and Enterprise Road, shown on the map below as 4092-4498 Enterprise Road, West Alexandria, Ohio.

Daniel Miller, Stephen, Brower, Sugar Hill

Another piece of evidence, although this could be hearsay, is the undated NGS Quarterly page, below.

Daniel Miller NGS

This article, which does not give sources and has other incorrect information, such as Daniel’s father being Richard, states that Daniel died near West Alexandria. This could also have been presumed because of the Sugar Hill burial location. Unfortunately, no sources are provided.

Wayne Webb, a researcher with an interest in Brethren history, has a different theory, that Daniel was originally buried in a cemetery just half a mile from Stephen’s house, called the Troxel Cemetery, not to be confused with the Troxel Cemetery that is located on the original land owned by Daniel Miller in Jefferson Township. Truly, those two cemeteries are not connected and I drove myself crazy for months chasing that red herring. Daniel must have had a good laugh. This Troxel Cemetery is in Jackson Township.

From Wayne:

The place I gave you is the half acre tract which is the cemetery called Troxell’s in Jackson and which is no longer there.  That is the “other” Troxell you could not find (because it’s no longer there).  Stephen lived SW¼ R4E T4 S35.

Family lore says, as related by Merle, that Daniel died while on a trip to his son Stephen’s.  Then you have the “Farmersville” notation.  I gave you where Stephen lived.  The Troxell cemetery (NE¼ R4E T4 S36) is within a half mile of Stephen’s house.  I think some of Stephen’s children are living by him but not much is known about all of them and I’ve never taken the time to document them all.  Diamond Mill north-south, Farmersville-West Carrollton east-west.

Daniel Miller Stephen land

Stephen lived on his home farm in Jackson township all his adult life.

Wayne went on to say that there used to be a Brethren church in the same location with the cemetery.

The church is located on section 36 where the Troxel cemetery is located (basd on a map from 1875-76.)

Wayne’s mother who grew up in this area said this cemetery, then with markers, is located on Farmersville-West Carrolton Pike the NE section of section 36, T4 R4 – cemetery is 300 feet south of the road behind the house, 4/10th of a mile west of the Diamond Mill Road. Church was inactive in 1983 – the owner in the 1990s said he bought it in the 1940s.  There were stones then but they had disappeared by the 1990s when Wayne actually visited and walked out in the cemetery and saw that there were no stones visible.

Daniel Miller Troxel church

Wayne said that part of the church foundation is near the road behind the house, and the location of the cemetery is at the arrow towards the bottom of the photo. The road is just beyond the top of the photo.

The map below shows a better general location.

Daniel Miller Troxel church location

From Wayne:

Probably Steven’s original farm. This, above is 4-4-35 near Twin, Steven Jr. lived in 26 and the church was on 36 in the corner. SW corner 4-4-35 southwest 156 acres. Given the comments about going and getting Daniel in Farmersville, this may be the location of where Daniel was buried.

Daniel Miller Troxel to Stephen

You can see on the map below that the present address of the location of the old Brethren Church and cemetery is literally just about 1000 feet west of the easternmost location of Stephen’s land. Of course, if Stephen’s father Daniel was buried here, why then was Stephen not buried there as well? Instead, he was buried in the Brower Cemetery a few miles away in Preble County.

Daniel Miller Stephen Troxel addresses

The Montgomery County 1827 tax book, shows the landowners of 4-4-36 where the church and Troxel cemetery is located is as follows:

  • John Meyers ne section 200 acres
  • Jacob Bowman 4-4-36 NW 166
  • Michael Meyers 4-4-36 art of N 1/2 14 acres
  • Jacob Meyers Se part 140
  • Jonathan Meyers Sw part 143 acres

The cemetery listing from Wayne’ mother’s notes show mostly Troxel burials.

  • Samuel Troxel d 1836 age 35
  • Sarah wife of John P b 1808 d 1833
  • Unknown Linda d 1831
  • Stone in the base of the tree
  • Lewis b July 1828
  • Mary unknown
  • Christian d May 1814
  • Troxel, ?rail – no dates
  • David –
  • David Showe Jr b Oct 25
  • Abraham Shupe b 1818

We know that the cemetery existed in 1822 because two of the burials are prior to that date.

Here’s a second theory from Wayne relating to the Old Brower Cemetery, also possible.

The original German Baptist Brethren church in this area was called simply the Twin church in homage to the creeks by that name. The best evidence of the existence of an early congregation, and it lies just one mile from the Widdows Henderson tract of southwestern Jackson town­ship, Montgomery county, but in Lanier township, Preble county, is the Brower cemetery (the smaller of the two in the region) in which are interred members of the Baker, Brower, Holderman, Karn, Miller, Petry, Wirts, Wise and Yost families.

The photographs, taken in 2006 by this writer, demon­strates the deplorable condition of this early con­gregational burial ground. Evidence is suggestive that at one time there was a small log cabin serv­ing as a meeting-house.

It is likely that Elder Daniel Miller (1755-1822), as well as Elder Jacob Miller (ca. 1738-1815), of no known relation, visited this region during their pastorates preaching to the young congregation.

Daniel Miller Brower cem

One of the stones in this cemetery is that of Stephen Miller, Daniel (1)’s son.

My Opinion Regarding Daniel’s Burial

The only actual evidence we have of where Daniel was originally buried is the information from Samuel Miller who was born in 1834 and helped his father Daniel (4), who died in 1879 and is buried at Sugar Hill, locate and move Daniel Miller (1)’s grave. Samuel said they went to Farmersville. Unfortunately, Stephen’s land is about as far east of Farmersville as the Brower Cemetery is west of Farmersville.

Daniel Miller entire route map

The map above shows all of the relevant locations to this discussion, as follows:

  • Daniel Miller’s Randolph Township Property – 3705 Old Salem Road
  • Stephen Miller’s Jackson Township Property – 5001 Farmersville West Carrollton Pike
  • Troxel Cemetery – 10360 Farmersville West Carrollton Pike, just west of Stephen’s property in Jackson Township
  • Old Brower Cemetery – 4092-4498 Enterprise Road, Preble County
  • Sugar Hill Cemetery – just east of West Alexandria, Preble County

Daniel (4)’s father, Stephen, who died in 1851 was buried in the Old Brower Cemetery in Preble County, so I think it’s unlikely that Daniel (4) would have moved the older Daniel (1) away from his son, Stephen, in the Brower Cemetery. In other words, if Brower was good enough for Stephen, Daniel (4)’s father, it would have been good enough for Daniel (1), Daniel (4)’s grandfather as well.  If not, Daniel (4) would have moved them both.

I think it’s much more likely that Daniel who died in 1822 was buried in the Troxel Cemetery, with no other Millers, which would have prompted the move to a location with other Miller family members.

The grave would have been moved probably sometimes after 1854 when Samuel would have been 20, and sometime before 1879 when Daniel (4) died. Daniel (4) would have been 25 years old when his grandfather, Daniel (1), died in 1822, so he would have known where to look for the grave.

Looking at these two stones on either side of Daniel (1)’s final resting location at Sugar Hill, Sarah died in 1831 so that grave would already have been there. Hannah didn’t die until 1876, so she might have been buried after Daniel was moved. However, I actually kind of doubt that, because I think if she were buried after Daniel’s grave was moved, her grave would have been further away. The space between Sarah and Hannah is only about 18 inches or so, not large enough for another burial. Clearly, if Daniel’s remains were moved in the 1870s, after his death in the 1820s, there would only have been a few bones left, so he would have “fit” between Hannah and Sarah’s stones, not needing a full space.

Given this deductive reasoning, which is really all we have to go on, I suspect that Daniel (1) was moved to Sugar Hill between 1876 when Hannah died and 1879 when Daniel (4) died. Samuel, who moved the grave, would have been about 42 at the time, which explains why he did the digging and moving and not his father who was born in 1797 and would have been 78+ at the time.

I wonder what happened to that original marble slab with D.M. engraved. Perhaps they moved that with him and today’s contemporary stone replaced the small marble slab.

Daniel’s DNA

Ironically, although we don’t know where Daniel was in August of 1822, nor where he was buried for roughly 50 years, we do know about his ancestors and where they were. DNA testing has been a huge blessing for us and different kinds of DNA tests provide a great deal of information about our ancestors.

We’re fortunate that another Reverend Miller in the family, Richard, has been incredibly helpful and sharing with his information as well as his DNA to represent our Miller line, for which I am eternally grateful.

Richard took the Y DNA full 111 marker panel test, plus the Big Y test at Family Tree DNA.  He is also a member of the Miller Brethren DNA Project whose goal is to unravel the various Miller Brethren families.

Our Miller DNA markers from 12-111 are rare. Our only matches at any level are to other Miller men, with the exception of one poor misplaced Morgan at both 25 and 37 markers whose ancestor is reportedly from Wales. The Morgan gentleman did not test above 37 markers, so we don’t know how closely he would match above that level, but I have to wonder if Mr. Morgan is actually a Miller.  It’s worth noting that Maugans in some cases was changed over time to Morgan.  Things that make you go hmmmm….

When our Miller STR panel results first came back, years ago, I chalked up few matches to the fact that we were early in the testing game. Over the years, as more Miller matches were added to the list, but no other surnames, I realized that our lack of matches outside the Johann Michael Miller line was actually a blessing, because we have rare DNA that acts as its own filter.

One of the services I provide to Y DNA clients is a chart showing each of their markers and the frequency with which their marker value is found within their major haplogroup. I did the same thing for our Miller STR results, showing only the rare and very rare results in the chart below.

I have indicated very rare allele values below with red, bold and underscore. Six percent or less of the R1b (M343) population will show these values on these markers. The next group is rare markers, indicated by black bold. Less than 25% of the R1b (M343) population will match on these values. The Miller men have a very high number of rare and very rare marker values, especially in the first (yellow) panel.

Daniel Miller STRs

Each panel is color coded, so the first panel of 12 markers is shown as yellow. As you can see, 7 of the 12 markers in that panel are either rare or very rare values, meaning that for anyone to match the Miller DNA at 12 markers, they would have to carry all of these same rare or very rare values. Unless they descend from a Miller male, that’s very unlikely to happen. Happening simply by chance or convergence is extremely unlikely.

Of course, the next question was why the Miller DNA is so rare. Were they simply isolated in a mountain valley, never spreading the Miller DNA outside of that village, for hundreds or thousands of years? Surely, eventually, men of other German surnames from that same village will emerge, unless they died in battle or daughtered out in the intervening timeframe.

In hopes of understanding our deep ancestry better, Richard Miller agreed to take the Big Y test. The Big Y test scans over 35,000 locations on the Y chromosome that may carry mutations, called SNPs, or single nucleotide polymorphisms. SNPs are mutations that have been found previously and given a name, like Richard’s terminal SNP, R-CTS7822.

Prior to Big Y testing, Richard’s estimated SNP was R-M269, which was accurate, but Big Y testing shows us every branch of the haplotree that is relevant to Richard. In fact, the only way to discover every branch is with the Big Y test.

For our Miller men, all of our branches below M269 are:

  • M269
  • L150
  • L23
  • Z2103
  • Z2106
  • Z2109
  • CTS7822

Not only did we confirm M269, we added another six branches between M269 and CTS7822, Richard’s terminal SNP, meaning the one at the end of the line providing the most granularity.

Furthermore, the Big Y test also provides information about additional mutations called Novel Variants. Think of Novel Variants as mutations that are not yet named, because not enough is known about them yet. Either few people have been found with this mutation, or we don’t know yet exactly where it fits on the tree.

In Richard’s case, he has a total of 607 known and named SNPs and 37 Novel Variants, SNPs waiting to be placed on the tree and named.

Most of Richard’s Novel Variants are quite rare, meaning that none of the men he matches share them.

Richard has a total of 8 Big Y matches, and of those men, the closest match has three SNPs difference and only shares 4 of his Novel Variants. That means that Richard does share a common deep ancestral relative with this man, but not in a genealogical timeframe.

In fact, it would appear that most of Richard’s Novel Variants are rare, because he has no matches with 33 of 37. That’s actually quite unusual.

Haplogroup R is the most common Y DNA haplogroup in Europe, with about 45% of European men being some flavor of haplogroup R, meaning they share a common ancestor thousands of years ago when haplogroup R was born. However, there are still very rare sub-haplogroups, and Richard’s is quite rare. Maybe our ancestors truly were isolated in that mountain village.

Another benefit of the Big Y testing is that Family Tree DNA provides matching to other Big Y testers.

In Richard’s case, he matches 8 men. Not all matches have included their oldest ancestor information, but as best we can tell, the 8 men’s location history or surnames are as follows:

  • Bulgaria
  • Possibly Sweden
  • Austria
  • Moorman?
  • Seymer
  • Spain
  • Blair
  • Russia

However, none of these men share our terminal SNP of CTS7822.

Big Y matches are shown if there are 4 or fewer SNP differences.

In the R1b Basal SubClades Project, the Miller DNA is grouped both by STR marker values and SNP results entirely with Russian samples.

Daniel Miller Basal subclades

One of the samples carries the same terminal SNP as our Miller, but obviously they have more than 4 nonmatching SNPs, because they do not show as a Big Y match. Of course, many people who test don’t join projects.

Looking next at the project map for this subgroup, we discover that only one other individual has entered their geographic location information.

Daniel Miller project map

Fortunately for us, the person who DID enter their geographic location is the only other CTS7822 found in the project, whose ancestor is from Russia. By zooming in, we discover that what looked like one marker balloon is actually 3, 2 of which have the same surname.

Daniel Miller project map locations

Turning now to the SNP map at Family Tree DNA to view additional locations where at least two individuals have been identified within a radius of 1000 miles with the SNP of CTS7822, we see the following:

Daniel Miller SNP locations

CTS7822 has been found in a smattering of highly scattered locations in Europe. Keep in mind that these locations don’t just include individuals who have CTS7822 as a terminal SNP, meaning the end of the line for them, but includes individuals whose individual haplotree includes CTS7822, but who may have different additional SNP(s) further downstream, that the Miller line does not have.

Fortunately, one of the project’s volunteer administrators is a geneticist, Dr. Sergey Malyshev, from the Institute of Genetics and Cytology of Belarus National Academy of Sciences. He assembled a phylogenetic tree that shows the various SNPs found in ancient DNA on the M269 branch, as shown below.

Daniel Miller ancient

You can see that our CTS7822 is a major branching point which Dr. Malyshev estimates to have been born about 6,100 years ago.

Daniel Miller ancient branch

The Miller DNA is not a part of the branches of this tree above CTS7822. There are no known SNPs in our results that came after CTS7822, so, along with a few Russian men, we stand alone. As more becomes known about the Novel Variants, we may indeed discover that one or more variants are a new branch of the tree, but until more people test and match those variants, we wait.

What we know now is that our DNA is quite rare. We do not descend from the Yamnaya, but our ancestors and that of the Yamnaya culture found along the Volga River in Russia descend from a common ancestor who developed SNP Z2109, born also about 6,100 years ago, probably someplace in central Russia, perhaps along the Volga.

Additionally, Z2109 is also found among the Pathans, people who live in northern Pakistan and Afghanistan, illustrated in the 1825 painting below. Our Miller men, the Yamnaya represented by the Burzyan Bashkirs in Russia today and the Pathans of Afghanistan and Pakistan all share a common ancestor in antiquity.

Daniel Miller Pathan

Noting that within the R1b Basal project grouping, the only match to our terminal SNP is Russian, that within the project matching, our group is entirely Russian, except for our Miller ancestor, and that the SNPs found in ancient DNA also point unquestionably to central Russia – I think we may have the answer to why our DNA is so rare. There may or may not be much, at all, in Europe. As more Russians test, it’s likely that we will find addition matches – and perhaps more in Germany and the areas of Europe that were most affected by the invasions or migrations from Asia.

It has been a long journey from the Russian steppes, some 6,100 years ago, to Sugar Hill Cemetery in Montgomery County, Ohio. The Miller DNA and descendants have been dispersed by the winds of fortune further yet.

I would love to know the story of the chapters of those lives from 6,000 years ago. Who were those people? Where did they live and how did they get from Russia to Germany, a journey of more than 3,500 miles?  What prompted that migration, or was it just another frontier – the seeming story of the Miller men.  Perhaps they come by that honestly, the legacy left to them by 6,000 years of ancestors.

To me, it’s simply amazing that we can tell this much of the Miller story through the DNA passed from those Russian ancestors to the Reverend Richard Miller today.  And just think, we would never have known “the rest of the story” had the Reverend Richard Miller not tested.


I originally constructed a timeline of events in the life of Johann Michael Miller’s life utilizing various sources which I have referenced in this document:

Replogle – “Ancestors on the Frontier: Miller, Cripe, Ulrich, Replogle, Shively, Metzger” by Justin Replogle, self-published in 1998, now out of print.

Mason – “The Michael Miller and Susanna Bechtol Family Record” compiled in 1993 by Floyd R. and Catherine Mason, now deceased.

Miller – “A History and Genealogy of David Y. Miller 1809-1898” by Gene Edwin Miller, self-published.

Stutesman – “Jacob Stutzman (?-1775); His Children and Grandchildren” by John Hale Stutesman, Jr.

These 4 books plus two websites, Troy Goss’s Miller home page and Tom and Kathleen Miller’s pages are the primary resources for Johann Michael Mueller and the first two generations of his descendants, aside from my own research.

Wayne Webb’s research is referenced in some places in this article as well. Unfortunately, his ideas were never brought to a logical conclusion, as he failed to provide research that I paid to have completed.

For Brethren Research, I strongly recommend the Brethren Heritage Center in Brookville, Ohio. I have contributed my research to the Center.

Suffice it to say that all of these sources don’t always agree – and in fact some contradict each other. So I’ve sifted through each and compiled the information I found credible by evaluating the sources, where possible.  Where doubt remains or work needs to be done, I have said so.  I hope that others will continue the research and add to the body of information we have compiled about the Miller family.



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Concepts – Sorting Spreadsheets for Autosomal DNA

This article covers both sorting in Excel and how to identify an overlapping segment, and what that means to you as a genetic genealogist.

I swore I wasn’t going to teach Excel, but there have been so many questions about sorting Excel spreadsheets that I am going to a very basic “how to sort and not hurt yourself” article. This does NOT replace actually understanding how to use Excel, but it will at least get you through the knothole of sorting for genetic genealogy.

I wrote more about sorting and filtering in the concepts article about assigning parental sides.

There are some advanced ways to accomplish the same thing, and I’m not discussing those. If you already know how to use Excel those are fine, but this article provides the basics for those who don’t.


I am going to use, as an example, my matches to only a few people which gives us enough information to sort, but isn’t overwhelming.

When you download your results from Family Tree DNA, your spreadsheet will be in match name order, like the spreadsheet below.

SS Raw

I want you to notice that while the primary order is by match, there is a secondary order too (chromosome), and a third (start location) and fourth (end location) as well.

Within each match, the order is by chromosome, and then by start and end location.

What this means that you can look at Alice and see that chromosome 1 is first, and that the lowest value start location is shown first within chromosome order.

That’s not the order you’ll likely be working with all the time, so let’s take a look at how to sort the spreadsheet in a different way.

The row highlighted in red contain column headers.

SS column headers

When you sort an individual column you will select the header for that column, shown below, if you’re going to sort the Matching SNPs column.

SS Column select

The cell on your spreadsheet won’t be red, but I’ve colored it red here so you can see that I’m selecting this column header and only this column header.

When you select a column header, you put the cursor on that cell and click once.

SS column select 2

The cell you’ve selected will be bordered in black.  A screen shot of my spreadsheet is shown above.

I want you to watch what happens to these two rows colored green when I sort in Matching SNP order.

SS rows green

At this point, you will click on the sort and filter button on the upper right hand side of the toolbar.

SS sort dropdown

Here’s a closeup.

SS sort dropdown closeup

Selecting the “Sort A to Z” option sorts the contents of the entire spreadsheet in Matching SNP order, smallest to largest, because that’s the column header and sort option combination you selected. I use lowest to highest (A-Z) but you can also sort in reverse order, highest to lowest (Z-A) but that isn’t terribly useful for what we will be doing.

SS SNP column sorted

Notice that all of the rows are sorted into smallest to larger order by the Matching SNP column. So while the two green rows were originally together, now the rows all appear in order by the Matching SNPs column values.

The first green row match to Alice on chromosome 3 with 1300 cMs falls between the SNP value of 850 and 1458.  The second green row with a value of 2000 falls between 1638 and 2355.  This is exactly as it should be.  The contents of the entire spreadsheet are sorted by the values in the Matching SNPs column.

The statement “sorts the contents of the entire spreadsheet” is very important, because if you perform this task incorrectly, you will bollux up your entire spreadsheet, as in irrecoverably and forever.  What follows is an example of what NOT TO DO.


DO NOT, and I repeat, DO NOT select the entire column to sort.

SS - Do Not Sort

This is an example of WHAT NOT TO DO.

If you select the entire column, as shown above, then sort, here’s what happens.

SS example bad sort

Notice that the green rows are now split apart – in other words they no longer form a row from left to right. That means that ONLY the data in the Matching cM column was sorted, but not rest of the data which is still in the same location on the spreadsheet as it was before the sort. Therefore, Alice’s green row Matching cM value of 1300 is no longer with Alice, since only the data in the Matching SNPs column was sorted. Now Alice’s 1300 cMs connected to Stacy’s red row on chromosome 4. Alice now has 500 SNPs instead, which as you can see, clearly isn’t accurate.

This is what I meant by selecting the entire column instead of just the header will forever ruin your data. If you do this, there is no recovery, unless you JUST did it, SS undo
realize the error, and can selecte the blue backarrow on the top of the toolbar on the left to “undo” your action. If you’re beyond that, the only recovery is to download your data again, or move to a backup if you have one.

What’s even worse if you do this and don’t realize it, so you’re working with incorrect data trying to find overlapping segments.  Of course, everything will be wrong.  I periodically do a sanity check and look at a couple people in the chromosome browser just to make sure that everything is as it should be on my spreadsheet and I haven’t done something like this.

To Sort Correctly – DO This

To use this spreadsheet effectively for genetic genealogy, we need the spreadsheet to be sorted in this viewing order:

  • Chromosome number
  • Start location
  • End location

In other words, we need the spreadsheet to look like this with all of the green cells remaining in their row with their match:

SS example good sort

You’ll notice that all matches on each chromosome are grouped together, with the smallest start location first, as illustrated by the red groupings of chromsomes 1 and 6. I do realize these are small segments, but the process is the same for large or small segments, so for our sorting example, just ignore any genealogical relevance associated with segment size.

You will be looking for overlapping segments. Notice that you have to be cognizatnt of the end location. In the case of chromsome 1, above, there are no overlapping segments for the two chromsome one matches, so they can’t match each other on this segment.

However, on chromsome 6, we have a different situation. Stacy’s segment match with me is quite long, 104cM. Stacy’s segment overlaps with everyone else’s on chromsone 6 that matches to me, either fully or part way. She matches Alice on all of the segments fully except for the last one. Stacy’s match to me ends at 108,000,000. Alice’s last segment matches to me from 107,779,220 which is included in Stacy’s match, but Alice’s match extends beyond Stacys, to 110,175,307.

Keep in mind that we don’t know at this point whether or not Stacy and Alice are from my mother or father’s side, based on matching. In other words, to draw any conclusions, we also have to know if Stacy and Alice match each other on this segment which we can’t tell from this spreadsheet.

Because I have access to Stacy’s account, I can indeed tell you that Stacy and Alice do not match each other on this segment, so they would be from different sides of my family tree. Stacy is a known relative from my father’s side and Alice does match my mother as well, so we now know that Stacy and Alice don’t match each other.

If you don’t have access to the accounts to see if your matches match each other, two tools at Family Tree DNA are partial substitutes.

  • The ICW tool tells you if two of your matches match each other, just not on which segments.
  • The maternal/paternal Family Matching tool, if you have connected the DNA of relatives who have tested, tell you which side your matches are from, maternal or paternal.

You can read about how to use those tools here.

If there are multiple matches with the smallest start location then they will be in order by the smallest end location first, shown in the yellow cells.

Sort Order

The sort order is exactly the opposite of the viewing order. If you want to SEE the data in this order:

  • Chromosome
  • Start
  • End

Then you must sort in this order:

  • End
  • Start
  • Chromosome

The last column you sort will be the primary viewing order.

Let’s look at our spreadsheet utilizing these three steps, in order.

Step 1 – First Sort

Selecting End Location to sort:

SS sort end location

After sorting by end location, below.

SS end location sorted

You will notice that all of the data is now in order by the values in the End Location column – smallest at the top, largest at the bottom.

The data in the other columns is not in any particular order at all.

Step 2 – Second Sort

Now selecting Start Location to sort that column in order, shown below.

SS sort by start location

Having sorted by Start Location, below:

SS sorted by start location

You will notice that now all of the data is sorted by start location. In the case where there is a common start location between two rows, highlighted in red, the end row with the lower end location will show first, noted in yellow, because you sorted first by end location in smallest to largest order.

Step 3 – Third Sort

Last, you’ll select the Chromosome column header to sort in chromosome order.

Sort by chromosome

Below, the result of sorting the third time in chromsome order.  After sorting, I bordered all segments on the same chromosome.

Sorted by chromosome

You can see that the entire spreadsheet is grouped by chromsome, and within chromsome number, the Start Location is grouped smallest to largest. If there are multiple people with the same start location, then the End Location comes into play, with the smallest end location listed first, as shown in the red and yellow rows.

If you want to sort your spreadsheet in another order for some reason, you can do so using the same methodology. Once you understand about sorting spreadsheets, you understand about sorting all spreadsheets.

Now, you’re ready to look for your overlapping segments.

What is an Overlap?

An overlap is two segments of your matches that are partially or completely overlapping each other.  When you have overlapping segments, assuming they are of decent size, that indicates that the two people who match you on your spreadsheet potentially match each other too.  Remember, there are three matching possibilities:

  • Your matches will either match each other, in addition to you, because you and both of them share a common ancestor or…
  • They both match you, but they won’t match each other because one is from your mother’s side and one is from your father’s side or…
  • One or both are identical by chance.  In you need a refresher on what identical by chance, descent and population mean, click here.

Ss no overlap

In this first example, above, there is no overlap between these two people on chromosome 17.  One begins at 31,000,000 and ends at 36,000,000 while the second person’s match with you doesn’t begin until 40,000,000, which is clearly beyond the end of 36,000,000, so there is no possibility of overlaps between these two individuals.  In other words, they cannot match each other on these segments.  However, clearly they both match you because they are both on your matching spreadsheet.

SS overlap 1

In the example above, the overlapping portion of the segment is from 38,000,000 – 40,000,000.  The second person’s match with you extends to 53,000,000, but the area between 40,000,000 and 53,000,000 does not overlap.

SS overlap 2

In the example above, the start number is lower for the top row than the second row, so the overlapping area is still from 38,000,000 – 40,000,000, because the matches don’t match from 36,000,000 to 38,000,000.

SS overlap 3

Occasionally, you have an overlap that is fairly miniscule, which I generally ignore unless they are in a group that has a larger overlap that overlaps or covers both smaller matches, as in the example above. You can see that our red and yellow rows have a very small overlap from 39,500,000 – 40,000,000. However, the top row includes the entire areas of both red and yellow rows, reaching from 33,000,000 to 55,000,000 which begins before either red/yellow row and ends after both red/yellow rows.  So either all 3 individuals will match each other, indicating a common ancestor, or the top row will match one of the red/yellow rows and not the other.

Combining Spreadsheets From Different Sources

The good news is that you can download your matches into a spreadsheet format from  23andMe, Family Tree DNA and GedMatch, but you do need to understand something about the basics of sorting and how to stay out of spreadsheet trouble. I am careful about combining spreadsheets sources for a couple of reasons.

  • First, the formatting is not exactly the same, so you may need to move columns to be in the correct order for your spreadsheet before actually combining them.
  • Second, there may be overlapping people between 23andMe, Family Tree DNA and GedMatch. You’ll need to figure out how you want to deal with that, especially on an ongoing basis when you need to add to or update your spreadsheet without overwriting or eliminating your matching work and notes relative to common ancestors and ancestral lines in the columns you’ll be adding.

I always make a backup file with a date name in the file name before doing combinations, and sometimes before sorting as well.

Learning Excel

If you want to learn more about how to use Excel, here are some additional resources to utilize.

I found some training videos for Excel including “Twenty with Tessa, Tips and Suggestions for Spreadsheets” which is focused on using spreadsheets with one name studies and genetic genealogy, but the principles are the same.

When discussing this online, one person mentioned that they joined and took the basic Excel class which she found very useful.

Kitty Cooper has instructions on her blog for how to make a matches spreadsheet as well. has some good courses.  Their DNA for beginners covers using spreadsheets and is not just for adoptees!



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Writing Ancestor Articles in 12 Easy Steps

You might notice that this article is in place of my normal 52 Ancestors article I publish every weekend. That’s because I didn’t get this week’s article finished.  Sometimes life just gets in the way, plus, the ancestor I was working on has a HUGE amount of research data to sift through. I’ve worked on this family for decades now, as have others and I want to be sure to include everything that is correct and relevant, and exclude those items that are not. Easier said than done in some cases.

Lots of people have asked how I go about the research for these articles, so I’d like to share that with you, in the hope that you too will do something similar. If you don’t publish accurate information about your ancestor in one form or another, who will?

Not The Same As A Book

I’ve written books before, both specialized books in the technology field and books about specific ancestral lines. The weekly articles I write about just one ancestor are really different from books, although when I began the 52 Ancestors series two and a half years ago, I didn’t realize how different, or why.

First of all, if you look at writing a book, that’s an overwhelming task that you’ll do “someday.” Do you know how many books have gone to the grave in people’s heads? Surely more than have been written. But anyone can write just one article, then one more. Then, one day, before you know it, you do have a book. Voila.

These articles are different from books in other ways too.

When I was writing a book about a line or lineage of ancestors, I was not focused on just one person, but on the story of that particular lineage, which of course included every ancestor in that line. However, I never focused on just the story of any one person disconnected from the rest. I focused on all of the people in that line in the context of their relationships to the other people. In other words, I never looked at John Doe from birth to death, from only his perspective. Instead, in a book, John Doe is a son, he marries, moves to another state, has children and dies. There is little in the story about what was happening in his life at different times. How those events like warfare or drought or economic conditions might have affected him. In other words, the 52 Ancestors stories take each individual person from cradle to grave and it’s their story and theirs alone. I also write it as a story, their story, with as much empathy and detail as I can muster.  In other words, I try to walk in their shoes.

Of course, this too has presented some challenges, because I don’t want these stories to be boring and repeat information presented in parents’, children’s and spouse’s stories, so I try to utilize different information so that these individual stories could be combined into book format without too much duplicate information. So no, you won’t find the same level of detail about the 1816 famine in Europe in the father, mother, son, son’s wife, son’s wife’s parents, or their children’s stories. You may find mention of it, but only one story will have the details. Therefore, to really have the whole picture, you probably should read the story of each ancestor.

For example I generally list the children for John Doe, but I often go into more detail about the children, who they married and what happened to them in the wife’s story. Why? Because often the wife has less information – she didn’t own land, she didn’t vote, she (generally) didn’t go to court and normally didn’t get herself thrown out of church for drinking and swearing – so I save the children’s detail for her story so the stories are more balanced.

Research, Then and Now

While I attempt to compile and finalize a story each week, most of the research is not performed today. In fact, these stories have been an attempt for me to organize my information and file information away forever. I have a rule that the file folder cannot go into the file cabinet before the information in the folder is processed. Once it is in the file cabinet, it really should NEVER have to come out again.

And yes, I’m dead serious. I know that when I pass over, it’s likely that those folders will never see the light of day except maybe in the trash truck on the way to the dumpster – so I’m making sure all of that cumulative information is scanned and published which will hopefully make it more permanent. Yes, I’m also printing it, and donating it to relevant libraries. However the internet being what it is, I’m counting on the folks who are “gathering” to attach these stories to their tree records at Ancestry, etc., where, as we know, they will live into infamy! Yes, in essence, I’m hoping my ancestor stories become a sort of genealogical virus, infesting the genealogical community to last forever.  I figure it’s going to happen anyway, so I might as well take advantage of the phenomenon.

Let’s take a look at the various steps in the process.

Step 1 – Gather All Information

Step 1 is to gather all the information you have. I guarantee you, if you have researched very long, you will have information you’ve forgotten about and it’s probably scattered in various folders. Mine is.  Gather it all together in one place. 

Step 2 – Add Local History Resources

In addition to information directly about my ancestor, I check local and county history books for information about the family. You never know what you may find in a child’s vanity article that will provide information about their parents – or grandparents – for example. It was through a vanity story that I discovered that my Brethren ancestor married a German Lutheran and secondly, a non-German BAPTIST!!! Holy chimloda. Today, this isn’t remarkable, but when he did it, it was.

Many local genealogy societies have published genealogical history books where their membership has been encouraged to write articles about their ancestors. Often, these include photos and stories as well, so it’s always wise to check both local history books and more contemporary publications by genealogy societies.

Step 3 – Make a Timeline

Often, but not always, I make a timeline. When I have multiple people and families in the same location, I always make a timeline. This makes it easier to understand chronological order as well as see relationships. When you write the story, you can write it in chronological order as well. In some cases, where I have extracted huge amounts of information by surname in order to discern family relationships, I have created a spreadsheet that is sortable by column, so I can find surnames, locations, and more. In the example spreadsheet below, the Places column would include locations in deeds such as stream names.

Example timeline SS

Obviously, a timeline can be done in this manner as well. This is particularly useful when employing the FAN principle, Family, Associates and Neighbors. In other words, if I found Joseph Abbott consistently witnessing deeds for my family, I would begin to ask if and how he might be related. As it turns out, this Halifax County spreadsheet served to help me DISPROVE the family connected to John Moore. There were at least two Moore families, not related as eventually proven by Y DNA, in Halifax County quite early. DNA was a Godsend to the Moore lines, but so was the timeline spreadsheet because between the two, it allowed me to sort the families.

Step 4 – Add Events Into the Timeline

Normally, the events we track for people are:

  • Birth
  • Marriage
  • Children’s Births
  • Death

There is a lot more that affected their lives. Did their grandparents live during their lifetimes? When did the grandparents pass away? Do we know where they are buried, because if you do, you know what your ancestor was doing that day, and where. 


Whatever religion they followed, it’s likely that religion was fundamentally important to your ancestors. One common thread in my family seems to be that they were extremely devoted to their chosen religion. I have hard core Catholics, Lutherans, Brethren, Mennonites, Protestants (1709ers), and more. What was happening in that time and place relative to their religion? Add this information into the timeline.


Did your ancestor serve in the military? Was your ancestor the wife waiting at home? If so, how might she have survived? How did the war affect the life of your ancestors? Were the wars fought on their home ground? How did they go to war? Did they walk? Can you find a regimental history? If your ancestor served in the US, don’t forget to order their entire record packet from the National Archives and check

Whatever you can find, add into the timeline.


Did they have children that died? If you don’t know the answer, are there “gaps” in the census of more than 2 years between children’s births that suggest a child might have been born and died? Where would that child have been buried? Was there a cemetery on their property, such as was common in colonial America, especially in the south, or was it customary to bury the dead in a churchyard, such as in Europe?

Is the grave still there today? Have you checked Find-A-Grave?

How do local customs affect burials? For example, in Europe, graves are reused, but often in the same family. In one case, in the Netherlands, we found my ancestors grandchildren buried in the plots he bought, so he too was likely buried there at one time. 

Step 5 – Find or Scan Documents

Everyone loves a story book with pictures. Obtain relevant documents for your ancestor and include them. The best item is one with their signature because a signature is so personal.

Deed and will books are not original signatures, as the clerks copied the deeds and wills into the book. Only the original deed or will, which went with the owner, had the original signatures, sadly.

However, applications for bounty land, receipts, some estate documents, some marriage license applications, some naturalization applications and petitions all have original signatures.  Chancery suits are Godsends because often some records from those suits are retained, and even if your ancestor isn’t the plaintiff or defendant, they may be mentioned in a relevant way.

I’ve also found my ancestors’ signatures and information about their life in other people’s chancery suits.  Like the time a couple got divorced and my ancestor, a Methodist preacher, had originally married them.  He testified he though they were “simple” at the time he married them and told about their wedding day.  He also signed his deposition.  The Library of Virginia has indexed every chancery suit by every name in the suit and it’s a goldmine.  Not all counties are complete, but many are

In addition, finding your ancestor’s deeds from the deed books, wills, estate inventories, and naturalization records all lend to the historic feel of the articles.

Sometimes an article is delayed when I discover an item exists that I don’t have, or that I have not checked all relevant sources. The good news is that today, many times, the clerk or other official, depending on the item type, will scan and e-mail you the requested items, so obtaining them is easier than ever before.

Don’t forget libraries in your search either.  You never know what kind of resources of files they might have.  I’ve had wonderful items from local newspapers sent from librarians more than once.

Step 6 – Be Anal

After you assemble everything, go back over what you have to answer the question “What don’t I have?”  Go back and check one more time. Check Genweb, Rootsweb, Ancestry, WikiTree, Fold3,,, MyHeritage, FindMyPast, FamilySearch and any other subscription source you follow. You never know what new record sources are available now that were not before. Records are being indexed every single day.

You also don’t know who might have posted photos, stories, etc., that are new.

Furthermore, check your original records and notes in your file. You will, I guarantee, see things you didn’t see before. In one case, I realized that somehow, I had overlooked in one census that the oldest child was listed with the wife’s maiden name – but just in one census. In subsequent census schedules, the child was listed with the husband’s surname which he used throughout his life. Later, DNA testing confirmed that the child whose surname was not that of the husband in the first census after they were married was not the child of the husband. Obviously no secret then, but being “discovered” now, it could be a scandal, had that census not recorded that the child was the wife’s, clearly before the marriage.

Step 7 – Document

Document your sources. Yes, I know, you’re groaning and I do too. I initially thought I would, of course, never forget, so I didn’t document some of my early sources. Pox on me. I don’t make that mistake now.

If you check a source and your ancestor is NOT there, sometimes that’s just as telling too. Don’t just omit that information and not write it down. Absence is informational as well. Document the source and that they were absent.

In one case, who is IN the census and on tax lists, and ABSENT from the militia rosters tells us who was likely a member of the Brethren faith in a particular county during the Revolutionary War when militia duty was mandatory.

When you have an unidentified wife, which happens constantly with the Brethren who did not believe in civil marriages so they didn’t obtain marriage licenses, this is one way to identify who her family might have been. Early Brethren also didn’t keep church records. Pox on them.

A Brethren male would only have married a Brethren female (or been thrown out of the church, unless she converted), so the list of who is absent from the militia rosters is a virtual pick list of who the wife’s family might be. Later, when you begin to get DNA matches on that line to unexplained Brethren families, look on the “non-militia” list. You might be surprised. So, in this case, “absent” might just the clue to breaking down a brick wall!

Step 8 – Find Their Land

I love to actually go back to where my ancestors lived and as one of my genealogist friends says, “walk the walk.” On my own personal list, that is a #1 priority and my bucket list items are almost all comprised of “walk the walk” places.

My top 3 right now?

  • Acadia in Nova Scotia
  • Plymouth Plantation
  • Germany

Yes, I’m making plans for all 3.

When possible, and with permission of course, I take a rock from each place and bring them home to my garden, so my ancestors are all with me, both outside, in the garden, and inside (DNA.)

However, there are other ways to find their land that are almost as good. Google maps is an incredible tool. Old deeds often include landmarks such as creek names, churches, cemeteries, etc. Often, old plat or tax maps still exist that can help as well, especially if you can track their land backward or forwards to the time of that map to locate the land through the then-current owner.

Using Google, or in person, you can locate the land today and view the old homestead if it still exists, the land, their church and even cemeteries. All without leaving your chair. I know there are places I’ll never be able to visit in person, so Google maps is quickly becoming one of my best friends.

Even in Europe, where Street View is not utilized, satellite viewing is enabled and you can still “see.” Additionally, along the bottom bar, often Google Maps links to photos where the photographer has tagged the location you are searching for, or nearby, and you can then view their photographs.

Step 9 – Find Their DNA

After testing yourself and any family members you can convince to test, you’ll discover which ancestors DNA you have and which you do not. By this I mean, if you are a male, you automatically have available to you information about your mitochondrial and Y DNA. This means, of course, that you have information about your father’s Y DNA, his father’s Y DNA, on up the tree – shows by the blue squares to the left below.

Conversely, your mtDNA is inherited from your mother, her mother, on up the tree, so you have some information about those ancestors directly.  These are shown in the red circles to the right, below. Unfortunately, females only carry mitochondrial DNA, so they have to find males, such as brothers or fathers or uncles to identify their paternal line DNA.

For other people whose mitochondrial and/or Y DNA you don’t personally carry, you will have to find people who descend appropriately to test.

For example, you don’t carry your father’s mtDNA, because he carries his mother’s DNA and males don’t pass mtDNA on to their children. To find your father’s mitochondrial information, you’ll need to test your father. Don’t have access to test your father? Then test one of his siblings, or his sister’s children, since only women pass mitochondrial DNA on to their children. You may have to be creative with hunting for specific relatives whose DNA you need to complete their, and your, ancestral genetic information.

Here’s an example of what my DNA pedigree chart looks like.

DNA Pedigree

You’ll notice that I have managed to identify the haplogroup information for several lines, but there are still others I need, and a few that have died out.

When you’re out of cousins to test directly, check MitoSearch and

Also check trees at Ancestry to see if you can find someone who descends appropriately and ask them if they have had their Y or mtDNA tested. If not, offer to provide that test.

Autosomal matches at Ancestry show you how you and your match descend from a common ancestor – so check those matches for people eligible to take either the Y or mtDNA test.

Unfortunately, we still don’t have any good tools to discover genetic lineage and who has tested for mtDNA.  By this, I mean you can’t enter your ancestor’s name and find out who descends from her that has tested. But I have my fingers crossed that this will be a feature someday.

Sometimes, just publishing the article will be the key to finding a tester. You never know. And let’s face it, these articles are cousin-bait.

If there is any, and I do mean any, question in your mind about how valuable and informative Y and mitochondrial DNA can be – just read these two articles.

Y- DNA – Jakob Lenz (1748-1821), Vinedresser, 52 Ancestors #128

mtDNA – Elisabetha Mehlheimer (c1800-C1851) and Her Scandinavian Mito-Cousins, 52 Ancestors #24

The Y and mitochondrial DNA provides information that isn’t possible to discover any other way – the deep ancestry of that particular line.  You have shortchanged yourself, and your ancestor, if you don’t make every attempt to discover their Y and mtDNA haplogroups and the historical information that comes along with the haplogroup designation.

Step 10 – Google is Your Friend

Aside from Google maps, Google is your friend. Google your ancestor’s name and location. Google his wife’s name, both maiden and married, and location. Google just the location with the word “history” following. Google in different ways to find information that might not appear on your first Google search.

People write blogs now and it’s easy to create a webpage. They contribute to GenWeb. They post photos and memorials to Find-A-Grave. The old Rootsweb list and boards, which are often sadly inactive now, are wonderful resources. Ancestry bought the boards and while you can no longer post, they have preserved the postings and threads which were already there, which are also goldmines. Don’t forget about social media resources like Facebook. Some people have started family pages there.

Furthermore, many local history books, especially those whose copyrights have now expired are available through various scanning initiatives.

So, Google, Google, Google.

Step 11– Revisit Earlier Conclusions

There is nothing I hate worse than proving my own work wrong – and I can’t tell you how often I’ve done just that. The only person who doesn’t make mistakes is the person who does nothing. My only possible excuse is that I never set out to be a genealogist, there were no “instructions” in those early years, I’ve been doing this for 38 years now and I’ve learned one heck of a lot!

Today, you may have far more information than you did when you formed earlier opinions. You may have learned more about cultural and social norms affecting your ancestor where they lived. You may have been flat out wrong or just overlooked something that is obvious now, but wasn’t then.

Don’t just accept what you, or anyone else for that matter, has previously written, without scrutiny in light of the information you currently have.

In one case, I made a logical assumption that was wrong. After a woman’s husband died, in the next census, an older invalid male was living with her. My assumption was that it MIGHT have been a sibling, hence, his name MIGHT have been her maiden name.  I did phrase it that way. Unfortunately, when that information was repeated, the word MIGHT never got included, and today, after later finding her husband’s War of 1812 pension application that contains not only her maiden name, but the name of her father as well – I constantly have to do battle with records that reflect my own logical, but incorrect, earlier surname commentary.  Often, people have grown attached to that wrong name, and refuse to change it.

If you don’t know, say you don’t know.  If the information is ambiguous or confusing, say so, and why.  Perhaps someday someone will find something that clarifies the situation.

Step 12 – Be With Your Ancestor

I know this sounds a bit bizarre, but when I write these articles, each article gives me the opportunity to “be with” that ancestor, focusing on only them, for a week, or more, at a time. I get to see through their eyes, as much as I can in this lifetime. I get to experience what they experienced, as best we are able from our perspective today. The ONLY way I can do that, though, is to understand their world, not just within the family in terms of who was being born and baptized, but in terms of what was going on around them at that time.

One of my favorite items that allows me to “be with” my ancestors are estate inventories. Those are the closest we will ever come to peeking inside their homes. I’ve learned a great deal about what they do, their skills, and even if they distilled liquor. I just can’t tell you how much I love estate inventories.

Often, after I’m done researching and organizing, I take a walk or otherwise just allow my ancestor’s experiences and life to just kind of simmer and percolate for a day or two.

Write Your Article

You may have noticed that I name each 52 Ancestors article. Each person has something that is defining or remarkable about their life.

My friend knew that her great-grandfather had been shot and killed. The story was rather hush-hush and no one would discuss it in her family. She ordered the old newspaper films from that location into her local Family History Center.

I was there the night she found the newspaper article about her great-grandfather’s death. She emitted a shriek that rivaled any smoke detector. We weren’t sure if that was a death rattle or just what, so all of the patrons and librarians went running in her direction. She couldn’t even talk. As we’re all fawning over her, she just gasped and pointed to the microfilm reader in front of her where the front page newspaper headline said, “Shot on the Whore House Steps.” Yep, it was her great-grandfather and yep, I’d say that was a defining event.

Now that you’ve gathered the information about your ancestor, sifted and sorted the correct and relevant from the chaff, organized it as best you can, you’ll need to decide how to write the article. In general, I utilize the timeline methodology, with a few segways. I find this to be easiest to follow, in most cases. The segways are often for historical discussions about things that were occurring or relevant socially and adds flavor to their life. After the segway, which is in the timeline-appropriate place, I continue with the events of my ancestor’s lives. I try very hard to write these articles with a narrative story feel and not the dry names and dates feel that genealogy often has. I want their life experiences to come through, for people who read the article to know them as people and see life through their eyes.

I want you to leave the story knowing what a vinedresser is, even though you had never heard this word before. I want you to know what they do, when, and why. I want my grandchildren to be inspired by these stories and to know the people well enough that when the story is over, they want to go and play “Jakob the vinedresser” and have enough information to do so.

I often don’t name these articles until during or after I write them, because it’s really not until after I utilize every scrap of information that I can discover about their lives, and percolated a bit, that I feel I “know” them well enough to select an article name. More often than not, the article pretty much names itself…or maybe it’s my ancestor helping out.



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Concepts – Match Groups and Triangulation

Today, we’re going to talk about the concepts of autosomal DNA and the differences between:

  • Match groups
  • Mathematical triangulation
  • Genealogical triangulation

Match Groups

At Family Tree DNA, when you download your chromosome matching results, meaning your complete spreadsheet, then sorting into chromosome order (sort by column, end location, start location, then chromosome) your spreadsheet will look like this.


Of course, your spreadsheet will be a lot longer and will continue with additional matches on chromosome 1, then chromosome 2, etc.

In the example above, we see that this is just one match group, meaning that the segments for all individuals overlap, which indicates that they match me. In fact, I copied the first match group on my spreadsheet to use in this example.

A match group is a group of people that match YOU on the same segment of your chromosome.  You will have many match groups.

Each of these people matches me on chromosome 1 beginning at location 72,017 for some distance. The shortest match is Calvin and he matches on only 3.47 cM, which tells me that I have other matches with Calvin, because this segment is too short to have made it over the match threshold by itself. So I know this is just one of at least two segment matches to Calvin.

I don’t know Calvin, so I don’t know which side of my tree Calvin falls on or how we are related.

The next several matches’ segments are about the same size, 11 or 12 cM, with the final segment being significantly larger, 26.82 cM. If you need a refresher, I wrote a concepts article about centiMorgans and SNPs.

There are two really important things to remember about match groups.

  1. Match groups means that the people who are on this list match YOU. It does NOT means that these people match each other. In fact, if you recall, you have two sides to each chromosome, one from Dad and one from Mom, so it’s very likely that you have matches from Mom and matches from Dad, intermixed, in this and every match group. Without additional information, you have no way to discern who matches you on which side.
  2. Do not be deceived by thinking that the beginning or ending location, or both, is indicative of matching on one side or the other, or that the people who share beginning and/or ending locations match each other too. If I were to fall into this trap, I would PRESUME (and that’s a very dangerous word in DNA matching) that Cheryl through Rutha, inclusive, match each other and are from the same parental side – and I will tell you right now – they aren’t. So just don’t go there because it will trip you up sure as shootin’.

So, the people in a match group match YOU. Don’t read anything more into these matches at this point.

However, let’s move on to mathematical triangulation because there’s more that we can discover.

Mathematical Triangulation

I’ve gone and snuck a new term in on you haven’t I – mathematical triangulation. Sorry folks.

We have talked about autosomal triangulation several times before. You can read about triangulation here.

In a nutshell, triangulation requires three things of all people in a triangulation group:

  • They all match you on the same segment (math), which you know because they are all on your match list
  • They all match each other on the same segment (math), which you may or may not be able to discern by utilizing various tools
  • They have a common ancestor or ancestral line (genealogy), which you may or may not be able to discern through traditional genealogy

Triangulation is two parts math and one part genealogy. Don’t let that math word frighten you, because the math isn’t the hard part as it can be done by sorting a spreadsheet or by vendor tools, but the genealogy has to be done by you.

Mathematical triangulation divides your matches into two groups, one from your mother’s side and one from your father’s side.

Let’s step through this process and see how it works.

On any group of people who match you on a particular segment of a chromosome, when you have enough people, your matches will form two groups, plus possibly an outlier or two.


Because you have matches from both your father’s side and your mother’s side, assuming enough people have tested.

Let’s look at an example.

If you have 3 matches, it’s possible that all 3 matches are from your mother’s side.  However, as more people test and match you, eventually, you will have two groups of people form, one from each parent’s sides.

How do you know who is in each group?

Good question – and this is what defines a triangulation group versus a match group.

In a triangulation group, all of the people in the group MUST ALSO MATCH EACH OTHER on the same segment.  Yes, I’m shouting because if you forget this, you’re toast!

How do you figure out if they match each other?

In my case, I have access to the kits of the people colored peach below, because I paid for their testing, or put another way, they tested to do me a favor.


The kit in blue is managed by a cousin with whom I have a many-years long relationship, so while I don’t have direct access to this kit, I do have a great working relationship with the person involved.

So, I can sign in and I can see who matches whom. If you don’t have access to any of the kits, you can look at the ICW (in common with) list, which tells you which of these people also match each other, but the ICW list does not tell you if they match on the same segments, just that they match.  It’s not triangulation, but it is information and if the entire group matches each other utilizing the ICW tool, that’s fairly indicative that you do indeed have a mathematical triangulation group – but it’s not 100%.  You can read about the ICW tool and how to use it in this Nine Autosomal Tools at Family Tree DNA article.

So, let’s see what the two groups look like after I see who matches whom by looking at each person’s matches on this segment of chromosome 1.


I was able to check each of Cheryl, Don and Rex’s kits and they all match each other along with Jim, so we know that all 4 of these people in the green group all match each other plus me.

I was able to check Lazarus’s kit directly and Amos’s kit through my cousin, and I was also to verify that they match each other and they both also match Rutha, so I know that this purple group all matches each other plus me.

So what happened to Calvin – the uncolored row in the middle?

First, I can’t check Calvin’s kit directly, but the fact that his segments do mathematically overlap BUT he doesn’t match all of the people in either group, in fact, he doesn’t match any of the people in either group whose kits I could check, tells me that his results are zigzagging back and forth between my mother’s and my father’s DNA, from side to side.  I also verified his non-matching status to my matches utilizing the ICW tool.

This is called an identical by chance match. In essence, Calvin doesn’t match either side so it’s what is known as a false positive match – looks to be real but isn’t upon further inspection.  Remember I said that your matches would form two groups that match each other – plus a few outlier?  Calvin is an outlier.

Now, we have all of our matches sorted into two groups, a mother’s group and a father’s group, plus one who doesn’t match either group. The question is which ancestors do these matches come from and which side is mother’s and which side is father’s.

Now it’s time to add the genealogy portion as the third piece of the triangulation pie.  Sometimes, when you don’t have the ability to do mathematical triangulation, per se, by comparing individual kits, you can achieve mathematical triangulation by utilizing genealogical triangulation – so these two actually go hand in hand.

While genealogical triangulation can achieve mathematical triangulation, by organizing people into matching sides, mathematical triangulation cannot replace genealogical triangulation.

But wait, there is actually a shortcut I can take, and it is a way to begin adding genealogy immediately and easily.

Genealogical Triangulation

There are multiple ways to perform the final step in triangulation which takes your matches from mathematically matched groups to genealogically triangulated groups with ancestors or ancestral lines assigned. In fact, sometimes the genealogy will actually be what helps you with the mathematical grouping if you don’t have access to kits to check who your matches match.

Genealogy Triangulation Method 1 – Adding a Parent or Parents

My mother has tested too. In my spreadsheet, I have added her matches into my master spreadsheet so I can easily see who matches both me and my mother. A match to both of us tells me immediately which side the match is on.


My mother’s matches are colored pink. You can see immediately that Mom and I both match Cheryl, Don, Rex and Jim, so those matches are assigned to my mother’s side.

Genealogical Triangulation Method 2 – Using Known Individuals and Identifying Common Ancestors or Ancestral Lines

As it turns out, I already know who Cheryl, Don and Rex are, so I know that they match on my mother’s side, even without my mother’s DNA test. Cheryl and Don are siblings who are my mother’s first cousins, and Rex is a second cousin. All of these people match both me and Mom on the same segments, which means that these matches come from my mother’s side.  It also means that I received this entire segment intact from my mother, without being divided.  Utilizing close relatives to sort matches into groups is exactly why we encourage everyone to test as many known relatives as you can convince to test, except children of relatives who have already tested, because their children only received a part of the parents’ DNA.

Furthermore, it also means that Jim, whose genealogy I don’t know, is from the same line because he matches Cheryl, Don, Rex and mother as well.

That does not means that Jim necessarily shares the same most recent common ancestors (MRCA) as Cheryl, Don, Rex and mother.

Even if I didn’t have my mother’s information, knowing her relationship to Cheryl, Don and Rex along with mathematical triangulation is enough to assign these relatives and people they all match to my mother’s side.  Even if I don’t have access to their accounts, I still know that they are closely related to my mother, there are multiple of them, and they all match me on the same segment, so I can group these people together, if nothing more.

Margaret Lentz chart

The common ancestors of Barbara (mother), Don and Cheryl are Evaline Miller and Hiram Ferverda.

The common ancestors of Barbara, Don, Cheryl and Rex are Margaret Lentz and John David Miller.

So while these individuals do share a common ancestor, and we can identify who it is, the most recent common ancestor is different between Rex and Cheryl, Don, and Barbara.

We don’t know who Jim is, but I can pretty much tell you that he isn’t a descendant of Evaline Miller and Hiram Ferverda, unless he is through an unknown child. I can be pretty certain that he’s not a direct descendant of Margaret Lentz and John David Miller either.

I can also tell you with equal conviction that he IS descended from either the Margaret Lentz or John David Miller line, because he matches all 4 cousins who descend from that couple – Cheryl, Don, Barbara and Rex – on the same reasonably large segment. So while we can’t identify his common ancestor with the group, at least not yet, we can say with certainly that he descends from either these common ancestors or an ancestor to these ancestors.

Now, if Jim also matched to William Lentz, above, which he doesn’t, but let’s say he did – we would then know which side of the Margaret Lentz and John David Miller line Jim represented. The Lentz line, of course.

This would also tell us that if Jim matched the Lentz line, that the DNA he shares with Barbara, Rex, Don and Cheryl was from Margaret Lentz, so descended from her parents, Jacob Lentz and Fredericka Reuhle. Of course, we don’t know that today – but all it takes is the right “new match” whose genealogy is proven and we can then attribute the individual segments to specific ancestors.

Let’s add mother’s lines into the mathematically matched chart.


As you can see, just as expected, Mom matches all of the same people that match each other, along with me, in the green match group, which is now a triangulation group because we know which side the match is on – Mom’s.

To add more definition to the triangulation group, we need genealogical information about the people in the group so that we know who their common ancestors are, or their common line. Fortunately, we have that.

You can also see that Mom matches Lisa as well, but neither Cheryl, Don, nor Rex match Lisa, so Lisa must be from Mom’s mother’s side AND I didn’t inherit that DNA from Mom because I don’t match Lisa either. That’s good information to know through deductive reasoning. It’s also possible of course that Lisa’s match to Mom is IBC, identical by chance, but at almost 14 cM, that’s rather unlikely.

I’ve updated the “side” column with what we’ve learned.

Lastly, given that I do know the genealogy of many of these people, I’ve added that information into additional columns on my spreadsheet, along with the fact that these segments do in fact triangulate. Please note that you can click to see a larger image.


Now, if you’ve just caught the words “these segments do in fact triangulate” and you’re about to ask if each matching segment needs to be triangulated individually – the answer would be yes. You may share multiple ancestors with someone, on both sides of your family. In fact, even worse you can share multiple ancestors on each side of your family. Endogamy will do that to you.

We’ll pause a minute here for the groaning to subside.

One last comment is that when I infer a side, like with Lisa who does not match on Mom’s father’s side on this segments, I don’t assign the side, I just make a note because we really CAN’T say that Lisa matches on my Mom’s mother’s side, because she might be a false positive match.

Also, in the case of Rutha, we know she descends from either one of these common ancestors or an ancestor of an ancestor, so I simply note the group she triangulates with for further reference.  That information about Rutha will come in useful when I work with other match groups that she is a member of – trying to make them into triangulation groups as well.

Genealogical Triangulation Method 3 – Phased Family Matches

You can also check for your phased Family Matches on your match page at Family Tree DNA to see if any of those individuals who match you on your spreadsheet are already assigned to the maternal or paternal sides based on phased matches with qualifying relatives. You can see on the page below that indeed, on my mother’s kit, Cheryl is assigned to her parental bucket, being her third closest match.


However, you CAN’T assume that because a match doesn’t have a maternal or paternal icon assigned that they aren’t descended from a particular side of your family.

Family Tree DNA only assigns high confidence phased matches so that you can depend on those results.

Remember, each segment needs to be individually triangulated, and the Family Matching algorithm that assigns maternal and paternal icons has a higher threshold and other internal requirements that may cause a parental icon NOT to be displayed when the match IS from that side of the family.  This is not a bug but a design element that assures that only highly confident matches are parentally assigned.

So you can use the parental icon as a great tool to assign a genealogical maternal or paternal side, but you still need to do due diligence in terms of working each segment to identify with whom it triangulates and the common ancestors.

Genealogical Triangulation Method 4 – Don’t Forget the X

While utilizing this trick won’t get you all the way to triangulation, it will help in several cases, at least by assigning parental “sides” to some matches – for males only.  Yes, ladies, I know, it’s not fair.

Because males inherit an X chromosome only from their mother, and a Y from their father, any match that is labeled as an X match:

  • Has to have come from a male’s maternal line if the segment is a valid match.
  • Has to have a segment on chromosomes 1-22 that is over the matching threshold for an X match to be reported.

Aside from that, the X is subject to the same segment size considerations of all other chromosomes and segments.

Any X match of a reasonable size, meaning one that is less likely to be identical by chance, had to have come from a male’s mother’s line – so a match to a male with a reasonably large X segment is an indication of a maternal line match for him, at least on that segment.  For two matching men, an X match has to be a maternal line match for both men.  However, keep in mind that I have seen X segments that match on completely different lines than autosomal matches.

When comparing the X chromosome, in non-endogamous populations, I would certainly note matches over 3cM. I would not assign a maternal “side” unless the match was 7cM or over and 500 SNPs or more.  Lastly, in endogamous populations, I would be even more restrictive in terms of assigning the segment as “real,” but I would make notes because it would help focus where I look.


As you can see, this gentleman only has 4 X matches, and two of those are quite small, One is near 5cM and one is near 7cM, but none of the 4 is compellingly large – meaning they could be identical by chance. I would make a note for the two larger matches by the names of the people he matches, but I would not assign any of the matches as maternal at this point with given the small segments.  When I make “side” assignments, I want them to be as strong as possible so I don’t have to second guess the assignment later.

I would also look at who else I match on the X on that segment and see if there is anything remarkable about common matches.  In males, if the X match is valid, it HAS to come from mother’s side, so if you see a small segment X match in someone you know is related on your father’s side, that’s an indication that the X match on that segment to that person is IBC or you also share a second ancestor on the maternal side.

Larger X matches are already mathematically triangulated for you, meaning, if you’re a male,  you know what side they come from.  There are no “2 sides” to this chromosome and all you need to add is genealogy.  Women, you still have two sides, because you inherited an X from both your mother and your father, so you are not mathematically triangulated.  Sorry ladies!

If you would like to read more about the X chromosome, inheritance patterns and matching, click here and here. Be sure to utilize the inheritance pattern genealogy charts.


See how easy and fun this is when you break it down into easy, logical steps.

Even if you can’t mathematically triangulate, if you can find multiple people in the match group that descend from the same known ancestors or ancestral line, you can form smaller groups with these individuals until you have the opportunity to create a larger mathematical match group.

It only takes three people to create a genealogical triangulation group, so long as they aren’t close relatives.  Siblings don’t count, for example, and neither do parents when counting to 3 in a triangulation group.

As long as you can identify who your DNA on a particular segment came from, you really don’t need to fit everyone on your match list into a triangulation group – so if you don’t have access to some accounts, it’s not the end of the world.  You can also use the ICW tool to determine who people match, in general, if not segment specific..

You’re only going to have two ancestral lines, a paternal line and a maternal line that is relevant to any match group – so once you know who those ancestors are, the rest of your matches HAVE to fall into one group or another, or are outliers.  So don’t obsess about not being able to fit everyone into a match group either mathematically or genealogically.  However, if you can find a genealogical connection, by all means do, because one of those matches may well be the person who isolates the DNA to either the male or female of the ancestral couple and allows you to go back another generation or two in time.

Don’t forget about utilizing your Family Matches with assigned paternal and maternal icons.  That’s a great new tool.

It’s fascinating to see which of our ancestors our DNA came from. Finding new cousins by utilizing DNA is exciting as well – and gives us new opportunities to establish family relationships and share research information – opportunities that never existed prior to DNA bringing us together and providing us with that all important introduction.

Have fun.



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Genealogy Research

Maria Margaretha Grubler (1748-1823), A Woman of Steel Resolve,52 Ancestors #129

Maria Margaretha Grubler or Gribler (present day spelling) was born on May 4th, 1748 and baptized the same day in Beutelsbach, Wurttemberg, Germany to Johann George Grubler and Katharina Nopp, both also of Beutelsbach. This family is indexed incorrectly at Ancestry, under the surname Brabler and a wide variety of other ways as well that don’t remotely resemble their actual surnames.

Maria margaretha Grubler

We don’t know much about Maria Margaretha’s youth, except that she was Lutheran much as everyone else in Beutelsbach, and she was an only child – a rare occurrence in a time when pregnancies routinely occurred every 18-24 months and there was little, if anything, one could do to prevent that aside from abstinence.

Like other German girls, she was likely called by her middle name, Margaretha – an enchanting and beautiful name.

Margaretha may have originally been a Scandinavian name, where it means pearl. It’s found in some format in almost all European languages.

Beutelsbach has provided an invaluable service to genealogists seeking their family by reassembling the historical families from church and other records and providing the information online, and for free.

Maria Margaretha Grubler history

These records allow us to search specifically at Ancestry in their Wurttemberg Germany, Lutheran Baptisms, Marriage and Burials, 1500-1985 (which includes Buetelsbach) records collection for events like baptisms, marriages, births of children and burials. In German families in the 1700s, these are the activities and events that defined your life, especially if you were a female.

Margaretha grew up in this small village of just a few hundred people not far from the Rems River, where the hillsides sloped upwards and were filled with grapevines and vineyards. Beutelsbach is dab smack in the middle of the German wine region and the countryside is dotted with small villages, either within sight of each other or nearly so – scattered just far enough apart to have their own church and for people to walk to the nearby vineyards to work daily. In German villages, people lived centrally and walked a mile or so to their fields, or the fields they rented or worked for the landowners, the gentry. In Beutelsbach, the people who owned the fields would have lived in the Manor House, up on the hillside, overlooking the village. You can see the manor house in the drawing below.  Today, the manor house is a hotel and conference center.  I’d love to visit!

Beutelsbach 1598

This beautiful view of Beutelsbach from 1598 was found in the forest register books created by Andreas Kieser. It probably didn’t look much different in 1748 when Maria Margaretha was born.

Beutelsbach and other nearly small villages have been joined together today administratively as the city of Weinstadt.

Margaretha’s father, Johann Georg Grubler, died on November 27, 1764 when he was 55 and she was 16 years old.  They buried him the next day.  This was probably Maria Margaretha’s first dealing with death up close and personal, as two of her grandparents died before she was born, one died a year after her birth and one when she was 4, so she never knew her grandparents – nor would she remember their funerals.

Grubler, Johann Georg 1764

Church records don’t reflect any additional children for Maria Margaretha’s parents, but it would be highly unusual for a couple in that time who clearly could have children to have only one child. However, information unearthed by my friendly German genealogist, Tom, indicates that Maria Margaretha’s mother didn’t marry until she was 37 years old, on October 26, 1745, had Maria Margaretha in May 1748, at age 40, and never conceived another child. Knowing this, the fact that Maria Margaretha had no siblings makes a lot more sense – but she was probably the only “only child” in the entire village!

Eight years after Margaretha’s father’s death, she married Jakob Lenz, a vinedresser, on November 3, 1772. Given that Jakob’s parents had also lived in Beutelsbach their entire lives, Jakob and Margaretha likely had known each other since they were small children playing in the sunshine. They were only 3 months apart in age and were 24 years old when they married.JakobLenzmarriage

The document above, from the Lutheran church in Beutelsbach shows their marriage record.  It says they were “married the 18th Sunday after Trinity and that Jacob Lenz was the legitimate unmarried son of the citizen and vinedresser, Jacob Lentz from here.  Maria Margaretha is the legitimate unmarried daughter of the late Johann George Grubler, citizen and vinedresser from here.”

So both of their fathers worked in those vineyards above Beutelsbach. Their fathers had probably known each other their entire lives as well.

While Margaretha’s father didn’t join them on their wedding day, he was nearby, most likely buried in the churchyard just outside. The cemetery beside the church was the burial site for the House of Wurttemberg until 1311 when the official burials took place in Stuttgart. Certainly the local people continued to use the church burial ground.

Jakob Lenz and Maria Margaretha Grubler had 9 children, their first child being born just days after their first wedding anniversary.

  • Katharina Barbara Lenz was born November 17, 1773 and died September 4, 1817 in Beutelsbach of epilepsy. She never married. This makes me wonder if she was epileptic for her entire life. I expect she lived with her parents. Perhaps it was a blessing that she died before they did.

Lenz, Katharina Barbara birth

Katharina Barbara’s birth and baptism records are shown above, and death entry in the church records, below.

Lenz, Katharina Barbara death

Katharina Barbara’s parents, now age 69 would have weeped beside their firstborn child’s grave. They buried their first child 44 years after she was born. They buried their second-born within weeks of his birth.

Lenz, Jakob 1775 birth

Jakob’s birth record above, and death entry in the church records, below.

Lenz, Jakob 1775 death

On a late summer’s day, holding their first-born daughter, now 22 months old and perhaps with epilepsy, they would have buried their son, not yet 6 weeks old. This was not a happy family portrait.

  • Maria Magdalena Lenz was born October 1, 1776 and died November 1, 1849 in Beutelsbach of weakness of old age. She too never married.

Lenz, Maria Magdalena birth

Maria Magdalena’s birth is recorded above, and her death in the church records, below.

Lenz, Maria Magdalena death

  • Johannes Lenz was born January 16, 1779 in Beutelsbach and died October 29, 1813 in Beutelsbach. He was single and the cause of death; stickfluss (bronchitis or pneumonia). Occupation not given. Tom indicates that the word gebrachi is used which means frail or infirm, so he may never have been well.

Lenz, Johannes birth

Johannes’ birth record is shown above, and his death entry in the church records, below.

Lenz, Johannes death

Lenz, Philip Jakob birth

Philipp Jakob’s birth is shown in the records above, and his death, below. He lived to be almost 8 years old, past the dangerous first year or two. His parents must have been devastated at his death. His death record doesn’t indicate a cause of death.

Lenz, Philipp Jakob death

Maria Margaretha’s mother, herself a widow, likely lived very close to Margaretha, if not with Margaretha and Jakob. On July 26, 1781, Margaretha’s mother died. Being an only child, Margaretha would have laid her mother to rest beside her father who died 17 years earlier.

Nopp, Katharina death

Given that Maria Margaretha had no siblings, her mother’s death would have been her last immediate family member to pass over. Siblings help to cushion the blow, but with no siblings, Margaretha may have truly felt orphaned at 33.

On the other hand, with 4 living children at home, including a 3 month old infant, Maria Margaretha would have been very busy. Perhaps that was a good thing because she did not have time to dwell upon her mother’s death. On the other hand, in a small village, every time she would have passed by the house where she was raised, she would clearly have remembered her parents. Every Sunday attending church, she would pass by her parents graves. Did that make Maria Margaretha feel comforted that they were close, or sad that they were so close, yet so far away?

Life moved on, and Maria Margaretha continued to have 4 more children.

  • Jakob Lenz was born March 15, 1783 and left to emigrate to America just before his 34th birthday. This is my ancestor whose story is absolutely incredible. So incredible, in fact, that we had to tell the story in two parts, plus a third for his wife, Johanna Friedericka Ruhle whom he married on May 25, 1808 in Beutelsbach. The church records tell us that Jakob left with his family to immigrate on February 12, 1817.
  • Katharina Margaretha Lenz was born November 2, 1785, died January 6, 1858 and married Johann Conrad Gos on April 21, 1807 in Beutelsbach.

Lenz, Katharina Margaretha birth

Katharina Margaretha Lenz’s birth is shown above and her death is shown in the church records below.

Lenz, Katharina Margaretha death

At Katharina Margaretha’s death on January 6, 1858, she is listed as daughter of Jakob Lenz, vinedresser and Maria Griblerin, the trailing “in” often added to maiden names of single women.  Griberlin, the way it’s written, indicates that Gribler was her mother’s maiden, not married, name. Katharina Margaretha is also noted as the wife of Joh. Conrad Gos, bricklayer assistant who emigrated. She died of weakness of old age.

Katharina Margaretha had 5 children. Her husband, Johann Conrad left for Russia in 1817 where he died before the 1823 birth of Katharina’s last child, Jakob Freidrich Gos in Beutelsbach. Jakob Freidrich’s birth record is shown below.

Gos, Jakob Freidrich birth

Jacob Freiderich died in the poorhouse of emaciation and “wasting” in 1857, according to the church record below, which according to Tom, means he had tuberculosis. His occupation was that of a hafner (potter). He died the year before his mother.

Lenz, Jakob Freidrich death

It was initially unclear to me whether Jakob Freidrich was the son of Johann Conrad Goss, perhaps home for a visit, or the son of a different father. However, Tom translated the original records and answered that question, although it’s not exactly forthright.

Jakob Freidrich Gos’s baptismal record states:

Child’s parents: Katharina Margaretha, the late Konrad Gos, citizen and brickmaker, from here surviving widow.

The father according to the record extracts, noch ………..16 January 1824.

According to Tom, Jakob Friedrich Gos was considered illegitimate. His birth entry indicates his father was deceased and his death entry call him Jakob Friedrich Lenz, not Gos.

This is highly suggestive that Katharina Margaretha, while either married or a widow, conceived Jakob Freidrich and perhaps the clergy didn’t quite know what to say. Maybe the village knew Konrad Gos was dead, but didn’t know exactly when he died – and Katherina Margaretha wasn’t telling. Maybe the presumption of illegitimacy was not enough to pronounce Jakob Freidrich illegitimate at his birth.

However, the recording clerk or minister when Jakob Freidrich died 33 years later seemed to have no problem making that distinction by reverting him to his mother’s maiden name and labeling him “spurious,” meaning illegitimate.

In Tom’s words, “his father is clearly a mystery. If the child’s father acknowledged the birth at the time of his baptism or even later (in writing or as an affirmation to the minister), then the child would be considered legitimate. This was not done in this case as far as I can determine.”

We’ll never know for sure, because Jakob Freidrich Gos or Lenz never married, so never had children, at least none that we know about. If he had produced sons, we would have the possibility of Y DNA testing to see if his sons’ direct male descendants match Gos men or men by some other surname. Katharina Margaretha’s secret, if in fact it was a secret at all, has already gone to the grave. In a small village, there may have been very few true secrets.

While Katharina Margaretha was probably a bit scandalous as a widow bearing a child, we always have to consider the possibility that the conception wasn’t consensual and she may not have been the merry widow at all, but a victim. That would also be one reason the father would never have acknowledged the child.

Jakob Freidrich may never have been healthy, and Katharina Margaretha was apparently left to raise him alone. There was no happy ending to this story.

  • Johanna was born June 22, 1788 (although the Beutelsbach history information says July 2) and died October 10, 1788 in Beutelsbach.

Lenz, Johanna birth

Johanna’s birth record is shown above, and her death entry in the church book, below. Her mother only got to love her, in this world anyway, for three and a half months.

Lenz, Johanna death

  • Christina born January 1, 1793, died “8-13” but no year given. The Beutelsbach history information says “probably 1793,” but as it turns out, this was incorrect.

Lenz, Christina birth

Tom found Christina’s actual death record, shown below, on August 13, 1872 in Beutelsbach of cholera nostras, an acute bacterial disease caused by drinking fecally contaminated water.

There were cholera epidemics in Germany in both 1871 and 1873. The 1873 episode was noted as the worst cholera epidemic Germany had ever suffered. No cholera was listed in Germany for 1872, although obviously it was still lurking and was found in both Russia and Hungary in 1872. It’s only 400 miles from Beutelsbach to the border with Hungary, so that’s about the distance from Raleigh, NC to Washington, DC, an easy half day drive today.

Lenz, Christina death

Of Maria Margaretha and Jakob’s nine children:

  • 3 children, 2 boys and 1 girl, died as children at 2 months, 3 months and 8 years of age
  • 2 died as adults, but before their parents, having never married
  • 2 married and had children
  • The son who had children immigrated to America in 1817
  • The husband of the daughter who had children left for Russia in 1817
  • 2 daughters lived to adulthood but never married
  • Only 4 children outlived their parents
  • There were no sons left in Germany to care for either their aging mother or unmarried sisters upon the parents’ deaths
  • Two of Maria Margaretha’s sons were named Jakob. A third was named Philipp Jakob and was probably called Jakob. No confusion there!

It’s not terribly unusual in German records to name a second child the name of a child that died, but I still find that custom a bit disconcerting. In my very 20th Century American way of thinking, each child needs their own name so that you can remember and honor them properly.  How do you differentiate the first child Jakob who died from the second child Jakob who lived?  There were a total of 5 Jakobs in this family; grandfather, father, son who died, son who lived, son Philipp Jakob who would have been called Jakob, who also died, but after the second Jakob was born.  In other words, for a few years, they had two sons who would have been called Jakob.

When you speak about Jakob Lenz, for example, do you speak about the one who was born and died at just over 6 weeks of age in 1775 as “the first Jakob,” His father might have been referred to that way, or even his grandfather who was also Johann Jakob Lenz. Or do you refer to that first child as “the dead baby Jakob,” or do you just never refer to that child that passed? Unlike stillborn children or those who died shortly after death, the first Jakob survived for more than 6 weeks. Not in this family, but I have seen even a third child given that same identical name if the second child died. In this case, I suspect they wanted to have a child named Jakob after his father, and grandfather.

It’s somehow ironic that of 9 births recorded in the church records, only two of Margaretha’s children would give her grandchildren. One of those, Jacob left in 1817 for America, taking his four living children of course, who would have been ages 11, 8, 3 and 6 months old. Maria Margaretha never knew the rest of his children, born in America, and youngest two born in Germany would not have remembered their grandmother.

In 1775, Maria Margaretha buried her second-born child at about 6 weeks of age, in 1781 she buried her mother, then in 1788, she buried a child three months old. The next year, in 1789, another child died just before their 8th birthday. That must have been particularly difficult, because after infancy, you feel somewhat safe that they will survive.

Other than friends and distant family who lived in the village, Maria Margaretha had a reprieve for a few years, but the family deaths began again in October 1813 when her adult son, born in 1779 died of pneumonia.

Maria Margaretha would have stood by the small grave of her grandchild, Johannes, when they buried him five months later, on March 9th, 1814, a baby of 2 years and 3 months old, nearly the same age as one of her own children when she buried them. Another child she loved and lost.

A third grandchild, Elizabeth Katharina Lenz, died on the ship en route to America. In many ways, when Maria Margaretha kissed and hugged her grandchildren goodbye for the last time in the winter of 1817, they would have been functionally dead to her, given that she would never see them again. But receiving the letter that told of Elizabeth’s death, at age 4 or so, would have been devastating news. Maria Margaretha thought she was sending Elizabeth off to a new, better, life, not to a watery grave.

After son Jakob left for America in the later winter or early spring of 1817, he became shipwrecked in Norway in the fall after nearly starving to death on the high seas, and was stranded in Bergen, Norway for nearly another year. Surely, if Jakob was able to get a letter to Germany, Margaretha would have known about his predicament and been worried sick. Jakob and family managed to get themselves on another ship a year later, only to nearly perish on that voyage as well, and then had to sell themselves into indentured servitude to pay for their second passage after arrival in America.

Maybe Margaretha didn’t know those details. Maybe she did, afterwards, and was simply glad they were alive. Where there is life, there is hope. There were other Beutelsbach residents on those ill-fated ships as well, so Margaretha wasn’t alone in her grief.

In September of 1817, while Jakob’s ship was floundering on the high seas, Maria Margaretha buried another child, Katharina Barbara, who died of epilepsy at age 44. I have read accounts of people who died of increasingly worsening epileptic seizures and the reports are horrific. A small part of their brain is destroyed with each seizure and the damage is cumulative over the years, until they are often childlike, then infantile, as adults, ravaged by seizures they dread, terribly, can often feel beginning, and can do nothing to control. Maria Margaretha, after caring for her firstborn for 44 years, may have thanked God for taking her “home” so that she didn’t have to worry about if and how Katharina Barbara would be cared for after Maria Margaretha herself passed over. Maria Margaretha must have been keenly aware of her own mortality.

If Maria Margaretha believed in literal “Heaven,” she would have taken comfort in knowing that she would see her child again, on the other side of the pearly gates and Katharina Barbara would be “whole” in Heaven. That is probably what Maria Margaretha wanted more desperately than anything else in her life. But it was not to be in this world.

I can only imagine the horror Maria Margaretha felt to see her child convulse for the first time, and the second, and the third…for 44 long years. Maria Margaretha obviously took very good care of Katharina Barbara or she would never have lived for those 44 years.

Maria Margaretha’s other child who married and gave her grandchildren, her and her mother’s namesake, Katharina Margaretha, married on April 21, 1807 to Johann Conrad Gos. Katharina Margaretha had children in 1808 and 1812, but then in 1814, the third child died 12 days after birth, just before Christmas, on December 19th. This was the second grandchild that Maria Margaretha buried in 1814 with three burials of children and grandchildren in just over a year.  I have a feeling there was no joy in that Christmas season.

A fourth grandchild was born to Katharina Margaretha in 1817, the same year that her husband immigrated to Russia, leaving Katharina Margaretha and the children behind. This is an odd situation. We don’t know if Katharina Margaretha refused to leave for Russia, so he went without her. We don’t know if she planned to join him later, then didn’t. Did her pregnancy interfere? Did he go for work and perish? Did he return to visit in 1822, hence the conception of Jakob Freidrich?

What we do know is that Katharina Margaretha had another son, Jakob Freidrich, on February 19, 1823, according to the church records, whose surname was Gos at his baptism. She is mentioned as a widow, although the baptism didn’t take place until 1824. However, Jakob Freidrich’s death record shows him as illegitimate and with the surname of Lenz.

On July 2, 1821, Maria Margaetha’s husband, Jakob Lenz died of a fever typically found in people with tuberculosis. In other words, she likely had to take care of Jakob for weeks or months before his death. Maria Margaretha would have been 73 years old, no spring chicken herself, that’s for sure. Perhaps her daughters who never married and lived at home helped their mother.

On July 5, 1823, Maria Margaretha died – two years and 3 days after her husband, Jakob.

Grubler, Maria Margaretha death

Her death record in the church book, above, translates as follows:

Page 25.
Entry 22.
Maria Margarethe Lentz,
Born here 4 May 1748
Parents: the late Johann Georg Grubler, citizen and vinedresser here and Katharina nee Nopp.
Wife of the late Jakob Lentz, citizen and vinedresser here.
Age: 75y2m
Cause of Death: Dropsy or Edema
Place and Time of Death: here, 5 July 1823 at 3 pm
Place and Date of Burial: here, 7 July 1823 at 10 am
Folio 421 (Family Register)
Ist hier geschult und aufgezogen worden. Has been schooled and raised here.

They even tell us what time she died and what time she was buried.  Gotta love those precise Germans.

Dropsy is an old term for edema, which means the collection of fluid in the cavities of the body. Often, this is a symptom of congestive heart failure. People with pulmonary edema often pass away of pneumonia. I hope she died quickly and in her sleep without suffering so that she could see her children, grandchildren, husband and parents once again.

Maria Margaretha’s son, Jakob, was in America. Her daughter Maria Magdalena never married and didn’t die until 1849, so she must have been living at home with her mother, as was her daughter Christina who died in 1872. Perhaps the third daughter, Katharine Margaretha, whose husband left in 1817 and subsequently died, lived in the family home as well, along with her children and infant son born February 19, 1823, just under 5 months before her mother would pass away.

I have to wonder, who took care of these 4 women after Jakob Lenz died in 1821, and the three adult daughters after Maria Margaretha died in 1823? How did they earn money to survive? Did they become charity cases? Their death records don’t mention the poor house.

I’m sure friends attended Maria Margaretha’s funeral, but only three children and four grandchildren stood by her grave. That a very, very low number for a woman born in the mid-1700s in Germany. Of course, Maria Margaretha buried 3 offspring as children, two as adults, waved goodbye to one who emigrated to America and cared for 2 daughters who never married and outlived her. That only leaves one child in Germany having children among 9 who were born.

Maria Margaretha’s DNA

As hard as it is to believe, given the children that Maria Margaretha had, there is only one daughter who had children, and of those children, only one granddaughter. The church records tell us that Friederika Gos was born on January 12, 1817 in Beutelsbach and the Beutelsbach records indicate that she died after 1842 in Steinreinach. We don’t know if she married.

If she married and had daughters, she would have passed Maria Margaretha’s mitochondrial DNA on to them. If that daughter has descendants today who descend from her through all daughters, they would carry Maria Margaretha’s mitochondrial DNA.

You can see how the different kinds of DNA are passed to offspring in this short article.

If one of those descendants, through all daughters, took the mitochondrial DNA test, we could discover additional history for Maria Margaretha Grubler Lenz.

Mitochondrial DNA is passed unmixed with the father’s DNA, so it reaches back in time relatively unchanged, except for an occasional mutation, and we can tell a great deal about population migration and where our ancestors came from. The story of our ancestors is written in our DNA, and the story of Maria Margaretha’s matrilineal ancestors is written in her mitochondrial DNA, if it still exists in descedants today.

If someone does descend from Maria Margaretha through all females to the current generation, which can be a male, I have a DNA testing scholarship available for that person.

I hope that the final chapter for Maria Margaretha has not been written.

In addition to mitochondrial DNA, current descendants could well carry part of Maria Margaretha’s autosomal DNA – passed to her from both of her parents and representing her ancestors, which of course, are our ancestors too.

It’s possible that if someone descended from Maria Margaretha through any child (not just females) would match other descendants today autosomally. I would be fourth cousins with someone in my same generation descended from Maria Margaretha’s daughter, Katherina Margaretha. Some people who are 4th cousins don’t carry any of the same autosomal DNA of their common ancestor, but some do.

I would be third cousins with anyone descended from Jacob Lentz, Maria Margaretha’s son, through a child other than Margaret Lentz (also my ancestor). Third cousins share more DNA than 4th cousins, and I do match two Lentz third cousins.

If anyone else descends from Maria Margaretha Grubler/Gribler or Jakob Lenz, or these lines from Beutelsbach, I’d love to make your acquaintance.


I’m sure there were moments of great joy in Maria Margaretha’s life. Some of those are recorded as her marriage, her children’s marriages and the births of her children in the church records. Other than that, we don’t know what was joyful in Maria Margaretha’s life and made her smile. What did she like to do? Her favorite food? I wish we knew.

Great griefs and sadness are recorded in those ancient church books as well – the saddest of days were when parents, your spouse and children passed to the other side.

Aside from what is recorded in the church records, we know that beginning in 1803, the Napoleonic Wars spread fear, turbulence and social strife throughout Europe.

In 1816, following the eruption of Mt. Tambora in 1815 in Indonesia, the atmosphere was so full of particulate matter that 1816 was known as “the year without a summer” when the weather was so cold that crops failed throughout Europe and America. Some people starved. Harvests failed, including grapes. Prices skyrocket and riots for food ensued. This was not a good time to be alive and it probably seemed like the Biblical end of the world. Maria Margaretha was taking care of an adult epileptic daughter who clearly would never be able to take care of herself. Maria Margaretha must have worried increasingly about her daughter as she herself aged. Providence would soon step in and take care of that question, but what a grief-filled solution. There was no good outcome possible – only bad and worse.

Life was difficult and sometimes devastating for the last 20 years or so of Maria Margaretha’s life. However, she persevered.

In my mind’s eye, I can see her marching forward, through whatever she had to march through, scratched up, bleeding, perhaps very thin, a tearstained face, but head held high and still marching forward through whatever adversity fate served up next. That is the picture I will always hold of Maria Margaretha Grubler, a woman of steel resolve.



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Thank you so much.

DNA Purchases and Free Transfers

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Concepts – Relationship Predictions

One of the ways people utilize autosomal DNA for genealogical matching is by looking for common segments of DNA that match with known, or unknown, relatives.  When the relationship to the person is unknown, we attempt to utilize how much DNA we share with that person as a predictor of how, or at what level, we’re related to them – so in essence where or how far back we might look in our tree for a common ancestor.

Until recently, the best estimate we had in terms of how much DNA someone of a particular relationship (like first cousin) could be expected to share both in terms of percentages and also cMs (centiMorgans) of DNA was the table on the ISOGG wiki page.  Often, these expected averages didn’t mesh well with what the community was seeing in reality.

Recently, Blaine Bettinger’s crowdsourced Shared cM Project reported the averages for each relationship level, plus the range represented from lowest to highest in a project where more than 10,000 people participated by providing match information.

Additionally, before publication, Blaine worked with a statistician to remove outliers in each category that might represent data entry errors, etc. Not only did Blaine write a nice blog article about this latest data release, he also wrote a corresponding paper that is downloadable that includes tables and histograms not in his blog.

I am constantly looking between the two sources, meaning the ISOGG table and Blaine’s paper, so as an effort in self-preservation, I combined the information I use routinely from the two tables – and did some analysis in the process.  Let’s take a look.

The Combined Expected cM and Actual Shared cM Chart

On the chart below, the two yellow headed columns are the Expected Shared cMs from the ISOGG table and Blaine’s Shared cM Average – which is the average amount of DNA that was actually found. These, along with the percent of shared DNA are the columns I use most often, followed by Blaine’s minimum and maximum which are the ranges of matching DNA found for each category.  As it turns out, the range is incredibly important – perhaps more important than the averages expected or reported – because the ranges are what we actually see in real life.

I’ve also included the number of respondents, because categories with a larger number of respondents are more likely to be more accurate than categories with only a few, like great-great-aunt/uncle with only 6.

It’s interesting that the greatest number of respondents fell into the aunts/uncles niece/nephew category with second cousins once removed a very close contender.

These were followed by the next closest categories being, in order; first cousins, second cousins, first cousins once removed, second cousins once removed and third cousins.

Note:  If you downloaded this chart on August 4, 2016, there was an error in the maximum number of first cousins trice removed.  On August 5, 2016, it was corrected to read 413.

Expected vs shared cM 4

You can see that in reality, all categories except two produced larger than the expected cM value. One category was equal and one was smaller (yes I checked to be sure I hadn’t transcribed incorrectly). Actual numbers with higher values are peach colored, lower is green and white is equal.

Most averages aren’t dramatically different for close relationships, but as you move further out, the difference in the averages is significantly greater.  Beginning with third cousins once removed, and every category below that in the chart, the actual average is more than twice that of the expected average.  In addition, the ranges for all categories are wider than expected, especially the further out you go in terms of relationships.

We often wonder why the relationship predictions, especially beyond first or second cousins vary so widely at the testing companies and GedMatch. In the chart above, you can see that beyond first cousins, the ranges begin to overlap.

Ranges of the same relationship degree should share the same percentages and theoretically, the same amounts of DNA, but they don’t. You can see that the cells marked in red are all 4th degree relatives.  However, half first cousins show a maximum of 580, with the two following rows showing 704 and 580 – all 4th degree relatives. There’s a pretty significant difference between 580 and 704.

Through 5th degree relatives, everyone matched at some level, meaning the minimum is above zero, but beginning with 6th degree relatives, row highlighted in yellow, some people did not match relatives at that level, meaning the minimum is zero.

In the last 4 rows on the chart, 15th, 16th and 17th degree relatives, marked with light aqua, where academically we “should” share 0% of our DNA, we see that the observed average is from 7 to 11 cM and the range is up to 29 cM.

An example of why predictions are so difficult is that if you are on the high end of the 4th cousins range, a 9th degree relative with 91 shared cMs of DNA, you are also right at the average between 6th and 7th degree relatives which fall into the half second cousin or third cousin range.

Without relationship knowledge, the vendor, based on averages, is going to call this relationship a 2nd or 3rd cousin, when in reality, it’s a 4th cousin. Most vendor relationship predictions are based on a combination of total shared cMs and longest block, but still, it’s easy to be outside the norm.  In other words, not only does one size not fit all, it probably doesn’t fit most.


For me, graphs help make information understandable because I can see the visual comparison.

These overlapping ranges are much easier to visualize using charts.  Please note that you can click on any image for a larger view.

Expected full range 4

The values and ranges for 1st, 2nd and 3rd degree relatives are so much larger than more distant relatives, that you can’t effectively see the information for more distant relatives, so I’ve broken the charts apart, below.

Expected to third degree

This first chart, above, shows third degree relatives and closer.  Note that the purple maximum for aunts/uncles, nieces/nephews is larger than the minimum for full siblings and greater than the red average or blue expected for half-siblings.

expected 4th to 17th 4

This second chart shows the more distant relationships, meaning 4th degree through 17th degree relatives, but the more distant relationships are still difficult to see, so let’s switch to bar charts and smaller groups.

Expected stacked to third

This first bar chart includes parent/child through first cousins relationships, or 1st through 3rd degree relatives. You can see that the first cousin maximum range (purple) overlaps the aunt/uncle, grandparents and half-sibling minimum ranges (green.) Half sibling max and full sibling minimum are very close.

Expected 4th to 17th stacked 4

The balance of relationships are a bit small to view in one chart, but the ranges do overlap significantly.  Unfortunately, Excel does us the favor of skipping some labels on the left side of the chart.

Expected 4th to 17th no legend 4

Removing the legend helps a bit, but not much.  Please refer to the color legend in the same graph above.  I’ve further divided the groups below.

Expected 4th to 9th 4

The chart above shows 4th degree to 9th degree relatives, meaning great-great-aunts or uncles through 4th cousins.

expected 4th to 9th no legend 4

The same chart, above, with the legend removed to allow for more viewing space.  You’ll notice that at the half second cousins level, and more distant, the green minimum disappears, which means that some people have no matches, so the minimum cM shared is zero for some people with this relationship level.  However, based on the average and maximum, many people do share DNA with people at that relationship level.

Expected 7th to 17th 4

The chart above begins with 7th degree relatives, half second cousins, where you share less than 1% of your DNA.

In many cases, the purple maximum range for one relationship category overlaps Blaine’s average and the expected values for other categories.  For example, in the chart below, you can see that the maximum purple bar for the various 5th cousin ranges is higher than the third cousin, twice removed red shared cM average, and significantly higher than the blue expected shared cM value.  In fact, the 6th cousin purple max is nearly the same as the blue expected cM for third cousins once removed.  Note that Excel showed only every other category on the left hand axis, so you’ll need to refer to the actual data chart from time to time.

expected 7th to 17th no legend

I’ve removed the legend again so you can see the actual stacked ranges more clearly.  All of the 7th degree relatives have a minimum of zero, so there is no green bar.  Furthermore, at 5th cousins twice removed, the expected shared cMs drops to below 1, so the blue bar is nearly indistinguishable.

expected 9th to 17th

This last chart shows the smallest group, 9th through 17th degrees, or 4th through 8th cousins.

expected 9th to 17th no legend

On this final chart, we clearly see that Blaine’s actual red shared cMs and the purple maximum are significantly more pronounced than the blue expected shared cMs.  Some people share no DNA at this level, which is to be expected, but a non-trivial number of people share significantly more than is mathematically expected.  There are no absolutes.


DNA is not always inherited in the fashion or amount expected, and that wide variance is why we see what people believe are “false positive” relationship predictions. In reality, the best the vendors can do is to work with the averages.  This also explains why it’s so difficult for us to estimate or determine how a person might be connected based just on the relationship or generational prediction.  It’s just that, a prediction based on averages which may or may not reflect reality.

There’s a lot we don’t know yet about inheritance – why certain segments are passed on, often intact, sometimes for many generations, and some segments are not.  We don’t know how segments are “selected” for inheritance and we don’t yet know why some segments appear to be “sticky” meaning they show up more in descendants than other segments.

Close relationships are relatively easy, or easier, to predict, at least by relationship degree, but further distant ones are almost impossible to predict accurately based on either academic inheritance models or Blaine’s crowdsourced average cM information.

Here’s a clean copy of the combined chart for your use.

Note:  If you downloaded this chart on August 4, 2016, there was an error in the maximum number of first cousins trice removed.  On August 5, 2016, it was corrected to read 413.

Expected vs shared clean 4



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