Elizabeth Ulrich was born about 1755 to Stephen Ulrich and his wife, Elizabeth, surname unknown, probably in Frederick County, Maryland. Elizabeth lived about 77 years and died in 1832 in Montgomery County, Ohio, the widow of Daniel Miller.
Based on the birth years of her children recorded in the Bible her husband, Daniel Miller, would inherit from his father, it appears that Elizabeth Ulrich (Ullery, Ulrick and other spellings as well) married Daniel Miller in early 1774. Her first child recorded in the Bible was born in March of 1775, so a marriage in the spring of 1774, probably between March and June, would make sense.
Elizabeth would have likely been about 20 at that time. Dr. Daniel Wayne Olds, Ulrich researcher, in his document “Ulrich Line,” published in 2003, estimates Elizabeth’s birth to have been about 1757, although he doesn’t say how he arrived at that date. Daniel Miller was born in 1755, so it’s logical that she was close to his age. Another gauge for Elizabeth’s age was that her last child was born in 1796, according to the Bible, so if she was 42 at that time, her birth year would have been 1754.
Frederick County, Maryland
Elizabeth grew up on her father’s farm in Frederick County, Maryland. I visited the area in the fall of 2015 and this land is her father’s land or very near that land.
If this isn’t the Ulrich homestead, it probably looked a lot like this.
I can see Elizabeth in her apron, long dark skirts, black shoes or barefoot and prayer bonnet running through the fields in the shadows of the Allegheny Mountains which rose behind her father’s farm.
These fields probably look no different today than they looked when Elizabeth frolicked here – except perhaps there are fewer trees.
The Conococheague Creek, shown above, snakes along the border between Maryland and Pennsylvania, also behind her father’s farm. This riverine region would have been very familiar to Elizabeth as she grew to adulthood, in the literal shadow of the mountains she would one day cross.
The Valley of the Shadow
Elizabeth’s parents were of the Brethren faith, as were many of the other German families who settled in Frederick County on what was at that time the frontier. In fact, by the time Elizabeth was born, her parents, some of the very first settlers, had lived in Frederick County for several years, although exactly how long is uncertain.
While growing up in farm county as a Brethren daughter sounds idyllic, it wasn’t always, because danger seemed to be lurking behind every tree, literally. It helped as more settlers arrived, but even increased numbers wouldn’t keep them safe.
In 1756, after General Braddock’s defeat, the entire region was subject to Indian attack as the French and Indians, as a combined force, tried to push the settlers back towards the coastline. Twenty people were scalped in the Conococheague Valley, where Frederick County is located, and 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 Ulrich family went to take shelter. It must have been heartwrenching to leave the farmstead they had carved with sweat equity out of the wilderness, knowing full well what would happen to anything left behind. And pretty much everything had to be left behind. An evacuation is not a planned move.
It’s most likely that the Ulrich family returned to Pennsylvania to stay with family members or other Brethren families. If this is the case, Elizabeth may have been born in Pennsylvania, or wherever they took shelter, if she was born in or after August 1756.
The family remained wherever they went until at least November of 1758 when the French and Indian War officially ended, but probably stayed longer, until the region was once again stable. We know the Miller family, Elizabeth’s future in-laws, returned to Frederick County by 1761, but not earlier, and that the Indian attacks had diminished by 1762. Elizabeth would have returned as a toddler or young child.
If Elizabeth was born between 1754 and 1757, she would have been between 4 and 7 in 1761. As a child, she would likely have had a favorite doll to play with and helped on the farm with minor chores, such as taking something to someone or carrying a bucket of vegetables. Perhaps her doll helped too. Maybe Elizabeth was old enough to wash dishes and help her mother in the kitchen. Certainly, there was work for all from sunup to sundown, especially rebuilding a farm.
Elizabeth also had younger siblings by this time. Mary was born about 1760 and Hannah about 1762, so Elizabeth would have been able to be the big sister and help her mother.
But them came 1763. Elizabeth would have been between 6 and 9 when the family had to evacuate again. This time, Elizabeth would have remembered the panicked exodus. Her parents packed Elizabeth and their other children 6 children, ranging in age from 17 to an infant, into a wagon with whatever they could pack quickly. The Indians were attacking again, and again. The family had to leave, as did everyone else in Frederick County. Reports were that the devastation and panic were worse in 1763 than in 1756 and that lines of wagons headed east.
The Ulrich family may have gone to Conestoga, near present day White Oak in Lancaster County, PA.
The only hint we have during this timeframe is that Stephen Ulrich, Elizabeth’s father, along with Nicholas Martin, another Brethren, is found attending the Great Council of the Brethren which took place in Conestoga in 1763. I surely wish they had a sign-in sheet with where they were currently living, originally from, and while I’m wishing…their wife’s maiden name. Some people dream of winning the lottery. I dream of things like this.
By 1765, the Brethren families were returning to Frederick County to rebuild their farms for a second time. Elizabeth would have been between 8 and 11 at this time, with yet another baby sister, Lydia, the youngest, born about 1764, probably while the family was sheltering elsewhere.
Elizabeth would spend the next decade doing what Brethren girls did at that time. She would have helped her mother, learned to cook and sew – in other words, “wife training.” She would have attended church on Sundays and as she matured into a young lady, she would have begun flirting with Daniel Miller, as much as Brethren girls were allowed to flirt. I believe I read someplace that teenaged children held hands though the board that separated the male from the female side of the church. Although, at that time, I don’t think any actual church buildings had yet been built in Frederick County. The Brethren met in homes and barns, so maybe flirting took place outside the “church” before her mother or father saw what was going on and quickly shuffled Elizabeth to safety inside and away from boys. Perhaps Stephen Ulrich and Philip Jacob Miller exchanged meaningful glances…knowing what was coming one day. Perhaps their mothers rolled their eyes a bit, remembering their own courtship, or maybe smiled behind their hands. Life was so much simpler then.
One day, Daniel Miller, with his boyish grin and full of optimism, would probably have spoken to his father, then gone to visit Stephen Ulrich to ask for his daughter’s hand in marriage, which he clearly agreed to give. Perhaps Philip Jacob went with Daniel. Or perhaps, Daniel rode the horse alone. Was Elizabeth expecting him. Was her heart beating faster with every minute waiting for his arrival? Was she watching for that spec in the distance? Did she know?
Stephen Ulrich would have been concerned about whether or not Daniel had the necessary skills to support his daughter, and whether he was a good Brethren boy. The answer was clearly yes, in both cases – otherwise Stephen Ulrich would not have allowed his daughter to marry Daniel.
The Ulrich, Miller and Stutzman families reached back a long way, so they were already well known to each other. They may already have been intermarried. Members of these three families arrived in 1726 and 1727 from Germany together and they were found in a German village together before that. Their roots ran deep. They had been together in one form or another for more than 40 years, and possibly significantly longer. And that’s not just 40 years of living nearby, but 40 years of religious persecution, living on the frontier, going to church together, praying together, burying family members together and both evacuating and returning to rebuild their farms, twice, together. Nothing bonds families quite like that.
The Brethren marriage between Elizabeth and Daniel would have been solemnized by one of the Brethren clergy, probably an elder. No license would have been filed at the courthouse where they lived, as the Brethren didn’t believe in obtaining marriage licenses, a trait which makes Brethren genealogy all that much more difficult.
If there was no marriage license, how do we know that Daniel Miller married Elizabeth Ulrich? After Stephen Ulrich’s death, a settlement in 1785 lists his heirs, including Daniel Miller. Women, in that place and time, had no rights separate from their husband, so their husband would inherit their share of any estate “on their behalf” and sign any legal documents.
However, Elizabeth and Daniel didn’t just settle down and begin farming in Frederick County. Another adventure, or two, or three awaited them.
Across the Mountains to Bedford County
Those mountains that Elizabeth had grown up underneath were beckoning. Shortly after their marriage, Elizabeth and Daniel Miller packed up their wagon and set out for Bedford County, Pennsylvania.
Today, Bedford County is only 61 miles from Daniel Miller’s father’s land just south of Maugansville, but the journey is through the mountains. Even today, that 61 miles takes an hour and a half, and rest assured, before the days of brakes on wagons, which didn’t happen until roughly 1790, traveling through and across the mountains was treacherous at best. The pioneers tied logs and trees to wagons to slow the speed of their descent. It must have been a harrowing experience, especially if traveling with small children who could not just get out and walk. Of course, the journey was also fraught with the constant threat of Indian attack and wild animals would have lurked in the woods as well.
At least four and possibly five of Elizabeth’s siblings went to Bedford County as well as her uncle, John Ulrich.
An October 1775 road petition in Bedford County lists Daniel Miller along with Daniel Oulery who owned the mill at Roaring Springs. Elizabeth’s brother, Daniel Ullery married Daniel Miller’s sister, Susannah who was born in 1759, so I suspect this Daniel Ullery was too old to be Elizabeth’s brother – and was much more likely her uncle. Regardless of which Daniel owned the mill at Roaring Spring, the mill would have been very familiar to Elizabeth who probably visited often. I took this picture of the mill pond. The original mill stands no longer.
We don’t know exactly where Daniel Miller and Elizabeth Ulrich’s first child was born in March of 1775, but if that child was born in Frederick County, they moved to Bedford County in a wagon with that infant child between March and October of 1775. Elizabeth was probably incredibly relieved to arrive so that she could get out of that wagon in relative safety – well, such as that was.
Return to Frederick County
Unfortunately, Bedford County was becoming very unsafe at this point, as the Revolutionary War descended upon the colonies. In 1776, Daniel was no longer on the tax list nor a subsequence road petition submitted in April of 1776, and it was reported that many of the Bedford families removed to the east – in particular, to Frederick County. No sooner were they settled in Bedford County, than they had to reverse course, through those same treacherous mountain passes.
As it turns out, Daniel and Elizabeth left none too soon, because 1777 brought what was known as the Dunkard Massacre to Bedford County in which 20-30 Brethren lost their lives, unwilling to defend themselves against the Indians. There was one Brethren who did defend himself, and the Ullery Mill, one Jacob Neff. Neff, Daniel Ullery’s miller, killed two Indians and the result was that the Ullery mill was burned. Neff was the exception and was later excommunicated from the Brethren faith, not so much for acting in the heat of passion, but later bragging about it.
It was reported, years later, by the Indians themselves, that the Brethren repeated over and over again, in German, “God’s will be done” as the Indians massacred the Brethren and their families. I’d wager that Elizabeth was one praying machine. What else could she do?
Of course, for Elizabeth, returning to Frederick County would have been “going home” so perhaps she didn’t mind at all – aside from the danger inherent in the journey itself.
She was, after all, busy having a second child in November of 1776, which means she likely made that trip back to Frederick County while pregnant. Clearly she carried that child to term, even without shocks on that wagon, but she likely felt every bump in the road. Elizabeth probably welcomed the opportunity to be near her mother and sisters.
This wagon is not the wagon used by Daniel and Elizabeth for their trip, but it is the conestoga wagon used by the Reverend Jacob Miller in 1788 during his migrations, including to Montgomery County, Ohio about 1800. Daniel knew Jacob well, although they don’t appear to have been related, as least not on the Miller side, as proven by Y DNA testing. The wagon used by Daniel and Elizabeth was probably much like this one.
There is a suspicious gap in the Bible birth records between November 1776 and March 1779 which suggests a baby was born and died.
Elizabeth had a third child in March of 1779 and then son David in July of 1781.
David Miller’s census record in 1850 indicates that he was born in Maryland, which tells us that Elizabeth and Daniel were still living in Frederick County as of July 1781 and hadn’t yet moved back to Bedford County.
In 1783, Daniel Miller is listed on the Frederick County tax list.
Elizabeth had another son, Samuel, in March of 1785, bringing the total of living children to five.
We don’t know exactly when Elizabeth and Daniel moved back to Bedford County, but the 1850 census tells us that their son, Samuel, born in 1785 was born in Pennsylvania.
However, Samuel was “deaf and dumb” and was living with his nephew, so we can’t really say if Pennsylvania is accurate. We know Samuel would have been born in either Pennsylvania or Maryland.
By 1786, we find Daniel Miller, along with David Ulerick, Stephen Ulerick, Daniel Ulerick and John Ulrick (single), along with Jacob Stutzman back in Bedford County, living in Woodbury Township. Samuel Ullery was granted land in Morrison’s Cove in 1785 and is noted as one of the first preachers in that region, living near New Enterprise on Yellow Creek where the Yellow Creek (now Hopewell Grace Brethren) congregation was formed, shown on the map below today.
Elizabeth and Daniel probably settled near what is today New Enterprise. The man that Daniel Miller rented land from was known to own land in this vicinity and we also know that Samuel Ullery lived there too. Elizabeth’s brother Stephen was granted 380 acres of land on “Three Springs Branch of Yellow Creek.”
After Daniel and Elizabeth settled into Bedford County in 1786, their lives seemed to have been rather stable for several years. They lived in Bedford County longer than they lived anyplace else during their married life – 13 years.
Elizabeth had another son in December of 1787. The next child’s recorded birth is in 1794, which again suggests that probably three children died in succession; in 1789, 1791 and 1793. Depending on how quickly these children died after birth, there could have been more than three that perished. It appears that these German families only included children who lived in the family Bible. By “lived,” that could well mean beyond childhood, because there are no children’s deaths recorded.
Regardless of how many children died, it would have been a devastating time for Elizabeth. I wonder if she came to dread each birth for fear of the child passing, especially after two or three deaths in a row.
The 1790 census shows us that Daniel and Elizabeth have 7 boys, but we only have Bible records for 6, so at least one child was living in 1790 that died shortly thereafter, possibly the youngest child who would have been born in either late 1789 or early 1790, before the census. We at least know that child was another boy, but that is the only record we have that that child existed at all.
In 1794, Elizabeth had yet another boy, but in 1796 her last child was finally a girl who was named Elizabeth. By this time, given that Elizabeth had borne at least 9 boys. I’d wager she was glad to have a girl.
By 1796, Elizabeth was a miller’s wife. Daniel is listed on the tax list with a sawmill, so people would have been coming and going every day except Sunday, the day of rest. The local sawmill was a bustling place.
This building, located at Yellow Creek and 3 Springs may have been Daniel Miller’s sawmill. If not, their mill probably looked much like this.
In 1797 and 1798, Elizabeth and Daniel are still living in Bedford County, according to the tax lists, but in 1799 they would once again sell many of their belongings, pack up the family, and head for the next frontier.
Elizabeth would have visited the graves of her children one last time. She knew she would never see the family left behind in Frederick County again either. After leaving Bedford County, that door was forever shut.
Daniel rented or leased land in Bedford County. The best land in Bedford was already taken, and Daniel was a miller by trade, so he had to have land on a creek that would support a mill. Their best option to own land was to leave, so leave they did.
The Mighty Ohio
Daniel’s father, Philip Jacob Miller, roughly 70 years old, sold out back in Frederick County, traveled by wagon to Pittsburg, then floated down the Ohio River on a flatboat in 1796. After getting the lay of the land, Philip Jacob subsequently purchased land in Clermont and Warren Counties in Ohio, although he lived across the Ohio in Campbell County, Kentucky. Eventually, all of his children except for possibly one would join him and partake of their share of the 2000 acres. Yes, it was a newly opened frontier and land would need to be cleared, but Daniel was no stranger to work and was perfectly capable of clearing land. How many times had he done this before???
Furthermore, Daniel’s brother David had already left Bedford County and joined his father.
Elizabeth’s departure from Bedford County must have been a tearful goodbye. Elizabeth may or may not have known at that time that three of her siblings would migrate to Montgomery County, Ohio, and she would indeed see them again. In this case, at least for those three, goodbye wasn’t forever…but for others, it was – and those moving on and staying behind all clearly knew it. The only form of communication that allowed them to keep in touch were letters…except Elizabeth couldn’t read or write.
In 1799, Elizabeth’s children would have been 24, 23, 20, 18, 14, 12, 10, 5 and 3. The older children would have helped with the younger, which would have been necessary to prevent falling overboard and drowning on the raft trip down the Ohio.
Daniel and Elizabeth would have arrived in 1799 right around the time Daniel’s father, Philip Jacob Miller, died. I surely hope they made it in time to say goodbye. Daniel probably hadn’t seen his father in more than a dozen years and most of their children had never met their grandfather. Wouldn’t that be a devastating greeting, to be informed that the family member you were traveling to join had just passed away?
Regardless, Elizabeth and Daniel weren’t turning around and going back to Pennsylvania. Neither did they wait for their inheritance. In May of 1801, Daniel purchased land in Clermont County, Ohio next to his brother David, about 50 miles north of the Ohio River via the old Indian trail, where the family helped to form the O’Bannion Church. Daniel became an elder in the Brethren church and Elizabeth, then about 45 years old, was an elder’s wife.
But Daniel and Elizabeth weren’t done moving yet.
Montgomery County, Ohio
Better land called to Daniel from Montgomery County. By 1804, we know that Daniel and Elizabeth were in Montgomery County based on tax lists. Once again, Daniel cleared the land and built a farm and a mill.
By 1804, Elizabeth’s older children were marrying and her youngest was age 10. Elizabeth has having that half-century birthday and she may have felt her age bouncing along in a conestoga wagon, once again. However, this time the move was only about 40 miles, would have taken less than a week, and there were no mountains involved!
Daniel would have been 60 years old and Elizabeth was about the same age. Most men of that age aren’t really interesting in homesteading, especially not having homesteaded at least 4 times as an adult. Elizabeth was probably interested in staying near her children and grandchildren. Elizabeth had to be getting weary of the constant cycle of move, settle, sell out, pack up, say goodbye and move again.
Daniel and Elizabeth bought land on Bear Creek just west of Miamisburg and would live in the same location more than a decade, until 1815 when Daniel would sell, at a handsome profit, once again.
In 1812, while they were living in Miami Township, their son, Daniel (Jr.) died, according to the Bible. We know from the deed of sale in 1815 that a cemetery existed on Daniel Sr.’s land. Is this where Daniel Jr. was buried, or did Daniel Jr. remain in Clermont County? There was no estate in Montgomery County, only an entry in Daniel Sr.’s Bible. We will likely never know, as the 1800 and 1810 census for Ohio is missing. It would be unusual for a Brethren man, age 33, to be unmarried and without children. Perhaps Daniel was impaired as well, given that we know that son Samuel was. In subsequent generations, other Millers were impaired too, especially when Miller cousins had intermarried.
In 1815, Daniel sold his land on Bear Creek in Miami Township in Montgomery County and bought land not far from his brother, David, in Randolph Township, in the north part of Montgomery County, about a mile from Happy Corner Brethren Church and about 14 miles from his land on Bear Creek.
According to the deed of sale, Elizabeth made her mark, indicating that she could not write her name. This is the only known instance of Elizabeth signing anything other than her will.
I found the Randolph Township property today, and a house reportedly build in 1832 still stands. The ages of older homes are notoriously incorrect, so this home could have been standing when Elizabeth was living, or could have been built by later owners. It probably was not built in exactly 1832.
The location of this house, above, is shown in the exact location on this 1851 map, on what was Daniel’s land, shown below in purple.
In 1820, Daniel apparently sold 100 of his 140 acres in Randolph Township to his son, Jacob, but never recorded the deed. This became a point of contention after Daniel’s death, but thankfully Daniel’s estate provided us with a great deal of information about his children.
In the 1820 census, Jacob and Daniel Miller were living side by side in Randolph Township. Daniel’s household consisted of him, age over 45, a male age 26-45 and a female, Elizabeth, also over age 45. Son Samuel, born in 1785, so age 35 in 1820, was listed as both “idiotic” and “deaf and dumb” in several documents. He would live with family members for the duration of his life and was assuredly the male living with Elizabeth and Daniel in 1820..
Daniel died in August 1822 and Elizabeth was appointed his executor along with his son-in-law, John Bucher (Bugher, Booher, Booker) The final estate settlement was made by David and John Miller in 1828 as administrators, so apparently at some point Elizabeth stepped aside.
August of 1822 was a brutal month for Elizabeth. In addition to her husband, Daniel, who reportedly died unexpectedly, her son Isaac died as well. While Daniel was 67, Isaac was a young man of 33. Was there an epidemic that killed both men?
In 1830, Elizabeth is not listed individually on the census, but Jacob has a female age 70-80 living with him, which would have been his mother who was about 75 by that time. Interestingly, there is no male in the age bracket to be brother Samuel. Samuel is also not living with his brother Stephen. Where was Samuel?
Elizabeth’s Son Samuel
Elizabeth’s son, Samuel was impaired or disabled, or what we would today called “differently abled.” But that description is contemporary, in an age where we can help people with disabilities. Samuel wasn’t as fortunate.
Did Elizabeth know that Samuel had an issue immediately? She had already given birth to 4 children that lived, and probably at least one that hadn’t. Was Samuel’s birth difficult? Did he not breathe right away? Or was Samuel fine at birth, his issues not becoming apparent until somewhat later?
Did the realization that something was different about Samuel creep over Elizabeth slowly, as he grew, but couldn’t hear her? Was it a slow “dawning” that something was very wrong? Did it begin when Samuel didn’t talk when he should have, at the age when her other children had begun to chatter? How much did Elizabeth know? How much was Elizabeth able to help Samuel? When did she realize that this was a child she would have with her forever? Did she worry about what would happen to Samuel after her death? Surely, she must have. As a parent, I worry about that with my fully capable children. Did she believe that Samuel’s issues were “God’s Will?”
The saving grace for Samuel was that he apparently had several good-hearted siblings, who had several children each. Samuel lived with various family members for the duration of his lifetime, beginning with his brother, Jacob, after his mother’s death.
We know two things about Samuel. He is referred to as “idiotic” which was the description generally given to people who were not able to function under their own recognizance, in particular, those who suffered from “Downs syndrome” or who would have been later called “retarded,” although neither of those terms are politically correct today. In 1832, in Montgomery County, Samuel was legally declared as such in court by a jury of 7, probably as a result of his mother’s death.
The second thing we know about Samuel is that he was mentioned on two census schedules and in a court document as being “deaf and dumb” meaning he couldn’t hear or speak. So now we have a chicken and egg situation, which came first the hearing/speech impairment or the cognitive impairment?
Being either deaf and dumb or cognitively impaired could have been caused due to oxygen deprivation during birth.
However, if Samuel was genetically deaf, and his issues did not result from birth trauma or Down’s Syndrome, Samuel would have not learned to speak, couldn’t have been educated and therefore couldn’t communicate or do anything “productive” to earn a living. How incredibly sad, because today the inability to hear is no longer a prescription for life-long dysfunction or misery. Samuel’s life would have been very different if he had been born in 1985 instead of 1785.
In 1785, when Samuel was born, his mother would have been 30 or even perhaps a couple years younger. It’s very unlikely that Samuel was afflicted with Down’s Syndrome, typically a genetic disease in which chromosome 21 is broken that plagues older mothers. Elizabeth went on to have 4 more children over the next 11 years that survived and were not impaired.
We don’t know if Samuel was considered “idiotic” because he was “deaf and dumb” and couldn’t be educated, or if he was “deaf and dumb” in addition to being developmentally disabled. I shudder to think that he was mentally competent, understanding but locked inside himself because he couldn’t hear, which meant he never learned to talk, which meant he couldn’t communicate.
The 1840 census doesn’t show Samuel living with Jacob, so something apparently happened after Elizabeth’s death. Perhaps what Elizabeth feared was coming to pass.
In 1850, we find Samuel noted as “deaf and dumb” living with Abraham Miller and wife Lydia in Montgomery County. Abraham was the son of Stephen Miller, Samuel’s brother who died in 1851.
In 1860, Samuel Miller was living with David Y. Miller in Elkhart County, Indiana, son of Samuel’s brother John Miller (who died in 1856) and wife Esther Miller. Samuel is once again listed as “deaf and dumb,” but he is not listed as “idiotic” in either 1850 or 1860.
Court notes variously show Samuel living with Jacob Y. Miller and John J. Miller, sons of his brother John, in addition to Abraham and David Y. Miller. I hope he didn’t feel unwelcome and like he was being passed around.
Samuel died on November 27, 1867 in Elkhart County, Indiana and is reported by the family to be buried in what is now the Hoke-Miller Cemetery, beside his brother, John. He would have been 82 years old, pretty succinctly removing the possibility that he suffered from Down’s Syndrome. Down’s patients seldom live long lives and Samuel certainly did that, living beyond the age of both of his parents..
The Brethren were known to live very simply and austerely. Elizabeth’s husband Daniel had died in 1822, ten years before her death. His estate was rather large, but many of his things were farming related.
At Daniel’s estate sale, Elizabeth would have watched her household items being sold, although the only buyers were family members, which was very unusual. The family Bible was sold to son John. Elizabeth’s spinning wheel was sold as well. She had probably brought that with her from Pennsylvania. John Bugher (also spelled Bucher, Booher, etc., elsewhere) purchased the spinning wheel and a frying pan along with it for $2. John was married to Elizabeth’s only daughter, Elizabeth, so let’s hope that Elizabeth’s spinning wheel is still much cherished by a family member someplace today.
When Elizabeth Ulrich Miller died, she had very little. I think this may be the smallest estate I’ve ever seen. Most estates this small simply are never registered.
Elizabeth died sometime between the time she wrote her will on January 5, of 1832 and September of 1832 when the estate inventory was taken. The fact that she made a will suggests that she was ill or simply old and probably knew the inevitable was about to occur. However, Elizabeth’s will says that she was in good health.
Elizabeth’s will was recorded in the Montgomery County Will Book B, pages 339-341.
In the name of God Amen, I Elizabeth Miller of Montgomery County…being in perfect health of body and of sound and disposing mind memory and understanding considering the certainty of death and the uncertainly of the time hereof and being desirous to settle my worldly affairs and thereby be the better prepared to leave this world when it shall please God to call me hence do therefore make and publish this my last will and testament.
I commit my soul into the lands of Almighty God and my body to the Earth to be decently buried…I give and bequeath to my son Samuel Miller all moneys and affects in any wise belonging to me to be sold and turned into money and to be applied to the use of his maintenance by loaning the principal and applying the interest. If the interest shall not be sufficient the principal shall and may be applied for his maintenance to the best advantage that my executor shall see proper and in case of the death of said executor my son John Miller shall be fully empowered to execute this my last will. Son Jacob to be executor. In witness whereof I Elizabeth Miller have to this my will consisting one half sheet of paper set my hand and seal this fifth day of January 1832.
Signed Elizabeth (her X mark) Miller
Witness J. A. Riley and Abraham Hess state that she was of sound mind and not coerced. Their statement was dated September 24, 1834.
After I originally published this article, Dale Langdon offered me a copy of Elizabeth’s original will, not the copy written into the will book. Typically, the original copy is returned to the family, but in this case, it was not and it still resided in the Montgomery County archives in a packet, which Dale personally photographed and was kind enough to share.
This document in particularly important because it holds original signatures. Of course, Elizabeth couldn’t sign her name, but she did put her mark, “+” on this page in January 1832 after someone, probably J. A. Riley, wrote her will for her, then read it back to her, in front of Abraham Hess.
Elizabeth’s will was not probated until the September term of court in 1834 and the court ordered an inventory be taken and her bills submitted. However, her estate inventory is very clearly marked as taken in 1832, not 1834. I photographed the contents of the estate packet during my visit to the Montgomery County archives in 2004.
Her estate inventory says “Elizabeth Miller of Randolph Township,” so she was very likely living with her son, Jacob, and died there as well.
We have no documentation, but circumstances lead me to believe that Elizabeth is very likely buried in what is today the Happy Corner Cemetery, just down the road from where she and son, Jacob, lived. In fact, you can see on the map below that the distance is certainly walkable. The Happy Corner Brethren Church was located at the southwest corner of first crossroads intersection on west of the cemetery. Perhaps Elizabeth walked to church.
The first marked burial in the Happy Corner cemetery, according to FindAGrave, is for one Daniel Stouder who died in 1830. Keep in mind the Brethren affinity for “plain” which likely did not include a headstone. So it’s very likely that several other early burials are here as well.
The second marked grave is for Elizabeth Metzger Miller, wife of Jacob Miller and daughter-in-law of our Elizabeth Ulrich Miller. Elizabeth Metzger Miller died in February of 1832, just a month after our Elizabeth Ulrich Miller made her will and a few months, at most, before she died. It would appear that Jacob had his hands full. We don’t know what caused Elizabeth Metzger Miller’s death, but we do know she was born in May of 1771, so age 61 at her death. Elizabeth Ulrich Miller followed in short order, or may have died at about the same time. It’s not beyond the stretch of one’s imagination that whatever claimed the life of Elizabeth Metzger Miller also claimed the life of Elizabeth Ulrich Miller who we know died sometime between January and September of 1832. Jacob lost both his wife and mother within a short timeframe.
If there had been a family cemetery on the land owned by either Jacob or Elizabeth Ulrich Miller, Elizabeth Metzger Miller would have been buried there, not at the Happy Corner Church. Jacob was also buried at Happy Corner when he died in 1858, so the most likely place for Elizabeth Ulrich Miller to be buried was at Happy Corner as well, since Jacob probably made the arrangements.
Keep in mind that Elizabeth’s husband, Daniel, was buried someplace in the southwest portion of the County, or even perhaps just over the border in Preble County, a decade earlier. The family later moved Daniel’s grave to Sugar Hill Cemetery in Preble County, so it’s extremely unlikely that Elizabeth was buried with Daniel, or both graves would either have been moved together, or left together where Daniel was originally buried.
Somehow it just seems wrong after being married to Daniel for approximately 48 years that they were not buried together for eternity.
Elizabeth’s estate paperwork for executorship and administration of the estate was not filed by son Jacob until November 18, 1834, and the estate was not settled until 1849, 15 years later. There was also a chancery suit filed in 1849 (if I made a copy, I can’t find it), so there may well have been a lot of “foot dragging” going on by Jacob and later, Jacob and John, Elizabeth’s sons who were her administrators. The rest of the children may have objected to these delays. The final settlement in Elizabeth’s estate wasn’t made until November, 1849.
So no matter how pious, even the Brethren run out of patience and file lawsuits. In Jacob’s paperwork, he said that because she had so little, and he had custody of the “idiotic” brother Samuel, he kept what little she had to care for Samuel instead of having an estate sale. In her will, Elizabeth had specifically left everything to Samuel or for his use.
This explains why Elizabeth had a will at all. As a mother, she very clearly knew that Samuel could not take care of himself, and at age 47, he would never be able to do more. She wanted to do what little she could to assure his care. Bless her heart, she certainly tried.
Regardless, an inventory of Elizabeth’s estate had to be filed with the court and it was, as shown below:
||One side saddle
||1 box and spools and tape
||Plates, coffeepot and canister and ? pan
||2 cups and saucers ??? and pitcher
||1 buraugh (bureau)
||1 small bascuit (basket)
||1 bedstead and bedding
||1 sorrell mare of no value
Elizabeth apparently only kept enough to furnish one room of the home she shared with son Jacob.
The only furniture she had was a rocking chair, and what grandmother is without one, a bureau, a bedstead and bedding. She didn’t even have a table. She didn’t appear to have a stove, so she must surely have been living with someone, although cooking may have still been done in the fireplace. For some reason, she kept a skillet. Perhaps it had sentimental value. I have my mother’s iron skillet which I cherish, and use.
Elizabeth had her old horse, a mare of no value, so she must have loved that horse dearly. I hope someone was kind to it. That horse was probably a very old and dear friend to Elizabeth and she probably no longer rode her with the side saddle. Elizabeth probably walked out to the barn and fed her equine friend apples and sugar, petted her neck and talked to her lifelong confidante, who, of course kept all of her secrets. Maybe Elizabeth shared her loneliness for her husband and children who had moved away or died. Elizabeth was 75 or older when she passed away and had been a widow for 10 years. The horse was probably 25 or 30, having been with Elizabeth for one third of her life or half her adult life. That mare had probably been with her since shortly after her arrival in Ohio. And Elizabeth could have had the mare’s mother before her. Many horses traveled down the river on flatboats.
What I wouldn’t give for Elizabeth’s old sewing box with the spools and measuring tape. She may have had little, but I bet she sat in her rocking chair and sewed. She probably quilted, from scraps of old clothes, and the bedding probably included quilts, but not “too beautiful” as a good Brethren woman didn’t want to seem prideful or vain. She probably sat in that chair and rocked and pondered how to provide for Samuel – and how her other children would feel about the various options.
What was in the basket? Is that where she kept the bottles? Were they medicine bottles perhaps? Surely not whiskey bottles, although Daniel’s estate included a barrel of whiskey. The Brethren believed in moderation and temperance in everything, not just drinking, but they did imbibe in that timeframe. In later years, they embraced total abstinence in terms of alcohol.
Elizabeth had a fondness for coffee. She had a coffee mill, a coffee pot and two cups and saucers. At first I thought one cup for her and one for company, but then I realized, the woman didn’t have a table or a second chair, so perhaps there was one for her and one for her son Samuel, and that’s it. Did he share Elizabeth’s room and sit on the floor or bed, or had he already gone to live with one of his brother’s families to help work the farm, if that was possible?
An 1829 receipt and the 1830 census may hold a clue for us. There is a receipt registered in the Montgomery county deed books from Elizabeth to son Abraham for unspecified items in 1829. Elizabeth could indeed have sold him the majority of her household goods. Perhaps this was when she moved in with her son Jacob. She probably only kept what she absolutely needed personally or truly loved. I notice there are no personal items which are typically listed in estates of this era.
In the 1830 census, Jacob Miller, the son of Elizabeth Miller, who also lived in Randolph Township and had purchased 100 acres of his parents’ land in 1820 had a women, age 70-80, living with him. However, he did not have another male living there, so if the older woman indeed was Elizabeth, Samuel, the challenged son, was not living with them.
Elizabeth does not appear as a head of household in this census, so either she is living with one of her children or she was simply missed, an unlikely scenario since, if she were still living on the home farm, it was on a main road. More likely is that she was living with Jacob, and the kids were farming the home farm for her.
The final settlement for Elizabeth shows the amount of her inventory, $18.17 and money plus interest due to Elizabeth from Emanuel Flory? in the amount of $320, due to 1844. So was this money paid to the executor in 1844, but the estate not settled until 1849? Is this why the chancery suit was filed? Why did Emanuel owe Elizabeth this money? Was this what Elizabeth meant by loaning out the money for interest in her will? Is that what she had done with her dower right from Daniel’s estate, perhaps?
Unfortunately, we don’t have any answers. It’s too bad that some of the money wasn’t used for a gravestone for her, although I’m sure Elizabeth would have preferred the money be used for Samuel – which is probably why we don’t know where she is buried today.
There is no entry in either Daniel or Elizabeth’s estate for a grave stone, although someone, maybe Elizabeth, had placed a simple stone on Daniel’s original grave. Elizabeth’s life is only marked by the memory of her that we can distill and condense from frustratingly few details held in old and dusty records, not by anything earthly remaining today.
Elizabeth and Daniel’s children were recorded in the Bible that originally belonged to Philip Jacob Miller that would eventually belong to his son, Daniel Miller and then Daniel and Elizabeth’s son, John. You can read more about the Bible in Daniel’s and Philip Jacob Miller’s articles.
Elizabeth and Daniel’s children are recorded above and as follows. probably by Daniel:
- 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.
Stephen Miller was born March 7, 1775 in Frederick County, MD and died January 13, 1851 in Jackson Twp., Montgomery County, Ohio. He is buried in the old Brower Cemetery in Preble County, Ohio. He married first to Anna Barbara Coleman who died in January 1813 in Clermont County, Ohio and secondly to Anna Lesh in October 1813 in Preble County, Ohio.
Jacob Miller was born November 20, 1776 in either Frederick or Washington County, Maryland which was formed in September 1776 from Frederick County. Jacob died October 20, 1858 and is buried in the Happy Corner Cemetery, just a mile or so down the road from where he lived. Jacob’s first wife was Elizabeth Metzger who died in February of 1832. Jacob’s second wife, 30 years his junior, was Catherine Zimmerman.
Daniel Miller (Jr.) was born on March 30, 1779, probably in Washington or Frederick County, Maryland and died on June 25, 1812. We know nothing about him other than this information from his father’s Bible, but he may well be buried in the now defunct and abandoned Troxel Cemetery which is/was located on the land Daniel Miller Sr. owned in 1812 on Bear Creek in Miami Township, Montgomery County, Ohio.
David Miller was born July 30, 1781 in either Washington or Frederick County, Maryland and died in Elkhart County, Indiana on December 1, 1851. David was first married to Catharina Schaeffer who died in Montgomery County in 1826, then a woman named Elizabeth, last name unknown, who died in Indiana 1838. David married last to Martha Drake who outlived him. David is buried in the Baintertown Cemetery in Elkhart County, Indiana on land that he originally owned.
Samuel Miller was born on March 17, 1785, probably in Frederick or Washington County, Maryland, but possibly in Bedford County, Pennsylvania. He was both hearing and speech impaired but his family members took care of him for the duration of his life. He may also have been cognitively impaired. He died on November 27, 1867 in Elkhart County and while there is no headstone, he is reported to be buried in the Miller Cemetery near his brother John. Samuel was allowed to purchase a knife at his father’s estate sale in 1822. He probably cherished that knife for the rest of his life.
John Miller, listed as Johannes in the Bible he purchased from his father’s estate, was born December 15, 1787 in Bedford County, PA and died June 11, 1856 in Elkhart County, Indiana. His wife was Esther L. Miller, his first cousin, daughter of Daniel’s brother, David Miller.
John is Buried in the Miller Cemetery in Elkhart County, Indiana overlooking Yellow Creek where his house originally stood.
Isaac Miller was born December 8, 1789 in Bedford County, PA and died in August of 1822, the same month that his father died. Isaac was married in 1812 to his first cousin, Elizabeth Miller, daughter of Daniel’s brother, David Miller. It’s unclear where Isaac died, although it’s believed to be in either Darke or Montgomery County, Ohio. We don’t know where he is buried. There is no estate packet in Montgomery County.
Abraham Miller was born March 16, 1794 in Bedford County, PA and died on May 19, 1855 in Marshall County, Indiana. He is buried in the Blissville Cemetery. He married Elizabeth Lasure on March 21, 1827 in Montgomery County, Ohio and had moved to Marshall County, Indiana by 1850.
Elizabeth Miller, the only daughter in this family of boys, was born April 2, 1796 in Bedford County, PA and died on November 8, 1871 in Miami County, Ohio. She is buried in the Old Harris Creek Cemetery in Darke County. She married John Bucher/Boogher/Booher/Booker in Montgomery County on October 10, 1815.
Elizabeth’s death is reported in the December 1871 Gospel Visitor, page 382, as follows:
Died, Nov. 8th, 1871, in the Stillwater Congregation, at the residence of her son-in-law, Emanuel Hoover, Miami county, Ohio, formerly near Salem, Montgomery County, Ohio, after an illness of four months and sixteen days, ELIZABETH BOOCHER, our beloved sister and mother in Israel, aged 75 years, 7 months and 6 days. Her husband John Boocher, died near Salem, June 24th, 1861.
She has raised twelve children – one of them has gone before her. She had over one hundred grand-children, thirty-one great-grand-children, and many other friends to morn her loss. We hope our loss is her great gain.
Funeral services by the brethren, from Heb. 4. 9. “There remaineth a rest to the people of God.”
Elizabeth Ulrich’s DNA
Mitochondrial DNA is passed from a mother to all of her children, but only female children pass it on. When males have children, their wife’s mitochondrial DNA is inherited by their children.
This means that Elizabeth’s mitochondrial DNA was inherited directly from her mother, with no admixture from her father. In other words, the Elizabeth’s mitochondrial DNA is unchanged from that of her mother, and Elizabeth’s daughter, Elizabeth, inherited her mother’s mitochondrial DNA intact as well.
What can we tell from her mitochondrial DNA? We can tell where Elizabeth’s ancestors were from, her ancient clan, so to speak. We may be able to connect her mitochondrial DNA with the DNA from other female Brethren wives – and by doing do, we may one day be able to identify Elizabeth’s mother. In fact, that is probably the only way her mother’s parents will ever be identified.
Since Elizabeth Ulrich Miller had only one daughter, the only prayer we have today of discovering what her mitochondrial DNA has to tell us is through either the children of that daughter, or through the DNA of Elizabeth Ulrich’s sisters in the same way.
Hopefully, some of daughter Elizabeth’s daughters had daughters who had daughters to the current generation. In the current generation, males or females can test, because women give their mitochondrial DNA to both genders of children.
This list of Elizabeth Miller Booher’s children is from Frontier Families at http://www.frontierfamilies.net/family/Miller/C6/E10EM.htm, a compilation of records by Karleen and Tom Miller, along with Gale Honeyman of the Brethren Heritage Center, webpage by Eric Davis. I am only listing Elizabeth Miller Booher’s nine female children and descendants because their descendants would carry Elizabeth’s mitochondrial DNA. Elizabeth’s grandchildren are from various primary and secondary sources and I have not confirmed their accuracy.
Katharina Boogher born October 26, 1816 in Montgomery County, Ohio, died December 28, 1903 in Allen County, Ohio, married October 26, 1835 in Montgomery County, Ohio to Jacob Altstaetter, born February 21, 1811 in Hess-Darmstadt, Germany and died November 10, 1898 in Allen County, Ohio. They are buried in the Altstaetter Cemetery near Cairo, Ohio. Katherine had the following female child:
- Elizabeth E. Allstaetter 1836-1905, married first Christopher Nass and had daughter Sarah who died at age 20. After Christopher’s death in 1863 she married Michael Roederer and had daughter Louisa Anna Roederer 1872-1956 who married Thomas Jefferson Watt.
Hannah Boogher born November 16, 1817 in Montgomery County, Ohio, died January 3, 1867 in Randolph County, Indiana, married first, August 2, 1838 in Montgomery County, Ohio to Stephen Smith, born April 15, 1808 and died May 30, 1860 in Randolph County, Indiana. Hannah married second on May 30, 1863 in Randolph County, Indiana to John Dull, born December 12, 1813 in Pennsylvania and died July 20, 1883 in Randolph County, Indiana. Hannah is buried Steubenville Cemetery and is reported to have had two daughters:
- Elizabeth Smith
- Sarah Smith
Elizabeth Boogher born October 10, 1820 in Montgomery County, Ohio, died September 6, 1872 in Union City, Indiana and married October 4, 1839 in Montgomery County, Ohio to Emanuel Martin, born Sept 1, 1804 in Fayette County, Pennsylvania and died November 26, 1889 in Darke County, Ohio. Emanuel and Elizabeth are buried in the Union City Cemetery in Union City, Indiana. Elizabeth had daughters:
- Abigail Martin 1844-1922
- Eliza Martin 1854-1880
- Susannah Martin 1857-1881
- Mary Ann Martin 1859-1948
Mary “Polly” Boogher born August 18, 1822 in Montgomery County, Ohio, died March 12, 1905 in Montgomery County, Ohio, married first on September 10, 1844 in Montgomery County, Ohio to John “Long John” H. Warner, born May 20, 1805 in Bedford County, Pennsylvania and died Sept 25, 1878 in Montgomery County, Ohio. She married second on April 6, 1884 in Montgomery County, Ohio to Samuel Arnold, born June 24, 1817 in Rockingham County, Virginia and died on November 18, 1887 in Brookville, Ohio. Mary had the following daughters:
- Elizabeth Warner 1847-1924
- Mary Warner 1849-1921
- Sarah Warner 1855-1947
Susannah Boogher born January 4, 1824 in Montgomery County, Ohio, died April 6, 1900 near Bloomer, Ohio and married on January 18, 1846 in Montgomery County, Ohio to Jacob Warner, born February 24, 1826 in Montgomery County, Ohio and died on April 7, 1916 in Miami County, Ohio. They are buried in the Harris Creek Cemetery near Bradford, Ohio and had the following daughters:
- Sarah Warner born 1850-1935
- Elizabeth Warner born 1865-1953 (another source shows an 1857 birth)
Rachel Boogher born December 14, 1825 in Montgomery County, Ohio, died September 10, 1910 in Covington, Ohio and married on November 9, 1848 in Montgomery County, Ohio to Emanuel Hoover, born September 9, 1817 in Blair County, Pennsylvania and died on May 6, 1896 in Miami County, Ohio. Rachel and Emanuel are buried in the Harris Creek Cemetery near Bradford, Ohio. Rachel had the following daughters:
- Lidia Hoover born in 1858
- Sarah A. Hoover born in 1862-1910
- Nancy Hoover born in 1868-1932, married Samuel Gilbert and had daughters Rosa Gilbert 1894-1979 who married Leo Small, Sylvia Lucille Gilbert 1911-1954 who married Robert Young and had one daughter, and Etta Gilbert.
Margaret Rebecca Boogher born September 18, 1829 in Montgomery County, Ohio, died March 18, 1914 in Fostoria, Ohio and married first on March 2, 1848 in Montgomery County, Ohio to George Schell, born March 15, 1809 in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania and died September 21, 1881 in Darke County, Ohio. She married second on January 22, 1885 in Darke County, Ohio to John Fields, born circa 1812 in Greene County, Ohio and died prior to 1900. Margaret is buried in the Fountain Cemetery in Fostoria. She had the following daughters:
- Leah Schell 1849-1930
- Sophia Schell 1850-1919
- Amanda Schell 1852-1910
- Abigail Schell 1855-1940
- Martha Anne Schell 1858-1937
- Mahala Ann Schell 1861-1888
- Emmaline (Ernatine) Schell 1864-1930
- Margaret Rachel Schell 1873-1965
- Charlotte Lottie Schell 1874-1920
Abigail Boogher born January 10, 1832 in Montgomery County, Ohio, died January 16, 1874 near Bradford, Ohio and married on January 25, 1866 in Miami County, Ohio to Jacob F. Gauby, born December 7, 1837 in Berks County, Pennsylvania and died in 1905 in Darke County, Ohio. Abigail is buried in the Old Harris Creek Cemetery. Her only daughter died the same day she was born.
Sarah Boogher born June 24, 1836 in Montgomery County, Ohio, died May 14, 1896 in Hemet, California and married August 17, 1854 in Montgomery County, Ohio to George Washington Priser, born October 28, 1829 in Montgomery County, Ohio and died April 16, 1918 in LaVerne, California. Sarah is buried in the Oakdale Cemetery in Glendora, California and had the following daughters:
- Elizabeth Jane Priser
- Mary Idella Priser
- Ida May Priser
- Rose Alice Priser
DNA Testing Scholarship
If anyone descends from these daughters of Elizabeth Miller Booher, through all females to the current generation, which can be either male or female, I have a DNA testing scholarship for the first person to come forward with reasonable proof of descent.
I would love to be able to add to the story of Elizabeth Ulrich Miller with her own DNA.
If you descend from Elizabeth Ulrich Miller, even if you don’t descend through all females, and you’ve taken any of the autosomal DNA tests through either Family Tree DNA (Family Finder), 23andMe or Ancestry.com, give me a shout. Maybe our autosomal DNA matches! It would be great fun to see if we share the same bits of Elizabeth’s autosomal DNA.
Closing Thoughts About Elizabeth
As I think of Elizabeth’s life, my heart keeps going back to her relationship with her son, Samuel. He would have been born when Elizabeth was about 30, and she spent the duration of her life worrying about him.
He wasn’t a normal child. It would have taken a lot of special effort to keep him safe. She must have listened for his voice until she finally gave up that last shred of hope that she would ever hear it, at least not in this lifetime. He couldn’t talk because he couldn’t hear. But I’m sure his baby smiles were beautiful and she loved him all the more because he was special and needed extra care and love.
He couldn’t hear, so he wouldn’t know if he was in harm’s way. He couldn’t hear a wagon coming towards him. Elizabeth couldn’t yell at him to get out of the way, or yell for him to see where he was. If he got lost, there would have been no way to find him. He couldn’t talk to his mother and tell her that his stomach hurt, or anything else, for that matter. He could cry, I’m sure, as could Elizabeth – and I’d wager they both shed a lot of tears.
As her other children went to church, learned how to read the Bible and about the Brethren faith, and learned how to be adults by gaining skills like sewing and cooking for daughters and farming for sons – Samuel was forever childlike, even though he assuredly was of a normal adult size.
Elizabeth surely shed some tears as her other children married and left home. All mothers do, whether simply because of the symbolic passing of the torch, or because they are truly happy or sad to see them go. No mother wants to see her child endure pain, and part of life is surely painful. When children marry and leave the nest, the mother can no longer protect them. That’s why it’s called “leaving the nest,” but it’s anything but easy for the mother, regardless of how “well” the child married. Still, a mother doesn’t really want her children to stay forever – she wants to give them wings to soar on their own.
Elizabeth knew there would never be a marriage for Samuel, no happy celebration and no grandchildren. He would never have a life of his own, on his own, nor would he ever be able to care for himself. There would be no soaring and no fledging flight.
What was concern for his immediate safely when he was young would have become an over-riding concern for his wellbeing as an adult after her own death. Elizabeth didn’t worry about him in the normal adult way that we all worry about our adult children. Elizabeth would have worried about him in the way one worries about a young child – except he wasn’t. He was 47 years old when his mother died. He would have looked like a man, but was a child in a man’s body.
After Daniel’s death in 1822, for the last decade of her life, Elizabeth’s concerns would have worsened.
What would Samuel’s future be? Who would care for him? Who would make sure he was safe? Who would be sure he was fed? Who would wipe his tears when she died? Who would try to explain or convey that to Samuel? Was there anyone to love Samuel, or would he simply exist as a burden for the rest of his life? It’s hard enough to leave a child, but to leave a child that can never grow up must be the ultimate torture.
There were no answers for Elizabeth. I’m sure the last thought as she passed from this world was for Samuel’s wellbeing. She had done what little she could for him, and I’m sure, absolutely positive, that she had left explicit instructions with every single one of her children as to how Samuel was to be treated.
Samuel outlived all but one of his siblings, the youngest, Elizabeth, his sister. It’s not surprising then that Samuel spent many years living with his nephews. The fact that he lived with the family of only male family members might suggest that his care necessitated a male presence.
While he did live with at least four different family members after Elizabeth’s death, he was always provided for and cared for by the family. Elizabeth must have rested easier seeing that from the other side.
I know that indeed, if “Heaven” is a place where we are healed of our afflictions when we arrive, the most joyful thing to Elizabeth’s ears would have been hearing Samuel’s voice and seeing that he heard and understood her, and the most joyful thing to Samuel’s ears would have been to hear his sweet mother’s voice. In his own voice, he could thank her for those 47 years, those 17,000 days, two thirds of her life, of constantly caring for him when he could not do so for himself.
It’s amazing the things we take for granted that neither Elizabeth nor Samuel ever could. I’m glad that both Elizabeth and Samuel can finally rest in peace, together.
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