Another Daniel Miller – A Y DNA Tale – 52 Ancestors #135

Just when you think you have the family all straightened out, a left hook comes along, sneaks up and sucker-punches you.

Indeed, as if there wasn’t enough confusion about the various Daniel Millers, we now have yet another very interesting twist in the Daniel Miller saga, thanks to DNA.

And a conundrum it is too.

In the article, “Daniel Miller (1755-1822), Musical Graves, 52 Ancestors #130” I provided this summary of the various Daniel Miller’s that we know existed in Montgomery County, Ohio at or about the same time that my Daniel Miller (1755-1822) lived there, or subsequent generations. Below is the summary from that article.

Daniel (1) is my ancestor and 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.

Today’s article specifically deals with Daniel (2), referred to in this article as Dayton Daniel to keep him separate from Daniel (1) who lived in Montgomery County at the same time as Dayton Daniel (2).

To this group, we need to add two more Daniels. It’s OK to groan now. I’ve been groaning all week!

Daniel (11) who is the son of Lodowich Miller, brother of Philip Jacob Miller. Daniel (11) was born about 1752, probably in Frederick County, Maryland and moved with Lodowich’s family to the Shenandoah Valley about the time of the Revolutionary War. Daniel (11) died in Rockingham County, Virginia in 1819.

Daniel (12), the son of John Miller, also a brother to Philip Jacob Miller. This Daniel was probably John’s eldest son and was one of the executors of his father’s estate in 1794 through 1799 when the estate paid the heirs.

Therefore, Daniel (1), Daniel (11) and Daniel (12) were all first cousins to each other – and Daniel (2), Dayton Daniel, we’ve discovered this week, was also somehow related as well.

The question is, who is Dayton Daniel and how is he related?  And how do we know he’s related?

Michael Miller’s Sons

As a short review, let’s take a look at the immigrant Michael Miller’s sons. He has three proven sons, and only three; Philip Jacob, Lodowick (Lodowich) and John, parents of Daniel (1), Daniel (11) and Daniel (12), respectively.

For many years, every stray Miller male in a several-hundred-mile radius around Frederick County, Maryland was pinned to Michael Miller like tails on the proverbial donkey. To date, we have disproved every line that has tested utilizing Y DNA. In fact, that’s the purpose of the Miller Brethren DNA Project – to sort out the various Brethren Miller lines.  I expected several lines to match Michael’s descendants, but surprisingly, they haven’t – until now.

Before this week, not one line that was not from Michael Miller’s proven sons has ever matched Michael’s line utilizing Y DNA. But then came today and all that changed.

And of course, the end of line oldest ancestor for the new Miller Y DNA participant was none other than Daniel Miller (2), Dayton Daniel, found originally in what would become the City of Dayton, in Montgomery County, Ohio, very early – his arrival date stated variously as either 1802 or 1804 and having come from Huntingdon County, Pennsylvania.

If you recall from the article about “my” Daniel Miller, the son of Philip Jacob Miller, the son of Michael Miller, the immigrant, Daniel lived in Bedford County from sometime in the 1780s until around 1800 when he floated down the Ohio River and joined his father and siblings in Clermont and Warren Counties in Ohio. My Daniel migrated on to Montgomery County by 1805, about the same time as Dayton Daniel. In fact, when I first began researching Daniel Miller in Montgomery County, I found the information about the Daniel in Dayton and thought for some time that he WAS my Daniel, until I found additional information and pieces of the puzzle began not fitting. I figured out that there were indeed two Daniel’s living in Montgomery County at the same time, thanks to tax lists and other information. Actually, there were three Daniels until 1813 when Daniel (10), who is not descended from the Michael Miller line, did us the huge favor of moving on.

Dayton Daniel was also Brethren, but that alone does not mean he is related to my Daniel. Another man was Brethren too – the Elder Jacob Miller, who everyone thought surely WAS related to Michael Miller, but who, it turns out, is not – at least not through the paternal line. So just being a Miller male, a Brethren and being found in Frederick County, Maryland, then Montgomery County, Ohio does not guarantee a kinship relationship – as unlikely as that seems. I can see why people reached those earlier conclusions, before Y DNA testing, but they were wrong.

Michael Miller, the immigrant, had three proven sons – and only 3, who were:

  • John Miller who died in 1794 in Washington County, Maryland, formerly Frederick County, with a will which listed his children. This John had a son Daniel (12).
  • Lodowich Miller who died about 1782 and whose children (if not Lodowich too) moved south to the Shenandoah Valley about this same time also had a son Daniel (11) who died in Rockingham County, Virginia in 1819.
  • Philip Jacob Miller also had a son Daniel (1) who married Elizabeth Ulrich, moved to Bedford County, Pennsylvania, then on to Ohio where he was the Daniel who wound up in Montgomery County but did NOT live in Dayton. This is my Daniel.

After I published my article about Daniel, sorting through the various Daniel Millers in Montgomery County, a cousin, Doug, contacted me and was confused. Doug descended from Dayton Daniel (2), born in 1765, and he wondered, if his Daniel was not descended from Johann Michael Miller, why did Doug’s autosomal DNA so strongly match my mother and cousins. Obviously, I couldn’t answer that question, so Doug set about finding a male Miller, his second cousin, who descended from Dayton Daniel, to test. That participant is referred to as TM in this article.

Obviously, if TM’s DNA representing Dayton Daniel’s Y DNA had not matched my Daniel’s Y DNA, you either would not be reading this article right now, or it would be a very different story. But Dayton Daniel’s Y DNA does match the Michael Miller line.

Um….so now what? Who is Dayton Daniel (2) and who are his parents?  They can’t be the only three proven sons of Michael Miller – because all 3 of them had sons named Daniel and all 3 are accounted for.  So, who were Dayton Daniel’s parents?  Let’s walk through the possibilities and look a the DNA results.


Looking at the Miller Brethren project, we can see 5 men descend from Michael Miller. There are also two additional men, but they are not project members.   One is private, so I can’t even e-mail him.


The first thing I noticed was that marker 449 has two different values, shown at far right, in purple, above. I mapped them to the participants, with the hope that TM’s marker 449 would tell us which line he was from. In other words, I was hoping that 449 was a line marker mutation.


TM, shown at far left, has a value at marker 449 of 30. One of Philip Jacob’s descendants, RM as well as both of Lodowich’s descendants carry the same value. So no, marker 449 does not indicate a specific son’s line of Johann Michael Miller.

How can this same marker show up in two of Daniel’s sons’ lines, represented by HAM and RWM, but not in the third son’s line, represented by RM? Apparently this marker value has mutated in both Isaac and John’s lines, sons of Daniel, independently, someplace between Daniel and the testers, HAM and RWM today. We know that the original marker value is 30 because it is found independently in the lines of two different sons, Daniel and Lodowich, and probably a third son now with TM.

Ok, we know that marker 449 doesn’t help us, so where do we look next?  Let’s take a look at the genealogy.

Candidates for Dayton Daniel’s Father

Obviously, the first place to look for this Daniel is among the grandchildren of Michael Miller.

Dayton Daniel’s wife is Susanna Bowman who was born in Bedford County, Pennsylvania. They are both buried with tombstones that give their age at death, so we can extrapolate that information to obtain a birth date and year.  Thanks to the tombstone, we know that Daniel was born in 1765 and because he married Susanna who was born in the next county, we know that they were living there about 1785, marriage age.

Knowing Daniel’s birth year helps us rule out various grandchildren of Michael Miller.

We have already ruled out Philip Jacob Miller as Dayton Daniel’s parent, because his son was my Daniel (1), according to the family Bible.

Two of our other Y DNA testers descend from Lodowick’s son, Daniel (11), who was born in 1752 and died in 1819 in Rockingham County, Virginia. Clearly, this is not the Daniel living in Montgomery County, Ohio who died in 1849.

That leaves Michael Miller’s son, John, who also had a son Daniel (12).  Could Daniel (12) actually be Dayton Daniel?  Let’s see.

John Miller, Michael’s third son did us the favor of executing a will just days before his death listing his children.


Children named:

  • Daniel
  • John
  • Jacob
  • Abraham
  • Ludwick
  • David
  • Michael
  • Catherine
  • Susanna
  • Mary
  • Elizabeth

Underage sons were Ludwick, David and Michael.

Son Daniel Miller and son-in-law John Fisher were executors.

The will was made Dec 13, 1794 and recorded Dec. 20, 1794. Clearly John was literally on his death bed when he made his will.

On April 9, 1799, Daniel Miller and John Fisher, executors of John Miller’s estate made a distribution of 2010 pounds, 5 shillings and 9 pence, in equal parts to the 10 remaining children, all apparently now 21 years of age. The order of the named heirs is: Daniel Miller, John Fisher, Susanna Wissinger, Mary Studanbaker, Elizabeth Cameron, Jacob Miller, Abraham Miller, Lodwick Miller and David Miller. Michael is missing in the distribution list so he apparently died sometime between 1794 and 1799. Washington County Distribution Liber I, folio 80.

In 1799, when the estate was paid, all children would have reached the age of 21. The youngest child, Michael, apparently did not survive, so if we can presume he wouldn’t have become 21 until 1801, that means that he was born in about 1780. There were a total of 11 children, so a child was born every two years, with no deaths, then the oldest child, presumably Daniel, would have been born about 22 years before the youngest, or about 1758.

There is some confusion about John Miller’s name, because while most deeds and documents, such as his will, refer to him clearly as John, which would mean his German name was Johannes, with no middle name, one deed refers to him as Peter, not Johann Peter, just Peter. Was the deed in error, or was John really Johann Peter? We don’t know.

Did Michael Miller Have Other Sons?

The answer to this question is yes, he did, according to German church records. What we don’t know is if they lived, how many he might have had that are unrecorded, and if he had children after he arrived in Pennsylvania. Yes, there are a lot of unknowns.

In Frederick County, Maryland in the 1760s, there is a Michael Miller Jr. and a Hans Michael Miller, both of whom are involved with Michael Miller, the immigrant. It would be very unlikely for Michael to have two sons named so closely, but then again, stranger things have happened. One or both could also be grandsons. Or the two men could be one and the same.

In the Michael Miller article, I introduce both of these men. I did not follow either one forward in time, but it might well behoove the descendants of Dayton Daniel to pick up the trail where I left off.

Birth Records in Germany

My retired German genealogist friend, Tom, has found records of the births of several of Michael Miller’s children, in Germany. Unfortunately, the church records are missing for a time period, so we don’t know if all of the children lived, or how many more children might have been born. Tom is reading every single entry on every single page, just to be sure we don’t miss something.

Yes. Every. Single. Entry. On. Every. Single. Page.

Tom is my super-hero!

Michael Miller married Susanna Berchtol in 1714, who was born in 1688, in Konken, Germany. Their first child was born the following year, also in Konken.

  • Hans Peter Miller born January 19, 1715 (This might be John.)

The next children were born in Kallstadt.

  • Johann Jacob Miller baptized May 26, 1716
  • Regina Maria Elisabetha born August 30, 1717
  • Johannes Michael Miller born April 24, 1719 (This could be Hans Michael or Michael Jr.)
  • Johann Ludwig born April 10, 1721. (This would be Lodowich.)

Very unfortunately, by 1722, Johann Michael Miller and Susanna Berchtol had moved to Lambscheim where they live until 1726 where the records indicate they immigrated. I will be documenting these movements in a special update article about Michael Miller and Jacob Stutzman soon, but for today, we just needed the names of Michael’s sons.

We next find Michael’s immigration record, along with Jacob Stutzman, in 1727.

We know that Philip Jacob Miller was born about 1726, so he was probably a babe in arms on the boat.

If Michael Miller and Susanna Berchtol continued having children in the same pattern, they would have had another child in 1723.

Susanna would have probably had children until she was in her early 40s, so until about 1730. Therefore, in addition to Philip Jacob in about 1726, they could have had another child in 1727, 1729 and perhaps even 1731.

This gives us the opportunity for 4 additional sons (besides Philip Jacob) not recorded in existant church records. Of course, additional children may not have been male, and may not have survived.

Is John the Same Person as Hans Peter?

If John who died in 1794 is the same child as Hans Peter born in 1715, then he would have been age 43 in 1758 when his first child was born. That’s actually quite unusual for a man in that timeframe, so one of a number of situations have to be the case.

  1. The John Miller who died in 1794, brother to Philip Jacob is not the same Hans Peter who was born in 1715.
  2. The John Miller, brother to Philip Jacob who died in 1794 had more than one wife, and had children before 1758 who are all omitted from the will.
  3. The Hans Peter born in 1715 died and Johann Michael Miller had another son by the same or a similar name either in 1723, 1727, 1729 or 1731. This would make John between the ages of 27-35 in 1758, which is still on the older side for a Brethren man to be marrying, but more believable than age 43 for a first marriage.

However, even allowing for these possibilities, it still doesn’t seem reasonable that Dayton Daniel Miller who died in 1849 in Montgomery County, Ohio and was born in 1765 is the oldest child of John Miller. That would mean that the next 10 children were born beginning in 1767 and continue being born until 1787. However, we know that all of John’s surviving children were of age by 1799. Therefore, Dayton Daniel simply cannot be the son of John.

It’s also possible that John’s son Daniel was not the eldest, but the children seem to be listed in order, twice – once in the will and once in the distribution.  Daniel is listed first in both documents. It’s typical for the eldest son to be the executor.

Therefore, for all these reasons, I don’t think it’s feasible that Daniel Miller of Huntingdon County, Pennsylvania who was born in 1765 is the son of John Miller who died in 1794.

However, Dayton Daniel’s descendant matches the Y DNA of Johann Michael Miller. Furthermore, Dayton Daniel’s descendants match several of Johann Michael Miller’s proven descendants utilizing autosomal DNA, so he has to be related in a reasonable timeframe. Autosomal DNA becomes less and less likely to match with each passing generation beyond third cousins.

Other Candidates?

Our next best candidate as the father of Dayton Daniel is Michael Miller Jr. and/or Hans Michael Miller.

I did not track them forward in time, but other researchers have spent some time on this endeavor. It is reported that Hans Michael Miller lived in Franklin County, PA and what is now Mineral County, West Virginia, and had a will. He reportedly paid taxes in Antrim Township in Franklin County and New Creek, now in Mineral County, WV, according to the 1772 Frederick County Tax list. He was given money by Michael Miller to purchase land called Pleasant Gardens, which could be Garden’s Delight and Add Garden’s Delight on the 1772 tax list as well.  This information is detailed in the Michael Miller article.

Michael Miller could have had other sons that did not accompany him to Frederick County in about 1750 from York County, Pennsylvania, or who do not appear recognizably as his sons in the Frederick County records. Those sons would have been 20 or slightly older by the time that Michael left Pennsylvania and moved to Maryland. It’s certainly possible that one of Michael’s sons survived infancy, the voyage overseas and the frontier, married, and did not elect to move to yet another frontier – instead, remaining in York County or striking out on his own.  Possible, but not terribly likely.  There was safety and help in groups, especially for a small religious denomination who were known as “dissenters” and not terribly well liked because they would not defend themselves, or the neighborhood where they lived.  Brethren tended to stick together, moving in groups.  Young families would not be inclined to stay behind, especially not if the rest of the family moved on.

If Michael Miller’s son, Johann Michael Mueller, born in 1719 is the father of Dayton Daniel, he would have married sometime around 1740 and could still have been having children in 1765. It’s also possible that Dayton Daniel was the grandson of Johann Michael born in 1719, but to do so, both Johann Michael and his firstborn son would have bad to have married young.

DNA Findings

When Doug and I first realized we were cousins, and I mean via DNA, we didn’t know exactly how. Doug had always assumed that Dayton Daniel was indeed a descendant of Michael Miller, the immigrant. However, as the documentation surrounding Michael Miller’s life unfolded, we realized that we needed more information and documentation. Doug and I discovered additionally that we are also both descended through the Stephen Ulrich line, so Doug and I could have been matching through that line and not the Miller line. That’s when Doug reached out to Dayton Daniel’s Miller descendant, TM.

Unlike Doug, TM does not descend through the Ulrich line, so any of the known Michael Miller descendants that TM matches should be matching through the Miller line only.


TM’s matches are shown above, in red. Of course, he matches his second cousin, Doug, as expected. But aside from that, he matches four of Philip Jacob’s descendants, and none of Lodowich’s, as shown above and below on the chromosome browser.


It’s exciting to think that the segment on chromosome 14 is shared by four of Michael Miller’s descendants. A piece of Michael or his wife that still exists today and is identifiable. That’s just amazing for a man and his wife who were born before 1700.

Is this Michael Miller or Susanna Berchtol’s DNA?

I have access to the kits that TM matches, and the DNA segments that match the other Miller descendants do triangulate, so we know for sure that these segments do indeed belong to the Miller line, descended from Michael Miller or his wife, Susannah Berchtol.  We can’t tell which, of course, without matching someone from another Miller, like Michael’s brother, or a Berchtol.  So now, we can simply say this matching DNA comes from this couple.

I know what you’re going to ask next? Did Michael have a brother that could have also immigrated and father’s children who, in turn, had Dayton Daniel in 1765?  Great question.

There is absolutely no evidence that Michael had a Miller brother who immigrated. In fact, according to the church records in Steinwinden, Germany, no other children born to Michael’s parents survived. Michael was the last child born before his father’s death.

Autosomal Messages

Let’s look at what the autosomal DNA suggests in terms of how closely related TM and these 4 matching individuals might be. The table below shows TM’s matches to the 4 Miller descendants, except for Doug.  We already know how TM and Doug are related.

Shared cM Longest block Segments >5cM *Estimated Relationship **Shared DNA Range ***Predicted Relationship Average DNA****
Barbara 98 27 5 6C 0-21 2-4C 2C1r-2C2r
Donald 87 29 4 6C 0-21 2-4C 2C2r
HAM 77 35 2 5C1r 0-41 2-4C 3C
Cheryl 57 29 3 6C 0-21 2-4C 3C1r

*Estimated relationship presumes (I know, bad word) that Dayton Daniel is Michael Miller, the immigrant’s grandson. Dayton Daniel cannot be Michael’s son, because Michael married a widow woman about his same age by 1754, after his wife died. In 1765, Michael would have been 73.

** Shared DNA Range is the range of the lowest and highest amounts of DNA found for the estimated relationship in the Shared cM Project.  In other words, this is how much DNA someone of that Estimated Relationship is found to share.  6th cousins share a range of 0-21 cM DNA, not 98cM like TM and Barbara share.

***Predicted Relationship is the relationship level predicted by Family Tree DNA based on the amount of shared DNA.

****Average DNA is the best fit from the chart I compiled in the article, “Concepts – Relationship Predictions” that combines information from several sources on the expected, actual average and ranges of DNA for each relationship type. The average DNA is taken from the column titled “Blaine’s Shared cM Average” which are results from a crowd sourced project indicating the actual amount of shared centiMorgans from various relationships.  In this case, the best fit for Barbara and TM would be between second cousins once removed (2C1r) and second cousins twice removed (2C2r).

Even though the average DNA suggests that these people are some flavor of second or third cousins, we know from the proven genealogy that these relationships cannot be in the second or third cousin range, because we know beyond a doubt that Dayton Daniel born in 1765 cannot be more closely related to Barbara, Donald, HAM and Cheryl than the nephew of Philip Jacob Miller, their common ancestor.  In fact, they cannot be related more closely than the 5th or 6th cousin level, as shown in the Estimated Relationship column.

Clearly, the amount of shared DNA exceeds the expected average for 6th cousins or 5th cousins once removed, significantly, for all 4 matches – comparing the value in the Shared cM column with the Shared DNA Range column. The amount of shared DNA also exceeds the maximum amount of shared cMs in the range, by at least double. In the case of Barbara and Donald, they exceed the maximum DNA for 6th cousins by 400%.  That’s not a slight deviation.   What could cause this?

There can be three possible causes for the amount of shared DNA to so dramatically exceed the maximum amount found for the estimated relationships.  I’ve listed these in the order of probability.

  • TM is related to Barbara, Donald, HAM and Cheryl through a secondary line. However, TMs mother is English and his paternal line is well researched back through Dayton Daniel. If TM and Barbara, Donald, HAM and Cheryl share more than one line, that occurred in or before Dayton Daniel’s father’s generation and Philip Jacob Miller’s generation. We do not know the surname of Philip Jacob Miller’s wife, Magdalena, nor have we identified the parents of Dayton Daniel. This shared secondary line is the most likely scenario for why TM shares so much DNA with Barbara, Donald, HAM and Cheryl.
  • For some reason, a very large amount of common DNA has been passed to TM and Philip Jacob Miller’s descendants. This is not one “sticky segment” but multiple segments, which makes this scenario less likely.
  • All 4 matches, meaning TM to Barbara, TM to Cheryl, TM to Donald and TM to HAM are extreme outliers in the relationship range shared centiMorgans. This is the least likely scenario and it would have had to have happened independently four different times.

If Philip Jacob Miller and the father of Dayton Daniel married women who were related, that would cause a higher amount of matching DNA in the descendants of both lines – but not to people the Lodowich line, which is exactly what we are seeing.

It’s also possible that in addition to being related to each other, both of their wives were also related to or descended from the Berchtol line, which would also drive up the shared amount of DNA in the descendants. We know during that timeframe it was not unusual for people to marry their first cousins and there were not a lot of Brethren brides to choose from on the frontier.

What Have We Learned?

This exercise has been very interesting and we have learned a number of things.

  • Via DNA and genealogy combined, we have probably confirmed that the immigrant Michael Miller did in fact have another son that survived and had offspring. Based on records alone, that son may be Michael Jr., or Hans Michael Miller. Additional genealogy work needs to be done to follow the records for these men from Frederick County, Maryland forward in time.
  • Via Y DNA, we know that Dayton Daniel does positively share a common ancestor with the descendants of Philip Jacob Miller and Lodowich Miller, both sons of Johann Michael Miller, the immigrant.
  • Via genealogy records, we have proven that Dayton Daniel cannot be the son of Philip Jacob Miller, Lodowich Miller or John Miller, the three proven sons of  Michael Miller, the immigrant.  All three of Michael Miller’s sons had sons named Daniel, but all three Daniels are accounted for and eliminated as being Dayton Daniel born in 1765 by other records.
  • Via autosomal DNA, we confirm that the relationship between TM and the Miller descendants he matches is in a genealogical timeframe, not back in Germany several generations. Due to the fact that Michael had no Miller siblings that survived, if the relationship was further back in time, it would have to be at least two generations before Michael Miller, the immigrant, making DNA matching between TM and Michael’s descendants unlikely at all, and certainly not at the level they match, as they would be at least 8th cousins.
  • Via autosomal DNA, we suspect that there may be a secondary matching line, and the best candidates for secondary lines would be Magdalena, the wife of Philip Jacob Miller along with the mother of Dayton Daniel.
  • Given the very high amount of shared DNA, more than double the expected maximum amount, it’s also suggestive that in addition to being related to each other, than the wives of Dayton Daniel’s mother and Philip Jacob’s wife, Magdalena Miller, may also have been related to Michael Miller and Susanna Berchtol. We know that Susanna Berchtol had relatives in York County. Michael Miller did not, except for his step or half-brother, Jacob Stutzman, whose will we have and who did not have a daughter Magdalena who married a Miller, nor another unknown daughter who also married a Miller.
  • Because of the Brethren Miller DNA Project, we have gathered together the descendants of several Brethren Miller lines which allows us to compare the Y and autosomal DNA and work together to solve this ongoing mystery.
  • Doug and I have now confirmed that we are related on both the Miller and Ulrich lines – and now perhaps a third mystery line as well.

As with all genealogy, every question answered produces several new ones. What a wonderful puzzle to unravel and how lucky we are to have DNA tools in our genealogy toolbox today!!!

Elizabeth Ulrich (c 1720 – 1758/1782), Not a Cripe, 52 Ancestors #134

Elizabeth Ulrich, the wife of Stephen Ulrich (Jr.), has been rumored as long as I’ve been researching this family to be a Cripe, supposedly the daughter of Jacob Cripe, but she isn’t.

Unfortunately, we don’t know much about Elizabeth, and most of what we do know, including her name, is because she signed deeds selling land with Stephen, her husband.  Thank goodness for that!

Assuming she was Stephen’s only wife, and he was her only husband, they were likely married about 1740 or so, very probably in York County, Pennsylvania where Stephen lived at the time.  Stephen’s father, Stephen Ulrich Sr. had purchased land there and Ulrich was a surname listed as a founder of the Brethren congregation there in 1738.  At that time, and for some time thereafter, the Brethren met in homes and barns and didn’t build church buildings.

There weren’t a lot of Brethren families in this area early.  Many German families were Lutheran and some were Mennonite.  Elizabeth was almost assuredly Brethren, or Stephen would have been unwelcome in the Brethren Church.  Her family could have been a sister religion, like Mennonite, but when she married Stephen she would have to have converted.  Two Mennonite families related to the Brethren Miller family, who also lived in the area, were Berchtol/Bechtol/Bechtel and Garver/Garber.

If Elizabeth’s family was Brethren, the Brethren families that we are aware of in York County that early, based on the “History of the Church of the Brethren in Southern District Pennsylvania,” are as follows:

  • Leatherman
  • Martin
  • Ulrich
  • Greib/Gripe/Cripe
  • Becker
  • Stutzman
  • Miller (may not have been there in 1738, but arrived shortly thereafter and was related to the Stutzman family)
  • Dierdorff
  • Bigler

Unfortunately, Morgan Edwards, writing in 1770 also added the phrase, “and others.”  Perhaps other Brethren family researchers will know some of those “other” surnames that were in York County before about 1745.

The Brethren men tended to stay out of the record books, out of court, and out of the deed offices.  They didn’t believe in obtaining marriage licenses, and often didn’t have wills.  The Brethren churches didn’t keep membership rosters or other types of minutes.  Brethren didn’t serve in the militias either, but thank Heavens they had to pay taxes because often, that’s our only record that they were living in a particular place and time – if the tax records survived.

Brethren did sometimes register deeds, and they had to have surveys for land grants, warrants and patents.  There was no choice in that matter.  However, Stephen’s surveys for his 1742 land warrants weren’t returned until 1800 and 1802, many years and several owners after his death.

We can presume, and that’s a dangerous word, that Stephen Ulrich was married or marrying in 1742 when he was granted land.  Single men typically didn’t set up housekeeping by themselves.

Our best resource would be a family Bible, but we don’t have one of those either.  If you’re thinking to yourself, Brethren research sure is difficult….yes it is!!!

Based on the fact that Stephen Ulrich, Jr., would sign his name in German script in 1773 when his close friend, Jacob Stutzman wrote his will in German, it’s unlikely that Stephen or Jacob spoke English, or if they did, it was minimal.  This also tells us unquestionably that Stephen’s wife was German as well, and the logic tells us that she was also Brethren, although there was an entire German settlement in York County.

According to the “History of the Church of the Brethren of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania,” in 1770, the Little Conewago Church had 52 families, and Edwards reports the entire Brethren population in all churches to be about 419 families.  By 1770, these should be second or third generation, so if you divide 419 by 5 (children per family) you would have 83 families 30 years earlier in 1735.  Of course, their children all married each other’s children.  If there were a total of 83 families in 1735 or so, or roughly 10 families per congregation, assuming no conversions between 1735 and 1770 and that all congregations were the same size.  Of course, the older churches were certainly larger, so perhaps the only Brethren families in Little Conewago were actually the families mentioned by Edwards.  Maybe there weren’t “others” or, at least, not many “others.”

Prior to 1742, according to Edwards on page 79 of the same book, there were only about 8 congregations, including the following:


That means Elizabeth was likely the daughter of one of those early Brethren families, or maybe the daughter of one of the unnamed “others.”  Perhaps other Brethren researchers can add to the list of Brethren families in York County prior to 1745.  York County was Lancaster County prior to 1749.

The Elizabeth Cripe Confusion?

I do know where some of the confusion arises relative to Elizabeth being a Cripe.

Jacob Greib/Cripe was Elizabeth’s purported father and the only known Greib/Cripe in York County.  Jacob wrote his will in 1779 in Bedford County, Pennsylvania, but it wasn’t probated until 1801.  His wife’s name was Elizabeth and in his will, he thankfully tells us that she was “born Ulrich.” Given Jacob’s age, his wife, Elizabeth would have had to have been the daughter of Stephen Ulrich Sr., and therefore the sister of Stephen Ulrich Jr. whose wife’s name was also Elizabeth.

So we do have Elizabeth Ulrich Cripe.  This family liaison also explains why Jacob Cripe moved to Frederick County, Maryland with or near Stephen Ulrich Jr. in the 1750s.

Jacob Cripe, several of Stephen Ulrich Jr’s children along with Stephen’s two brothers, John and Daniel Ulrich, moved on to Bedford County, Pennsylvania in the 1770s.

What Do We Know About Elizabeth’s Life?

If our Elizabeth was born about 1720, she was probably born overseas, most likely in Germany.  Elizabeth was assuredly German, based on the fact that the German’s didn’t speak English, so to communicate with Stephen, she would have been a German-speaker.

Stephen and Elizabeth probably married about 1742, the year Stephen Jr. bought land in York County.

Stephen’s land was probably located along Narrow Drive, along Indian Run where it intersects with the South Branch of Conewago Creek, according to Stephen’s deeds.


While some of this land is beautifully groomed farmland today, other parts are still wooded and probably look much like they did when Stephen and Elizabeth lived here.  The photo above shows the land along Indian Creek, patented by Stephen Ulrich.  The tree line runs along the creek.

We do know that Elizabeth and Stephen’s land included part of the “Old Conestoga Road,” which is now Hanover Pike, shown below.


Then, it would have been nothing more than a wagon trail, and probably only wide enough for one wagon.  There would have been ruts and they would have been mudholes when it rained.  Wouldn’t Elizabeth be surprised to see this land today.  And paved roads.  There weren’t such things in the 1740s.  Only paths and dirt.

We know that Elizabeth had son, David Ulrich, about 1746 while they lived in York County, but we don’t know if he was the first child born to Elizabeth and Stephen Ulrich.  They could have had a child or children that died earlier, or David could have been born earlier than 1746.  It would have been very unusual for a couple to marry in 1742 and not have a child until 1746.

Elizabeth’s son, Stephen the third, was born about 1750.  A 4-year gap between children strongly suggests that at least one child died.

In 1751, Elizabeth and Stephen moved from York County to Frederick County, Maryland, a move of about 50 or 60 miles nearly straight west.


This move would have been made with the hope of escaping the conflict in York County surrounding land and the incessant bickering brought about by the “border war” between Maryland and Pennsylvania.

Daughter Christina was born about 1752 and eventually married Jacob, a son of their neighbor, Jacob Stutzman.

Samuel was born about 1754.

Elizabeth was born about 1755/1757 and she married Daniel Miller, son of Philip Jacob Miller who was about the same age as Stephen Ulrich and wife, Elizabeth. Philip Jacob’s father, Johann Michael Mueller/Miller was also one of the early Brethren settlers in York County.

There could have been another child born between Samuel and Elizabeth.

Mary was born about 1760.

There could have been a child between Elizabeth and Mary.

Hannah was born about 1762 and Lydia about 1764.

Given those birth dates, it’s possible that in about 20 years of child bearing, Elizabeth buried 3 or more children.

It’s actually surprising that they didn’t lose more children, considering the upheaval that surrounded them as they lived in the borderland between whites and Indians.

Not only were they living in a war zone in Pennsylvania – with the border being disputed by both Pennsylvania and Maryland for 30 years, but the ownership of their land was in question as well.

In York County, a murder occurred at their neighbor’s mill.  Stephen had a land grant from Pennsylvania, but a man named Digges had a Maryland land grant for that same area – and he tried to force the Germans who obtained Pennsylvania grants to surrender them to him, or at least repurchase their land. Needless to say, that didn’t go well.  Digges tried to force the miller to surrender his deed, and the miller’s son shot Digges son, Dudley, in the ensuing scuffle.  Danger and violence was ever present – a frightening prospect for a Brethren woman whose religion forbade even self-defense.

Finally, in 1751, the Ulrich family sold their land, packed up and headed for Frederick County with a few other Brethren families as well – namely Leatherman, Martin, Miller and Cripe.  The Brethren were converting other settlers as they went too – and Maryland was becoming a popular location for other German-speaking families because there were other Germans there.  When you don’t speak English, you need a German community.

It’s difficult for us to remember today that these people were at a distinct disadvantage, given that they did not speak English, nor would they have understood American customs well.  Letters written to the governor of Pennsylvania explained that these people, who spoke only German, didn’t understand the circumstances surrounding the land sales at Digges Choice and were being taken advantage of by Digges aggressions.  It didn’t help any, of course, that Digges was a slippery sheister and was very likely targeting the Germans who he felt were opportunistic targets.

The land Stephen and Elizabeth bought in Frederick County may or may not have had “improvements.”  Waggoner, the man they bought the land from sold two halves, and one of the two halves included the following:

One dwelling house 20 by 16 feet made of hewd logs and covered with lap shingles, a stone chimney, one dwelling house 27 by 22 feet of hewd logs and covered with lap shingles, plankd above and below, a stone chimney, a new barn of hewd logs covered with lap shingles, 49 feet by 27, 69 apple trees, 72 peach trees and 6 acres of cultivated land well fenced.

While a house 20 by 16 doesn’t sound very large by today’s standards, it was typical for the time.  Most cabins, even when referenced as the “mansion house,” were not very large.  But the barn, that’s another story indeed.  The husband would have been one very happy man with a barn more than twice the size of the house.  Dare I say he would have been in “hog heaven?”

In 1767, when Stephen and Elizabeth had their property resurveyed to include two new parcels into a homestead they would call Germania, there was only “a quarter acre cleared and 230 old fence posts.” That certainly doesn’t sound like there were many improvements, nor does it reflect “6 acres of cultivated land,” so apparently, Stephen Ulrich didn’t purchase the half with the two houses, peach and apple trees and cleared land.

If their land in 1767 had only one quarter acre cleared, how did they live and how had they lived since 1751?  Clearly, they weren’t farming the way we think of farming today.  If Stephen wasn’t clearing his land, what was he doing with it?  Did they only farm enough to provide food for the table?  How did they earn money for the rest of their needs?

More Issues and Warfare

I’m sure these families believed they had moved far enough south and west to avoid border issues, but ironically, when the Mason-Dixon line was completed in 1767, Stephen’s neighbor Jacob Stutzman’s land would straddle the Pennsylvania/Maryland border, and it’s probable that Stephen’s land did as well, given that a later deed for part of his land that was able to be accurately placed is located just north of the state line.

This picture, below, is take on Fort Loudon Road, which would have been the main and probably the only road at the time Stephen lived there. This land is just north of the Maryland/Pennsylvania border, looking east.  The land on the west side of the road is elevated and truly does begin the mountain range – so this land was literally at the foot of the mountains.  The land to the east is flat.  Perhaps this is what Elizabeth saw, if she could get high enough to see over the trees. Of course, not much was cleared at that time, so maybe all she saw was trees.  And behind the trees….Indians.


In 1755, Elizabeth’s life would have been turned upside-down.  When General Braddock was killed after marching his red-coasted soldiers through Frederick County on his way west, those same soldiers were soundly defeated.  The French and Indians saw that defeat as an opportunity to remove the settlers – and by remove, I don’t mean in a friendly way.  The Indians descended upon the settlers with tomahawks and torches, killing settlers and burning homesteads, and the people who would not defend themselves were easy pickings.  Elizabeth must have been terrified.

In 1755, Elizabeth had a 9 year old child, a 5 year old, a 3 year old and a baby.  She and Stephen packed the children, and probably as much as they could take with them, if anything at all, into a wagon and they evacuated – abandoning everything left behind to flames.

They were gone for at least three years.  The only clue we have as to where they went during that time is that in 1758, Stephen and Elizabeth sold land in York County, Pennsylvania from Baltimore County, Maryland.

The war officially ended in 1758, but the attacks didn’t stop at once, but slowly subsided over the next few years.  Taxes weren’t collected in Frederick County until 1762.  We know that at least some of the Brethren returned in 1761 – the Michael Miller family being one.

In 1761, Elizabeth and Stephen were back in Frederick County, rebuilding their home, and they also had at least one baby while they were gone – Elizabeth.  Depending on when they returned, Mary, born in about 1760, was probably born elsewhere as well.

Now Elizabeth is raising 6 children and living in conditions much like camping, minus the fun, while they rebuild their home and farm.  Elizabeth must have cooked over an open fire.  Perhaps they lived in their wagon during this process.  Or they may have lived with others as they rebuilt their homestead.  The Brethren, Mennonite and Amish were well known to have barn and house raisings, even yet when I was growing up 200+ years later.

By early 1761, Elizabeth and Stephen were selling land in York County, again, and they list their residence as Frederick County.  Furthermore, Jacob Stutzman who had bought land in York County from Stephen sells his land there and purchases the land next to Stephen in Frederick County. I wonder if Stephen and Elizabeth returned to York County and stayed with Jacob Stutzman for at least part of the time they were in exile.  Surely those two men welcomed each other’s presence back on the frontier in Frederick County when Jacob moved next door to Stephen in 1761.  Stephen named his land “Good Neighbor” and Jacob named his “Good Luck.”

Hannah, Jacob’s wife would have been good company to Elizabeth as well.  We do know that there were other Brethren in the area, but the Miller family was located further east by at least 5 miles and possibly more – near present day Mauganstown.  The Leatherman and Martin families lived in the area too, but I don’t know where.  Jacob Cripe lived near Stephen Ulrich, as did Daniel and John Ulrich, brothers of Stephen Jr.

As the rhythmic cycle of planting and harvesting resumed after their return in 1761, and some semblance of normalcy returned, it would be short lived.

Just two years later, in 1763, the families had to evacuate again when Pontiac’s Rebellion reached Frederick County.  Reports were that the attacks were even worse than they had been in 1755.  Elizabeth must have been heartsick.  After all, they had just rebuilt and they had to leave the farm to flames once again.

By this time, Elizabeth had born another child, about 1762, and was probably pregnant  again for Lydia who was born about 1764, most likely while the family was once again in refuge elsewhere.

Elizabeth was most assuredly tired.  Tired from taking care of 8 children, tired of burying children, tired of evacuating and living someplace not her home.  Tired of fearing for her life, and the lives of her children, and tired of fleeing in terror.  She would have been tired of her home burning – and it assuredly burned twice from warfare – and that’s assuming it never burned any other time.  Many cabins did.

We know that Elizabeth and Stephen were back in Frederick County by 1766, because Stephen sells land then.  However, Elizabeth does not sign or release her dower, nor does she sign in 1768 when Stephen sells additional land.

It’s tempting to think that perhaps Elizabeth just didn’t sign for some reason, but given the history of Elizabeth signing deeds, that’s unlikely.

The following deed history is extracted from the Stephen Ulrich Jr. article as well as from Dan Olds work.  Unfortunately, sometimes our knowledge of early deeds comes from later deeds that reference unrecorded earlier deeds.  From their reports, Elizabeth signed every deed until 1761, although I am uncertain about 1755.  I feel that all of these deeds actually need to be verified against the original records.

  • 1753 – To Lodowich Miller, son of Johann Michael Miller
  • 1754 – To Lodewick Miller
  • 1754 – To Daniel Ulrich
  • 1755
  • 1758 – Sold land in York County
  • 1761 – Sold to George Wine, probably related to Michael Wine who would marry Lodowich Miller’s daughter. This transcribed record does not show Elizabeth signing. The original record should be checked.  If Elizabeth had children in approximately 1762 and 1764, she was clearly alive in 1761. Since we don’t know the exact birth years of Elizabeth’s last two children, it’s possible that both were born in or before 1761, and Elizabeth had died by the time the deed was signed.
  • 1766 – multiple deeds, none of which include Elizabeth.

We don’t know that Elizabeth didn’t die while they were in exile, and we don’t know that she wasn’t killed.  The commentary from contemporaneous writers was that nearly all families lost someone in the depredations.

In 1766, Stephen Ulrich and Nicholas Martin sold their tract of land that they had patented in 1761, in several pieces, giving Elizabeth several opportunities to sign…but Elizabeth did not seem to be present.  Ironically, they deeded part of the land to another Elizabeth Ulrich, thought to be the sister of Stephen Ulrich Jr.  Is it any wonder that Elizabeth Ulrich, Stephen’s wife, is so confusing and so often confused with other people?

By the way, Nicholas Martin is also rumored to be married to Elizabeth Ulrich, the daughter of Stephen Ulrich Sr., but since the Elizabeth Ulrich who received the 1766 deed married Jacob Snively, who sells that same land two years later, Nicholas Martin certainly can’t be married to her at this time.

If Stephen Ulrich’s wife, Elizabeth, died sometime between about 1764 and 1766, she may well have died in exile, leaving Stephen with children ages 19, 15, 14, 11, 9, 7, 5, 3 and a newborn.

Stephen did not remarry until 1782, to Hannah Stutzman.  How did he raise those children from roughly 1765 to 1782? By 1782, the children would all have been on their own, except for perhaps the very youngest who would have been about 18.  Did he marry between Elizabeth and Hannah?  Or did Elizabeth not die in 1765 or so, and simply fail to sign all of those deeds?

Elizabeth would have been about 45 when she died, assuming she died about 1765 – not old by any measure.  I cannot help but wonder if she died giving birth to a final child, who also died.

If in fact Elizabeth did not die in 1765, but simply stopped signing deeds, for some reason, she was assuredly gone by 1782 when Stephen Ulrich remarried to Hannah Stutzman, Jacob Stutzman’s widow.  In 1782, Elizabeth would have been about 62 – still not elderly.  So we can say with certainty she died between 1758 when she positively signed a deed and 1782 when Stephen remarried.

I wonder if Elizabeth is buried in Frederick County or if she died and was buried while the family was gone?  Did she die in the wagon along the road?  Did she die in childbirth?  Did she succumb to Indian raids?  It’s unusual that there are absolutely no stories about an early death and what happened to the children.  But by the same token, there were absolutely no stories about the Indian raids forcing the residents to remove, twice, and their homesteads burning either.

Did Stephen and the children ride home in that wagon alone – ending their exile.  It would have been a long, joyless, silent ride, punctuated only by the clip-clop of horse hooves as they propelled the family ever closer to home – or what had once been home.

How did the family feel to finally arrive where their home had been to only find charred rubble?  Did they pull up in front of where they had once lived and sit in silence looking at the shadow of what had once been, and now lay before their eyes in ruins?  If Elizabeth was gone, how were they going to survive without a mother?  Their home was gone and their mother was gone.  How could life get any worse?  They must have sat in that wagon feeling utterly dejected, staring at their former home, gone up in smoke and taking with it their hopes and dreams.  Now there were only charred remains, perhaps with weeds and vines growing in the cracks, returning to nature.  Not only did they have to rebuild their homestead, they had to rebuild their lives.  How did they do that?

Fortunately, they had other Brethren families to help them and provide moral support too.  Assuredly, someone helped Stephen with the younger children.  As the older children married, perhaps they took the younger ones under their wing.  Stephen physically could not watch young children and work in the barn and fields.

Elizabeth Was Not Jacob Cripe’s Daughter

The final nail in the coffin that proves that Elizabeth was not the daughter of Jacob Cripe is found in Jacob Cripe’s will, written in 1779 in Bedford County, Pennsylvania.  Marian Corya was kind enough to provide me with this transcribed copy:

Will of Jacob Gripe (1801), Huntingdon County Will Book 1: 195, Huntingdon County Historical Society, Huntingdon, Pennsylvania.

Last Will & Testament of Jacob Gripe Deceased

June 4th 1779

As I live and not know how long and must Die and not know how soon so is this my Will after my decease. My Son Jacob shall have Three hundred Pounds in all in Money of the Piece of Land which I bought in Frankstown he shall have One hundred and fifty Acres where he used to live and it shall be paid out of the Three hundred Pounds and the Remainder of that mentioned Money he shall have from that Money arising of that sold place.

The two Daughters of my Daughter Elizabeth shall have One hundred Acres in Frankstown where their Mother used to live and they shall pay for the Land Thirty Pounds, their Mother & Stepfather shall live unmolested on the Land during their Natural Life and after their Decease the two Daughters of the Elizabeth shall have it free if the thirty Pounds are paid.

Christian Shively shall have Two hundred Acres where he used to live, whereof he shall pay One hundred and fifty Acres.

John Wise shall have One hundred and fifty Acres whereof he shall pay One hundred Acres.

My Daughter Catharine shall have my hundred Acres where John used to live but she must live herself on the Land and shall give to Easter Thirty Pounds.

My Son Daniel shall have One hundred Acres where he used to live and shall give to Easter Thirty Pounds.

My Daughter Hanna shall have One hundred Acres adjoining Daniel and shall pay to Easter Thirty Pounds.

The remainder of the Land shall have my Son Samuel and shall pay to Easter Thirty Pounds.

And my Wife Elizabeth a born Ulrich shall have the right to one half of Samuels Land during her Natural Life for her own Use and Benefit with the House, Garden, Meadows and Improved Land to have it at her own Discretion, further she shall have, One Mare and all the House furniture and the Horn’d Cattle Samuel shall have the Horses, Cooper Tools, Plough, Hoes and Axes and that such shall be kept and done shall my Wife a born Ulrich with her Son Samuel have the Right as Guardian in my Name to give the others Titles according to the Rule of the Country, And herewith all under the Commands of God.

                                                                                                Jacob Gripe

As you can see from this will, Jacob did indeed have a daughter Elizabeth who was clearly living in 1779, and living in Frankstown which is either in Bedford County or the adjacent county.  Furthermore, Elizabeth, the wife of Stephen Ulrich Jr. had 5 daughters, not three, and Elizabeth and Stephen Ulrich never lived in Bedford County.

Elizabeth and Stephen’s first two children were males, as was the fourth.  The third and fifth children were daughters.  The fifth child was Elizabeth who married Daniel Miller.  All of Stephen and Elizabeth’s children mentioned above were accounted for when they sold Stephen’s land in 1785, after his death.  In fact, that’s how we know who his children were and who they married.

Lastly, there is nothing to indicate that Stephen’s wife, Elizabeth, was married twice, but Jacob Cripe in his 1779 will clearly refers to the step-father of the two daughters.  If Stephen’s wife, Elizabeth, was still alive in 1779, she was living in Washington County (formerly Frederick County,) Maryland, not Bedford County, Pennsylvania.  Stephen and Elizabeth never moved to Bedford County.

We can’t say unequivocally that Elizabeth was dead by 1779, but given that she stopped signing deeds, it’s likely.  We know positively, however, that she is gone by 1782 when Stephen remarries and we know that Elizabeth, Stephen’s wife, never lived in Frankstown.

And so ends the myth that Stephen’s wife,  Elizabeth Ulrich, was Jacob Cripe’s daughter.

The challenge here, of course, is that we know who Elizabeth Ulrich isn’t, but we don’t know who she is!

Pure Speculation

Given that most of Stephen Ulrich’s land sales of Germania (later resurveyed as Good Neighbor) were to either Ulrich family members or people in or related to the Miller family, I have always wondered if Elizabeth was a daughter of Johann Michael Miller.  Jacob Stutzman was either Michael Miller’s step-brother of half-brother.  Regardless of the exact relationship, Michael was very close to Jacob, and the two men immigrated together.  Lodowich Miller was Michael’s son.  There is no way to know if Elizabeth was Michael Miller’s daughter, unless Stephen Ulrich’s Bible, or Michael Miller’s Bible shows up on e-bay one day.  Keep in mind that the Bibles of both of these men, unless they managed to be put inside the wagons when evacuating, probably burned when their homes burned in 1755 and 1763.

Again, this is simply thinking out loud and trying to put puzzle pieces together.  Please do NOT list Elizabeth as Michael’s daughter in any trees due to this speculation.  I’m simply hoping that perhaps this line of thought could lead to additional research or a discovery by another researcher down the road as other records become available.

Can Mitochondrial DNA Help?

Mitochondrial DNA is passed intact from a mother to all of her children, but only daughters pass it on.  Fortunately, it’s not admixed with any DNA from the father, so many generations later, it stays the same, except for an occasional mutation.  That means that if Elizabeth is the daughter of Suzanna Berchtol and Michael Miller, her mitochondrial DNA would match exactly to other women who share the same common ancestor.

Michael Miller and his wife, Suzanna Agnes Berchtol, had no proven daughters, so to be able to utilize mitochondrial DNA, which Elizabeth would have inherited from her mother, we need to reach back to Suzanna Berchtol’s sisters in Germany.

To see if Elizabeth’s descendants match Suzanne Berchtol’s mitochondrial DNA, we would have to find a descendant of the sisters of Suzanna Agnes Berchtol, descended through all females to the current generation, where the descendant could be male or female.  Suzanna Berchtol did have two sisters, according to baptismal records in Germany, Barbel (Barbara) born in 1693 and Ursula born about 1696.  We don’t know for sure if these women lived or married, so there may be no descendants today, but hopefully there are.

To prove that Elizabeth is Michael Miller and Suzanna Berchtol’s daughter, or not, we would also need an individual descended from Elizabeth through all females, to the current generation, which can be male or female.


If Elizabeth is the daughter of Suzanna, the mitochondrial DNA of anyone descended from her through all daughters will match the mitochondrial DNA of anyone descended through all daughters from either Barbel (Barbara) born in 1693 or Ursula born in 1696.

If a descendant of each line tests, and they don’t match (except for perhaps a mutation), then we know that Elizabeth was not the daughter of Suzanna Berchtol Miller, and we can look at the oldest ancestors of other people Elizabeth’s descendant matches to see if any of those matches come from Brethren families.

Fortunately, Elizabeth had 5 daughters who could have had daughters, highlighted below…on down the line to living descendants today.

Elizabeth Ulrich’s children were:

  • David Ulrich born about 1746 and died in 1823, married Barbara and had 7 children. They lived in Montgomery County, Ohio.
  • Stephen Ullery born about 1750 and died in 1835. He married Susan Rench and they lived in Morrison’s Cove in Bedford County, PA and then in Montgomery County, Ohio.
  • Christina Ulrich born about 1752 and died about 1810. She married Jacob Stutzman (Jr.) who later became her step-brother when their widowed parents married. They eventually moved to Montgomery County, Ohio.
  • Samuel Ulrich born about 1754 and died in 1822. He married Mary Brumbaugh and they lived in Bedford County, PA.
  • Elizabeth Ulrich born about 1757 and died in 1832. She married Daniel Miller and they moved first to Bedford County, PA, then to Clermont County Ohio, then to Montgomery County, Ohio.
  • Mary Ulrich born about 1760 and died about 1842. She married George Butterbaugh and they lived in Bedford County, PA.
  • Hannah Ulrich born about 1762 and died in 1798. She married Henry Butterbaugh and they lived in Washington County, Maryland.
  • Lydia Ulrich born about 1764 and died about 1810. She married Jacob Lear, Jr and they lived in Cambria County, PA.

I have a DNA testing scholarship for anyone who descends from either Barbara or Ursula Berchtol, the sisters of Suzanna Agnes BerchtolI in the manner described above, through all females to the current generation which can be male or female.

I also have a DNA testing scholarship for anyone descending from Elizabeth, wife of Stephen Ulrich, through all females to the current generation, which can also be male or female.

Why Can’t Autosomal DNA Solve this Riddle – At Least Not Today?

Many times autosomal DNA can help identify families and parents, but in this case, it’s unlikely.  Why?

To begin with, Elizabeth Ulrich is 7 generations back in time from me.  That’s a long time, genetically speaking.  Autosomal DNA is divided approximately in half in each generation, so I could only expect to carry less than 1% of Elizabeth’s autosomal DNA.


This doesn’t mean that I can’t match people who also descend from this couple, because I can and do, but it means that I’m unlikely to be able to tell with a combination of both DNA and genealogy who Elizabeth’s parents are.  Obviously, in this case, the genealogy is entirely missing, so we have to rely entirely on DNA.

Also making this even more difficult is that I have one other wife with an unknown surname in this same family grouping, from about the same time and place.


Philip Jacob Miller’s wife’s name was Magdalena.  Philip Jacob married Magdalena about 1751, also probably in York County, or possibly in Frederick County, Maryland.  She too would have been Brethren.  Clearly, both Elizabeth and Magdalena could have been from any of the other Brethren families, and they could also have been related to each other, or any number of other Brethren families.  In other words, it’s not impossible or even unlikely that they shared some DNA, then.  The Brethren lines continued to intermarry, and many Brethren carry the DNA of these early founders.  The only family lines we can eliminate, positively, as Elizabeth’s (or Magdalena’s) parents would be Jacob Cripe, Stephen Ulrich Jr. and Sr. and Jacob Stutzman whose will was probated in 1776 and lists his children.  Aside from that, all Brethren families are candidates.

Therefore, if I did receive a “Brethren” match from a line whose genealogy was complete, with no unknown ancestors, and who did not descend from either the Miller, Stutzman or Ulrich lines, I would not be able to tell if the match was from Magdalena’s line or Elizabeth’s line – because I carry DNA from both of those women.  Furthermore, I don’t know if there are any lines out of this area that have not intermarried by this time.  The Brethren moved together, intermarried and founded churches together, for generations, and can still be found living adjacent today.

Still it’s fun to see who I match that is descended from Stephen and Elizabeth Ulrich.  If you descend from these families and have taken an autosomal DNA test, please do let me know.  We might share a segment of Stephen and Elizabeth’s DNA.  I share segments of DNA with other descendants of Stephen and Elizabeth through four of their daughters and one son.

My mother, who is one generation closer than me is at Family Tree DNA under the name of Barbara Jean Ferverda and her kit number at GedMatch is T167724.  She isn’t at Ancestry, because she passed away before Ancestry began autosomal testing, but I’ve tested at Ancestry.

In Summary

I hope that one day we can resolve the question of who Elizabeth’s parents were.  That resolution could happen because of DNA testing, or it could happen as more records become available and indexed at genealogy sites, or some combination of both. Even today, if other Brethren researchers can eliminate a few more York County families as candidates by providing the names of their children, or add some additional Brethren families known to be in York County before 1745, that would be most helpful.

Regardless, of who Elizabeth’s parents were, she was clearly one very brave lady, facing the trepidations of warfare from the time she married in the early 1740s until the mid-1760s.  That could have been her entire adult life, depending on when she died.  I hope that she lived longer than we think.  I so want her to be able to see her children grown to adulthood – to cry at their weddings – and to be able to hold her grandchildren.

I want her to be able to sit in a rocking chair on her porch, overlooking the vistas in the distance, without fear, telling stories from “long ago” to wide-eyed grandchildren about living in the wagon when the Indians came, cooking in a pot over a fire under the starlight when they returned and building houses in the woods where no settlers had lived before.  I want her to be able to pluck peaches and pears and apples from the trees she and Stephen would have planted when they returned in 1766 and bake pies when her grandchildren come to visit.  I so want Elizabeth to have had some good years.

Stephen Ulrich (c1720–1783/1785), Twice Naturalized Brethren, 52 Ancestors #133

There is a lot of unsourced information about Stephen Ulrich (Jr.) on the web. As Dwayne Wrightsman, another of Stephen’s many descendants, said about Stephen, “so much has been said and so little is known.”

One of the documented but unproven items about Stephen is this “Oral History of Ulrick Family” from a private letter documented in Kinsey’s My Family Tree, which states:

Stephen Ulrick was born about 1680 near the German and Swiss border. Some records give His birthplace as Swebeland, Germany….He had two brothers, John and another whose name is unknown…all members of the German Baptist Church. Early in the eighteenth century they left their European home to escape religious persecution and came to the New World. They settled east of the mountains–probably first in northern Maryland and later removing to Huntingdon Co. Pa. near Hollidaysburg…Now Blair Co. These three brothers were all short and heavy set. They married three very tall sisters. Stephen (our ancestor) also had three sons, David, Samuel, and Stephen. They were all German Baptist preachers.

How much of the above letter is true? At least some.

We know that Stephen Ulrich (Sr.), the father of Stephen Ulrich (Jr.) born in about 1720 could well have been born in 1680. We also know there was a Mathias Ulrich in in York County, Pennsylvania living in the same group of Germans where Stephen Ulrich (Sr.) and (Jr.) were both living.

Holidaysburg is in Morrison’s Cove, just north of Bedford County where indeed, several of the children of Stephen Ulrich (Jr.), including Stephen (the third) settled – along with Stephen Jr.’s brother, John and probably his brother Daniel. And yes, Stephen Jr. did settle in northern Maryland, having moved from Pennsylvania and he did have three sons named David, Samuel and Stephen. So, we know that there is quite a bit of truth to this family letter. As for the rest, we don’t know, but given that there are some accurate items, it’s not unlikely that there are more.  There is, however, some generational intermixing of at least three generations.  Of course, in all fairness, there were (at least) three generations of Stephen Ulrichs.

I must admit, I’m fascinated by the physical description of these men and their wives.  That’s information that could only ever be forthcoming from a source like this.  Did the original Ulrich men marry sisters?  Would that have been Stephen Sr. the immigrant and two unknown brothers, or would this commentary have been referring perhaps to Stephen Jr. and two of his brothers?  Stephen Jr.’s brothers John, George and Daniel all moved with him to Frederick County, so it’s certainly possible that they could have married sisters and remained close.  There clearly weren’t a lot of Brethren females to choose from in the 1740 timeframe on the Pennsylvania frontier.

If anyone has documented information not included in this article, please do me the favor of sending it my way and I’ll be glad to update the article. I don’t however, want to be a party to spreading speculation or misinformation, so if it’s not documented, it’s not here, other than the above letter which I feel could provide important clues to the genesis of the Ulrich family.

I should probably explain, by virtue of introduction, that the Johann Michael Miller, Jacob Stutzman, Stephen Ulrich (Sr. and Jr.) families were all intertwined very early, certainly in the US if not in Germany previously. In fact, we do find the Miller and Stutzman families together in Germany, and possibly also the Ulrich family, but more on that in another article. In Lancaster, then York County, Pennsylvania, the Greib/Cripe family joins this group of Brethren families. In the US, the way to find any one of these families is to find any of these other families, because it seemed they were always together. They also intermarried, a lot, so sorting them out has proven challenging at best.

The Brethren Encyclopedia

For a Brethren family, a good place to check first is the Brethren Encyclopedia. It’s certainly not infallible, but often has valid information and equally as important, sources.

The Brethren Encyclopedia, The Brethren Press, 1983, p. 1285: Ulrich (Ullery, Ulery) Family

Families of this name of German/Swiss origins appear early in Pennsylvania records, but the first identifiable with Brethren communities (George, Matthew, Stephen, relationship unknown) settled in the Little Conewago valley (now Adams and York Cos., PA) ca. 1740. They were probably the Eldrick identified by Morgan Edwards among the founders of the Little Conewago congregation.

Stephen Ulrich, born abroad prior to 1725, took up land in 1742 adjoining his father Stephen Ulrich south of present McSherrystown, Adams Co., PA. In 1752 he moved to the Conococheague valley of Maryland (near Clear Spring), where he was active in Brethren affairs.

In 1767 Stephen Ulrick of Frederick Co., MD, was naturalized in Pennsylvania, an act which troubled his conscience as reported by Nicholas Martin to Alexander Mack, Jr., in 1772. His wife, Elizabeth Cripe (?) having died, he married in 1782 the widow of neighbor Jacob Stutzman. The children of the first marriage were three sons: David, Stephen, Samuel; and five daughters: Christina (m. Jacob Stutzman, Jr.), Elizabeth (m. Daniel Miller), Mary (m. George Puterbaugh), Hannah (m. Henry Puterbaugh), and Lydia (m. Jacob Lear). Daniel Ulrich, probably related, bought land from Stephen in 1754, then moved to Bedford Co., PA, where he died in 1792. John Ulrich, probably related, settled near Stephen in 1758, then moved west and died in Huntingdon Co., PA, in 1804. Numerous descendants of these pioneers, committed Brethren, including several eminent ministers, educators, and missionaries, spread along the frontiers of Pennsylvania, Ohio (by 1803), Indiana (by 1837), and west across the continent. In 1855 Jacob Ulrich was among the first Brethren settlers in Breckenridge Co., KS, where he knew John Brown and where his house and barn were burned by Quantrills raiders in 1863. JHS (John Hale Stutzman)

PA Land Records, Lancaster Co. Warrants 7 (U) and 8 (U), Feb. 16, 1742; Frederick Co., MD, Land Records Book E., 57-59; J. H. Stutesman, Jr., Jacob Stutzman (1982) index; Pennsylvania Archives, 2nd Series, 11:399; Washington Co., MD, Deed Book Co, 180-81; Washington Co., MD, Land Records Book D., 588-91; Colonial America (1967) 148, 184, 255, 266, 601; E. Pennsylvania (1915) index; Kansas (1922) esp. 13-26, 153-55.

Researcher Carol Henson tells us more:

Like other families, the Ulrich name changed quite a bit — especially in the first couple of generations in America. The family name generally appears as Ulrich or Ulrick — and then some of the Ulrich family members began using Ullery.

Ulrich and Ulrick has the same meaning as the old Germanic name “Uodalrich” or “Odalrik”. “Odal” means inheritance, and “rik” or “rich” means mighty or ruler, sovereign. Ulrich was the name of two German saints. There appear to be Ulrichs that were located in Baden Germany and Switzerland about the time of our first ancestor, Stephen Ulrich, Sr.

Ulrich family of Frebershausen in the Principality of Waldeck (is the first known Ulrich family), whose known roots first began in the 1500s. The earliest known Ulrich was Georg, a man whose story is clouded and whose parentage is uncertain. Waldeck in German means the corner of the woods. The area occupied by the former principality of Waldeck, even at this time, is a beautiful wooded region to which Germans and other Europeans come to vacation because of its beautiful woods, lakes, rivers, streams and spas.


Castle Waldeck, Hesse, By Christian Bickel – Own work, CC BY-SA 2.0 de,

Is this Ulrich family ours? We don’t know, but with Y DNA testing, we may one day be able to answer that question.

Being A Pietist Was Dangerous

The ongoing warfare in Europe, and in particular in Germany for centuries created a group of small fiefdoms where the ruler owned all of the land and dictated the religion of everyone who inhabited his fiefdom – generally meaning Protestant (Lutheran) or Catholic. This was legitimized by the Treaty of Augsburg on September 25, 1555.

If that ruler died, or was overrun, the new ruler, who might have entirely different views, took over – along with his religious preference, which became a mandate. The penalty for noncompliance was death, and people would run like rats from a sinking ship to escape into a friendlier fiefdom, often just a few miles down the road. However, with no land ownership and vacillating religious rules and policies, there was no reason for any peasant to develop much loyalty to any one place – other than family. And the family was also peasantry, so they weren’t tied either. More often than not, they moved together – sometimes leaving one or a few behind, like bread crumbs, along with the dead whose records might be found in church books, of course.

In the early 1600s, itinerant preachers roamed the German countryside preaching “unofficial doctrines” and working the populace into a lather. Local rulers tried to get rid of them, because social unrest of any kind was not a good thing to a landowner.

While all these groups are lumped together and called pietists, they often fought bitterly among themselves, but they were all united in their rejection of bureaucracy that could and did tell them what to do, and how. They each felt that they held the “only key” to salvation and grace. The church, both Catholic and Lutheran, dictated “correct” beliefs, but the pietist sects believed in a personal relationship with God and rejected all intermediaries.

To the pietists, the Bible was the doctrine, period, and all one needed to do personally was to read and follow the Bible. No interpretation necessary by churches, ministers or rulers…thank you very much.

Many of these groups also were opposed to infant baptism because they did not believe one could be “saved” before one had the capacity to choose salvation for oneself. The official churches condemned unbaptized babies to hell. The pietists sects began baptizing, or rebaptizing adults, an act punishable by death.

These groups were called Anabaptists, or rebaptizers, and the Moravians, Brethren, Mennonites, Amish and others fell into this general group.

The first recorded adult baptism happened in Zurich in 1525 and by 1574, more than 2500 Anabaptists had been put to death for adult baptism – the unrepentant being burned at the stake. If you repented, the men were beheaded and the women drowned. A quicker terrible fate, although all three just make me shudder.  And to think they were performed in the name of religion.

The official state religion kept changing too, first to Reformed, then to Lutheran, and each change caused more upheaval and more underground worshipers. Amazing that something that is supposed to be bring peace and comfort, like religion, caused so much pain and death.

By 1644, the foundation for immigration to Pennsylvania where William Penn openly recruited the downtrodden refugees and weary worshipers, specifically targeting the Quakers, Mennonites and other pietists and eventually, the Scots-Irish. Maryland welcomed Catholics, where Virginia was an English colony requiring membership in the Anglican church with stiff penalties otherwise.

In 1683, William Penn founded Philadelphia with 300 houses and negotiated his Great Treaty with the Indians. Later that year, the first German Mennonites arrived and established Germantown. The wave of German immigration had begun. On that wave, a few years later, would ride Stephen Ulrich.

Stephen’s Immigration

I have to wonder what would motivate someone to undertake an adventure into the completely unknown. What they were leaving must have been perceived to be worse than anything they could encounter where they were headed. Warfare was not unfamiliar to the pietists in Europe, and they had feared for their lives and property there as well. They must have felt like their entire existence was going from one conflict to the next. Maybe they felt these trials were sent by God to test their faith.

One big difference, and it may have made all the difference, is that in Germany, the rulers owned the land. In the colonies, the settlers had the opportunity to own land – something that would never happen in Europe. Indeed, even with its problems, America was the land of opportunity. That is, if you survived the voyage.

The voyage itself was dangerous and you could expect to lose part of your family. On some voyages, half the people perished. On some, more than half, two thirds, 80%. These were not anomalies. And the voyage took weeks. God forbid you were pregnant. I suspect that was a death sentence. What could have been so bad that one would choose uncertainly and a very, very high risk endeavor?

Justin Replogle in his book recounts both the 30 Years War that ended, finally, in 1648, only to be followed by the War of Spanish Succession from 1684 to 1713. Villages and farms were plundered and ruined and legions of people killed. From 1688 to 1697, every big city north of Cologne was plundered. On a single day, the Elector of Mannheim wrote that from the city walls he could see 23 villages burning. During this time, many Germans fled to Switzerland. A few years later, many Swiss would migrate to Germany for religious freedom and toleration – the price of resettling the naked German landscape. However, for the pietist sects in Switzerland, these were magical words.

So this landscape of warfare was sadly familiar to the German immigrants. They had lived with it, endured and survived for their entire lifetimes and the lifetimes of their parents and grandparents. Frightening? Certainly. But nothing terribly new. However, for a sect that refused to fight, even to protect themselves, they must have been sitting ducks. It’s amazing that any survived.

Many of the Pietist sects, meaning Mennonites and Brethren, immigrated between 1719 and 1729. We don’t know exactly when Stephen immigrated. We also have no information to suggest that he, or the families associated with Stephen, were pietist before immigration. What we do know is when he was naturalized.


The first actual piece of documented information we have about Stephen Ulrich is that he was born in Germany, because he, along with his father, also named Stephen, was naturalized in 1738, which would not have been necessary if he were born in the colonies.

On page 57 of the Council of Maryland, “Commission Book No. 82,” which contains miscellaneous entries from 1733 to 1773, we find an entry that says: “Ulderey, Stephen, Planter of Baltimore county, native of High Germany, naturalized 4 June, 1738; and his children Stephen, George, Daniel, John, Elizabeth and Susanna.” (Dwayne Wrightsman)

This could imply that Stephen Sr.’s wife had died, although at that time, wives were not individually listed and were simply included in their husband’s naturalization.

I have to ask why, if Stephen was living in Pennsylvania in 1738, near Hanover, was he being Naturalized in Baltimore County, Maryland. The answer to that question is  that the state border was in dispute and Stephen believed that his land was indeed in Maryland, not Pennsylvania. If Stephen’s land was in Maryland, Baltimore County would have been where it was located. Frederick County, Maryland was later formed from parts of Baltimore and Prince George Counties. As it turned out, Stephen was wrong and his land wound up being in Lancaster County (subsequently York County, now Adams County) in Pennsylvania, a few miles north of the Maryland/Pennsylvania state line, or where it would eventually be.

Also listed on pages 57-58 of “Commission Book No. 82” were six of Stephen Ulderey’s neighbors, all of whom were known to reside at or near Digges Choice on Little Conewago Creek in what turned out to be Lancaster County, PA. Stephen Sr. had purchased his initial land from Digges, so we know positively that’s where he lived.

People naturalized on this date – all ‘natives of High Germany now planters of Baltimore County’ were:

  • John Morningstar and his children Philip, Elizabeth and Joanna
  • John Martin Ungefare and his children George, Francis and Catherine.
  • Adam Furney and his children Mark, Nicholas, Philip, Charlott, Mary and Clara
  • George Coontz and his children John, Eva and Catherine
  • Stephen Uldery and his children Stephen, George, Daniel, John, Elizabeth and Susannah
  • John Lammon (of Prince George County, Maryland) and his children John, George, Louisa, Lenora, Catherine and Margaret.

Where is “High Germany?” According to Wikipedia, “High Germany is a geographical term referring to the mountainous southern part of Germany.” They also report that is was a common reference to Alpine Germany in the 16th century, but had fallen out of use by the 19th. When referring to language, it means the German spoken south of the Benrath line.


By Hardcore-Mike – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,

Dwayne Wrightsman says:

According to Morgan Edwards, writing in 1770, the Little Conewago congregation of Brethren was started in 1738, by “Eldrick, Dierdorff, Bigler, Gripe, Studsman and others under the leadership of Daniel Leatherman.” It is commonly thought that Eldrick was Ulrich, Gripe was Greib/Cripe, and Studsman was Stutzman. All were Brethren, friends, neighbors, and related by marriage. It is also commonly thought that Eldrick and Ulderey were one and the same.

Little Conewago is near Hanover, PA, in present day Adams County, about 100 miles from Philadelphia. At that time, this area was still very much unsettled frontier. Just 20 years earlier, Conestoga, 20 miles west of Philadelphia, had been described as wilderness.

Researchers report that there is another Naturalization for Stephen Ulrick in Philadelphia County on April 5, 1741. However, that’s actually incorrect. He was naturalized a second time, but the document actually says that the naturalization was pursuant to an act in the general assembly in 1742. It’s easy to understand how the confusion arose, looking at the following page.

Miller Naturalization

Stephen Ulrick from Frederick County, Maryland was naturalized with Michael Miller from the same place, his son Philip Jacob Miller, and Jacob Stutzman from Cumberland County, Pennsylvania, just across the border from Frederick County, Maryland.

Ordering the actual document from the Pennsylvania Archives made a world of difference, because the month and year, April 1767, is right on the outside of the document packet.

Philip Jacob Miller naturalization 1

Philip Jacob Miller naturalization 2

Philip Jacob Miller naturalization 3

Philip Jacob Miller naturalization 4

The 1738 original naturalization date tells us that Stephen Ulrich Sr. immigrated before that date and possibly in or before 1731. I’m unclear on the Maryland requirements for naturalization in 1738, and each colony was different, but in some locations, naturalization required residence for 7 years.

We don’t know exactly when Stephen Jr., along with his father, immigrated, or exactly when he was born, but it was surely before 1720 because in 1742, we find Stephen Jr. obtaining land and he would surely not have been any younger than age 22 or so.

Land at Little Conewago

One of the issues with records from early Pennsylvania is that the counties changed.

The earliest records of what is now Adams County, PA are found in what was originally Chester Co., PA. which successively changed to Lancaster Co. in 1728, to York County in 1748 and to Adams Co., PA in 1800.

And it wasn’t just counties that changed, but the state line itself was in dispute, as was the actual land ownership – meaning that the Indians still felt they owned at least the frontier and borderlands, exactly where the Brethren families were living, until at least 1736.

Ironically, these people who eschewed all forms of conflict wound up right dab smack in the center of a protracted heated battle.

Both Maryland and Pennsylvania claimed the land where Chester (then Lancaster/York/Adams) County lay. Initially the Pennsylvania government complained when Marylanders settled this area, but since no one else, except the Indians, was complaining, nothing was done until 1728 when Pennsylvania ran the settlers off and burned their homes. By 1732, Pennsylvania, Maryland and Virginia were all three competing for settlers on the frontier to stabilize the region and provide a buffer between the settled portions and the “savages.”

In 1732, Pennsylvania began giving out “licenses” to settle west of the Susquehanna with the idea that the licenses could later be turned into warrants when the colony actually bought the land from the Indians. No wonder the Indians were unhappy.

Note on this present day map that all of the area near Hanover was significantly west of the Susquehanna, shown to the right, by about 20-30 miles.


Between 1733 and 1736, 52 licenses were issued, mostly to German families, although the original list created by Samuel Blunston later disappeared. Presumably some went to the group who settled in the Conewego area where the Ulrich and Cripe families were living at that time. These licenses were confirmed in 1736 when the land was purchased from the Five Nations and an order for a resurvey was issued in 1762. It could have been at this time that the list was lost.

This same land had been issued under Maryland grants as early as 1731, according to “The Beginnings of the German Element in York County Pennsylvania,” a wonderful paper written in 1916 by Abdel Ross Wentz, PhD, Professor of History at Pennsylvania College. Thomas Cresap had built a cabin west of the Susquehanna as early as 1728. Dr. Wentz’s document includes a great deal of historical detail that provides enlightenment about how our ancestors who settled in that area lived, and the conditions they were subject to.

Maryland still claimed this land and by 1730, things were getting ugly. Maryland granted the same land, much of it to Thomas Cresap, a very early pioneer and Indian trader. Pennsylvanians tended to paint Cresap as an aggressive villain who terrorized the region and Marylanders viewed him as a hero who saved the day. One thing is for sure, he became the spokesperson for the Maryland faction of the German community, joined the Brethren Church, and ultimately bought the land Michael Miller would purchase from him called Miller’s Choice on Antietam Creek near Hagerstown, MD.

Living on the west side of the Susquehanna River, in the disputed land were 40 Germans, Michael Miller listed among them in 1736, just before the “Revolt of the Germans” ensued.

Because of the uncertainty of boundaries and the questionable legality of the Digges Choice land transactions, the area was often referred to as ‘the disputed land” and later, the community was referred to as “Rogue’s Resort.” This didn’t reflect upon the settlers, but upon Digges himself who was selling land he didn’t have clear title to.

In the 1730s, local warfare ensued with both Maryland and Pennsylvania jailing people. At one point, Cresap got thrown off of his own ferry mid-river, but survived. In 1734, Cresap shot a Pennsylvania sheriff’s ranger who came to arrest him. I’m suspecting that perhaps he wasn’t yet Brethren at this time.

Some settlers returned back east at this point, having had enough – but turning back never seemed to be an option for the Brethren who also wouldn’t fight.

As militias on both sides became involved, the frustrated Brethren and German settlers must have become quite desperate because in 1736 they sent a resolution to the Governors of both states pledging their loyalty. However, when the duplicate loyalty was discovered, Governor Oglethorpe of Maryland offered rewards for the apprehension and arrest of nearly 40 men. John Wright was apparently the ringleader, because the bounty on his head was 40 pounds. However, Michael Miller was included but his bounty, and that of most of the other men, was only 2 pounds. We don’t know if this was the Michael Miller of the Ulrich/Cripe/Stutzman group, but it could have been. Cripe, Stutzman and Ulrich were certainly there by 1738, according to Brethren historical church records, but Michael Miller may have still been living in Chester Co., PA. His tax records don’t begin in this area until 1744. Certainly this regional war affected everyone.

Pennsylvania did purchase the land from the Indians in 1736 and land warrants were issued in 1738 – but given the uncertainty about who owned what and which state it would actually fall into, it was no wonder nothing much was done.

In 1738, a temporary line between Pennsylvania and Maryland was established, and the Digges Choice lands fell 4 miles north of that line.

In 1743, the German families had Digges Choice surveyed and exposed that Digges didn’t own all of the land he had sold.  In fact, he was about 4000 acres short.

In 1745, Digges attempted to obtain additional lands, in Pennsylvania, through his Maryland patent, claiming this was simply a resurvey and adjustment of his original survey. Unfortunately, this new Maryland patent and survey included some lands that had already been granted to German families from Pennsylvania. Needless to say, a great deal of consternation and hard feelings, to put it mildly, ensued, causing years of conflict.

In 1746, several German families petitioned Pennsylvania to protect their rights against Digges aggressions. Violence followed, and in April 1746 Matthias Ulrich and Nicholas Forney (son of Adam Forney), both men living on the disputed lands and refusing to surrender their patents to Digges, were arrested.

Digges attempted to continue to press the issue, trying to force these families to either surrender their land or repurchase it from him, but he soon learned just how stubborn and tenacious Germans can be. John Lemon, Lammon in the 1738 naturalization was one of the German men involved whose land lay outside of Digges original survey but inside the resurvey bounds.

Maybe this settlement should have been called “Digges Sorrow,” because certainly everyone who lived there was sorry about something!

Eventually, we find our Brethren families in the records, but things really didn’t improve. In fact, this conflict wasn’t settled for another 30 years with the running of the Mason-Dixon line, which, ironically cut right through Jacob Stutzman’s land – even after the Brethren had finally had enough and left Hanover in Pennsylvania for Frederick County in Maryland where they thought they would be immune to these issues.  They weren’t.

PA-MD boundary issue

“Cresapwarmap” by Kmusser – self-made, based primarily on the description at Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.5 via Commons

By the time the Mason-Dixon line was run, these families had been embroiled in this  mess for 30 years, or more.

Based on the location of Stephen Ulrich’s land, and the secondary information that Stephen Sr. purchased his original tract directly from John Digges, who originally settled “Digges Choice in the Back Woods,” a supposed 10,000 acre parcel near present day Hanover, PA under a Maryland land grant. Today Digges Choice includes all of Penn Township, most of Heidelberg Township in York County and part of Conewago, Germany and Union Townships in Adams County. This land was surveyed in 1732 but a patent was not issued until October 11, 1735. Some of the “squatters” that had originally settled west of the Susquehanna were attracted to Digges Choice. Digges was advertising these lands as early as 1731. The first land record given by Digges was to Adam Forney in October of 1731, but clear title couldn’t have passed at that time, so Digges gave Forney his bond upon which he identifies himself as “of Prince George’s County, Maryland,” clearly indicating that he believed this land to be located in Maryland, not in Pennsylvania. Note that Adam Furney is one of the men naturalized along with Stephen Ulrich in 1738.

The Conewago Settlement, where Stephen Ulrich Sr. lived, was also on Digges’ Choice and is now located in Adams County.

On Feb. 16, 1742, Lancaster County, PA issued warrants 7-U and 8-U for Stephen Ulrick, Junr. to take up lands west of the Susquehanna. He staked out adjoining tracts in what was then a dense wilderness on Little Conewago Creek on land adjoining that of his father. We know that Stephen lived there as early as 1738 when he is listed as a founder of Little Conewago Church.

Stephen Ulrich Sr and Stephen Ulrich Jr. both owned land in or near Digges Choice in York, now Adams County. Hanover was at the center of Digges Choice, which was laid out about 1739.


It’s interesting to note on this page of Lancaster County Warrant Register that Stephen Jr. obtained two tracts of land and neither warrant was returned until in the early 1800s.

The Pennsylvania Land Warrants and Applications 1733-1952 data base on Ancestry shows the following:



Stephen Ulrich Junior, Lancaster County, 100 acres situate on Indian Creek a branch of Little Conewago adjoining Henry Eastle? (Castle?) land on the west side of Susquehanna River, 15 pounds 10 shillings and yearly quit-rent of one half penny sterling for every acre thereof.



Stephen Ulrich Junior of Lancaster County 100 acres of land situate on Little Conewago Creek adjoining his father Stephen Ulrich’s land and William Hoolerd? On the west side of Susquehanne River for 15 pounds 10 shillings and yearly quit rent of one half penny sterling for every acre thereof

I’m unclear about where Stephen Ulrich Sr.’s land is located. There is no warrant and no deed.

There is also a Lancaster Co. Warrant to Ansted Ulrick on Nov. 4, 1743 for 200 acres in Lebanon Twp, Lancaster County, although we don’t know who Ansted is and he may or may not be related.  The name Ansted does not repeat in the Stephen Ulrich family that I’m aware of.

John Hale Stutzman was apparently able to locate the land of Stephen Ulrich, Jr.

On the document below, the outlines of tracts A and B from John Hale Stutzman’s book are based on official survey, patent and deed records. Stephen’s land was described as adjoining his father, Stephen’s, tract.


Page 6, Jacob Stutzman (?-1775) by John Hale Stutzman, Jr.

Tract C was purchased in 1759 from John Digges by Jacob Stutzman.  Jacob also bought tracts A and B from Stephen Ulrich. This suggests strongly that the boundard of Digges Choice was between tracts A and B which were obtained in Warrants from Pennsylvania and tract C which was obtained by purchase from John Digges.

This land was located about one mile south of McSherrytown, shown below in Adams Co., PA but was in Lancaster County originally, then in York in 1749 when it was formed, then in Adams beginning in 1800.

Hanover PA

You can see Stutzman’s drawing above on the map below from Google Maps. Indian Creek intersects with Little Conewago just below Narrow Drive and Hanover Pike is the old road.


If this drawing is accurate, Stephen Ulrich would have owned the land between the two 194 markers on Hanover Pike, meaning roughly between Race Horse Road and Pennville.

Here’s a satellite of the same area.  This is certainly nice farmland.


The photo below from Google Street View shows Indian Run Creek today from Narrow’s road. If the warrant is accurate, this would have been Stephen’s land although that’s not reflected in Stutzman’s drawing.   Indian Run is not very large.


Let’s drive down the road towards Hanover Pike.

This picture is just north of the intersection of Narrows Road and Hanover Pike. Stutzman’s drawing shows that this would have been Stephen’s land.


When Stephen first rode in his wagon on what would one day become this road, it would have been entirely wooded.  This flat farmland is just south of the same intersection.


If you are a farmer, flat is good.


This 1783 record further clarified that Stephen lived on the main road in York County, which would have been Hanover Pike.

1783 – Deed – May 17th – George Adam Stum of Heidelberg Twp, York County yeoman and Mary Apelone his wife for better securing the payment of….sold to Sebastian Opold a 150 ac tract of land in Heidelberg Twp part of larger tract called Diges’ Choice adj the Conestoga Old Road which tract of land John Digges conveyed unto Stephen Ullery and the said Ullery conveyed unto Peter Neffziger….

Land Records of York Co, Pa 1775-1793 by Mary Marshall Brewer, p 70-71

Given that John Digges did not convey land to Stephen Ulrich Jr., this land, above, has to be that of Stephen Sr.

It is believed that in 1738, during the time Stephen Ulrich lived here, he and his friend Jacob Stutzman organized the Conewago Congregation of the German Baptist in Conewago Twp. near Hanover, Pennsylvania.

Stephen Ulrich (Jr.) was reported to be a German Baptist minister based on Nicholas Martin’s notes. Stephen is believed to be the son of the immigrant Stephan Ulrich, given that their land was adjacent and they were referred to as Sr. and Jr, and Stephen Sr.’s 1738 naturalization record includes Stephen Jr.

About 1740, Stephen Jr. married his wife, reported, but not documented, to be Elizabeth Cripe. I sincerely believe that her surname was not Cripe, but I will delve into that topic in Elizabeth’s article.

Stephen Ulrich sold his Lancaster/York County land to his friend, Jacob Stutzman. This transaction is described in John Hale Stutzman’s book, “Jacob Stutzman, His Children and Grandchildren.” Unhappily for us, these two devout Dunkers, under the strictures of their church doctrine, avoided engagement with government authorities and did not record the deed of sale. “Heaven perhaps for the Dunkers but Hell for the genealogist,” as quoted by John Hale Stutzman. I’m glad I’m not the only Brethren researcher that feels that way!

We only know about this land sale because of a subsequent sale by Jacob Stutzman to George Wine. The Wine family intermarried with the Miller family through son Lodowich (Ludwig.). And around and around we go…

In 1743, another battle broke out and Stephen Ulrich was certainly in the middle of it, although his name is not specifically recorded. We know he was, though, because of John Digges and an unnamed Mathias Ulrich, possibly a relative.

In a deposition given August 29, 1746, Matthias Ulrich stated that he arrived in 1738 but he did not settle on Digges’ Choice until 1742 just before visiting Germany. So Mathias arrives at Digges Choice at least 4 years after Stephen Ulrich.

In 1743, the Germans sent one Martin Updegraf to Annapolis, Maryland to check on John Digges grant. It was found that Digges had sold some land he didn’t own, so he obtained a new grant from Maryland which included farms of 14 Germans under warrant from Pennsylvania. Both sides tried to intimidate the German farmers. The Pennsylvania surveyor warned them against violating royal orders. Mathias Ulrich apparently told the sheriff “to go to the devil,” an action very out of character for a Brethren. Eventually Digges son was killed but Pennsylvania would not surrender the killers to Maryland to be tried. It was clearly one hot mess on the frontier, and petitions and requests for help went unheard and unanswered by those back east who cared little if a bunch of Germans killed each other.

The Brethren tried to stick it out for a few more years, but in 1745, Michael Miller began buying land in Frederick County, MD, near present day Hagerstown and not long thereafter, the entire group of Brethren would sell out and remove themselves to what they hoped would be a more peaceful and secure, undisputed area.

The final straw, perhaps, came in 1748 when the sheriffs from both states insisted on collecting quick rent, which in this case, was in essence extortion money for being left alone. A 1748 deposition complaining to the Maryland governor said that “a great number of the Germans and some others were so much alarmed by the sheriff’s proceedings that several of them have already left the province and others have declaired they would go.” Many of the German families held land authorized by Pennsylvania.

In 1748, Frederick County, Maryland was formed from Baltimore and Prince George’s County.

On November 15, 1749, Stephen Ullery bought 150 acres in “Digges Choice” from John Digges and on June 3, 1758, “Stephen and Elizabeth Wollery of Frederick County, Maryland sold this land, according to Baltimore County, Maryland land records listed by John Hale Stutzman.  This land purchase from Digges is a bit confounding, knowing that Stephen Ulrich held land patented by Pennsylvania adjacent Digges land, so assuredly in the midst of the land that Digges tried to extort from the Germans by bullying them into either giving him their patents or making them repurchase their land from him.  This is also about the time Stephen Sr. is reported to have died.  Did Stephen repurchase his own land?  His father already had purchased land directly from Digges.  Would Stephen Jr. have purchased land in 1749, just before moving to Frederick County from the despised Digges?  We will likely never know “the rest of the story,” but surely there is more to the story than is readily apparent.

“Stephen Ullery” appears in the official records of York Co., Pennsylvania in 1749 in the Little Conewago area.

Frederick County, Maryland

However, by 1750, Stephen had had enough. Both Maryland and Pennsylvania tried to tax Heidelberg Township in the Conewago area. Stephen Ullery was taxed 7 shillings and Mathias Ullery, 2 shillings. It’s unclear whether this was Maryland or Pennsylvania tax, but regardless, Stephen sold his land and moved. Mathias apparently does as well, but I can’t find a deed.  Many of the Brethren simply passed the deed to the new owner and if they didn’t register the deed, it didn’t matter to the person who sold the land. In many cases, the deeds passed hand to hand several times and were never registered. Unfortunately, this plays havoc with any historical continuity.

By 1752 Stephen Ulrich Jr. had moved about 60 miles almost due west to Frederick County, Maryland, near today’s Hagerstown, but then it was the edge of the frontier. The closest village in 1752 was Conococheague where the creek of that name empties into the Potomac River. This is the area where Stephen would spend the rest of his life after purchasing land from one Hance (Hans) Waggoner in 1751.


To illustrate life on the frontier, Evan Shelby, who had sold Stephen’s eventual land to Waggoner also sold land to Indian trader, John Hager, 5 years after Shelby initially acquired the land. When Shelby sold the land to Hager, it had been improved with “two sorry houses” and “3 acres of cornfield, fenced in.” That was it – 5 years worth of improvements on the frontier.  According to land surveys in Frederick County, this was the rule, not the exception.

Most land in this area was entirely unimproved, but Stephen’s land that he purchased from Waggoner may have been. Another man purchased the other half of Waggoner’s land, and one of the two men received these improvements:

One dwelling house 20 by 16 feet made of hewd logs and covered with lap shingles, a stone chimney, one dwelling house 27 by 22 feet of hewd logs and covered with lap shingles, plankd above and below, a stone chimney, a new barn of hewd logs covered with lap shingles, 49 feet by 27, 69 apple trees, 72 peach trees and 6 acres of cultivated land well fenced.

In 1750 on the frontier, this was a palace. I do have to laugh, because true to form, the barn is much, much larger than the house, more than twice as big.

On September 25, 1752, Stephen Ulrich (Jr.), “of Frederick County, Maryland” bought 235 acres from a very early settler in the region, Hans Waggoner. The same day, Hance Waggoner sold another 200 acres of Germania to Walter Friendesburgh. The Waggoner family had lived adjacent the Ulrich family in York County as well.


Page 12, “Jacob Stutzman (?-1775)” by John Hale Stutzman, Jr.

The Ulrich’s settled right at the base of the first mountain range, about 8 or 9 miles northwest of today’s Hagerstown. John Hale Stutesman’s map has Stephen Ulrich’s original farm just below today’s Mason-Dixon line which forms the state line . This would be on Maryland 494 just below the state line where 494 becomes 75 in Pennsylvania.


Stutzman states that the X is near where highway 57 intersects 75, which would today be 494, although that appears to be about half a mile south of the state line.  Stutzman didn’t have the benefit of Google satellite when he wrote his book in 1982.


This picture above is taken just north of the intersection of 57 and 494.


Based on that description, this land should be Stephen’s, and there are the mountains in the distance.

You can drive for miles seeing nothing but farms and cornfields, punctuated from time to time by a very old house that is located very near the road. I always wonder if these houses stood when our ancestors passed by in horse and wagon.  This house may have been located on Stephen’s land.


This end of the house, which is the original portion, looks like it might have been fortified at one time. Other similar homes on the Tennessee frontier have these same strategically placed windows at the highest portion of the end of the home so that the men can gain a height advantage when shooting at their foes.  Note the two windows on either side of the chimney in the highest portion of the home.


Even the trees are ancient, as are the barns to the right of the house above.


Adjoining Stephen Ulrich’s land is the Jacob Stutesman place, purchased in 1761, straddling the state line and ultimately the Butterbaugh holdings were right here on both sides too, according to Stutzman. Jacob Cripe lived somewhere in this region too, northwest of John Hager’s house. The relationship between the Cripe and Ulrich families is unclear, but some individuals suggest that Jacob Cripe’s wife was the sister of Stephen Ulrich Jr. I have never seen documentation to this effect, but given the lack of Brethren records, it’s possible.

Stephen Ulrich and his wife raised a large family of nine children. Their daughter Christina married Jacob Stutzman, Jr., the son of their neighbor.

Frederick County Maryland Land Records Liber B Abstracts 1748-1752 by Patricia Abelard Andersen, p 4:

Stephen Ulary recorded Jan. 6, 1753, made Sept 5, Hans Willaree Waggoner of Frederick Co., farmer, for 340 pcm, tract called Garmina at first line of tract called Maidins Choice, m&b for 235 acres. Signed Hans Willarae Waggoner before Thomas Prather. Ack. Elizabeth Waggoner, his wife released dower. Receipt AF paid.

On February 19, 1753, Stephen and Elizabeth Ulrich sold 25 acres to Lodowick Miller, the son of Michael Miller. Michael Miller’s grandson, Daniel, through son Philip Jacob Miller would marry Stephen Ulrich’s daughter, Elizabeth some 20 years later. Also on February 19, 1753, Walter Friendesburgh sold 100 acres to Lodowich Miller.

Given this close connection with the Miller family, it’s also possible that either Stephen Ulrich’s wife or Jacob Cripe’s wife was Lodowich Miller’s sister.  I do need to state that this is purely speculative, and I almost hate to even mention it because they is no proof, in either direction.  There is only the possibility given the limited number of Brethren in York County at an early day when those men would have been marrying.

Jacob Stutzman was thought to have been the step-brother of Michael Miller, the immigrant and father of Lodowick Miller, but recent information that has come to light strongly suggests Jacob Stutzman was actually Michael Miller’s half-brother.

In 1753, Stephen Ulrich’s brother George had apparently also moved to Frederick County, and subsequently died.


Nicholas Martin and Stephen Willarick (Ulrich) as administrators of George Willarick (Ulrich) deceased late of Frederick County MD reported the value of the deceased property to the court on August 27, 1753.

1754 – 483-484 – Lodewick Miller recorded July 7, 1754 and made Feb 19 same year between Stephen Ulrich of Frederick County for 25 acres, Pennsylvania current money tract called Garminia (Germania) in Frederick County in his actual possession, metes and bounds given, signed Stephen Ulrich before Thomas Prather, Walter Tenderback, Elizabeth wife of Stephen Ulrich released dower right. Receipt. AF paid.

484–485 – Lodewick Miller recorded July 7, 1754, made Feb 19, 1754 between Walter Fundenberg farmer, for 100pcm, tract part of land called Garminia, m&b given. Signed Walter Gondeback, before Thomas Prather, Stephen Ulrich. Katern wife of the said Walter released dower right. Receipt. AF paid.

1754 – 590-591- Daniel Ularick recorded November 20, 1745 made May 31, 1754, between Steven Ularick of Frederick Co., farmer for 100 pcm MD, part of a tract called Garminia (Germania) beginning on the 10th line, m&b given for 86 acres, signed Stephen Ularick before Thomas Prather, Joseph Smith. Elizabeth wife of Stephen Ularick released dower right. Receipt AF paid.

In August of 1754, Stephen Ulrich was appointed overseer of roads in Conococheague Hundred in Frederick County for 1755.

Stephen’s Maryland lands butted up against the first rampart of the Alleghenies, called in whole “The Endless Mountains.” This particular mountain was called “The North Mountain” and his land was on the eastern flank.

The years of 1754 and 1755 signaled the beginning of the French and Indian war.

All was not tranquil on Conococheaque and the worst was yet to come. In 1755, the French and Indians smashed General Braddock’s column a few miles to the west, killed Braddock himself, and set the frontier aflame. In 1756, Gov. Sharpe of Maryland wrote, “The fine settlement of Conococheaque is quite deserted”.

Stephen Ulrich and family had hurredly abandoned ship, but where did they go?

The War Years

This land looks beautiful, idyllic and serene today, but it wasn’t always this way.

Philip Jacob Miller land Allegheny Mountains

During the time that the Brethren were settling, first near Hanover, PA, then Maryland, they weren’t the only people who felt they had a right to this land.

The Native tribes had good relations for decades with both Pennsylvania and Maryland. Both colonies bought land from the tribes. The problem was twofold.

First, the Native idea of land use and ownership was different from that of Europeans. While the Europeans “bought” the land from the Indians whose villages were physically on the land, those weren’t the only Indians with an interest in the land. Other tribes could well feel an ownership towards the land in terms of using it for hunting, or for travel. Once the Europeans owned it, they felt they owned it exclusively and anyone else that infringed in any way was trespassing. The worldview of the Indians and the Europeans was quite different, which put them squarely at odds with each other.

While Pennsylvania and Maryland were negotiating in good faith, others were not. For example, the Indians were promised land in the Ohio Valley, undisturbed, and that settlers would not cross the Proclamation line in 1763, promises which were immediately broken.  There was a long history of European misrepresentation, mis-set expectations, broken promises and treaties.


Secondly, both the French and English in the northern part of the colonies, and the Spanish in the southern tier were trying to do two things at once. They were trying to displace the Indians and at the same time, trying to win them over to their side in terms of warfare. This means that the Indians were in conflict with the French, English and Spanish and having internal conflicts between tribes as well. Old conflicts were not forgotten, and new injuries added to the list as the Indians sided with the French and raided the colonies of Pennsylvania and Maryland, for example.

The Braddock expedition, also called Braddock’s campaign or, more commonly, Braddock’s Defeat, was a failed British military expedition which attempted to capture the French Fort Duquesne (modern-day downtown Pittsburgh) in the summer of 1755 during the French and Indian War. Braddock was defeated at the Battle of the Monongahela on July 9, and the survivors retreated. The expedition takes its name from General Edward Braddock, who led the British forces and died in the effort. Braddock’s defeat was a major setback for the British in the early stages of the war with France and has been described as one of the most disastrous defeats for the British in the 18th century.

Before setting out on this expedition, Braddock had been warned about the Indians and their ambush style of attacks, which he poopooed. A decision he would regret, but did not live to regret. The families in Frederick County, Maryland would watch more than 200 of Braddock’s men move between the Potomac River and Antietam Creek on land owned by Brethren Johann Michael Mueller.

Braddock’s men marched through the woods in their red coats, in formation, in columns, drums and pipers playing and flags flying. They made one fine target of themselves. The Indians must have thought them insane.

General Braddock’s defeat in 1755 left the entire frontier at the mercy of the French and their Indian allies, who were both trying to displace the settlers in Pennsylvania, Maryland and part of Virginia against the “Endless Mountains,” the Blue Ridge and Alleghenies. Attacks on the settlements began at once with Braddock’s defeat.

There were plenty of British and German settlers who had moved to the frontier who were sitting ducks, and the Indians descended upon them.

By June 28th of 1755, Governor Sharpe of Maryland sent a document to the lower house: “a party of French Indians last Monday morning (June 23) fell on the inhabitants of this province and killed two men and one woman…eight other persons they have taken prisoners and carried off…”

In general, with some exceptions, you were far better off to be killed quickly than taken captive. The horrors that captives were subjected to are simply too gruesome to describe.

A French Captain wrote shortly after Braddock’s defeat that they had succeeded in “ruining the three adjacent provinces of Pennsylvania, Maryland and Virginia, driving off the inhabitants and totally destroying settlements over a tract of country thirty leagues reckoning from the line of Fort Cumberland.”  Thirty leagues is about 103 miles.  Fort Cumberland is at the right upper end of the map below.


Col. Adam Smith reported from Fort Cumberland that “the smoak of burning plantations darkens the day and hides the neighboring mountains from out of sight.”

“They kill all they meet…” wrote Claude Godfrey, a priest. Women and maidens were reported to be abused, then slaughtered or burned.

Fort Cumberland was about 65 miles west of the area near Hagerstown where the Brethren lived, and the border between Pennsylvania and Maryland.  Stephen’s land was well within the circle of destruction – and he would have had to go at least 40 miles east to be even remotely safe.


On October 9, 1755, the Maryland Gazette ran this story:

Last Wednesday morning the Indians carried off a woman from Frazier’s plantation…killed Benjamin Rogers, his wife and 7 children, and Edmund Marle, one family of 12 persons, besides 15 others, all in Frederick County. On Patterson Creek many families have within this month been murdered, carried away or burnt in their houses.” It goes on to say that “near Town Creek…a few miles this side of Cresaps more settlers were killed or carried away.

Patterson’s Creek is near Fort Cumberland and Town Creeks is west of Stephen Ulrich’s land.

By 1756, the territory around Cumberland was almost entirely deserted and George Washington wrote on April 22 that stories of the “butchering enemy melt me into such deadly sorrow that I would willingly offer myself a willing sacrifice…provided that would contribute to the people’s ease.”

And then on March 11, 1756, the Maryland Gazette reports this incident very close to where the Brethren families lived:

On the 26th instant…we found John Meyers house in flames and 9 or 10 head of large cattle killed. About three miles further up the road we found one Hynes killed and scalped with one arm cut off and several arrows sticking out of him. Further on they found a fortified house full of 40 women who told them they had been surrounded by Indians. But when the attackers tried to burn the house, the women extinguished it with ‘soapsuds’.

Never, never underestimate the ingenuity of a group of desperate women.

Those who didn’t leave were virtual captives in their home. Going to the fields to work or the creek for water was a life-threatening adventure. Many entire families lost their lives. Most families lost someone.

Near the close of the Revolutionary War, one Mr. Butterfield reported, “From Pittsburgh south…there are few families who have not lived therein any considerable length of time that had not lost some of their number by the merciless Indians.” (Replogle)

Living on the frontier was not for the faint of heart or spirit. But then again, being of a dissenting religion in Europe hadn’t been safe either.

On November 15, 1749, Stephen Ullery had purchased 150 acres in “Digges Choice” from John Digges and on June 3, 1758, “Stephen and Elizabeth Wollery of Frederick County, Maryland sold this land, according to Baltimore County, Maryland land records listed by John Hale Stutzman.

This 1758 record in Baltimore County may provide us with a very important clue. Stephen Ulrich claims he is from Frederick County, but this deed is filed in Baltimore County, where he may have taken refuge during the time the family was seeking shelter from the Indian raids. My assumption had always been that Stephen, and indeed the entire Brethren group had returned to Pennsylvania, but that appears to be incorrect – at least relative to Stephen.

Eventually things quieted down and the survivors returned to their homes. Just what became of the Ulrich family during this time is not known. But when he returned, Stephen Ulrich Jr. had his land resurveyed and named it “Good Neighbor” and was able to persuade his old friend Jacob Stutsman to buy land adjoining his in 1761.

On March 9th, 1761, Jacob Stutzman of the Province of Pennsylvania, farmer, paid 300 pounds to Bernard Stuller for 245 acres called “Good Luck,” with 24 acres of Flaggy Meadow lying on the northeast border of “Good Neighbor.”

On April 21, 1761, Stephen and Elizabeth Wollery of Frederick Co., Maryland sold 150 acres in “Digges Choice” to George Wain or Wine. The surname is likely Wine, because the Wine family married into the Johann Michael Miller family. One tract had been sold to Jacob Stutzman by 1759 and Stutzman sold his land to Wine as well, probably when Stutzman moved to Frederick County and purchased “Good Luck.” Deeds were made to clear the record.

1761 – April 21 – Deed – Stephen Ulrich of Manham Twp York Co for 10 pounds sold to George Wain of same place 200 acre tract of land whereon the said George Wain now dwells in Manheim Twp which was granted unto me by warrant dated Feb 17 1742…wit Jacob Danner, Ludwig Miller. Ackn April 21 1761 before Michael Danner . (B: pg 179)

Please note that Lodowick’s name is recorded as Ludwig here.

1761 – June 2, 1763, Deed George Wain of Manham Twp, York Co yeoman sold to Conrad Keefaver of same place yeoman one half of a 200 acre tract of land being part adj Martin Kitsmiller Digges and the same Conrad Keefaver…whereas in pursuance of a warrant dated Feb. 16, 1742 there was surveyed and laid out unto Stephen Ullrick a 200 ac tract of land in Manhiem Twp. and the said Stephen Ullerick on April 21, 1761 did convey the tract of land unto the said George Wain. Wit John Wagner, Henery Harris ackn June 12, 1763 before John Pope esqr justice (B: pg 183)

Land Records of York County, pa 1746-1764 by Mary Marshall Brewer p 177

The fact that this land, previously owned by Stephen Ulrich is adjacent the tract owned by Martin Kitsmiller is quite interesting. Martin Kitsmiller was a miller whose land was part of the “disputed land” caught up in the Digges resurvey. A cornerstone in the former mill is dated 1738 and the mill was located near the headwaters of the Little Conewago Creek. He bought his 100 acres on Conewago Creek which was contiguous to Digges Choice from John Lemmon in 1736. It was at Kitzmiller’s Mill in 1752 that John Digges’ son, Dudley was killed when the Baltimore County sheriff attempted to arrest Martin Kitzmiller when Digges tried to force him to repurchase his land. Kitzmiller’s son, Jacob, killed Dudley, but it may well have been accidental during the scuffle. Ironically, it was during this trial that it was determined that Kitzmiller’s Pennsylvania warrants were valid and Maryland, where Jacob Kitzmiller was being tried, had no jurisdiction to do anything at all, including collect taxes or arrest anyone, for anything, in Pennsylvania.

On September 29, 1761, Stephen Ulrick and Nicholas Martin of Frederick County, Maryland received a patent for 425 acres for which they obtained a warrant on August 27, 1759. This tract was called “Stephen’s Hope” and included a former survey, “Much Grumbling,” which had not been taken up by Jacob Funk.

Stephen Ulrick recorded a release September 24, 1762.

I, Charles Carrol of Annapolis, barrister, heir and executor of Charles Carroll the mortgage for 193 pounds 19 shillings paid by Stephen Ulrich, farmer and interest. Signed Chas Carroll. Duty paid.

Frederick County Land Records, Liber G and H Abstracts, 1761-1763, Abstracted by Patricia Abelard Andersen, p 56

More Warfare – Pontiac’s Revolt

However, in 1763, this area would see a repeat of the warfare that occurred in 1754-1756 in the French and Indian War – except even worse, if that can be imagined.

From Francis Parkman’s book, “History of the Conspiracy of Pontiac,” we learn frightening details about Pontiac’s Revolt. In May of 1763, with Indians from as far away as the Mississippi, Pontiac descended on the English settlers and garrisons from Detroit to the Carolinas in a concerted warfare effort.

Parkman tells us:

It was upon the borders that the storm of Indian war descended with appalling fury, a fury unparalleled through all the past and succeeding years. For hundreds of miles from north to south, the country was wasted with fire and steel…the ranging parties who visited the scene of devastation beheld, among the ruined farms and plantations, sights of unspeakable horrors; and discovered in the depths of the forest, the half-consumed bodies of men and women, still bound fast to the trees where they had perished in the fiery torture.

Somehow both Stephen Ulrich and Jacob Stutzman survived. We don’t know if they went back east and stayed with families there, or perhaps they took shelter in Fort Frederick, located 8 or 10 miles distant, as the crow flies. On the map below, the Ulrich property is just below Maryland/Pennsylvania border at Dry Run. Fort Frederick is on the Potomac River.


Today the fort is restored.


“Fort Frederick walls” by Acroterion – Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons –

Here is an artist’s rendering of how the fort would likely have looked when these families would have been living in the vicinity – and perhaps taking shelter here.


“Fort Frederick, Hagerstown vicinity (Washington County, Maryland)” by Albert S. Burns, Photographer – This image is available from the United States Library of Congress’s Prints and Photographs division under the digital ID hhh.md0835.This tag does not indicate the copyright status of the attached work. A normal copyright tag is still required. Licensed under Public Domain via Commons –,_Hagerstown_vicinity_(Washington_County,_Maryland).jpg#/media/File:Fort_Frederick,_Hagerstown_vicinity_(Washington_County,_Maryland).jpg

There were other, smaller forts as well – basically fortified homes – probably similar to the home found on the land that may have been Stephen’s. We know at least one of these, the Philip Davis home wasn’t far from Stephen’s land, because Charles Mason and Jeremiah Dixon, of the Mason-Dixon line fame stayed at his home while surveying the line that would eventually dissect Jacob Stutzman’s land into two states. On October 4th, 1763 the surveyors crossed a spring at the foot of the North Mountain. It’s quite surprising that the surveyors and homesteaders were still in this area.  Perhaps the warfare had not spread this far east yet.

I’m sure the families of Jacob and Stephen watched this surveying process with great curiosity and perhaps some trepidation, uncertain of what the results would mean.  I wonder if they were more frightened of the Indians or what the surveys could mean to them if they found themselves in the “wrong” state.  And as for Stephen, he had to worry regardless, given that it appears his land was in both states.

One thing is certain, the Brethren, including Stephen Ulrich, didn’t remain in their homes as warfare descended upon them once again. We have historical records stating that all of this area of Maryland was abandoned. We know that some of the area families took shelter in the Fort – although I would think the men in the fort would have been expected to defend it, were it to be attacked. Under those circumstances, the Brethren families were probably more likely to have taken their families back east and found refuge among family or church members. Perhaps Stephen went back to Baltimore County, again.

However, we do know where Stephen was on May 28, 1763. In 1763, in the midst of all of the wartime upheaval, which included vacating their land in Frederick County for several years, we find Stephen Ulrich and Nicholas Martin attending the Great Council of the Brethren in 1763 in Conestoga.

Conewago, in the book, “A History of the Church of the Brethren in Southern District Pennsylvania” is noted as being near current Ephrata, PA and also as being the current congregation of White Oak in Lancaster County.


Stephen’s name appears on an annual report with that of Nicholas Martin, Jacob Stutzman and both Nicholas and Daniel Leatherman in the Conestoga area, near Germantown, where the annual Brethren meeting was held. Does this imply that this is perhaps where the Brethren families on the frontier retreated to when their homes were in danger? Stephen may have been unwilling to fight, but he surely would not have left his family in danger to attend the meeting in Germantown.  Had the warfare not yet reached Frederick County?  Did they go back home to their families, only to have to vacate shortly?

We don’t know where these Brethren families lived from late 1763 until about 1765 when they returned to Frederick County, but it’s likely this entire area evacuated eastward and joined other Brethren families.

It was also about this time that these two families became even more intertwined. About 1765 Christina Ulrich married Jacob Stutzman Jr.

Stephen’s Hope

In 1766, an unusual transaction takes place, that upon analysis, is most likely a deed to Elizabeth Ulrich, sister of Stephen Ulrich (Jr.). We know that Stephen Ulrich Jr.’s daughter Elizabeth married Daniel Miller about 1774, so the only other known Elizabeth that this could be in Stephen Jr.’s sister – and the only reason that seems logical for a deed to be conveyed to Elizabeth, yet unmarried, is as an estate settlement.

On November, 18,1766, Elizabeth Ulrich is deeded part of the land called “Stephen’s Hope”, which was then sold to Anthony Hartman, 17 Nov. 1768, (Frederick County, MD deed Book L, page 559, 560) in consideration of the sum of “sixty pounds current money of Pennsylvania.”

Elizabeth was deeded this property by Stephen Ulrich, Jr.  and Nicholas Martin who had patented this land together in 1761, obtained originally in 1759. Elizabeth was not yet married to Jacob Snively in 1766. The “Stephen’s Hope” tract was located in the Middle Creek Valley in Frederick Co. some miles distant from the Ulrich and Shively homesteads.

On the map below, you can see Stephen’s “Good Neighbor” land near North Mountain at the state line in the upper left hand corner of this map, and the Middle Valley lies just north of Ellerton, in the south corner of this map.  As the crow flies, this land is at least 15 or 16 miles distant, and further as the wagon travels.


1766 – P 851-853 – Stephen Ulrick Jr recorded Dec. 8, 1786 made Nov 18 between Nicholas Martin and Stephen Ulrick for 48 pounds sells part of a track called Stephen’s Hope. M&b given for 141 acres. Signed in German Script by Stephen Ulrich, Nicolays Martin before Joseph Smith, Peter Bainfridge, receipt ack by partied and AF paid.

Pg 153-155 Stephen Ulrick Jr recorded Dec. 8, 1766 made Nov 18th between Nicholas Martin and Stephen Ulrick for 3 pounds part of a tract called Much Grumbling, m&b given for 21 acres. Signed same as before.

Pg 855 Elizabeth Ulrick recorded Dec. 8, 1766 made Nov 18 between Stephen Ulrick and Nichlas Martin of FC for 4 pounds sells part of tract called Stephen’s Hope.

Pages 856-858 are missing.  We have no idea what might have been held on these pages.  One this is certain, it likely had to do with this land because pages 859 and 860 still regard these transactions.

Pages 859-860 – m&b for 133 acres signed in German script by Stephen Ulrick, Nicholas Martin, Receipt from Elizabeth Ulrick for 48#. Ack and AF paid.

Frederick Co. Md Land Records Liber K Abstracts, 1765-1768 abstracted by Patricia Abelard Andersen, pg 71

Pages 922 – 924 – Daniel Gaver recorded January 9, 1767 (or 1761) made Dec 18 between Stephen Ulrick and Nicholas Martin for 48 pounds sells tract Stephen’s Hope m&b given adj to Much Grumbling containing 80 acres. Signed in german script by Stephen Ulrick and Nicollaus Martin before Thomas Price, P. Bainbridge. Receipt of deed. AF paid

Frederick Co. Md Land Records Liber K Abstracts, 1765-1768 abstracted by Patricia Abelard Andersen, p 76

When you read the survey narrative for Stephen’s Hope, it states:

30 day March 1753.  Surveyed for a certain John Leatherman added by a resurvey to a tract of land called Much Grumbling as any other vacant land thereto contiguous.

The patent info shows Leatherman’s tract ‘Much Grumbling’ is dated 1743, and was for 30 acres. It is hard to read, but the narrative lists a stream that runs into what looks like Kittowakin Creek. However, there is no stream that carries that name today in either Washington or Frederick County, MD. (Bill Thomas)

When Anthony Hardman bought this Frederick Co. MD farm in 1768, he paid in cash with Pennsylvania money.

Frederick Co., MD Land Record, Liber L, folio 559 dated 17 Nov. 1768, Anthony Hardman from Jacob Snively, sell tract, part of “Stephens Hope” for 133 acres.

Obviously Elizabeth had married “Jacob Snively” by this time.





This 425 acres wasn’t developed land.  The note on the survey says that there are about 4 acres of cultivated ground and about 500 “old fense logges.”

Stephen’s Second Naturalization

1767 – The division of Jacob Stutzman’s land between Maryland and Pennsylvania may ultimately have caused him to have to be naturalized in Pennsylvania, an act that went directly against his Brethren beliefs. The survey that established the Mason-Dixon line was begun in 1763 and completed in 1767, and the crew would have worked directly through Jacob’s land.  If indeed, part of Stephen Ulrich’s land was also bisected by this line, the same logic would apply as to why he would be naturalized a second time.


In the actual survey map of the Mason-Dixon line above, you can see this area just to the right of North Mountain which is located above the V.  Coneccocheague is the river between the I and the N in Province, below the drawing.  Little Conococheague Creek runs between North Mountain and the mountain range shown between North Mountain and Conecocheague Creek, right above the I.  It’s possible that Jacob Stutzman’s house is shown beside the mountain on the Pennsylvania side – which would be Cumberland County.  Both Stephen Ulrich’s and Jacob Stutzman’s land would have fallen between these two landmarks – the first row of mountains and Conecocheague Creek.

Jacob and Stephen’s naturalization record on April 10, 1767 says that Jacob Stutzman of Cumberland County, PA appeared before the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania at Philadelphia to be naturalized. Stephen Ulrich of Frederick Co. Maryland was naturalized as well as several other “foreigners…who conscientiously scruple to take an oath…but took the affirmation and made and repeated the Declaration according to the Directions of the Act of King George the Second.”

The only Stephen Ulrich that could be being naturalized in 1767 would be Stephen Jr., who we know was born in Germany due to the 1738 Maryland naturalization. His father was presumed dead by this time, and Stephen Ulrich (the third) would have been born in the colonies, so wouldn’t need to be naturalized.

I can just see this group of reluctant Brethren men, standing there uncomfortably shuffling and probably staring at their feet. There were at least two other Brethren too, Michael Miller and his son, Philip Jacob Miller. There were also a few other men from Frederick County who were also “affirmers” so likely Brethren as well. It’s no trivial feat to get from Hagerstown to Philadelphia, so this must have been important, regardless of the reason.  And for Stephen, he got to be “shamed” twice.  Being naturalized once wasn’t enough.  Perhaps he wasn’t yet Brethren the first time.

Map Frederick co to Philly

Good Neighbor

In 1767, Stephen Ulrich resurveys his existing Germania, along with two other tracts that are “vacant,” into a 694 acre tract called “Good Neighbor.”  Stephen lived on Germania (also spelled Germony) from 1751 until he died. His brother John lived nearby, reportedly (but no confirming deed) next to the mountains.  John could well have lived on some of Stephen’s land.

Stephen’s Good Neighbor survey, amended, is shown below.





This survey combines the original Germania property with two more and is now called Good Neighbor.  The improvements are listed as a quarter acre cleared and 230 old fence posts.  The survey says that Germania was originally purchased from Hance Waggoner on May 24, 1751 and that Hance held the original warrant for 435 acres.

1768 – Stephen Ulrich sells 60 acres to George Butterbaugh, 139 to Daniel Ulrich, 106 to John Snider and 40 to John Metzger. Elizabeth is no longer mentioned, so she may have died by this time. Replogle 117

This sale totals 345 of the total 445 acres.  Did Stephen retain 100 acres for himself?

A Butterbaugh descendant’s map of George Butterbaugh’s holdings places this 60 acre tract just slightly above the Mason-Dixon line. If correct, this means that in 1765 the Mason-Dixon line crossed the very top of “Good Neighbor.”

On May 24, 1772, Nicholas Martin, the Brethren minister in Frederick County wrote a letter to Alexander Mack Jr. in which he says, “as regards Brother Stephen…has now become more reluctant (to be ordained) because he thinks he has become estranged to the brethren throughout the country because he became naturalized…” This is supposed to refer to “Stephen Woller,” Martin’s assistant. This letter also said that brother Stephen’s brother John moved away, which is accurate, given that John Ulrich moved to Bedford County, PA prior to 1772. (Olds referencing Donald Durnbaugh in “The Brethren in Colonial America.”)

1773 – Jacob Stutzman wrote his will and Stephen Ulrich signed as a witness in German script. The Stutzman book says this will still survives in the archives of Cumberland County, PA probate court records, will Number 28. I’d love to obtain a copy of Stephen’s signature.    Jacob Stutzman’s will was probated February 3, 1775.

I wrote to Cumberland County, PA and Diane from the Clerk’s office was kind enough to call me, but the news wasn’t good.  Jacob Stutzman’s will had been “reinforced” with Scotch tape years ago, and is now so hard and fragile they were afraid to handle he document.  She told me they would have an archivist “look at it” which I figured was the kiss of death in terms of ever hearing anything.  But fortunately, I was wrong.

A couple weeks later, I received high quality photographs in the mail, printed on full size paper.  The archivist had managed to open the document, and insert the document into an archival quality plastic sleeve.  Diane then took photos for me.  I’m telling you this so that you will appreciate the effort that Diane and Cumberland County went to, and the photos below are the best we can do.

Diana also sent a copy of Jacob Stutzman’s will as it is written into the will book.  This helps decipher words and names, because the person who copied that will into the official will book knew the players.  Plus, it suggests that the original way Ulery or Ullery was pronounced probably sounded like Woolery to an English-speaker.



From these documents, we can see that the witnesses to the will were David Davis, Stephen Woolery (Ulery) and Daniel Woolery (Ulery).  Stephen Woolery (Ulery) also swore an oath when the will was probated, but this signature is partially obscured in the photos.

Now, let’s look at the original document.

The back of the document is shown below.


The back of this document holds something not recorded in the will book.  Hannah’s statement saying that she is fully satisfied.  Additionally, we find the signature of Stephen Ulrich witnessing her statement, in German script.


How do we know that the signature above David Davis is Stephen Ulrich’s signature?  By looking at the rest of the document compared to what is recorded.


Here’s the entire main page of Jacob Stutzman’s will.  It’s very difficult to see the signatures of the witnesses due to the glare.


Take a look at just the top half, above.  You can see that the translated version says there are three witnesses with the third being David Woolery and the second being Stephen Woolery and the first, obscured under the tape here, being David Davis.

Here’s just the witness signature section.


Even though there is glare, you can see the pattern of the signature pretty well.  Now, compare it to the top signature witnessing Hannah’s statement, below.


Furthermore, the second half of the main page shows part of Stephen Woolery’s signature under David Davis again.


The pattern of the two signatures identified in the clerk’s book as Stephen Woolery match the signature we can see best under Hannah’s statement.

This confirmed that indeed, we do have Stephen’s signature – not once, not twice, but three times. It’s a good thing, because it took all 3 to confirm it actually is his.

1776 – Deed. Joseph Rentch of Frederick Co Md and William Duffield of Peters Twp, Cumberland Co, Pennsylvania, executors to the will of Jacob Stutzman late of Cumberland Co, PA, decd in consideration of the premises and also 5 shillings sold to George Wine of Heidelberg Twp, York Co, yeoman a 55 acre tract of land in Heidelberg Twp….whereas on Nov 19, 1759 John Digges of Baltimore Co., MD sold to the said Jacob Stutzman then of Baltimore Co MD a 55 ac tract called Digges’ Choice then in Baltimore County but now in Heidelberg Twp, York Co adjacent Stephen Ullery (Book 4 fol 53 and 54 in Maryland) and the said Jacob Stutzman in 1761 sold the tract of land unto the said George Wine for which he hath been since fully paid and whereas the said Stutzman by a bond dated April 18, 1770 became bound unto the said George Wine of 200 pounds conditioned that they should execute unto the said George Wine a deed of conveyance for the 55 acre tract within 7 years, and he said Stutzman on March 15 1773 made his will and did appoint the said Joseph Rentch and he said William Duffield executors and shortly after died without having conveyed the tract of land unto the said George Wine….Wit. James Stevenson, David Moreland, Ack April 24 1776 before William McClean Justice (G:P 217)

This 1776 document confirms that Digges Choice was originally considered to be in Maryland, and that Stephen Ullery (Ulrich) at one time owned this land.

Remarriage and a Prenuptial Agreement

After Stephen’s wife, Elizabeth, died, he married Hannah Stutzman, widow of his devout German Baptist friend and neighbor Jacob Stutzman, Sr. and mother-in-law of his daughter Christina Ulrich Stutzman.

Stephen’s wife, Elizabeth Ulrich probably died between 1761 and 1768 and assuredly before March of 1782, for what now would be called a “Pre-Nuptial Agreement” was signed March 25, 1782 and recorded in the deed records, book C. P. 180 in Washington Co. MD. by “Stephen Ulrich and Hannah Stootsman,” both of Washington Co., Md. Hannah was the widow of Jacob Stutzman who died in 1775. The agreement stipulated that their individual heirs would have no claim to the estates of the other spouse.

This would be a case of Christina Ulrich Stutzman’s father, Stephen Ulrich, marrying Christina’s mother-in-law, Hannah Stutzman – so Christina became her own step-sister-in-law. Her mother-in-law was now her step-mother as well. Stephen was 70 – 72 years old at the time of this marriage and unfortunately, died sometime between 1783 and June of 1785.

Stephen’s Estate

The 1783 tax list of Washington County, Maryland which had been formed from Frederick County lists Stephen Wolery with 324 acres, 3 horses and 3 cattle.

Stephen Ulrich’s “Good Neighbor” consisted of 324 acres, 10 acres of “meadow”, 70 acres of ‘arable’ and 244 acres of ‘wood’. In 1785 his heirs sold this tract. Replogle 118

Jacob Replogle, whose research has been impeccable, tells us that the 324 acres is “Good Neighbor.”  I don’t know whether the tax list says this, or Replogle surmised this, but from the sale calculations, Stephen should only have 100 acres of “Good Neighbor” left.  Because of the missing pages, we don’t know how much, if any, of “Stephen’s Hope” Stephen retained in joint ownership with Nicholas Martin.

We are very fortunate indeed that Stephen Ulrich’s heirs sold his land, as follows:

This indenture made June 17, 1785…between David Ulrick, Stephen Ulrick, Samuel Ulrich, Jacob Stutsman, Christina Stutsman, Daniel Miller, Elizabeth Miller, George Butterbaugh, Jacob Liear, Lidia Liear, all of Washington County, Maryland, for 1510 pounds sold to John Cushwa…tract of land called Good Neighbour which contained 322 acres.

Without this important transaction, we would have no comprehensive record of Stephen’s children, nor who they married.  This record also seems to confirm that the land that Stephen retained at the end of his life was indeed, Good Neighbor.  Perhaps some of the 1768 land sold was Stephen’s Hope.

I can’t help but wonder if there is really a 2 acre discrepancy, of if this is a transcription issue.  Or, was part of Stephen’s land a cemetery?  He had to have buried Elizabeth someplace – as well as be buried someplace himself.

Where was Stephen buried? There was no Brethren church building in 1785, so no official Brethren cemetery. I wonder if he was buried on his farm, along with Elizabeth, in a now-lost cemetery.  Is that the 2 missing acres?  Two acres would be awfully large for a cemetery. 

A Visit to Frederick County, Maryland

When I set out to find Johann Michael Miller’s land in Washington County, Maryland near Hagerstown, in the fall of 2015, I’m ashamed to admit that never thought about the Ulrich land – probably because I didn’t think I could find it. The locations are vague at best.

Michael Miller’s son, Philip Jacob Miller, would marry a woman named Magdalena whose surname is unknown. By the time Philip Jacob’s son, Daniel would marry Elizabeth Ulrich, about 1774, I was under the assumption that they were already in Bedford County, PA…but they weren’t. I hate the word assume. Or more specifically, I hate it when I assume anything because it almost always turns out to be incorrect.

Daniel Miller and Elizabeth Ulrich were likely married in Frederick County about 1774. In reality, we don’t know for sure, but what we do know is that the Ulrich family was living in the area as part of the Brethren group that formed and continued to move together to new lands, eventually finding their way to Bedford County, PA, Dayton, Ohio, Elkhart County, Indiana and some on to points further west.  They generally established Brethren Churches along the way.

We also know that Daniel and Elizabeth Ulrich Miller were still (or again) living in Washington County in 1785 when Elizabeth Ulrich and Daniel Miller sold her father’s property.

After I was already on the road, I read in my Miller notes that John Hale Stutzman had placed the Ulrich family, by using deeds, west of Conococheague Creek, right on or maybe even spanning between the Maryland/Pennsylvania line, and near Fairview Road.

I looked on Google maps, and that’s all I needed. I was off!!!


I figured the best chance I had at actually driving across the Ulrich land is to drive across Wishland Road (unlabeled above) which runs from just north of Conococheague Creek, parallel with the Creek for a ways, then intersecting at the state line on Cearfoss Pike. I did just that.  I might have been a bit off in terms of location, slightly east, but come along anyway.  Certainly this land has not changed much, other than clearing trees.

Below, Conococheague Creek from the bridge.  Stephen would have been quite familiar with this waterway.  He probably forded this “creek” here, at least when the water was low.


Beautiful farm land.


The “Endless Mountains” are quite close here. It is reported that Stephen’s brother John lived near the mountains as well, before he moved to Bedford County prior to 1772. Stephen’s brother, Daniel, would have lived in the area too, buying land from Stephen, before he too moved to Bedford County.


This probably is not the actual Ulrich land, but this home is just stunning, as is the barn. I can see Stephen Ulrich here, can’t you? Hardly the “quarter acre cleared and 230 old fence posts“ anymore!


Looking close, you can see the satellite dish.  Times have changed, but not terribly visibly otherwise.


While much of Virginia and West Virginia are reforested, Maryland is not, and flat land here is farmed.


John Stutzman’s book provides a map and tells us that Stutzman’s land was where Pennsylvania 75 intersects Maryland 57 which is today’s 494, Fairview Road in Maryland and Fort Loudon Road in Maryland.  The road that continues to the west become 57 in Maryland.

On the map below, you can see all of the landmarks, North Mountain to the west, the three roads mentioned above, Cearfoss Pike and Conocheague Creek.  The total distance, as the crow flies, between Cearfoss Pike at the state line to North Mountain in about 4 miles.  Stephen lived here for about 34 years and probably knew these roads, which were no more than wagon trails at that time, like the back of his hand.  Someplace, both he and his wife are buried here.


Here’s the state line today, about where the barn stands, and the old road running beside the modern one.


Stephen’s Wife

Stephen’s wife’s name was Elizabeth, according to several deeds, who is reported to be Elizabeth Cripe, but with absolutely no documentation of any surname. It stands to reason that if Stephen bought land in 1742, he was probably recently married and he assuredly married within the Brethren community if he and/or his father were Brethren church founders in 1738. 

Stephen’s Children

Much has been written about the children of Stephen Ulrich, and much confusion exists between generations, mostly because the same first names were used over and over again.

I’m using the document written by Dan Olds in 2003, because his research is impeccable and he does not “add” children who are not present in Stephen’s estate settlement.

I should probably mention here that Daniel Ulrich of Bedford County is often attributed to Stephen (Jr.) but there is no Daniel mentioned in the 1785 estate distribution, and since there was no will, all of Stephen’s children would have been included in that distribution. We know that one Daniel Ulrich was the brother of Stephen (Jr.) The Daniel appearing in Bedford County seems to be too old to be a son of Stephen Jr. If he was Stephen’s son, he would have already purchased and been running a mill when he was about 20 years old, and that’s pretty much unheard of.

Stephen Ulrich Jr.’s children were:

  • David Ulrich born about 1746 and died in 1823, married Barbara and had 7 children. They lived in Montgomery County, Ohio.
  • Stephen Ullery born about 1750 and died in 1835. He married Susan Rench and they lived in Morrison’s Cove in Bedford County, PA and then in Montgomery County, Ohio.
  • Christina Ulrich born about 1752 and died about 1810. She married Jacob Stutzman (Jr.) who later became her step-brother when their widowed parents married. They eventually moved to Montgomery County, Ohio.
  • Samuel Ulrich born about 1754 and died in 1822. He married Mary Brumbaugh and they lived in Bedford County, PA.
  • Elizabeth Ulrich born about 1757 and died in 1832. She married Daniel Miller and they moved first to Bedford County, PA, then to Clermont County Ohio, then to Montgomery County, Ohio.
  • Mary Ulrich born about 1760 and died about 1842. She married George Butterbaugh and they lived in Bedford County, PA.
  • Hannah Ulrich born about 1762 and died in 1798. She married Henry Butterbaugh and they lived in Washington County, Maryland.
  • Lydia Ulrich born about 1764 and died about 1810. She married Jacob Lear, Jr and they lived in Cambria County, PA.

Stephen’s Y DNA

Unfortunately, no directly descended Ulrich males from either Stephen Jr. or Stephen Sr. have taken the Y DNA test. That’s hard to believe, I know, given how many children these Brethren families had. Stephen’s male children, whose direct male line descendants are eligible to take a Y DNA test are bolded above.  The test requires a male who descends from one of the Ulrich male ancestors and carries the Ulrich (by any spelling) surname.

The Y chromosome is passed from father to son, without any of the mother’s DNA, and the Y chromosome lineage follows the surname line of descent.

By testing a male Ulrich that descends from this line, we can determine Stephen’s deep heritage, his clan, for lack of a better word. In addition, we may match a male Ulrich from Germany who has tested – and there are some – which will help us determine where our Ulrich line is from.

If you are a male Ulrich who descends from this line, I have a DNA testing scholarship for the first male Ulrich to come forth.

If not you, do you know an Ulrich male who might be interested?

Sources and Acknowledgements:

  • Replogle – “Ancestors on the Frontier” by Justin Replogle (1998), self published and out of print
  • Wrightsman – “The Elusive Stephen Ulrich” (Dec 2004) Dwayne Wrightsman
  • Olds – “Ulrich Line” by Dan W. Olds (January 26, 2003)

Radegonde Lambert (1621/1629-1686/1693), European, Not Native, 52 Ancestors #132

The first Acadians began arriving on the island of Nova Scotia in eastern maritime Canada in 1604, settling in 1605 near to what is today Annapolis Royal.


By Mikmaq – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,

Today, the original location of Port Royal is a national historic site known as the Habitation at Port-Royal. After it’s destruction in 1613, Port Royal was re-established about 6 miles away as Annapolis Royal (Fort Anne), shown below, but was still called Port Royal at that time.

This drawing shows Port Royal in 1753. Even half a century after Radegonde Lambert’s death, this village is still very small.


The first decade in “New France” was difficult, at best, with many false starts. Most of the men that settled in this region were interested in fishing and fur trading, not farming. Politically, the land in Canada was subject to the political winds in Europe, so the “ownership” of the region was not only disputed, but changed hands, being ruled by the French, the Scots and the British.

Ships came and went. Many settlers died. Those settlers that lived, male or mostly male, intermarried with the Micmac Indians.

Beginning in about 1610, some French women may have arrived with their husbands, but the dates are uncertain, as are the number of woman.

Because of this, most of the early births are presumed to be a result of a marriage, “legal,” meaning Catholic and blessed by the church, or not. I’m guessing that young men with no available European women, not to mention no priests for many years, didn’t much care about the sacraments nearly as much as they cared about female company.

Radegonde’s Birth

Radegonde Lambert was probably born between 1621 and 1629. It’s believed by some that she was born in Cap-du-Sable, according to the compiled records of professional genealogist, Karen Theroit Reader, assuming Radegonde is the daughter of Jean Lambert, which may not be a safe assumption at all. However, Jean Lambert is the only Lambert male in Acadia at that time, so if Radegonde was born in Acadia, it would have been to Jean.

Cap-du-Sable, meaning Sandy Cape, is an island off the far southern tip of Nova Scotia that was settled by Acadians who migrated from Port Royal in 1620. The men who lived on this island specialized in the fur trade.

Radegonde in the Records

The first actual peek we get of Radegonde Lambert is in the 1671 Census, in Port Royal. Thankfully, the women are listed by their birth surnames. Thank you, Acadians! Without this information, we would surely be lost.

You can see the original script of the entire 1671 census at this link.


In case you can’t read the entry for Radegonde’s husband, Jean Blanchard, it says that he is a laborer, living in Port Royal, Acadia, age 60. His name is spelled Jehan and his wife is Radegonde Lambert, age 42. They have 6 children and 3 are married. They have 5 arpens of land under cultivation, 12 cattle and 9 sheep. An arpent of land is about .84 acres.

From this census, we see that Radegonde is born in 1629.

However, and in genealogy, it seems like there is always a “however,” in the 1686 census, Radegonde’s age is given as 65, which would put her birth year as 1621.

In the 1693 census, she no longer appears, so she died sometime between 1686 and 1693, between the ages of 57 and 72, depending on what year she was actually born and in which year she died.

Radegonde’s Mother

Many of researchers believe that Radegonde Lambert’s mother was Micmak (Mi’kmaq). Why?

Primarily because if she was the daughter of Jean Lambert, one of the earliest settlers, it was believed that his wife had to be Indian because there were no French women in Acadia at that time.

Stephen A. White, one of the premier Acadian researchers, tells us the following about Radegonde (information in parenthesis is my note):

Possible parents—JEAN LAMBERT and Un-identified MicMac Indian. The Indians honored de La Tour (a fur trader) and he married the daughter of one of their Chiefs. Because there were no French girls his men also settled with Indian women. Among the men who did this were Jean Lambert and a man called Lejeune. In subsequent years there were a good number of Metis living in this area with the names of Lambert and Lejeune. Jean Lambert, born in France about 1595, probably came to Acadia on the Jonas out of the port of Dieppe, Normandy. It left 25 February1610 and arrived in Port Royal at the end of May. They had a long stormy crossing. They ate all of their normal rations and some of the food meant for the colony. Jean Lambert remained in North America, for the rest of his life. This makes him the earliest permanent settler of our European ancestors. Jean Lambert’s sons remained with the Micmacs. His possible daughter Radegonde Lambert, probably born in 1628 or 1629 at Cap-de-Sable, married a French colonist, Jean Blanchard. REF: “Dictionnaire Genealogique Des Familles Acadiennes” by Stephen White. Vol. l p., “143”

Adding fuel to the fire for Radegonde to be Native, another genealogist, Alexandre Alemann, the ex-director of the Drouin Institut, assembled a list of those he believed to be Native – and Radegonde was on that list.

A second story about the origins of Radegonde Lambert claims that she was French, and came to Acadia with her husband, Jean Blanchard.

The following excerpt is from “The Origins of the Pioneers of Acadia” by Stephen A. White in relation to depositions taken in France after the deportment of the Acadians from Canada in 1755:

It is well known that there is very little original documentation that provides data regarding the places of origin of the earliest settlers of the French colony of Acadia. None of the colony’s parish registers for the seventeenth century survive, except one slim record book containing the sacramental entries for Beaubassin from 1679 to 1686. Additionally, there are but a couple of extant notarial records from the same period. And, unfortunately, the various Acadian censuses, beginning in 1671, make no mention of places of origin, unlike the detailed enumeration made in the small neighbouring colony of Plaisance in Newfoundland in 1698. (For more information about the early records of Acadia and Plaisance, see the bibliography of the present writer’s Dictionnaire généalogique des familles acadiennes, Première partie, 1636 à 1714 [hereinafter DGFA-1] [Moncton: Centre d’études acadiennes, 1999], Vol. I, pp. xvii-xxv, xxxix-xl, xlv-l.)

On the level of racial origins, there is a source that provides a considerable amount of information. This is the series of fifty-eight depositions of the heads of the Acadian families that were taken down on Belle-Île-en-Mer between February 15th and March 12th, 1767, pursuant to an order from the parliament of Brittany at Vannes. The deponents were required to provide under oath, in the presence of witnesses including other Acadians, the local parish priests, and the Abbé Jean-Louis LeLoutre, former Vicar General of the diocese of Québec and “director” of the Acadian families settled on Belle-Île, all the details they could regarding their own civil status and that of their immediate families, plus their direct-line genealogies back to their first ancestors who came from Europe, “with indication of the places and dates as much as they can remember.” The depositions were intended to take the place of the registers of the parishes in Acadia that had been lost “during the persecution by the British.” In practical terms, they would also furnish the French authorities a means of identifying those who, as refugees from said persecution, were entitled to the King’s bounty and protection.

Two sets of the depositions were made up in 1767. One set of copies was left on Belle-Île, and the other was sent to the district court at Auray. Both sets have been carefully preserved, the latter of the two being now housed in the departmental archives at Rennes.

LAMBERT, Radegonde, came from France with her husband Jean Blanchard, according to Jean LeBlanc, husband of her great-granddaughter Françoise Blanchard (Doc. inéd., Vol. III, p. 43). The deposition of Françoise’s nephews Joseph and Simon-Pierre Trahan is to the same effect (ibid., p. 123). Both depositions mistakenly give Guillaume as the ancestor’s given name. Jean LeBlanc’s makes an additional error regarding the name of Jean Blanchard’s wife, calling her Huguette Poirier. The censuses of 1671 and 1686 meanwhile clearly show that she was named Radegonde Lambert (see DGFA-1, pp. 143-144). The source of these errors is probably a simple confusion arising from the fact that Jean LeBlanc’s wife’s grandfather Martin Blanchard had a brother Guillaume who was married to a woman named Huguette, as this writer explained in an article published in 1984 (SHA, Vol. XV, pp. 116-117). This Huguette was not named Poirier, however, but Gougeon, although her mother, Jeanne Chebrat, had married a man named Jean Poirier before she wed Huguette’s father Antoine Gougeon, and all her male-line descendants in Acadia were Poiriers. Unfortunately, we do not know just what questions Jean LeBlanc asked in trying to establish the Blanchard lineage, but he might certainly have had the impression that Huguette was a Poirier from the fact that so many of her relatives were Poiriers, including her grandnephew Joseph, who was also on Belle-Île in 1767 (see Doc. inéd., Vol. III, pp. 13-15).

It’s not surprising that the husband and nephews of Radegonde Lambert’s great-granddaughter were confused, three generations by marriage (the husband) and 4 generations by birth (nephews) later.  Most people today who aren’t genealogists can’t tell you their grandmothers’ maiden names. Did they perhaps have at least part of that story correct? Did Radegonde come to Acadia with her husband instead of being born there to Jean Lambert and his wife, either Micmac or European?

The quick answer is that we don’t know the exact circumstances of when or how Radegonde arrived, and probably never will. But we do have a very important clue about where she was born.

Radegonde’s DNA

Several descendants of Radegonde Lambert through all females have had their mitochondrial DNA tested. Mitochondrial DNA is passed from the mother to both genders of their children, but only females pass it on.

In Radegonde’s case, her DNA, for several years, also proved as puzzling as the records regarding her birth and mother’s ethnicity. No one but Radegonde’s descendants seems to match her DNA. It’s like Radegonde wanted to play a joke on all of her descendants. And a fine job she did too!

Fortunately, that question has now been resolved, and Radegonde’s DNA, haplogroup X2b4, which is exceedingly rare – as in chicken’s teeth rare – is found only in Europeans, to date, and not in any Native people.

Haplogroup X2b4 was born sometime around 5,500 years ago, in Europe, and given that the Native people migrated to the Americas sometime between 10,000 and 15,000 years ago across the land bridge from Asia into what is now Alaska, it would be impossible for X2b4, born in Europe, to be found among the Micmac women in 1621-1629. There were no European women in Canada in the early 1600s, early enough to be considered Micmac and be bearing children with French men by 1621.

I wrote an article recently about the evidence supporting the fact that Radegonde was indeed European, based on her mitochondrial DNA.

However, the question of whether Jean Lambert is her father, or if she came to Acadia with her husband still remains.

Radegonde’s Children

Karen Theroit Reader provides Radegonde’s children, as shown below. In two census records, in both 1671 and 1678, Radegonde and her husband, Jean Blanchard, are living next door to their son, Guilliame Blanchard who was age 35 in 1686.

  • Madeleine Blanchard born about 1643, probably in Port Royal, died 1678-1684 and married Michel Richard. She had 10 children.
  • Anne Blanchard was born about 1645, probably in Port Royal, died after 1714 in Beaubassin and married first to Francois Guerin, having 5 children, then to Pierre l’aine Gaudet, having 9 children.
  • Martin Blanchard was born about 1647, probably in Port Royal and died after July 4, 1718 in Cobeguit. He married first to Marie Francoise Le Blanc having 3 children, then to Marguerite Guilbeau having 8 children.

The three children, above, would have been the three that were married by 1671. The three below would have been the children still at home.

  • Guillaume Blanchard, born about 1650, probably in Port Royal, died before October 18, 1717 and married Huguette Gougeon, having 12 children.
  • Bernard Blanchard born about 1653, probably in Port Royal and died after the 1671 census but before the 1686 census.
  • Marie Blanchard born about 1656, probably in Port Royal, died after 1701, married to Pierre le jeune Gaudet, having 10 children.

Sadly, at least one and probably two of Radegonde’s children died before her, but as adults. She probably stood in the Garrison Cemetery overlooking the bay and buried these adult children, just as she buried the babies that had probably died decades earlier.

The youngest child of Radegonde was born in 1656, according to the 1671 census, in which Radegonde was shown to be age 42. This certainly makes me wonder why Radegonde had no children in her last 15 years of fertility.

The most likely explanation is twofold. First, this suggests that perhaps she was born closer to the 1621 date, which would make her 50 in 1671. If that was the case, then that would only leave 7 or 8 years of infertility to explain, not 15.

Jean Blanchard was age 60 in 1671. It’s possible that Radegonde was actually 60 instead of 42, although that’s a stretch in terms of the census taker not realizing that her age was in error. There’s a pretty big difference between 42 and 60. After all, there were only 392 people in total in that census, in all locations, including children, so about 65 families. Clearly, the census taker knew Radegonde and was unlikely to make an 18 year error.

More likely Radegonde had several children that died, some of which were probably born after Marie.

If Radegonde’s first child actually was Madeleine, and her first child did not die, then Radegonde’s marriage date would have been roughly 1642 which would suggest her birth year was closer to the earlier 1621 as opposed to 1629.

If Radegonde lost any children before Madeleine’s birth, that would push her marriage year back further, and possibly her birth year as well.

Radegonde’s Burial

The early burials in Port Royal took place in Fort Anne where an Acadian and English garrison cemetery are located. You can visit both on St. George Street at the Fort Anne National Historic Site, today.


Garrison Graveyard location courtesy of FindAGrave.

Radegonde’s daughter-in-law, Huguete Gougeon Blanchard, wife of Guilliame Blanchard is shown at FindAGrave as being buried in this Garrison cemetery which was established in 1632. She died in 1717. Guilliame Blanchard is reportedly buried at Amherst, but this makes little sense since he and his wife died the same year and presumably lived together in the same place prior to death. Amherst is not close to Port Royal, located just south of Moncton on the connecting peninsula to the mainland. Therefore, it’s more likely that the family is buried in the Garrison Cemetery known then as the Saint-Jean-Baptiste Cemetery.


Before the cemetery in Port Royal became the British garrison graveyard in 1710, it was the Saint-Jean-Baptiste parish cemetery and was used by the Acadian community of Port Royal and by the French Garrison.


When the British took the fort in 1710, they destroyed all of the headstones, except for 2, which are still standing today. Unfortunately, neither is for Radegonde.


I hope to visit Radegonde in the Saint-Jean-Baptiste Parish Cemetery, aka the Garrison cemetery, someday soon. I know she is there, even though her grave is no longer marked, and was probably originally only marked with a wooden cross.


I would like to thank cousin Paul LeBlanc for pointing me in the right direction with my Acadian research, for hosting the Acadian Rootsweb list, and for telling me that, “If you’re related to one Acadian, you’re related to all Acadians.”

Elizabeth Ulrich Miller (c1755-1832), Listening for Samuel’s Voice, 52 Ancestors #131

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.

David Miller Roaring Springs

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.

Conestoga wagon

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 1850 census

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.

Daniel Miller intersection 3 Springs

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.

Daniel Miller farmscape

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.

Daniel Miller land Bear Creek

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.

Randolph Township

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.

Daniel Miller Randolph house close

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.

Daniel Miller 1851 Randolph 40 acres

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..

Elizabeth’s Death

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.

Elizabeth’s Burial

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

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:


Item Description Value
1 1 kettle 1.50
2 1 skillet .03
3 One side saddle 4.50
4 1 box and spools and tape .50
5 3 bottles .25
6 Plates, coffeepot and canister and ? pan .62 1/2
7 2 cups and saucers ??? and pitcher .40
8 Coffee mill .50
9 Rocking chair .31
10 1 buraugh (bureau) 4.00
11 1 small bascuit (basket) .06
12 1 bedstead and bedding 5.00
13 1 sorrell mare of no value
Total 18.17

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’s Children

Philip Jacob Miller Bible front

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.

Philip Jacob Miller Bible Daniel children

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.David Miller Baintertown stone

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, 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, 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.

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.

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, m