This blog entry shall deal with finalizing, almost, the lands of Elder Daniel Miller (1755-1822). Elder Daniel owned land that today lies along the Upper Bear Creek Road of Miami township, Montgomery county, Ohio. When he owned it, and prior to that, the land was owned by Elder Jacob Miller (ca. 1838-1815). Normally to plat land it is fairly easy to transcribe a single deed and overlay that onto high-quality scans of the Montgomery County, Ohio Atlas of 1875. In this instance it is difficult as that particular section, in 1875 versus the early 18th Century, had been cut up into differing tracts. In other words, it was not easily done because of intervening deeds. To rectify this it fell upon me to pull all the deeds, at least those that were recorded for this section, which led to some discoveries.
Today’s blog, the first in a series that will hopefully be an on-going explanation of what I am presently working on, is about the various Brethren Miller families who were early settlers of Montgomery county, Ohio. The opening section below is some comments about the Miller families of note, followed by what I am working on at this time. In essence there are three Miller families that interest me, and I am not even remotely related to any of them, so, to that end, here goes.
On April 2-1, I preached at Germantown,35 on the Luecken Run [Licking Run]. I preached to them of the dear Lamb, which was done with visible grace. The people were very glad to hear of the Lord Jesus. They said the Holy Ghost had sent me to them. After the sermon I left the church immediately. The principal members of the congregation went with me to the house of Mr. Holzklo. We spoke with each other about Bethlehem. They had a poor opinion of the congregation. They also offered me a considerable sum of money, and were much astonished when I refused it. For sermons are more expensive in Virginia than in Maryland. It is said that no minister preaches a sermon there under two or three pounds. In Maryland again they are more expensive than in Pennsylvania. They thanked me very much and asked, if it were possible, that I should decide to stay with them. They would at once send me a call. I said they should not trouble themselves, as I could not promise them anything, for I was not my own master They then requested me to visit them again. I said that might be possible. In the afternoon, at two o'clock, I started again. I had 96 miles yet to travel to Captain Ogle, and for these 96 miles I did not have more than a day and a half. By evening I had traveled 36 miles. 35 The first pastor of the colony was John Henry Haeger. Born at Anzhausen, in Nassau-Siegen, Germany, on September 25, I644. From 1678-1689 teacher in the Latin school at Siegen. From 1689-1703 its assistant rector. From 1703-1711 pastor at Oberfischbach, near Siegen. Retired in 1711 because of sickness. Lived in retirement at Siegen from 1711-1713. Was in London in October, 1713. Emigrated to Virginia and settled at Germanna in 1714. Here he organized the first German Reformed congregation in America, which the legislature constituted, in 1714, into a separate parish, called the "Parish of St. George." (Acts of Assembly passed in the Colony of Virginia from 1662-1715. London, 1727, p. 379, f.) With the other Reformed colonists Haeger left Germanna in 1721 and settled at Germantown, Fauquier county. Here he lived till 1733, his will being probated March 28, 1733. After his death the schoolmaster, Holzklau, conducted the religlious services. Occasionally ministers from Pennsylvania visited the congregation, as, e. g., Rev. B. Rieger, of Lancaster, see Virginia Magazine, Vol. XI, p. 376. For a more extended sketch of Rev. Henry Haeger, see Journial of Presbyterian Historical Society, Vol. II, pp. 5-9, 99-101, 141.
the Germans there. Several came to our lodging place. When they heard that I was a minister, they complained about their need, that for many years they had heard no sernmon. They especially asked me to baptize their children. An Englishman also came, saying that he had heard that I was a Lutheran minister, and asking me where I had preached in Pennsylvania. I named several places, among them Bethlehem. He said: "Well, there is no Lutheran congregationi there, but Moravian." I assured him that there were not ten Moravians in Bethlehem." He was surprised and could not comprehend it. July 15th. We went to a German, M. J. [Mattlhias Joacliirn], whom I asked whether I could preach in his house on Sunday. He said: "Gladly, if you preach the pure gospel according to our Christian custom." I told him he would have to examine and see for himself. Then he consented. He offered us his house to lodge in, if we did not know where else to go, and would be satisfied with their poor farmers' fare. We said: "Yes." In the evening I held a prayer service. July 16th. Our hostess asked me why I would not baptize any children. She said there was great need of it. Miniisters seldom came to them, and if one did come, but refused to baptize children, it was too bad. She said that two years ago one had been there, who had baptized twenty-two children at one tinme. There are again several children there. In the evening I again conducted prayer service. July 17th. A considerable number of people assenmbled to-wards noon, to wvhom I preached firom John 7: 37: "Whosoever thirsteth let him come to me and drink." After the sernmon the people complainied about their poor condition, that they had no minister, while in Pennsvlvania there were so many. They asked me to stay with them. Then they brought about six children, whom I should baptize, but I had to refuse. July 18th. It was Sabbath. We spent the day in prayer. 11 Schnell meant to say that there were not ten persons in Bethlehenm who had actually been born in the Austrian Kingdom of Moravia. The term "Moravians " was at that time very distasteful to the "Church of the United Brethren," or Unitas Fratrum, as they preferred to call themselves. But the namie Moravians has clung to them, in spite of their protests.
Approximately 100 were in the basement where the public system brought them the procedure of the program. It was a thrilling experience for the Potsdam pastor, Rev. L. John Weaver, and the congregation to have so many interested people attend the service. For 15 minutes immediately preceding the program, Shirley Nies and Jean Besecker, a musical duet, entertained with vibraharp and piano. The call to worship was participated in by the minister and the people, preceding the invocation by Rev. Wm. Hygema, pastor of the United Missionary church. Special musical numbers were presented during the program by the ladies octet and by Bernis Cassell, soloist. Congregational singing was also inspiring. The scripture lesson was read and prayer invoked by Elder Philip H. Lauver. Rev. Moyne Landis, district executive secretary, extended greetings from the Southern Ohio district. A historical sketch was prepared and read by Harry Delk, chairman of the building committee. The keys were accepted by Roy Landis, chairman of the board of trustees. The audience was delighted to hear Rev. Robert E. Richards of Long Beach, Calif., as he delivered a most impressive dedicatory sermon. It was a masterpiece which all appreciated. The Litany of Dedication was led by the pastor, Rev. L. John Weaver and participated in responsively by the audience. The dedication offering, the prayer of dedication and the hymn of dedication immediately preceded the benediction by Rev. Harley Brown of the Potsdam EUB church. The building committee was composed of Harry Delk, chairman; Harold Ditmer, vice-chairman and treasurer; Harris Shanck, secretary; Carl Arnett, Frank Dearth, Emerson Ditmer, Emerson Swank and Wilbur Bright. The latter two named served until Oct. 1, 1955. Ralph E. Reck was the general contractor; Kessler Plumbing Co. were plumbing and heating contractors; P.O. Sprout, electrician; Chas. B. Krug, painting; and Harold Ditmer, parking lot improvements. In presenting the keys Sunday, Chairman Delk said: “We enjoy today a beautiful house of worship. Let us be diligent in seeking that it is cared for, by all in a way fitting to the house of God and preserved for those who follow after us.” West Milton Record, March 21, 1956 Sunday School Joseph Ruble organized the church’s first Sunday-school in 1889, serving as both superintendent and teacher until his death in 1917. During its beginning