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.
happy hereafter, but first must pass through punishment according to their Sins." Dr. Walker here has fallen into a mass of confusion that had doubtless bewildered other men before him, and that certainly has blinded hundreds to the truth since his day; and it is to make another effort, in behalf of justice and historical truth, to clear up this confusion, that I beg space for these lines. The facts in brief are these: The Ephrata Society, who were an offshoot of the Dnnker sect, were Sabbatarians and ascetics; yet they retained a few of the principles and practices of the parent body. Often, therefore, they were called Dunkers; often, on the other hand, through a similar lack of discrimination, the Dunkers were confused with the Slbbatarians, and, in consequence, charged with their ascetic practices and heretical doctrines. These misconceptions have clung to the subject with the characteristic persistency of error, from generation to generation, and even in our own day are by no means entirely dispelled. In the realm of fiction they have found a congenial atmosphere; and even in sober history they have taken deep root. Howe, the historian, whose book, Virginia: Its History and Antiquities, is eagerly sought after and highly prized by students and librarians of to-day, wrote a hundred years after Dr. Walker; yet he follows the same wrong path. Indeed, he gets far further into the maze of error, and he is probably still leading multitudes after him. In his sketch of Botetourt county (page 203), he says: "At the small village of Amsterdam, 5 miles s. of Fincastle, there is a large brick church, lately built by the Dunkards The Dunkers at Amsterdam are descendants of Germans who emigrated to Pennsylvania. The following, regarding the tenets and practices of this sect, is from a published account: " 'The Tunkers are a denomination of Seventh-Day Baptists, which took its rise in the year 1724. [The Tunker sect originated in Germany in 1708. Beissel, who afterwards founded the monastic sect, was baptized by a Tunker bishop, near Philadelphia, in 1724.] It was founded by a German, who, weary of the world, retired to an agreeable solitude within sixty miles of Philadelphia, for the more free exercise of religious contemplation. Curiosity attracted followers, and his simple and engaging manners made them proselytes. They soon settled a little colony, called Ephrata, in allusion to the Hebrews, who used to sing psalms on the border of the river Euphrates. This denomination seem to have obtained their name from their baptizing their new converts by plunging. [The terms Tunker and Dunker did arise from the mode of baptizing by immersion, or dipping, frem Ger. tunken, to dip.] * * They use trine immersion, with laying on the hands and prayer, even when the person baptized is in the water. [This is true of the Dun
Pennsylvania Synods) were held during the years 1742-1748. At first the various denominations were largely represented, but when it was found out that the influence of the Moravians was predominant, most of the other religionists withdrew. Those who remained, although forming for a while a distinct element, ultimately entered the Moravian church, when it was fully organized as a separate denomination in the twenty-eighth Synod, held in Bethlehem, October 23-27, 1748. These Pennsylvania Synods carried on a most varied activity. They founded numerous congregations and maintained day schools and boarding schools at ten different places in Pennsylvania. They sent missionaries to the Danish West Indies to labor among the negroes, and to the States of New York and Connecticut to labor among the Indians. When the Indians were expelled through the hostility of the white settlers, a new Indian settlement was begun at Gnadenhutten, at the junction of the Mahony creek and the Lehigh river. But perhaps the most important work was done by a large number of itinerant missionaries, who traveled through all the middle colonies to preach the gospel to German settlers of whatsoever denomination, who were willing to hear them. Beginhing with 1743, these missionaries visited Virginia repeatedly. Their diaries, which are now published for the first time, give us the most valuable and detailed information about the German settlers in Virginia. EXTRACTS FROM THE DIARY OF LEONHARD SCHNELL* AND JOHN BRANDMUELLER† OF THEIR JOURNEY TO VIRGINIA, OCTOBER 12-DECEMBER 12, 1749. [The beginning of the diary, covering the journey from Bethlehem to Monocacy, has been omitted.] On October 26th, I started out with Bro. Brandmueller, after * Leonhard Schnell arrived in Philadelphia with" The First Sea Congregation," on June 7, 1742. Ordained a Presbyter in 1748. Itinerated in Pennsylvania, Maryland and Virginia. Withdrew from the Moravians in 1751, and took charge of the Lutheran congregations of Macungie and Saucon. Pennsylvania. † John Brandmueller, born November 24. 1704, at Basle, Switzerland. Came to America with .. The First Sea Congregation." Ordained by
and were now returning to Pennsylvania. They gave us some information about our way. Bro. Nathanael was slightly sick. On our left we saw high mountains, which we approached at times very closely. Our way still continues southwest. In the evening we pitched our tent upon a height. We had to fetch water from a considerable distance. Bro. Gottlob had preceded us half a mile to a free negro, who is the only blacksmith in this district. He had his horse shod. The negro and his wife, who was born in Scotland, were very friendly towards Bro. Gottlob and related to him that not long ago they had removed hither from Lancaster County. They had often heard Bro. Nyberg preach and also the brethren in Philadelphia, and now they are reading the Berlin addresses [of Zinzendorf]. They were very glad to see us and very willing to serve us. The woman baked several loaves of bread for us and invited Bro. Gottlob and Nathanael to breakfast. The negro also understands German very well. Bro. Herman and Lunge went to another plantation to buy feed for our horses. It rained nearly the whole night but we kept pretty dry under our tent. On October 26, we rose early on account of the rain. Several brethren took breakfast with the negro, who considered it an important event to have several ministers with him. We had to climb several bad hills to-day, and as soon as we had reached the top we had to use the brake [Hemmschuh], for it was dangerous to descend. Although it is very hilly here, yet it is a fruitful country. It has few stones, but consists of the fattest, black soil. It is settled mostly by English and Irish people. Bro. Gottlob and Nathanael preceded us several miles and stayed, a mile and a half across the North Branch30 of the James River, with Mr. Brickstone, a well-to-do man, who removed to this place a few years ago from "Canistoge" [Conestoga, Lancaster Co.]. The other brethren passed the night with the wagon, half a mile this hold that all men shall be happy hereafter, but first must pass through punishment according to their Sins." 30 The missionaries probably crossed the North Branch of the James river in the vicinity of the present town of Lexington, Va., althlough no settlement existed there at the time. From this point they seem to have traveled in the direction of the Natural Bridge, crossing Buffalo Creek on the way.