Biography of William C. Miller
Northwestern Ohio Biographies


Those who have aided in the development of Williams county, and have borne an important part in transforming the wild forest districts into highly cultivated farms and good homes, are certainly deserving of honorable mention in this volume. Such a one is Mr. Miller, a leading agriculturist of Brady township. Born in Richland county, Ohio, November 10, 1834, he is a son of John and Rebecca (Carl) Miller, the former a native of Pennsylvania, the latter of Ohio, their marriage being celebrated in Columbiana county, this State. In 1808, the grandfather, Peter Miller, removed from Pennsylvania to Ohio, and developed a farm in Stark county, where he died. He was of German descent. The children by his first marriage were Samuel, Henry, John, Rebecca and Sarah; those by his second marriage being Mary, William, Daniel, Joseph, Levi, Susan and Betsy.

John Miller, father of our subject, rented a farm in Richland county, Ohio, and in 1834 came to Williams county, where he entered one hundred and sixty acres of land, making a settlement thereon the following year. The Thompsons, Olivers and Hoods were the only families living in the neighborhood. He made the journey with an ox team, leaving his goods in his wagon until, with the aid of his neighbors, he could cut logs and build a cabin. He then rented a small piece of cleared land, on which to plant a crop of corn, and began clearing his own property. Success attended his efforts, and after the first year he always had corn to sell. Bears and wolves were frequently seen, deer and lesser wild game were to be had in abundance; milling was done at Defiance, and at Pulaski there was also a small trading post. After about two years Mr. Miller purchased a quarter section of land, and nine years after reaching the county he was the owner of an extensive farm, one hundred acres of which were highly cultivated and under fence, while a commodious residence and good barns and outbuildings added to the value and attractive appearance of the place. In 1864 he sold that property and purchased an eighty acre farm adjoining the town of Bryan. Ten years later he also disposed of that and removed to Waterloo, Indiana, but after three years returned to Edgerton, Williams county, where he died September 7, 1888. Thus ended the career of one of the most useful and enterprising citizens that Williams county has ever known.

His wife, Rebecca (Carl), a daughter of Richard Carl, and of German descent, survived him four years, dying in 1892. She was the eldest of nine children, the others being Mary A.; Lydia; Harriet; George; Richard; John; Daniel, and Joseph. The children of John and Rebecca Miller were Sabina, wife of J. Rowley; William C.; Harriet, wife of O. D. Willett; Harmon, of Oklahoma, a wealthy banker and speculator; Daniel B., a speculator, of Mitchell, Dakota; Lydia A., wife of D. Galbreath; and Ellen J., wife of J. Preston.

William C. Miller was a six months old infant when brought by his father to Williams county, and has, therefore, practically spent his entire life here. Until he was twenty four years of age he remained at home; then, in 1859, he made an overland trip to California, spending five months on the way. He was there employed by the month on a milk ranch, later driving an ox team for a sawmill some two years, after which he went to the gold mines of Idaho by way of Oregon and Washington, staked a claim and engaged in mining for some time. In June, 1863, he made his way to San Francisco, and returned to his home by the water route.

On again reaching Williams county, Mr. Miller bought one hundred and seventy five acres of land, one hundred of which were cleared, the improvements being a log house and barn. He has since added one hundred and sixty acres, and now has three hundred and thirty five acres under a high state of cultivation. Upon the place is a commodious two story frame residence, three large barns, good buildings, an orchard, and an abundance of running water. In addition to general farming he is extensively and successfully engaged in the raising and sale of stock. His political support is given the Republican party, but he has neither time nor inclination for office, preferring to devote his energies to his business interests, in which he has met with excellent success.

Mr. Miller was married March 10, 1864, to Miss Margaret L. Rowles, a daughter of Alfred M. and Matilda (Green) Rowles, who came to Williams county about 1845, locating in Bryan. Her father was a tanner, and followed his trade until 1860, when he started for Pike's Peak. He afterward went to Montana, where he was joined by his wife and sons, and in that then Territory he died. In his family were eight children: Jesse, who died from wounds received in the army; Mrs. Isadore Patterson; Mrs. Margaret Miller; Taylor, who died in Montana; Mrs. Augusta Chamberlain; and Presley, Charles, and Henry, all of Montana.

Mr. and Mrs. Miller have five children: Edwin U.; Mrs. Carrie B. Vaneer; John and Otis R., at home; and Hernando, a student at Fayette College, taking the teacher's course. Of these, Edwin U. married Harriet Miguery, of Stryker, and they have one daughter, Grace, born December 6, 1892. Edwin is at present engaged in the new sawmill at Stryker. The parents are worthy members of the Universalist Church.

Commemorative Biographical Record of Northwestern, Ohio
Including the counties of
Defiance, Henry, Williams and Fulton
Published by: J. H. Beers and Company
Chicago, Illinois

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