The Early Millers of Massachusetts

Lazarus, Nathaniel, Ebenezer, Evi, Amok, William & Others - (Updated 2-24-01)

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Lazarus Miller of Springfield, Mass.

Lazarus Miller was born in Springfield Sept. 23, 1655, not long after his father arrived in the Crown Colony from Great Britain. His parents were Obadiah Miller and Joanna, or Joan, Cogan Miller, who were among Springfield's first settlers. Lazarus was among the residents who took the oath of allegiance to the King on Oct. 2, 1678.

Early records show that Lazarus was granted 14 acres of land in Springfield May 21, 1688, 30 acres "as near his father's land as he can find it convenient" on Feb. 2, 1674, and 14 more acres upon Black Brooke (which flowed into what is now the Connecticut River) Feb. 7, 1687.

Lazarus married Mary Burbank, daughter of John and Susanna Merrill Burbank Dec. 2, 1685, in Springfield. After his death Aug. 4, 1697, she married two more times, to William Mack Cranney (or McCranney) and later to James Sexton. Lazarus and Mary had seven children:

* Obadiah Miller, born March 1, 1687, evidently named for his grandfather. He married Benedicta Lawton, was a servant of a blacksmith and had six children, Sarah, Stuart, Mary (married Thomas Hale), John, Hannah (probably married Nathaniel Harmon), and Obadiah.
* John Miller, born Oct. 18, 1688, married Abigail Lee and later settled in nearby Brimfield, Mass.
* Noah Miller, born Dec. 2, 1691 and died July 27, 1697.
* Nathaniel Miller, born Dec. 6, 1693, whose life is covered elsewhere on this page.
* Martha Miller, born March 11, 1695 and died young.
* A second Martha Miller, born July 16, 1697, and died 1740. She married Thomas Terry Jr. and later John Miller.
* Mary Miller, born June 16, 1698, and died in 1740. She married Benjamin Wright.

Lazarus' sister, Joanna Miller, had two husbands, John Barber Jr. and James Stevenson. She had four children.


Nathaniel Miller, a founder of Brimfield, Mass.

Nathaniel Miller was one of seven children born to Lazarus Miller and Mary Burbank Miller. He was born in Springfield, Mass., Dec. 6, 1693, and at the age of 38 was one of about 100 persons who received grants of land in a new township in Hampden County, which became Brimfield, a picturesque village which is midway between Springfield and Boston. His initial grant, in 1731, was for 120 acres. His land is located two miles up what is now Warren Road from the Highway 20 junction. Warren is a twisty road that goes up what is now Tower Hill. An early map in the Brimfield library spots the site.

Nathaniel was evidently well-regarded and educated as he held important township posts until his death Feb. 2, 1743-44, at the age of 50 or 51. He served as Selectman in the years 1739, 1740 and 1743 and as Assessor for six years.

He married Rebekah Prichet, or Pritchard, Nov. 10, 1716. She was born Dec. 5, 1696 in Suffield, Conn., to William Prichard (born 1656 in Ipswich, Mass., to William Prichard of Wales, England, and Hannah) and Rebecca Taylor). Rebekah and Nathaniel had 11 children:

* Ebenezer Miller, born Feb. 20, 1724, whose life is covered elsewhere on this page.
* Nathaniel Miller, who married Hannah Trumble and died Oct. 8, 1754.
* Ruth Miller.
* Rachel Miller.
* Rebekah Miller.
* Mary Miller.
* William Miller, born Aug. 12, 1733.
* Anna Miller, born March 27, 1735 and died in August 1756-57.
* Benjamin Miller, twin born April 20, 1737, who married Ruth ----- and had seven children. He died Jan. 27, 1825.
* Joseph Miller, (twin of Benjamin).
* Noah Miller, who died Feb. 10, 1744-45.


Ebenezer Miller, Rebel Against The Crown

Ebenezer Miller was one of the 150 Brimfield residents who signed a covenant July 1, 1774, to not buy goods from Great Britain in protest for the British blockade of the Boston Harbor. The document discussed "the precarious state of the liberties of North America, and more especially the present distressed condition of this insulted Province, embarrassed as it is by several acts of the British Parliament." On the following Christmas Day, a town meeting chose Ebenezer and four other men to serve on a committee to inspect tea sold or consumed in Brimfield to determine if the tea from East India, and if so "post up their names in some public place that they may be known and despised."

The Daughters of the American Revolution declared Ebenezer Miller a Patriot for providing money and services to the Continental Army and several DAR members have obtained their membership through descent from him.

Ebenezer Miller married Eunice Smith Jan. 28, 1755. She was the daughter of Josiah and Martha Smith, whose family is deeply entwined in Colonial history. Ebenezer and Eunice had eight children, all with Biblical names in keeping with the custom of the times:
* Martha Miller, born April 7, 1758, married Media Hitchcock April 7, 1805.
* Vaniah, or Vannah, Miller, born June 30, 1761, married Patty Plashfield and later Bathesheba Hitchcock. He served in the Revolutionary War, had four children (Simpson, Bathesheba, Henry and Martha) and died March 11, 1836. Simpson had 13 children and some of his descendants remain in Springfield and others in Westfield, Vt. Among his descendants is Mrs. Evelyn Joy Miller Dean of Lake Placid, Fla., wife of Duane Dean. Her family is covered in a separate section dealing with Simpson Miller below.
* Amok Miller, born Feb. 11, 1763. His life is covered elsewhere on this page.
* Chloe Miller, born Nov. 13, 1764. She married Simpson Bell and later Aaron Andros.
* Mary Miller, born Sept. 10, 1768. She was twice married, to a Hitchcock and then a McIntyre.
* Evi Miller, born March 15, 1772. His life is covered elsewhere on this page.
* Eunice Miller, born Aug. 28, 1772, and died Jan. 5, 1823. She married Rev. Elijah Stebbins and possibly Joseph Dunham later.
* Rocksey Miller, born May 28, 1774. She married Amos Hitchcock and had three children (Hiram, George and Austin).

There was a multiplicity of Ebenezer Millers in and around Brimfield and Springfield, Mass., in the 17th and 18th Centuries. The Ebenezer who was a son of Thomas Miller (the one killed by Indians whose life is covered on another page) was a leading citizen of Springfield in the early 1700s. Another Ebenezer, probably his son, was a leading citizen of West Springfield. The relationships between the various Ebenezers to the main two branches of the Miller lines that flowed out of the brothers Obadiah and Thomas has confused generations of genealogists.



Evi Miller, Beckoned By The West

The rocky, New England soil of Brimfield, Mass., could not hold Evi Miller, who was born to Ebenezer Miller and Eunice Smith Miller March 15, 1772. He married Laura Perkins of Springfield April 4, 1797, and they lived in nearby Chester, Mass., and later moved to Oneida County, N.Y., where other Millers, including brother Amok, were also attracted, possibly by the building of the Erie Canal.

Evi Miller and his family had a dairy farm near Utica, N.Y. He died Sept. 10, 1841. He and Laura Perkins Miller, whose brothers were seafaring men and owned a brig, had 11 children:
* Evi Miller Jr., born Dec. 28, 1797, and died Dec. 6, 1814.
* Laura Miller, born Oct. 8, 1799, and married Truman DeMott. They had a daughter.
* Almira Miller, born April 28, 1802 and married Lyman Harvey. They had four children.
* Asher Miller, born Sept. 4, 1804 and died March 22, 1877. He moved to Ottawa County, Mich., and had a daughter.
* Ebenezer Miller, born Jan. 25, 1807 and died Dec. 15, 1851. His wife's name was Artemesia and they had five children.
* Lester Phelps Miller, born Sept. 16, 1809. His life is covered in a page dealing with Lewis Elmer and Bertha Orpha Miller Nolan. Bertha was his granddaughter.
* John Smith Miller, born Jan. 22, 1812. He married Eunice Lorene Stebbins and they moved to Grand Rapids, Mich., where he was a shoemaker and they had seven children, Evi Thaxter, Elisher Louk, Mary Florilla, Marie Florina, Jasper Jay, John Enos and Estella Lorena. His descendants have preserved letters describing his life on the frontier as well as the lives of other relatives.
* Loomis Miller, born May 26, 1814. His wife's name was Harriet and they, too, settled around Grand Rapids and had three children.
* Sally Miller, born Sept. 10, 1816 and died the same day.
* Harriet Miller, born Sept. 7, 1818 in Oneida County, N.Y, and married Nelson Carpenter, who was born Feb. 22, 1816 and who died in Waterville, Kan., March 3, 1882. Nelson served in the 4th Cavalry of Illinois, Co. C during the Civil War and Harriet continued to receive his pension until her death March 8, 1901, in Waterville. They married June 3, 1832, and had 10 children:

* Augustus, born 1840-42.
* Celestia Virginia, born March 17, 1845, in Vernon, N.Y., and died July 1, 1927, in Waterville, Kan. She married Frederick Eugene Thompson March 13, 1861 in Lisbon, Ill. He was born Feb. 14, 1836, in Philadelphia, Penn., fought in the Civil War (he is listed in a memorial in Vickburg, Miss.) and died May 1, 1901, in Waterville, Kan. They had seven children: Eva Frances, born Dec. 24, 1861, in Lisbon, married Dudley Woodroff, and died June 27, 1893; Frederick C., born Nov. 22, 1863, in Lisbon, married Bessie Mae Cook, and died July 6, 1891; George W., born Aug. 22, 1870, in Lisbon; Hallie E., born May 30, 1874, in Lisbon, married Ray Dickey and died after 1940 in Monrovia, Calif.; Merle A., born Nov. 30, 1877, in Waterville, Kan.; James H., born Nov. 27, 1880 in Waterville and died Oct. 14, 1881; and Olive Goldie, born Oct. 23, 1883, in Waterville; married James Wesley Prough July 4, 1904 in Cordell, Okla., and died Sept. 7, 1928, in Hobart, Okla. The Proughs had five children, who are listed in a separate section below:
* Oliver, born 1846-47 in Grundy Co., Ill.
* Wallace, born in 1851 in Grundy Co.
* Leslie Rensalaer, born March, 1849, in Grundy Co., and died Dec. 1, 1852, in Lisbon, Ill.
* Charles Randsley, born Feb. 9, 1852, in Lisbon, and died April 3, 1901, in Parallel, Kan. He married Christina Ward. Among their descendants are Sharon Reynvaan of Aberdeen, Wash.,. and Lori Griffith of Hoquiam, Wash., whose family information is listed below.
* Willie, born June 3, 1854, in Grundy Co., and died Sept. 15, 1855, in Lisbon.
* Lester Phelps, born August, 1855, in Grundy Co., and died Sept. 5, 1856, in Lisbon.

* Marietta Miller, born July 9, 1821.


Estella Lorena Miller Family

Estella Lorena Miller, daughter of John Smith Miller and Eunice Lorena Stebbins Miller, was born Aug. 8, 1863, in Grand Rapids, Mich. She married Jem Charles Birdsall in a double wedding Feb. 22, 1886 with John Enos Miller and Ada McCulluch. John and Estella had seven children, Irma Lorena, Guy Elwood, Jem Harold, Mildred Estella, Evelyn Kate, Iva Belle and Lillian Luverne.

Guy Elwood Birdsall was born April 24, 1890, in Mason County, Mich. He married Ester Victoria Lundberg and they had three children, Helen, Wilbur Jay and Eleanor Lillian. Eleanor Lillian Birdsall was born Jan. 14, 1919. She married Marvin Drooger and they had three children, Donald Clark, Dale Curtis and Dawn Carol. Eleanor, who lives in Coopersville, Mich., is one of three descendants of John Smith Miller to join the DAR; others are Mildred E. Birdsall and Florence Mercedes Miller.


James Wesley Prough Family

James Wesley Prough, whose parents were Andrew Jackson Prough and Altha Murray Prough, and Olive Goldie Thompson Prough had five children. They were:

* Ray Thompson Prough, born Jan. 4, 1905, in Waterville, and died March 20, 1940, in Geronimo, Okla. He married Jewelle Irene Jones March 28, 1929; she was born Feb. 12, 1910 in Judsonia, Ark., to David Clinton Jones and Bessie Inez Sugg Jones, and died March 14, 1993, in Perryton, Tex. They had two children, Dolores Rae Prough, who was born Jan. 27, 1935, in Wichita Falls, Tex., and married Dale Taylor (their children are Tandi Ree, born in Okinawa Feb. 10, 1961 and adopted in 1964; Cara Del, born in Lawton April 19, 1965 and adopted in 1965; and Clifton Dale, born in Lawton Jan. 26, 1977); and Judith Ann Prough (compiler of the information presented here about her family), who was born Feb. 28, 1940, in Lawton, Okla., and married Roger Earl Willis Aug. 30, 1959, in Farnsworth, Tex. Roger was born Jan. 26, 1940, in Snyder, Okla. Judith and Roger, who divorced in August, 1970, in Stillwater, Okla., had a daughter, Dava RoAnn Willis, born Oct. 15, 1961, in Lawton, who married Kenneth Dean Owsley July 3, 1986, in Stillwater. Kenneth was born June 4, 1959, in Pittsburg, Kan.; he and Dava have three children, Ryan Willis, born Aug. 25, 1981, to Dava and her first husband, William Boyd Chisum, and adopted by Kenneth in 1987; Daniel Keenan, born Jan. 2, 1987, in Stillwater; and Nathan Garrett Prough, born Oct. 17, 1991.
* Henry Terrill "Stub" Prough, born Feb. 12, 1906 and died Aug. 11, 1992, in Hobart, Okla. He married Edris Walker in Cordell, Okla., in 1926.
* Eltha Virginia Prough, born Oct. 27, 1908, in Gotebo, Okla., and married Bill Burton July 26, 1926.
* Amasa James "Jim" Prough, born July 6, 1911, in Gotebo, Okla., married Evella Flowers Dec. 19, 1936, and died Nov. 7, 1993, in Hobart, Okla.
* Marie Elaine Prough, born Nov. 1, 1915, in Gotebo, married Gilbert M. Bryan Aug. 20,1934 in Anadarko, Okla., and died Jan. 27, 1996, in Hobart.


Charles Randsley Carpenter Family

There are many descendants of Nelson Carpenter and Harriet Miller Carpenter's son Charles Randsley Carpenter, born Feb. 9, 1852 in Lisbon, Ill. Among them are Jackie Ryan of Hoquiam, Wash., and Sharon Reynvaan of Aberdeen, Wash, both of whom have done much research on their branch of the Miller family.

Sharon Reynvaan, a member of the DAR and other descendant societies, is married to Ted Reynvaan. She and her first husband, the late Harold Sigfried Enholm, have three children, Donald Harold, Gary Frank and Mararet Lynn.

Jacquelyn Ann "Jackie" Girard was born Feb. 28, 1942, in Aberdeen, Wash., to Merle LeRoy Girard and Vivian Adelaide Smith. She married Paul Nelson Ryan (born Nov. 29, 1940 in Tacoma to Robert Ryan and Patricia Ann Housand) Aug. 11, 1962 and they had three children, Gerald Allen, Paul Nelson and Catherine Patrice. Jackie, a Registered Nurse, notes the medical tradition runs strong in the Miller family, pointing out that both her grandmother, Daisy Carpenter Girard, and her great aunt, Harriet Carpenter McClary, were nurses who owned and operated nursing homes. More information about this family is at Jackie's website, http://geocities.com/Heartland/Woods/9609.

Jackie's father was one of five children born to John George Girard and Daisy Malvina Carpenter. Daisy, born Nov. 2, 1889 in Randolph, Kan., was one of six children of Charles Randsley Carpenter and Christina Ward.

Amok Miller, Patriot of the Revolution

Amok Miller was born to Ebenezer and Eunice Miller Feb. 11, 1763, in Brimfield. He served in two regiments during the Revolutionary War and was declared a Patriot by the DAR. He married Rachel Bishop April 10, 1766, and they moved to Oneida County, N.Y., in 1790, probably to take advantage of cheap farmland available in western New York. Amok died at the age of 43 in Oneida County, July 16, 1806, leaving a widow who outlived him by 23 years and a large family. Amok and Rachel's children were:
* Rachel Miller, born March 20, 1789 and married Benjamin Perkins. They lived in Homer, N.Y., and had eight children.
* Richard Bishop Miller, born March 10, 1791 and married Cynthia Catlin, a member of a family that suffered terribly at the Indian Massacre at Deerfield, Mass. in 1675. They had eight children and were among the first settlers of what is now Sugar Grove, Pa., and many of their descendants remain in Warren County today.
* Theodore Miller, born April 20, 1794, and married Emma Blair. They had six children.
* Josiah Smith Miller, born Dec. 4, 1795 and married Clarissa Ryan. They had a daughter.
* Eli Miller, born Nov. 9, 1796 and died the next month.
* William Goodrich Miller, born Oct. 24, 1798 and married Lucy Ransford. They had seven children and he died Aug. 12, 1843.
* Linus Hoar Miller, born Sept. 13, 1800, and married Ophelia Blackman and later Clarissa Clark. He had four children.
* Eliza Miller, born Oct. 15, 1802 and married Robert Falconer. They had a son.
* Mary Miller, born Aug. 3, 1804, and married Robert Cumming. They had five children.


Simpson Miller Family

Simpson Miller was born in 1797 to Vania Miller and Bathsheba Hitchcock Miller. He married Rhoena Wells Jan. 26, 1819, in Athens, Vt., and died Oct. 3, 1848, in Westfield, Vt. She was born in 1797, also in Athens, and died Sept. 3, 1867. Simpson and Rhoena had several children, including Arnold Wells Miller, born Nov. 9, 1823, in Westfield and died March 22, 1911 in Saginaw County, Mich. Arnold married Philinda Baldwin, who was born Oct. 29, 1824, and who died May 15, 1914; their children included Arnold Wells Miller Jr., born Dec. 22, 1856. Arnold Wells Miller Jr. married Emma Viola Haven, daughter of Gordon Haven and Mary Jane Conger Haven, Jan. 1, 1880, in Genesee, Mich.; among their children was Carlos Vaniah Miller, who was born March 14, 1887, in Saganaw County, Mich. Carlos was the father of Evelyn Joy Miller, born Sept. 21, 1931, in Helena, Mont., to Betty Ruth Nordstrom. Information presented here about this family was compiled by Joy as part of her ongoing research into her roots; her material has been filed with the International Genealogical Index of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and is being refined. Evelyn Joy Miller, who was adopted in 1949 at age 2 1/2 by her aunt and her aunt's husband, Hazel and L. J. Marshall, is married to Duane Dean; they live in Lake Placid, Fla.


Doomsday Prophet William Miller

William Miller was one of the most fascinating members of the Miller family branch that descended from Thomas Miller of Springfield, Mass., who was killed by Indians. William Miller, also known as Prophet Miller, was one of the better-known figures of the middle 19th Century because of his prophecy that the world would end and Christ would return to Earth in 1844.

His movement, called Millerism, is the subject of several books. William Miller is acknowledged as one of the principal founders of the Seventh Day Adventist Church, which thrives today and keeps his memory alive.

William Miller was born Feb. 15, 1782, at Pittsfield, Mass., about 40 miles northwest of Springfield, where his great-great-great grandfather was among the early settlers. His father was Capt. William Miller, who served in George Washington's Army during the evacuation of New York, and his mother was Paulina Phelps, also a member of an old Massachusetts family. His parents moved from Pittsfield to Low Hampton, N.Y., near what is now known as Fair Haven, Vt., when William was 4. As a child, he studied the Bible by firelight and later joined the Vermont Militia, which he served as an officer at the Battle of Lake Champlain in the War of 1812.

Long tutored by preachers in his mother's family, at the age of 47 William Miller believed he was called by God to go forth and share his message about the imminent return of Christ, which through an intricate series of calculations based on his Bible study he predicted would come Oct. 22, 1844. As the date neared, he drew crowds numbered in the thousands as he spoke at tent meetings in the Northeast and his prediction was reported in many newspapers.

The day came and went and his Millerites wept with disappointment when the earth remained unchanged. But some of them remained firm in their beliefs that their leader was correct about the advent and only missed the date. They went on to form the Seventh Day Adventist Church. One of the books the church published following his death Dec. 20, 1849, at the age of 68, said this about him:

". . .few men have been more diversely regarded than he. Those who have only heard his name associated with all that is hateful in fanaticism, have necessarily formed opinions respecting him anything but complimentary to his intelligence and sanity; but those who knew him better, esteemed him as a man of more than ordinary mental power, a cool, sagacious and honest reasoner, a humble and devout Christian, a kind and affectionate friend, a man of great moral and social worth. . . However his public labors may be regarded by a majority of the community, it will be seen, by a perusal of his life, that these were by no means unproductive of great good. . .hundreds of souls will ever refer to him as a means, under God, of their awakening and conversion. . ."

The Prophet William Miller and Lucy Phelps Smith Miller had 10 children. William had 15 brothers and sisters.


Additional Sources of Information

There are numerous records that mention the early Millers of Springfield, Mass., and many of their descendants. Much information is given in "Nolan-Miller Family History." Among sources that book drew upon are:
* The First Century of the History of Springfield," by Henry M. Burt, published in 1898.
* "Hale, House and Related Families, Mainly of the Connecticut River Valley," by Donald Jacobus and Edgar Waterman, published in 1952 by the Connecticut Historical Society.
* "Genealogical Guide to the Early Settlers of America," published in 1898.
* "The New England Historical and Genealogy Register," Vols. 5, 18 and 29, published in 1851.
* "Historical Celebration of the Town of Brimfield," published in 1877.
* "A County And Its People - A History of Hampden County," by Alfred Copeland, published in 1902.
* "Annals of the Church in Brimfield," published in 1856 and available in the DAR Library in Washington.
* "Miller Genealogy from 1654," in the Frank B. Miller Collection, Warren County Historical Society Library, Warren, Pa.
* "Brimfield Vital Records," published in 1901 by the New England Historical and Genealogical Society.
* "Massachusetts Soldiers and Sailors in the War of the Revolution."
* "Generation Ancestor Tables," Vol. 4, published by the Central New York Genealogical Society.
* "Descendants of Capt. Joseph Miller," by C. S. Williams, published in 1908.
* "DAR Patriot Index" and the subsequent "Patriot Index New Ancestor List," Vol. 11, lists nearly 500 Millers.
* "New England Marriages Prior to 1700," available in the New England Historic Genealogical Society Library in Boston.
* "New England Outpost: War and Society in Colonial Deerfield," by Richard I. Melvoin, published in 1989.
* "Historic Buildings in Warren County," article by Helen Huck Meade about the Sugar Grove, Pa., home of Richard Bishop and Cynthia Miller, her great-great-grandparents.
* "Pennsylvania Forests," article by Ashbel Hough about the pioneer tree planter Franklin Richard Miller, published by the Pennsylvania Forestry Association in 1957.
* "Dalrymple Family History" by Rebecca Clark, compiled and distributed in 1979.
* "The Midnight Cry: A Defense of the Character and Conduct of William Miller and the Millerites, Who Mistakenly Believed that the Second Coming of Christ Would Take Place In The Year 1844," by Francis D. Nichol and published in 1944.
* "Memoirs of William Miller," by Sylvester Bliss, published in 1853.
* "Sketches of The Christian Life and Public Labors of William Miller," by Elder James White, published in 1875.
* "Baptisms, Marriages and Deaths - 1736-1809, First Church of Springfield."
* "History of Madison County, N.Y.," published in 1872.
* "Our County and Its People", also about Madison County, by John E. Smith, published in 1899.
* "History of Kent County, Mich." published in 1881.
* "History of John Smith Miller and Family," by Elmer Evi Miller and Eugene DeWitt Miller, records in family hands.

Additional sources of information about the early Millers include "Soldiers in King Phillips War" by George Madison Bodge, published in 1906, and "Pritchard Family History" by Diane and Robin Prichard.


Links To Other Miller Websites

Clovis Miller, 9th generation descendent of J. F. Miller of German origin, has established an extensive website about his family and is in the process of setting up a Web Ring of sites containing information about the Miller/Millar/Muellar and Muller families. It is at www.jfmiller.com.


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