Obadiah and Thomas Miller
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Obadiah Miller Arrives In Springfield, Mass.
- Obadiah Miller and his brother, Thomas Miller, were among the earliest settlers of
Springfield, Mass., which was founded in 1636 by William Pynchon and seven other
men. Pynchon, whose home was in Springfield, England, was one of the original 27
patent holders of the Massachusetts Bay Colony that received land grants from King
James in 1629.
- The early records of Springfield, Mass., contain many references to Obadiah and Thomas
Miller. Obadiah's name first appears in June, 1654, when John Pynchon granted to
him a homelot of three acres and other land. Many more land transactions involving
Obadiah followed over the next 40 years. Obadiah's attendance at the Springfield
Meeting House sessions, where he served as a Selectman, was noted in the records,
as well as several fines for missing meetings. He was appointed a Fence Viewer and
also a Hayward, civic posts. The dates of Obadiah's birth and death are not known,
but he was likely born in England, possibly to Robert and Elizabeth Miller, about
1624 and likely died in Springfield between May 8, 1697 and March 14, 1699.
- Obadiah Miller married Joan, or Joanna, Cogan of Taunton, Mass., following the death
of her husband, Thomas Cogan, in 1654. Obadiah and Joan had three children: Lazarus
Miller, born Sept. 23, 1655, and died Aug. 4, 1697, and married Mary Burbank of Suffield,
Conn., Dec. 2, 1685; Obadiah Miller Jr., born March 26, 1658; and Joanna Miller,
born July 6, 1659. In addition, Joan, or Joanna, had four children by her first husband,
Thomas Cogan: Bathsheba Cogan, born about 1645 and died in Springfield 1688, who
married John Barber and had four children; Mary Cogan, born about 1647 and died May
19, 1676 at Windsor, Conn., who married Samuel Barber; Martha Cogan, born about 1648
and died May 22, 1686, at Simsbury, Conn., and married Peter Buel; and Ruth Cogan,
born about 1650-52, married Samuel Taylor June 24, 1675. Mary Nolan Ballard, a Mormon
genealogist and half-sister of book author Lewis Nolan, has found more entries in
LDS Library files for more than than 12,000 persons descended from Thomas and Joanna
Cogan and their daughter, Ruth.
Thomas Miller, Killed By Indians
- Thomas Miller arrived in Springfield in 1649 and promptly married Sarah Marshfield,
sister of Samuel Marshfield, who arrived the previous year. He held a number of town
civic posts, including Appraiser, Fence Viewer, Hayward and Committee to Grant Land.
The early records cite many of his actions, including his killing a wolf. He was
granted land across the Connecticut River at a site described as "by the higher
wigwam, provided hee bee not an occasion of troble and disturbance to the Plantation
by an unwis clashing with the Indians."
- Thomas Miller and Sarah Marshfield Miller had 13 children. One of their descendants
was the Prophet William Miller, a founder of the Seventh Day Adventist Church who
was a much celebrated, self-taught religious figure of the middle 19th Century who
was born at Pittsfield, Mass., in 1782 and who founded the Millerite Movement and
captured the attention of the nation with his incorrect prediction of the Second
Coming of Christ for 1843. Thomas and Sarah's children were: Sarah Miller, born Sept.
3, 1650 in Springfield, where she died Aug. 29, 1683, married Capt. Jonathan Bell/Ball;
Thomas Miller, born April 1, 1653 in Springfield and died there March 5, 1689-90,
married Rebecca Leonard, and had four children; Samuel Miller, born April 20, 1655
in Springfield and died there Feb. 11, 1726-27, married Ruth Beamon and had nine
children; John Miller, born April 23, 1657, in Springfield and died in 1735, married
Mary Beamon and had four children; Joseph Miller, born Sept. 27, 1659 in Springfield
and died six weeks later; Josiah, or Josias Miller, born Sept. 27, 1660, in Springfield;
Deborah Miller, born Nov. 9, 1662, in Springfield and died Jan. 14, 1750, married
James Gerald; Martha Miller, born Nov. 10, 1664 in Springfield and died the next
day; a second Martha Miller, born Nov. 4, 1665 in Springfield and died there May
21, 1691, and married Lt. John Ferry; Ebenezer Miller, born Aug. 25, 1667 in Springfield
and died Jan. 6, 1754, married Hanna Keep; Mihitable, or Mehetable Miller, born Nov.
12, 1669, in Springfield, and married John Clemmons and had six children; a second
Joseph Miller, born Dec. 13, 1671, in Springfield and died two weeks later; and Experience
Miller, born May 19, 1673, in Springfield and married Samuel Frost.
- Thomas Miller was killed during an Indian raid on Springfield Oct. 5, 1675, part
of "King Philip's War" war between the Pilgrim settlers and the Wampanoag
and other tribes. Springfield was attacked by 600 hostile Indians, one of 23 English
towns attacked during the war that saw a tenth of the English men killed, wounded
or captured and many women and children enslaved by the Indians. On October 4, the
Springfield militia had headed off for other action to the north, leaving only a
few men of more advanced years at home. Among them was Thomas Miller. Miller was
riding to a nearby fort with Lt. Cooper when they were fired upon by the Indians.
Miller died on the spot and Cooper fell dead off his horse upon returning to Springfield.
The Indians then burned about 30 unoccupied dwellings, which had been temporarily
deserted by the inhabitants.
Additional Sources Of Information
- Sources for more information about Obadiah and Thomas Miller include: "The First
Century of the History of Springfield, Mass.," from 1636 to 1736, written and
published by Henry M. Burt in 1899; "History of the Hale-House Families,"
published by the Connecticut Historical Society in 1952; "Plymouth Colony: Its
History & People 1620-1691," by Eugene Aubrey Stratton; New England Historical
and Genealogical Register, Vol. 110, "Early Cogans English and American";
and "New England Outpost: War and Society in Colonial Deerfield," by Richard
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