MS 656 - Miller Family Papers
|Title||MS 656 - Miller Family Papers|
The Miller Family Papers consist of materials relating directly to the William H. Miller family of Port Clinton, Ohio, but within the collection some papers of both the McRitchie and Mackey families are included. The McRitchie and Mackey families are related by marriage, as are the Mackey and Miller families. The materials are divided by record group and chronologically within the record groups when possible. The Papers date inclusively from 1828 to 1978 and include correspondence, diaries, legal and financial papers, printed materials, scrapbook material, photographs, and maps.
The Miller Family Papers were donated to the Center for Archival Collections by John Belknap, executor of the William H. Miller estate, on August 18, 1992, with additional Civil War letters of Wilson S. Miller transferred in April 2011 from the Tennessee State Library and Archives and in May 2011 through the cooperation of Elizabeth Smith-Holmes. No restrictions exist on the use of this collection. Duplication is permitted for the purposes of preservation and research. The collection was processed and register prepared in December 1992 by Jay Smith and Janice Estey, graduate students in History 656 (Archives Administration) at Bowling Green State University, and was revised by Marilyn Levinson, Curator of Manuscripts in April 1993 and August 2011.
The Miller Family was among the early pioneer settlers of Ottawa County, Ohio, with Henry J. Miller (1812-1874) arriving in the area in 1828. Serving as the first Sheriff when the County was organized, he was also active in the founding of the Ottawa County Agricultural Society, and in the Methodist Episcopal Church. Married in 1836 to Susan Wonnell, the family consisted of six children, Maria, Wilson S., George W., William, James H., and Permilia A.
His son, William, also had a lengthy career as a farmer and is credited with having introduced Elberta peach cultivation to Ottawa County, Ohio. Also active in the Ottawa County Agricultural Society, he was one of the organizers of the Peninsula Farmers and Fruit Growers Club. In 1901, 1902 and 1910, he served as President of the Ohio State Horticultural Association. William married Eliza Pettit Alexander in 1875 and had two children, Henry Alexander, born in 1877, and Mary F., born in 1879.
Prior to his career as a farmer, William served as a corporal in Co.A, 71st Ohio Volunteer Militia and later in Co. K, 139th Ohio Volunteer Infantry during the Civil War. His brothers, Wilson Shannon and George W. also served in the military during the war. Wilson Shannon Miller was a Captain in Co.I, 41st O.V.I. having mustered-in as a private in 1861, promoted to sergeant in 1863, to lieutenant in 1864 and captain in the spring of 1865. He saw action at Murfreesboro, Shiloh, Franklin, Nashville, and the Atlanta Campaign. His brother George, who was a schoolteacher in Erie Township before enlisting, served with the Fifth Independent Company, Ohio Volunteer Sharpshooters. He was wounded at Missionary Ridge and died shortly thereafter on January 20, 1864.
Henry Alexander Miller continued the family tradition in the cultivation of fruits, having inherited the farm from his father William. In 1922 he helped to establish the Catawba Island Fruit Grower's Cooperative. In 1919 he married Alma Bell Mackey, of Gypsum, Ohio, having only one child, William Henry Miller, born on June 22, 1921. William Henry served briefly in the Army during World War II. In June of 1947 he graduated from the Cleveland School of Art, with a degree in Industrial Design. He died in 1992.
Alma Bell Mackey Miller, the daughter of James L. Mackey and Nancy McRitchie, was the granddaughter of David McRitchie and Jane Yule McRitchie, one of the founding families of Port Clinton, Ohio. David McRitchie had a varied political career, having served as Justice of the Peace and then County Auditor of Ottawa County. His brother, James McRitchie, served as Postmaster of Port Clinton, Ohio.
|Scope and Content|
The Miller Family Papers span the years 1828 to 1978. The largest portion of the collection are the papers of Henry Alexander Miller, son of William. However, the collection also includes papers of the Mackey and McRitchie Families, who were related to the Miller Family by marriage. The materials in the collection document the activities of these three families, with the emphasis being on materials pertaining to the Millers.
The collection contains a wide array of materials, including correspondence, diaries, financial records and legal documents, scrapbooks, photographs, maps, and printed material. Within each record group the material is arranged by series, and chronologically when possible.
The correspondence is the strongest portion of the collection, containing 170 letters from the years 1828 to 1969. The Civil War era letters of William Miller are of particular interest, describing the activities of his unit, Co.K, 139th O.V.I., in their duties guarding the 3,500 Confederate prisoners at Piney Point, Maryland. Additional letters of Wilson Shannon Miller and his service with the 41st O.V.I. provide another perspective to the family’s service during the war, since his service included such battles as Shiloh and Nashville. His material also includes the draft copies of two narratives, one a speech delivered on the 25th anniversary of the Battle of Nashville and the other an account of the activities of the 41st in the Battle of Stones River.
The McRitchie Family is represented in the correspondence with several letters to David McRitchie from members of the Yule Family, particularly Agnes Yule Rennie, David's sister-in-law, and her husband John in Scotland. Another series of significant letters are those written to Alma Mackey, who, while courting Henry A. Miller, also corresponded with American servicemen from the Sandusky and Port Clinton area during World War I.
There are 34 diaries, dating from 1862 to 1970 in the collection. The Civil War is represented in a record maintained by William Miller, documenting his time spent as a prison guard at Piney Point, Maryland with the 139th O.V.I. A number of other diaries of William Miller were apparently destroyed by his son, Henry. These journals are represented in the form of some notes of dates and events made by Henry prior to their destruction. One significant event noted was the introduction of the Elberta peach and its cultivation by William Miller in 1892. Twenty of the diaries, pertaining to the years 1917 to 1970 were kept by Henry A. Miller. These materials document the agricultural, household, and personal business of the Miller family. Several miscellaneous writings in the collection include family histories, genealogies, some subject files, a biography of William Miller for the American Historical Society, and a memoir of his regarding his service in the Civil War.
Legal and financial records include certificates, deeds, Civil War enlistment papers, the Articles of Incorporation, Constitution, and Bylaws of the Catawba Island Fruit Growers' Cooperative Association, and a significant series of account books, including a series extending from 1904 to 1964 kept by Henry A. Miller. A few of the earlier financial and legal records pertain to activities of David McRitchie.
Scrapbook materials in the collection are eclectic, containing a variety of items that were of interest to Henry A. Miller. In addition to folders of loose items, there are five bound scrapbooks with newspaper clippings, programs, obituaries, invitations, and sheet music. The topics covered include clippings on the Elberta peach, the political career of Henry A. Miller, and incidents of national, international, state, and local events. There are also hundred of obituaries of persons from the Miller family, friends, and civic leaders in the Sandusky and Ottawa County area. Researchers will find that there is a great deal of duplication among the loose and bound scrapbook materials.
A small number of maps in the holdings include blueprint copies showing mine work under the property of Henry A. Miller and a plat of Portage Township showing ownership of land.
Among the printed material retained in the collection are programs of both the Ottawa County Farmer's Institute and the Peninsula Farmers and Fruit Growers Club, and souvenir book of the Methodist Episcopal Church of Port Clinton, a church news bulletin of Trinity Methodist Church, Port Clinton, and the constitution of the Portage Township Cemetery Improvement Association. The twenty-two books included with the collection have been cataloged in the general collection.
An extensive photographic collection, containing several hundred images, is a large part of the documentary materials. There are daguerreotypes and tintypes of family members; 4 x 5 glass plate negative and photographs of the farm, farm crew, and family; and pictures of family events and activities.
A small number of records relating to Methodist Episcopal churches in Gypsum and Port Clinton were included with the family material and are located at the end of the collection.
Representing the wide range of activities and events of a prominent Ottawa County family over much of the 19th and 20th century, this collection is of great value for documenting the political, social, and agricultural life of the area.
CORRESPONDENCE - GENERAL FAMILY
CORRESPONDENCE - CIVIL WAR (GENERAL)
CORRESPONDENCE - CIVIL WAR ERA (WILLIAM AND WILSON MILLER)
CORRESPONDENCE - WORLD WAR I
DIARIES - MILLER FAMILY
DIARIES - MACKEY FAMILY
DIARIES - UNIDENTIFIED
FAMILY SUBJECT FILES
LOOSE SCRAPBOOK MATERIAL
CHRISTIE METHODIST EPISCOPAL CHURCH, GYPSUM, OHIO
FIRST METHODIST EPISCOPAL CHURCH, PORT CLINTON, OHIO
TRINITY METHODIST EPISCOPAL CHURCH, PORT CLINTON, OHIO
41ST OHIO VOLUNTEER INFANTRY, COMPANY I
PINS, MEDALLIONS, BADGES
Box 2: Correspondence
Box 3: Correspondence
Box 4: Correspondence, Literary Productions
Box 7: Diaries, Poem
Box 10: Financial Records
Box 12: Scrapbooks, Printed Material, Maps
Box 14: Photographs
Box 15: Photographs
Box 16: Photographs
Box 17: Photographs
Box 18: Photographs
Box 19: Photographs
Oversize Flat #1
Oversize Flat #2: 41st Ohio Volunteer Infantry, Co. I miscellaneous forms
(Encapsulated or photocopied)