HENRY MILLER has during many years been identified with the agricultural life of Benton county, and although he has practically retired from an active business life he yet maintains his home on his estate of seventy-five acres in section 4, Homer township. His home has been in Benton county since the year of 1874, a pioneer epoch in its history, and during ten years he farmed as a renter, purchasing then two hundred acres in sections 6 and 7, Homer township, which he improved and farmed for sixteen years. At the close of that period he traded farms with his son, and his home has since been at his present residence. He began life in Benton county practically without capital, and is numbered among its self made men as well as representative citizens.
Mr. Miller was born in Mecklenberg, Germany, June 19, 1844, a son of John and Mary (Dobe) Miller, who spent their lives in the Fatherland, John Miller being a superintendent or foreman for a large farmer there. Both he and his wife died many years ago. Two daughters of the family came to this country, but both are now deceased, and Henry Miller has a half brother living in Germany and a step-brother in the state of New York.
Mr. Miller was reared and educated in his native city of Mecklenberg, and he came to America in 1869, one year after his marriage. His first home here was at Bremer in Cook county, Illinois, where he worked during the first year for a farmer, and then with his brother-in-law he moved to Stockbridge, that state, and worked five years in a stone quarry and then two years at various lines in St. Louis, Missouri, returning then to Stockridge and was in the quarries for another year. In the following year he came to Benton county, where his brother-in-law, Fred Holtz, had located the year previously. Mr. Miller had married in Germany in 1868 Miss Caroline Rubenstine, also born there, and she died in Benton county on the 17th of November, 1896, at the age of fifty-one years. She bore her husband nine children, and eight are living at the present time: Henry Miller, Jr., the first born, is a native son of Germany, and was a boy of one year when brought to America. He resides in Monroe township. He married first a Miss Annie Thiele, who died leaving three children, his present wife being Annie Bantze and the mother of his one son. Mary, the second chid born to Mr. and Mrs. Miller, is the wife of Samuel Bantze, farming in Big Grove township, and they have six children, three sons and three daughters; Anna, the wife of Herman Stahr of Monroe township, has three daughters; Emma, the wife of Otto Brick, residing in Tama county, about four miles south of Dysart, is the mother of a daughter; Lena is the wife of Albert Piper, also of Big Grove township, and they are the parents of a son; Albert is at home; Herman married Miss Tina Bode and is a Monroe township farmer; and Martha, is her father's housekeeper. Mr. Miller is a member of the Republican party, and he has served in various public positions, including seven years as a school director at his present home and six years in districts where he formerly resided, and he was for three years trustee of Homer township while residing in section 6. He has but recently been returned to that office, assuming its duties in November of 1909 for a term of three years. He is a member of the Evangelical church of Homer township, as was also his wife, and he is one of Benton county's honored pioneer residents and highly esteemed citizens.
As Captain Wilson was the oldest son, he did not attend school after his father's death, but assumed a large share of the responsibility for the support of the family. He continued to steadily engage in farming until July, 1862, when, at the age of twenty, he enlisted in Company D, Twenty-eighth Iowa Volunteer Infantry, and was soon afterward elected first sergeant. Within a year he had risen to a captaincy and, although one of the youngest officers of that grade, served with marked efficiency until his honorable discharge in August, 1865, more than three years from the time of his enlistment. Originally, his regiment was a part of the Thirteenth army corps under General John A. McLearned, but was transferred to the Nineteenth, under Brigadier General Emory, where it remained until the close of the war. He served under Grant at Vicksburg; participated in the expeditions up the Red river and along the Gulf; was with Sheridan's army in the Shenandoah Valley and other Virginia campaigns; and joined Sherman at Savannah, Georgia, for his Carolina operations against Johnston. In spite of all the fierce battles and active campaigns of which he company was a part, Captain Wilson returned to his Iowa home an uninjured man, although during the battle of Vicksburg he temporarily lost his sight, on account of becoming overheated in that terrific battle.
Upon returning from the front Captain Wilson purchased a farm of eighty acres in Taylor township and energetically resumed farming. He finally added to his possessions until he owned two hundred acres, but later sold his property with the exception of the farm on which he now resides. Although often urged to accept various Republican nominations, he has firmly refused since 1867, when he was elected sheriff and served three terms of two years each. Fraternally, he is a Mason and a loyal member of the Grand Army. As he became a member of the former order in 1862 by joining the Vinton lodge, with one exception he is now the oldest Mason in that body, being identified also with the blue lodge and chapter. His local connections with the Grand Army of the Republic are with P. M. Coder Post No. 98.
In 1867 Captain Wilson wedded Miss Callie Cline, born in Johnson county, Indiana, and who came to Benton county with her grandparents in 1852. The six children of this union were as follows: Callie Elizabeth, who became the wife of Burt Pitts, a farmer of Polk township, and the mother of one daughter; Everett M., who is also a farmer of that township; Charles S., who married Miss Laura Dorsey, has three children and is an agriculturist of the township named; Henry F., who died at the age of two years; James N., who married Miss Theo Lagrange, is the father of a daughter and is serving as county treasurer of Benton county; and William P., who resides on the home farm. Mr. and Mrs. Wilson, like all the family, are stanch members of the Presbyterian church.