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Adoniram J. Miller


Posted By: volunteer transcriber
Date: 3/4/2004 at 04:40:09

This sterling citizen of Mason City, where he is now living virtually retired, has been a resident of Cerro Gordo county for a period of forty years, within which it was given him to gain success and independence through well directed endeavors, and he is a member of one of the honored pioneer families of Iowa, with whose annals the name has been identified for more than half a century. He was in his twenty-first year at the time of the family emigration to the Hawkeye state, and here he has found ample scope and opportunity for productive effort along normal lines of industrial and business enterprise, the while he has so ordered his course as to merit and receive the high regard of his fellow men.

Mr. Miller reverts to the old Keystone state of the Union as they place of his nativity, as he was born on a farm in Venango township, Crawford county, Pennsylvania, on the 12th of August, 1836. He is a son of Abraham and Nancy (Ross) Miller, both of whom were likewise natives of Pennsylvania-the former of German lineage and the latter of Scotch-Irish extraction, she having been a lineal descendant of the great navigator, Sir John Ross. Both families were founded in Pennsylvania prior to the war of the Revolution.

Abraham Miller was identified with agricultural pursuits in Crawford county, Pennsylvania, until 1847, when he moved with his family to Monongalia county, West Virginia, which state that time was an integral portion of the historic old commonwealth of Virginia. There he continued to be engaged in farming until 1856, when he came to Iowa and cast in his lot with the pioneers of Allamakee county, where he purchased a tract of land and developed a valuable and productive farm. On this old homestead he continued to reside until his death, in 1883, at the venerable age of seventy-five years. His loved and devoted wife was summoned to eternal rest in 1876, when about sixty-eight years of age, and both were zealous and consistent members of the Baptist church, exemplifying their faith in the worthy lives and kindly deeds. They became the parents of three sons and two daughters who attained to years of maturity , and of the number the subject of this review, the eldest of the three now living, was the fourth in order of birth. Dr. Edson C. Miller is a representative physician and surgeon at Brookings, South Dakota ; Rachel is the wife of Thomas B. Wiley, of Waukon, Allamakee county, Iowa ; Captain George R. Miller, well remembered in Cerro Gordo county, where he died in 1885, at the age of fifty-four years, was captain of Company I, Twenty-seventh Iowa Volunteer Infantry, in the Civil war ; and Sarah, who became the wife of Joseph Curtis, died in Hancock county, this state in 1883.

Adoniram J. Miller, the immediate subject of this sketch, gained his rudimentary education in the common schools of his native county, and was about eleven years of age at the time the family removal to Monongalia county, West Virginia, where he was reared to maturity and where he made good use of the educational advantages afforded him. When seventeen years of age he proved himself eligible for pedagogic service, and he began teaching in the schools of West Virginia. Later he taught in the district schools of Allamakee county, Iowa, whither he accompanied his parents when he was in his twenty-first year, and he continued to teach at intervals until he had attained to the age of thirty-five years. He thus proved a valued factor in educational work during a period of about seventeen years, and through self-discipline and association with men and affairs he became a man of broad intellectual ken and of mature judgment. In 1870, Mr. Miller came to Mason City and engaged in the grocery business, in which he continued for a decade, within which he built up a prosperous enterprise and gained a secure place in the confidence and esteem of the community. In 1880 he disposed of his grocery business and purchased a farm in Lime Creek township. He made excellent improvements on this property and developed on of the valuable farms of the county. He continued to give his personal supervision to the homestead farm until 1895, when he removed to Mason City, where he has since lived practically retired and where he is the owner of an attractive home. He still owns his farm, which comprises one hundred and sixty acres, and through his own efforts he has gained vantage-ground as one of the well-to-do citizens of Cerro Gordo county, where he has ever stood exemplar of progressiveness and loyal civic loyalty, giving his support to all measures tending to enhance the general welfare. In politics he is aligned as a stanch supporter of the principles of the Democratic party and he keeps well informed in connection with matters of public polity and interest. He was a member of the school board of Mason City in 1872 and in this connection he was one of the strong advocates of the erection of the old stone school house, which long provided ample facilities. He has continued to take a deep interest in educational matters and has urged a progressive policy in the work of the public schools of his home city and county. He was a member of the city council for a period of four years and also served as deputy sheriff for one term, under the regime of Sheriff Rosencrantz. Mr. Miller has never identified himself with any fraternal organization. His wife was a devoted member of the Baptist church and Mr. Miller contributes to the support of all the churches in Mason City.

In Allamakee county, Iowa, on the 18th of March 1862, was solemnized the marriage of Mr. Miller to Miss Margaret Sencebaugh, who was born in the state of Virginia, whence she came with her parents to Iowa in 1850. The great loss and bereavement in the life of Mr. Miller was that which came when his cherished and devoted wife and helpmeet was summoned to eternal rest, on the 1st of September, 1907, at the age of sixty-seven years. She is survived by two children : Frank A., who is engaged in the grocery business in Mason City, and Fannie, who is the wife of A. H. Dunn, of Plankinton, South Dakota.

-source: History of Cerro Gordo County, Iowa; Ed. and comp. by J. H. Wheeler. 2 vols. Chicago: Lewis Pub Co., 1910
-transcribed by Kay Ehlers


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