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Fayette County, Iowa
Portrait & Biographical Album of Fayette County Iowa
Containing Full Page Portraits and Biographical Sketches of
Prominent and Representative Citizens of the County
Lake City Publishing Co., Chicago
Christian Miller, a farmer residing on section 3, Pleasant Valley Township, is extensively engaged in the dairy business and is one of the large land-owners of the county. He was born in County Berne, Switzerland, December 21, 1847. His father, Benedict Miller, was born in the same country on the 12th of June 1813, and was one of four children, his two brothers and sister being younger than himself. Rudolph, the second of the family, came to America in 1851, and the following year took up his residence in Pleasant Valley Township; Christian continued farming in his native land; and Elizabeth is now the wife of Christian Duby of Switzerland. By occupation, Benedict Miller was a carpenter and in later life carried on a large business as a contractor and builder. He married Magdalena Shank, and the other members of her family are John, a farmer of Switzerland; and Anna, who is married and still resides in that country.
In the spring of 1856, Mr. Miller with his family consisting of his wife and five children, crossed the Atlantic to America and on his arrival in this country at once came to Fayette County, Iowa, where he purchased a farm of seventy acres in Pleasant Valley Township near the home of his brother Rudolph, who had located here some four years previous. This farm he improved but it was some years before the income derived there from was sufficient to supply the wants of his family and in order to provide for their comfort he also engaged at work at his trade. In this way he not only obtained the necessities of life but as time passed was enabled to lay by some capital and at length became owner of two hundred and twenty-seven acres of good land, one-half of which was under cultivation and improved with good buildings. In 1872 he sold his entire farm to his son Christian for the sum of $4,000. In 1880, he was called upon to mourn the loss of his wife, who died on the 22d of May, in the sixty-sixth year of her age. Two years later, accompanied by our subject, he returned to Switzerland, where he spent the latter part of the summer and the autumn of 1882. While Mr. Miller was revisiting the scenes of his boyhood days and renewing old acquaintances, Christian made quite an extended tour over Europe, visiting many places of note and of historical interest. Then joining his father, together they returned to their home in their adopted land, since which time Mr. Miller has resided with his children. He is still enjoying good health and is very active for a man of his years.
Christian Miller is the fourth in a family of six children. John F., the eldest, is married and owns a fine farm of two hundred acres in Pleasant Valley Township. He is a well-to-do citizen and an earnest worker in the German Baptist Church of Elgin; Benedict, at the age of twenty-five years, went with his family to Green County, Wis., where he engaged in farming and became an extensive dairyman. He was also the prime mover in establishing in that neighborhood a cheese factory, one of the first in the county. Leaving Wisconsin, in 1882, he removed to Moody County, S. D., where he is now carrying on farming on a large scale and is the recognized leader in all progressive movements for the public welfare. His family consists of himself, wife and eight children; Anna Mary, the next younger, in 1866, became the wife of Peter Lehman, of Elgin and died in 1885, leaving a husband and three daughters to mourn her loss; Christian is the next younger; Magdelena is now the wife of Jacob Frautchy, a prominent citizen, prosperous farmer and successful dairyman of Green County, Wis. They have a family of five children. The above named were born in Switzerland. Esther Lena, who was born in America in 1857, is the wife of E. M. Callendar, a station agent on the Burlington, Cedar Rapids & Northern Railroad at Clarion, Wright County, Iowa. Unto them have been born three children.
The subject of this sketch, Christian Miller, accompanied his parents to America when a lad of nine years and under the parental roof, in the usual manner of farmer lads, was reared to manhood. In March, 1870, he married Miss Anna B. Freiburghaus, a native of Switzerland, who came to America with her father in 1867. Her mother had died in the old country. They settled in Elgin, where her father engaged in the furniture and cabinet making business, which he carried on successfully until his death in June, 1890. Six of his children still survive - Rosie, wife of Rudolph Miller, a carpenter of Milwaukee, Wis.; Elizabeth, wife of B. Jacobs, a farmer of Pleasant Valley Township; Anna B., now Mrs. Miller; Christian L., who is engaged in the furniture business in Elgin and is also Postmaster at that place; Gottleib, a resident farmer of Pleasant Valley Township; and Caroline, wife of John Bowman, a stock-dealer of Elgin. Unto Mr. and Mrs. Miller have been born nine children, seven of whom are yet living - John F., born February 13, 1872, is now at college in Rochester, N. Y.; Mary M., born June 13, 1874; Christian S., February 19, 1876; Eddie M., born July 17, 1877, died November 23, 1879; Willie B., born November 9, 1880; Alfred E., July 5, 1882; Anna M., born August 12, 1885, died October 2, 1888; Clara H. born November 11, 1887; and Marietta A., February 7, 1890. Those living are at home and those who have attained sufficient age are attending school.
Mr. Miller has spent his entire life in this county on his present farm to which he has added by purchase from time to time until he is now owner of seven hundred and fifty acres. Its many improvements comprise a commodious and comfortable residence, a large barn and other necessary outbuildings. Stock-raising and dairying have been followed extensively in connection with farming and for dairy purposes he keeps from forty to sixty cows. The butter and cheese which he has manufactured for the past eight years he ships to Eastern markets and in quality they are so superior that he can always obtain the highest price. He is not only an industrious and prosperous farmer but is a progressive and public-spirited citizen. In political sentiment he is a stanch Republican and an earnest worker for the success of the party. In political circles throughout the northern part of the State he is influential and his opinions carry with them great weight. He and his wife together with their older children are members of the German Baptist Church. He is a devout Christian and an earnest worker in both church and Sunday-school. He and his family are held in the highest regard by many warm friends throughout the county and are numbered among the best citizens of Pleasant Valley Township.
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