Buena Vista County, IA
USGenWeb Project

Extracted from:  Wegerslev, C. H. and Thomas Walpole. 
 Past and Present of Buena Vista County, Iowa
Chicago:  S. J. Clarke Publishing Co., 1909, p. 381-82.

Transcribed by Paul Nagy

Biography of  Sanford Miller

The Miller family has been prominently identified with the agricultural development and progress of Nokomis township for the past forty years, the first representative of the name to come to Buena Vista county being the father of our subject, Henry Miller, who came here in 1869 and entered from the government eighty acres of wild and unimproved land.  The father was born in Pennsylvania but was reared in Ohio.  In early manhood he was apprenticed to learn the blacksmith's trade, thus serving for seven years, after which he engaged in the blacksmithing business for a number of years.  He as married in Cincinnati, Ohio, to Miss Elizabeth Hiles, a native of New Jersey.  In 1858 he removed from Ohio to McLean county, Illinois, and there engaged in farming until 1866, when he removed to Madison county, Iowa, where he spent three years.  He then made his way to Buena Vista county and entered from the government eighty acres of raw prairie land, which he developed and improved, meeting the problems of a frontier existence and applying himself to the tasks which western life presented, with steadiness and courage.  He was not long permitted to enjoy his new home, however, for he passed away in 1871, at the comparatively early age of fifty-two years.  The wife and mother survived for a long period, her death occurring in 1898, when she had reached the advanced age of eighty-two years.


Sanford Miller, whose name introduces this review, is the youngest son in a family of nine children, and was born in Brown county, Ohio, March 3, 1855.  His education, begun in the common schools of Illinois, was continued in the schools of Iowa, for he was a lad of fourteen years at the time the family removed to Buena Vista county.  He lost his father when a youth of sixteen years and much responsibility then rested upon the son.  He at once took up the unfinished work of the father in developing a new farm.  He set out an orchard and also put out shade trees, erected a good house, barn and outbuildings, fenced the fields with woven wire and made many necessary improvements.  He assisted his widowed mother in the management of the home place and this continued to be her home until the time of her death.  The son is now in possession of the property and is engaged in general agricultural pursuits and stock-raising, keeping Duroc Jersey hogs and Hambletonian horses.  He homesteaded one hundred and sixty acres of land in South Dakota, but has recently sold that property.


Mr. Miller was married June 12, 1888, to Miss Anna Miller, a native of Kankakee county, Illinois.  They have an adopted son, now thirteen years of age, who is attending school.  Mr. Miller is independent in his political views and affiliations, voting for the men whom he deems best fitted for office, regardless of party ties.  His religions faith is indicated by his membership in the Alta Presbyterian church.  He is thoroughly familiar with the pioneer conditions that existed when he came as a boy to Buena Vista county and in the years that have since come and gone he has rejoiced in the progress that has been made.  He is an industrious and useful man in the community and his probity is an unquestioned element in his career.