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Fayette County, Iowa
Past and Present of Fayette County Iowa, 1910
Author: G. Blessin
B. F. Bowen & Company, Indianapolis, Indiana
Vol. I, Biographical Sketches
This esteemed and well known citizen is a native of Wayne county, Ohio, and dates his birth from November 20, 1846. Henry Miller, his father, a Pennsylvanian by birth, moved to Ohio about the year 1836 and spent the remainder of his life in the latter state, rearing his family in Wayne county and dying there a number of years ago. He served in the Mexican war.
The early experience of William Miller was attended by no event worthy of record, his childhood and youth having been spent under the parental roof, varied by attendance during the winter seasons at the district school near his home. At the age of sixteen years he started out to make his own way in life, and after working for one year on a farm in Wisconsin went to Iowa where he spent the ten years ensuing. While in Wisconsin he cut logs in the winter time for so much per thousand feet and during the summer months was employed in various capacities in the mills, in this way becoming familiar with the lumber interests and developing great aptitude in all parts of the business. At the expiration of the period indicated he returned to his Ohio home, but after spending a year there came to Iowa and purchased, in 1873, one hundred and sixty acres of land in Chickasaw county near the Fayette county line, to which he removed his family three years later.
Addressing himself to the task of improving his land, it was not long until Mr. Miller had a goodly number of acres under cultivation and in due time his labors were rewarded with one of the best improved farms in the community. He spared neither pains nor expense in putting up good buildings and providing for the comfort of those dependent upon him and during the course of the next twenty years he not only increased his farm but made substantial progress as an agriculturist and stock raiser, at one time owning considerably in excess of one thousand head of cattle and hogs, which he disposed of at liberal prices. His land, which lies about six miles from Waucoma, with Fredericksburg as the nearest town, is admirably adapted to general farming and pasturage and while he occupied it his success was gratifying. By industry and judicious management he succeeded during the time indicated in amassing a handsome competence, sufficient in fact to enable him to retire from the active duties of the farm and spend the remainder of his life at less strenuous labor. With this objective in view, also with a desire to provide his children with better educational advantages, Mr. Miller, in 1896, rented his place and moved to the pleasant and attractive home a short distance east of Waucoma, where he now resides.
For two years following his retirement from the farm, Mr. Miller was engaged in general merchandising at Waucoma as a member of the firm of Miller & Gressler, but at the end of that time disposed of his interest in the business and has since been enjoying the fruits of his industry in a life of ease and quietude. For many years he has kept abreast of the times on all matters of public interest and as a Democrat has been active in local politics, attending the various nominating conventions and using his influence in the making of platforms and the formulating of policies. Although a zealous worker for his party, he has never aspired to public position, but his influence is always sought by those who seek office at the hands of their fellow citizens or ask favors as a reward for partisan service. Fraternally, he is an Odd Fellow, having passed all the chairs in the subordinate lodge to which he belongs, and he also holds an important office in the encampment besides being an active and influential member of the canton. In religion he subscribes to the plan and simple teachings of the Christian church and with his wife is a zealous member of that body.
Mr. Miller was married in Fredericksburg, Iowa, March 18, 1879, to Flora Follett, whose parents, Simeon A. and Hannah (Wood) Follett, were natives of Ohio and New York respectively, and who came to Iowa about the year 1849 or ?50, their respective families locating near Elkader, in Clayton county. The parents of Mrs. Follett were among the earliest pioneers of the section of country in which they settled and are remembered as a very estimable old couple, whose lives were as benedictions to their neighbors and friends. Simeon Follett and Hannah Wood were married shortly after their arrival in Clayton county and later settled at Pleasant Valley, at which place and Elgin he worked for many years at the carpenterís trade. When their daughter was four years old they moved to Clermont and purchased the old brick hotel at that place, which they operated four years and then bought a farm one mile west of the town, where they lived until 1876, when they changed their residence to Lawler. Subsequently Mr. Follett located at the town of Alpha, where he died after a residence of two years, his death, in 1888, resulting from an injury received by a team of horses becoming unmanageable and running away. Mrs. Follett survived her husband about seventeen years, living the meanwhile at Waucoma, where her death occurred in 1905.
Mr. and Mrs. Millerís family consists of one son and two daughters, namely: Charles, engaged in telegraphic construction in Texas and South Dakota; Nellie, who married Oren King, of Waucoma, and had one child, Dorothy, who died October 11, 1910; and Lennis, now Mrs. Julian Peverill of Waterloo, this state; they have one child, Juliet.
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