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from Biography & Historical Record of Ringgold County, Iowa

Lewis Publishing Company of Chicago, 1887, Pp. 383-84


Civil War Flags.jpg Nathan MILLER, farmer, section 22, Middle Fork Township, is one of the well-known and worthy citizens of Ringgold County, and was born in Rockbridge County, Virginia, April 17, 1824. His father was Henry MILLER, whose sketch appears elsewhere in this volume.* His early life was spent assisting on the farm and attending the common schools of his native State.

December 9, 1847, he was married to Miss Sarah M[argaret]. SHAFFER, daughter of Jacob and Margaret (McHENRY) SHAFFER. He resided in Rockbridge County until September 12, 1855, when, with wife and five children, he started for Iowa, with horse team and wagon. He arrived in Louisa County October 27, where he spent the winter, and the following March came to Ringgold County, and located upon his present farm in Middle Fork Township. He first preempted the land from the Government. His first residence was a log cabin, 14 X 16 feet, with puncheon floor and clapboard roof, and the furniture was of home manufacture. In November, 1862, he was elected Captain of Company B, Third Batallion, Home Guards. He held the office creditably until it was disbanded, in 1864. Mr MILLER has added to his original 160 acres until he now owns 320 acres of land in a good cultivation and well improved. he has a good story-and-a-half residence erected in 1875 and furnished in a manner that betokens the refinement of the family. He has a good orchard of two acres and a variety of small fruits, out-buildings for stock and grain, and everything about the farm indicates the thrift of its proprietor. He is engaged principally in stock-raising and feeding.

Mr. and Mrs. MILLER are the parents of eleven children - Mattie SHOWALTER, Arskine, Henry, Virginia B. DUGGER, Nettie RECTOR, Alice BAILEY, Ella SHOWALTER, Jacob, Paroda, Lulu and Hugh. Maggie STEVENS and Herbert are deceased.

Mr. MILLER has served as township clerk, assessor, member of the School Board and county supervisor. He is a worthy member of the Advent Christian church, and politically is a Republican. He has given his children good eductional advantages, and they are well fitted to take responsible positions in life. Postoffice, Ingart.

From page 166-69, History of the House of Ochiltree of Ayrshire, Scotland:

Nathan MILLER, 3rd son of Henry and Catharine MILLER, was born September 17, 1824, and married December 9, 1846 to Sarah Margaret SHAFFER who was born October 4, 1831, in Rockbridge County, Virginia, the daughter of Jacob and Margaret (McHENRY) SHAFFER. With their four children, they left Virginia September 1855, coming by wagon to Iowa. They spent the winter in Louisa County. In the spring of 1856, they went to Ringgold County, and settled in Middle Fork Township, where they purchased a farm, built a log cabin, and established their home. The log cabin was later replaced by a modern farm residence. Thirteen children came to the home, three of whom died many years ago. Mr. MILLER died in 1897, since which time "Grandma MILLER" continued to reside on the old homestead, until her death, July 30, 1914, aged 82 years. She was a member of the Advent Christian church, and was known as a devoted Christian woman. On the stone which marks her last resting place, are the words of Timothy 4:7-8: "I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith." Nathan MILLER was elected Captain of the Home Guards during the Civil war. He was elected to the township offices of Assessor, Justice of the Peace, and others; and performed the duties of office faithfully and well. He was also a devoted member of the Advent church. He died September 1 (sic), 1895, aged 71 years.

One of the oldest settlers and richest men in the county is


who was born in Rockbridge county, Va., in 1824. In Oct., 1855 he moved his family with one team to Louisa county, Iowa, and eight weeks were taken up by the trip. Leaving his family in Louisa county, he came on horseback to Ringgold. He spent ten days in the county during which time the thermometer stood at from 24 to 80 degrees below zero. He stayed several nights at Oliver ENYART'S. New Years day, 1856, he took dinner with Michael BEAVER, where John STEVENSON lives, near Eugene. New Years night he spent in Mt. Ayr, at the EDWARDS tavern. He slept up in the "loft," the floor of which was of puncheons so short as to reach only from one joice to another, and not nailed; so that he to have a care how he stepped. Snow covered his clothing in the night so that he had to hunt them in the morning under more than a foot of snow. Mt Ayr then had but two houses in it. In March 1856 Mr. MILLER moved his family to the county. A deep snow lay on the ground, hiding all inequalities of surface. He drove into a deep "draw" in the east part of the county and stuck fast; it was about four miles to the nearest house, that of Hiram IMUS; it was about dark and the weather was cold. Mr. M. unhitched the team and he and his wife managed in some way to get themselves and the seven children on the horses and ride in this way to Mr. IMUS'. He and the boys returned with oxen and brought up the wagon yet that night. IMUS had but a small log cabin, and another strange family, movers too, were staying all night with him, but he made Mr. MILLER welcome. The floor was used for a bed and it was well covered when all had "retired" to rest.

Mr. MILLER spent the summer of 1856 in an old log house that had been used by R. BROWN, afterwards county clerk. BROWN had cut logs for a better house, but on leaving he sold them to D. ENYART. Mr. MILLER bought them of ENYART and of them built his first house, on the site of his present one. Mrs. MILLER lent a hand at the carpenter work, assisting him at making the shingles from a walnut tree he had paid for by day's work. Together they succeeded in finishing the house in time to move in before winter. They moved into it on the 4th of Nov., 1856, just in time for a big snow storm which came the same week. The night before it fell, his brother, James A. MILLER, arrived in the county from the east.

The cheerless aspect of the then unsettled country disheartened the newcomer, and he went to bed on Mr. N. MILLER'S floor with a heavy heart, which was not much lightened by the sight which met his eyes next morning. His brother was shoveling nearly two feet of snow out of doors. The wind blew coldly through the crevices of the house and when the present Justice of the Peace uncovered his head the snow went down his neck. This was just what was needed to argument his fit of the blues. The last straw that he could bear up under, "Nathan," he said, and Mr. MILLER enjoys telling about the woe-be-gone expression on his face as he spoke, "there's no use of your making a fire. We will all perish anyhow." The prospect must have been a dismal one, and the wonder is that Mr. MILLER did not more sympathize with his brother's dispondency. Mr. MILLER had used up all his grain when he reached his claim in March, and he borrowed a feed of corn, from J. J. GRIFFETHS (GRIFFITHS?), to last over night, and the next day he started out in search of grain. He was gone four days and had to go 40 miles into Missouri before he found any.

Several times during the first summer, meals were eaten without bread. Coffee was made from corn, rye or oats. For his blacksmithing and mail, he used to go to Grant's Hill, (now Denver) Missouri.

Mr. MILLER attended the early elections in his part of the county, held at McGAUGHEY'S. Among the early officers in old Middlefork [Township] were Jno. CARMAN and Tom MARSHALL, Justices, McGAUGHEY, Constable, Ira MITCHELL, Assessor, Wendell POOR, Clerk.

Mr. MILLER served eighteen months in the State Militia [Southern Iowa Border Brigade], during the [Civil] war, ranking as captain.

He is quite wealthy, owning one of the best farmes (sic) in the county, 800 acres in Middlefork [township], and in Missouri. He sells several cars of stock off the place during the year. His house, 24x40, two stories high, is one of the largest in Ringgold county. He has several miles of osage hedge, and an orchard of 200 trees on the farm.

No one stands higher in his township as an upright, and at the same time, sociable and accommodating man. He has raised a large family, whose intelligence and good breeding reflects much that is to the credit of Mr. and Mrs. MILLER, several members of which have married into the best families in the county. His is a staunch Republican.

SOURCE: Believed to be 1880 or 1881 article from Ringgold Record
Courtesy of Mount Ayr Public Library

Photograph courtesy of Amanda Grantham Goodman, great-granddaughter, April of 2010

Submission by Mike Avitt, July of 2010

Children of Nathan and Sarah Margaret (SHAFFER) MILLER:

1) Margaret Ann MILLER, born September 12, 1848, came to Iowa with her parents when she was 7 years of age. She was a teacher for several years, married in 1867 A. M. STEPHENS, and died in 1872, leaving three young children:
    1) Ada STEPHENS
        married in 1898 Guion SKINNER, no children
        residence Chicago IL where Guion conducts automobile manufacturing establishment
    2) Blanche STEPHENS, unmarried
        stenographer, Los Angeles CA
    3) Pearl STEPHENS, 3 months old when her mother died
        married 1897 H. M. EARLY, no children
        residence Buffalo NY

2) Martha Agnes "Mattie" MILLER born in Rockbridge County, Virginia, and married Isaiah Jacob SHOWALTER March 4, 1868. She was killed by a train her her home in Stuttgart, Arkansas on September 9, 1915. Isaiah Jacob SHOWALTER died in 1940. Martha, I. J. and their son Lester E. were interred at Hickory Grove Cemetery, Ringgold County, Iowa. Martha Agnes and Isaiah J. SHOWALTER were the parents of six children:
    1) Hugh Franklin SHOWALTER
        born 09 Jan 1870, Ringgold Co. IA; died 19 Dec 1951, Glendale CA
        Interment Forest Lawn Memorial Park, Glendale CA
        married Nettie Bell BUDLONG July 12, 1897
        residence Glendale CA where he owns a barbershop
          Child: Owen SHOWALTER, born 1904
    2) Sarah Alice "Sadie" SHOWALTER married Park MARSHALL
        residence Stuttgart AR; 1 child
    3) Ernest SHOWALTER married unknown, no children
        residence Brush CO, employed by a lumber company
    4) Inez SHOWALTER married Ernest EWING, no children
        Ernest graduated from Kirksville School of Ostepathy
        residence El Reno OK
    5) Naomi SHOWALTER married Frank GLENN
        Frank graduated from Kirksville School of Ostepathy
        residence Stuttgart AR; two children:
          1) Harold GLENN
          2) Howard GLENN
    6) Lester E. SHOWALTER
        born January 11, 1885
        killed October 29, 1902, Grant City MO when a building collapsed

3) Erskine McElwee MILLER, born January 9, 1852, Rockbridge Co. VA; died Febuary 18, 1940
    Interment St. David Cemetery, Cochise County, Arizona
    married 1874 Jane "Jennie" HATCH (1855-1942); residence St. David AZ; six children:
      1) Roy MILLER, died age 24 years in 1899
      2) Edith MILLER
      3) Warren Dudley MILLER, born 08 Jul 1890; died 01 Apr 1963
      4) Mack MILLER, born 23 Aug 1892; died 22 Aug 1978
      5) Child MILLER
      6) Child MILLER

4) Virginia Belle MILLER, born April 8, 1855, Rockbridge County, Virginia. She was educated in the public schools near her parent's farm in Ringgold County, Iowa, and attended College [normal school for teachers] at Garden Grove, Iowa. She taught for some time in Ringgold County, and married June 30, 1875 Elder A[andrew] F[erguson] DUGGER, Sr., minister of the Church of God. [Andrew was born December 6, 1844.] In 1882 the moved to Nebraska, and were among the pioneer settlers of Rock County, in the northern part of the state, where she still resides. Virginia died in 1948; Mr. DUGGER died [December 17] in 1910; they were interred at Bassett Memorial Park, Basset, Rock County, Nebraska. To them were born 6 children; 3 deceased:
      1) ____ DUGGER, residence Bassett NE
          married Pearl CARPENTER; 3 children:
            1) Grace CARPENTER
            2) Andrew CARPENTER
            3) Herbert CARPENTER
      2) Alexander F. DUGGER
          born 19 Feb 1884; died 08 Feb 1981, Interment Bassett NE
          County Superintendent Of Schools, Bassett NE
      3) Andrew DUGGER, Jr., residence Stanberry MO
          Minister of Church of God & Editor of The Bible Advocate

5) Henry J. MILLER graduated from the Law Department of Kansas University, Lawrence, Kansas. He practiced law successfully at Flagstaff, Aiz., for 11 years; went to Alaska, in 1898; continuted the practice of law at Fairbanks, Alaska. He is the county attorney and resides in Bassett, Nebraska, near which he owns 1,600 acres of land. He married Nina SHIELDS, and they are the parents of 3 children:
    1) Reid MILLER
    2) Earl MILLER
    3) Jean MILLER

6) Jeannetta "Nettie" MILLER, born July 9, 1857, Ringgold County, IA; died 1920
    Interment Square Cedar Cemetery, Cleo Springs, Major Co. OK
    married J[erome] B. RECTOR [1852-1918], farmers of Oklahoma; eight children:
      1) Ralph M. RECTOR, born 05 Nov 1878; died 02 Mar 1954
          Interment Square Cedar Cemetery, Cleo Springs, Major Co. OK
      2) Cora RECTOR
      3) Norma RECTOR
      4) Mildred RECTOR
      5) Ella RECTOR, twin
      6) Emma RECTOR, twin
      7) Esther RECTOR
      8) Nathen RECTOR, born 24 Jul 1899; died 25 Jul 1899 "Gone but not forgotten."
          Interment Square Cedar Cemetery, Cleo Springs, Major Co. OK

7) Alice Susan MILLER, born January 25, 1858, Ringgold County, Iowa
    married October 1877 Thomas BAILEY; 5 children
      1) Thomas BAILEY
      2) Paroda BAILEY
      3) Anna BAILEY married 1915 Phillip BAXTER
          res: Osceola, Clarke Co. IA; 2 children:
            1) Theodore BAXTER
            2) Richard BAXTER
      4) Miller BAILEY
      5) Clarence BAILEY

8) Jacob Shaffer MILLER
    born 29 Dec 1861, Ringgold Co. MO; died 30 Dec 1940, Daviess Co. MO
    married Victoria Belle SLOAN 1885                born 23 Oct 1863, Wayne Co IA; died 16 Jun 1923, Livingston Co MO
    Jacob S. & Victoria MILLER interred Jamesport Masonic Cemetery, Daviess Co. MO
      Children of Jacob S. & Victoria (SLOAN) MILLER:
        1) Herbert MILLER
        2) Elmo MILLER
        3) Paroda MILLER
        4) Mabel MILLER
        5) Lela MILLER
        6) Child MILLER

9) Ella MILLER married 1880 Joseph SHOWALTER; 4 children:
    1) Oral Herbert SHOWALTER married 1905 Luella MEAD
      residence Des Moines IA; traveling salesman J. I. Case Threshing Machine Co.
      Oral Herbert and Luella (MEAD) SHOWALTER had 5 children:
        1) Fairie SHOWALTER married Frank SMITH
            residence northern Oklahoma; 2 children:
              1) Berniece SMITH
              2) Leora SMITH
        2) Margaret SHOWALTER
        3) Thelma SHOWALTER
        4) Herbert SHOWALTER
        5) Earl Richard SHOWALTER
    2) Cloyd SHOWALTER, bachelor
    3) Flora SHOWALTER married 1904 Ira HARRIS, residence Los Angeles CA; 2 children:
      1) Lola HARRIS
      2) Majel HARRIS
    4) Ella SHOWALTER married Mar 8, 1906 O. J. TARDY, son of Alexander & Caroline (WASKEY)
        residnece Redding, Ringgold County, Iowa

10) Lulu Ida MILLER was born in Ringgold County, Iowa, July 9, 1865, and received her education in the public schools, and the Western Normal College at Shenandoah, Ia., where she graduated in the teachers' course; taught for some time in Ringgold Co., and two years in the Primary Department, at St. Paul, Nebr. After her father's death, in 1895, she continued her home with her mother, until her mother's death, in July 1914, making the old homestead her home, for 50 years, with the exception of time spent in school, and in teaching. On April 28, 1899, she was married to Mitchell W. SHAFFER, born 1871 and died 1945. Lulu died in 1950. Mitchell and Lulu were interred at Hickory Grove Cemetery, Ringgold County, Iowa. To them 5 children were born, three of whom died in infancy. the others are:
      1) Paroda Blanche SHAFFER, born July 28, 1900; died 1950
      2) Oscar Lee SHAFFER, born August 8, 1904; died 1919
      Paroda and Oscar interred Hickory Grove Cemetery, Ringgold County, Iowa.

11) Paroda MILLER married Eddie MARSHALL. Paroda died four years after her marriage, no children.

12) Hugh MILLER
    born 1867; died 1956, interment Bassett Memorial Park, Rock Co. NE
    married circa 1890 Ida "Belle" GRIFFITH, born 1869; died 1956
      Hugh owns a ranch of 900 acres, owns & manages a large department store; 4 children
      1) Alta MILLER
      2) Gertrude MILLER
      3) Winnie MILLER
      4) Child MILLER

13) Herbert MILLER, died age 12 years

Captain Nathan MILLER died on September 30, 1895. He and Sarah H. (SHAFFER) were interred at Hickory Grove Cemetery, Ringgold County, Iowa.

* Somehow Henry MILLER's sketch was omitted from Biography & Historical Record of Ringgold County, Iowa of 1887.

Henry Jr. and Catharine (MONTGOMERY) MILLER

James' father Henry MILLER, Jr. was born January 25, 1786, Rockbridge County, Virginia, and died March 25, 1865. Henry married James' mother Catharine MONTGOMERY February 15, 1816. Catharine was born August 22, 1792, Rockbridge County, Virginia, and died May 8, 1855, Redding, Ringgold County, Iowa. Henry and Catharine were interred at Rose Hill Cemetery.

Biography & Historical Record of Ringgold County, Iowa, Pp. 383-84, 1887.

RAILEY, Clementine Brown. History of the House of Ochiltree of Ayrshire, Scotland, Pp. 166-69

WPA Graves Survey

Nathan and Sarah Margaret (SHAFFER) MILLER photographs courtesy of Amanda Grantham Goodman, great-granddaughter, April of 2010

Transcription and note by Sharon R. Becker, January of 2009; updated July of 2010

Biographical Sketches Pages Index: A - F,   G - L,   M - R,  S - Z

To submit your Ringgold County biographies, contact Sharon R. Becker at
Please include the word "Ringgold" in the subject line. Thank you.

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