No resident of Mission township has longer resided within its borders than Dyson Miller. This honored pioneer came with his parents to this county in 1832, when only two and a half years old, and has witnessed the entire growth and development of this section of the state. Indians were far more numerous than the white settlers at the time of his arrival, and wild game abounded in the forest and furnished many a meal to the early settlers. The land was in its primitive condition and there was little promise that this section would one day be situated in the midst of the richest farming section of the Union and would l)e the place of abode for a contented, thrifty and prosperous people. Mr. Miller has always borne his part in the work of development and advancement, has been a prominent factor in agricultural interests, and now, at the age of seventy years, is living a retired life, enjoying the rest which he has so richly earned and truly deserves.
Mr. Miller was born in Marion county, Ohio, December 23, 1829, and is of German lineage, his grandfather, Peter Miller, having been born in Germany, whence he came to America during the Revolutionary war. He aided in the struggle for independence and after the war took up his abode in Ohio. Peter Millcr, Jr., the father of our subject, was born in Ross county, Ohio, September 5, 1802, and spending his youth in his native county he attended the district schools through the winter season and worked on the home farm through the summer months, lie was married in Ohio to Harriet Holderman, a daughter of Abraham Holderman, a pioneer of Kendall, then a part of LaSalle county. In the spring of 1832 Mr. Miller, with his wife and their little son Dyson, then two and a half years old, came to Illinois in a prairie schooner. They were six weeks in crossing the states of Indiana and Illinois to LaSalle county, where they arrived during the progress of the Black Hawk war. Hearing of the hostilities, Mr. Miller hid his wagon and goods in a thicket and, with his wife and child, proceeded on horseback to Ottawa. The militia afterward obtained this wagon for him. When the Indian troubles had abated Mr. Miller settled just south of Sheridan, where he secured a claim in 1833. His business interests were diligently conducted and managed with ability, and he prospered in his undertakings, becoming an extensive land-owner. In 1870 he decided to put away business cares, and accordingly removed to Sheridan, where he lived retired until his death, which occurred in 1889. His wife passed away in 1888, They were faithful members of the Protestant Episcopal church, and were honored pioneer people.
Dyson Miller was reared to manhood on his father's farm in LaSalle county, and to the common-school system he is indebted for the educational privileges he has received. He has always resided in Mission township, and for many years was connected with its agricultural interests. In 185 1 he married Miss Harriet Amelia Beardsley, a native of Massachusetts and a daughter of William Beardsley, a pioneer settler of Serena township, LaSalle county. He then began farming on his own account, and his well-tilled fields and excellent improvements on his place well indicated the careful supervision and unabating energy of the owner. When he was only eighteen years of age he drove hogs to Chicago for his father - a distance of seventy miles - and at that time not more than two stock-buyers were doing business in the now flourishing metropolis. He has seen the great changes which have taken place in methods of farming, has watched the introduction of new machinery which has revolutionized agriculture, and while actively connected with that line of work he was accounted one of the most progressive farmers of LaSalle county. He became interested in the grain business in Sheridan about 1874, and a few years later removed his family to the village, where he has since made his home. After being connected with that business for ten years he sold out, and for several years thereafter was in the stock business as a buyer and shipper, but is now living retired.
In 1894 Mr. Miller was made to mourn the loss of his wife, who was called to her eternal rest. The children born of their marriage were William B., now a resident of Chicago; Mrs. Jane Ann Moore, of Michigan; John H., a resident of Minnesota; Mrs. Mary R. Spradling, of Kansas; Mrs. Hattie R. Spurr, of Aurora, Illinois; Robert R., a stock-buyer of Sheridan; Peter H., of Ottawa; and Harry, who died in infancy.
In his political views Mr. Miller is a Republican and has held a number of local offices, including that of supervisor of Mission township. Socially he is a Master Mason, and in religious belief he is a Methodist. He has now reached the Psalmist's span of three-score years and ten, and his life record is one unclouded by shadow of wrong. He has always been true to his duty to, his neighbor, to his country and to himself, and has ever merited the warm regard so uniformly given him.
Extracted by Norma Hass from Biographical and Genealogical Record of LaSalle County, Illinois published in 1900, volume 1, pages 36-38.