John E. Miller, one of the honored pioneers of Illinois, was born in
Windham, Wilmington township, Vermont, and is the only survivor of a family
which once numbered eleven members, six of the children being sons and three
daughters. The parents, who were highly respected citizens, were Isaac and
Lucy (Conant) Miller, natives of Massachusetts. They removed to the Green
Mountain state, where they were interested in the management of a farm for
many years. The father died on his homestead there when about three-score
and ten years of age. He was born January 28, 1782, and died May 29, 1850,
aged sixty-eight years; and his wife, born February 15, 1787, preceded him
to the silent land August 30, 1848, sixty-one years of age. They were
Universalists in religious faith, and were noted for all of the qualities of
the true Christian.
The birth of John E. Miller took place December 7, 1826, and in his boyhood he attended the district schools of Wilmington township. He early mastered the details of agriculture and laid the foundations for a successful business career. He worked for neighbors for several years after attaining his majority, and at last concluded that he would try his fortunes in the west, about whose vast resources so much was then being said. Accordingly, in September, 1851, he came to Illinois, and while looking around for a permanent location engaged in working for the pioneers. He was thus occupied for about a year, in the meantime buying one hundred and eighty acres of land in Clarion township, Bureau county. He then returned to Vermont on a visit, and remained there for a little over a year. In the spring of 1853 he again came west and began cultivating and improving his homestead, continuing to dwell there until 1865. That year he sold the farm and came to this county, where he invested his means in a quarter section of land in Mendota township. In 1874 he erected a handsome house here, at a cost of six thousand dollars, and in 1895 it was destroyed by fire. The same year, however, he built another residence, — a large, modern brick house, one of the most attractive homes in the county. Substantial barns, granaries and other farm buildings provide abundance of accommodations for stock and the products of the farm, and everything about the place is kept up neatly and in a manner denoting thrift. About 1893 Mr. Miller bought an eighty-acre farm adjoining his homestead, and now owns and cultivates two hundred and forty acres.
The marriage of Mr. Miller and Miss Elmina D. Ballon was solemnized February 28, 1856, and after more than two-score years of happiness together the devoted wife and mother was summoned to the better land. She died August 1, 1897, at the age of sixty-three years and ten months. Her loss is deeply felt in this community, and her noble example, and loving, womanly sympathy and helpfulness is remembered by her friends, who were innumerable. She, as well as Mr. Miller, has long been identified with the Universalist faith, her parents, Asahel and Diantha (Fox) Ballon, have been deceased many years.
To the union of our subject and wife four sons and a daughter were born: Martha E., whose birth occurred October 1, 1857, died July 28, 1861; Loren C., born March 30, 1860, died March 13, 1863; Frank H., born March 21, 1862, married Alma R. Clark, by whom three children were born, — Lee, Grace and Frank; the father died in August, 1889; Dana E., born June 26, 1864, first wedded Sarah Taylor, and after her death Anna Taylor became his wife; they have one little daughter, Helen; and Eddie A., born in Mendota, March 27, 1866, resides upon the eighty-acre farm adjoining his father's homestead. His wife was Miss May Lambert prior to their marriage.
Politically J. E. Miller is a stalwart advocate of the Republican party platform and principles. He has served in the capacity of school director two terms. During a long period he was the treasurer and a director in the Farmers' Mutual Fire and Lightning Insurance Company, and other local concerns received his aid and influence.
Extracted 17 Jul 2017 by Norma Hass from Biographical and Genealogical Record of LaSalle County, Illinois, published in 1900, volume 2, pages 496-497.