Archibald Miller

ARCHIBALD MILLER Chase County was organized in 1859. One of the local citizens of the meager population then living here who took a prominent part in the organization, and one of the very few survivors of that time, is Mr. Archibald Miller, now living in comfort and retired from business cares at Cottonwood Falls, the county seat. Mr. Miller has witnessed all the development of this Kansas county, its growth and population, the development of its splendid resources as an agricultural and stock raising section and has borne more than an individual share in all these developments, having been a resident of Chase County sixty years.

Mr. Miller is several years past the age of four-score. He has lived long and usefully and well and has made his generous prosperity almost altogether from Kansas land and Kansas business He was born on a farm in County Antrim, Ireland, September 12, 1833, a son of John and Jane (McCarter) Miller. His father was born in 1802 and died in 1847, and the mother was born in 1816 and died in Chase County, Kansas, in 1879. Their children were six in number, four sons and two daughters, named Elizabeth, John, Archibald, Patrick, James and Jane. All of these are now deceased except Archibald. James when last heard from had shipped as a sailor on a vessel sailing from London for India.

Archibald Miller grew up on an Irish farm. He was fourteen when his father died, and he felt the necessity of becoming self-supporting and to earn an honest living he worked out for others for six years.

In 1854, at the age of twenty-one, he came to America. Accompanying him on this voyage, which was of six weeks' duration, were his brother Patrick and his sister Elizabeth. They landed from the sailing vessel at Quebec, Canada, having started from Belfast. Mr. Miller soon went to the vicinity of Detroit, Michigan, and found employment with a farmer at $12 a month, and worked steadily for him three years. He had none of the spendthrift habits of many farm laborers and from his savings he was able to buy 160 acres of Michigan timber land. It was not a very profitable investment, since he later traded it for a team of horses.

It was in October, 1857, two years before the organization of Chase County, that Mr. Miller identified himself with Kansas. At that time he located on Government land three miles east of Cottonwood Falls and was there among the first settlers. He endured the vicissitudes and hardships of existence on the frontier, and he made his home on the original claim for fifty years. That land still belongs in the family. When in 1906 Mr. Miller gave up active farming he was the owner of 3,330 acres. This almost princely estate was then divided among his five children.

In 1857, the year he came to Kansas; his mother crossed the ocean from Ireland and joined him in this state, also taking up a claim. She brought with her her two younger children, John and Jane. The son John was accidentally drowned in the Cottonwood River in 1866.

In 1882 Mr. Miller became one of the constituent organizers of the Chase County National Bank. He contributed to the growth and welfare of that institution by his official connection as a director and vice president, and only resigned these offices in 1917. He has been a successful farmer, a raiser of horses and cattle, and all his undertakings seemed to have prospered. At the same time he has not neglected the welfare of the community, and has filled the office of county commissioner. Mr Miller has always been a democrat in matters of party affiliation.

On July 23, 1868, he married Miss Mary McNee. She was born in Scotland May 19, 1837, and came to America in 1866. Mr. and Mrs Miller had seven children, five sons and two daughters. The record is as follows: John, born January 13, 1870; Margaret, born May 30, 1871, died March 18, 1877; Jane, born December 30, 1872, now the wife of Archibald Harpole, a farmer in McLean County, Illinois; Archibald, born December 1, 1874, died August 12, 1908; James McNee, born October 13, 1877; George McNee, born October 4, 1879; and William Steele, born August 7, 1882.


A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans, written and compiled by William E. Connelley, Secretary of the Kansas State Historical Society, Topeka. Chicago: Lewis Publishing Company, copyright 1918; transcribed 1997.
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