HENRY MILLER. - Having passed different portions of the active period of his life as a gardner, a farmer, a mechanic and a merchant; residing and contributing to various productive industries in three of the great states of the country; three times a soldier in the Union army during the Civil war under separate enlistments, and freely shedding his blood for the good of the cause he loved, Henry Miller, of Kansas City, Kansas, has had a varied and interesting career, full of credit to himself and of usefulness to his fellow men in widely distant localities.
Mr. Miller has had his full share of sorrow and trouble, too, but no bereavement or difficulty ever subdued his nerve, daunted his spirit or stayed his industry and devotion to duty. He was born on March 16, 1838, in that part of Virginia which was torn from the mother state by the stern arbitrament of Civil war and is now West Virginia, the place of his nativity being Ohio county. He was the first born of the five children of his parents, Benjamin and Nancy (Husselton) Miller, the former a native of Virginia, and the latter of Maryland. The mother died in 1843 and the father in 1844, while on a flour boat on the Mississippi river at the mouth of the Red river. Their children were five sons: Henry, aged five when his mother died and six when his father passed away; Oliver, who is now a resident of West Virginia; Richard, who was killed in one of the battles of the Civil war as a Union soldier; William, who also lives in West Virginia; and Theodore, whose home is in southeastern Ohio.
Thus doubly orphaned in their tender childhood by the death of both parents, the children were put out to be reared and cared for by relatives, and while they were still young in years were obliged to begin the battle of life for themselves and be wholly dependent on their own exertions. It is greatly to their credit that they accepted their destiny with alacrity and have employed to good advantage for themselves all the opportunities life has brought them, making their way to comfortable estates in a worldly way and respectable standing in their several communities.
Henry was first employed by a Mr. Hicks at Bridgeport, Ohio, then on a farm in the southeastern part of that state, where he remained until 1861. In April of that year, in response to President Lincoln's first call for volunteers to aid in saving the Union from dismemberment, he enlisted in Company B, First Ohio Volunteer Infantry, of which he was made first duty sergeant. His enrollment was for three months, and in August, 1861, he was discharged. But his loyalty to the Union made him still eager to be active in its service, and in November of the same year he again entered the volunteer army as a member of Company D, Forty-third Ohio Infantry. In October, 1862, his left hip was fractured during a frenzied charge on the Confederate forces, and he was sent to Jefferson barracks in St. Louis, Missouri, where he was soon afterward again discharged this time on account of his disability for further service at the time.
Shattered in health and bearing with fortitude the painful mark of his military service, Mr. Miller returned to his former home in Belmont county, Ohio, where he again went to work on a farm and remained until May, 1864. At that time the war was still raging and the need of the Federal government for additional troops was imperative. He therefore once more shouldered his musket as a volunteer, joining Company A, One Hundred and Seventieth Ohio Infantry. He was again sergeant of his company, and with his regiment was sent to Washington, D. C., for guard duty. On July 5, 1864, the regiment was ordered to Harpers Ferry, and a few days later took part in a battle at that place. He received his final honorable discharge from the army in September, 1864, and returned to Bridgeport, Ohio, where he followed gardening until February, 1866.
On the twenty-second day of that month he was united in marriage with Miss Mary Agnes Curley, a native of West Wheeling, Ohio, and a daughter of James and Nancy Curley of that place. After his marriage he drove a team for a lumber company in Bridgeport for two years, then moved to Council Bluffs, Iowa, and there was employed in the butchering business a number of years. At the end of his engagement in that city he went back to Bridgeport, Ohio, and engaged in the grocery trade a year and a half. He grew weary of mercantile life and again turned his attention to gardening for a short period. He then sold all his interests in Ohio and changed his residence to Gardner, Johnson county, Kansas. Near that town he was engaged in farming five years, and after that operated a threshing outfit for a time.
Mr. Miller's first wife died on March 14, 1885, and in September of the same year he moved to Kansas City, Kansas. During the next six years he was employed in a meat market and grocery, and upon quitting that employment became a farmer, continuing his operations in agriculture until July, 1892. In September of that year he contracted a second marriage, being united with Miss Christine Johnson, of Swedish nativity. In the meantime he had started as a dealer in coal, feed and hay in Kansas City, Kansas, and to this line of trade he adhered until December 1, 1910, when advancing age and a desire for rest induced him to sell his business and retire from all active pursuits. Since then he has been passing his evening of life in comfortable leisure and a rational enjoyment of the fruits of his long career of arduous and unremitting toil.
Seven children were born to him in his first marriage: Eva, the wife of James Snodgrass of Gardner, Kansas; Maud, who died in 1883 at the age of sixteen years; Rose, who is also a resident of Gardner in this state; Nellie, the wife of Jesse Reed of Sheffield, Kansas; Charles, whose home is at Oakley, this state; Wilbur, who died at the age of twenty-two; and Walter, whose home is at Gardner. There were no children of the second marriage.
Mr. Miller is essentially a self made man. He had but few opportunities for attending school, and these were of short duration. The exigencies of his situation as an orphan dependent on relatives for support drove him to his own resources for advancement at an early age, and the greater part of his mental training came to him in the severe but thorough school of experience. He has profited by its lessons, however, and is a well informed and intelligent man. In politics he is a Republican, but has never been a very active partisan. For many years he has been a devoted member of the Masonic Lodge at Gardner, and taken an active part in promoting its welfare and the social enjoyments incident to its meetings and occasional festivities. His membership in his lodge is valued highly, as is his citizenship in his home city and wherever else the people have knowledge of his worth and estimable character and public spirit.
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