Biographical History of Central Kansas, Vol. II, p. 1536
published by The Lewis Publishing Co, Chicago & New York, 1902
W. W. MILLER
Certain sections of the country are characterized by lines of business peculiar to the region. Kansas is pre-eminently an agricultural and stock-raising state; nowhere in this broad land can be found finer stock farms than are seen within its borders, and the proprietors of these are men of enterprise who have done much to improve the grade of stock raised in the country. Mr Miller was born in Schuylkill county, Pennsylvania, October 15, 1848, and is a son of Joseph and Polly (Whetstone) Miller, both of whom were natives of the Keystone state. The great-grandfather on the maternal side was Burkhard Moser, who discovered the first anthracite coal in Pennsylvania and carried it over the Blue mountains to use in his own forge. The family if of Pennsylvania Dutch ancestry, noted for industry, honesty and patriotism. Joseph Miller was kicked by a horse and died in forty-eight hours after the accident, when our subject was only six years of age, and at his death left a widow and six children. The mother, long surviving him, died in Buffalo, New York, at the age of seventy-four years. The children were as follows: John, who is now living in New York; Anna, deceased; Emma, who has also passed away; Mrs Carrie Kauntz, of Philadelphia; W W, of this review; Mrs Mary Hart, of Rollo, Missouri; and E W, a resident of Lyons.
Mr Miller, whose name begins this record, spent his boyhood days in Pennsylvania and entered school there. He acquired a good education prior to the time of his enlistment in the Union army. He was only fourteen and a half years of age, when, on the 3rd of March, 1862, he responded to the country’s call for troops and joined the Thirty-ninth Pennsylvania Infantry. March 3, 1864, he re-enlisted in Company K, Forty-eighth Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry, First Brigade, Second Division, Ninth Army Corps, commanded by General Burnside until July 30 and afterward by General Parks until the close of the war. He was the youngest soldier that went to the front in the spring of 1862 and carried a gun, but he displayed valor and bravery equal to that of many men of twice his years, and his war record is one of which he has every reason to be proud. He served under General Burnside in the Army of the Potomac and participated in the Wilderness campaign, the battles of Gettysburg and Cold Harbor, the siege of Petersburg and was present at the mine explosion there. At Cold Harbor he was wounded by a musket ball in the left leg but escaped further injury and was ever found at the post of duty, loyally defending the old flag, the emblem of the Union. He was discharged as a non-commissioned officer.
Returning to his home Mr Miller entered business life and was with the express company at Mahanoy City, Pennsylvania. Later he engaged in dealing in garden products for ten months and then learned the potter’s trade, engaging in the manufacture of earthenware at Slatington, in Lehigh county, Pennsylvania. As a companion on the journey of life he chose Miss Elizabeth Dyer, their wedding being celebrated on the 22nd of December, 1869. She was born, reared and educated in Pennsylvania and is a daughter of Richard Dyer, whose birth occurred in Doylestown, Bucks county, Pennsylvania. Her mother, who bore the maiden name of Caroline Hoffman, died in 1877. They were members of the Society of Friends, or Quakers, and they had six children, of whom four reached years of maturity, namely: John T, of Norristown, Pennsylvania; Mrs Miller; Emma L, who is living in Allentown, Pennsylvania; Laura J; James L, who died at the age of twenty-two years; and one who died in infancy.
In 1874 Mr Miller went to Fort Wayne, Indiana, where he accepted a position as foreman and superintendent of the large brick plant, remaining in charge for three years. He then came to Kansas, taking up his abode in Crawford county, but after three years disposed of his business interests at that place and removed to Neodesha, Wilson county, Kansas, where he conducted a pottery, which he sold in 1884. He was also for three years in the nursery business as one of the officers and stockholders of an extensive firm carrying on a large trade under the name of Kansas State Nursery Company. In 1884 he came to Lyons, where he was engaged extensively in the brick business, manufacturing almost all of the brick that was used in the construction of all the brick buildings around the square. He was also proprietor of the Miller Pottery Plant, which he sold for thirteen thousand dollars. He then came to Maple Grove Stock Farm and has since been engaged extensively in the raising of horses. He located upon his farm in 1889 and has made it one of the best improved properties in this portion of the state. He has some of the best standard-bred horses in Kansas, including Woodfield No. 2192, which he purchased at a cost of forty-five hundred dollars. There are now eighty-five head of horses on the farm and the pastures resemble a fine stock show, owing to the splendid grade of horses which he raises. Mr Miller ships to New York city, where he has sold a great many show horses and high-acting horses, for which he has received from one to two thousand dollars. He has a fine three-quarter mile track located on the farm, large barns, sheds and feed lots. His pastures rival the famous pastures of Kentucky and he raises alfalfa in large quantities in order to provide a winter supply of feed for the horses. The farm derives its name from a beautiful ten-acre grove of maple trees of large growth. The residence is a commodious two-story dwelling, standing upon a natural building site. Upon the place there is also a two-story building thirty by fifty feet which he uses in the manufacture of the Miller Wheat Drills, the most popular drill of the kind now manufactured. It can be used for making both small and large drills for wheat and corn stalks, and the large drill is the best in the world. This implement has proven of benefit and value to the farmers and is now finding a ready sale upon the market.
The home of Mr and Mrs Miller has been blessed with two sons: Clyde and U R, both of whom are young men of pleasing address and good business ability, who assist their father in the care of the farm. In his political affiliations Mr Miller is a Republican and is an active worker for his party and friends, although he is never desirous of office for himself. He has a frank and cordial manner which makes him popular with all classes, while Maple Grove Farm is noted for its hospitality and the cordial welcome which is ever extended to all of their many friends.
The Maple Grove Stock Farm is located seven miles east and three miles south of Lyons. This farm in noted for raising more high-acting horses than any stock farm west of the Mississippi river. They have in the stud four high-acting stallions, Woodfield, Ferenzie Boy, Maplewood and Fernwood. Any one wishing to buy high-class horses are especially invited to come and examine their stock. His drill business has been moved to Newton, Kansas, where he has associated himself with a few enterprising citizens and organized a stock company, with a capital of one hundred thousand dollars. They have erected a large factory and are now manufacturing the Miller Grain Drills on a large scale. The name of the company is the Miller Grain Drill Manufacturing Company, of which W W Miller is president and general manager; J A Randall, vice-president; C M Glover, treasurer and secretary. Besides the drills they are now manufacturing other farming implements. The youngest son, U R Miller, is associated with his father at Newton, and has charge of the works as superintendent of the plant. The oldest son, T C Miller, is manager of the Maple Grove Stock Farm, and both are young men of promise, well started in life. It is left with these young men to keep up the great name and business established by their honored father, and it cannot be doubted that they will do so, for both of them are energetic and have the necessary business capacity to go on with this enterprise. Mr Miller himself is active in business and still in the prime of life, being good for many years to look after his enterprises. He disposed of one-fourth of his interests to the parties interested with him, still owning three-fourths of the business, which gives him full control. It cannot be doubted that a bright future awaits this new concern, which is due to the genius and enterprise of W W Miller.