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Miller Farm History

2013 Dedication
Miller Descendants at Dedication

19 Miller Family Descendants at Dedication May 11, 2013

Six of the seven grandchildren and 19 total descendants of Will and Harriet Miller attended the Dedication Event on May 11, 2013. They came from Texas, Washington State, Washington DC, Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, and Maryland.

The strong connection to family ties and the importance and influence of this place in their lives is evident.

View of a farm from the sky
Miller Farm Mid-20th Century

Aerial View, 1950s

"Is This Your Farm?"

In 1955 the Western Star ran a feature every Thursday entitled, "Is This Your Farm?"  An aerial photo of the farm appeared and if the property owner recognized the farm and went to the Western Star office and told the story of the farm, the owner received a mounted picture of the farm.  Extra pictures or picture cards were also available.

On July 14, 1955, this photo of the Miller Farm was featured.  The farmhouse and ten acres are now owned by Steve and Kathie Henry.  The small  shed to the right of the barn served first as milk house and then as an apple storage shed.  It is still standing and the Henrys own the tractor that is sitting in front of it.  That and the farmhouse are all that remain of this era.   

The large barn in the photo was built in 1919.

Family of Four
Will and Harriet with Ed and Margaret Miller and Ellen Miller and Tom Mullett

The City of Lebanon Acquires the Miller Farm

The Miller Farm, consisting of approximately 114 acres, was originally purchased in 1877 by Peter and Margaret Koegel Miller, immigrants from Germany.  William, grandson of Peter, and his wife Harriet Snook farmed the land until Will died in 1982.

Edwin Lee Miller and Ellen Miller Mullett, children of Will and Harriet, inherited the land in 1988. 

In 1993, Edwin sold the farmhouse and surrounding land to Steve and Kathie Henry. He sold the remaining 46.2 acres to the City of Lebanon at a reduced cost so that a park could be developed in memory of his and Ellen's parents, Will and Harriet Miller. 

Ellen tried very hard to have her portion of the land added to the portion that the city purchased for a park, but at that point, the City of Lebanon was not prepared to purchase the additional land. She sold the land in 1996 to a developer who promised  to honor the land and her parents and the development became Miller's Crossing.  

Miller’s Crossing is a beautifully laid out community with 147 families, a neighborhood pool and pool house, a tennis court and play ground. On the south side of Miller’s Crossing there is  a 3-acre lake and over 30 acres of green space with direct access to the Will and Harriet Miller Ecological Park.

Photographs of husband and wife, side by side
Peter and Margaret Miller

Peter and Margaret (Koegel) Miller

Peter Miller was born on March 26, 1826 in the Reichenpfalz of Germany near Bergzabern.  Margaret Koegel was  born January 29, 1832, also in Germany, in OberRamstadt near Darmstadt. 

Peter worked as a stone-cutter from the age of sixteen until  twenty-two when in May of 1848 he was drafted into the Royal Army by the King of Bavaria. However, he only fought for the King for six months. Then he joined the Liberal Army and fought against the King. In July, 1850, he emigrated to America where he continued his work as a stone mason.

Margaret grew up in Germany and one of her early memories was walking five miles every morning to market with a basket on her head. At the age of eighteen she came to America.  She travelled alone on an ocean sailboat to New York, and since it was calm with no winds, the journey was very long, lasting 52 days. She worked in the kitchen of a family that had paid her passage after arriving in America. 

On September 29, 1852, Peter and Margaret were married in Cincinnati and their first child Margaret was born there on December 27, 1853. In the spring of 1855 the family moved to Lebanon, Ohio. Katherine was born on December 26, 1855; Peter was born on January 5, 1858; Karl (Charles) was born on April 26, 1860.  The family first owned a home and small strip of land near the fairgrounds.  Then in 1877, they purchased the farm on what would become Miller Road.

Four children posing for a photograph
Kate, Margaret, Charles, and Peter (Children of Peter and Margaret)

Kate, Margaret, Charles, and Peter : Children of Margaret and Peter

Margaret Elizabeth "Maggie" Miller was married on October 29, 1874 to David E. Thompson in Warren County Ohio and they spent their entire life here. Margaret and David had three children: Clyde, Gertrude, and Miles. Only Gertrude married and none of the children ever had any children. 

Katherine "Kate" Miller was married January 2, 1927 to Chris Kalberer of Indiana and moved to West Lafayette, Indiana. Chris and Kate had one daughter, Maude. 

Peter Miller married Carrie Elma Cowan in 1890 in Lebanon, Ohio.  Family lore says that Peter and Carrie went to Hawaii on their honeymoon and that Peter was an Indian agent and had a store that sold goods on a reservation in California.  Peter and Carrie came back to Ohio where she died in 1899.  Peter then married Lela Hill. He inherited the Miller Farm from his mother in 1917.  William Miller, son of Peter's brother Charles, was the one who farmed the land. Peter died in February, 1946.  In Peter's will he provided that at Lela's death 1/2 of the farm would go to William.  The other 1/2 he divided into 9 parts: (1) To nephew, Roy Miller, (2) nephew, William Miller (3) Niece,Ruby Lollar, (4) Niece, Maude Massie, (5) Niece, Nell Banta. The remainder of the nine shares went to relatives of Lela Hill.

Charles Miller followed his "love" Lucy Evans and her family to Missouri and they were married on March 12, 1884 in Holden, Missouri and lived on a farm there for seven years.  Their first three children were born there.  Continuous failure of crops brought Charles and Lucy back to Lebanon, Ohio.

A couple posing for a photograph
Lucy Evans and Charles Miller

Charles and Lucy (Evans) Miller

Charles and Lucy and their children moved to a farm on Drake Road not far from the Miller Farm. Here daughter Ruby was born.

Ruby was only three years old when Lucy died in February, 1897, of pneumonia. She had ridden in an open carriage to go care for a friend who was ill and then became ill herself.

Charles and his family of four children then moved to the Peter and Margaret Miller home on what is now Miller Road. Here Grandmother Margaret shared in the care of these four children. Nell was twelve years of age and tried in every way to fill the vacuum left by a loving and devoted mother's death.

Four people posing for a photograph
Will, Ruby, and Roy standing. Nell seated.

 Nell, Roy, Will and Ruby: Children of Lucy and Charles

Nell May Banta was born on April 21, 1885 in Holden, Missouri, the oldest child of Charles and Lucy (Evans) Miller. Nell married Oliver "Earl" Banta on February 26, 1913, and they lived east of Lebanon on Oregonia Road.  While they never had any children of their own, they were very close with their "Miller" nieces and nephews.  Nell gave her portion of the farm inheritance to her brother Will.

 Roy Evans Miller was born February 18, 1887 in Holden, Missouri, the second child of Charles and Lucy Miller. The Miller family valued education highly and encouraged him to attend college. He worked his way through Ohio State University, earning a degree in Civil Engineering. After his graduation in 1908, he returned to Lebanon where he worked for Mr. Sam Henkle who was County Engineer.   Roy married Ethel Gustin in 1909, a daughter of Irwin and Ellen Brown Gustin. Roy and Ethel moved into a home on Mound Street where they lived until 1950 when they built a house on High Street. Roy followed Sam Henkle as the Warren County Surveyor (County Engineer) in 1914 and held the post until 1920. He then worked for Armco in Middletown.  Roy and Ethel had one daughter, Margaret (Peg) Eleanor Miller who was born June 21, 1915. Roy gave his share of the farm to his brother Will who was the son chosen to work the farm rather than attend college. When it was time for his nephew Edwin to go to college, Roy helped support him financially.

William P. Miller was born in Holden, Missouri on November 3, 1888 the third child of Charles and Lucy (Evans) Miller.  After Lucy died, Will's father, Charles, married Nina Sellers in 1900. In 1906, when Will was almost eighteen, his father died. The next year Will's grandfather, Peter Miller, died also. Will's grandmother, Margaret Miller, continued living on the farm for a number of years. As was a common practice in these days, the oldest, Roy, attended college, and Will took over the responsibility of the farm.  Stepmother, Nina stayed awhile after Charles died, but soon after Ruby was married she went to live with her orphaned nieces and nephews. On February 3, 1916, Will married Harriet Elizabeth Snook, a school teacher, and brought her home to the Miller farm.

Ruby Mildred Miller was born March 16, 1894 in Turtlecreek Township, Warren County, Ohio after the family had returned about 1891. On August 18, 1914, she married Harry David Lollar who had grown up on the Lollar Farm on The Ridge in Union Township, Ohio.  They had two children: Robert and Katherine.

Miller photo
Will, Edwin, Ellen, and Harriet

Will and Harriet (Snook) Miller

At the time of the marriage of Will and Harriet, the Miller Farm was owned by Will's grandmother, Margaret.  Both Will's father, Charles, and his grandfather, Peter, were deceased.  Will and Harriet had two children: Edwin and Ellen. After Will's grandmother's death in 1917, the farm was owned by his Uncle Peter.  When his Uncle Peter died in 1946, part of the farm to his wife Lela's family.

Will did not own the farm until 1948, and then it was only possible because Roy, Nell, and Ruby signed off on their shares of the inheritance.  Will also received an inheritance from Miles Thompson, a son of his Aunt Margaret. 

In his nineties, Will was still climbing ladders to pick apples, working on his farm, and enjoying the company of family.

Son Edwin married Margaret Bartter Miller in 1943, and they had five children.  Daughter Ellen married Thomas Alan Mullett and they had two children.