History and Biography of Jacob Miller and Anna Maria Anstine
Jacob Miller was the second child of Michael Jr. and Elizabeth Zeller Miller. According to the tombstone at Freysville Cemetery in Windsor Twp, Jacob was born on February 16, 1810. Baptismal records for Jacob have not been located, either he was not baptized or he was baptized at Freysville Union Church, whose early church records have been misplaced and are not available. Based on tax records and property deeds for his father, Jacob was born and raised in Windsor Twp, York County on the Miller homestead.
On September 23, 1841, Jacob married Anna Maria Anstine. According to the marriage certificate, the marriage ceremony was performed by the Reverend Peter Herrman. The marriage certificate does not list the church the ceremony was performed in, but Reverend Herrman was a pastor for at least three Lutheran congregations in York County from 1839 to 1852, two of which were Sadler’s church in Hopewell Township and St. Luke’s (Stehli’s) in Chanceford Township. Since both Jacob and Anna Maria’s families were affiliated with the Freysville Reformed Church, it is likely that Rev Herrman also ministered there as well and that is why he presided over their marriage.
Anna Maria was born on July 9, 1817 according to her tombstone at Freysville Cemetery. Like
Jacob, baptismal records have not been located for Anna Maria, once again probably due to the fact she was baptized at Freysville Union Church and many of those early records are missing. She was the daughter of Johann George Anstine and Catherine Ehrhardt. Anna Maria’s grandparents were Simon Anstine and Maria Catherine Blasser, prominent early settlers of Windsor Twp. Simon was active in local affairs, having been a trustee of the Freysville Cemetery and also being elected as a Representative to the PA House of Representatives for York County. Simon was began operation of a mill along Route 624 in 1811, the mill is now commonly referred to as Bahn’s Mill. Anna Maria grew up in what is now Lower Windsor Township, York County, PA. This property is located just to the east of Windsor, on the north side of Route 624, right along the border of Windsor and Lower Windsor Township.
Jacob purchased the Miller farmstead from his parents, but even before the official transaction was completed, he was living on a portion of the homestead and working it as a farmer. In 1839, his parents purchased what has become known as Miller’s Mill and moved the family to that residence. The 1840 census shows Jacob Miller residing in a home next to Valentine Gable and his aunt Catherine Kemmerly. Based on the people listed next to him on the census, Jacob was residing on the Miller homestead. Then on March 28th, 1846, his parents Michael Jr. and Elizabeth sold 120 acres of the Miller farmstead to Jacob. All of the children of Jacob and Anna Maria were born and raised on this
Education has always been an important part of the Miller family, as many of the early Miller
men were well educated. In 1834, Pennsylvania passed the Free School Act, allowing local townships and boroughs to form school districts and provide public education. In the late 1840’s, Windsor Township voted to form a school district and nine schools were initially formed. It is unknown what year it happened, but a school was built on the Miller homestead right along present day Route 74 and named the Miller School. The creation of the school probably occurred sometime during the time Jacob owned the property. The school was operating by at least 1861, as the biography of Cornelius Strayer in the “History of York County, PA” written by George Prowell states that Cornelius was born in January 1854 and attended the Miller School at the age of 6. Jacob’s children attended school here, and his youngest son Jacob A Miller also taught school there as well. The school operated until the early 1950’s when the Red Lion School District was formed and larger elementary schools were built.
Anna Maria passed away on July 3, 1862, six days shy of her 45th birthday. That left Jacob as a
single father to a family of seven children, including 4 children who were 10 years of age or younger. Jacob never did re-marry after Anna Maria’s death, but it appears he did have plenty of in raising the young children. The oldest daughter of Jacob and Anna Maria, Catherine was 19 years old at the time her mother passed, so she was old enough to help raise her younger siblings. Also, the 1870 census shows that Jacob’s two youngest sisters, Sarah and Rebecca, were living with Jacob and his family. It is unclear if they moved in shortly after Anna Maria passed away in 1862 or if they moved in later in the decade when Catherine got married and moved out.
Jacob lived on the Miller homestead until the late 1870’s, when he and his daughter Eliza moved
to what would soon become the town of Red Lion. According to later deed transactions, on November 24, 1877 Jacob purchased a tract of land from Catherine Meyer, who is known as the mother of Red Lion. The land included a home on the northwest corner of N Main St and First Avenue, and additional lots along the north side of First Avenue that went back to the railroad tracks. Jacob is listed in the 1880 census as living in Red Lion with his daughter Mary Ellen and her husband E. G. Williams.
It is uncertain if this was his residence when he passed away or if he moved into another home
that he purchased from his son Jacob A. Miller. On December 14, 1887 Jacob purchased the general store that his son operated for six years and the home across the alley. The store is located on the south side of East Broadway, on the eastern side of the Ma & Pa railroad tracks and is currently occupied by the White Dove Laundromat and the home is located just the east of the store. Just across the street, on the north side of East Broadway, was the home and lumber yard of Jacob’s oldest son William H. Miller. Unfortunately, the 1890 census is not available for Red Lion and the city directories for the late 1880’s and early 1890’s do not list addresses, just the name of the town someone lives in.
Jacob played a prominent role in the early development and days of Red Lion as a borough. He
signed the petition that requested the Court of Common Pleas of York County to incorporate Red Lion as a borough, which was approved by the court on January 16, 1880. He also signed a petition in 1881 that stated he was not in favor of a portion of the borough seceding. On February 17, 1880, the first election was held in Red Lion and Jacob was elected as the first judge of the new borough.
Jacob outlived his wife by over thirty two years, passing away on November 15, 1894 at the age
of eighty four. Both Jacob and Anna Maria Jr. are buried in Freysville Cemetery, very close to Jacob’s parents Michael and Elizabeth. Jacob and Anna Maria were the parents of ten children. From oldest to youngest, they are Catherine Ann, Amanda, William Henry, Malinda, Milton, Eliza Jane, Mary Ellen, Ephriam, Jacob A and David A. The birth and baptism information for the children listed below is taken directly from the family Bible of Jacob & Anna Maria.
Jacob Miller born February 16, 1810 in Windsor Twp, York County, PA, died November 15, 1894 in Red Lion, York County, PA and buried at Freysville Cemetery in Windsor Twp, York County, PA. He married Anna Maria Anstine on Sep 23, 1841, daughter of George Anstine and Catherine Ehrhardt. She was born July 9, 1817 in Windsor Twp, York County, PA, died July 3, 1862 in Windsor Twp, York County, PA and buried at Freysville Cemetery in Windsor Twp, York County, PA
Children of Jacob Miller and his wife Anna Maria Anstine:
- Catherine Ann Miller (May 25, 1843 – May 5, 1921) married Jacob T Flinchbaugh (1832 – April 11, 1894)
- Amanda Miller (September 8, 1844 – December 6, 1844)
- William Henry Miller (March 6, 1846 – June 7, 1896) married Emeline Tyson (January 8, 1850 – March 22, 1875). He then married Leah Priscilla Tyson (June 21, 1852 – April 25, 1915)
- Malinda Miller (May 7, 1849 – January 19, 1927) married Pius Geesey (July 5, 1845 – June 18, 1928)
- Milton Miller (December 3, 1850 – May 23, 1851)
- Eliza Jane Miller (June 10, 1852 – April 9, 1928)
- Mary Ellen Miller (August 28, 1853 – October 1, 1940) married Reverend Edward Garver Williams (August 21, 1848 – August 22, 1920)
- Ephraim Miller (March 17, 1855 – August 5, 1855)
- Jacob A Miller (October 25, 1857 – June 1, 1936) married Bertha Meyers (October 11, 1862 – November 26, 1941)
- David A Miller (July 31, 1859 – January 31, 1947) married Agnes Dietz (December 22, 1861 – March 5, 1950)