5. Jacob A Miller

Jacob A., the ninth child, was born on October 25, 1857. He married Bertha Meyer, daughter of
John and Catherine Meyer, on May 12, 1885 at St. John’s Reformed Church in Red Lion. Catherine Meyer is known as “the mother of Red Lion”, since at one point she owned the majority of land that makes up Red Lion borough and in 1875 she built and operated a general store, saloon, post office and railroad station along what is now N. Main St. It was the erection of the railroad station and new stop along the Ma & Pa railroad that eventually lead to Red Lion becoming a borough. The fact that Jacob was an early businessman in Red Lion and was married to the daughter of Catherine Meyer lead to the fact that he was very influential in the development of Red Lion.

This is a picture of the building in which Jacob A ran his general store from on E. Broadway

According to his obituary, Jacob started out as a teacher at the age of 16. He taught at Raab’s
school in York Township, at Gehley’s in Windsor Township and also at Miller’s school, which was
located on his family’s homestead in Windsor Township. After serving as a teacher for several years, Jacob then became a farmer, but it didn’t take long for him to become engaged in commerce. The 1880 census lists him as a farmer in Windsor Twp, living with his sister Eliza Jane. Since his father had already moved to Red Lion and there is nor record of Jacob A purchasing any property, he was most likely living and farming on the Miller homestead. However, on September 3, 1881 he purchased land from John Wise in Red Lion and began operating a general store at this location which was called the Red Lion Emporium. The 1881 business directory of York County lists Jacob as operating a general store in Red Lion, the second such store opened in the borough, the other being the store of his future mother-in-law Catherine Meyer. This store was located along the south side of East Broadway, just to the west of the Ma & Pa railroad tracks.

In 1884, Jacob went into business with his brothers William and David, but by 1886 he was
once again operating the general store by himself. In 1887, Jacob sold the property that the business was located on to his father, this was probably due to financial difficulties. His father’s will in 1894 has Jacob’s inheritance placed in trust to his brother William, keeping the inheritance safe from Jacob’s creditor’s. Jacob still operated the general store after he sold the property to his father, we know this because the 1891 Business Review of York County lists him as operating a general store in Red Lion since its inception ten years ago. It is unclear when he stopped operating the general store, but we know it was sometime before 1894. When his father passed away in 1894, he still owned the property that the store was located on and it was sold as part of the settlement of the estate.

After operating the store for at least 10 years, Jacob started the first rural free mail delivery
route out of Red Lion. He did this for several years, then spent the remainder of his life in the
insurance and real estate business. At first, he operated this out of his house in Red Lion, which was located on the north east corner of W High St. and N Charles St. Eventually, he opened an office at 65 N Main St. in Red Lion and also an office at the P.A & S. Small Building in downtown York. As he progressed in age, he closed those offices and conducted business out of his home. For the last 18 years of his life, Jacob was also the Red Lion correspondent for “The Gazette” newspaper of York.

As was mentioned earlier, Jacob was very influential and important to the development of Red
Lion. Below is a list of contributions Jacob A. made to the development of many institutions and
places within the borough of Red Lion:

  • He was a member of the school board for the Red Lion schools in the early 1900’s.
  • In 1884, he was elected as a councilman to Red Lion borough.
  • At the Grace Evangelical Lutheran Church, which was across the street from his house,
    Jacob was the first superintendent of the Sunday School when it was organized in 1895.
  • He was also a superintendent of the Sunday School at St. John’s Reformed Church in
    town as well.
  • In 1907, he was Secretary of Red Lion borough.
  • When the Leo Independent Fire Company was organized in 1894, Jacob was appointed
    to a committee to obtain the charter for the company and to solicit additional charter
  • Was one of the leaders in establishing the Farmers and Merchants National Bank, having solicited the majority of stock for the new financial institution.
  • Instrumental in setting up the first electrical power plant in Red Lion.
  • Launched a movement to build an opera house in town and was elected Secretary of the
    Red Lion Opera House Association.
  • Responsible for Fairmount Park in Red Lion. In 1891, he received permission from his
    mother-in-law Catherine Meyer, who owned the land, to clear part of the grounds for
    picnic purposes. When Catherine Meyer passed away in 1920, it was Jacob who made it
    possible for the transfer of the park to the borough of Red Lion.
  • Purchased Fairmount Cemetery from his mother-in-law in 1916, added two additional
    acres in 1920 and then sold it to the Red Lion Cemetery Association in 1930 when it
    became known as the Red Lion Cemetery.

Jacob A. and his wife only had 1 child, an infant son who died shortly after birth in 1887. Their
child was the second person buried at what is now the Red Lion Cemetery. Jacob A. passed away on June 1, 1936 at his home in Red Lion and his wife Bertha passed away on November 26, 1941. Both of them are buried in the Meyer plot at the Red Lion Cemetery along with their son.

Jacob A Miller born October 25, 1857 in Windsor Twp, York County, PA, died June 1, 1936 in Red Lion, York County, PA and buried at Red Lion Cemetery in Red Lion, York County, PA.  He married Bertha Meyer on May 14, 1885 at St John’s Reformed Church in Red Lion, York County, PA.  She is the daughter of John and Catherine Meyer.  She was born October 11, 1862 in Windsor Twp, York County, PA, died November 26, 1941 in Red Lion, York County, PA and buried at Red Lion Cemetery in Red Lion, York County, PA

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