History and Biography of Herman Miller (Mueller)
Johan Herman Miller (1706-1783) is the furthest back I have been able to trace the Miller line at this time. Herman arrived in Philadelphia on the ship “Brittania”, captained by Michael Franklyn, on September 21, 1731. Along with Herman on the ship, there was Christian Muller (age 60), Katherine Muller (age 50), and Margerita (age 22). Based upon the age of Christian and Katherina and the fact all 4 Muller’s were listed together as a family, it is likely they are Herman’s parents, but we can not be certain of this. Following this logic, Margerita would either be Herman’s sister or possibly his first wife. The passenger list shows that Herman’s age at the time of his arrival was 25, therefore he was born in either late 1705 or 1706.
Where Herman was born is unknown at this time, but we can presume he lived in the Palatine region in Germany. The first passenger listed on the “Brittania” was the Reverend John Bartholomew Reiger, who was an early Reformed minister in Pennsylvania and was the leader of a colony that arrived with him on the ship. Based upon this, it is very likely that Herman belonged to the Reformed church and may have followed Reverend Reiger. From 1731 to 1734, Reverend Reiger ministered to the Germantown, Skippack and Philadelphia reformed congregations before he moved on to New Jersey.
After Herman’s arrival in Philadelphia in 1731, we do not have any records of his first several years in Pennsylvania until 1738. Based on what we know of Herman’s family, he probably married his bride Catherine in 1735 or 1736 since their eldest son Tobias was presumably born in 1737. At this time, we have not been able to locate any church records for the marriage of Herman or the birth of Tobias. This is probably due to the fact that no church or private pastoral records exist for Reformed church members during the 1730’s for either the Skippack area or Lebanon.
As mentioned, the next time we find a record for who we believe is our ancestor Herman is the purchase of 200 acres of land on October 26, 1738 in what was then Lancaster County. According to the Lancaster County warrant index, the property was located in Lebanon at the forks of the Swatara Creek. In reviewing other connected warrant draft maps on the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission website, the forks of the Swatara Creek is at the confluence of the Little Swatara Creek and Swatara Creek. This is the location of the present-day town of Jonestown.
The fact that a Herman Miller purchased land does not necessarily prove he is our ancestor, but there is other evidence that this is our ancestor. In the Swatara Reformed congregation’s church register, there is an entry for a Herman Muller. This church is located about two miles northeast of Jonestown, which is where Herman lived. On March 3, 1742, Herman and Catherine Muller baptized a son named Johann Herman. This baptism record matches almost perfectly with our Herman Miller, as he was married to a Catherine and he had a son named Johann Herman who was born “around” 1741. Based on these facts, it is a pretty safe assumption the Herman who owned the 200 acres in Jonestown was also the Herman listed in the Swatara church records and is our ancestor based on the baptismal information for Johann Herman matching what is known for our ancestor.
Since there is no additional records of Herman in the Jonestown area, it is uncertain when he left this area or if he moved somewhere else before moving to York County, PA. We do know that he purchased his 170 acres in York County, PA from Nicholas Bohour on January 9th, 1748 according the Patent that was granted to Herman for the land in 1771. The first church record of Herman and Catherine in York County come from the baptism of their 7th child John Conrad Mueller. Conrad was born on October 21, 1752 and baptized on December 3, 1752 at Christ Evangelical Lutheran Church in York, PA. It is likely that Herman moved his family to the York area around 1747 or 1748.
As was just mentioned, Herman and Catherine purchased 170 acres from Nicholas Bohour (Bougher) in what was York Township, it later became Springettsbury Township. The plantation was located on the east side of Mill Creek, just north of present-day Mt. Rose Ave and west of Haines Road. The property was purchased on January 9, 1748 and they had it surveyed on August 14, 1765. It didn’t take long for Herman to get acquainted with his neighbors, becase in 1755 he was elected to be Constable in York Township. He was also elected to be Supervisor in York Township in 1761 and 1765. Herman raised his family and resided on this tract of land for almost 30 years until they sold the property shortly after the start of the Revolutionary War. On May 5, 1777, Herman and Catherine sold the property to Daniel Shuey. The deed transaction is the last record we have of Catherine. She is not mentioned in Herman’s will in 1783, therefore she probably passed away sometime between May 1777 and July 22, 1783 when Herman wrote his will and did not mention her.
As previously mentioned, Herman wrote his will on July 22, 1783. At the time he wrote his will, Herman listed Windsor Township as the location where he was residing. Herman passed away shortly after he wrote the will, as the will was proven at the York County Court House on October 22, 1783. Herman named Conrad Brubaker and Michael Miller, his youngest son, as executors of his estate. In his will, he leaves his entire estate to his eight sons, in order from oldest to youngest, Tobias, Frederick, Herman, Simeon, Christian, Henry, Conrad and Michael. Genealogist Keith Dull in his book Early German settlers of York County, Pennsylvania has Michael listed as the oldest son of Herman, probably because he was the executor of his estate. However the will clearly lists the children in ago from oldest to youngest, and Michael is the youngest. Dull also listed Herman as living in Shrewsbury Township, but that was actually his son Herman who lived there, as we have documented that Herman lived in York Township.
In regards to the children of Herman and Catherine, we do not have any verified additional information on Simeon, Christian or Conrad. There are only 2 possible references I can find to Simon, one is that a Sigmund and Catharina Muller had a son named Jacob born Jan 24, 1774 and baptized at Friedensaal’s Church. The second is a Sigmut Miller applied for a warrant for 200 acres of land in Shrewsbury Township in 1768, near the present day area of Tolna, just to the east of the Shrewsbury exit of I-83. He didn’t have that land long, as John Fackler had it surveyed in 1769. I can’t find any census or tax records for a Simon or Sigmund Miller. He was listed in his fathers will, so he presumably was alive in 1783.
For Christian, I have found tax records of a Christian Miller living in Windsor Twp in the early 1780’s and he owned 65 acres and in 1783 had 7 inhabitants. However, no more records are listed for him in Windsor Twp. Another Christian Miller shows up in the late 1780’s in Shrewsbury, but he is listed as a Weaver and owns no land. Christian Miller shows on the 1800 census in Shrewsbury Twp, but he is listed as 26-44 (too young) and with only 4 children all under the age of 10. So I don’t think the Christian Miller in Shrewsbury is the same one that was in Windsor Twp earlier nor the son of Herman.
For Conrad, there are 2 Conrad Miller’s born within several months of each other in York County in 1752. Our Conrad was born in Oct 1752, the other Conrad was born in May 1752 and is the son of another Conrad Miller. I believe the father and son Conrad Miller lived in Hopewell Twp, because tax lists in the 1780’s list Conrad Sr. and Conrad Jr. The 1800 census does list a Conrad Miller living in York Twp (over the age of 45 so that could possibly be the son of Herman), but I don’t see anything in York Twp before that. There are also records for a Conrad Miller living in Dover Twp, so there might be four Conrad Miller’s living in York County in the late 1780’s and 1790’s. One Conrad Miller married Dorothea Grimm in 1780, I couldn’t find any birth records that listed both of them as parents. There are birth records for parents Conrad and Catharina Miller in York County.
Children of Herman Miller and his wife Catherine:
- Tobias Miller (1737 – March 15, 1796) married Catherina Elizabeth Eisenhauer (February 15, 1738 – August 7, 1814).
- Frederick Miller (about 1739 – 1803) married Catherine (unknown surname)
- Herman Miller (about 1742 – 1817) married Barbara (unknown surname)
- Simon (or Simeon/Sigmund) Miller
- Christian Miller
- Henry Miller (about 1751 – July 16, 1821) married Margaret (unknown)
- Conrad Miller (October 21, 1752 – unknown)
- Michael Miller (August 14, 1755 – June 6, 1823)
Click on the hyperlinks for Tobias, Frederick, Herman, Henry and Michael to find out more information on them and their descendants.
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