2. Michael Miller Sr. (1755-1823)

History and Biography of Michael Miller and Susanna Lantz

Michael Miller was the 8th and youngest child of Herman and Catherine Miller. Based upon the information on his tombstone, we know Michael was born on August 14, 1755. Since we know his brother Conrad was born and baptized in York County, it is safe to presume that Michael was also born in York County as well. Baptismal records have not been located for Michael.

On March 12, 1776, Michael married Susanna Lantz at Trinity Reformed Church in York, Pennsylvania. Susanna was the daughter of Andreas (Andrew) Lantz and Barbara Gerber. According to the book titled Lists of Swiss Emigrants in the Eighteenth Century to the American Colonies, Volume II, Andreas was from the village of Rohrbach, Switzerland and Barbara was from the village of Herzogenbuchsee, Switzerland. According to information from Susanna’s tombstone, she was born on January 21, 1755.

At the time of their marriage, the Revolutionary War was just beginning. Like many of his contemporaries, Michael served in the York County Militia. There is record of him serving under Captain Samuel Fulton in 1781. In fact, Michael served as a Private from August 12, 1781 to October 12, 1781 under Captain Samuel Fulton’s payroll at Camp Security. Camp Security was built in 1781 to house the troops of General Burgoyne that were captured at Saratoga, NY in 1777. In 1782, British troops from Cornwallis’ army that had been captured at Yorktown, VA also were housed at Camp Security. The exact location of the stockades are unknown, but Camp Security was located on 280 acres of land owned by Daniel Brubaker. His land was south of Market St. and east of Locust Grove Rd. and located in present-day Springettsbury Township.

Michael and Susanna had four children; Barbara, Catherine, Frederick and Michael Miller Jr. All four children were baptized at Canadochly Church in what is now Lower Windsor Twp and the baptisms were recorded in their church register. Barbara Lantz was the sponsor for the birth of Barbara, this is probably the mother of Susanna. Catherine Muller, who is probably the mother of Michael Miller, was the sponsor for Catherine. Frederick Miller’s baptism was sponsored by Frederick Lieberknecht and wife. Finally, Tobias Miller and wife Catherine, the brother of Michael Miller, were the sponsors for the birth of Michael Miller Jr.

In fact, it was the record of Tobias sponsoring the birth of Michael Jr. that first gave the possible connection of Michael Miller to his brother Tobias and father Herman. Up until this discovery, the parents and siblings of Michael Miller were unknown. This connection lead to the review of Herman Miller’s will and Tobias Miller’s will, since Michael Miller was the executor of both wills. The signature of Michael in both estate files closely matched the signature of Michael Miller on his deed transactions with Andrew Lantz. Also, and more significantly, Michael did not complete all his duties as executor of Tobias’s estate, and upon Michael’s death his son and executor of his estate, Michael Miller Jr., had to complete the obligations still outstanding for Tobias’s estate. Between Tobias sponsoring the birth of Michael Jr., the signature of Michael Miller matching between his deed transactions and the will’s and the fact that Michael Jr. had to complete the duties of Tobias’s estate after Michael passed away, there is enough evidence to confidently say that Michael Miller was the youngest son of Herman and Catherine Miller.  In addition to being the executor to his father’s and Tobias’s estate, Michael also served as executor to the estates of his brothers Frederick, Herman and Henry.

We have not been able to locate any deed transactions for Michael prior to 1787, but he first showed up in the Windsor County tax list in 1779 and taxed for land. It is unclear if he had actually purchased this land or the land was owned by someone else and he was farming that land. Below are the tax records from 1779 through 1789:

1779 – 160 acres, 2 horses, 5 cows
1780 – 160 acres, 2 horses, 5 horned cattle
1781 – 160 acres, 2 horses, 3 cows
1782 – 160 acres, 3 horses, 3 cows, 3 sheep
1783 – 150 acres, 1 house, 1 outhouse, 4 inhabitants (they would presumably be Michael, Susanna, Barbara, and Catherine)
1785 – 220 acres (listed as 160 acres and 60 acres), 2 horses, 2 horned cattle
1786 – 220 acres, 2 horses, 2 cows
1787 – 213 acres, 2 horses, 2 horned cattle
1789 – 440 acres (listed as 150 acres, 60 acres and 230 acres), 2 horses and 3 cows

As you can see, the amount of land he was assessed tax on almost doubled between 1787 and 1789. This is probably due to the fact that on July 12, 1787, Andrew Lantz sold 300 acres to Michael Miller. While he sold the land to Michael, one of the requirements of the transaction was for Michael to allow Andrew to live in a house on the property and to supply him essentials such as food and water until his death. The Miller farmstead, as the property came to be known, was located to the east of present-day Red Lion, along and south of Route 74. It is in the general location of Pleasant View Elementary School and just to the east of it.

The 1790 census shows a Michal Millar residing in Windsor Twp, with two males under the age of 16, one male over the age of 16 and 3 females. This matches with the expected household composition for Michael & Susanna’s family.

The 1798 US Direct Tax list identifies Michael owning 3 pieces of property totaling 356 acres. He was residing on 147 acres of land, Widow Shenberger was residing in a home on 149 acres of land and Edward Smith was residing in a home on 60 acres of land.

On January 1, 1811, Michael and Susanna sold 199 acres of land to Michael Miller, Jr., with the stipulation that Michael & Susanna can still occupy the land and benefit from the use of the land for the remainder of their lives.

Michael passed away on June 6, 1823 and his son Michael Miller Jr. was the executor of his estate. He is buried in Freysville Cemetery and his grave is marked with a Revolutionary War plague. Susanna lived for another 8 years and remained in the family house. She is listed as a head of household on the 1830 census, right next to her son Michael Miller, Jr. Susanna passed away on February 17, 1831 and is buried next to her husband in Freysville Cemetery.

 

Children of Michael Miller and his wife Susanna Lantz:

  1. Barbara Miller (July 7, 1777 – unknown) married Daniel Kehler (unknown – 1826)
  2. Catherine Miller (November 23, 1780 – January 1867) married George Kemmerly (unknown – 1825)
  3. Frederick Miller (May 23, 1784 – April 20, 1852) married Susanna Paulus (September 22, 1787 – October 23, 1851)
  4. Michael Miller (September 30, 1786 – May 29, 1868) married Elizabeth Zeller (September 27, 1791 – August 22, 1865)

Click on the hyperlinks for the children to find out more information on them and their descendants.

Michael Miller tombstone in Freysville Cemetery

Susanna Lantz Miller tombstone in Freysville Cemetery

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This connected draft map shows a portion of the Miller homestead. The “Green Walk” property was the main portion of the property, as well as the land to the south of it listed as “Mich Miller. 1769”. Also part of the Miller homestead are the western portions of land owned by Andrew Lantz/James Crosby and just below that the land owned by David Hunter/Elijah Eastwood, which both adjoin the eastern part of “Green Walk”

Survey for 129 acres

Survey for 23 acres of Miller homestead

Survey for 10 acre part of Miller homestead

Survey for 13 acre section of Miller homestead

Survey for 18 acre portion of Miller homestead

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