JOSEPH M. MILLER is engaged in farming operations on section 20, precinct E, Seward county, and has been a resident of Nebraska for many years. He is a man of more than ordinary ability, has a ready mind and a positive character, and is regarded as one of the most reliable men in this part of the county.
Mr. Miller was born in Westmoreland county, Pennsylvania, December 21, 1841, and is a son of Lewis and Mary (Wilyard) Miller. His father was an engineer on the Pittsburg and Fort Wayne railroad, and was killed in collision on that line in 1853, at Canton, Ohio. His mother is still living, and has had her home in Piper City, Illinois, since 1867. His maternal grandfather was a soldier in the war of 1812, and a brother of his father served in the Mexican war. He had his schooling in Johnstown and Pittsburg, and was thrown upon his own resources at the early age of twelve years by the untimely death of his father. His first work was for his board. He was a ready lad, and willing to do any honest work, and by the time he reached early manhood was able to command good wages. The inauguration of the Civil war found him quick to respond to the nation’s call for troops, and he enlisted June 27, 1861, in Company H, Eleventh Pennsylvania…[Reserves]. The regiment was mustered in at Camp Wright, Pittsburg, and was sent to Washington, and on the way passed through the city of Baltimore, then a dangerous thoroughfare for Federal troops. It was the first regiment to pass through after the Sixth Massachusetts, and the way was a difficult one. It wrote a long and brilliant history, and participated in many of the most important engagements of the war. It was captured at Gaines’ Mill, and the men were detained as prisoners of war forty-one days, when they were exchanged, and were almost immediately rushed on to the second battle of Bull Run. They fought at South Mountain, Antietam, Mine Run, Fredericksburg, and at Gettysburg. Mr. Miller re-enlisted in the same company, and in the battle of the Wilderness, May, 5, 1864, was taken prisoner. He was an inmate of Andersonville for four months, and passed through all the bitter experiences of that modern inferno. He was transferred to Florence, North Carolina, where he was kept for five months, and from there he passed to Wilmington, and spent three weeks in the hospital. He was parolled at Goldsboro, and on his return to the Union lines received a prisoner’s furlough to make a visit home. He returned to the One Hundred and Ninetieth Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry, and served throughout the war, receiving his discharge July 3, 1865. He was never seriously wounded, and though he was much prostrated by his experiences in the rebel prisons, yet he measureably recovered his health, and takes much satisfaction in recalling those stormy days.
The war-worn veteran returned to his Pennsylvania home, but soon set his face westward, and secured employment on a farm near Farmington, Illinois. This was in 1866, and the next year he bought a farm, which he operated until 1872. He spent some little time in making his next location, and though he came to this state in 1873, it was not until the November of the following year that he made a homestead entry of the east half of the southeast quarter of section 20, in this township. Some slight improvements had been made upon this tract by a former claimant, such as the breaking up of twenty acres and the erection of a small frame house. He, however, held to the claim, improved it thoroughly and secured a final title. In 1880 he moved his family into Utica, and spent nine years in that thriving little burg. In 1889 he came back to the farm, and spent a year in its cultivation, when he returned to Utica, and in 1894 made his home on the farm for a third time, and there he is to be found to-day. He has eighty acres in a high state of cultivation, and though it is not so extensive an estate as some of his neighbors possess, yet it is very productive, and yields an ample support for those who depend upon it.
Mr. Miller was married in November, 1868, to Miss Margery Cramer, who was born in Illinois, and is an estimable lady. They are the parents of one child. Royal C. The subject of this sketch is a member of the Grand Army post at Utica, and as might be expected is one of its most zealous and active members. He has been commander of the post, and his voice is always listened to with deference in its deliberations. He has also united with the Loyal Legion of Pennsylvania, though distance prevents a very active work in that organization. He is a Democrat, and has been township constable for many years. He was deputy sheriff for four terms, and has served one term on the county board. He is a man of energy and push, and is regarded as one of the solid men of this part of the county.
Currently a resident of Burke, Virginia - I'm originally from the City of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. I have been a student of the Pennsylvania Reserves since 1997 and thoroughly enjoy telling their story. By trade I'm a former IT Professional but presently working as a Letter Carrier for the United States Postal Service.