Wednesday, May 5, 2010


I finally got that tintype of my great-grandfather, Reuben Lake Miller, scanned into the computer. He is my mother's maternal grandfather. Though I never knew him, of course, I've always felt a connection with him. From the first time I saw his picture, I felt like I knew him.

Reuben was born on 15 Dec 1823 in Northampton County, Pennsylvania. I don't know anything about his parents or siblings. I have been spectacularly unsuccessful in finding anything about them. I haven't given up, though. I know that there were Millers present among the first white settlers of the "Forks of the Delaware."

My great-grandfather married my great-grandmother, Mary Walter, on 12 Aug 1849, in Easton, Pennsylvania, at the German Reformed Church. They had seven children, only three of whom lived to adulthood - Ellen (b 1850), Rebecca (b 1855)and Georgianna (b 1865). My grandmother, Georgianna Miller, was the only one who made it past her 30's, living to a ripe old age of 79. Ellen died at age 32 and never married. Rebecca was married to Isaac Coken and died at 36.

As you can see by the tintype, Reuben was in the military. During his civilian years he was a brickmaker and lived in Williams Township, Northampton County, Pennsylvania. On 30 May 1861, Reuben enlisted in the Union Army, E Co. 41st Inf Reg PA. He elisted as a Private, but was promoted to a full Sergent and mustered out on 11 June 1864. I was able to find a history of the 41st Regiment-Twelfth Reserves and they had a hard three years. They pretty much stayed in camp until 10 Mar 1862, when they were in the general forward movement of McClellan toward Manassas. They did not participate in the battle. They first saw fighting on 26 June at Ellerson's Mill and Harrisons Landing.

On 28 Aug the regiment barely escaped a surprise by the column of General Jackson and the next day participated in the action at Groveton. After all of that they left Virginia to participate in the Maryland campaign of South Mountain and Antietam and then back to Frederickburg. Reuben was wounded and captured by the Rebels at Fredericksburg and spent about 6 months in the Parole Camp at Annapolis, Maryland. By 1 May 1863, he had rejoined his regiment.

The regiment participated in the battle at Gettysburg and other actions thru the end of 1863. In 1864, they were fought in the three days Battle of the Wilderness and at Spottsylvania Court House. At Bethesda Church, they "received and repulsed the most desperate assault of the enemy." On the day of that battle, the term of its service expired. They were transported to Harrisburg and mustered out on 11 June 1864.

It seems that he and Mary must have had a good reunion as my Grandmother Georgianna was born 1 Apr 1865. Georgianna didn't get to know her father very well as, in August 1864, he reinlisted with the Army. The family story is that he got drunk one day and that's when he reupped. At any rate, he was assigned to Ft. Trumbull, New London, Connecticut. Reuben died 13 Jan 1867, choking on a piece of meat at dinner. Too bad no one knew the Heimlich maneuver back then or my family history might have been different. Mary did remarry a widower and family friend, Michael Raub. He took in the girls and was a good father to them from all accounts.
Mary survived two husbands and lived an independent life until her death in 1906 in Easton.

If anyone reading this has any information that might help me find out more about my Miller ancestors, I would love to hear from you.

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