Milton Mills’ Ira Miller (1826-1902)

By Muriel Bristol | March 8, 2020

Ira Miller was born in Acton, ME, December 13, 1826, son of Caleb and Mary (Kennerson) Miller.

He was left motherless when a babe of six weeks and was twelve years old when his father died. He was reared by his uncle, Woodman Miller. When sixteen years of age he started out to take care of himself and assisted farmers during the haying season, feeling sufficiently well paid when he received twenty-five cents for a day’s work. He then went to Lebanon, Me., where he worked for Millett Wentworth for seven months, thereby earning the sum of seven dollars, after which during the summers he again assisted farmers and attended school in the winters in Acton, Me., where he afterward was employed by Simon Tuttle at a wage of ten dollars a month, which in his second season was increased to thirteen dollars (Scales, 1914).

Woodman Miller headed an Acton, ME, household at the time of the Sixth (1840) Federal Census. His household included one male aged 30-39 years, one female aged 30-39 years, two males aged 5-9 years, one female aged 5-9 years, one male aged under 5 years, and two females aged under 5 years.

He married, May 29, 1849, Frances W. “Fanny” Merrill. She was born in Acton, ME, December 7, 1825, daughter of Asa and Fannie (Wood) Merrill.

Ira Miller, a shoemaker, aged twenty-four years (b. ME), headed an Acton, ME, household at the time of the Seventh (1850) Federal Census. His household included Frances Miller, aged twenty-four years (b. ME), Winfield S. Miller, aged six months (b. ME), Ezra Farnham, a shoemaker, aged seventeen years (b. ME), and Ezriah Brackett, a shoemaker, aged fifteen years (b. ME). Ira Miller had real estate valued at $500. (He was a neighbor of Ralph Farnham).

He then learned the shoemaking trade at Milton Mills and then opened a shop and soon had a trade that made necessary the employment of six or eight men. In 1855 he erected the first shoe factory ever built at Acton, Me., and embarked in shoe manufacturing on a large scale, having a shoe store in connection, later selling his factory and buying the Roberts’ grist mill. This he remodeled and made it the best plant of its kind in the county, operating it from 1859 until 1866 (Scales, 1914).

Ira Miller, a miller, aged thirty-two years (b. ME), headed an Acton, ME, household at the time of the Eighth (1860) Federal Census. His household included Fanny Miller, a lady, aged thirty-three years (b. ME), Windfield L. Miller, aged ten years (b. ME), and Fanny L. Miller, aged eleven months (b. ME). Ira Miller had real-estate valued at $1,000 and personal estate valued at $200.

Ira Miller registered for the Class II military draft in Acton, ME, July 1, 1863. He was a miller, aged thirty-six years (b. ME). Ira Miller enlisted in the Third State Militia, Cavalry (2d Organization) in 1863.

The Miller’s youngest child, Fannie L. Miller, died October 3, 1863. One might suppose that her death date was actually October 3, 1862, as their next child, Fannie L. Miller, who was born in Acton, ME, August 15, 1863, received her name.

Ira Miller was Town Clerk of Acton, ME, in 1863 through 1865.

He then sold out and went into the hotel business, becoming proprietor of the Central House at Milton Mills which he conducted until 1877 (Scales, 1814). 

Ira Miller appeared in the Milton directories of 1868, 1869-70, 1871, as proprietor of the Central House hotel at Milton Mills.

Ira Miller, a hotel keeper, aged forty-three years (b. ME), headed a Milton household at the time of the Ninth (1870) Federal Census. His household included Fannie W. Miller, a landlady, aged forty-four years (b. ME), Winfield L. Miller, a clerk in hotel, aged twenty years (b. ME), Fannie L. Miller, aged six years (b. ME), Samuel Kershaw, a laborer, aged twenty-five years (b. NH), and Hattie Young, a domestic servant, aged twenty-five years (b. NH). Ira Miller had real estate valued at $5,500 and personal estate valued at $2,500.

Ira Miller appeared in the Milton directories of 1873, 1874, 1876, 1877, as proprietor of the Central House hotel and Livery Stable, at Milton Mills.

He then opened the largest general store at Milton Mills, putting in a heavy stock, including groceries, boots, shoes, oil, drugs, hardware and farm implements, and this proved a very prosperous enterprise. He had acquired 400 acres of valuable land together with his town property (Scales, 1914).

Ira Miller was one of the Milton Mills merchants and manufacturers that had business with some rival soap salesman in or around 1878.

Ira Miller, a storekeeper, aged fifty-three years (b. ME), headed a Milton (“Milton Mills Village”) household at the time of the Tenth (1880) Federal Census. His household included his wife, Fannie W. Miller, keeping house, aged fifty-four years (b. ME), and his child, Fannie L. Miller, at school, aged sixteen years (b. ME).

Ira Miller appeared in the Milton directories of 1880, 1881, 1882, 1884, 1887, 1889, 1892, 1894, and 1898, as a Milton Mills merchant. He appeared also as Town Treasurer and a Justice of the Peace in 1880, 1881, 1882, 1884, 1887, 1889, 1894, and 1898. He was Town Treasurer in 1901.

MILTON. Town meeting passed with but very little excitement. Ira Miller. Officers elected are as follows: MODERATOR, Abram Sanborn; TOWN CLERK, Charles H. Looney; SELECTMEN, Henry B. Scates, David Wallinford, Elbridge W. Fox; TREASURER, Ira Miller. Voted to purchase a safe for the benefit of the town Voted to build a road to the new mill, which will be done as soon as the weather will permit. OLD HUNDRED (Farmington News, March 25, 1881).

WAKEFIELD [MILTON]. The following are the town officers for the ensuing year: Moderator, Luther Hayes; Town Clerk, Chas. H. Looney; Selectmen, Geo. Lyman, W.H.H. Pinkham, John L. Sims; Treasurer, Ira Miller (Farmington News, March 17, 1882).

MILTON. The following officers were chosen at the recent town meeting: Moderator, Chas. C. Hayes; Town Clerk, Chas. H. Looney; Selectmen, Geo. Lyman, Henry H. Pinkham, John L. Sims; Town Treasurer, Ira Miller; Auditors, Luther Hayes, Elbridge Fox (Farmington News, March 16, 1883).

LOCALS. Ira Miller, of Milton Mills, recently slaughtered four hogs whose aggregate weight was 2667 pounds (Farmington News, January 30, 1885).

The following substantial real estate transaction might have been the purchase of the 400-acre farm mentioned in the Scales history.

REAL ESTATE TRANSFERS. E.D. Farnham to Ira Miller, land in Milton, $4,350 (Farmington News, August 12, 1887).

ROBBERY AT MILTON MILLS. About $200 in Goods and Money Taken. On Opening the store of Ira Miller, at Milton Mills, Tuesday morning, it was found that burglars had been at work during the night. Hardly a thing was in its proper place. The safe door was lying upon the floor, and the contents of the safe, with the exception of the money it contained, were also upon the floor.  About $100 worth of goods, mostly cigars, tobacco and cutlery were taken, and about $80 in money. Mr. Miller received, Monday, for safe keeping, $2,000, and it is supposed that this was what the thieves were after, but the money was where they could not find it (Farmington News, September 23, 1887).

York. Ira Miller’s safe at Acton, was burglarized a short time ago, and about thousand dollars in cash and three thousand in securities stolen, reports the Biddeford Journal (Bangor Daily Whig and Courier (Bangor, ME), October 10, 1887).

Fannie W. (Merrill) Miller died January 30, 1897. Her daughter Fannie L. (Miller) Lowd died in the Maine General Hospital in Portland, ME,, May 25, 1898, aged twenty-four years.

Ira Miller, a widowed merchant (retired), aged seventy-three years (b. ME), headed a Milton (“Milton Mills Village”) household at the time of the Twelfth (1900) Federal Census. His household included his son-in-law, Freeman H. Lowd, a widowed storekeeper, aged forty-six years (b. ME), his grandchildren, Grace M. Lowd, at school, aged sixteen years (b. NH), and Alice M. Lowd, at school, aged thirteen years (b. MA), and his servant, Susie B. Clarke, a housekeeper, aged twenty years (b. NH). Ira Miller owned their farm, free-and-clear.

I. Miller appeared in the Milton directory of 1901, as a Milton Mills merchant of shingles and clapboards.

Ira Miller died in Milton Mills, December 12, 1902, aged seventy-five years, eleven months, and thirty days.

References:

Find a Grave. (2013, August 15). Ira Miller. Retrieved from www.findagrave.com/memorial/115515930

Find a Grave. (2013, November 7). Woodman Miller. Retrieved from www.findagrave.com/memorial/119949526

Scales, John. (1914). History of Strafford County, New Hampshire, and Representative Citizens. Retrieved from books.google.com/books?id=nGsjAQAAMAAJ&pg=PA861

Author: Muriel Bristol

"Lady drinking tea"

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