Saturday, November 1, 2014

52 Ancestors: #44, Johann Wilhelm Müller, Toddler Immigrant to Broad Bay

My 4x-great-grandfather Johann Wilhelm Müller is, technically speaking, my immigrant ancestor in the Miller line. However, considering that he was under two years old at the time, it could hardly have been his conscious decision to emigrate, so perhaps his father should take the honors!

Location of Herborn3
Wilhelm (these Germans typically went by their middle names1) was born 29 January 1752 in the community of Hörbach in Herborn, Hessen-Nassau, Prussia, and was baptized eight days later in Herborn Parish. His parents were Johann Peter and Anna Catharina (Lang) Müller, and his grandfather, Johann Henrich Müller, had been a forester and the mayor of his native community of Guntersdorf, also part of Herborn.2

In 1753, Peter and his wife boarded the ship Elizabeth, with Wilhelm and his 12-year-old brother Jost Henrich, bound for the Broad Bay colony in the wilds of the Waldo Patent on the Maine coast. The Elizabeth arrived at Broad Bay about 9 October 1753, where the Müllers joined the growing community of German immigrants and eventually Anglicized the family name to Miller. It is believed that they had four more children – three boys and a girl – in Broad Bay over the next ten years.4

Wilhelm – now known as William Miller – married Eve ______ around 1774, probably either in Waldoboro (Broad Bay had incorporated as Waldoboro in 1773) or in the adjacent town, then called Meduncook Plantation (incorporated as Friendship in 1807).5

Known and tentative children of William and Eve Miller (all born in Meduncook):
  1. Mary "Polly" Miller, b. 1775, married Robert Suckforth
  2. John Miller (tentative), b. say 1779, possibly married Asenath Morton
  3. Catharine Miller, b. 1784, married Ira/Ary Simmons
  4. Peter Miller (tentative), b. say 1785-89, married Sally Alston
  5. William Miller Jr., b. say 1794, married ______ ______
  6. Nancy Miller, b. say 1795-98, married William R. Willisee [?]
  7. Charles Miller, b. ca 1799, married Eleanor Saunders
In addition, from census records it appears they may have had four additional children, yet to be identified.6

My Miller line here presents another case of pedigree collapse: Polly Miller's son Simon Sukeforth married William Jr.'s daughter Jane Miller. So, Simon and Jane's daughter Sarah Sukeforth (my great-grandmother) had only six great-grandparents instead of eight, just like my great-great-grandfather Nahum Rand.

William (Sr.) fought in the Revolutionary War; he was a private in Captain Jacob Ludwig's company in Machias in 1777.7 It appears that his wife Eve died, and William remarried, sometime between 1802 and 1810. In 1802, when William Sr. deeded land to John Miller (most likely his son), "Eve Miller wife to the said William" released her dower rights. But in 1810, when he deeded land to Peter Miller (again, most likely his son), it was his wife "Margaret Miller" releasing dower.8

William died apparently around mid-1817, as both he and William Jr. appear on an 1817 list of "rateable polls" in Friendship,9 while administration of his estate was granted in September 1817.10 His second wife Margaret, though only a year younger, outlived him by more than 30 years; in 1850 she was enumerated in the household of Robert Sukeforth, her step-son-in-law, at the ripe old age of 97.11

My descent from Johann Peter Müller (Peter Miller) and his son Johann Wilhelm Müller (William Miller):

Johann Peter Müller + Anna Catharina Lang
Johann Wilhelm Müller + Eve ______
  |                                       |
Polly Miller + Robert Suckforth         William Miller Jr. + ______ ______
  |                                       |
Simon Sukeforth ---------- + ---------- Jane Miller
Sarah Sukeforth + Silas Kirk
Chester Kirk + Mary Hodsdon (my paternal grandparents)

(Note: This post is in response to Amy Johnson Crow's "52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks" challenge at No Story Too Small.)

  1. Which was a good thing, considering that about every third guy had Johann for his first name.
  2. Wilford W. Whitaker and Gary T. Horlacher, Broad Bay Pioneers (Rockport, Maine: Picton Press, 1998), pp. 408-411.
  3. Map of Herborn (Hesse), Wikipedia ( : accessed 1 Nov 2014).
  4. Whitaker and Horlacher, pp. 408-11.
  5. Marshall K. Kirk, “Miller: Waldoboro & Friendship, Maine,” undated typescript of unpublished research notes, Marshall K. Kirk Research Files; privately held by the author, Virginia Beach, Virginia.
  6. For Mary "Polly" and Catherine, see Whitaker and Horlacher, p. 410. Evidence for the other five is presented in Kirk, "Miller: Waldoboro & Friendship, Maine," though some is still circumstantial and tentative. The 1790-1820 U.S. censuses for Meduncook/Friendship imply a total of 11 children.
  7. Whitaker and Horlacher, p. 410.
  8. Kirk, "Miller: Waldoboro & Friendship, Maine." Margaret Miller is probably Margaret Hilt, daughter of Johannes Hilt and Anna Elisabetha Möhlin (Whitaker and Horlacher, p. 410). Whitaker and Horlacher give Margaret as William's only wife and mother of Polly and Catherine, but the dower releases on the two deeds appear to refute that.
  9. Belvin Thomas Williston, “List of Polls in Friendship, Me., 1817,” The New England Historical and Genealogical Register (Boston: New England Historic Genealogical Society, 1929), vol. 83, p. 375; database and digital images, New England Historic Genealogical Society, ( : accessed 25 Oct 2014); citing papers found in house owned by grandfather of Mrs. W. J. Whitney of Friendship.
  10. Kirk, "Miller: Waldoboro & Friendship, Maine."
  11. 1850 U.S. Census, Lincoln County, Maine, Washington, p. 580 (penned), dwelling 307, family 307, Robert Suckforth household; digital image, ( : accessed 9 Jun 2012).

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