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My 5th great-grandfather was a Presbyterian minister from Scotland who served as chaplain in South Carolina during the Revolutionary War. The Presbyterians were active during the war because they had no love for the Brits or their religion. The following passage gives us insight into his early life:
The following is a sketch of the life of Rev. Robert Miller, which according to Minos E. Miller was written by himself and which was copied from the original by Hugh Reid Miller several years before the Civil War.
“I was born of religious and creditable parents, my father possessed of a small fortune in land not far from where I was born. Early they bestowed an education upon me. At nine years of age I went to school to Mr. Patrick Reid, Schoolmaster, at Aberdeen, and then began to read Latin. Continued at school with some few intermissions till I was about the age of eighteen. I then proposed to apply myself to some lawful calling, for support in the world and to [?] daily bread. Being engaged with a Physician in aldy, he desired my father to send me to school to learn Greek, to qualify more for the business I was engaged in. I therefore went to school; and in the meantime contracted such a desire to stay still at school, my father consented, and after I had read Latin and Greek some time, he sent me to the college, where I continued till I had gone through my studies in Philosophy, after which by the advice of some, I applied myself to the study of Divinity, and attended the Lectures of the Rev. Mr. Mear Mon[?] Professor of Divinity. In which Profession I made such Proficiency, as at last, after trials by him, was approved and presented by him to the Presbytery for future trials; after going through the ordinary course in the Presbytery of Edinburgh.
I pretty early began to think much, and was privileged with the blessing of a valuable gospel minister, as well as a pious example set before by my parents, with many good advices and instructions from both. I went along to a solemn occasion at Glendovan, when I heard Mr. Wardrobe preach upon that text, Eph. 6:13-14 “having done all to stand, stand therefore,”
Patriotism depends on the sentiment at the time. When Protestant thinking set Europe on a path toward political change, the wheels started rolling toward America. The Brits represented the past and corruption of religion. Factions create patriotism. It is an emotional trend that surpasses logic. My very badass 5th great-grandfather was an example of early American patriotism. His descendants would fight for the Confederacy against the United States. After the Civil War those descendants moved to East Texas to start new lives and found a Baptist church. Religion played a strange part in all that patriotic and anti-patriotic behavior. I still do not grasp how heavy-duty Christians own slaves. Today patriotism comes dangerously close to fear and suspicion of foreigners and nothing more.
Rev. Robert Miller (1730 – 1821)
is my 5th great-grandfather
Margaret Miller (1771 – 1853)
daughter of Rev. Robert Miller
Philip Oscar Hughes (1798 – 1845)
son of Margaret Miller
Sarah E Hughes (1829 – 1911)
daughter of Philip Oscar Hughes
Lucinda Jane Armer (1847 – 1939)
daughter of Sarah E Hughes
George Harvey Taylor (1884 – 1941)
son of Lucinda Jane Armer
Ruby Lee Taylor (1922 – 2008)
daughter of George Harvey Taylor
I am the daughter of Ruby Lee Taylor
SGT. ROBERT MILLER, CHAPLAIN IN THE AMERICAN REVOLUTIONARY WAR 1) Sgt. Robert Miller served as a Presbyterian minister, in civilian life. During the American Revolutionary War, he served as a Chaplain. The photo above is from an online pamphlet which is short, and easy to read. It gives a good overview of how the people of the Presbyterian Church in America played a vital role in the American Revolutionary War. It also explains how the Protestant Reformation of the 1500’s in France, led to Protestant French Huguenots emigrating away from France and over to England, Scotland, and other countries in Europe. Later on some of their descendants left Europe and immigrated into America. The Protestant religions in America have always had deep roots to the northwestern area of France, especially the area around the Province of Normandy. This can be puzzling, and complicated. One connection can be seen between the various Protestant religions in the USA, leading back to the work of a young man who was named Jehan Cauvin. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Calvin He was born in 1509 in Noyon, Picardie, France. When he grew up, he lived in Switzerland, where he was known as John Calvin. His religious ideas had a profound effect in many other countries in Europe, such as Germany and the Netherlands. Perhaps this is part of the reason why America has always had such a complicated relationship with France, especially in times of war. The photo of the ebook is entitled: Presbyterians and the Revolution. By the Rev. W. P. Breed. Published 1876 by Presbyterian Board of Publication in Philadelphia. The copyright on this book has now expired, and it is now in the public domain. Source: https://archive.org/stream/presbyteriansrev01bree#page/82/mode/2up/search/pickens *** 2) Here is a link to a short article that provides a good background history for Mecklenburg County, NC and the counties to the south of it in SC during the American Revolutionary War. Rev. Robert Miller was in a part of SC that saw some serious fighting, to the east of Abbeville County. The article can be found here: http://www.sciway3.net/clark/revolutionarywar/1780-Huck_noframes.html The title of this article is “THE 1780 PRESBYTERIAN REBELLION AND THE BATTLE OF HUCK’S DEFEAT” by Sam Thomas, Curator of History, Culture & Heritage Commission of York County. *** 3) There were many different families named Miller who lived in Scotland in the 1700’s, and they are virtually impossible to untangle. Many of these families appear to have adopted the last name of Miller as a means of indicating a political alliance, and they did not originally use the family surname of Miller/Millar. Family surnames were not used in Europe prior to the 1800’s the same way they are now used in modern Europe and in America. People were much more casual about their last names back then, and many families changed their last names in order to indicate the geographical place where they lived, or what political group/clan they were affiliated with at the moment. When Rev. Robert Miller immigrated to America, he visited Bucks County, PA, which was located near Philadelphia, PA and Baltimore, MD. Bucks County was a popular area for Presbyterian immigrants from Scotland and Ulster to settle in colonial America. At least three early Presbyterian settlements were in Bucks County, PA: the HUNTER SETTLEMENT, NESHAMINY, and the IRISH/CRAIG SETTLEMENT. See memorial page number 129350647 for a history of the area, including some links to ebooks. Rev. Robert Miller married a young lady whose parents lived near the Scots-Irish settlement of NESHAMINY, PA. Her name was Jean Pickens. They were married in Paxton Township of Bucks County, PA, which was about halfway between the HUNTER SETTLEMENT to the north, and the town of NESHAMINY to the south. Later on the name of this part of Bucks County, PA changed to Northampton County, PA. After he and his bride married in PA, they joined a large Scots-Irish expedition of colonists who moved down to a new Scots-Irish settlement called the Waxhaws, around the year 1751. His in-laws were part of the same expedition. At the time the Waxhaws was located in Anson County, NC, but later on the boundary survey between NC and SC was determined to be incorrect. At that point the Waxhaws became part of Abbeville County, SC. During the American Revolutionary War, he served as Chaplain in his brother-in-law’s military unit in SC. Presbyterian ministers played a vital role in the war. In addition to playing a role as a Chaplain, many of them were also elected by their men to serve as active duty officers. They were popular leaders, who were good at planning and strategy. *** 4) 300 ACRE LAND GRANT “34. Land plat for ROBERT MILLER for a tract of land containing 300 acres and surveyed by Patrick Calhoun 7 DEC 1762 on the waters of Long Cain in the county of Granville, said Long Canes being waters of the Savannah River and lands bounded by the lands of the Hamilton Grant and by lands of Robert Pickens. “I am sure that this must be the Rev. ROBERT MILLER who came first to the Waxhaws and later to Abbeville on the Long Canes. He was for a time in Tennessee and as a Presbyterian minister. He was married to Jane Pickens sometime prior to 1758. (Land grant indicates a wife and 4 children.)” Author: LEONARDO ANDREA Source: http://trees.ancestry.com/tree/15555824/person/20076042723/storyx/2ac4d7e4-69de-4719-b4f8-c9e7851c3f86?src=search *** RIP Added by: MarthaHopscotch 9/05/2014
He was exceptionally well educated for that time. He writes quite well. Congrats on finding that branch of your family tree.
I have a handwritten letter embossed several times, a very long letter from 1898 he wrote for my great great great grandfathers eulogy in 1898. Let me know if you might want a copy.
OMG!!YES!!!!!!!!!That is exactly the kind of document anyone would love to find. Thank you Eric.
I am just beginning with this. My father was Robert Finla Miller. Grandfather Frank Miller was a minister which fits with some history I have found. Robert Miller from about 1700 also had a daughter Ann Miller, my maiden name. Could be coincidence and am anxious to find out more
The matching names are a very good hint, but not conclusive, keep looking!!!
Robert Millier was my ancestor too. However the picture on the top of the page is not our ancestors tombstone. Our Robert Miller was hung by Tories at a crossroads with his son. I can supply more information if you want to know what happened. Anne
I would love to know more, Anne…is there a known burial spot for our Robert? Thanks for this valuable info.
There is no burial stone for him. He and his son were placed in an unmarked grave. The original intent, one that some over zealous colonists used from time to time was to string up potential Tories sitting on the fence between sides, scare them and then cut them down. They waited a bit too long for Robert and his son. One of the executioners confessed on his deathbed he was one of the guilty men. One of his other sons left and went to Natchez. I know of at least one other gravestone that was placed by a SAR in the 1970’s so he could use the stone to prove dates. Yes, Robert was for a brief time, the chaplain for his brother in law, Andrew Pickens but that appointment was terminated prior to the incident. After the killing, Andrew treated his sister very badly and she and her family were destitute and he did nothing to assist her. How are you related to Robert Miller? I may have told you, I descend from Robert, Ebenezer, Andrew, John Henry, Anna Hunter, Vassar Anderson , Jessie and then me.
I descend from his daughter ,Margaret. The Hughes also went to Natchez, I believe.
The stone pictured on your site belongs to a Robert Miller of Union Co. SC. The first record we have of Robert Miller is when he was visiting the Waxhaw community om NC at that time. He was known by the congregation of the Waxhaw church as a man of popular talents and a lively preacher. The Waxhaw church forwarded a call to the presbytery of SC in May of 1755 requesting that Robert Miller be ordained a minister, which was granted 7 Feb. 1756.
He met Jane Pickens while serving as minister of Old Waxhaw church. The Pickens family was one of the 1st members of the church. We believe Robert Miller was comforting the family of Jane’s father, Andrew Pickens after his death in late 1757 when he and Jane were observed in a compromising position that led to their marriage and his deposition as minister of the Waxhaw church in 1757/58.
He was charged for too much familiarity with a young woman, we don’t know what that meant but see the paragraph above for our idea. He and Jane married and made a deed of gift 8 March 1758 of land to the Waxhaw church. The site of the old Waxhaw church in York Co. SC
and was located on the plantation owned by Robert and Jane Miller. They reserved a pew for themselves in their deed of gift and continued their attendance in this church until they moved to Long Cane settlement in 96th or Abbeville Co. I have more on this too if you’re interested. Robert’s accuser, William Richardson had medical issues and died on bended knee.
I take it that you are descended then from Margaret Miller, b. 12 March, 1771, 96th district, died 15 Aug. 1853 in Fayette Co. MS; married 1 July 1791 to Felix Hughes b. 14 Feb. 1751 Co Armagh, North Ireland; died 16 Jan 1824 in Fayette co. Ms.
The Ann Miller one of the people on this site wondered if she was descended from Ann Miller. Robert’s Ann Miller born 28 Sept. 1762 died in MS probably Pike Co and married ca. 1782 Robert Simmons. He died in 1804 in Pike Co. One of their daughters, Elizabeth, married Nathanial Wells and had 11 children.
I have lots more information. I have worked on this line for about 35 years.
I am a descendant of Robert Miller through his daughter, Ann Miller Simmons. Nathaniel Wells is my 4th great grandfather. I have just started researching my family tree and stumbled across this post. I am so glad I did. Great information!
Anne- This is all very interesting to me. I am so glad you visited here. WOW!!! Jane is my ancestor too, obviously
I am very interested, and have made lots of mistakes in my tree–probably some still waiting for me..
I just don’t want to give information if its not needed. Maybe so I’m not giving you info that you already have, do you want to ask specific questions and if i have it, I’ll give what I have? I don’t mind sharing. I made mistakes, everyone does. Anne
This is not the grave of our Rev. Robert Miller, The information given on this tombstone is for another Robert Miller. The tombstone for Sgt. Robert Miller was placed at this cemetery back in the 1960’s. Rev. Robert Miller died near the end of the war. I do have proofs that I am willing to share. Anne Anderson
If possible, could you provide a copy and/or source document of the sketch provided of Rev. Robert Miller. If I understand this correctly, a copy was made by his grandson Minos E. Miller from a letter written by Minos’ brother Hugh Reid Miller (1812-1863)? Attempting to better understand relationship with John Miller the blacksmith and Captain Andrew Miller that settled on Park’s Creek in the Long Cane settlement (see https://wilsonfamilytreealbumblog.wordpress.com/2019/03/29/tracing-millers-migration-from-pennsylvania-to-south-carolina/).
I got it from Ancestry.com
I was out of commission for awhile and did not see Surviving Decembers request for additional information on the death of Robert Miller. During the mid 1990’s I received a copy of a letter from a man doing research on his own family and ran across a deathbed letter he found from a 2 great grandfather telling his family he participated in a hanging of Robert Miller and a relative. I thought it was Robert’s son, but I now believe it was a nephew of Robert’s. Robert and relative were hung by patriots. I kept the letter but it was lost in Hurricane Katrina along with most everything I owned. In the last week I discovered a transcript that had also been on the internet but removed at some point talking about Robert Miller, William Cunningham and Ezekiel Polk. It too says “the older Robert Miller who taken by some of the Whigs and hung up to a tree without judge or jury. I have often heard father say he helped to hang him.” This came from Evans account.I seriously doubt a burial place will be found for Robert. Our Robert was never a soldier only serving once as chaplain to His brother in law. The Sgt. Robert Miller who has a tombstone is one Robert Miller who died in 1822 and had wife Katy. He does not mention any children. I have his will. Our Jane Miller was head of household in the 1790 census living next to Andrew Miller. In the letters that Bob Thompson has graciously shared with descendants, Gen. Pickens wrote and inquired of his sister, Jane Miller several times.
In my research I’ve never found mention of Robert Miller being accused of adultery in Scotland. According to William Forbes Marshall’s book, Robert emigrated to SC from Ulster Ireland in 1755. In addition to trying to pen point a more exact date death for Robert, I am trying to locate the documentation that Andrew Picken’s mother was killed by Indians.
Appreciate your taking time to respond! Clarifying the facts regarding Reverend Robert Miller is vital to our to our on going work to understand the relationship he had with the blacksmith John Miller and Captain Andrew Miller. We have added your response to our blog & when you have time, we would welcome your perspective on our posts as several explore links with Reverend Robert Miller. Again, thanks & God Bless!
Isabella Hamilton, daughter of John and Mary Ann McGill married Allen Thompson Miller born to the parents of John and Rachel Liddell Miller. John Miller, Blacksmith married a sister of Hugh Reid first and after her death married Rachel Thompson, widow of George Liddell.
Allen Thompson Miller was the half brother of James Liddell, who married Sarah McGill Pickens and she was the aunt of Isabella Hamilton Miller, his wife. ISabella Hamilton Miller was the sister that Hibernia Hughes of Fayette Ms inquired about in her letter of 1835 to Sarah W. Miller. Mrs. LIddell aunt of Isabella and Sarah W. was the other lady inquired about.
According to the Emigrants list Robert Miller came to SC about 1755 from Ulster.
The Hamiltons, Millers, Reids, Thompsons and Liddells were neighbors in 1779 in SC.
We have posted detailed documentation of John Miller the Blacksmith and his second marriage to George Liddel’s widow Rachel Thompson. We also have posted detailed documentation of his son’s marriage to Isabella Hamilton (including portraits). However, we have nothing relating that John Miller had previously been married to a sister of Hugh Reid. If you could share anything supporting this, it would be greatly appreciated as our speculation has always been that his first wife was a Stevenson as his eldest son was named George Stevenson Miller and another son was named John Stevenson Miller.
PS…It would be interesting to know what you thoughts on our posts regarding our John Miller and Reverend Robert Miller.
The copy I have of Mino’s letter is very faint. It is not complete and other than the transcripted I can not evaluate this source. If you wish to email me privately with your snail mail address, I will gladly send you a copy. Back in the 1980’s I hired a SC researcher to do work for me on Miller, Hamilton, McGill, Reid etc in SC. I went back and looked for her notes on the possible marriage between John Miller and a sister of Hugh Reid. She said “it is believed by this researcher that John Miller, Blacksmith probably married a sister of Hugh Reid first, and after her death married Rachel Thompson, the widow of George Liddell”. On that I have no additional information. So far, my researcher since deceased was correct on her assessments.It could be she disproved that later. If I had any later proof of that info, it was lost in Katrina in 2005. As you are aware Margary Reid Miller was a daughter of Hugh Reid. Samuel Reid, her brother was a life long neighbor of Allen Thompson Miller and Isabella Hamilton Miller in Abbeville Co. SC. Rachel Thompson Liddell Miller’s sister Elizabeth Thompson married James Stevenson, a son of James Stevenson who was a neighbor of the Robert MIller family. Their granddaughter, Mary Ann Stevenson married Francis Hamilton Carlile and moved to Pontotoc Co. MS. In our branch of the family tradition said Sarah W. was Sarah Waddell or Womack. She tracked through the land records, deeds, wills and discovered she was a Hamilton. Again this was in the early 1980’s. LDS branch libraries not in my area. But back to Robert Miller, I know that Rev. Simpson was not a Robert Miller fan and politics clearly played a part in what transpired with Robert being dismissed from clergy along with several others. I do believe something took place between Robert and Jane prior to their marriage but to what extent I do not know. I do know they donated land to the community for the church and also reserved a pew for themselves as long as they lived there. Robert Miller gave sermons, several that supposedly exist in several churches near Charleston from Jan 14, 1750 to June 16 1751. According to one reference I have a Robert MIller came directly from Ireland to SC about 1755. I do not know if they erred times of sermons, if it is same man or what. You asked what I thought of the work done on Millers. You have done great work but I don’t know how closely related if at all to Robert Miller. Robert Miller did have a son Andrew Miller born and died in Abbeville Dist. Andrew lived next door to his mother in 1790 census of Abbeville. He married twice. First to Miss Bowie and then Elizabeth Dufour. After Andrew’s death, Elizabeth married William Haddon of Abbeville. According to DAR records George Reid married first Abigail Leger. He married again to a woman named Margaret. They are on a deed together in Nov. 1763 or 68. The deed is very faint. I may try to work on Hamilton some in next couple of weeks and see what I can find along with some of these other lines. My mouse needs a new battery so I’m going to close now. Bob Thompson and I agree on the probable death date for Robert Miller as summer 1781. Take care. Anne