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About Oliver Miller
DAR #A079505 Civil Service Justice of the Peace, Yohogania County 1776-78
The Oliver Miller story . . .
In 1742, young Oliver Miller emigrated with his family from County Antrim, Northern Ireland, to make a new life in America. He traveled west to Cecil County, Maryland and there he married Mary Tidball and kept a trading post. Later they moved to Friend's Cove near Fort Bedford and developed a small farm to support their growing family.
When land opened for settlement in Western Pennsylvania in 1770, the Millers with their ten children and the Tidball relatives were among the first to cross the Allegheny mountains by packhorse to claim land. On July 4, 1772 Oliver Miller purchased a tract of land on Catfish Run from Silas Dackster and settled on this site, later to be called Mansfield.
Trees were cleared, crops planted, and a two-story log house with a roof of split shingles was raised. This building was one of its kind in the area and, being so rare, was known the country round as the "shingle-roofed house". Due to Indian raids, the family was forced to flee several times to forts on the Monongahela River.
From 1774 to 1780, Southwestern Pennsylvania was claimed by both the colony of Virginia and the heirs of William Penn. Oliver Miller was a man of considerable importance and was appointed Justice of Peace of Yohogania County, Virginia. He was required to tour the land bounded by the Monongahela River, Chartiers Creek, and the Ohio River to tender an oath of allegiance to Virginia to all free male inhabitants. He was also to help provide in the building of a jail and courthouse on the plantation of Andrew Heath near West Elizabeth.
Oliver Miller died in 1782 and his will provided for the division of his land among his six sons. Most of the children had married and built homes on sections of the land. The loghouse was left to James, then 19, with the provision that his mother, and youngest sister, Mary, live there as well. In 1787, James married Mary Smith of Cross Creek and to them were born eight children. When the territory dispute between Virginia and Pennsylvania was settled, James applied for and received a patent, or deed, for his father's 424 acre plantation in March 1797 under the name "Mansfield".
n 1808, James Miller added a stone section to the loghouse. This addition seemed to meet the needs of the Miller family until 1830 when his son, Oliver, and new bride, Mary Wilson Miller, came to live with them. At this time, the loghouse was replaced with a large stone section making it the farmhouse as it stands today. Five generations of Millers lived in this homestead.
To the right of the entrance door (in the 1808 addition to the original loghouse) is a large room used for spinning and weaving. Over the years, the first floor rooms have had various uses; for instance at the time of the Millers were last in residence, this room served as a kitchen-dining room. Now the room displays spinning wheels and looms used in the making of pioneer clothing and household items.
Oliver Miller's Timeline
May 26, 1749
Cecil County, Maryland, United States