C. Miller was one of the interesting characters who were written up by Cleveland
in his notes but never made it into the History because the Penn Yan chapter
was left unpublished. He was born in the town of Urbana in 1823 and came
to Penn Yan in 1839; he attended school in the first Penn Yan Academy which
had been Captain Holcomb's Washington House where 227 Main Street is now.
got into the business of carriage making under James Cooley (who started
the business near the northwest corner of the Main and Head Street crossroads
that later became the Birdsall works) and married Rebecca, daughter of David
Hall. Hall was a very early resident of Penn Yan and a soldier of 1812.
The Millers had four children by the time Cleveland wrote in 1874: Ida,
Frank and Fred who were twins, and Charles Jr. He built up a carriage factory
which he conducted successfully for 10 years, and then engaged in the hardware
business downtown. He was occupied with this when the Civil War began in
The elder Miller enlisted
in 1862 in the 148th New York and participated in all the regiment's battles.
He was wounded in the left arm at Cold Harbor in 1864 and survived two amputations;
even after this ordeal he applied to return to his unit, but was discharged
for disability. He was the man responsible for bringing back to Penn Yan
the whipping post that stood so long in the Oliver House Museum; it has
since been returned to a museum in the Virginia town where Miller "liberated"
After the war ended
Miller lived in Penn Yan and served for a time as postmaster (a valued political
The above material
is set down in Cleveland's notes on Main Street, next to a discussion of
Miller's home, which stood where #219 is now. Several pages later he interrupts
his narrative on Penn Yan with a page headed "The Miller family - Chs
C is Penn Yan's farmer." He then launches into the family's story:
It seems one Andrew
Miller and his wife emigrated from northern Ireland about 25 years before
the Revolution. Mrs. Miller bore their first child on the ship just before
it entered New York harbor, a boy named Andrew after his father. The family
had a grant of land from the crown on the west side of the Hudson a few
miles above Manhattan Island, and when the war broke out the English authorities
took it over for military purposes. The family fled to the interior of Orange
County and all of the first Andrew Miller's six sons served on the American
side. Andrew Jr. held a captain's commission. His brothers were named James,
John, Alexander, William and Thomas.
All six brothers survived
the war. Afterwards young Andrew settled across the river in Sussex County,
N.J. and raised six children of his own: another Andrew, Matilda, Nancy,
Charlotte, Sarah and John. His wife was Susan Woodruff of Sussex County
and was also from a family who had fought in the Revolution.
Here Cleveland interjects
a note that the wife of the first Andrew was a Jackson, the sister of the
President's father. Thus the second Andrew was President Andrew Jackson's
About 1818 Andrew the
third moved to western New York. His eldest son the fourth Andrew had married
in New Jersey but had no children as yet. The family settled in Urbana about
a mile and a half from the head of Keuka Lake at Hammondsport. Andrew the
fourth had five children: James, Charles C., Mary Ann, Sarah and yet another
Andrew. The eldest two boys in this family came to Yates County about 1839.
James was born in 1819
and married Hannah Benedict of Jerusalem. He raised Ayrshire cattle on a
farm about a mile west of Penn Yan.
Cleveland quotes Charles
C. Miller as remarking that while he was in the army during the "slaveholders'
rebellion," he had 18 first cousins also in the Federal army, who all
also survived the war. One of them, a Woodruff, fought in 34 battles; several
re-enlisted after their first term of service was over, and a number bore
"evidence of their prowess in the wounds they received."