Robert Finney Miller.

A family of Millers and Stewarts online

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AUGUST, 1909





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Klisiiihetli Scott Stewart, wife of Rev, James Wes-
ton Miller, V. D, ; born Bethany, Va,, Nov. 10, 1825;
died Gay Hill, Tex,, Aug, 30, 1908.

Daughter of William and Mary Cummins Stewart,

Granddaughter of Galbraith and Elizabeth Scott
Stewart and Robert and Rebecca Jane Kilgore Cum-

Great granddaughter of William and Mary Ct^s
Stewart and Richard and Elinor Scott
// Great-great granddaughter of Alexander and' fiS?
; .' i i ltda. Onlt i i'a ith Stewart and Ben,iamin and Eleanor


Great-great-great granddaughter of Col. Wm. and
Mary Anne Hopkins Stewart,

Great-great-great-great granddaughter of Sir
Thomas and-Montgomery Stewart,

Great-great-great-great-great granddaughter of Sir:
William and Frances Newcomb Stewart of Fort
Stewart, County Donegal, Ireland, who are directly
descended from the High Stewarts or Stewards of

Rev. James Weston Miller, I). I)., l)orn Mill Village,
Pa,. Nov. 15, 1815. Died Gay Hill, Texas, April 29,


Son of Jeremiah and Elizabeth Weston Miller.

Grandson of Stephen and Jemima Winslon Miller
and James and Eunjf^ Rodgers V^^ton.,r^,

Great grandson ot al iuorSt^fe n a<?c

and James and Abigail Dunham Vfeston^J^^^'J^i
Great great grandson of Zachariah and Mehitable



*T"'^eat'^great-i'reat-gfeat grandson of Edmund and _.

•i^felano Weston, who were Puritans who came froni-^

Yorlcshire, England, in 1635, in the good ship Eliz- ^^,^\
abeth and Ann, landed at Plymouth Rock iind set-.^^

_^!ed in Duxbury. Mass., in 1636.—


Commencement Exercises of Jefferson College, Caiinonsbnri^, Penna.,

September 24, 1840

Music. Prayer. Music.

David Hughes Cape May, Now Jersey. . . .Engrlish Salutatory (appointed by the faculty)

Hugh A. Brown Logansport, Indiana. .Latin and Greek Salutatory (appointed by the faculty)


George B. Austin Somerset County, Maryland Subject, Character of the Present Age

Alfred G. W. Carter Cincinnati. Ohio Subject, Independence of Character


D. S. Hatch Montpelier. Vermont Subject. Limits of Human Reason

Joseph M. Hays Erie, Pennsylvania Subject, The Ruins of Time


D. W. McConaugliy Washington, Pennsylvania (In behalf of the Society of Inquiry)

Subject, Encouragement of the Church in Evangelizing the World.
Solomon McNair Bucks County, Pennsylvania Subject, Unwritten Thouglit


George Miller Massillon. Ohio Subject, The Puritan Charact^ .

John T. Moore Port Gibson, Mississippi Subject, Causes Favorable to(

The Formation of an Elevated American Literature.


W. A. Passavant Zelienople. Pennsylvania. .. (In behalf nf the Lyceum of Natural Sciences)

Subject. Natural Science as It Confirms Revelation.
Robert Patterson Pittsburg, Pennsylvania Subject. Influence


Robert Steele NewviUe, Pennsylvania. .Subject. Intellect Insufficient to Restrain the Passions

James Wason Hagerstown, Maryland Subject, Influence of Cities

Q. A. Wenzel Germany Subject. National Morality Essential to National Prosperity

Valedictory by lames Weston Miller Erie County. Pennsylvania

Conferring degrees Baccalaureate.

Anniversary address of the Phllo and Franklin Literary Societies by the Rev. R. J. Breckenrldge, D, D,


In a two-story farm house, on the west bank of the
beautiful French Creek, near Mill Village, Erie
County, Penn., was born the 15th day of November,
1815, a first child and son to Jeremiah and Elizabeth
Weston Miller.

In honor of his maternal grandfather he was
christened by a Methodist minister, James Weston.
He was a sturdy boy, and as sisters and brothers fol-
lowed in rapid succession, was from early youth the
mainstay and chief hope of a god-fearing, devoted
mother. His father learned a trade in youth and was
a carpenter and contractor of some note in that
pioneer section, his vocation keeping him away from
home a greater part of the time, left the mother the
major portion of the nurture and admonition of the
nine children.

Jeremiah Miller was a genial, jolly man, whose
company was much sought. He loved the good old
"mountain dew" of the day and probably was willing
to burden his wife with most of the home cares, so
upon Weston's shoulders early fell the seriousness
of life. The income from the farm was small ; there
were many to be fed and clothed; the mother worked
early and late and counseled often with her eldest
son, who was not recreant to the trust. Still he was
a leader In all boyish sports; there was no better
tree climber, no more skilled hunter of woodchucks,
squirrels or deer in that country. He was the cham-
pion swimmer of that district, and taught this manly
art to his younger brothers and friends. Near his
home, in a bend in French Creek, where the water
was 16 feet deep, Mr. John Waterhouse, whose head
Is now white with 86 winters, told me last summer.

with sparkling eyes, of his first lesson in swimming
under this teacher; how he had been borne on Wes-
ton's back into the middle of the stream and then by
a skillful dive from underneath him, had been left to
paddle to the shallow water in a "sink or swim"
fashion. This done, he was taught the long stroke
and was then at home in deep water.

Weston early showed a fondness for books, was
always studious, spending many nights poring over
them by a pine knot blaze. After a few winters at
public schools, by probably much scheming of his
mother and aid from his father's relatives, he en-
tered the old academy at Waterford, eight miles away,
spending much time in the family of his uncle. Dr.
Fredk. Winston Miller, and walked home for each
week-end. He was the best student at Waterford
Academy, and is remembered to this day for his
brilliant record. At the end of two terms he was
awarded the first honor, carrying with it free board
and tuition for the next two years at Jefferson Col-
lege, Canonsburg, Penn.

Here for two years he studied diligently, but the
family finances being at a low ebb, he decided to
return to Waterford Academy as principal for a year
and make enough money to complete his college
course. After a year of this work he returned to
college for his junior and senior years, graduating in
1840, with first honor and valedictory in a class of 32
members. A program of the exercises follows here,
but his valedictory has not been found, it probably
was sent to his devoted mother. This graduating
class came from 11 states and from one foreign

Weston Miller had been converted in his lioyhood
days and was a Presbyterian both at Waterford and
Canonsburg. Dr. Mathew Brown, then President of
the College, and a man of men in the Presbyterian
Church, saw the advantage of having the brilliant
valedictorian in the faculty; so a few weeks later he
was installed as an assistant in his Alma Mater. For
a year he taught acceptably here and was a great
companion of the much beloved Dr. Brown, as is
shown by a diary then kept by young Miller. He
was also deciding finally as to his calling to preach
the Gospel through days of much weakness of body,
due to excessive application, and much sorrow and

At the end of this year the Grove Academy, a
flourishing school for boys at Steubenville, Ohio, of-
fered him a larger salary as principal. The offer was
accepted. He was then aiding his widowed mother
to rear and educate the younger children. At Steu-
benville his firm friend and advisor was the great Dr.
Charles C. Beatty, principal of the Female Seminary,
a man of many parts, who trained and left his im-
press upon some of the most beautiful minds and
characters the world has produced. He also gave
large sums of money to other institutions of learning
for men and women. Through a gift of a large sum,
Dr. Beatty brought about the union of Washington
and Jefferson colleges. His influence upon Weston
Miller's life cannot be calculated, their friendship
was of long standing, through Dr. Beatty's beautiful
old age till his death in 1S85 in the seminary at Steu-
benville. Both wives of Weston Miller were trained
there, as were Elizabeth Stewart's three sisters.

Dr. Beatty did not Introduce Weston Miller to the
two noble women who were his wives, but when his
course at Allegheny Theological Seminary was fin-
ished, In 1844, and he was going forth to spread the
Gospel, 'twas Dr. Beatty who advised him that he
should have an helpmeet and that his favorite and
doubly orphaned pupil, Elizabeth McKennan, then
living with her grandfather, Galbraith Stewart, at
West Middletown, Penn., was the one he should seek.
Their meeting is described by one of her cousins as
a case of "love at first sight." She was very beauti-
ful and he handsome. During his professorship and
seminary training, Weston Miller's diary shows that
his daily prayer was for more consecration and more
physical strength. When days of physical distress
forced him to spend many hours upon a bed of ex-
haustion, he feared that his life's work would be
little and unprofitable. But he answered the call to
missionary work and, leaving family, friends and be-
loved ones far behind him, journeyed by rivers and
gulf to Houston, Tex., to take up mission work to the
First Presbyterian Church. Houston Is now a city of
skyscrapers, beautiful churches and homes, but In
those pioneer days life was very crude. From hia
diary we take the following:

"MONDAY, 30th December, 1844.

"I pen a few statistics for after reference respecting

this prospective scene of my labors in the ministry.

The Presbyterian Church has 13 members; place

much altered In regard to religion. People always

ready to attend preaching, always attentive, respectful
polite, kind and confiding whenever met. Thick for-
ests are in the neighborhood. The howling of the
wolf is often heard. The Methodist and Episcopal
churches each number about 30 whites and the Meth-
odist about 30 colored members. The place looks old,
houses generally unpalnted and as if built In a hurry
and soon to be left. In this respect, however. Improv-
ing. Weeds seem to have overrun the whole town
during the past summer. Business Improving. Nav-
igation to Galveston much impeded by northers and
little water In the bayou. Weather very dry and
rather cold usually. Am boarding at Dr. Cones'."

The young minister zealously took up his work.
His diary says: "May 18, 1845. — Preached both morn-
ing and evening. Gen. Sam Houston, President of
Texas Republic, and wife attended both services. May
the Lord come and take away his and others' madness.
Left July 1, 1845, for the North; gone eight months
and collected $1344.00 for the church on this trip."
His failing health is often bemoaned, but his motto
Is: "Better wear out than rust out." Jan. 1, 1846,
the Republic of Texas is admitted to Statehood in the
great Union. By March the 21st, 1847, the church
has become self-supporting and the young missionary
Is selected and Installed as pastor, the first installed
in Texas. The pastor needed an helpmeet, so late
in the summer of 1847 he returned to Pennsylvania to
claim as his bride Elizabeth McKennan. Their
early honeymoon was spent in visiting her people
and his, but they soon set out upon the long journey
by boat down the Ohio and Mississippi rivers to New
Orleans, and by steamer through the Gulf of Mexico
and Buffalo Bayou to Harrlsburg, and up to Houston,
Tex. They were received gladly and the young bride
of great beauty of heart and person aided her hus-
band to build up Zion. Their first son came to blesi
their union and was christened for the wife's uncle,
Thomas McCall.

Houston was not an healthful place and the faith-
ful pastor was often too sick to attend to his duties.
He lost so much fiesh that In 1850 his early death
from consumption was presaged and he was advised
to try life in a higher, more healthful climate. Wash-
ington County, Texas was a center of refinement and
culture then, and its flower-covered hills and val-
leys offered a beautiful country home, besides Mount
Prospect Church needed a pastor. So to Chrisman's
Settlement, now Gay Hill neighborhood, the young
minister took his wife, and 2-year-old son, Thomas.
They lived a few months with "Mother" Rebecca
Lochridge and moved later Into their own log house,
built of heavy cedar timbers, cut and hewn in the
neighboring cedar brakes. This house still stands
and is the Miller home. The young wife was ap-
proaching her second maternity, and soon was born
their second son, christened James Weston McKennan
for both his parents. The young mother died three
days after his birth and was buried neath a beautiful
live oak tree In the shadow of the old log church
where her husband preached on the Sabbath. This
was the sad ending of his first love. His two mother-
less boys were tenderly cared for by a dear old
Christian, "Mother Flanigan, ' and the lonely husband

labored on to build up Zion as well as to regain his
own strength. The hardships of long journeys on
horseback to preach in distant churches were a tonic,
strengthening him daily, and for more than two
years he lead a life of simplicity, very close to Nature.
His growing sons needed a mother and himself an
helpmeet so he turned to his first wife's cousin,
Elizabeth Stewart, who had taken the place of a
mother to her own five sisters and brothers, now all
about grown and two married. 'Twixt love and
duty she accepted his hand and they were married
In 1S52 at the home of her Aunt Mary McCall, in
West Middletown, Penn. At this second wedding he
had present his oldest son, Thomas, aged 4, a lad
much fondled and petted by his maternal relatives,
who had loved his mother so devotedly.

Elizabeth Scott Stewart Miller, eldest daughter of
William and Mary Cummins Stewart was born near
Bethany, Brooke County, (West) Virginia, November
10, 1825. The place of her birth was the old Cum-
mins home, built in 1783 by her maternal grand-
father and still standing on "Sugar Run," a branch
of Buffalo Creek. Her mother, Mary, being the
seventh and last daughter of her parents, the other
six having married very early and gone to homes of
their own, Mary must needs stay to care for her
parents in their old age. So she spent the 12
years of her married life in the old home or at the
"white house" on the hill close by, which was a gift
of her parents. Elizabeth Stewart's oldest brother
was drowned the first year of her life, but three sis-
ters and two brothers younger came after her to
gladden the hearts of her parents. In the year 1835
Mary Cummins Stewart died, soon after the birth of
her son, Robert Cummins. On her death bed, when
asked what she wished done with her six children,
said: "I leave them in the hands of the Lord." This
was a beautiful expression of her faith, and the lives
of those six children showed that the trust was well
founded. Elizabeth was hardly 10 years old, but she
knew her duty and soon took her place at the head
of her father's house. Their maternal grandmother
Cummins had gone to her reward a year earlier and
their grandfather was tottering under the inflrma-
ties of more than 80 years. Duties, many and varied
stared this devoted Elizabeth in the face, but she
met them firmly and showed a wonderful resource-
fulness. Her bereft father was stunned by the loss
of his wife, and is said to have never shown an In-
clination to seek another. The family went through
many trials and the father lost heavily in sheep. In
1840, when Elizabeth was 15, the family yielded to
the earnest solicitation of Alexander Campbell, their
friend, and the founder of Bethany College, and re-
moved to the college to conduct the "Stewart Inn,"
the college home for the boys. Bethany College,
founded by Alexander Campbell in 1840, and es-
tablished by his design in Acadian simplicity, still
remains a power for great good In the Christian
Church. The Stewarts were Presbyterians, but Alex-
ander Campbell knew their worth and Mrs. Decima
Campbell Barclay told me of her father's joy when
William Stewart accepted the charge of the home for
boys. On the same foundation of "Stewart Inn" now
stands Phillips Hall, the college home for the girl

students. Our old family bible was a gift from one
of the boy students, and is thus inscribed: "Pre-
sented to William Stewart, Esq., by his friend, D. B.
Bryan, as a token of great admiration, high respect
and feelings of gratitude for his kind attention while
111, and kindness under all circumstances and on all
occasions." But Elizabeth must have a few years
away from home cares, so her widowed Aunt Elinor
Boon took female charge of the household and Eliza-
beth went with her cousin, Elizabeth McKennan for
a year of school under Miss Hanna at Washington
(Penn.) Female Seminary. Here the two Elizabeths
and May Herriott of Canonsburg roomed in No. 4 on
the second floor of the old building, now used as the
home for girls. For various reasons the two cousins
followed a favorite teacher the next year to the
school of Dr. Chas. C. Beatty at Steubenville, Ohio.
But Elizabeth Stewart could not spend a longer time
from home, father, brothers and sisters, so she gave
up graduating and resumed the head of the family.
This was her usual self-denying way and the next
year we find her three sisters, Rebecca, Mary and
Virginia at Dr. Beatty's school, where they gradu-
ated; Mary 1847, Virginia 1849 and Rebecca 1850.
Virginia, the youngest, married first, a young Ken-
tuckian student at Bethany; Mary soon married a
school teacher from Washington College.

We find Elizabeth was early a Christian, and a
member of Lower Buffalo Church, and later her mem-
bership was transferred to Upper Buffalo, when she
removed to West Middletown. Her grandmother,
Elizabeth Scott, was also a member in Upper Buffalo
Church, but our Elizabeth taught a class in the Sun-
day School of her Grandfather Stewart's Associate
Reformed Church at West Middletown.

Her chum, cousin, schoolmate and roommate, Eliza-
l)eth McKennan, had married, in 1847, the young Rev
James Weston Miller, and had gone with him to
Houston, Texas. After less than three years of mar-
ried lite, we find the ,:ousin and young wife dead at
Gay Hill, Texas, leaving a 2-year-old ))oy and a baby
of three days. More than two years later we find the
desolate young minister turning to his first wife's
cousin, Elizabeth, for comfort, the motherless boys
plead mutely as strongly as the widower. October
13, 1852, Elizabeth Stewart and James Weston Miller
were married by the Rev. John Eagleson of Upper
Buffalo. The long journey by water Co Texas is be-
gun, and in December, 1852, they arrived at the fam-
ily home In Texas. The environs, even in winter,
were very beautiful, the eternally green, moss-hung
live oaks, the cedars and the bright-hued berries lent
color to the scene. The country was new and crude,
but a center of education and refinement in that early
day. Adjoining the Miller home, to the south, lived
Judge R. E. Baylor, his maiden sister Laura, and
his married sister, Mrs. W. W. Carter.

Judge Baylor was a prominent Baptist, and for him
were named the two leading Baptist schools of Texas:
Baylor College for women and Baylor University.
These two pioneer schools of Texas were in sight
of the Miller home, to the east, five miles, at Inde-
pendence. They have long since been moved, re-
spectively to Belton and Waco, Texas.
Very near was the home of Judge Abner Lipscomb

of the Supreme Court of Texas. He and his wife
were members of Prospect Presbyterian Church,
and when Judge Lipscomb asked that he be baptized
by immerson, it was done, the one time my father
ever used this mode of baptism.

To the west, on another hill, was the home of
Gen. John Sayles, a lawyer of much renown In Texas,
and the author of "Sayles Pleadings," still used In
many law schools. Gen. Sayles was the preceptor
of Judge T. J. Brown of the Texas Supreme Court.
With an office in Brenham, Gen. Sayles, his wife and
her parents, the Gillespies, lived here and conducted
a farm with many slaves. Here also came Mr.
Thomas Affleck with his family and more than a
hundred slaves and built a very handsome home, with
exquisite furnishings, and the largest library in
Texas. Near-by also were the Lochridges, who had
cared for Mr. Miller and his first wife, when they ar-
rived at Gay Hill. Dear old Mother Lochridge was
honored and beloved by my father and mother
throughout her life, and her granddaughter, LllUe,
later became the noble wife of one of their favorite
nephews, Finney Stuart Bryan.

There also were the families of the Stamps, the
Hunts, the Harrises, the Kirks, the Stephens, the
Hardys, the McNeeses, the Watsons, the Gulicks, the
Tarvers, the Bartons, the Hills, the Fishers, the Mc-
Ashans, the Robertses, the Currys, the Gees and many


Ten miles south was the county seat, Brenham,
beyond Independence, and 20 miles east was Wash-
ington, for years the capital of Texas.

In both Independence and Washington Mr. Miller
preached often to the Presbyterians, married their
young and buried their dead.

Fifteen miles to the southeast, and also In Wash-
ington County, was Chappell Hill, where stood Soule
University for men and the Female College for wom-
en. These two schools were the mainstay of the
Methodist Church in Texas. We see then the strength
of the Methodist and Baptist Churches here, so that
it was but natural that Rev. Miller should plan a
Presbyterian schol for girls and aid materially in
founding Austin College for men, then at Huntsville,
Texas, now at Sherman. So in February, 1853, he
opened the first session of Live Oak Female Semi-
nary. The prospectus mailed to intending patrons
was as follows:

Live Oak Seminary. Washington County, Tex. This
school tor young ladies opens its first annual session
on the second Monday of February. It Is a private,
permanent school. In a healthful, beautiful section,
remote from the excitement of city or village and
surrounded by one of the best neighborhoods In the

Terms: Board, tuition and washing, per year. $200;
music lessons and use of Instrument, $60; Incidentals.
$2; ancient and modern languages extra; payable In
specie or equivalent, and in advance. Pupils furnish
one pair of sheets and pillow cases. lights, napkins
and towels. Address Rev. J. W. Miller, Brenham, Ter.
His wife's sister. Miss Rebecca J. K. Stewart of
Steubenville Seminary, is brought to Texas as lady
principal. Miss Stewart was one of those elegant,
beautiful characters in whose every move you felt
that the Lord was with her. She was educated,
cultured and refined, with the executive ability so

often found among the Stewarts. Mr. Miller and Miss
Stewart were born to train young girls, and were
always striving for the Bible ideal in their pupils,
that they might be "polished after the similitude of a
palace." Miss Stewart was early wooed and won by
a young South Carolinian, Dr. George C. Red, and at
the close of the first session they were married. But
marriage did not impair her usefulness as a teacher,
and for 22 years we find her raising her family of
four children well and at the same time teaching the

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Online LibraryRobert Finney MillerA family of Millers and Stewarts → online text (page 1 of 16)