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W. P. A. History of Pontotoc County, Mississippi


Pioneer Families

ERSKINE EBENEZER MILLER came to Pontotoc from Abbeville, South Carolina, with his father, Ebenezer Miller, about 1835.  He purchased a homestead four or five miles east of Pontotoc at the time he came; the deed of conveyance is recorded in the chancery clerk's office, Pontotoc.

The family came in a surrey from South Carolina and the negro slaves came in wagons.  However, Erskine Ebenezer Miller, prior to that time, made a visit to Mississippi to accompany his aunt, who had married and was living in Natchez, back to Natchez, from Abbeville, where she had been visiting; her name was Hibernia Hughes.  The two travelers rode on horseback from Abbeville to their destination.

Ebenezer who settled with his family in Pontotoc had the following children:  Andrew Miller, Erskine Ebenezer Miller, Robert Miller, Hugh R. Miller, Susan Miller, Langdon Miller, and Margaret Miller.

After the death of Ebenezer Miller, Sr., the home place was divided between Ebenezer Miller Jr., and his brother Robert Miller.  Ebenezer Miller, Jr., made his home at the present old Miller Place.  while Robert Miller established his home at what is known as Bankhead, where McDavitt lives, which was in later years the home of the Bramlett family.  Ebenezer Miller, Sr., built his home on what was afterward known as the George W. Silby place, now occupied by N. B. (Jack) Porter.  The original house was burned by the northern soldiers during the War Between The  States, but what is known as the old Miller home is the original house constructed by Erskine Ebenezer Miller, Jr..  Andrew Miller's home was about six miles north of Pontotoc.  He was a soldier and died in Georgia during the War Between The States.

Hugh R. Miller was a circuit judge and a colonel in the Confederate army and was killed in the battle of Gettysburg.  Susan Miller made her home with Captain Robert Miller at what is now known as "Bankhead" and never married.  Margaret Miller married Robert Mason and resided at Grenada.  Langdon Miller, a doctor in New Orleans, had a wide reputation; his name is mentioned in Medical works for having pioneered in plastic surgery, in that he supplied someone with a missing nose.

Another Robert Miller, a cousin of this family, resided about eight miles east of Pontotoc in the community where some Negroes by the name of Beckly established a church, College Hill.

John Miller was the father of Mrs. Calvin Wells, who recently died in Jackson, Mississippi.  Another John Miller who was known as "Preacher John Miller", lost his life at the hands of federal soldiers (See Chap. 18, Religion).  Hugh R. Miller's home was about two miles northeast of Pontotoc.  The early homes of the family were constructed with slave labor.

Erskine Ebenezer Miller II married Clementine Lawrence who came from York South Carolina, and whose family settled for three years at Selma, Alabama, before coming to Mississippi.  Their first home was the old Erskine Miller home, five miles east of Pontotoc.

Shortly before the birth of their seventh child the family moved to Pontotoc in order that the children might have school advantages.  They purchased a home just east of the present courthouse from Mr. Houston, of Aberdeen, Dr. Clement now owns and resides in the place.  The beautiful boxwood, both at this Clement house and the country home, was planted by Mrs. Clementine Miller.  The boxwood at the Carr home in Pontotoc came from one of these places, and some of the same has been transplanted to Longview, Texas, where Miss Ada Miller resides with her nephew, Judge Erskine Bramlett.

The children of Erskine Ebenezer Miller II and Clementine Lawrence were:  Lawrence, Hibernia, William Howard, Samuel Erskine, Josephine, Annie E., and Ada M.  Samuel Miller was known as Young Miller and lived in the original county home to the time of his death.  Neither he nor Ada Miller were ever married.

Lawrence Miller, the oldest, an officer in the Confederate army, was wounded in battle and died a few years after the war.  William Howard Miller also served in the Confederate army for the duration of the war.  He was a physician and practiced in Okolona for about fifty years and died there at nearly eighty years of age.

Hibernia Miller married S. H. Suddoth, of Friar Point, Mississippi; Josephine Miller married O. C. Carr, of Pontotoc; and Annie E. Miller married Thomas C. Bramlett.

Ada Miller and her sisters attended Chickasaw College and the brothers attended Pontotoc Male Academy.  Dr. Miller attended a medical school in New York City, serving his internship at Bellevue Hospital.

The Millers are all Presbyterians.  Miss Ada Miller joined the church at Pontotoc when she was a little girl and her membership is still there; she is the oldest living member of the church.

Samuel Miller, too young to go to war, tried to run away on several occasions.  He was finally permitted to go a year before the conflict ended.  After a battle at Pontotoc, with General Forrest in charge of the Confederate forces, a hospital was made of the Miller home and some Union soldiers left there; one of whom died - the other had an arm amputated.

When General Forrest learned of the wounded soldiers at the home he went to investigate.  The Federal soldiers hearing that he was coming were frightened, but Mrs. Miller reassured them by saying "Forrest would not harm helpless men".

Later some Union soldiers entered the Miller home and were appropriating china, silverware, etc., when a Union officer appeared and stopped them, forbidding them to take anything away.

Many years after the war was over the Federal soldier, whose arm was amputated in the Miller home, wrote and asked  permission to visit Mrs. Miller.  This he did, bringing his wife with him.  His name was Razor, and he was a successful inventor; one of his inventions was a door stop on which his name was stamped and which was in general use at that time.

The Miller family attended church in Pontotoc and also at White Zion about twelve miles east of Pontotoc on the Tupelo Road.

Among other families residing in the neighborhood were the Wileys, the Brames, the Grays, the Doziers, the Boltons, the Lockharts, and the Calhouns.  The Friersons in the White Zion were also considered as neighbors in that day. (1)

(1) Article written by Judge Erskine Bramlett, Longview, Tex.

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