Family of John W. Miller
When John arrived in Madison County is uncertain. One story says the Miller boys came down the river by boat. Those boys were Jacob, George, and John and as they were born in Virginia a guess is they came down the Ohio River.

One of George's sons used the surname Wertmiller and one John's daughters also used Wertmiller when she married John’s grandson James L. George, born 8 April 1885/6 died 13 February 1984, said the Millers always claimed they came from Holland. Using these clues, research indicates this family descended from Joris Wertmuller who came to this country in 1682 and settled in the Georgetown area of Pennsylvania. A George Wertmuller is mentioned as being injured during a storm at sea on the same boat that Joris came on, but nothing else is known about George.

These Wertmullers were Swiss, but due to religious persecution migrated to Holland which was more tolerant of various religions.

The Wertmullers were Anabaptist. This information is from the Lancaster Mennonite Historical Society in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Another source of information may be the Mennonite Library and Archives of Eastern Pennsylvania at Lansdale, Pennsylvania.

Information shows Joris left sons, a brother, a sister, and a brother-in-law, Benedict Kunts in Amsterdam. The Wertmillers appear later in Virginia in the counties of Hampshire, Pendleton, Rockingham and Shenandoah. Some of these counties are now in West Virginia.


The predominate names were: John and George, with one Yorie or Yoris found there. The last record found there is in 1811 when a John Wertmuller and wife Margaret sold their land in Pendleton County The 1810 Census shows this John was over 45 years old, indicating he was born in 1765 or earlier.

Probate records in Madison County on the estate of Isham Harrison shows the first wife of John W. Miller was Sarah Harrison, daughter of Isham and Amey Harrison. Sarah had preceded her father in death. The children of John and Sarah, all born in Madison County were: George H., born 1823/4, married Louisa J Hemby. Amey married Mathew McDade. Elizay married (1st) Charles Clevelon and (2nd) a Huffman. Elizabeth married Washington Eaton. In 1851, Washington was granted 160 acres on Marble Creek in Madison County for his service in Capt McNair's Company in the 3rd Regiment of the Missouri Volunteers. Sarah married a Jordan. John J., born 1830, married Rebecca Rachel Sutton. Nancy 'M. C., she is believed to have died very young. John W Miller married (second) Margaret Matthews, daughter of John and Mary Polly (Clay) Matthews. The minutes of the Board of Land Commissioners indicate John Matthews received permission to settle here in 1802 from the local Commandant, P. Deluziere. These minutes also say that in September 1803 John Matthews hired James Campbell to look after his stock while he returned to Carolina for his family. John returned in January 1804 with his wife and three children.

John Matthews served two terms, 1832 and 1834, in the Missouri Senate from District No. 2, which consisted of Madison, Wayne and Ripley Counties.

John Matthews (second wife) Mary Clay Matthews was the daughter of Jeremiah and Francie Johnston Clay. Jeremiah first appears in Missouri records in 1799.

The children of John W. Miller and second wife Margaret were: William B., born 1837, died 1864; Martha D., married Lewis Williams, lived in Tennessee and Florida where she died 12 March 1923; James Monroe, born 1841; Julia Ann, married William C. Thomas; Sophia E., married Samuel S. Andrews, Jr. They spent their lives in the Fredericktown area; Helen M., born 21 March 1848, died 7 March 1930, married James A. D. George; Laura E., born 1849, died March 1885 in Gibson County, Tennessee, married James W. Porter; Charles T., born 6 September 1850, died February 1914, married Minnie A. Decker; Margaret T., born 9 February 1853, died 31 October 1885, buried in Hays Cemetery at Brunot, Wayne County, Missouri, married George W. Smith; Thomas B., born 1855, never married; Malissa, born 1857, married Louis H. Johnson, they lived in the St. Louis, Missouri area.

I guess you could say, John W. Miller had a large family.

John W. Miller was appointed justice of the Peace in Madison County b the Governor in August 1828 and is believed to have served in that capacity in Liberty Township until that area became Iron County in 1857. His farm was on Marble Creek in section 3, Township 32 North, Range 32 East. His house was on the west side of the road just north of the hill still known by many as Miller Hill on Highway E. Tradition says the polling place in Liberty Township in Iron County’s first election was one of John’s stables. John was elected County Judge in that election. He only served one term. John died 29 October 1882. He was believed to have been 89 years old. The newspaper said Judge Miller died of old age. John and his wife were buried on their farm.

Submitted by Paul Reeves

Historical Madison County 1818 – 1988

Library of Congress #88-80938