The Miller Family in Iowa: From Katelyn to Joseph


Katie Miller

12/ 7/10

Have you ever wondered about your family history and where it originated? Or even how you got to where you are today?  These are the questions I have asked myself and I became interested in learning more about my family origins. While researching this, I was amazed by the interesting family history I have. If it weren’t for my seventh great grandfather, who boarded a ship in 1754 and came to the United States, I wouldn’t be alive. In this paper I will start from the day I was born and go back in history. I will start with myself, Katelyn Miller, and end with my seventh great grandfather, Joseph Miller Sr. I now understand why my family came to the United States, so I can’t blame others for wanting to come here also. I cannot judge immigrants now because my family once was immigrants too.

Katelyn Miller is the daughter of the proud parents, Thomas Miller and Joy Fotsch. She was born on March 5, 1992. She has a brother named Eric Miller who was born on April 21, 1995. Katelyn’s parents, Thomas and Joy, were married in 1988 and then they were divorced in 1999. Three years later, after her parents were married, Katelyn was born and then baptized at the Sharon Center United Methodist Church in Kalona, Iowa. Katelyn’s mother, Joy, remarried Jason Ingles in 2002. Katelyn’s dad, Thomas, was married in 2004 to Sarah Serbousek. Katelyn and her brother attended Denver Community Schools in Denver, Iowa in which Katelyn graduated from. When Katelyn was born she lived on the 130-year-old farm that her grandfather, Robert Miller, now owns. This farm will be passed down to her father and possibly to her brother.

Thomas Miller (Katelyn’s father) was born in 1966. He attended Hills Elementary School in Hills, Iowa. Thomas then attended Junior High at Northwest Junior High in Coralville, Iowa. He then graduated from high school at West High in Iowa City, Iowa. During his junior and senior years of high school Thomas worked for the Johnson County Secondary Roads. He then attended college at Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa. Although he did not graduate, Thomas attended Iowa State for a year and a half. Thomas then worked for Eldon C. Stutsman Inc. in the sales department. Eldon C. Stutsman Inc. is a company that sells fertilizer and farm equipment. It is located in Hills, Iowa. While working for Eldon C. Stutsman Inc. Thomas worked part-time for a grocery store called Hy-Vee in Iowa City. This is also at the same time as Katelyn and her immediate family lived in Iowa City. After moving to Denver, Iowa Thomas and Katelyn’s mother divorced. Thomas started working at Schumacher Elevator Company in Denver, Iowa. Thomas is also working for his father, Robert, on the family farm.

Robert Miller (Katelyn’s grandfather) was born in 1941. Robert attended Boone School number five from kindergarten to eighth grade. This school was a mile and a half from his home. In the winter, Robert would walk through the fields on top of the snow and if it was nice out he would be able to ride a pony to school. During recess and after lunch, he and his classmates would play baseball and in the winter, they would go sledding down the hill behind the school. Robert graduated from Kalona High School in 1959. Robert married Karen Kobes in 1963.  They are the proud parents of Dawn and Thomas Miller. Robert and Karen’s first child was Dawn Miller was born in 1964 and Thomas Miller was born in 1966. Robert and Karen received an award for living on a century old farm at the Iowa State Fair. At the time of receiving this award the farm was already a few years older than a century old. Katelyn’s dad plans on taking over the family farm when he moves down to Iowa City, Iowa. Thomas’ parents live in Riverside, Iowa. This is not too far from Hills, Iowa where Robert’s mother, Lucile, currently lives.

Delbert Miller (Katelyn’s great-grandfather) was born in 1910. Delbert attended a one room school house called Willow Grove from kindergarten through eighth grade. He graduated from Sharon High School and attended the University of Iowa for college, although he did not graduate. He attended the University of Iowa for three years. As a young man he also taught at a one room school house called Evergreen. Delbert and Lucile were married in 1937. Shortly after they were married they built a new house on the farm. There was an old house on the farm that Delbert and Lucile tore down and rebuilt on the foundation of the old house. Delbert and Lucile rented the upstairs rooms of the farm house to teachers of the Sharon High School. Lucile still keeps in contact with those teachers, to the extent of them sending her Christmas cards every year. The farm Delbert and Lucile owned was self-sustaining which means they were able to live off what their farm provided. The animals they raised were the meat, the grains they grew fed the animals, and they also grew a garden. Delbert planted a brand of seed corn called DeKalb. He was a dealer for DeKalb seed corn. Lucile raised chickens and then would sell some of the eggs. With points earned from selling DeKalb corn, he was able to choose a variety of items from a catalog. There were items such as a camera or a toaster. Some of these gifts would be given to the kids for Christmas. Delbert and Lucile had three children Robert (Katelyn’s grandfather), Russell who was born in 1944, and Ann who was born 1949. Delbert also worked as the Sharon township assessor. He would go around to the people of the Sharon Township and ask them questions such as “How many tractors do you own?” or “How many buildings do you have on your property?” The people of the Sharon Township would have to pay taxes on their equipment and after collecting his data he would go and give his information to the Johnson County assessor in Iowa City so they could collect the tax money off of these items. Delbert held a membership in the Freemasonry (Masonic) fraternal organization and sang in the Iowa City Barbershop chorus. After Delbert retired from farming he worked at the University of Iowa library microfilming documents. Delbert and Lucile attended the Sharon Center United Methodist Church. Throughout Delbert’s life he battled diabetes. Although he did lose part of his leg to his diabetes he didn’t die from it. Delbert died in 1983 at the age of 73 due to heart attack.

Earl Miller (Katelyn’s great-great grandfather) was born in 1875.  Earl was born in Pennsylvania and moved to Iowa when he was in his teens because his mother Susan Bowman Miller had remarried after his father’s early death. Earl was unhappy after his mother remarried, so he came to Iowa with his mother’s sister, Jennie, and her husband, Erza Yoder. Erza and Jennie ran the Sharon Center store, and Earl would run the huckster wagon for them. Earl worked for the telephone company board. He would climb the poles and hook up phone service for locals. Earl only had his uncle, aunt and cousins as family. The cousin’s names were Otho and Ledger Yoder. Those boys were Earl’s best and lifelong friends. Earl married Ruth Hall and are the proud parents of Delbert and Glenn Miller. Earl and Ruth farmed Ruth’s family farm which came through the Guffin family, the Hall family and now the Miller family. Earl and Ruth taught at Boone School number five. Township schools had numbers behind them and Boone School had the number five. Boone School had breaks in the school year for planting and harvesting season. Earl and Ruth taught at the same one room school that Katelyn’s grandfather, Robert, attended. Boone School was in the parking lot of the church that is now Sharon Center United Methodist Church. Earl and Ruth milked cows, raised pigs and corn. They made hay, oats, and alfalfa. They raised their own meat, and a garden, and the grains went to the animals. Most of their crops at that time were used to feed animals and not sold. Katelyn’s grandfather, Robert, sells all of his corn and soy beans today. Earl worked the election every year at the polling stations. Earl lived with Delbert and Lucile for 21 years until his death in 1964. Earl and Delbert Miller were both buried in the Sharon Center Cemetery.

Dibert Miller (Katelyn’s great-great-great grandfather) was born in 1855 and died in 1889. He was the fourth child of his family. Dibert was Delbert’s grandfather. So, was Delbert Miller named after Dibert or did they just like the name Delbert? Katelyn’s family will always wonder. Dibert married Susan Bowman. Before his early death at the age of thirty-four, Dibert and Susan had four children. One of them named Earl Miller. Dibert and his wife, Susan, along with Noah and Elizabeth are buried in Stoystown, Pennsylvania cemetery

Noah Miller (Katelyn’s great-great-great-great grandfather) was born in 1826. Noah is the seventh child of Joseph Miller and, his wife, Mary Shaffer. Noah fought for the Union side, the north, in the Civil War. Noah married Elizabeth Zimmerman and they had five children. Dibert Miller was child number four. Noah died in 1881.

Joseph Miller the third (Katelyn’s great-great-great-great-great grandfather) was born in 1781 and died in 1860. There is not very much information Katelyn’s family could find on Joseph Miller the third.

Yost (Joseph) Miller (Katelyn’s great-great-great-great-great-great grandfather) was born in 1748. He was six years of age when he came to the United States with his father and his two year old brother, Jeremiah. Katelyn and her family are from the Yost (Joseph) Miller side. There is no information about his mother. He married a woman named Marie. Joseph and Marie had eight children, three boys and five girls. Yost died in 1811.

Joseph Miller Sr. (Katelyn’s great-great-great-great-great-great-great grandfather) was born in 1725. He raised his family in Palatinate, Germany before he moved to America. He was a farmer in Germany and came to America because the Palatinate area was troubled. He wanted to come to America for more freedom and raise his family in America. He moved to the United States in 1754. When Joseph and his family arrived in the United States they lived near Ephrata Pennsylvania which is half way between Reading and Lancaster Pennsylvania. Joseph Sr. had 2 children Yost (Joseph) and Jeremiah. There is no date of death for Joseph Miller Sr.

I loved doing this paper. I really learned a lot about my family and how Iowa became my home. Living in the house my great grandparents Delbert and Lucile built is really cool. Also being baptized in the church that my family has attended for many years is interesting, and knowing that it used to be a church of a different faith, the Evangelical United Brethren. I wish we had more documentation about my great-great-great-great-great-great-great grandfather Joseph Miller Sr. and how his life was in Germany. Now knowing where my family came from and how we got to Iowa is something I will take with me forever. I am really glad I had the chance to learn all of this. Most of my research and information came from my Great Aunt Ann who helped me a lot through this process. Ann received her information from Larry Pearce, who is into the genealogy thing and he is doing this for his wife’s family. Thank you so much to Larry and Ann. So again, have you ever wondered where you came from or how you got to where you are today? Hopefully by reading this you want to learn more about your family’s history.

Works Cited

Ann Butcher. Email interview. November 15, 2010. 5:00 p.m.

Ann Butcher. Phone interview. November 20, 2010. 7:00 p.m.

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