the third child of Charles Stewart Miller and
Mary McGowan, was born 28 November 1829 at Rutherglen, Lanarkshire,
Scotland. Nell Creer Frame (his granddaughter) and her husband Dr. J.
Wallace Frame, visited Rutherglen, once a suburb of Glasgow and now a
thriving business section of the city, (still called Rutherglen, however).
They visited the old Parish Church of Rutherglen in Oct. 1958, where
Grandfather James Miller attended and was baptized as an infant, 29
December 1829, into the Church of England. The church has been renovated
from time to time and is now in perfect condition.
James was one of eleven children; six daughters and five sons, born
to Charles Stewart Miller (1804-1849) and Mary McGowan Miller (1802-1849).
The children were:
MARY MILLER (1825-1887), married Robert EASTON
DAVID MILLER (1827- ), married Margaret FIFE
JAMES MILLER (1829-1905), married Margaret Ann ANDERSON
WILLIAM MILLER (1831-1849)
ARCHIBALD MILLER (1834-1849)
MARGARET MILLER (1836-1918), married Alexander WATSON
AGNESS MILLER (1838-1924), married Robert EASTON
JANE MCGILL MILLER (1840- ), married Robert Lee BYBEE
ELIZABETH FERGUSON MILLER (1842-1928), married James M. MACK
ELLEN MCCULLOCH MILLER (1844-1908), married William EDWARDS
JOHN MILLER (1847- ), married Mary PRIDEY
James' father Charles Stewart Miller was the son of David Miller
(1784-1832) and Margaret
Stewart (1777- ?) of Midlothian, Scotland.
His mother Mary McGowan was the daughter of James McGowan (1777- ?)
and Mary Pollock (1781- ?) of Lanarkshire, Scotland.
There is some interesting information about the clans and septs of
Scotland at the CLANS & TARTANS of SCOTLAND
website. They have pictures of the tartans and crests of 124 of the major
In addition, they list over 700 other family names, or
indicate how these families are related to the clans. The Miller family is
affiliated with the
At the early age of seven years, James went to work in the nearby
coal mines. At Hamilton, outside of Glasgow, one can still see large
hills of coal slack, still standing. James worked first as a door
keeper, but advanced to various other positions as he grew older.
Working conditions were very bad, especially for children, in the newly
industrialized British Isles. Before the industrial revolution, entire
families had always labored together, and even very young children were
expected to contribute all the work they were able to do. The family
would work together either at home (weaving and dying cloth, making shoes,
or whatever the family's occupation), or in the fields. Their work could
not be separated from other aspects of their lives. With the industrial
revolution everything changed -- people had to go to work for wages at the
mines, factories, mills, railroads, etc., taking parents and children out
of their homes. There were only a few wealthy people, who controlled the
means of production. They kept wages so low that it was barely enough to
survive on, even if every member of the family worked 12 or 14 hour days,
6 or 7 days a week. Child labor had always been expected, and was healthy
and good for children in a family setting. But now, under these new
conditions, it became very dangerous and unhealthy.
In his book Approaching Zion, Hugh Nibley describes in detail the
terrible conditions in the Scottish coal mines where his ancestors labored.
Many children seldom saw the light of day, and they had to climb up and
down ladders and crawl through tunnels too small for adults to fit
through, dragging heavy sacks of coal. Many children died of accidents,
malnutrition, and illness as a result. It took several centuries for
most of the negative side effects of the industrial revolution and the
living and working conditions, especially in cities, to be improved.
This was one reason why so many people were eager to emigrate to
America and seek a better life on the frontier. The message of the
restored gospel which the LDS missionaries brought from America was made
even more appealing to the people in the British Isles and elsewhere in
Europe because of the bad conditions under which many lived and worked.
The gospel gave them hope for salvation temporally, for a Zion society
to be built here on earth, as well as hope for salvation spiritually
"When James Miller was sixteen he met up with the Mormon missionaries
and was converted and joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day
Saints. One year after he met the missionaries he was baptized, 11
Feb 1846, by Andrew Ferguson, and was confirmed 28 Feb 1846 by William
Gibson. He spent the next two years in converting his parents, and they
accepted the gospel and the family started for Zion, leaving Scotland
in 1848 when James was 18. They were six weeks crossing the ocean, and
landed at New Orleans.
"There is a lovely plaque erected in New Orleans where many converts
and settlers to America landed. I (Nell Creer Frame) stood on the very
spot where twenty-one of my known convert ancestors landed, Millers and
Andersons: grandfather James Miller, his mother and father, and their
family of eleven children; and grandmother Margaret Ann Anderson, her
mother and father, and their six children. The Andersons had left two
children buried in Barony, Lanarkshire, Scotland.
"James Miller, his father and mother, and his ten brothers and sisters
traveled on up the Mississippi River by riverboat, and landed in
St. Louis. Shortly after arriving there, James' father Charles Stewart
Miller (44), mother Mary McGowan Miller (46), and his brothers William
and Archibald (who were 17 and 15 years old) contracted cholera, and
died within ten days of each other. They had settled at Gravois, an
area about ten miles out of St. Louis. We searched for their graves at
all cemeteries there and at an old cemetery way out in the country that
some of our church people had told us was called the "Cholera Cemetery,"
but all headstones were weather worn and had crumbled to just
tiny pieces of stones lying buried in weeds and sand. We then tried to
find cemetery lists -- but still no trace of their graves could be found
So we gave up searching, coming to the conclusion that they were buried
quickly after death in a common grave, because of cholera being so
"James, the next to the oldest son, took over as head of the family
of nine children ranging in age from 23 to 2, and they all lived
together and worked in coal mines and knitting mills and saved, and in
two years were able to come across the plains in the Joseph F. Sharp
Company. It took four months. There were James, his two brothers, and
six sisters. James Miller drove an ox team across the plains for
Charles Richards, and brought his family safely to Utah, arriving
September 1851, where they all married, raised lovely families, and lived
in Utah their entire lives."
James Miller worked as an adobe maker in Salt Lake and he also did
a good deal of work on the Salt Lake Temple, and worked in a meat market
as a clerk for Charles Richards. His daughter Margaret Ann Davis
"While working in Salt Lake my father met and married my mother
Margaret Ann Anderson, 24 November 1852.
(He probably had become
acquainted with her in St. Louis, and their families might have even
known each other in Scotland, but this is uncertain). They moved to
Spanish Fork when their second child was eight months old, arriving
there in September 1856. My father made adobes and built a home for
his family. He assisted others in building homes by making adobes for
them. He went as a guard to Echo Canyon in 1858 to help keep out
Johnston's Army, and was absent from his family ten weeks. There he was
given the uniform he is wearing in the picture."
Wanda Boyack Harmon writes from her research about the uniform
great-grandfather is wearing in the picture:
"It is supposed to be one
of several hundred such uniforms that were obtained from the soldiers
of Johnston's Army when said army was withdrawn from Camp Floyd at the
onset of the Civil War. That army came in 1858; three to four thousand
of them, with supplies to last them four years. When they were withdrawn
sooner than the four years, they sold all the supplies on hand to
the people of Utah at very low prices rather than haul them back East.
Some of the men took the trimmings off and used the uniforms just as
regular clothes, as such things were scarce in those days. Basically
they were U.S. Cavalry uniforms of just pre-Civil War design. Many of
them were used by members of the Utah State Militia and the reorganized
Nauvoo Legion and by the County and local militia groups during the
Black Hawk War."
Black Hawk, a chief of the Utes, waged war so successfully against
the settlers for three years, 1865-67, that the Indian troubles of that
time are called the Black Hawk War, and from the list of men who took
part in the Indian Wars during the early history of Spanish Fork, James
Miller's name is listed.
Early in the spring of 1872 a number of young men in Spanish Fork
organized themselves into a literary and debating society, called "The
Young Men's Academy." The main object was to improve each other, to
advance in the arts of literary pursuits and public speaking. This
group built and financed their own school house. James Miller's name
is included in the list of members and shareholders.
Elmer Miller, his grandson, writes, "Grandfather James Miller
trained the County Militia at night in Spanish Fork and used to direct
sham battles on the 4th of July." Arthur Bowen remembers him participating
in the 4th of July parades as Marshall of the Day -- in his uniform
and with his sword.
Margaret Miller Wiscomb, his granddaughter, remembers him being
short in stature and very jovial, loved by all his family and loving to
them. He liked horses, and also had one of the earliest organs in
Spanish Fork. Many songfests were held at his home. Scotch songs and
Scotch recitations were prevalent (there were many Scottish converts
who had settled in Spanish Fork). Both Grandfather and Grandmother
belonged to the Scottish organization in Spanish Fork, and attended all
Scotch functions, where everyone danced the Highland Fling.
"After returning from his ten weeks in Echo Canyon, he took up a
little farm west of town near where the freeway now runs, and along
with farming he worked as a clerk in William Warren's store. After a
few years he went into business for himself, having the store in his
home for three or four years. Then he bought a piece of ground on Main
Street from George W. Wilkins and built a home there and had a store in
one room of it also. He continued in business for a few years, and
then was ordered by Pres. Brigham Young to turn his establishment into
a cooperative. He took $900 worth of shares for himself and family,
and the people of Spanish Fork bought shares, and the Spanish Fork Co-op
was started with James Miller as manager. He held this position for
nine years and was very successful and was always able to pay the
shareholders a good dividend.
"Later James Miller started another store of his own, and about
this time, following the teachings of the Church, he went to the Salt
Lake endowment house with Grandmother Margaret Ann, and was sealed for
time and eternity to her and to a second wife, Susan Lavender, on the
same day, 19 September 1861. Two other plural marriages followed:
Lavenia Andrus on 6 December 1869, and Lucy Davis on 26 September 1894
(sealed for time only). His second marriage to Susan Lavender lasted
only a short while--we have no history or picture of her. Lavenia Andrus
and Lucy Davis histories follow.
"Grandfather held many responsible positions; he was trustee for
three terms, one of the city board, and many times marshall of the day
on the 4th and 24th of July. He was always ready when he was asked to
do anything in the church and in the city. The children liked to come
to his store on Christmas day, for he always had a ten pound box of
candy and a bag of peanuts to give out to them.
"Margaret Ann Anderson was six years older than Grandfather James
Miller, and having been so patient and wonderful during the raising of
the two families -- Grandfather's third wife being like her own daughter
-- became tired and with her health failing she died at the age of 70 in
her beloved home, 9 May 1893.
"The later years of Grandfather's life were spent in a home near
his son Charles W. Miller and Charles' wife Minnie Cramer Miller, who
took very good care of Grandfather. He had a good garden of vegetables
and a nice flower garden; he sold flowers and vegetables and did very
well. He was able to work until the very last. He died 1 October 1905
at the age of 78, still a faithful member of the Church of Jesus Christ
of Latter Day Saints, and is buried near his beloved first
wife Margaret Ann in the cemetery at Spanish Fork.
"We all give thanks and appreciation to this wonderful man, our
Grandfather, Great-grandfather and Great great grandfather, and his
beloved wife Margaret Ann Anderson Miller and their parents, for the
great sacrifices they made in leaving their comfortable homes and
friends in Scotland and for coming here, that we might all be members
of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and enjoy the
wonderful heritage thereof.
LAVENIA ANDRUS -- James Miller married Lavenia Andrus 6 December 1869.
She was just 16 years old, and was the daughter of Milo Andrus and
Lucy Loomis. They were converts to the Church and handcart pioneers
to Utah who had settled in Big Cottonwood, Salt Lake County. Lavenia
was baptized 3 July 1864, and endowed 6 December 1869. Apparently
they were sealed for time only, or else they obtained a sealing
cancellation when there was a divorce, and she married a younger man
named William James McComb who belonged to the Catholic faith.
To the James Miller marriage, Lavenia had seven children, only two
living beyond 1918, and only three, all daughters, that married:
LAVENIA (named after her mother)
FRANCINA (lived until 1918)
BRIGHAM (died young)
LUCY (died young)
VELMA (died young)
AMOS (died at age 27,
killed while working on the railroad)
To her second marriage Lavenia Andrus Miller McComb had five children:
IDA (lived only 2 years)
WILLIAM JAMES McCOMB Jr., born 2 July 1895.
(killed in action during WWI)
LUCY DAVIS -- There were some years of loneliness for Grandfather
Miller after Grandmother Miller (Margaret Ann) died and Aunt Lavenia
and he had separated in about 1885. One of his dearest
friends, David H. Davis, his bookkeeper in the Spanish Fork Co-op,
had also died. His children were all married and had left. Then
he and Lucy Davis, David H. Davis' widow, decided to go to the temple
and be married for time only. They were companionable and
happy for eleven years before Lucy passed away. Together they
raised a lovely old-fashioned garden -- many of us remember the
old-fashioned roses, blue flags, larkspur, Old Man and Sweet Balm,
Canterbury Bells and Sweet William. We all had many pleasant visits
in their small home.
Derived from a sketch written
by Nell Creer Frame in 1965
by Sandra S. Bray