When I first started looking for family on Ancestry.com I wanted to find where my dad’s family came from before Florida. We knew it was South Carolina, but that was all we knew. My search wasn’t easy because my dad was the fifth James Miller in the line, and it’s a common name, so there are James Millers all over the place.
I finally tracked them down to Lancaster County, South Carolina until 1870 when they were in York County. While looking for more details over the weekend I found an 1825 map of Lancaster County. It was excellent quality and high-resolution and when I zoomed in on the details I realized it included the names of families who lived there.
I recognized many names I from the U.S. Census reports I’d been studying. And then I was amazed to find my family! “Jas Millers” was labeled on the east side of the Catawba River, just north of Twelve Mile Creek.
Lancaster County is south of Charlotte, North Carolina along the South Carolina/North Carolina state line. The county was named for Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. Both counties are populated with Scots-Irish immigrants. Stephen Miller was born in the area in 1740. He was the first of four generations of Millers born in Lancaster County.
After General Tecumseh Sherman’s “scorched earth” policy scorched through Lancaster County at the end of the Civil War circumstances were pretty bleak. The family owned $1700 of real estate in 1870 but they were counted in neighboring York County not Lancaster County where they’d previously lived.
My next search will be for land and tax records. Until I find something to the contrary, it’s my guess the family home was destroyed during the war but they still owned the land. I don’t know if they lost the land because they couldn’t pay the taxes, or if they simply abandoned it because they couldn’t make a living on it anymore, but for one reason or the other they left South Carolina for a better opportunity. Soon after 1870 the family moved south to the area that would become Kissimmee, Florida.
James Miller, born on the Catawba River in 1824 died in Florida in 1875. He was just 51 years old. He is buried in Rose Hill Cemetery in Kissimmee, Florida.
There’s much more to this story, but I don’t have time to tell it now. I’m moving. After the dust settles and the boxes have been recycled I’ll write more with more pictures and details.
PS – Yes, that’s President Andrew Jackson’s birthplace just a few miles east of the Miller Plantation. He was born in 1767 and in 1825 he’d just lost a 1824 bid for president. He would win in 1828.