Family Tree

Irene Miller - letter to her Granddaughters

Irene Miller

The following was writen by Irene Miller, wife of Isaac Miller at some point between his death in 1834 and hers in 1856.

My dear children & grandchildren unto the sixth generation.

The prophet complained of an ancient people. "They remembered not the brotherly covenant” but this cannot be said of you & with joy do I look down upon you to day as you gather from home of hamlet, & hillside, to meet, to greet & to gladden each other.

These frequent reunions declare, that though severed "By mountain streams & sea " you are still family & the strong hands, browned with honest toil, proclaim that most of you are of one profession & that perhaps the most honorable of all, perhaps the only one existing before the fall.

You are not those who "live by others favor take all & nothing give” but those "that toil till over nature.” Man has his proud control. Yours is that toil that puts iron in the muscle & crystal in the brain. In another sense you are bankers, each president over his own bank of earth, yet, you need not be eyed with suspicion like so many for the more your banks break, the larger the dividends.

I have looked through your fields, & your orchards, your glens & your gardens, I have watched you, as you have "Mowed, hoed & held the plow” until I am not afraid to say of you, to whatever field science, country or church may call you, "you will Hoe your row where-ever you go.”

I see among you some merchants & farmers both as your grandfather was & though "Between buying & selling there lacketh not sin” he tried to be honest, yes, though you cannot say nor could he. What the historian does so often "Born of poor but honest parents” yet you may truly say of honest parents.

Like him, I hope you will often let the other party get the best of the bargain, I cannot say just how often, but I know he let me get it when I married him though you never could make him think so. & I must say I never repented, instead, so happy was our union that had he left me a widow younger I might have asked like some of the girls of today- Are there any more "Miller boys."

Though the Esq. had so much business he let some of his notes outlaw. When he paid the debt of nature he owed no man & the money he left you was not filthy lucre, but the honest earnings of & honest business. Your Grandfather was not supposed to be very wealthy, but now I will tell you the family secret- he really belonged to the firm of Rothchild, Yes when corruption & injustice met him they found him as wroth a child as I see some of you are when confronted by falsehood and fraud, & I hear you saying "Don’t your Miller Blood boil!”

He was a pioneer, when we came from Conn. 100 years ago no conductor punched a little piece of paste board & forwarded us on velvet cushions, but we had to push through field & forest sometimes mid swamp & savages to find Hanover Green there we lived & loved & worked & watched & prayed together, I could not, like some of my granddaughters, solve every problem that could be sent me, I could not, like you, calculate the distance of the stars or the revolutions of the planets, but I had to reckon up every year how much tow & linin & woolen I should have to have spun & wove to cover & warm my family. I didn’t to calculate so close as some for your grandfather was a good provider & never complained that he’d everything to buy, for he had a store full of his own & I didn’t have to be savin of soap & savin of lye for we had potash of our own too- & if we needed anything stronger than water we had liquors in the store & a cider mill besidess. Your Grandfather was always temperate, A true son of the land of Steady Habits.

My fair granddaughters I was not called on like some of you to speak before the graduating classes of Seminarys, or read my compositions before the Missionary Conventions, I could not like some of you, speak dead & foreign languages but I was called on to speak words of cheer & comfort to Levi & Benjamin, & Alanson, & Isaac, & Curtice, & Ichabod, & Phineus, & Irene, & Sally, as I nursed them through the measles & mumps the whooping cough & the smallpox. &I had to give them a good dose of composition too, before I got them through.

I could not paint- as you can, but I could manage the "Miller Blues” & that always satisfiedd your grandfather just as well. I could not play and sing as you can, but I could handle the tub & pound barrel, the loom & the spinning wheel.

"But the wheel & it’s music forever are still The band is motheaten, The wheel laid away & the fingers that turned it lie mouldering in clay”

I have spoken of your father & grandfather having so many trades you may think that he was not master of any, but he was & he was justice too & whatever he was to others, he was my chief justice. My wise man of the east. I did get the best of the bargain when I married him, & as I look over my numerous prosperity I see you have done the same & taken your pick from the best in the land, even though you had to go among Leyons, One I see has gone so far as the Green Mts for a wife. I hope those you have imposed upon will bear it as meekly as Isaac always did.

I have watched you, in the hour of your countrier peril, I saw you go from plow, from profession & pulpit. Yes they that had so ably hold the standard of the cross, carried his countries flag niath southern skies. At about the same age his grandfather came to this countryy to speak his faith by a life of integriity & love then came another Isaac Miller in his coffin speaking his faith by life & a death of honor & glory. yes, perhaps the banks of any would bring more in Wall St., but to you yonder banks with it’s herritage of graves is of more value. In most every circle there is "one vacant chair” & each time "Death chose a shinny mark.”

Though your grandmother is blinded by love; coming as I do from the state of wooden nutmegs I have learned to look out for fraud perhaps because "It takes a rogue_________” And I see one among you claiming the greatest love for truth "A master in Isreal these many years.” Professing to abhor everything false & yet he is doing all this with a false foot nay more tis said he keeps with him two or three false feet. His feeling for, & kindness to animals was noticed & talked about when he was a small boy but- ‘twas little thought then, he would ever become four footed himself. I would ask you to look closely after the daily walk of such a man, & as another of that same family also, years ago, took an extra foot, it might be as well to enquire whether she had ever proved false to him.

There is a good deal said about the corruption of offices, a score or so are S..S..Sup’l & many more are deacons & teachers.

They had better be looked after especially as the question was asked by a stranger "Do you suppose that Kinnie man waters his milk?” I never thought your grandfather marked his goods too high, but I see some of you hold your treasures very high aspecially your daughters not that you ask much in dollars &* cents, nay you ask high moral charactors. Maybe some outsiders who have joined us to day, think I mean them too & I do but these out siders are seem to have been adopted by you or else they have adopted you, & I don’t know which. The hand of a fair one neath tropic skies was vainly sought for she was locked in covent walls.

At last president Barrios with an army captured her. So some of your daughters have been captured by such as William the Conquer.

Another was only surrendered to Marshall not one, like those of Nepoleon with a blood stain swoard yet so courageous there was but one danger he dare not brave that is having that Miller girl left on his hands, but he became courageous enough wen for that though he will know if he took one he’d have the whole of us to deal with.

It is a pleasure to me to see so many crowned heads among you, that all my grandsons of mature age, have what is a crown to he husband a loving wife, & so bright, a king might covet them beautiful. Though yuor dresses are not made up by worth may your character be made by worth not for holiday merely but everyday, so may you live that you all can say as i heard one of you, of her hired girl, "She’ll like me better when she knows more of me,”

When New England freed her slaves, your grandather’s father freed his one, gave him a suit of clothes & some money, but, he soon came back saying he would rather be Esq. Millers nigger than be free.

Though your numbers are large, there are many many absent ones some that have carried the cross to Indies coral stained or neath the cresents minder sun would be remembered by you today.

Your grandparents were pioneers for in the wilderness of mind where there is yet "Much land to be prossessed” & yet your grandfather had a store, so have you of information, & "Freely have recieved, freely give for goodness & mercy have followed you all the days of your life.”

It may be because love is blind, but- as I have watched you & have heard your melodious voice, even to that of that little grandson of the sixth generation have I felt like one of old.

"I have seen perversness in Iseral, I have not beheld iniquity in Jacob, & the shout of a king is among them.”

Your loving grandmother
Irene Miller

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