Civil War History

Castalia Massacre

“ . . . a most barbarous massacre occurred at the head of Cold creek, now Castalia. There were living there at this time the families of Snow, Butler and Putnam, and a girl named Page. Snow had erected on Cold Creek, a grist mill in which he usually kept corn; this the Indians continued to steal in the night time. Snow, to stop this thieving, laid the boards of the floor leading from, the embankment to the mill in such a way, that when trod upon they would give way and let the Indians through. The Indians being caught

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Ohio Bound

In the last installment, Amos and Emily (Graves) Miller had just lost three young children (Delia, Helen, and Amos) in a matter of weeks, probably to an epidemic. Shortly after that, Emily became pregnant with her last child: a baby boy they would name Wells Waite. He was born on February 20, 1842, carrying a family name; Emily’s sister Theda had married a man with the first name of “Wells” and the last name of “Waite.” More Loss in the Graves Family Although Amos and Emily were surely relieved when she, at the age of 40, survived yet another childbirth

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Grandparents, Parents, and Siblings

On June 11, 1805, a baby named Amos was born to Revolutionary War veteran Aaron Miller, Jr. and his wife Bethiah (Dewey) Miller.  Aaron and Bethiah had gotten married on June 19, 1783 at the First Church of Pittsfield, located in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, and this fruitful couple ultimately had twelve children. A daughter named Clarissa was born first on June 6, 1784 with Amos being the last child born—with seven sisters and three brothers born in between. Perhaps unusual for this era, ten of the twelve children lived to adulthood, including Amos, the father of Wells Waite Miller. More About

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Calm in the Eye of the Storm

Wells Waite Miller’s ancestors made themselves quite well known after immigrating to the colonies—and he is in fact a direct descendant of Thomas Miller, the baby whose birth was the source of all that scandal in their intimate Puritan community. (If you’ve read Great Puritan Migration and Scandal in the Colonies, you’ll see how young Thomas grew up surrounded by whispers—and perhaps boldly critical comments—about his parentage and their sin.) Less is known about the next three generations, and here’s a quick overview of Wells’ family tree through the birth of the ancestor (Aaron Miller) who fought in the Revolutionary War. Thomas

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Scandal in the Colonies

The ancestors of Wells Waite Miller (Thomas and Isabel Miller) came to the American Colonies as part of the Great Puritan Migration. For more than 25 years, they appeared to serve as important members of the community, first in Massachusetts and then in Connecticut. That is, until 1666. Sin, Tragedy, Trial, and Excommunication That year, on May 6, Thomas and Isabel Miller’s 22-year-old maid, Sarah Nettleton, gave birth to a son named Thomas—and the father was in fact Thomas Miller. He was 56 years old with Sarah more than a decade younger than the Miller’s daughter, Ann. To make matters

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Great Puritan Migration

Wells Waite Miller came from hardy English stock with his ancestors sailing across the Atlantic Ocean to immigrate to the American Colonies in the 1600s. Their names were Thomas Miller and Isabel (née Bird) Miller and, although they initially seemed to settle in well in their new homeland, they also created more than a whiff of scandal to add to the positive contributions they made. English Ancestors of Wells Waite Miller Thomas and Isabel were likely born in Bishop’s Stortford, Hertfordshire, England—Thomas on November 7, 1609 and Isabel in 1613. Thomas’s birth family, we know, was a fruitful one. His

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Marching Towards Gettysburg

I recently began to share my research into the life of a Union Civil War soldier, Wells Waite Miller, a man who nearly died at Gettysburg. This post picks up that story and shares his journey towards the small farming town of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania using Lt. Colonel Franklin Sawyer’s book on the subject, The Eighth Ohio at Gettysburg, as a source for quotes and memories. Journey of Wells Waite Miller In response to Confederate General Robert E. Lee’s invasion of Union soil, the Army of the Potomac was directed to head to Pennsylvania. This, of course, included Wells Waite Miller and

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Wells Waite Miller’s America

In 1999, my husband and I took our two young sons, aged nine and almost seven, to see the Gettysburg battlefield in Pennsylvania. We attended an orienting presentation of the Electric Map where small bulbs lit up to demonstrate where each of the two sides—Union/United States and Confederate—were located during key parts of the three-day battle. To give you a sense of that experience, here is a map of the Gettysburg campaign from the Library of Congress. We visited the Gettysburg Cyclorama, an historic oil-on-canvas painting of battle scenes laid out in a 377-foot circle. And, of course, we trekked

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Obed Caswell and Walter Caswell: Story of Brothers

Note: I became interested in Obed Caswell and his brother Walter when writing a biography about their niece’s husband, Civil War soldier Wells Waite Miller. I am still waiting for the Civil War service and pension records for the Caswell brothers and I expect their story to evolve as I learn more. Is an historical biography ever really “done”? Anyone who has information about Wells Waite Miller, his brother Lodowick, or Obed Caswell/Walter Caswell, please contact me! Obed Caswell was the great-grandson of one Revolutionary War soldier and the grandson of another; the son of a man who fought in

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Lament of Wells Waite Miller

Note: I am doing a deep dive into the life of Wells Waite Miller, a largely forgotten Civil War hero, researching and writing his biography. Not too long ago, I was asked to theoretically consider how he might feel about the process. This tongue-in-cheek essay is the result! For the past two years, seven months, and odd number of days, I’ve found myself pondering the following question: Was it worth almost dying on the blood-soaked fields of Gettysburg on July 3, 1863 to potentially have my biography written and published? I say “potentially” because Kelly means well and she does

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