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Elmer, Missouri - Early History
(Reprinted from the History of Macon County, 1910)
Henry Miller, of Elmer, is one of the progressive men who have caught the spirit of the great West, absorbed it into their being, or found it native within them, and fixed its expression in enduring form in substantial improvements and contributions to the welfare of the people who inhabit it. Their works are monuments to their own enterprise
and foresight and they contribute vastly to the enjoyment, substantial comfort and lasting welfare of the communities in which they stand. Mr. Miller has placed the fruits of his capacity and progressiveness at the service of the people of Elmer, doing more, perhaps, than any one other man in building up and improving the town and giving it its fair name among the municipalities in the county. Mr. Miller was born on March 2, 1844, in Lafayette, Indiana, and came to Missouri with his parents when he was eleven years of age. His father, T. S. Miller, was a native of Pennsylvania, and Henry's mother, whose maiden name was Elizabeth Isely, was also born and reared in that state. They were married in 1816 and had eight children. Five of the eight are living: James L., a resident of the state of Oklahoma; John E., who also lives in that state; Susanne, the wife of D. Gunnels, of this county; Henry, the subject of this sketch, and Ellen, the wife of Herman Westfall, of California. Their mother died in March, 1885, and their father on July 4, 1891.
Henry Miller obtained only a common school education and his opportunities for even this were limited and subject to frequent interruptions. He was obliged, while growing from boyhood to manhood, to help his father with the work of the farm, and under the conditions of this part of the country, as they were then, this was exacting and took precedence over everything else. Schooling was considered an excellent thing, and to be had if it could, but the farm work was necessary to the support of the family and it could not be neglected, no matter what else had to suffer. Mr. Miller went to school when he could and made the most of the advantages available to him. In the glimpses into the great domain of intelligence and book-learning which he then got he laid the foundation of the fund of general information which he has since acquired by his own studious habits and industry in reading, observation and reflection.
He has adhered during nearly all of his subsequent years to the pursuit he mastered under the direction of his father, farming successfully and profitably until 1901, when he retired and turned his attention to the real estate business. He now owns a number of brick blocks and residence properties in Elmer, and also owns and- manages the opera house, through which he contributes largely and essentially to the enjoyment of the community and the elevation and improvement of its people. They hold him in the highest esteem for what he has done in the way of building up the town, and also for the elevated and progressive character of his citizenship in every respect. He is not only one of the most substantial but one of the most popular and influential men in the township.
Mr. Miller was married in 1865 to Miss Rhoda Craig, a native of Iowa. They have three children, their daughters. Via Ward and Minnie, the latter the wife of T. L. Freed, and their son, J. H. In politics the father is a Republican with a loyal devotion to the interests of his party and great zeal and activity in promoting them. But he has never accepted a political office, either by election or appointment, having no taste for official life. He does his part for the welfare of the community in other ways of manifest value, and leaves public affairs to the administration of those who have a taste for that sort of work.