The Millers of Charlevoix County

This information below was provided by Carol Lee Amick Barrett. She is the great-great granddaughter of Robert Miller, the great granddaughter of Mary Agnes Miller-Jarvis-Morrison, and the granddaughter of Rita Inez Jarvis-Amick-Dare.

Robert Miller was born in St. Lawrence County, Heuvelton, New York. His date of birth is September 20, 1828 and date of death is November 29, 1910. He died in Charlevoix, Michigan and is buried in the Charlevoix cemetery. He enlisted in the Civil War in Oswegatchie, New York where he was born.

The Millers/Millars are a sept of the Clan Ross. Jane Curlett, Robert Miller's mother, was Scotch and from the Isle of Man. The Rorisons/Rarisons were from Scotland with lines to the "Black" Douglas clan. They were forced out of Scotland for remaining Catholic and supporting Mary Queen of Scots during the reign of Elizabeth the First. They moved to Northern Ireland. Here the story gets a little odd. It is said that one of their ancestors threw a rock at the Prince of Wales' head - knocking him from his horse. That sent the ancestors to Canada and then to New York.

The Northern Ireland Miller connection makes sense because of Antrim County, and Antrim Street in Charlevoix. There is Antrim County in Northern Ireland. The naming of Boyne City was no accident either. There is the battle of Boyne in 1690 between James the Second and William of Orange; Boyne Valley and the Boyne River are also in Ireland. Robert Miller's favorite little song - probably a lullaby - was the Brays O Glen Effer. The words most clearly spoke of Scotland. The song was not published and may have been sung to him by his mother. It is also possible that his wife Jenny Blair sang the song to their children. Miller (Millar) is a Gaelic name and is reported to be a sept of the Ross clan. The Millers of Scottish ancestry were in Moray in the 14th century and the Glasgow area in the 15th Century.

Robert Miller also had a step-mother. Her last name was Snoddy, her first name may have been Jane, and she may be buried in Charlevoix. Robert Miller sent for her after he got settled in Charlevoix. She came to Charlevoix for New York State. It is report in family writings that she was blind and used to say to Mary Agnes Miller "Come here Aggie and let me feel ya". There is a picture of her holding either Schuyler Colfax Miller or Anna Lorena.

Robert's own handwriting states that he was married and widowed three times.

1. His first marriage was to Mary McBroom, September 16, 1852 in Lisbon, New York, ceremony by Pastor Eastman. It is quite possible that is was McBrown. Robert pronounced "winter" as "wunter" and spoke with a Scotch accent. However, he clearly writes McBroom. He does spell winter correctly in his correspondance. Mary McBrown/McBroom died June 29, 1865. Byron W. was born September 22, 1855 in Huvelton, New York.

2. His second marriage was to Jenny Blair Rorison, the sixth child of Hugh Umstead Rorison and Anna Grierson. Born in 1816, Jenny Blair was the daughter of Lieut. John Grierson of the Royal Navy of Crown Point, township of Fitzroy, county of Carlton, province of Ontario in the dominion of Canada. Jenny Blair Rorison was born September 9, 1845. The Rorisons (actually spelled Rarison in the family record of Basil Dunbar Douglas Rarison) were from the parish of Dairy, 1760 St Johns Clachen, three miles from New Galloway, Scotland. Jenny Blair had a grandmother and great grandmother whose name is spelled Jennie. Jenny Blair (pronounced Janie by Robert and is Janie on her headstone) married Robert Miller October 16, 1867, in Charlevoix. Jenny Blair Rorison Miller died December 16, 1875, of consumption (tuberculosis). This date is on the headstone in the cemetery in Charlevoix. On the same headstone is the date of her daughter's death, December 1875. A newspaper account indicates that her 18 month old daughter died just 24 hours before Jenny passed. Anne Lorena Miller was born April 1871. The daughter of Robert and Jenny was about 18 months old.

Other children of Robert Miller and Jenny Blair Rorison were:

3. Robert Miller's third marriage was to Fanny M. Shaw, March 3, 1878, in Charlevoix, ceremony was by Rev. George Wood. Robert Miller states that Fanny's maiden name was Northrup. Her headstone gives her name as Shaw and her date of death is given as February 13, 1888, in Charlevoix. On the marriage papers for Robert Miller and Fanny her name is given as Northrup.

Robert Miller was a Civil War veteran. Carol has his enlistment papers, a couple of his medals, and what she believes to be some braid from his uniform. Her enrolled on August 11, 1862, as Oswegatchie, New York. He mustered into service as a private on August 27, 1862, at Ogdensburg, New York. He was with Company C, 106th Regiment, New York Volunteers. He was discharged for disability on July 10, 1864. He sustained an injury after his discharge from the army that grew worse over time and left him wheelchair bound later in life. When the Civil War ended the country was broke. The soldiers were given land in lieu of wages. The land deeded to Robert Miller was in Charlevoix. His letters talk of the hardships of clearing the land to build the "cottages" for the settlers. He talks of the sights and the sounds the axes made as the trees were felled to clear the land to build and plant crops. He talks of hard work from sun up to sun down. He also talks of the cheerful spirit of these early pioneers. He built a saw mill on Mill Creek on a site that was abandoned by William Holland. The dam was carried away. The mill was repaired several times but was never operated. It was abandoned as a bad investment. The site later became the Stover Grist and Flour Mill. Robert Miller carried on a blacksmith trade until 1861. His shop was located on the north edge of the river - near what was the Argo Mill. He built a home on the lake side of Bridge Street. The house was converted to the Bridge Street House Hotel in 1861. Robert owned and operated the hotel for several years. Carol has 3 pieces of tableware from the hotel. His daughter Mary Agnes was born in this hotel. Part of the hotel later became the Old Bakers Inn. Robert Miller served as justice of the peace for 12 years, village census taker, and was on the council when the village incorporated in 1879. He was elected village president in 1880 and served one term. He was a member of the Baxter Post G.A.R. He was also president of the Charlevoix Liberal Club and and a member of the Rough and Ready Fire Company Number 1.

Robert Miller wrote many poems and stories for the newspaper. Robert Miller and his family were very active, well known, and respected in the community. Robert Miller loved Charlevoix the Beautiful and contributed greatly to the development of Charlevoix in its very early days.

Note: Village first charter, President John S. Dixon, Trustee Robert Miller; President in 1880, Robert Miller; President in 1881, J. Milo Eaton, Trustee Robert Miller; President in 1883 Byron ?, Marshall Robert Miller; President in 1884 Amos Fox.

Note: Some images are quite large and will take a while to download

Family Group Sheets:

Partial letter written by Robert Miller

Obituaries for Robert Miller

Hugh Miller

Hugh Miller headstone and obituary

Marjorie Miller

Mary Agnes Miller, age 16

Mary Agnes Miller Jarvis home

Mary Agnes Miller Jarvis Morrison

Mary Agnes Miller

Merritt Miller

Miley and Earl Miller

Miller Uncles

Robert Miller

Robert Miller and his third wife Fanny Shaw Northrup

Robert Miller from Civil War and Baxter Post in Charlevoix


Uncle John Miller with family, Miley and Earl Miller

Uncle Will (Byron W Miller) and Aunt Kate (nee Carpenter)

John Miller stories

Miller headstones 1

Miller headstones 2