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Jedediah Miller


Jedediah Miller was born in the town of Middleborough, Plymouth county, Mass., on the 16th day of June, 1782, and was a descendant in the line of his mother, (who was a Howland,) of the Pilgrims who landed from the Mayflower.

Mr. Miller was a classmate of Daniel Webster in Dartmouth college, from which he graduated in August, 1805. With the intention of beginning an active life, he started in May, 1806, for Geneva, N. Y., then considered a far off Western town. Reaching Schoharie village, and desiring to visit an old college associate, Isaac Hall Tiffany, he set out for Lawyersville. Arriving at the river west of the village, he was rowed across the stream by a negress and found the road leading to Cobleskill obstructed by gates and bars, which undoubtedly gave to him a poor impression of the liberality of the people and of the freedom vouchsafed to travelers, and which led him in after years to procure a reprimand from the Grand Jury. He arrived at Lawyersville in the month of May, and intended to spend but a few days with Judge Tiffany, and then continue his journey. Tiffany and Miller were in college together the former being a senior and the latter a freshman, and a strong attachment had arisen up between them that did not lessen as long as they lived.

Mr. Miller was induced to forego his journey and take charge of the school and commenced the study of law with Judge Tiffany. He was admitted to practice in 1809, and at once rose to the front rank in his profession, particularly as an advocate. He possessed talents of a high order, and during his long residence in the County, although a Yankee, he had a strong hold in the confidence of the Germans as well as the entire community. In 1819 and f1820, he was elected to the Assembly as a Clintonian Democrat, at that time called 'Republican,' and earnestly advocated internal improvements by taxation, under strict rules of economy, and gave an exhibition o his broad ideas of government and its destined resources, in several speeches before those bodies. He was elected again in 1832 by the Whig party, and in 1838, when the formation of the town of Seward was in controversy, he became a candidate for this same position and was successful in his election, but was unable to get his "Seward bill" passed, as his home opponents crowded numerous petitions before the body to defeat him, yet having set out to carry his point, he did so in the course of time, and gave to the territory its present name in honor of the then acting Governor.

Mr. Miller avoided political preferment and enjoyed himself most in the tranquillity of his home. Of him, Mr. J. H. Ramsey says:-- "Mr. Miller in his social habits was in some respects eccentric, but he possessed a peculiar charm in conversation and his varied and extensive knowledge, made him a very instructive and agreeable companion. He was a warm hearted and enduring friend and always temperate and economical in his habits. In public affairs he exhibited a lively interest to the last. Although weak and feeble he made frequent inquiries as to public matters, and when told a short time before his death, the prospect was that the Southern Rebellion would be put down and the Union preserved, he exclaimed with deep emotion, 'God be praised I can died in peace.'

"He had his eccentricities, which to some may have appeared to be faults, while on the other hand, he possessed many virtues and extraordinary powers of mind. Take him all in all as was said of him by an intimate friend writing his obituary

'We ne'er shall look upon his like again.' "

Upon the tombstone is inscribed "The old man eloquent." At the time of this writing it is not known that he has a loving descendant or relative by the ties of consanguinity.

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