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On a daily basis we receive phone calls and emails from folks all over the United States with questions regarding our collections, genealogical material, events, and projects, and occasionally, we receive nearly simultaneous emails regarding the same subject or topic. The C.P. Miller House on Highway 27 East near the intersection of Highways 27 and 73 in Lincolnton has been veiled for many years under the title of "eyesore," and people have asked us why we can't make the owner do something about its condition. The house is a beautiful two-story, assymetrical late Victorian gem that has been able to maintain its architectural integrity because past owners have focused all of their attention on the inside of the house instead of the exterior. Well, a new owner has emerged with plans to restore the house, and we are thrilled.
The new owner of the C.P. Miller house contacted our office nearly four weeks ago inquiring about information on C.P.Miller and his family. Sadly, we had to tell him that we have nothing to share with him about the family or any photographs of the house. Disappointed, the new owner told us to let him know if we came across ANYTHING that might be helpful to him during the restoration. We assured him that we would do so with hardly any aspirations of finding information on the family or photographs of the house in the very near future.
Three weeks later, a faint ding alerted us to a short email from Meg Shanahan of Oregon, in which she expressed her hopes that we would be able to share some information on the C.P. Miller House in Lincolnton. Well, the rest is history.
Included below is the information on Clarence Preston and Virginia Rudisill Miller that Meg Shanahan shared with our office and the new owner of the C.P. Miller House in Lincolnton.
Clarence Preston "Pres" Miller
b. Sept. 23, 1860 in Lincolnton, NC
d. Oct. 10, 1950 in Chester, VA
Virginia Victoria "Vickie" Rudisill
b. Oct. 23, 1863 in Cherryville, NC
d. Mar. 3, 1963 in Kings Mountain, NC
Pres and Vickie married about 1885. They are buried at the Mountain Rest Cemetery, Kings Mountain, NC.
Pres comes from a long line of Miller's in the Lincolnton, Lincoln Co., NC, area. He was the second of 9 children born to Jacob Adolphus Miller (1822-1913) and Agnes Belzora "Belle" Abernathy (1836-1919). Jacob Adolphus was born in Lincoln Co. and Agnes Belzora was born in Gaston Co.--they were cousins. Jacob and Belle are buried at the Daniel's Reformed Church Cemetery, Lincoln Co. A relative recently found what they think was a home of Jacob & Belle in Lincolnton. We do understand that another of their homes was lost in a fire.
Jacob Adolphus is from Caleb Miller (1795-1876) and Sarah "Sally" Shuford (1799-1891). Caleb was born and died in Lincolnton. Jacob was a farmer. He fought in the Civil War and there is a relative currently compiling a detailed account of Jacob Adolphus' service.
Caleb Miller is from Phillip Miller (1767-1823) and Maria Margaretha Helderman (1771-1840). Phillip also was born and died in Lincoln Co. Maria was from either Lincoln or Catawba Co. Caleb was the Deputy Sheriff of Lincoln Co.
Phillip Miller is from Jacob Miller, Sr. (1730-1808), who immigrated from Germany in 1752, arriving in Philadelphia on the Ship "President." Jacob Miller may have gone directly to Windsor Township, Berks County, PA to join a brother, Johannes Georg Miller. Jacob, Sr. ended up in Lincoln Co., marrying Anna Maria Pabst from Nash Co., NC, and it is believed that they remained in Lincoln Co. until their deaths.
Now more about Pres and Vickie. Vickie was interviewed by a relative when she was about 96 years old (she lived to be 99 3/4). She was born during the Civil War and remembered well the reconstruction days as a child. Her father, Emanuel Rudisill (1826-1896), was a grain and cotton merchant and owned a plantation in Gaston Co., NC, it is believed. His father, Jonas Rudisill (1801-1857), was born and died in Lincoln Co.
At age 23, Vickie married a young merchant, Preston Miller. Their first home was in Lincolnton, where her husband operated a grocery business; he was the first merchant to have a delivery service for groceries in Lincolnton and later became an agricultural agent for the State. Vickie reported that as a young bride, Thomas Edison and Henry Ford came to Lincoln Co. together to look into an ore mine because they were interested in aluminum for work on different inventions, as it was just beginning to be used and recognized as a multi-purpose metal. Edison came by their home a few times on his bicycle and would pick peaches off their tree. Vickie came out, shaking her dish towel at him to stop. She finally invited them in and they all became good friends. Pres and Vickie entertained them on many occasions.
Pres and Vickie's ten children were all born in Lincoln Co., NC., the first being in 1890. They built the Victorian style house on present day Hwy. 27 in 1904, the same year that their 8th or 9th child was born. Their last child and possibly one other before that were born in this house. All of their ten children were born at home and delivered by the same country doctor. The Miller's raised their children in this Victorian house and lived there for 14 years until 1918, when they moved to Chester, VA, as Pres became interested in the agricultural opportunities and undeveloped timberland near Richmond. Pres developed different fruit and vegetable varieties and sold his seeds to the Ferry Morse Seed Co. in Chicago. He developed the small, sweet, thin-rhined cantaloupe. He was the first farmer in Virginia to plant okra and taught farmers the advantage of contour plowing so they wouldn't lose their land to soil erosion. He had a tree in his front yard that he had grafted as m any as 6 types of fruit onto--all producing well. A granddaughter remembers visiting Pres and Vickie during the summers and seeing seeds labeled and spread out all around the garage and porch of their home in Virginia. Pres also worked on developing a seedless watermelon and did develop a juicy, meaty tomato that is still found today.
Unfortunately, the Miller home in Virginia was lost in a fire, along with many of the family records and antiques. The home was then rebuilt and reoccupied by Pres and Vickie for a time.
Three of Pres and Vickie's sons were in WWI and returned safely. Their youngest son and several grandsons saw active service in WWII. Pres and Vickie lived for 63 years together until Pres died at age 90. At age 84, Vickie made her first flight to visit a son in Oklahoma. She became more interested in flying when another son became a licensed pilot. When Vickie was 94 years old, she flew to California to visit a great grandson and family. She was photographed and interviewed as she got on the plane in Richmond.
Respectfully submitted to the Lincoln Co. Historical Society by Meg Shanahan, Great Granddaughter of Preston and Vickie Miller, June 2012.
Clarence Preston Miller
Virginia Victoria Rudisill Miller