An American Family History


John Miller

East Tennessee is part of Appalachia. At the end of the French and Indian War, colonists began drifting into the area. In 1769, they first settled along the Watauga River. During the Revolution, the Overmountain Men defeated British loyalists at the Battle of Kings Mountain. The State of Franklin was formed in the 1780s, but never admitted to the Union.

John Miller was born about 1771 in Pennsylvania.

On June 9, 1789, he married Catherine (Caty) Bowman in Virginia. She was the daughter of Jacob Bowman and Susannah Millhouse.

John and Catherine's children included:

Jacob David Miller (1790, married Margaret Kelley),
Samuel Miller (1788, married Artesmia Bean),
Solomon Miller (1792, married Barsheba Reasoner and Mary Ellis),
Mary Miller (1793, married Nicholas Reasoner),
Susannah Miller (1794, married George Walters),
Sarah Miller (married John Hammer),
Joseph Miller (1798, married Priscilla Hale),
John Miller (1800, married Mary Kelley),
Henry Miller (1801, married Jane Young),
George Miller,
Margaret Miller (1805, married Adam Sell),
Abraham Miller, and
Catherine Miller (1810, married Henry Young).

In 1788 he bought land on Knob Creek in Washington County, Tennessee

John died in 1822 Knob Creek, Washington County, Tennessee.

Catherine Young died in 1825 and her siblings shared her inherited land.

When Caty died in 1844 she left the family home to Margaret and Adam Sell. Adam made extensive renovations to the home.








23 Nov 1784 the last will and testament of John Miller deceased was proved executor Jacob Bowman refused to serve, Abraham Brananum served
appraisal turned in June 1785.
Rockingham County, Virginia

Page 397, 27 Dec 1784
Samuel Miller came into court and took the oath of an Ensign in Captain Harison's company of Militia. The same is ordered certified.

The last will and testament of John Miller, deceased, was presented into court and proved by the oaths of the witnesses thereto annexed. Whereupon Jacob Bowman one of the executors therein named having refused to take any part in the execution of the will, Abraham Brananum the other executor having complied with the law, probate is granted in due form. Ordered that Michl. Shank, Hy. Wisler, Nicolas Perry, David Branaman or any three of them being first sworn do appraise the estate.

Rockingham Co Virginia
John Miller, Jr.
In the case of Marshall vs Custard, the attorney asked the court to take depositions of two material witnesses John Miller and Abram Miller who are about to leave the country.


7-483: 30
July 1825,
John & Henry Miller to Adam Sell,
rights to undivided portion of 60 acres on Knob Creek,
formerly estate of John Miller, Senr., decd,
lot lately owned by Catherine Young,
north side Knob Creek, Adam Sells corner, joining another lot of Sells
purchased of John & Sarah Hammer, down Knob Creek to beg.
Wit. Henry Hoss, Abraham Miller.


8 Feb. 1826,
Nicholas and Mary Reasoner of Monroe Co. TN to Adam Sell,
their right ...
60 acres on Knob Creek,
part of real estate of John Miller decd, and which in division of estate fell to Catharine Miller, now decd,
including dwelling house, stake on Knob Creek, down said creek, along edge of muddy ground with Ranges line to Adam Sells other corner.
Wit. Henry Hoss, Joseph Miller.


18-89: 25
April 1826,
Wm. S. King of Blount Co. TN to Adam Sell, $200, 24 acres, Lot 2, waters of Knobb Creek, estate of John Miller, decd, which fell within the widow's dower, joining Jonathan Hammer. Wit. Henry Hoss, Joseph Miller.


10 July 1826,
Adam Sell to Joseph Miller
for $45,
5-1/2 acres on Knob Creek,
corner of widow's dower.
Wit. Abraham Miller.


10 July 1826,
Adam Sell to Abraham Miller,
land on Knobb Creek,
part of John Miller's estate.


12 Feb. 1828,
John F. and wife Sarah Hammer of Monroe Co. KY
to Adam Sell, $37.25,
rights as heir of Catherine Young, decd,
estate of John Miller, decd,
lot 4 containing 60 acres, Knob Creek.


from The Miller Family of Knob Creek by Jeanne Lyle Sell, p. 17

Very little is known of John Miller's life before his coming to Tennessee. We know he was of German origin; it is possible he was born in Germany. We know he married Catherine Boughman (Bowman) in Rockingham, Va., in 1789.

A grandson, George F. Miller of Kentucky, a son of Joseph and Pricilla Hale Miller, says in an autobiography that his grandfather, John Miller, was born in Germany, and settled first in Pennsylvania and later in Tennessee. That John was born in Germany is indeed probable, but not proven at this time.

The deeds in Washington county, Tennessee Court reveal that John Miller purchased land in Washington County in 1788. This was one year before he married in Rockingham County, Va., so he had gone back to Va. and married Catherine Bowman, and they came on to Tennessee in 1789.

Catherine Bowman's parents were Jacob Bowman and Susannah Milhouse. Catherine married John Miller June 9, 1789 with her mother's consent as her father had already died.

Sir please grant lisens for marriage for John Miller and Caty Boughman and this shall be your record.
witness: Jacob Boughman and John Sites
Signed: Susannah Boughman

John Miller bought 34 acres of land from Jordan Roach in 1788; there was no mention of improvements on this property.

It is family tradition that John and Caty's first home here in Tennessee was an abandoned sheep shelter that was on the 34 acres. This sheep shed is supposed to have been located about where the present General Shale Office Building is now located on the old Kingsport to Johnson City Highway. It would appear that if there were a house of any kind on the property, they would have sought shelter in the house instead of a sheep shed, In view of these legends, our supposition is that John and Caty built the log house, the first and only home of John and Caty Miller.

The house (much improved) is still occupied today (1985) by a direct descendant of John and Caty- Akard Sell- and has never been occupied by any other than direct descendants expansion was made during the lifetime of John and Caty to help accommodate their growing family. As with most families of that time, the size and accommodations of the home were not as important as the barn and other out-buildings for the cattle and grain.

The children of John and Caty Miller were at home from the time of Jacob's birth ca. 1790 through to the time of Catherine's birth ca. 1810, with the exception of Jacob who married one month before Catherine was born. Two more children, Samuel, and Polly married within the next two years. 

But most of the time while the children were growing up, there were fifteen people, at least, living in this house.

John Miller died in 1822, and there were three unmarried children still at home: Abraham, Margaret,and Catherine, However, Margaret married during the year her father died and she and her husband, Adam Sell, lived with Caty at the home place.

When Caty Bowman Miller died in 1844, she willed the home place to Adam Sell and Margaret. It was after Caty died that Adam Sell made extensive additions and improvements to the existing log home.The expansion made was virtually the structure today. The old portion of the home was referred to by the family's older ones as "yander end." Ruel Pritchett remembers well their using this expression.

John and Catherine Bowman Miller are buried on a hill in front of their home, at the time. Since the remodeling after the highway was built, the cemetery is now at the rear of the house, behind the Oldsmobile dealer. Since that time there have been many other members of the family buried there.



Colonial Maryland
Colonial New England
Colonial Virginia & West Virginia
Quakers & Mennonites
New Jersey Baptists
German Lutherans
Watauga Settlement
Pennsylvania Pioneers
Midwest Pioneers
Jewish Immigrants

©Roberta Tuller 2020
An American Family History is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program,
an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.
As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.