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.