Keziah "Ellen" (Fawcett) Miller was born in 1826 in or near Kingwood, Preston County, WV, the daughter of Charles B. and Phoebe (Miner) Fawcett. She also went by the nickname "Ella."
Keziah married Hezekiah Miller (1831-1871), the son of Henry Miller, who was five years her junior. The record of this marriage does not exist -- it likely was burned in the 1869 fire at the Preston County Courthouse -- but is confirmed in the 1914 book, History of Preston County, by Oren F. Morton and J.R. Cole.
Their nine children were Mary "Adaline" Shaffer, Charles E. Miller, Margaret E. Stafford, Phoebe J. Miller, James W. Miller, Fairfax "Fax" Miller, Sarah L. Pyles, John W. Miller and Marcellus Bailey Miller.
They made their home as near neighbors to Keziah's parents near Kingwood, as shown on the 1850 federal census, with Hezekiah listed as a "farmer & renter." When the census was taken in 1860, the family made their home near Tunnelton, Preston County.
In the spring of 1868, Hezekiah and Keziah bought 100 acres of land in Lyon Township, Preston County from A. McDermott. The tract contained stands of chestnut and dogwood trees along the waters of Bride Creek and Raccoon Creek. After owning the acreage for three years, Hezekiah and Keziah sold it to Patrick Welsh for $1,250 on April 28, 1871. According to the terms of their agreement, Welsh was to take "quiet and peaceable possession" the following April, 1872. Hezekiah signed his name to the deed, but Keziah, unable to write, signed with an "X."
Hezekiah then purchased a 100-acre tract near Austen, Preston County, from David Hinerman, on Aug. 2, 1871. This land also was located on the north side of Raccoon Creek, and was filled with hickory and chestnut trees.
Hezekiah suffered from heart disease and died at the age of 40 on Oct. 6, 1871, just a few months after he bought his 100 acres of land. His death occurred in the Lyon District of Preston County, but his burial site is not recorded. In a brief death notice, on Oct. 14, the Preston County Journal said: "Several sudden deaths have occurred during the past two weeks -- Francis Hauger, Esq., (?) Willey, and Hezekiah Miller, Esq., near Tunnelton." No more expansive obituary has been found.
In 1874, after three years as a widow, Keziah and her family are known to have lived on a farm in Preston County, comprising one-third of an interest in the farm that her father had purchased earlier from Samuel W. Wright. The land, according to the father's wishes, was "to be held and enjoyed by [Keziah] during her natural life and at her death to be the absolute property of her children then living."
Compounding the heartache that year, two of their adult children died during a diphtheria epidemic within a month of each other in 1874 -- 18-year-old daughter Phoebe J. Miller on Sept. 15, 1874, and son 22-year-old Charles E. Miller on Oct. 17, 1874. Their deaths both occurred in the Lyon District.
In December 1890, Keziah and her son John purchased the ownership rights from the other adult children, to clear up any confusion in the deed. She was to reside there for the remaining years of her life, and upon her death, all rights were to pass on to John. The deed was signed by Harvey and Adaline Shaffer, J.W. and Maggie Stafford, Bailey and Belle Miller, and John and Effie Miller. More of the deed was cleared up in June 1893 when daughter Sarah Pyles and her husband Daniel sold their rights to Keziah and John. On April 6, 1895, she, John and Effie sold the 100 acres of land to Joseph Mitter, a resident of Austen. Cousin Eugene Huggins, justice of the peace in Preston County, was a witness on the deed. At the time, Effie made her home in Athens County, OH.
When the federal census was taken in 1900, Keziah made her home with her son John, his wife Effie, and their brood of five children in the Tunnelton (Reno District) community.
Nothing else is known of their lives.
Copyright © 2000, 2008, 2017, 2021 Mark A. Miner