My Paternal Grandfather’s Children

My paternal grandfather Charles Dana Miller, 1836-1898, had 7 children. He was 1st married in 1865 to Lucy Gilman Jewett. They had 2 children – a daughter Lucy born 1866 and a son Charles Dion born 1867. Sadly their mother Lucy Gilman Jewett died in 1868.

In 1883 my grandfather married again. He married Mary Elizabeth Murdock in Crown Point New York. Mary was much younger than her husband. She was born in 1863. There was a 27 year age difference.

The family story that I grew up with was that she had somehow traveled to Ohio to look after my grandfather’s young motherless children – i.e. to be a nanny and housekeeper for Charles and then ended up marrying him. Was she a sort of mail-order nanny and then bride? The date and place of their marriage indicates a different story. The question still remains though – how did they meet? The distance between Newark and Crown Point is many miles – a 10 1/2 to 11 1/2 hour drive in today’s measurements. But in the 1870’s the distance between the 2 points required a different form of transport which would have taken considerably longer. Remember – they didn’t even have the telephone.

And he was so much older – 27 years older! She was only 17. The 2 children from his first marriage were in their teens.

Mary Elizabeth and Charles had 5 children – Myrtle born 1884 in Newark Ohio, Dana born 1887 in Newark, Ruth born 1888 in Peoria Florida, Joseph born in 1891 in Peoria, and Roy born in 1893 in Peoria.

Did the children born in the 1880’s and 1890’s ever meet their step-siblings? The daughter lived in Newark so they could well have met her in later years. But the son, Charles Dion had married and moved to Iowa to homestead. His branch of the family eventually moved to Colorado.

Myrtle grew up in Newark and eventually settled in Raleigh North Carolina. Her husband William Upshaw had been previously married and his son by his first marriage died in England in the Second World War. Myrtle and William had 1 son and 2 daughters – William Warner 1922-1996, Mary Bryant 1923-1999, and Nancy Miller Upshaw Egerton 1925-2015.

Dana grew up in Newark, was very cheerful, out-going, and popular. He moved to Chicago and tragically burned to death in a fire in 1913. He was only 27 years old. He is buried in the family plot in Cedar Grove Cemetery in Newark.

Ruth spent most of her adult years in Indiana. She married twice and had 2 stepchildren from her 2nd marriage. She lived a long life – 97 years.

Joseph spent his young years in Florida and Newark. He married young. His first marriage to Lucy Gilman Jewett ended in tragedy when she died in 1920, leaving 2 very young children. (my sister Nan lived in Newark for a year in 1960 – she told me that she met a woman who had known the young couple and had a memory of my father sobbing at the funeral)

Joseph married again in 1923 Mildred Vivian Prescott. They had 3 children – Robert (Bob), 1924-1992, Ruth 1926-1917, and Nancy (Nan) 1927-2020. Mildred died in 1934. Cause of death – appendicitis. She was still in her early 40’s.

Joseph married for the third time in 1935. My mother Dorothy Friend. They had 1 daughter in 1936 – me, Janet.

Joseph died in 1949. Cause of death – coronary thrombosis. He was only 57. He is buried in Winchester Cemetery Massachusetts

Roy spent his younger years in Florida and Newark. He married and had 3 daughters. Muriel Elizabeth 1919-1985, Roy Gilman 1921-2017, and Jeanne Bryant 1924-2010. He spent most of his working life in New York State and New York City. He lived to age 93. He did a lot of work on the Civil War Letters written by his father Charles Dana Miller.

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