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David R. Miller

MILLER, David R., architect, was born in Dauphin county, in an old log house in Swatara township, situated where the steel works now stand, September 21, 1838. He is a son of Jacob and Rebecca (Page) Miller. His parents were also both natives of Dauphin county. The grandfather Miller fought in the war of 1812, and in that year the father of David R. Miller was born. He was engaged in agricultural pursuits, and died when his son David was thirteen years of age. His wife lived to a good old age, and died in 1878. Their gamily consisted of six children, of whom four are still living: Henry, residing in Keisley, Edwards county, Kan., David R., John, a retired blacksmith, residing at Rockville, Dauphin county, Pa., and Mary, wife of William Rivers, residing at Goshen, Tulare county, Cal. Those dead are Jacob, who was killed by an accident at Joliet, Ill., in 1872, and George, who served with distinction through the late war and was a prisoner for eleven months. He died at Goshen, Cal., in 1891.

The whole life of David R. Miller has been spent in Dauphin county. He received but a limited education in the public schools, but compensated for this by industrious, energetic and persevering efforts at self-improvement. He was a clerk in a grocery store on Market street for two years, during which time he eagerly improved every opportunity to gain knowledge and t prepare himself for business. He undertook to learn car building, buyt subsequently concluded to learn carpentry, and with this end in view became an apprentice to Henry Shoop. After his trade was learned he worked in different cities in mills and factories, endeavoring to make himself familiar with the use of newly introduced machinery. In 1860 he returned to Harrisburg and worked at his trade for four years. During 1864 and 1865 he was a foreman for George Trullinger & Co., who speak of his services in the highest terms. In 1865 he engaged with Daniel D. Boas, of the Harrisburg planing mill, and had the management of that mill for ten years. During this time he did much work as an architect. From 1875 to 1880 he was engaged in contracting and building on his own account. He erected the Ridge Avenue Methodist Episcopal church, remodeled the Forster Street Lutheran church, remodeled the Vine Street Methodist Episcopal church, and erected many other prominent buildings in the city. In 1888 he abandoned other business, and has since devoted his entire time to the professional occupation of architect. He has been employed in this capacity upon many of the most prominent private and public building which adorn the city. He has also done much in the line of his profession outside of Harrisburg. He was the architect of a number of cold storage houses throughout the South, the most noticeable among these being the large building at Waldo, Fla. He is also the architect of a number of public school buildings in the city and State, among which may be mentioned the public school buildings at Lykens, Dauphin county, and at Curwensville, Clearfield county, Pa. Mr. Miller’s work has also extended beyond the United States, even as far as Japan. He prepared the plans for a boys’ and girls’ school and chapel at Sendai, Miyagi Ken.

He was married in Dauphin September 26, 1861, to Christiana L. Garvich, daughter of Henry and Catherine (Baker) Garvich, who was born in Susquehanna township, January 20, 1842. They have had four daughters, tow of whom died in infancy. Those living are Catherine, wife of H. C. McMichael, residing in Harrisburg, and Alice, who resides with her parents.

Mr. Miller is a member of Perseverance Lodge, No. 21, F. & A. M. He is a trustee and was the first president of the Harrisburg Beneficial Society. He represented the First ward for seven and a half years in the school board. He is a Democrat. The family attend the Vine Street Methodist Episcopal church.


Pages 410-411


Transcribed by Marjorie Tittle for the Dauphin County, Pennsylvania Genealogy Transcription Project - 30 Oct 2000 Copyright 2000 - All Rights Reserved; Use, duplication or reproduction for profit or presentation by any person or organization is strictly prohibited.