WILEY MILLER. In looking at the highly cultivated farms that abound in such numbers in Calhoun County, it is almost impossible to realize that only a few short years ago this section of Uncle Sam's domain was scarcely more than a wilderness. And yet such is the case, and throughout the county we find men who personally endured the hardships of pioneer life and worked to bring about the transformation of heavy timber lands into blooming landscapes. Among this number is Wiley Miller, whose biography is herewith presented, and who now makes his home on section 11, Belleview Precinct, in Calhoun County. He made his first appearance in the drama of life in Scott County, December 29, 1835, being the son of William and Millie (Pilcher) Miller. His parents were born in North Carolina, the father being of German descent and the mother of English. They both moved to Illinois while young, settling in what is now known as Scott County, and were there married. Their union was blessed with eight children, five of whom are living at the present time, viz.: Martha, Wiley, Columbus, Araminta and John. Those deceased are: Martin, Mary and Melvina.
Mr. Miller moved with his parents to Calhoun County in 1843, and has continued to reside there since that date. The family settled in Belleview Precinct, and here the father died in July, 1878, and the mother passed to her final resting place in February, 1879. They were among the oldest pioneers in Calhoun County and in their death the county lost generous, active and useful citizens. Wiley passed the years of childhood, youth and manhood in the same place, and following Horace Greeley's advice to "grow up with the country" distinctly remembers all the incidents connected with the pioneer days of Calhoun County and relates most interesting experiences of a youth passed in a comparatively wild country. His education was received in the district schools of Calhoun County, and he naturally did not have the educational advantages offered to young men of the present day. But though chiefly self-educated, he is well posted upon all important issues of the times and has exercised excellent judgment in all his business ventures.
The subject of our sketch enlisted May 12, 1864, in Company I, One Hundred and Thirty-seventh Illinois Infantry. He enlisted for one hundred days service the first time but remained on active duty nearly five months before he was discharged, being principally engaged doing guard duty at Memphis, Tenn. He enlisted the second time February 11, 1865, in Company I, One Hundred and Forty-eighth Illinois Infantry, and became a part of the Thomas' division of the army of the Cumberland. His principal work this time was at Tullahoma, Tenn., and he was honorably discharged September 24, 1865. He returned home immediately after being released from service and has continued to reside in Calhoun County up to the present date. He owns forty acres of valuable land all of which he made for himself by means of industry and close application to work. He receives a pension of $6 per month. He has served as Constable and has at all times manifested interest in the welfare of this community, being a very public spirited man and one of generous impulses. As a member of the Republican party he wields considerable influence in political matters and is generally conceded to be one of the worthiest citizens of Belleview Precinct. After both enlistments in the army he was elected Sergeant of his company, and has at all times been the recipient of respect and esteem. He has not yet succumbed to Cupid's charms, but is still enjoying the freedom of bachelor life.
Extracted 23 Mar 2017 by Norma Hass from Portrait and Biographical Album of Pike and Calhoun Counties, Illinois, published in 1891, pages 676-677.
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