Deberix Miller of Michigan, born Sept. 1830


Go to Civil War Pension Record


From John C. Carter:

Research regarding Deberix (various spellings) Miller, b. Sep 1830

Passing along some information from Michigan that may be of interest.

This began as part of my following up on the Civil War pension records of Deberix/Debrix/Deborix/Debraire Miller--the one who was:

1. ...born ca. Sep 1830 in DE (per Joseph Romeo's site, which I think refers to census records) or 22 Sep 1830 in PA (per Deberix's pension records)
2. ...a son of John Hughes Miller and Ann (or Anna or Mariah Ann) Greenage
3. ...and served in Company F of the 4th Michigan Infantry.

(Not to be confused with the Debrix Miller who was born ca. 1843, was a son of Enoch Miller and Phebe A. "Libby" Carney, and served in Company D of the 34th New Jersey Infantry--but who also later moved to Michigan).

Upon going through Deberix's pension records I found indications of where he was buried, but also discovered he did not have a proper headstone: nothing more than a small stone reading "Father" (next to one reading "Mother") with both being next to the grave of their apparent son Morris Miller who died 13 May 1882, aged about 20. Thus, my goal was to gather information to verify that this was indeed the same Deberix Miller, and then order a Civil War veteran headstone for him in the same manner that I obtained one for Cornelius Ridgeway around this time last year.

But first, there were a couple of details that needed to be ironed out:

For one, the cemetery in question is currently known as Greenwood Cemetery although Deberix' death certificate indicated he'd been buried in Perrin Cemetery, so research had to be done to verify whether Greenwood had originally been known as Perrin.

For two, an online transcription of Morris Miller's headstone noted the inscription as stating "Son of D & E Miller" when Deberix's wife's name was Sarah Ann.

Unable at first to locate any record of a Perrin Cemetery in Hillsdale County, MI, I contacted Pat McArthur, the File Manager for Hillsdale County's U.S. GenWeb Tombstone Project, to ask if she was aware of any cemetery in the area being known (or having been known) as Perrin. To make a long story short, Pat and I corresponded from August - November and I have to say that she has been one of the most helpful persons I have ever encountered in all my years of genealogy research. Over the course of a couple of months, she went out of her way to provide assistance, taking time to look up countless records, sending photographs of headstones, copying obituaries and other records from the local library, etc. I cannot even begin to express my thanks to her for the amount of information she has gathered and shared.

With that said, I felt it's time that I begin passing along this information as I'm starting to lose track of what had been previously known about these Millers and their family line as compared with the new info. I've already been briefly in touch with Don Fisher with regard to a reference showing on his FTM website (with regard to Deberix' wife's maiden name) (based on land records uncovered by Barbara Webster), but thought I'd go ahead and include the rest of you as well, as there has been some very interesting information (including references to Indian ancestry). It's hard to imagine that this started out as merely an effort to verify a burial location so that a headstone could be ordered but which has now turned into a wealth of new information.

To sum up the two earlier points of contention, records do indicate that the current Greenwood Cemetery is on land which once belonged to the Perrin family, thus explaining why it had been referred to as Perrin Cemetery in the past (and, records are now showing that it was also known as Pittsford Cemetery in between being known as Perrin and Greenwood!) Pat McArthur has summarized the information here:

(Transcribed file in text form):

As for the inscription on Morris' headstone giving his mother's initial as "E" instead of "S," that still remains unexplained, but indications seem to point toward this being an error with the carving of the headstone. I have been in touch with the current caretaker of the cemetery in an effort to see if he had any additional records which might explain the discrepancy and/or confirm that it is Deberix and Sarah who are buried in the "Father" and "Mother" plots. However, he explained that the cemetery records were mostly destroyed or damaged in the 1950's when the town hall burned. There were some records which were resurrected, but these were destroyed in the 1960's during the demolition of the (new?) town hall's attic.

Meanwhile, I'm attaching here all of the correspondence between Pat and myself about the surname of Deborix Miller's wife, Sarah, in chronological order.

I would be very interested in any comments, corrections or opinions any of you might have on the material.

Items of particular interest in the attachment include:

1. Deberix' wife's maiden name. The land records mentioned by Don Fisher had given an indication that she had been a Miller prior to her marriage to Deberix, but material from Deberix' pension records as well as info uncovered by Pat McArthur indicates that she was a Hutchins or more likely, Hutchinson. Everything centers around the marriages of Sarah's mother, Rebecca Sisco/Francisco, who is known to have married both John Norwood and Joseph Miller. The information here seems to indicate she was either a Hutchinson by birth (and gave birth to Sarah before getting married) (and later had a Sisco/Francisco husband in addition to Norwood & Miller), or that she had a husband named Hutchinson in between her marriages to John Norwood and Joseph Miller, if her maiden name was Sisco/Francisco.

2. The 1880 & 1900 censuses classify Deberix & Sarah as "Indian."

3. As Pat McArthur notes in one of her emails, within the book "150 Years in the Hills and Dales" by the Hillsdale County Historical Society there is a bio on Walter Miller, son of Deberix and Sarah, with information for the bio having been provided by Josephine Miller Shaw, one of Walter Miller's three daughters. The bio states, "Walter Miller was the son of Debrix Miller and Sarah Hutchinson Miller. Debrix Miller served in the Civil War, was injured at the Battle of Bull Run and taken prisoner to Libby Prison in Richmond, Virginia, where he was confined until the war's end. Walter's grandfather was John H. Miller, who lived from 1801 to 1870. His grandmother was Anna Grinnage Miller, daughter of an Irish fur trader, Washburn Grinnage, and an Indian chief's daughter of the same tribe as Pocahonatas." Whereas this backs up Sarah's maiden name being Hutchinson (and provides the other interesting information regarding their Native & Irish background), the information is questionable because there seems to be nothing about Deberix's battle or prison involvement in his pension records. His records only indicate he was a private and a "Colored cook" or a "Cook of African descent," that he was present for daily duty in November and December, 1864, that he was "discharged from Hospital" in New Orleans on August 5th, 1865, and that he showed on the mustered-out roll on May 26th, 1866. However, I was not given copies of the full & complete pension file by the National Archives, but rather only the pages they deemed of genealogical significance. Nevertheless, the Battles of Bull Run (there were two of them) were on 21 Jul 1861 and 28-30 Aug 1862, and Deberix didn't even sign up for service until 12 Sep 1864. The contradictions between the book's biographical information and Deberix's actual record then call into question everything else provided by his granddaughter in the bio.

Other information from the bio includes: "The first Miller family on record at Washington, DC was the family of Lt. Debrix Miller (born 1750), who came from Essex County, England, and settled on a plantation near Smyrna, Delaware" and "Walter Miller's maternal grandmother, Rebecca Hutchinson, lived in Philadelphia and took part in the celebration of the Declaration of Independence. Her father was what was called a "Free Booter". He sailed to the Orient, brought back goods and sold them to the residents of Philadelphia. He also stopped on the coast of Africa and brought back slaves and sold them to the Southern planters."

Again, I realize I'm attaching a lot of info here, but I would be interested in hearing any comments you may have.

Since all indications are that it is indeed Deberix Miller who's buried with the "Father" headstone at Greenwood Cemetery, I plan to go ahead and order a proper government-issued veteran headstone for him. (What's your opinion on how his first name should be spelled on his headstone?)

Please let me know if you have any questions or comments.

John C. Carter <>



1850 Kent County, DE census - Enoch & Phebe Miller.



1850 Kent County, DE census - John & Ann Miller.



1860 Kent County, DE census - Enoch & Phoeby Miller



1860 Wayne County, MI census - Deberix & Sarah Miller



1870 Clinton County, MI census - Debrix & Kate Miller



1870 Wayne County, MI census - Debarix & Sarah Miller



1880 Hillsdale County, MI census - Debarix & Sarah Miller



1880 Ionia County, MI census - David (Deberix) & Mina Miller



1910 Spokane County, WA census - Debrix Miller (& son Homer next door)



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