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Researched and compiled by Barrie MacKay

The Miller Family
(The Descendants of Joseph Miller)

The family of Tom & Nancy Miller
A Miller family gathering in 1949. Seated in the centre are "Tom" Miller senior and
Nancy.Their children standing behind them are L-R: Winifred Buckby, Gladys Turner,
Marjorie Hearn, Kathleen Cousins, Rhoda Toop, Maud O'Dell and "Tom" Miller junior

Registers kept by the Parish Church of St Mary the Virgin show that various Miller families have lived at Burton Latimer for the past two and a half centuries, possibly longer.  Here we look at five generations of one such family, essentially from 1802 onwards.

Joseph & Mary

The earliest known ancestor of the Miller family under discussion was Joseph Miller. 

Whether his parentage can be found among 18th-century Burton Latimer families headed by the likes of William & Martha Miller, whose son Joseph was baptized on 9.9.1776, or David & Dorothy Miller, whose son Joseph was baptized on 31.8.1778, has yet to be established.  Was he perhaps the Joseph Miller who at the Parish Church on 1.2.1784 married Elizabeth Torton (Turton?), by whom the following children were brought into the world?:

 
Baptised
Died
John Miller
18 Dec 1784
.
Sarah Miller
9 Apr 1787
.
William Miller
8 Aug 1790
8 Feb 1793
Joseph Miller
4 Oct 1793
.
William Miller
25 Feb 1798
.

If so, Joseph must have subsequently remarried, his first wife Elizabeth quite possibly being deceased by 1801.Who was Joseph’s wife, Mary? Could she have been the Mary Robinson who married a Joseph Miller at Burton Latimer on 30.11.1797?  Or perhaps she was Mary Glover,born 8.9.1778, the daughter of John & Elizabeth Glover baptized on 5.4.1779 at Kettering Independent/Congregational Great Meeting (now Toller United Reformed Church), who married a Joseph Miller at Burton Latimer on 6.12.1804?

Despite the lack of clarity, what is reasonably certain is that, by 1807, Joseph’s religious observance would have been regarded as “nonconformist” and that in all probability he was not a member of the St Mary’s congregation at that stage.  In accordance with Lord Hardwicke’s 1753 Marriage Act, in force between 1754 and 1837 (requiring all couples with the exception of Jews and Quakers to marry by Anglican clergy/rites), he would still have been expected to marry at St Mary’s, or another Church of England parish church, but his nonconformity is reflected in the register kept by the Independent/Congregational Old Meeting at Wollaston (today’s Wollaston Museum), which recorded the following baptisms of Joseph and Mary’s children:

 
Baptised
Date of Birth
John Miller
21 Jan 1807
8 Sep 1802
Francis Miller
21 Jan 1807
20 Dec 1803
Eliza Miller
21 Jan 1807
7 Apr 1806
Benjamin Miller
22 Mar 1810
2 Jun 1808
George Miller
22 Mar 1810
25 Jun 1809
Samuel Miller
28 Jan 1812
31 Aug 1810
Edy Miller
16 Feb 1813
26 Dec 1812

Why the Old Meeting at Wollaston was chosen by Joseph & Mary in preference to the much closer Kettering Great Meeting may have been due to the popularity of Wollaston Congregational pastor, the Rev. David Hennell. The Burton Latimer Baptist register surrendered in 1837 records the birth on 12 Oct 1824 of Martha Yeomans Miller, daughter of shoemaker Joseph Miller and his wife Elizabeth (nee Yeomans). It is noteworthy that a number of George & Elizabeth Miller's children (below) were given the second forename "Yeomans", suggesting that Elizabeth Yeomans was George's stepmother (by Joseph's third marriage?) and that the children in question were so named after her.

George & Elizabeth

Moving to firmer ground, we now focus on the fourth of Joseph & Mary’s sons shown above.  George Miller (1809–81), a shoemaker, is shown in local population census returns as Burton Latimer-born and having lived in the village (as it then was) all his life, latterly at Nichols Yard, 4 High Street.  His grave, shared with his eldest daughter Mary Ann Miller (1835–1911), can be found in St Mary’s churchyard.  In 1835, as required by Hardwicke’s Marriage Act, George married Elizabeth Aldwinckle (1815–72) at St Mary’s, but it is known from the birth records of their daughters, Mary Ann and Charlotte, and confirmed separately by a descendant, that George and Elizabeth were in fact members of the Burton Latimer Baptist congregation at that stage.  The Baptist register helpfully noted the following information when recording the birth in 1837 of the second daughter:  “Charlotte Miller, daughter of George Miller, shoemaker, and Elizabeth his wife, daughter of Jn Allwinckle of Drayton, Leicestershire…”.  Elizabeth, the daughter of John and Elizabeth Aldwinckle, is shown as having been baptized by Wollaston Old Meeting on 22.10.1816.  She and George Miller had twelve known children, namely:

 
Born
Died
Mary Ann Miller (above)
7 May 1835
26 Nov 1911
Charlotte Miller (above)
7 Feb 1837
 
Thomas Miller
c.1839
16 Oct 1872
Edward Yeomans Miller
1843
1912 
Samuel Miller
c.1845
 
Elizabeth Miller
c.1847
 
George Miller
c.1849
1934
Charles Miller
20 Feb 1851
11 May 1939
James Yeomans Miller
1853
2 Sep 1872
Ellen Miller
c.1855
 
John W. Miller
c.1857
 
Henry Miller
c1860
 

In 1872, Elizabeth and her two sons, Thomas and James, died within weeks of each other, casualities of the major outbreak of typhoid fever in Burton Latimer that year. Click here to read about the major sewage problems that year.

Charles & Susan

Charles Miller (1851–1939), George & Elizabeth’s fifth son, was born at Burton Latimer. His future wife, Susan Brains (1853–1932), was the daughter of agricultural labourer Thomas Brains and his wife Abigail (née Perkins) of Grafton Underwood.  Charles and Susan were married at Grafton Underwood Parish Church in 1871. An ironstone worker, at one point described as an engine driver, initially living at Grafton Underwood, Charles and his family spent most of their lives at Burton Latimer, but in the 1860s and 1870s there was increased demand for labour in the East Cleveland ironstone mining industry (Yorkshire North Riding), attracting workers from Lincolnshire, Norfolk and even as far away as Devon and Cornwall.  Charles was one of those who sought pastures new, moving to Warrenby, Redcar, where we know (from census returns) that he and the family were living in the mid-1870s.  However, by the time the third son also to be given the name “James” (initially called “Jesse” to avoid confusion, later “Jim”) was born in 1879, Charles & Susan had returned to their Northamptonshire roots.

The Miller family Charles and Susan Charles and Susan Miller are pictured here with their eldest son Frederick.
The boy in the goat cart is probably Tom Miller
Charles and Susun Miller's family
Charles Miller's family c 1895. (Girls' married names in brackets)

L-R: Back row: Ada (Hawkes) 1881-1967; James Thomas [Tom] 1876-1960; James [Jesse/Jim] 1879-1966.

Front row: Florence (Bond) 1885-1962; Frederick 1871-1961; Rhoda (Desborough) 1888-1966; wife Susan (nee Brains) 1853-1932; Edward Archibald 1892-1962; Charles Miller Snr. 1851-1939; Samuel 1886-1980; Louisa (Loakes) 1875-1926 and Charles Miller Jnr. 1883-1965.

Additional information: Adam Cann

In May 1884, Mary Ann Miller (1835–1911), Charles’s older sister, presented him and Susan with a bible [subsequently passed down to their eldest daughter, Louisa (Loak/es), and her descendants] in which - as was the custom at the - time the names and dates of birth of Charles, Susan and seven of their children were recorded, details of the remaining four being added later by somebody else:

Charles Miller
Borne 1851 [20 Feb 1851]
Susan Miller Borne January 31. 1853 [30 Jan1853]
Fread [Fred] Miller  Borne June 2.  1871
Thomas James Miller Borne November 20. 1873
Louisa Miller  Borne Mach 20. 1875
[James] Thomas Miller  Borne october 30. 1876
James Miller Borne May 14. 1879
Ada Miller  Borne october 30. 1881
Charles Miller Borne September 24. 1883
Florence Miller Born May 20. 1885
Samuel Miller Born december 13. 1886 (7?)
Rhoda Miller Born 20 Augst 1889
Edward Archable [Archibald] Miller Born July 27. 1892
The list of names and dates as written in the Miller Family Bible

[Note: Mary Ann Miller (1835–1911) - the first Miller family record-keeper - seems to have remained single all her life.  She may have been the person of the same name who, upon personal profession of faith, was baptized by the Baptist Church in Northampton in 1855.  She shares a grave in St Mary’s churchyard with her father, George Miller (1809–81)]

From census returns and electoral rolls, the Burton Latimer address where Charles & Susan could be found, certainly between 1881 and 1918, was Nichols Yard, 4 High Street.  In 1934, Charles, at that stage a widower, was living at 87 High Street.

Tom & Nancy

James Thomas Miller (1876–1960, “Tom” Miller senior) was born at Warrenby, Redcar, North Yorkshire during the years that his father, Charles Miller, worked in the East Cleveland ironstone mining industry (see above).  He married Annie Manning James (1876–1963, later better known as “Nancy” Miller) in 1897 at the Kettering Parish Church, when both were living at 27 Bayes Street, Kettering, Tom employed as a shoe riveter and Nancy as a machinist in the clothing industry.  Nancy, for her part, was born in Bridewell Lane, Kettering, the daughter of Edward James, shoe riveter, and his wife Mary (née Elson), a domestic servant, subsequently laundress, who had moved to Kettering from Earls Barton with their two older children c.1875.

Tom & Nancy Miller
James Thomas ("Tom") Miller and Annie Manning ("Nancy") Miller
nee James, probably photographed during the First World War

By 1901, Tom & Nancy were living in Duke Street, Burton Latimer, with their two eldest daughters (altogether they were to have six daughters and a son - see below). Other addresses at which they lived included 53 Rosebery Street, 166 (now 168) High Street and 41 Queensway. Tom Miller is said to have been a bare-knuckle boxer of some repute in his younger days. Click here for Sporting Life references to some of his fights.   Lending credence to this claim is his choice of “Corbett” as one of the names of his son (below), suggesting that Tom was an admirer of James John (“Gentleman Jim”) Corbett (1866–1933), world heavyweight boxing champion 1892–97.

In August 1917, Tom enlisted in the Royal Navy for "the duration of hostilities" - the First World War. After completing basic training at Crystal Palace Naval Depot (London) he performed shore-based duties as an Aircraftsman in the Royal Naval Air Service at RNAS Wormwood Scrubs (London) and RNAS Mullion (Helston, Cornwall). He was stationed at Mullion when, as a Private, he was absorbed into the newly formed Royal Air Force on 1 April 1918. Posted by the RAF to the former RNAS Laira (Plympton, Devon) in June that year, by February 1919 Tom had been demobilised, returning to civilian life.

A shoe riveter at Burton Latimer in 1901 and in 1911 a shoe laster,Tom later went on to develop various business interests in the town, such as those featured in “Retail & Local Businesses: History of Shops: Section B: 58 High Street - (see Shop 39) and 52/54 High Street (Shop 36).”  He never entirely abandoned the skills he had learned in the footwear industry, however, operating a small workshop of his own.

The Next Generation

Tom & Nancy Miller (above) brought six daughters and a son into the world as follows [Burton Latimer residential addresses in 1934 and 1957 can be found in “Genealogy Data for Burton Latimer: Registers of Electors (Electoral Roll)]:

Winifred Ellen Miller, (1897–1977): initially employed as a closer in the footwear industry, Winifred and her husband, Cecil Buckby, managed the “Waggon & Horses”.

Gladys Ada Miller (1899–1985): a closer in the footwear industry, Gladys married Herbert Alfred (“Bert”) Turner.

Margery Florence Miller (1901 - 72): a closer in the footwear industry, “Madge” married Charles Arthur ("Art") Hearn of Finedon, where they lived as a married couple, latterly at 22 Mulso Road.

Kathleen Annie Elizabeth Miller (1904–95): also a closer in the footwear industry, Kathleen married George Albert Cousins.

Ena Victoria Maud Miller (1906–76): a machinist in the clothing industry, Maud married John (“Jack”) O’Dell.

Rhoda Ethel Miller (1908–2003): a machinist in the clothing industry, Rhoda married Francis Bernard (“Frank”) Toop.  Rhoda helped her sister-in-law, Phyllis Miller, run the fish & chip shop at 52/54 High Street [Shop 36: Retail & Local Businesses: History of Shops: Section B] during and immediately after the Second World War.

Thomas Eric Corbett Miller (1911–84)[also appears in some records as Eric Thomas Corbett Miller]: “Tom” Miller junior’s business activities are described in “Retail & Local Businesses: History of Shops: Section B: Shop 36”, which also displays a photograph of Tom and his wife, Phyllis Sarah (née Wilkins), taken at the fish & chip shop.  Click here to see the entry He was at other times a lorry driver and a demolition worker.


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