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Silas Miller

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The information about Silas Miller below in the next 2 paragraphs in black type was provided by "Cousin" Jan Pedatella. Those underlined portions I was unable to verify. My words and additions are in blue print.

 At the outbreak of the American Revolution, Silas volunteered for the Continental Army.  He served as wagonmaster in the New Jersey Militia.  He was a lieutenant in the Second Regiment under Colonel Thomas.  The Second Regiment was charged with defending New York, the Lake Champlain area, and northern New Jersey.  At the close of the war, Silas returned home in Westmoreland County.  My information says that Silas did not return to Westmoreland Co. until 1787.  I am guessing that he spent those 3 or 4 years immediately following the war in 1783 getting his life together and wooing his wife, Jane, to marry him.  It must have been difficult for them as her father had been tried for treason in 1778 because he was a Tory.  Their first child was not born until 1788 in Tarentum, Allegheny Co., PA, approximately 1 year after their return.  This leads me to guess that they did not get married until 1785 or 86.

In 1791 (other sources say 1792) , Silas and a small group of explorers set off for the wilderness.  They traveled north to present day Butler County and staked out land claims by carving notches in the trees,  Silas returned to Westmoreland County  and sold off his portion of the land that he inherited.  Silas, Jane and their three young sons Robert, Silas Jr, and Joseph moved to their new home in Butler County.  Silas Miller's land consisted of 300 acres in Middlesex Township, Butler County.    He was also an original shareholder in the toll road which ran from Butler to Pittsburgh.



1774 -1776   Below are some further tidbits of facts concerning the life of Silas Miller. The first on is below is an account of a petition that was sent in 1774 to the Governor of Pennsylvania, John Penn.  John Penn is a descendent of the William Penn, a Quaker.  This petition, a plea for help against the frequent and horrendous killing raids committed by fierce Indian tribes in western Pennsylvania, is largely ignored by the Penn Family.  See why below. Silas is only 22 or 23 years old when he adds his name to this petition.   Just the next year, in 1775, his father Robert Miller is murdered by Indians while working in his fields on the big Sewickley Creek.  My guess that there were other families and persons killed in this same raid.  The Indian at that time were encouraged and supplied by the British who were anxious to have American immigrant settlers leave and abandon their lands.  That strategy worked somewhat as life became too fearful for most people to face. 

My guess is that after his father's death, Silas is understandably angry and frustrated by the lack of support from the Governor and is eager to avenge or reciprocate for his father's death. He goes back to the state of his birth, New Jersey, where he can see encouraging signs that the Americans there are beginning to form militias for the protection of Americans and encouraging rumors of breaking away from the shackles of British rule and King George run rife.

        Below is the petition reprinted from the text of a lengthy and scholarly book written in 1846 by I. Daniel Rupp.

The information below concerning the Revolutionary War records of

Lt. Colonel Edward Thomas and Silas Miller can be found online under the title of this book,





Pertinent Excerpts from the:




Page 333 The Congress of New Jersey passed more stringent regulations for the militia, October 28th, 1775. Men capable of bearing arms who were "requested" to enroll themselves by the first military ordinance were now "directed" to do so. They were directed with all convenient speed to furnish themselves with "a good musket or firelock and bayonet, sword or tomahawk, a steel ramrod, worm, priming-wire and brush fitted thereto, a cartouch-box to contain twenty-three rounds of cartridges, twelve flints, and a knapsack." They were also directed to keep "at their respective abodes, one pound of powder and three pounds of bullets. Fines, if not paid, were ordered to be collected by warrants of distress, levied on the goods and chattels of the offender. In case of an alarm, the "Minute Men" were directed to repair immediately to their captains' residences, and he was to march his company instantly to oppose the enemy. Companies of light-horse were ordered to be raised among the militia.

In February, 1776, the Committee of Safety of New York called upon the Provincial Congress for a detachment of militia to assist in arresting tories in Queens county, Long Island, and on Staten Island, New York. On the 12th of February, three hundred men of the militia of Middlesex, three hundred of Essex, and one hundred of Somerset were ordered out for that purpose, the following officers commanding:

Nathaniel Heard Colonel.

Edward Thomas Lieutenant Colonel.

John Dunn Major.

PAGE 336 By a return from General Heard's brigade, in and near the city of New York, September, 1776, the strength of this command appears to be one hundred and sixty officers and one thousand seven hundred and sixty-two enlisted men.

On the 16th day of July, 1776, Congress requested the Convention of New Jersey to supply with militia the places of two thousand men of General Washington's Army, who had been ordered to march into New Jersey to form the flying camp. On the 18th of July, an ordinance was passed detaching that number from the militia for that purpose. It was resolved that the two thousand militia should compose four battalions, consisting of thirty companies, of sixty-four men each. They were only to be held for one month from the time of their joining the flying camp.

The battalions of this brigade were organized and officered in the following manner:

The battalion consisting of two companies from Bergen Co., three from Essex Co., and two from Morris Co.:

Edward Thomas, Colonel. (From Essex County)

Ellis Cook, Lieutenant Colonel.

John Mauritius, Gútschius Major.

Samuel Hayes, Adjutant.

William Winants, Surgeon.


First Regiment:

Elias Dayton Colonel.

Edward Thomas Colonel.

Samuel Potter Lieutenant Colonel, Colonel.

Moses Jaques Lieutenant Colonel, Colonel.

Jeremiah Smith Lieutenant Colonel.

Oliver Spencer First Major, Lieutenant Colonel.

Jacob Crane First Major, Lieutenant Colonel.

Ezekiel Woodruff, Jr. Second Major, First Major.

Nehemiah Wade Second Major.

Winants Surgeon,

COLONELS.(Several pages of Colonels were listed)

Page 356 Thomas, Edward. Lieutenant Colonel, Colonel Heard's battalion, "Minute Men," February 12th, 1776; Colonel, First Regiment, Essex Co., February 23d, 1776; Colonel, battalion, "Detached Militia," July 18th, 1776; resigned March 13th, 1777.


Page 414 Thomas, Edward. Lieutenant? First Regiment, Burlington; Captain, ditto; Captain, troop, light dragoons, ditto.


Page 853 WAGONMASTERS.(This is by no means the entire list of Wagon masters but only the Millers on the list)

Miller, Eleazer,Wagonmaster.

Miller, John. Wagonmaster.

Miller, Silas. Wagonmaster.





 Taxables 1803


Perhaps the best information obtainable relative to the number of inhabitants here at the time of the organization of the county, as well as the real and personal property possessed by them, is to be found in the list of taxables of 1803 of the county. It gives the returns of the assessors of the four original townships of Buffalo, Connoquenessing, Middlesex and Slippery Rock, and is as follows from page 57:


   Middlesex                             Acres

James Miller                           200

Silas Miller                           300

Thomas McCleary                        200

John McCleary                          200

George McCandless                      400

William McCandless                     400

James McCandless                       400

John McCandless                        400

1803 The following is a list of taxable properties in Butler County, Pennsylvania in the year 1803.  There were only 4 townships that time. This is our Silas Miller but I do not know who James Miller is.  Could be a relative or not.  This list is from the History of Butler County, Pennsylvania . R. C. Brown Co., Publishers, 1895, p 57 which can be found online.