On 15 June 1840, William's father, James, married Elizabeth [unknown surname], at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. They were married by Reverend Mr Elliott. [sources: 15, 17]
William Miller was born in 1839/40, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. [sources: date: 7 (21 in 1861), 8 (21 in 1861), 18 (7 in 1850), 19 (18 in 1860). place: 7, 8, 18, 19. parents: 15, 18, 19]
In 1850, he was living in ward 5, Northern Liberties, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He was living with his parents James and Elizabeth, and with Mary and Emma (presumably siblings). He had attended school within the year. [source: 18]
In 1860, he was living in ward 1, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He was living with his parents James and Eliza, and with others. He was a laborer. [source: 19]
When he enlisted, he was a seaman, and was living in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, when he was enlisted. [source: 8]
When he enlisted, he was 5 feet 7 inches tall, and had a fair complexion, blue eyes, and brown [?] hair. He had a scar on the back of his right hand, and a large wart [?] on the knuckle of his "left far finger". [sources: 7, 8 (5'8", light complexion, blue eyes, light hair)]
He enlisted and was mustered into service, at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on 27 August 1861. He was enlisted for three years, by Colonel Reiff. He was a private in company C. [sources: 1, 7, 8, 15, 25]
He fought at the Battle of Gettysburg. [source: 11]
He reenlisted as a veteran volunteer, on 26 December 1863, at Bealton, Virginia. He was enlisted for three years, at Bealton, Virginia, by Lieutenant Swan (9). [sources: 1, 8, 9 (24 Dec 63), 15]
On 11 January 1864, he married Eliza Jane Jones. She was born in February 1845, in Pennsylvania. He had no living children when he died. [source: 15 (53 in 1898), 20 (25 in 1870), 22 (Feb 1845)]
He was killed in action on 18 June 1864 at Petersburg, Virginia. His body was rescued, and brought within the lines, by Charles Coates (C), while under enemy fire. He was a private, in company C. [sources: 1, 4, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 15 (some reports, including one from regimental surgeon W G Keir) have him dying in hospital on 20 June 1864), 23 (20 Jun), 25]
He was buried on 20 June 1864 probably originally on Prince George Road, one-half mile east of Meade Station; other soldiers from this same area were moved to Poplar Grove Cemetery, but most of them are now listed as unknown soldiers at Poplar Grove. However, he seems to have been buried at the City Point National Cemetery, Hopewell, Hopewell City,Virginia. [sources: 1 (near Petersburg), 2 (City Point), 5 (Prince George Road, removed to Poplar Grove), 6 (in the field), 8 (near Petersburg), 12 (Prince George Road, removed to Poplar Grove), 23 (City Point), 24 (City Point)]
On 30 July 1864, his widow, Eliza Jane Miller, applied successfully for a pension, from Pennsylvania, under the Act of 14 July 1862. Her post office address was 402 Pierce Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Her application was accepted on 12 December 1864, and she received $8 per month, retroactive to 20 June 1864. [sources: 13, 14, 15]
About 1867, Eliza Jane Miller started living with Joseph Daniel Koken (known as John Cogan), initially in Norristown, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania. They never openly acknowledged being married to each other, and whether they were married was questioned, but at least some people assumed that they were. They had at least three children, one of whom died while they were in Norristown. After the funeral, John Cogan told Elizabeth F Young that he might get married:
the death of the child was a judgement on him because he was not married to the woman he was living with as his wife, that he did not think they could raise any children if they did not get married
(He apparently made similar remarks on his own deathbed.) [source: 15]
In 1870, his widow, Eliza, was living in Plymouth Township, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania. She was living with Joseph Cogan (her husband, according to the Pension Office), and with William and Mary (their children). [source: 20]
Eliza Jane Miller and John Cogan moved to Conshohocken, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, after living for a few years in Norristown. [source: 15]
On 2 February 1873, John Cogan was killed by a boiler explosion at Woods Iron Mill, Conshohocken, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania. [sources: 15, 16]
Eliza Jane Miller had twins after John Cogan's death, before 1879. [source: 15]
Eliza Jane Miller received $5 per month from the Woods Brothers after John Cogan's death, as his widow, having reached an 'amicable settlement' with them, unlike some of the deceased men's families, who sued the company. They stopped giving her that benefit because of reports that she had married someone named 'Pollock'. [source: 15]
In March 1879, Pension Office special examiner M E Jenks investigated reports that Eliza Jane Miller had remarried. Based on the evidence he collected, the Pension Office decided that she had remarried, and stopped her pension, on 31 March 1879. (The pension certificate file does not provide any evidence that she was tried for fraud, perhaps she could reasonably have believed they were not married.) [source: 15]
On 7 April 1879, Edward Schall, of Norristown, sent the Pension Office evidence that Eliza Jane Miller had not remarried. On 22 May 1879, the Pension Office replied, claiming that the evidence was not sufficient. On 9 June 1879, the Pension Office received further evidence, which they rejected on 8 August 1879. [source: 15]
In 1880, his widow, Eliza, was living on Elm Street, in ward 2, Conshohocken, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania. She was living with her husband Robert Pollock, and children William, Samuel, Emma, and Sarah. [source: 21]
William Miller's mother Elizabeth Miller died on 29 April 1883, at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. On 3 May 1883, she was buried in Philadelphia Cemetery. [sources: 15, 17]
On 10 March 1891, his father, James Miller, applied unsuccessfully from Pennsylvania for a pension, under the act of 27 June 1890. His address was 510 Cantrull Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. His application was rejected because William Miller had left a widow at his death, who had received a pension. [sources: 13, 14, 15]
On 28 February 1898, Eliza Jane Miller applied for her pension to be resumed. She was living at 516 Spring Mill Avenue, Conshohocken, Pennsylvania. Her application was rejected because of her remarriage to Joseph D Koken. [source: 15]
In 1900, his widow, Eliza, was living at 516 Spring Mill Avenue, ward 3, Conshohocken, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania. She was living with her husband Robert Pollock, children Sarah and Ida, and a boarder and grandson. She had had twelve children, five of whom were alive. [source: 22]
1 Bates, Samuel Penniman. History of Pennsylvania volunteers, 1861-5. Harrisburg: B. Singerly, state printer, 1869-71. 5 volumes. 'Ninety-first regiment', volume 3, pages 186-233. (In the roster)
2 City Point National Cemetery, interment index (searched 5 October 2000)
3 special order 88, HQ 91st PA, 22 September 1863
4 special order 54, HQ 91st PA, 28 June 1864
5 Poplar Grove Cemetery records (thanks to Elizabeth Dinger-Glisan for the information!) (William D Miller)
6 company C, register of deaths (Wm B Miller)
7 company C, descriptive roll, entry 54 (William B Miller)
8 Civil War Veterans' Card File, available at the Pennsylvania State Archives, searched 7 July 2004 (William B Miller)
9 company C, untitled list, probably of status at muster out, entry 97 (Wm B Miller)
10 consolidated morning report, 91st Pennsylvania, 29 June 1864 (Pri Miller)
11 Pennsylvania Memorial, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania (Wm B Miller)
12 'Our illustrious dead', Philadelphia Inquirer 20 July 1865 page 2 (William D Miller)
13 pension index, by regiment, 91st PA Infantry, company C (William B Miller)
14 pension index, by name (William B Miller)
15 widow's pension certificate file, National Archives and Records Administration, record group 15, widow's certificate 36,138 (Eliza Jane Jones widow of William B Miller)
16 'The Conshohocken disaster', Philadelphia Inquirer Wednesday 5 February 1873, page 2
17 death notice, Philadelphia Inquirer, Thursday 3 May 1883, page 4, Eliza Miller
21 1880 US census, Pennsylvania, Montgomery County, Conshohocken, ward 2, supervisor's district 4, enumeration district 41, microfilm series T9, film 1159, page 321 = 14 B handwritten (FamilySearch) (Eliza Pollock)
22 1900 US census, Pennsylvania, Montgomery County, Conshohocken Borough, ward 3, supervisor's district 2, enumeration district 284, microfilm series T623, film 1445, page 222 = 5 A handwritten (FamilySearch) (Eliza Pollock)
23 US National Cemetery interment control cards, 1928-1962 (WB Miller)
24 Find a grave, memorial 3074010, imported from US Veteran's Affairs, 4 March 2000, accessed 21 October 2012 (W B Miller--note that the Find-a-grave index has 'W S Miller', but the pictured headstone clearly has 'W B Miller')
25 index to compiled service records of volunteer Union soldiers who served in organizations from the state of Pennsylvania (William B Miller)
|Occupation of males over 15 years||plane maker|
|Real estate owned|
|Birthplace||" [sc. Pa]||"||"||"||"|
|Married within year|
|Attended school within year||1||1||1|
|Over 20 & can't read/write|
|Deaf, dumb, blind, etc.|
|Name||James Miller||Eliza||Jacob||Mary||Deliah||James||William Miller||Ebnerzer|
|Value of real estate owned|
|Value of personal estate||100|
|Place of birth||" [sc. Phila]||"||"||"||"||"||Phila||"|
|Married within year|
|Attended school within year|
|Cannot read & write|
|Deaf, dumb, blind, etc.|
|Name||Cogan Joseph||Eliza R||William S.||Mary E.|
|Occupation||Works in Lime Stone Quarry||Keeping House|
|Real estate value|
|Personal estate value||100|
|Father foreign born|
|Mother foreign born|
|Birth month if born within year||Dec|
|Marriage month if married within year|
|Attended school past year|
|Deaf, dumb, blind, etc.|
|Male US citizen at least 21 years old||1|
|Male US citizen at least 21 years old who can't vote ...|
|street name||Elm Street|
|dwelling visit #|
|family visit #||133|
|name||Pollock Robert||- Eliza||- William||- Samuel||- Emma||- Sarah|
|month born if born in year|
|married during year|
|occupation||Laborer||Keeping house||At School||At School|| |
|currently ill?||Hip Disease|
|school this year||1||1|
|street||Spring Mill Avenue|
|name||Pollock Robert||- Eliza||- Sarah||- Ida||Dutterer George||Wright John|
|birth date||Oct 1852||Feb 1845||June 1877||May 1882||Feb 1838||Feb 1898|
|# years married||30||30|| |
|mother of how many children?||12|
|# of children living||5|
|mother's birthplace||New Jersey||Pennsylvania||Pennsylvania||Pennsylvania||Pennsylvania||Pennsylvania|
|# years in USA|
|occupation||Day laborer (stone quarry)||Knitter (Stocking Fty)||Knitter (Stocking Fty)||Day laborer (Stone quarry)|
|# months not employed||5||0||0||5|
|# months in school|
|can write||yes [?]||no||yes||yes||yes|
|free or mortgaged|
|# of farm schedule|
The rolling mill of J. Wood & Bro., just below the railroad siding at Conshohocken, yesterday morning presented a scene painfully contrasting with that presented on the previous morning, when hearty men assembled there to perform their daily toil, little dreaming that, before the sun would go down on the hive of industry within which they wrought, an appalling disaster and accompanying death would visit them. An account of the explosion of the boiler, and a partial list of the killed and wounded, were published in our columns yesterday. One of our reporters yesterday morning paidA Visit to the Scene
Of the previous day's horror. The works at which the explosion took place are on the west side of the Reading Railroad Company's track, and just below the railroad bridge. The buildings covered a space of 100 feet by about 175 feet. About one-half of the works are destroyed by the accident, the upper end being a chaotic ruin, in which sections of the roof of the destroyed building, bricks, pieces of iron plates, twisted rods, bent bolts, and debris generally, lay in one confused mass. There were in the mill seven boilers, each being separate and distinct. The one that burst was at the northern end of the building, and its course was directly west across the canal.The Exploded Boiler
Was eighteen feet long, and has been in use in the mill for twenty years. Upon bursting it raised from its bed, and shot across the canal like an immense projectile forced from a cannon. The boiler went, end first, at about the same height from the ground that it was when it started, until it reached the building on the other side of the canal known as the Albion Print Works. The irresistible mass struck the girder over an arched doorway in the building, and also grazed the wall to the right of the doorway, shattering the girder, and tearing away the wall. The flying boiler now brought up against a large cylindrical vessel called a kiers, and, in doing so, put an end to two human lives under horriblyShocking Circumstances.
The "kiers" is made like a boiler, of half-inch boiler iron, strongly riveted, and stands about 8 feet in height and about 6 feet in diameter. This apparatus is used for steaming muslin, and the only mode of ingress or egress is a small manhole in the top of the contrivance. In this kiers were two lads, George Smith and James McNulty, who were arranging the pieces of muslin within the receptacle and tramping them down so that the steam and water, which were to be subsequently let in, would not mix up and entangle the material. The two poor little fellows were tramping away when the end of the flying boiler struck the side of the kiers, the strong iron in which gave way before the shock like wetted paper. Both lads were instantly killed, George Smith being actually cut in two. These little victims, although blessed with a more painless death than that which the others suffered, were the recipients of much more of the expressed sympathy of visitors to the spot than was bestowed on the other victims, owing probably to the condition they were in, penned up within one boiler when another put an end to their young lives.Crowd of Visitors
Flocked to the scene during the entire day. Each train arriving from stations both north and south brought numbers of persons, some wearing an anxious look, relatives, perhaps, of men dead or wounded; others wearing expressions indicative of a disposition merely to "see the sight." Many manifested a desire to see theWounded and Dead,
But, as the unfortunates were taken to their residences, or former residences, instead of to any one place, the idle curiosity of thoughtless people was not gratified. The wounded, as far as could be learned are the following:--Badly injured, James Hanns, John O'Mahony, Brinton Woodward, James Loughery and Robert Geary, the latter being reported as dying last evening at half-past seven. Slightly wounded, John Logan, Charles Dean, William Simpson, John Leary, James Clark, and John Sheaff. The following is the list of the dead:--
John Cogan, leaves wife and two children.
William Barrett, leaves wife and three children.
John Wall, single.
Hugh O'Donnel, wife and child.
Henry Hummell, Jr., single.
William Hanny, single.
William Carroll, single.
George Smith, single.
Arthur McAnulty, lad.
James Slatterly, wife and four children.
William Kelly, single.
The two last named died yesterday afternoon, and it is expected that of the other men who are injured several of them cannot recover.
Coroner Strahley, of Norristown, arrived in Conshohocken yesterday morning and impanneled a jury to hold anInquest in the Case.
The jury was composed of the following gentlemen:--Barnet H. West, superintendent Norris Works; Frederick Stout, foreman Norris Works; Robert Cascaden, foreman boiler shop Norris Works; John Eynon, foreman Hooven's blast furnace; Joseph Kenworthy, machinist, and D. F. Quillman, Coroner's clerk.
Having visited the houses in which each of the bodies lay, the jury returned to a rear room in the office of the Mill Works and held an inquest in the case.The Testimony
Was not very voluminous.
John Welsh testified that he is a boiler maker; last week repaired the boiler that exploded; considered the boiler in good and safe condition when he left it.
John Mellon, a laborer in the mill, testified that he made a fire under the boiler about two o'clock on the day it exploded; had then tried the safety valve, and did not think it could have been stuck.
Samuel McCarter, machinist, testified that he had built the boiler for J. Wood & Brother; the material entering into the construction of the boiler was first-class and of best quality; witness thought that the flue collapsed and the shell tore apart at the same time.
Then followedThe Engineer's Statement.
The engineer, James Kenworthy, being sworn, testified that he had observed the fireman firing up at about two o'clock in the afternoon; the blast was put on the furnace at half-past two, another man having succeeded the first fireman; the explosion occurred at twenty minutes past four, the blast having been on the furnace until that time; there was no unusual forcing of the fires; witness had in the meantime tried the gauge cock and water gauge; usually carry about from eighty to eighty-five pounds on a gauge; had about fifty pounds on about ten minutes before the explosion; never knew the safety valve to stick; carried the weight on the lever of the safety valve at about eighty five pounds, at which pressure the boiler would blow off; noticed nothing unusual about the boiler; there had been no water in the boiler until the day on which the explosion took place; he pumped the water into the boiler right out of the river; there was no water in the boiler until half past twelve on the day of the explosion; it generally took about three and a half hours to generate steam enough to run; the man who took the place of the one that fired up in the first place is among the killed; the boiler was nearly full of water; it blowed water from the top gauge cock; never was in the habit of hanging any weights on the safety valve lever.
In answer to a question of a juryman, the engineer said that to the best of his knowledge there was not more than 55 or 60 pounds of steam pressure when the boiler exploded.Testimony of an Expert.
William T. Bate, boilermaker, testified that he is practical boilermaker. Mr. Bate then went over with Coroner Strahley to examine the boiler. Upon returning, Mr. Bate testified that he had carefully examined the boiler as it lay where it was thrown by the explosion. The iron in the boiler is of medium quality, "C H No. 1." Had measured the thickness of the flue. In some places he found it 3-16ths full, and in other places 3-16th scant. Witness did not think the plates thinned any in the explosion. "C H No. 1" is a commercial term for ordinary iron made of 'charcoal bloom-shell.' He was of the opinion that the flue collapsed first, and threw the whole strain on the boiler; believed the flue parted, and thus caused the head to blow out.
Mr. Bates, having again measured the boiler, testified that he found the iron in the bottom of the shell a scant quarter of an inch. Going on the supposition that the tubes collapsed, he would not exactly say that the shell was too thin to still stand the strain, but he "wouldn't like to work much around a boiler of that thickness." The flues, he further testified, were not thick enough to stand 85 pounds pressure. If he had been ordered to repair that boiler he would, if ordered to examine the flues, have given notice to take the flues out. In response to the question of a juryman Mr. Bates said that the engineer's statement that he (the eingeer) had raised 55 pounds in an hour and three-quarters was, in his opinion, all right. The engineer's opinion, that there was not more than 65 pounds of steam on when the boiler burst, Mr. Bates thought quite reasonable, but he believed the flues of the boiler would collapse under that pressure.
Witness, in answer to the interrogation as to how much a boiler will weaken by use in twenty years, said that if the iron is not burned it will not weaken any, but if the iron is burned it is not much stronger than cast iron. His impression was that when a boiler had been that long in use it was pretty nearly time to lay it aside. Witness, in conclusion, thought that to be sure, the iron in a boiler designed to resist eighty pounds pressure ought to be about five-eighths thick.
Mr. John Wood, Jr., being sworn, testified that he is a boiler-maker and machinist; had examined the boiler; consider that the iron composing the exploded boiler was better than C. H. No. 1 iron; at the time of the building of the boiler, twenty years ago there was no C. H. No. 1 iron made; believed the boiler fully capable of carrying eighty or eighty-five pounds of steam.The Verdict.
The testimony now concluded, and the jury commenced to deliberate. At about seven o'clock last evening they agreed upon the following verdict:--
"That the deceased (names mentioned) came to their deaths by the explosion of a boiler in the rolling mill of J. Wood & Brother, in the above borough (Conshohocken), and, in the opinion of the jury, said boiler had by long and continued use become, in certain parts, inadequate to carry the required pressure, viz., eighty pounds."Opinion of an Expert.
Mr. W. Barnet Le Van, of this city, who examined the exploded boiler yesterday, states that the shell of the boiler is 54 inches in diameter, and 18 feet long; two flues, 18 inches in diameter and 18 feet long.
The shell was originally No. 4 iron, but at the weakest point is now three-sixteenths of an inch full, and the iron he found crystallized by constant expansion and contraction; the flues were still more deteriorated. The iron of the flues also seems to have been No. 4 iron, but is now, at the point ruptured, but three-sixteenths. The stop valve, connecting the boiler with the line of steam pipe to the engine, was closed at the time of the accident, and the steam gauge showed fifty-three pounds per square inch (so stated by the engineer). This, he says, is, no doubt, correct, as it is evident that the flues collapsed from external pressure, as they are flattened together as though they were passed through a pair of rollers. The working pressure at the mill was eighty pounds per square inch, and the valve was kept closed until this pressure was obtained, the boiler being just repaired and gotten underway. The above-sized flues, to withstand eighty pounds, should not have been, in the opinion of Mr. Le Van, less than five-sixteenths of an inch in thickness.
The safety valve was in good condition, and when found was open and in working order. Also, the stop valve.[death notice, Philadelphia Inquirer, Thursday 3 May 1883, page 4, Eliza Miller]
MILLER.--On the 29th ult, ELIZA MILLER, wife of James Miller, aged seventy-nine years.
The relatives and friends of the family are respectfully invited to attend the funeral this (Thursday) afternoon, at 1 o'clock, from the residence of her daughter, Adelia Lowrey, No. 510 Cantrell street. To proceed to Bethel M. E. Church for service. Interment at Philadelphia Cemetery.[US National Cemetery interment control cards, 1928-1962]