Person:Ann Miller (1)

Ann Miller
m. Est 1732
  1. Ann MillerBef 1732 - 1811
  2. Jemima MillerEst 1741 -
  3. Hannah MillerAbt 1743 - 1793
  4. Elizabeth MillerAbt 1750 - 1796
  5. Mary Miller1750 - 1825
m. Bef 1764
  1. Nancy Ellender Crow1764 - Aft 1805
  2. Rachel Crow1767 - 1851
Facts and Events
Name Ann Miller
Gender Female
Birth? Bef 1732 Augusta County, Virginia
Marriage Bef 1764 to Walter Crow, of Linville's Creek
Death? 4 May 1811 Mercer County, Kentucky
  1.   ROOTS-L.

    Who was Ann Miller,
    wife of Walter Crow?

    By Sarah Barker

    No one really knows. Nor do we know for a fact that her name was really Miller. The designation of Walter Crow's wife as Ann "Miller" has been attributed, somewhat circuitously, to John W. Wayland Ph.D, author of "A History of Rockingham County, Virginia," and similar books on Rockingham. How this came about is unclear, but the name Ann Miller seems to have stuck.

    Assuming that Ann was truly Ann Miller, who was she? Where did she come from? One theory has been put forth that she was the daughter of John Miller and Sarah Hadley of Middlesex County, Virginia. This theory results from the single fact that a birth record for an Ann Miller exists in the Christ Church Parish register in the appropriate time frame. There is no marriage entry for this Ann Miller, nor any record in existence to indicate that Walter Crow ever met or married this particular Ann Miller. The existence of this birth record is simply a convenience seized upon to prove what is essentially unprovable. The name Miller was very common during Colonial times, and surviving church records few and far between - if, in fact, church records were kept. Literacy was not exactly rampant on the Colonial frontier, and the preachers who wandered from settlement to settlement ministering to the faithful often had other more pressing worries than writing down who they had just christened, married or buried. The fact that one church record survives from among thousands of colonial congregations cannot be taken as proof that the individual named therein is the ancestor in question without offering additional direct or indirect corroboration.

    In his memoirs, John Finley Crowe, son of Benjamin Crow, names his grandmother as Mary Stuart from Scotland. While many researchers consider this recollection an aberration, his assertion should not be dismissed so lightly. It is significant that John Finley Crow never once mentions Ann Miller Crow in his memoirs, which is odd considering it's entirely possible he may have known her (she didn't die until 1811), and he certainly would have had ample opportunity to learn a good deal about her from his father as well as during the winter-long visit to his uncle William Crow in Kentucky circa 1819-1820. But again, he does not mention her. Rather, John Finley states quite plainly: "My grandfather raised a family of five sons: James, John, William, Benjamin and Jacob, and three daughters: Polly, Nancy and Rachel." Notice he does not say "my grandparents" - he clearly says "my grandfather."

    My hypothesis is that John Finley Crow was correct, and that Mary Stuart died either shortly before or shortly after Walter Crow moved his family to Linville Creek, Augusta County, Virginia, where he met and married Ann Miller. She may even have been the mother of Walter's two youngest children born in Linville Creek, although that's pure speculation. That she survived Walter by some 20 years further suggests she may have been quite a bit younger than he.

    So who was Ann Miller? The most logical answer is that she was a daughter of John Miller of Linville Creek. Nothing else quite explains the close ties that existed between the Crow and Miller families for nearly 40 years, beginning in Linville Creek and extending to subsequent generations in Lincoln/Mercer County, Kentucky.

    The saga actually begins about 1742 along Linville Creek in Augusta County where the muster list name James Wright, James Robinson (Robertson on the list) and John Miller - names that will repeat over and over in conjunction with the Crows for the next 60 years.1 The lynchpin is John Miller whose daughter Hannah would eventually marry James Robinson's son Isaac Robinson, and whose daughter Mary would marry James Wright's son Capt. James Wright and later William Fields. These individuals will feature significantly later on in Kentucky.

    In addition to Hannah and Mary, John Miller and his wife Hannah also had daughters Elizabeth (Isbell) and Jemima (Thomas). These four daughters are the only children mentioned in the Will of Hannah Miller written in 1786 and filed March 1795 in Lincoln County, Kentucky, with both John Crow and William Crow named as witnesses.2 John Miller, however, had other children by an earlier marriage (wife unknown). Among the known children are: Abraham, Henry, and John (Jr.). While there is no existing proof he also had a daughter Ann from that earlier marriage, it is not outside the realm of possibility. There may also have been other children as well; we just don't know who they are yet.

    In 1747, John Miller was named one of the administrators for the estate of his Linville Creek neighbor William Skillern, and ordered to dispose of the estate for the benefit of Skillern's orphaned children.3 Apparently the administrators didn't sell Skillern's land, though, because 17 years later George and William Skillern sold the land - in 1764 - to Walter Crow.4 While that is the first land purchase recorded for Walter Crow, it's entirely possible he could have been in the area for several years before purchasing his land. That is one of the many unknowns.

    What is known is that from about 1776 through 1779, John Miller's sons Abraham, Henry and John were very active in Yohogania County, Virginia, where they were joined by Walter Crow's sons John and William Crow.5 Mary Crow was there as well since we know her husband Benjamin Underwood died in Yohogania County on July 21, 1778.6 Mary Miller was most likely an inhabitant as well since court records for Yohogania County indicate both her first husband, Capt. James Wright, and her second husband William Fields, participated in a number of court cases along with John and William Crow, and Abraham and Henry Miller.7

    By 1780, the scene shifted to Kentucky. In the spring of that year, Mary Crow Underwood and her five young children came down the Ohio River seeking the land Benjamin Underwood had marked in 1776, as did both John and William Crow, although it's not known whether they all came together in the famous Vanmeter flotilla, or separately. In the meantime time John Miller had moved to Lincoln County in 1779, entering a claim the following year for land that included a cabin built by William Fields. The series of land claims heard by the Virginia Land Commission in 1780 also included claims registered for Abraham Miller, Henry Miller, James Wright, William Fields, John Crow, William Crow on behalf of his nephew John Underwood, and William Crow on behalf of himself.8

    In 1781 John Miller died intestate in Lincoln County, Kentucky.9 About the same time, John Miller's daughter Hannah Miller Robinson, a widow since 1773, contracted to buy 55 acres from her older half-brother Henry Miller adjoining the land of William Crow.10

    The following year, in 1782, James Wright was killed by Indians at Blue Lick, and the administration of his estate was granted to Mary Miller Wright and her half-brother Henry Miller, with William Crow one of the designated appraisers.11 Mary Miller Wright subsequently married William Fields the following year.

    In 1783, Henry Miller died, with his widow Sarah Miller designated administratrix, and surety bonds posted by his brother Abraham Miller and William Crow.12 In the same year, Sarah Miller and William Crow, in their capacity as witnesses, proved a power of attorney from John Miller (deceased) to Henry Miller giving him authority to collect a 1772 debt owed him by one Taverner Beal in Dunmore (now Shenandoah) County, Virginia.13 Later that same year, Abraham Miller was named administrator for the estate of John Miller.14

    Two years later, in 1785, Abraham Miller died in Lincoln County, Kentucky, setting off a lengthy and contentious court battle that went all the way up to the Virginia Supreme Court (Kentucky didn't become a state until 1792). Both John Crow and William Crow gave testimony verifying the validity of the Will being contested by Abraham Miller's children as a forgery. 15 Unfortunately two of the original witnesses, including James Wright, were already dead, and the other was ill in Rockingham County and unavailable. William Crow accused the sole surviving executor John Thomas (husband of John Miller's daughter Jemima) of wasting the estate's assets, and the court appointed William Crow and William Eagan (Agun in the records) to replace Thomas as executors.16 At one point the court also ordered the sheriff to bring in Abraham Miller's half-sisters and their husbands John Thomas and Jemima Thomas, Zachariah Isbell and Elizabeth Isbell, William Field and Mary Field, and Hannah Robinson, to appear in court as "legatees under the said will, to appear here on the same day to answer the petition exhibited against them." The records for this case were destroyed during the Civil War so we don't know the particulars of what the fight was about, but in all probability the battle concerned Abraham Miller's disposition of the estate of John Miller.

    Also in 1785, William Crow was appointed guardian to another Abraham Miller, this one the minor son of the late Henry Miller.17 When Henry Miller's widow Sarah Miller died in 1791, William Crow administered her estate, as well.18

    In 1792, Hannah Miller Robinson died in Lincoln County, Kentucky, leaving a Will written a few days earlier on Oct. 20, 1792, and witnessed by Morias Hansbrough, second husband of Mary Crow, and her sister Mary Miller Wright Fields.19 Hannah named her son Luke Robinson and brother-in-law William Fields as executors. During a 1793 court hearing, Morias Hansbrough and William Crow were among those designated as appraisers. The following year, on December 7, 1793, her daughter Hannah Robinson married Jacob Underwood, son of Mary Crow, and her son Luke Robinson married Morias Hansbrough's daughter Susanna on April 24, 1794.

    Hannah Miller, widow of John Miller, died in Mercer County, Kentucky, in 1795, leaving a Will that had been written in 1786 and witnessed by John Crow, William Crow and Elener Wright (daughter of Mary Miller Wright Fields) who married John and William Crow's brother Jacob Crow on April 28, 1787 - a year after her grandmother wrote her Will.20 William Crow and Elener Wright, now his sister-in-law, proved the Will in court. In her Will, Hannah names only her four daughters - Jemima Thomas, Elizabeth Isbell, Mary Fields, and Hannah Robinson. There is no mention of John Miller's other children. This exclusion may or may not have been in reaction to the court fight over Abraham Miller's Will then being handled by William Crow. However, the 1806 settlement of Hannah Miller's estate does include the curious notation: "By William Kennedy bond for this Sum (£164 9 2) received from William Crow on exchange of two bonds due the Estate of John Miller Deceased." 21

    The death of Hannah Miller did not end the association between the Millers and the Crows, but the linkage did diminish as the younger generations grew, matured and moved on. While none of this proves that Ann Miller Crow was John Miller's daughter, it certainly demonstrates an unusual closeness between the two families that went well beyond the bounds of mere neighborliness, spanning two states, three counties and nearly 40 years.