Debrix Miller

Debrix Miller

Delaware, USA
Death 20 Oct 1903 (aged 73)
Pittsford, Hillsdale County, Michigan, USA
Burial Pittsford, Hillsdale County, Michigan, USA
Plot Row 8, grave marked
Memorial ID 29218931 View Source
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Debrix/Debarix/Debraix Miller

Son of:
John Hughes Miller and
Mariah/Maria Ann (Greenage/Grinnage) Miller.

Husband of Sarah Ann Hutchinson Miller.
They were married 17 Feb 1853
in Milton, Sussex Co, DE.

Civil War veteran
Company F
4th Michigan Infantry
Union forces

An affidavit dated 24 Dec 1870 by Captain William C. Edgar of the 4th MI Infantry gives an account of Debrix Miller as follows:

"...that the said Miller was a strong, healthy man when he enlisted and for a long time did duty as a soldier very faithfully. That about Christmas of 1864 the said Miller was taken sick at or near Murfreesboro. That the cause of his disease was the exposure to the severe weather, both while on duty and during the nights, when he was compelled to sleep without any sufficient tent or sufficient blankets or clothing to protect him from the severe weather. That he caught a bad cold and grew rapidly worse and was, if deponent remembers aright, removed to hospital at Nashville. That he remained in hospital and off duty till the Regiment was ordered to Texas in June following and when he reached New Orleans he was so unwell that he had to be left in hospital there, where he remained, as deponent now thinks, till his discharge. Deponent further says that in his opinion the said Miller contracted his disease while at Murfreesboro as aforesaid from the exposure and hardships [incident?] to the soldiers life."

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For more information on Debrix Miller, go to this site.

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The 1976 publication “150 Years in the Hills and Dales” by the Hillsdale County (Michigan) Historical Society (as a part of their U.S. Bicentennial celebration) contains a write-up on Walter Miller (full name Charles Walter Miller), son of Debrix Miller & Sarah Ann (Hutchinson) Miller. The write-up on Walter was provided by Josephine Miller Shaw, one of Walter's daughters. In the write-up she 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.”

However, this write-up by Josephine has some small errors as well as a rather large one. John H. Miller has been noted as having been born ca. Jun 1803, and his death has been recorded as having been in either Oct or Nov 1876. So, slightly different from her 1801-1870 assertion, but still within reason. However, her claim regarding Debrix’s Civil War service is completely off the mark, specifically the parts where she states that her grandfather had been “injured at the Battle of Bull Run” and had been “taken prisoner to Libby Prison in Richmond, Virginia, where he was confined until the war's end.” There were actually two Battles of Bull Run: 21 Jul 1861 and 28-30 Aug 1862. Debrix’s Civil War pension records indicate that he didn’t even sign up for service until 12 Sep 1864, over two years *after* the 2nd Battle of Bull Run. Also, regarding his purportedly having been a prisoner…. There is nothing about this in his pension records. In fact, the records 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 shows on the mustered-out roll on May 26th, 1866.

So…whether this was simply an exaggeration on Josephine's part to embellish her grandfather’s service into something more grand than being a cook, or yet another way of the Delaware mixed-blood descendants attempting to hide their ethnic background and “pass” as white, the act of embellishing in itself then calls into question her claims about her great-grandmother, (Mariah) “Anna” Grinnage Miller as well.

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