William Black Miller was born on June 12, 1846 at
Strathaven, Lanarkshire, Scotland. Miller’s life before his
induction into the military remains unknown, except for his birth
and place of origin. Records, however, reveal he supposedly enlisted
as a private into Company D, 26th Pennsylvania Infantry
on June 1, 1861. Other records reveal a William Miller enlisted on
May 5, 1861 in Company H, 26th Pennsylvania at
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He may have first went into Company H
and then into Company D and if so the June 1 date may have been his
mustered in date. Due to the confusion at the time and the poor
record keeping, one cannot be sure what transpired.
Records then reveal William Miller deserted, on June
23, 1861, having received clothing to the value of $21.58, at Camp
Adler, Washington, D.C. He was not apprehended. But that person may
not have been the same as William B. Miller of the same regiment in
Company D, which states that he was enrolled 1 June 1861 to serve
three years and transferred to Company C of the 99th Pennsylvania on
30 May 1864 as a veteran and was mustered out on 1 July 1865 as a
At any rate, if he was one and the same,
then he obviously re-entered the service because he was then
transferred from that company to Company C, 99th
Pennsylvania Infantry Regiment at Washington DC on May 30,
1864. Records reveal he was mustered out with the 99th
Pennsylvania, on July 1, 1865.
end of his service with the Pennsylvania Infantry, he began
work with the Pinkerton Detective Agency for a short time, but
reenlisted as 1st. Sergeant in Company G, 14th
U.S. Infantry on 12 November 1868 at Chattanooga, Tennessee.
William Black Miller served in Company G,
14th U.S. Infantry in the Wyoming Territory doing escort duty
and other duties. He was then assigned to Company H, 45th
Regiment of the U.S. Infantry and was transferred to Company G
of the 14th U.S. Infantry in July 1869 by a consolidation of
The muster roll for December 31, 1870, reported him
as present but sick in Omaha, Nebraska. The muster roll for December
31, 1871 reported him as being discharged at Fort Fetterman, Wyoming
on November 12, 1871 by expiration of service; reduced at that time
to a Private.
He re-enlisted on April 4, 1872 and was
assigned to Company D, 4th U.S. Infantry. The muster roll for
December 31, 1872 reported him as present, but again sick at
Little Rock, Arkansas.
On January 16, 1874 he was appointed
Corporal, then promoted to Sergeant February 16, 1875,
appointed as First Sergeant on September 14, 1875, reverted to
Sergeant on February 1, 1876 and transferred to Company F, 4th
Infantry on March 1, 1876.
22, 1876 he was again reduced to Private. Miller stated that
at Piney Creek, Wyoming Territory, on June 20, 1876, he
contracted a haemorrhage while in General Crook's expedition
against hostile Indians.
He then enlisted in Company D, served with
that Company on the Wyoming frontier doing garrison and escort
duty as Corporal, Sergeant and First Sergeant and transferred
to Company F with Sergeant Dexter of that Company joining Crook's expedition in May
1876 and was engaged in battle with Indians at Tongue river; on June
9th, 1876. They camped at Pine Creek doing picket during June 1876,
returning to Post Fetterman in July 1876. There he was treated for
haemorrhage contracted while in the line of duty, by Dr. James
Gibson at Post Fetterman, and was under his treatment for a period
of some two months.
On June 30, 1877 Miller obtained a marriage
license in Montreal, Quebec and married Miss. Elizabeth
Crozier on July 4, 1877; at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
William and Elizabeth’s children were Jane born
on September 16, 1879; Mary born in September 22, 1881; Bella
bon on September 1, 1883; William born on August 20, 1885 and
Ellen born on June 4, 1888. Like many others world wide,
Miller was drawn by the announcement of gold being discovered
in Australia and arrived in Victoria, Australia in 1878. After travelling over various parts of
Victoria, they lived at one time on Talbot Street in Ballarat,
before settling at Long Point, Creswick, Victoria where he and
his family remained for many years. By 1879 he had began
working as a farm labourer for a Mr. Edwards and later working
as a caretaker.
Miller applied for a military invalid pension,
affidavits being signed stating that he was suffering from bleeding
piles. His pension was approved on February 18, 1892, at a rate of
$14 a month. Reasons given for his eligibility was that he had been
treated for a haemorrhage inflicted while serving with General Crook
in 1876 and a medical affidavit revealed he suffered from piles and
was no longer able to do manual labour.
Of William and Elizabeth’s six children, they lost
their oldest, 14 year old Alexander to low fever in August 1892. The
surviving children were; Jane, Mary, Bella, William and Ellen.
William Miller was regarded as a highly respected resident of Union
Hill, Creswick and a backbone of the community. William Black Miller
died on September 8, 1913. A death certificate for William Black
Miller, #9035, shows him at age 67 and as a United States Army
pensioner having died of an intestinal obstruction which had lasted
for seven days. He was buried at the Creswick Cemetery on September
9th, in the Presbyterian compartment, grave #1499, Section 12. As it
was what was called a common grave, the plot could not be purchased
and as such no memorial could be erected. There was a statement that
he was placed in the grave of Alexander Miller, 14 years, buried on
August 2, 1892; and on January 30, 1924, Elizabeth Miller, at age 77
was also placed in the same grave. His widow applied for a pension
on January 9, 1914 and again on October 8, 1917.
When the fact was discovered in 1991that
he had no headstone, a marker was obtained from the American
Veterans Administration in Washington DC and placed on his
Over the years the surname “Miller” changed from W.B.
Miller to Millar and his daughter married a “Shields”; their
daughter then married a “Millar”; they then had two boys and one
girl; all descendants of William Black Miller. Phil Millar of
Daylesford, Victoria is a
William Black Miller’s story is one surrounded in
controversies and questions; until he arrives in Australia. Several
individuals have tried to reconcile the information and are
receptive to any information that would further clarify the question
as to if his information has been contaminated with that of yet
another William Miller; as there were scores of William Millers who
served in the conflict. It is generally believed William Black
Miller was born on June 12, 1846 at Strathaven, Lanarkshire,
Scotland. As stated, Miller’s life before his induction into the
military remains largely unknown. Records, however, reveal he
supposedly enlisted as a private into Company D, 26th
Pennsylvania Infantry on June 1, 1861. Other records reveal a
William Miller enlisted on May 5, 1861 in Company H, 26th
Pennsylvania at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He may have first went
into Company H and then into Company D and if so the June 1 date may
have been his mustered in date. Due to the confusion at the time and
the poor record keeping, one cannot be sure what transpired.