Sarah A. Wisser Miller: ( 21 April 1854-05 June 1915) including notes on the Miller Family

History Of Lehigh County states “Peter…married Mary Wickel.  Their children follow: (1) Pauline, married to Abraham Koons of Catasauqua.  (2)  Boniface.  (3) Elizabeth deceased, was the wife of William Sacks.  (4) Sarah, was the wife of John Miller.

The earliest evidence we have found of Sarah is the census of 1870 where we can see that she and Maria are living in Allentown, seventeen years and nine months after the death of Peter.  Sarah is listed as 16 years old.

Sarah’s husband John was born in Monroe County, Pennsylvania. A reference to the census of 1860 shws John, aged 8, living with his parents, John and Mary (Biseline) Miller. We have yet to locate a marriage record for Sarah and John (1852-1908), but we have found them in census records, the first being a reference to the census of 1880.   Here we see them living in Allentown with their two young children.  Allentown city directories of the time show that that Sarah’s family shared the house at 317 Ridge Road with Maria Margaretha Wisser for a number of years.  If you click on John’s name you’ll see that he lists his occupation as marble polisher.    Here is an explanation about What John’s job may have  consisted of, offered by someone on a genealogy forum:

” There is an article in 1880 from the New York Times where the marble polishers (also referred to as “acid polishers”) were going to go on strike. Their primary job in NYC at that time was polishing fireplace mantels after the marble cutters had cut and carved them.

Today, the following is explained to people interested in sculpting in marble:  Rasps, files, rubbing stones, and sandpaper are used to smooth surfaces.”

The census of 1900 shows the family still living in Allentown, with the addition of three more children.  They have moved and taken out a mortgage on a house at 420 1/2 Liberty St. in the city’s 9th ward.  There is interesting information to glean from this document.  For instance, Sarah’s birth date is listed as April, 1854.  There is a column which lists how long they have been married-24 years, meaning they were wed in 1876.  We see that John is now employed as a church sexton, their son Robert as a bookkeeper at a wire mill, and daughter Loretta as a winder at a silk mill.

Finally, we have a marriage application for their son John E. from 1922.  We see that both John L. and Sarah are deceased at the time of the application, so they did not live to see their youngest child married.  An interesting detail contained in this document is the listing of Sarah’s birth place- Guth’s Station, Lehigh County.

Sarah’s husband John died  February 16, 1908

The Allentown Democrat, Monday, February 17, 1908

John L. Miller. John L. Miller, of No. 420 Liberty street, died yesterday morning of a complication of diseases, aged fifty-six years. He had been confined to his room since the 6th of January, Deceased was born in Monroe county and was a son of the late Mr. and Mrs. John Miller- He is survived by his wife, Sarah (Wisser) Miller and the following children: Robert, Francis and John all living at home. The brothers and sisters are Theodore, of White Haven: Michael, of Monroe county: Joseph, of Williams…Deceased was a member of the Church of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and of the St. Joseph Society which is connected with the church.

      John L Miller   death certificate

John L Miller
death certificate

Sarah died 05 June 1915.

The Allentown Leader, Sunday, June 6, 1915

MRS. SARAH MILLER. Mrs. Sarah A. Miller, organist at the Church of the’ Sacred Heart of Jesus for eighteen years, died this morning at her home. No.420 1/2 Liberty Street, in her sixty-first year. She had been in failing health for the past several months. The deceased was a daughter of John and Margaret Wisser, and she was born at Guthsville. She became a resident of Allentown 53 years ago. Her husband, John Miller, preceded her in death. Mrs. Miller is survived by three children, Mrs. Margaret Kistler, Francis and John Miller of this city, and a sister, Mrs. Pauline Koons of Catasauqua. She was a member of the Church of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and she was prominently affiliated with the Altar and Rosary Society.

Death Certificate Sarah A (Wisser) Miller

Death Certificate
Sarah A (Wisser) Miller

The family is buried in Sacred Heart Cemetery, Fullerton, PA.

ABOVE: The grave site of  Sarah and John and four of their children.  (Ernest and Florence are not listed on any census records we have seen, but we know from those same records that only five of eight children gave birth to survived to 1900.  Ernest and Florence must have been two of the three who did not.

*Inaccuracy of dates or something else?

Because of a discrepancy in dates, there is something here which a genealogist has to question. Peter Wisser died in the mining accident in October of 1852. According to census records, (the most specific being the 1900 census), Sarah was born in April of 1954, 18 months after Peter’s death. The earliest evidence we have of Sarah is the 1880 census, as mentioned above. Here is a transcript  of the 1860 census. Though the name of Pauline was inexplicably entered as Caroline, this is clearly Maria, Pauline, and Elizabeth. The question is: Where is Sarah? She would have been six years old at this point. Why is she not mentioned? Is there a reason?



Robert E. Miller, born 1875
Occupation, 1900 Census-Bookkeeper, Wire Mill

Loretta M Miller, (1879-1905)
Occupation, 1900 Census-Winder, Allentown Silk Mill

The Allentown Leader, Friday, February 24, 1905

Many relatives and friends attended the funeral of Loretta, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. John L. Miller, from the residence of her parents, No. 421 Liberty St. High mass was sung in the Church of the Sacred Heart of Jesus by Rev. Nerz. Interment was made in the Holy Sepulchre Cemetery.  Following were the floral tributes: Pillow inscribed “Sister,” family;  carnations and lyre, the  winders of the Allentown Silk Co.,  carnations, Mrs. A. Koons, Catasauqua,  Mr. and Mrs. Anthony Kleckner, pillow, Frank Koons and daughters and Mrs. Robert Miller of Allentown,  basket of pink and white carnations.

Margaret M. Miller, born 1892

Margaret M Miller married William A Kistler 07 Nov 1912. Their children were Loretta M, Mary M, Robert F, John W, and Rosary V.   The censuses of 1920, 1930, and 1940 show that they occupied the house that Margaret’s parents had originally owned.

Francis J Miller (1894-1947)

Employed at W H Ryan and Co, a box manufacturer in Allentown at the time of his draft  registration for WWI. He subsequently served in the war as a PFC in a medical detachment. He is buried in Sacred Heart Cemetery, Fullerton, Pennsylvania beside his family.

Grave of Francis J Miller

Grave of Francis J Miller

John E Miller, born 1897

Married Bertha M Shaffer 09 Nov 1922 at Sacred Heart Church in Allentown.  Their children were Arlene L, Dorothy E, James E, Mary Ann, and Anna Regina.  John was a district superintendent for a  retail chain.  The census of 1940 show the family residing at 1509 Turner St. in Allentown.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s