Plate 1


The Neller-Miller Family
(Donald's maternal grandparents, great aunts, great uncles)

Top left: Emma L. Neller. Born November 26, 1862; married August Miller December 25, 1880 (information from back of original photo); four children -- Edward, Amelia, Robert, Nellie; later divorced; midwife; nursed the sick; died Ashby, Minnesota, November 23, 1937, age 74; buried Oakwood Cemetery, Mower County, near Austin, Minnesota.

Top right: August Miller. Born April 22, 1850, in Germany; came to U.S.A. at age 18; married Emma L. Neller; owned and operated a flour mill at Mill Lake near Ashby, Minnesota; divorced; died age 79 at Ashby, Minnesota, July 14, 1929; buried in Pelican Lake Cemetery, Grant County, Ashby, Minnesota. More about August Miller

Bottom: Neller family. Front row, L to R: Edward "Ed" Neller, Emma Neller (Miller), Edwin Neller; back row, L to R: William "Will" Neller, Ella Neller (Noble), Ida Neller (Noble). They all married, but only Emma and one brother (Ed) had children. He had three: Elmer, Esther and Walter; she had four (listed above). More about the Neller Family

Excerpt from Donald B. Johnson manuscript:

"My grandmother's German parents arranged her marriage [to August Miller] because he was older [30] and more mature and a 'good catch.' She married real young [18]. She claimed she was pushed into it and there never was any love connected to the marriage."[1.1-3]

"Grandmother Miller lived in Austin, but she had taken trips to California to visit Uncle Edward and to Ohio to visit Uncle Robert and she came by train to see us periodically. We really looked forward to her visits. She was so 'grandmotherly' and had so much to tell about the things she had seen on her trips -- and she always brought us something. I could hardly wait for her to open her suitcase. And she was never crabby! After she divorced my grandfather, she made her living [as a midwife and] by nursing people in their homes when they were old and feeble."[1.53-4]

"I never knew much about my German grandfather except that he boozed some. They moved to Ashby [from the farm in Eagle Lake Township] after the kids were raised and then my grandmother kicked him out and sued for divorce. Pa said my grandfather came up to the livery barn and begged Pa to help him get back in. He said, 'Bennie, if you can get me in again, I'll sew my mouth shut.' But it was too late; he had to live alone ever after." [1.21-5]

"We had always heard Ma's one-sided version of how bad he was and almost considered it a sin to talk to him. When he used to be sitting along the street in Ashby, he would sometimes call me over and give me a dime. I always took it and said, 'Thank you,' and kept on going. I'm sure he wasn't half as bad as I had been brought up to think. The main trouble, I'm sure, was booze." [1.84-6]

"Ma had always told everyone that he had disinherited her, but after he died they found out he had changed his will when he found they were going to look after him. He gave her everything he had, his old house [south of old creamery] and a few hundred dollars altogether. They buried him in our lot in Ashby." [1.84-7] [Marjory said he specifically willed his assets to Bennie rather than to Amelia.]

"My grandmother was here some years later [autumn, 1937] and got sick and spent about a month in bed in the east bedroom. She thought she had cancer and resigned herself to it. She was really calm and considerate. She took a lot of care and ... a registered nurse came and stayed with her quite a bit. When she died they took her to Austin, Minnesota, and buried her by her daughter Nellie." [1.85-3]