Over the past years a number of researchers have posted queries or information re the family of James & Lydia Miller of Edgefield Co., SC, who migrated to Kentucky and eventually Amite Co., MS. They have usually stated that Lydia’s maiden name was Neely or Owens and that there was a lengthy interval between the time when James first left SC and when Lydia followed. The proposition that Lydia’s maiden name was Owens probably stems from the fact that Jonathan Owens of Edgefield County left a large bequest to Lydia Miller in his will dated 1806 and probated 1808. Owens researchers in turn have been confused about the identity of Lydia Miller, some assuming her to be Jonathan’s daughter.
A lawsuit in the Abbeville County Equity Records (Box 59, Packet 3255) sheds considerable light on these questions. The complete file can be obtained through the Family History Library in Salt Lake City. The file reveals that Jonathan Owens left his legal wife, Christina Owens, and their children (Jacob, Jonathan, Mary, Lewis, Sarah, George) and that he lived for some years with Lydia Miller and had five children by her (Thomas, John, Shadrach, Rebecca, Lydia). Jonathan and Lydia were together at the time of his death. Christina sued Lydia in in order to recover a plantation that she believed Jonathan had deeded to one of his sons by Lydia as well as the other items he bequeathed to Lydia. The suit also reveals that Jonathan had an earlier wife who had borne him two children, Susannah and Milly.
This lawsuit raises as many questions as it answers. I am not a Miller descendant so I would simply pass on my hunch that the Lydia Miller who resided with Jonathan Owens is not the same Lydia Miller that was married to James Miller Sr. (and moved to Mississippi). However, I think SC records might be throwing off Miller researchers who believe that Lydia stayed in SC some years after James left. Also, Miller researchers identify a large number of children for James and Lydia and I don’t see how one can fit in five more in the late 1790’s and early 1800’s, when Jonathan is in the picture.
I have been unable to find any trace of Christina Owens after the lawsuit was settled and presume that she died or remarried. If any Owens researchers can find out more about Christina and Jonathan’s children by any of the three women I’d appreciate them sharing the information with me.
I will leave pursuit of the Miller family to others but would mention that buyers at Jonathan’s estate sale included a Zachariah Miller and Joshua Miller. There is a Joshua born about 1790 who died about 1850 in Edgefield County who had a daughter named Lydia. And according to Ancestry, there is a James Zachariah Miller who was born about the same time and died 1847. He is said to be the son of a Jacob and Anna Friedline Miller.
Again, I would be delighted to hear from anyone who finds any information at all on Christina Owens and Jonathan’s children by any of his wives, legal or not. Also I wonder if there is any chance that Jonathan’s children by Lydia used the Miller rather than the Owens name as adults?
Any assistance would be much appreciated.