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Who was Luke Miller?
By Chris Fillimon

The Luke Miller House (also referred to as Miller’s Station) is considered the oldest existing home in Madison. It was built between 1730 and 1750, by Luke Miller’s grandfather, Andrew Miller “. . . who with his son Josiah came from Southampton, Long Island and settled here. They were accompanied by James and David Burnet who were the earliest white settlers of Bottle Hill, now Madison” (taken from an article that appeared in the September 14, 1901 Newark Evening News)

Luke Miller joined the militia at the age of seventeen and, according to original documents, “In the month of June, 1776 he turned out and went into service as a volunteer when the British troops landed at Staten Island. He joined a company then commanded by Lieutenant Hand.” Luke fought in several important battles including the battles of Springfield and Short Hills; he achieved the rank of Major in 1778, at the age of nineteen. When he returned to his home and farm, Luke continued with the family’s blacksmith trade as his father Josiah Miller had before him. Luke’s son, John B. Miller, followed him in the trade, and John’s son, David L. Miller, adopted the blacksmith trade as well. According to the book Bottle Hill and Madison, by William Parkhurst Tuttle, printed Madison Eagle Press, Madison, NJ, (1917), “Major Luke Miller was born at the house, known as Miller’s Station, in 1759 and resided there until his death at age 91, in 1851.  Luke married three times and fathered eleven children.

During the Revolutionary War era, while the Continental Army was encamped [following battles fought in Trenton and Princeton] in Loantaka Valley [one and a half mile southeast of Morristown, bordering on the western side of the Borough of Madison], and Jockey Hollow, [Morristown] the home was the site of much hospitality to war-weary officers. General George Washington is reported to have been a frequent guest at the home” (from the books Bottle Hill and Madison, by William Parkhurst Tuttle and The Madison Heritage Trail, by Frank J. Esposito, (1985). Certainly, while the General and his officers stayed at the main house, their horses were attended to and the Forge was used to shoe the animals, repair wagon wheels, and fix or make hand tools, such as hammers and axes, needed by the men back at the camps in Loantaka Valley and Jockey Hollow. A second reference in the September 14, 1901 issue of the Newark Evening News reports that “In the front room on the northeast of the building, [Miller’s Station] Washington wrote several letters while in another wing of the building he discussed the war situation with his brother officers.”

The Millers, as was common practice in all trades, took on apprentices. According to the September 14, 1901 issue of the Newark Evening News apprentice Charles C. Force learned the blacksmith trade from Iron Master Miller “. . . who had a forge in an old building adjoining the homestead property.” Charles Force served as an apprentice for eight years. After learning the trade Charles established his own blacksmith shop known as the ‘Madison Iron Works’, serving the community in much the same way that Iron Masters Josiah, Luke, John, and David did. The Miller Forge was also important in the early economy of Morris County since travelers would have their horses shod, coach wheels repaired, and tools made or repaired, resulting in prospective trade for area merchants. The Luke Miller House and surrounding property, located at 105 Ridgedale Ave., Madison, remained in the Miller family until it was sold around 1889. 

The Forge provided the Millers with a successful livelihood in a small community of tradesmen, farmers, and shopkeepers, similar to that of other communities throughout New Jersey during the 18th and 19th centuries. John Cunningham, noted author and New Jersey historian is quoted as saying “I don’t think there is any house quite like the Miller House in all of New Jersey. There are bigger houses or places where Washington slept, but this is a place where a blacksmith prospered, and this is a place that tells us about common life and that’s the one thing that we are most missing in our study of history.”



John Miller

  • Born in England, 1630
  • Wife was the daughter of Abraham Pierson
  • John was the father of Andrew, Sr

Andrew Miller, Sr

  • Father of Andrew, Jr

Andrew Miller, Jr

  • Died 1725
  • Wife was Mary Phillips, died 1750
  • Andrew, Jr was the father of Andrew, III

Andrew Miller, III

  • Born 1695; died 1777
  • Lived at Miller’s Place, Southampton, Long Island
  • Purchased 56+ acres in Bottle Hill section of Hanover (now Madison, NJ) circa 1730 from David Burnet, who was the original purchaser of the land from the Indians
  • Andrew III was the father of Josiah and outlived him by about 2 years

Josiah Miller

  • Born August 22, 1728; died September 27, 1775
  • Wife was Betty Carter, born 1730; died 1777
  • Fathered 16 children, 10 of whom migrated to NJ (6 to Bottle Hill)
  • Josiah and 2 of his brothers, Joseph (1753-1823) and John (1756-1817), came to Bottle Hill in the 1750s; 56+ acres purchased by their father, Andrew, III, was divided amongst the 3 of them
    • Joseph received his father's joiners shop plus 17 acres and 20 perches to the south of The Luke Miller House; his stately colonial home still stands at 81 Ridgedale Avenue
    • John received his father's blacksmith shop plus 17 acres and 20 perches to the north of The Luke Miller House and 5 acres and 61 perches on the west side of what is today Ridgedale Avenue; John’s house stood on the 5+ acre portion of his property until it was demolished in 1935; the blacksmith shop was later adjoined to what remains of Luke's property and still stands today at 105 3/4 Ridgedale Avenue
    • Josiah received "Miller's Station" plus 17 acres and 20 perches; the last remaining 1.6 of these 17+ acres that comprise “Miller’s Station” is preserved today surrounding “The Luke Miller House”; it includes the blacksmith shop that was on his brother's adjoining 17+ acre parcel
  • Josiah was the father of Luke (1759-1851)

Major Luke Miller

  • Born in “The Luke Miller House” September 8, 1759, died in the same house, January 23, 1851 (to see Luke Miller’s Tombstone in Madison’s Hillside Cemetary, click here)
  • Inherited “The Luke Miller House” upon his father’s death in 1775
  • Married 3 times (Esther Thompson, Rachel Bonnel, and Mary Thompson)
  • Fathered 10 children



  • Esther Thompson (married January 15, 1781; died July 5, 1782)
  • Rachel Bonnel (married April 13, 1783; born April 13, 1759; died November 29, 1797)
  • Mary Thompson (married June 2nd, 1798; died Sept 11, 1834, aged 74 and 3 months)



  • John B. Miller, born March 8, 1784; married Sarah Thompson
  • Sarah Miller, born March 28, 1786; married James Glover
  • Mehetabel Miller, born March 28, 1788; married Ebenezer Ward
  • George Carter Miller, born December 31, 1789; married twice (Mary Ludlow and Sarah Nicholas) and had 10 children
  • Rhoda Miller, born April 24, 1791; married Elias Ward
  • Electra Miller, born January 12, 1793; married Jonathan Walker
  • Jane Miller, born August 18, 1795; married Robert Denman
  • Rachel Miller, born September 2, 1797; married Josiah Nicholas
  • Charles Miller, born May 7, 1800
  • Son of Mary Thompson, 3rd wife, died 1801

Photo of Mehetabel “Hetty” Miller, from the Alice Jeanette Hazen Gaddis collection, bequeathed in 2008 by her granddaughter, Carolyn Cain Iliff Willen, to the Madison Historical Society


Photo of George C. Miller, from the Alice Jeanette Hazen Gaddis collection, bequeathed in 2008 by her granddaughter, Carolyn Cain Iliff Willen, to the Madison Historical Society

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