Civil War Blog

A project of PA Historian

Rep. William Henry Miller, 14th Congressional District

Posted By on September 28, 2011

The second of the Civil War representatives for the 14th Congressional District of Pennsylvania was William Henry Miller (1829-1870), a Democrat from Harrisburg, Dauphin County. As the representative from the 14th Congressional District, he represented an area which included Gratz BoroughWilliam Henry Miller defeated Galusha A. Grow, a Republican, who was Speaker of the House of Representatives.

Miller was born in Landisburg, Perry County, Pennsylvania.  His father, Jesse Miller also served in the U.S. Congress.  Jesse Miller represented the same area of Pennsylvania, but in the Jacksonian Era (23rd Congress and 24th Congress).  During his time in Congress he was Chairman of the House Committee on Invalid Pensions until he resigned in 1836 when President Andrew Jackson appointed him as Auditor of the U.S. Treasury where he served until 1842.  From 1844 to 1845, Jesse Miller served as Pennsylvania’s Canal Commissioner.  This was during the great canal era which only lasted until the railroads took over just before the Civil War.  From 1845 to 1848, he served as Secretary to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, his last public office before his death in 1850.

The Miller’s moved to Dauphin County in the 1830s and young William Henry Miller attended school in Harrisburg.  Later he was admitted to Franklin and Marshall College in Lancaster County where he studied law.  After graduation in 1846, he began practicing law in Harrisburg and Bloomfield, Pennsylvania.  He served as Clerk to the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania from 1854 to 1863 interrupted with a stint as Clerk to the Pennsylvania Senate in 1858 to 1859.

Not much is known about William Henry Miller‘s one term in the U.S. Congress.  He was certainly overshadowed by his predecessor, Galusha A. Grow, who had been Speaker of the House of Representatives.  When Miller ran for re-election in 1864, he was defeated by George Funston Miller, no relation, a Republican from Northumberland County.

In 1864, William Henry Miller was a delegate to the Democratic National Convention which nominated George McClellan for President.

After his time in Congress, William Henry Miller returned to Harrisburg where he resumed his law practice and for a time dabbled in journalism.  He died on 12 September 1870 and is interred in Harrisburg Cemetery.

William Henry Miller (1829-1870)

More information is sought about William Henry Miller.  Anyone who can contribute is welcome to do so.

Th 1862 drawing of the U.S. Capitol Building is from Harper’s Weekly.  Information about William Henry Miller is from Findagrave and Wikipedia.  The photo of Miller’s grave marker is from Ancestry.com.


One Response to “Rep. William Henry Miller, 14th Congressional District”

  1. PhillyBooster says:

    William Henry Miller was the first Congressional candidate to ever beat a seating Speaker of the House in an open election. This has only be accomplished one other time — when Speaker Foley lost his re-election bid in 1994.

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