Happy Birthday Catherine Leifheite



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Catherine Leifheite (1796-1872)

Catherine Leifheite was born on 29 Dec 1796 in Rensselaer, New York. Thus far, her parents and details of her youth are not known. We know her maiden name because it was included on her son George’s death certificate. The information was provided by George’s widow, Jane. It makes sense that Catherine’s maiden name was Leifheite since that was the middle name given to son, George. But, the information provide for the death certificate wasn’t completely accurate. It stated that his parents were born in Germany. But, as you will see later, census records consistently indicate that they were both born in New York. Research has been done to try to find her parents, including searching for a George Leifheite, since the second son was often named after the maternal grandfather. But thus far, the parents haven’t been found.

Update: Catherine was named in the will of John Liphite in 1818 as his daughter. It is now believed that her parents were Margaret and John Liphite.

Parents listed on death certificate of George Miller.

When she was about 23-years old, Catherine married Zachariah Miller about 1820.

Zachariah Miller and Catherine Leifheite had at least the following children:

  1. Eliza Margaret Miller was born in 1821 in Rensselaer, New York. She married Samuel G. Cole in 1842. She died on 25 Feb 1903 in Rensselaer, New York and is buried in Garfield Cemetery, Stephentown, Rensselaer, New York.
  2. John Robert Miller was born in 1823 in Rensselaer, New York. He married Harriet R. Huested. He died in 1910 in Rensselaer, New York (Age: 87). He is buried at Nassau-Schodack Cemetery, Nassau, Rensselaer, New York.
  3. George Leifheite Miller was born on 14 Oct 1830 in Nassau, Rensselaer, New York. He married Jane Elizabeth Cornell on 09 Apr 1871 in Oroville, Butte, California. He died on 07 Dec 1921 in Big Rock, Kane, Illinois and is buried in West Big Rock Cemetery, Big Rock, Kane, Illinois.
  4. Mary Ann Miller was born on 01 Aug 1835 in New York. She married Perry Wolcott. She died on 23 Apr 1892 and is buried at Sandlake Union Cemetery, Sandlake, Rensselaer, New York.
  5. Mariah Miller was born about 1836 in Rensselaer, New York. She married Charles H. Cole.
  6. Calvin S. Miller was born about 1838 in Rensselaer, New York. He married Emma. He died on 18 Oct 1871 in Nassau, Rensselaer, New York. He is buried at Sandlake Union Cemetery, Sandlake, Rensselaer, New York.

In the 1865 New York Census, Catherine was listed as the mother of thirteen children. It is likely that seven more children, than are listed above, were born and died in infancy. There is a long gap between her second and third child and between the third and fourth, so it is plausible that other children were born during those times.

The couple was recorded regularly in state and federal census records. Up until the 1850 Federal Census, only the head of household was listed by name in the records. Zachariah is listed, but Catherine and the kids just got counted  in the appropriate columns.

1840 Federal Census, Zachariah Miller.

Catherine was first listed, by name, in the 1850 Federal Census, living at Nassau, Rensselaer, New York.

1850 Federal Census, Zachariah Miller.
1855 New York Census, Zachariah Miller.
1860 Federal Census, Zachariah Miller.
1865 New York Census, Zachariah Miller.

Catherine was widowed on 12 Mar 1869. Her husband provided for her in his will. He made sure that she would have food to eat, clothes to wear, medical aid and everything else that she would need. He even published a codicil to update his will to also give her $200. Roughly translated, he wrote:

Secondly. I give and bequeath unto my beloved wife Catherine Miller, the use and profits and entire control of as much and such parts of the dwelling house and cellar under the same now occupied by myself and family, situated in the town of Nassau aforesaid as she may designate and select. And for the full period of time that she shall remain my widow. I also give and bequeath unto my said wife all and every article of household furniture which I may be possessed of. Which is to be at her own control and disposal. I also give and bequeath to my said wife and at her disposal, two cows which she may select from stock of cows of which I may have as my decease, and all the increase, growth and profits of them, but they shall at no time exceed three head of calf above the age of six weeks [?]. all of which are to be kept and cared for in a prudent and husband like manner on and from the profit of said farm. I also direct my executor, hereafter to be named, to cause [?] furnished for the support of my said wife, and her family, from the income and profits of said farm, and at all times, all necessary flour and groceries and all other necessaries suitable for a person in her condition of life. And, also, all necessary wearing apparel and fuel fitted for fire and deposited in the wood house. Also, all necessary medical aid and other assistance as she may require or be in need of. I also further direct and require my said executor to cause furnished from the income and profits of said farm, all necessary fruit, potatoes, and other vegetables; and two hundred pounds of prime pork for the use and support of my said wife and her family, and to cause the meat, potatoes, and vegetables to be carefully and securely deposited in said cellar and at the proper season of the year fave [?]-curing the same, each and every year that she shall remain my widow, to be accepted by her in lieu of Dower.

And therefore, I do by this my writing which I hereby declare to be a codicil to my said last Will and Testament and to be taken as part thereof, order and declare that my will is that there be paid in addition to the sum bequeathed to my said wife Catherine Miller, the sum of Two Hundred Dollars, in addition to what is therein bequeathed to her, which sum, I give independent of the condition of said will.

And I further order and direct that my Executor to my said will shall pay the said sum of Two Hundred Dollars, bequeathed to my said wife Catherine Miller, in the manner following. One Hundred Dollars one year from my decease, and One Hundred Dollars two years after my decease.

Excerpt from the Last Will and Testament of Zachariah Miller.

Zachariah also remembered his children in his will, namely, Eliza Margaret Cole, Mariah Cole, Mary Ann Wolcott, John Robert Miller, George Miller, and Calvin Miller. As a final note on her parentage, when Zachariah listed his children, he gave the middle name of his son George as something similar, but not quite exactly, “Leifheite.” If we could properly decipher the name, we might have another avenue to explore in the pursuit of Catherine’s parents.

In her last years, Catherine lived with her son, Calvin and his wife Emma. She was recorded with them at the time of the 1870 Federal Census. But sadly, Calvin passed away in October 1871. Catherine was included in his list of survivors.

Calvin Miller, probate.

Catherine Leifheite Miller died on 23 Mar 1872 in Rensselaer, New York. She was 75-years old. She was buried in Mar 1872 in Sand Lake Cemetery near Sand Lake, Rensselaer, New York with her husband. Her daughter Mary Ann and son Calvin were buried in the same cemetery.

Averill Park, NY 12018

Where is she in the tree?

Relationship chart, Leona Catherine Miller to Catherine Leifheite.
Pedigree chart, Catherine Leifheite.

Where can I learn more?

The Miller Family

Selected Sources:

Ancestry.com, New York, Wills and Probate Records, 1659-1999 (Name: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc.; Location: Provo, UT, USA; Date: 2015;), Ancestry.com, http://www.Ancestry.com, Probate Records, 1791-1921; Index to Probate Records, 1794-1916; Author: New York. Surrogate’s Court (Rensselaer County); Probate Place: Rensselaer, New York.

George L. Miller Death certificate Registration district number 6865, Registered number 7 9 December 1921, County Clerk Geneva, Kane County, Illinois.

Nathaniel Bartlett Sylvester, History of Rensselaer Co., New York (Philadelphia: Everts & Peck: 1880), Archive.org (https://archive.org/details/historyofrenssel00sylv : accessed 14 Dec 2017).

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