|The Abraham Miller Family
front: Alice, Abraham, Frances LaCoste, Monroe
rear: Willie, Hattie, Phillip Lavender, Mollie
photo forwarded courtesy of Barb Dalton
Note: The following family historical information was forwarded to me by Barb Dalton. It is believed to have originally been
written and published at some time in the past to advertise an upcoming Miller family reunion. Currently the author is
unknown. If anyone knows the author, please let me know: MarvHamm@aol.com
|Descendants of pioneer potter hold family reunion in Perry County
In a small French village near Paris, Frances LaCoste learned the art of making stoneware and fine china. Even though he
had mastered his trade, he was not content. He heard of the wonderful land of opportunity that awaited him across the
Atlantic. Francis LaCoste crossed the Atlantic several times and made his way to America. He was searching for the clay that
would produce pottery like he had made in France. On one of the excursions to the U.S., LaCoste's ship wrecked near the
Charleston SC harbor. He survived the shipwreck and while he was waiting in Charleston for another southbound sailing
ship, Francis LaCoste met Alice Harris. They were married in Charleston, SC and then sailed to Mobile in search of the site for
their pottery. They found the precious clay in a small settlement near Mobile called Montrose. LaCoste established his
business and family home on the shores of Mobile Bay. The family owned a schooner named 'CLARA LACOSTE'. One of the
products of the LaCoste Pottery was earthenware ovens for ocean going vessels.
The Civil War was nearing an end. Ed Harris and his sister had fled Charleston and sought safety with their sister Alice
LaCoste in Montrose. The Civil war eventually reached them. Thinking that the kiln was used to fire munitions factory, the
Union soldiers began to shell the property. Alice Harris LaCoste and her sister flung sheets out the second story window of
their home, desperately trying to signal the Union to stop bombing. It stopped and the Union army moved into the little
settlement of Montrose. The Union soldiers camped on the LaCoste property.
There was a young man among the Union soldiers from Lancaster, PA. His parents had emigrated from a small farming
village in Germany. They settled on the land that adjoined James Buchanan's plantation "Wheatland". President Buchanan
often hired the Miller-Cohle children to work for him. He would ride up to the German immigrants' humble dwelling on a fine
horse resplendent in attire befitting a gentleman. President Buchanan would ask young Miller-Cohle to perform some task on
his large plantation.
Abraham Miller-Cohle was surely a long way from home in that army camp in Montrose. He was inside the LaCoste home one
day searching for something of value he might claim. He picked up some family pictures that were very precious. A brave
young woman demanded that he leave the family pictures untouched. The young woman was Frances LaCoste Lavendar.
Her young husband went to fight the Yankees, but never returned to Montrose. The young woman's bravery must have
impressed the Yankee from PA. He stayed in Mobile after the war and learned the art of pottery making from Francis LaCoste.
Abraham and Frances Lavendar fell in love. In an effort to rebuild a life shattered by the tragedies of war, the young couple,
Abraham Miller (he chose to drop the name of Cohle) and his wife Frances, set out to make their way in the world. They
traveled about in a covered wagon in search of a place to establish their home where Abraham could practice his
Frances gave birth to twin sons while they were living in Pickens county. Walter died when only a few days old, but his
brother William survived. When William was six weeks old, the family began a journey in their covered wagon. They didn't
know where they were headed...just a place to establish a home and make pottery. When Abraham and Frances reached a
spot in Perry County that met their requirements, Frances stamped her foot on a plot of ground and vowed she would travel
So in 1881, Abraham Miller and Frances LaCoste Miller settled in Perry County and began the "jug factory". The jugs and
churns were made by hand as the pottery was utilitarian as well as decorative. Households needed wares for churning milk,
processing pickles, and making sauerkraut and wine. More than a few gallons of homebrew and moonshine were corked in a
Frances and Abraham had five children. Abraham ran the small country store which adjoined the post office. He was also
postmaster at the small relay station of Adler. The "circuit" mailriders who carried mail on horseback stopped by the rural
post office to make their deliveries. They would rest at the store while catching up on gossip. Abraham and Frances Miller
donated the land for Mt Olive Baptist Church in Sprott which celebrated it's centennial anniversary in July 1987. Abraham
preached to the small congregation when weather prohibited the arrival of the pastor.
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|Abraham Miller -- family photo and history