Our Miller family roots were not in Germany -- as some might think -- but in Russia. Peter Miller (b. 1886) was from Unterdorf along the Volga River, and Dora Eckerdt Miller (b. 1892) was raised on the other side of the river in Schwed. This "Russian" connection has always been a source of some bewilderment for Miller family members.
After all, didn't grandpa Pete Miller read German newspapers? And grandma Miller's apple dumplings seemed to be a German tradition. And they definitely spoke German when they didn't want any of the children to know what they were saying. Even the family "Heilige Bibel" was thoroughly German.
After arriving at Ellis Island aboard the steamship "Celtic" in 1906 with his older sister, Eva (Miller) Behm and family, Pete went with them to Longmont, Colorado. It is likely that Pete labored at agricultural jobs near Longmont, including sugar beets. While living in Longmont, he met and married Dora Eckerdt. Their vows were made on March 21, 1909 at City Hall.
Family and work took Pete and Dora from Longmont to Chicago, where they lived for about eight or nine years -- then they moved to Watertown, South Dakota for a couple of years. In about 1923, they moved to the North Platte valley of Nebraska, living at several different locations around Bayard and Scottsbluff.
Eleven children were born to Pete and Dora Miller. In 1927, the Millers moved to Whitney, Nebraska, where they worked in farming. Pete's final job was ditch rider for the Whitney irrigation project. He died June 2, 1957.