"The Fred and Tillie Miller Family of Brownsville"


The stories start in 1870, when 3 of our grandparents emigrated from Germany to the U.S. and directly to Brownsville.  At  that  time, Brownsville had about 50 businesses and 1500 inhabitants.  Grandpa Miller was a stonemason.  He and Frieda Schmidt Miller, later had 10 children, of which Dad was the youngest, and lived in a one bedroom house located where Margaret Moriarity lives today.  Amazingly, Grandpa walked to work carrying his tools, to as far away as Caledonia. He probably did this on Monday, stayed there during the week, and walked home on Saturday afternoon.  Dad started working with him when he was out of school at 14.  Much later, Dad worked on many buildings, etc. in the Caledonia and Eitzen area with his brother Bill.  They didn't walk to work though.

 
Grandpa Ideker lived on a farm at the top of the hill on the road to Hokah, where John F. Ideker now lives.  Grandpa and Mary Graf Ideker had 5 living children including our Mom, Mathilda (Tillie).

 
Mom and Dad were married in 1926 and had 6 children; Frederick the author, Donald, Marian Miller Lowrey, Marvin, and two present day residents of the area, Melvin and Marlene Miller Levendoski.  We were raised in the house where Tim and Karen Anderson now reside.  Across the street from us was Klawitter's grocery store.  West of us was the stone building which was a blacksmith shop, then several different gas stations when we were kids, and recently was the VFW hall.  Upriver from us was Matt Bissen's tavern and Joe Serres' tavern both of which were lost to the improvement of Highway 26, which took out all of that part of town that wasn't destroyed  by the fire of 1920. 

 We had a "small farm in town" as we had four milk cows, chickens, several hogs and a huge garden on 4 lots where the Moriarity  home is.  We had a small farm where Mel now lives, where we kept our cows in the summertime and where we had trees for our firewood needs. We sold raw milk, cream and eggs to customers in town.

 
Life was much simpler in those days even though we had no electricity until 1940, no running water in the house until the 1950's,no refrigerator, but we had an air conditioned outhouse, BRRRR in winter time. We played ball, swam in Wildcat  Creek, sledded, skated, took care of our livestock and our gardens, cut and handled our firewood and otherwise made our own entertainment.  Of course, doing well in school was always expected.  In the book I describe what the family did during the four seasons.

 
I tried to tell our many tales in a humorous, easy to read style.  A copy of the book is in the Caledonia public library, and one each with the Houston County and the Minnesota Historical Societies.