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Same farm, same family for over 150 years

HONORED -- Members of the Miller family, of New Cumberland, pose with their new Sesquicentennial Farm sign. In the background is the 40-by-80-foot hay and dairy barn built in 1849. At right are West Virginia Northern Panhandle Soil Conservation Service representatives Chuck Glenn and Jim Anderson. -- Contributed

NEW CUMBERLAND – The Miller Farm in New Cumberland has been recognized as a 2021 Sesquicentennial Farm under the West Virginia Century Farm program, designed to honor families who have been farming the same tract of land for 100 years or more.

According to family history, Morgan H. Miller, a Union veteran of the Civil War, purchased the farm in 1883 from an uncle, Henry Pittenger, but had begun sharing the farm in 1869 under a lease agreement with Pittenger. Henry Pittenger purchased the farm in 1858 from Hugh Pugh, qualifying the farm for the Sesquicentennial designation, with the same family residing on and farming the property more than 150 years.

When Morgan Miller, who had married Melissa Campbell, died in 1929, the 132-acre farm passed to the youngest of their four children, W. Fred Miller. Fred resided his lifetime on the farm with his wife Edythe (Glass) Miller. They had two children, Lester and Dorothy.

When Fred and Edythe died in the mid-1960s, the farm passed intact to Lester, who had three children with his wife Lucille (Adkins) Miller: Anita Jeanne, Margaret Ann (“Peggy”) and Frederick Lester. Lester died in 1992. With the death of Lucille in 2016 at age 98, Jeanne, Peggy and Fred remain as joint owners of the farm.

Jeanne, a doctor of education and retired university professor, resides in Cape Canaveral, Fla., with husband Dale Bailey.

Present occupants of the farm include Peg Miller Bahnsen, who retired from the Army as a lieutenant colonel, and her husband, U.S. Army Brig. Gen. (ret.) John C. “Doc” Bahnsen; Fred and his wife Caren Lynne Ryan Miller, who built on the farm; and their eldest son, Ryan, and his wife Misty Dawn (Rish) Miller, who also built on the farm and reside there with three sons: Caleb, Grant and Joel.

Molly Ann Miller Devore, daughter of Fred and Caren, resides four miles away from the farm with husband Heath Devore and sons Corban and Carter.

Cody Morgan Miller, third child of Fred and Caren, married Catherine “Cayt” Neff of Monroeville, Pa., on Oct. 23 in the renovated farm barn. They have relocated to North Carolina.

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