Title: Drug manufacturer, university professor
Birthdate: October 8, 1841
Death Date: July 26, 1923
Plot Location: Circle of St. John, Lot 4, Division E, Grave 3 from southeast corner. GPS: 39.9313722*N, 75.2398833*W
The Millers came to America from Germany in 1848. Adolph’s father, William Heinrich Miller was a medical doctor who had married in 1841. His wife’s name was Sophie Luise Helene Juliane Von Lengerke. With that many names, several were often spelled differently.
Along with Adolph, a younger brother and sister had been born in Germany before they made the trip. Another sister was born in 1850 but her birthplace isn’t known. The last child born was in 1861 when the family resided in St. Paul, Minnesota. Adolph was listed on the 1860 census in Philadelphia because he was a student at Philadelphia College of Pharmacy. He graduated in 1862 and found a Pennsylvania girl named Margaretta Trimble Ash to marry in 1865. Apparently he avoided military service during the Civil War, although his brother was in the 3rd Minnesota Infantry.
Adolph’s career ambitions were aligned with the emergence of pharmaceuticals as part of modern medicine. A company named Pfizer, founded by two other German immigrants, answered the huge demand during the Civil War for painkillers and antiseptics. After the war was over, a Colonel named Eli Lilly began a business to research and manufacture new drugs.
It was in this environment that Adolph began his career as a wholesale druggist, which is how he described his drug manufacturing business. Margaretta gave birth to their first daughter in 1868 but she died the same day. Then a second daughter arrived in 1870 while Adolph was studying for his Master’s degree. He was awarded that degree in 1871 and a third daughter was born that same year. He completed his dissertation for his doctorate in 1872, and his fourth daughter was born two years later. They finally had a son in 1878 but he died three years later, the first in the family to be buried here at Mount Moriah.
Adolph began a partnership in 1872 with another native of Germany, Frederick Aschenbach which proved very successful. “Aschenbach & Miller, Wholesale Druggists” was in business more than 50 years, outliving them both. The Millers were already wealthy enough by 1880 to employ two live-in servants. All three girls grew up and got married from their home at 860 North 5th Street in the Northern Liberties section of the city.
Dr. Miller also began his teaching career in the medical school where he earned his degrees, the University of Pennsylvania. He described his job there as “Demonstrator of Pharmacy and Lecturer of Materia Medica.” That term is defined as the branch of medical science that deals with the sources, nature, properties, and preparation of drugs. More specifically, he enjoyed explaining how plants have been used therapeutically through the ages. How long he continued with the university isn’t known, but from the obituary shown below, it was a lengthy and respected tenure.
At Frederick Aschenbach’s death in 1906 the partnership became Aschenbach and Miller, Incorporated. As the majority stockholder, Adolph was president. Margaretta died in 1916 and three years later Adolph married a woman who was 40 years younger than him. When he died from phlebitis and food poisoning in 1923 he left an estate valued at $404,402.
He was buried beside Margaretta, and decades later one of his sisters and two of his daughters joined him there. However, his second wife decided to move his remains to Whitemarsh Memorial Park in Montgomery County in 1947. She was buried there in 1954. However, this gravestone stands here to mark not only Margaretta’s interment but her husband’s notable life.
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