Unidentified news clippingBorn: February 15, 1775 at Sand Lake, Rensselaer County, New York

Died: August 14, 1860, aged 85 years and 6 months as recorded on his gravestone in Pleasant View Cemetery, Wilmington, New York

Married: Polly Hayes of Sand Lake who died February 23, 1871

Children: Homer Miller, Pliny H. Miller, John J. Miller, Eleanor Miller and four other daughters

Captain Pliny Miller commanded a militia company in the War of 1812. He came to Saranac Lake from West Sand Lake in Rensselaer County in 1822 when his lumbering company in nearby Wilmington was forced into bankruptcy by the failure of its main customer. With a partner, Alric Mann Bushnell, [but see comment below] he purchased 300 acres along the Saranac River in what is now Franklin County from John R. Thurman and others of Sandy Hill, New York. Much of the present village of Saranac Lake stands on Miller's original land. In 1827 he built a sawmill, erecting the first dam across the Saranac River, at the site of the present dam; this created a large mill pond where logs were gathered each spring for processing. He built a house near the present Village offices. In 1910, the mill pond was cleared of stumps and renamed Lake Flower, in honor of New York governor Roswell P. Flower, who provided funds to clear it of tree stumps.

He sold the mill in 1848 and built a small hotel that was subsequently leased by William F. Martin in 1849 and 1850 and to Virgil C. Bartlett from 1850 to 1852.

Miller married Polly Hayes, of Sand Lake; they had three sons and five daughters. His eldest son, Homer, went west in 1860; Pliny H. Miller (1802-1867) and John J. Miller stayed in the village.


  • Donaldson, Alfred L. A History of the Adirondacks, New York: The Century Co., 1921 (reprinted by Purple Mountain Press, Fleischmanns, NY, 1992)
  • Seaver, Frederick J., Historical Sketches of Franklin County, Albany, NY: J. B. Lyon Co., 1918


2011-12-11 12:45:52   Alric/Alaric Mann Bushnell was born about 1818-1820, so could not have been Pliny's partner in the purchase of land along the Saranac River, which was made about 1820. It was Alric/Alaric's father, James Bushnell, who purchased the land with Pliny. —