Miller, Moses J. (1811-1897)

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Moses J. Miller (Kleine Mose), b. 12 January 1811, d. 6 May 1897, an Amish bishop and leader, was the second Amish child and the third white child born in Holmes County, Ohio. His parents, with three other families, all young people, moved from Somerset County, PA, to the western wilderness in Walnut Township, arriving on 6 May 1810. Indian raids drove them back to Somerset County during the War of 1812, but in 1815 they returned to Holmes County. In 1834 Moses married Katherine Dunn, an Irish girl. They became the parents of ten children, of whom only three outlived their father. He was ordained minister in the Amish Church in 1835 and bishop in 1847. He was one of 14 bishops and ministers in the Holmes-Tuscarawas congregations to attend the first Amish ministers' meeting held in Wayne County, Ohio, in June 1862. Four Moses Millers were present at that conference: Moses P. (Gross or Big Mose) Miller of Walnut Creek; Moses H. Miller of Winesburg; and Moses Miller of Shanesville. The subject of this article was known as "Klein (Small) Mose" and was so designated in the conference report. There was also another Moses B. Miller from Johnstown, PA.

Moses J. Miller did not attend the general Amish ministers' meeting again until it met in Wayne County in 1865. Nineteen Holmes-Tuscarawas bishops, ministers, and deacons attended. Since the report does not include the statements of individual ministers his reactions cannot be stated with certainty. Tradition records that he cast his lot with the old order during the period when meetinghouses were built and other "new things" introduced. He attended no more of the Amish conferences, not even the one held in the vicinity of Walnut Creek, Holmes County, Ohio, in 1869. By this time Abraham Mast and a few other Holmes County ministers had become regular attendants and led one of the five Amish congregations into the progressive Amish Mennonite group. Tradition records that Moses J. Miller was a wise counselor and able leader, keeping his people in the old paths.

Moses J. Miller and Moses P. Miller were contemporaries, relatives, and both ordained ministers of the original 19th century Holmes County Amish Mennonite congregation located at Walnut Creek. Because of their names, they are easily confused but were quite distinct in their leadership and legacy among the Amish Mennonites. Bishop Moses P. Miller (Gross Mose) led the Walnut Creek Amish Mennonites and affiliated congregations into what became the 20th century (Old) Mennonite Church. His nephew Bishop Moses J. Miller (Kleine Mose) led the Walnut Creek Amish Mennonites and affiliated church districts into what became the 20th century Old Order Amish church. In 2009 the Holmes County area had over 200 church Amish districts and Mennonite congregations and 20,000 members; almost all could trace their beginnings to this congregation and these two leaders.


Yoder, Paton, and Steven R. Estes. Proceedings of the Amish Ministers' Meetings, 1862-1878 = Die Verhandlungen Der Diener Versammlungen, 1862-1878 : Translation, Interpretation, Related Documents, Participants. Goshen, IN: Mennonite Historical Society, 1999.

Author(s) John S. Umble
Levi Miller
Date Published March 2009

Cite This Article

MLA style

Umble, John S. and Levi Miller. "Miller, Moses J. (1811-1897)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. March 2009. Web. 14 May 2021.,_Moses_J._(1811-1897)&oldid=113523.

APA style

Umble, John S. and Levi Miller. (March 2009). Miller, Moses J. (1811-1897). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 14 May 2021, from,_Moses_J._(1811-1897)&oldid=113523.


Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 3, p. 691. All rights reserved.

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