87


"87", or the Miller House, is a stone house west of Baldwin City, Kansas and one of the last remnants of Prairie City, a town that existed between 1857 and 1883. It was built in 1860 on a gentle slope leading to Liberty Hill, the highest point in southeastern Douglas County. The name "87" was given by local teenagers. Coincidentally, 87 was also the district number for the Prairie City School from 1903 until 1959. The district served the area from 1858 until consolidating with Baldwin in 1960.

George Miller, originally Meunier, was born in Mariesville, Quebec, Canada on December 28, 1932 to Ignace and Marie Desange Meunier. George, a stonemason and farmer, came to the Kansas Territory in 1857 and originally settled in Lecompton. While in Lecompton, it is possible that he worked with famed Italian-born Lecompton stonemason Mark Migliario. He married Margaret Lowery on February 22, 1859. He moved his family to Prairie City in about 1860. There, he became the builder in the Baldwin City area. Miller worked on Pulliam Hall, Centenary Hall, several house foundations, at least two bridges; including the Women's Bridge over East Tauy Creek, the IOOF Lodge, the third United Methodist Church, old Baldwin High School, and Parmenter Hall. His last public work was the Rippy Gym in 1905 and it burned down in 1907. George was ill the last couple years of his life and died in 1909 at his house with his wife, three sons, and two daughters. He is buried in Prairie City Cemetery.


Margaret Miller was born in Frostburg, Maryland to Robert and Juliana (Glanville) Lowery in 1842. Juliana died in 1843 and Robert and Margaret came to Lecompton in 1857. George and Margaret married on February 22, 1859 in Lecompton. Their first child, Adele, was born in January 23, 1860. After George passes away, her and third daughter, Julia, remained on the farm. They lived for a short time in Siloam Springs, Arkansas for her health but they soon returned to Kansas. Margaret passed away in 1925 and is buried in Prairie City Cemetery.

Adele B., born January 23, 1860. She married Francis Xavier Jardon on December 5, 1883 with Reverend A.G. Sawin performing the service. They lived on a farm in Willow Springs Township, Douglas County. Adele passed away on April 8, 1889 and is buried in Oakwood Cemetery in Baldwin City. Francis Jardon remarried on April 15, 1893 to Virginia Elliott. He died in 1930.

Lucy, born August 13, 1861. Lucy was a teacher for the Oak Grove School in the 1880s. She was recorded living in her family's house on the 1895 Kansas Census but no information on her is known after that date.

George Xavier, born February 2, 1864. Named for his father, George X. died young on July 1, 1865 and is buried near the southwest corner of the house. He is one of only two Miller children buried under the name MEUNIER.

Julia D., born June 16, 1866. Like Lucy, Julia was a schoolteacher working for various districts around southern Douglas County including Prairie City, Worden, Independence, and Vinland. Julia even served as assistant principal and eventually principal of Baldwin High School. Late in her career she served as principal of the Berryton Rural High School in Shawnee County. She continued living with her brother Robert until he passed away. She then lived with her other brothers, Fred and Elmer for a couple years before moving back to Baldwin City. The last couple years of her life she lived at the Topeka Methodist Home for the Aged. She passed away on August 22, 1955 at the Security Benefit Hospital a couple weeks after a fire at the Methodist Home displaced its residents. She is buried in Prairie City Cemetery.

Ignace, born April 2, 1871. Named for his paternal grandfather, Ignace also died young on, on his first birthday in 1872. Buried with his older brother, he is the other Miller child buried under the name MEUNIER.

Robert August, born September 17, 1874. Robert followed in his father's footsteps farming on the same land until his death in 1949. In 1903, Robert gave the Prairie City School land to open a new school which still stands today. Robert is buried next to Julia and his parents in Prairie City Cemetery.

Elmer, born July 7, 1878. Elmer was a dairy farmer and breeder who moved to Lincoln County, Oregon in the 1910s. He married Gertrude on December 1, 1917 and they had one son, Robert. Elmer died on March 5, 1964, Gertrude passed away in 1995. Both are buried in Eureka Cemetery in Newport, Oregon.

George Frederick (Fred), born May 28, 1888. Fred moved to Boise, Idaho where he married Margaret Johnson. Fred passed away on October 27, 1976 with Margaret following in 1997. Both of them are buried in Prairie City Cemetery near his parents.

The house currently sits abandoned on and is private property. Nearby is the Midland Railway and the ruins of the Prairie City Catholic Church.

The Miller house sits facing east toward Baldwin City and is a common National Folk style, or I-house. Three additions were built onto the house over the years: the front porch and columns and upstairs porch, an open porch that became enclosed around 1972, and a remodeled kitchen addition. The enclosed porch on the southwest side has collapsed in recent years. In the late winter of early spring of 2019, the Miller house was demolished. The gravestone for George X. and Ignace was rescued by the property owners, repaired, and installed in Prairie City Cemetery in the Miller family plot.





Ruins of Prairie City Catholic Mission



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