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Josiah Miller was born in Chester district, South Carolina, November 12, 1828. He was the son of Robert H. Miller and Susannah Allilley. The family were Scotch Presbyterians and pronounced opponents of slavery.

They were badly mistreated. Josiah Miller was educated at the University of Indiana, graduating in the class of 1851, and later from the law school at Poughkeepsie, N. Y. January 3, 1854, he was married to Agnes B. Carlisle, of Bloomington, Ind. In August, 1854, he came to Kansas and arranged to establish the Kansas Free State newspaper at Lawrence, and January 5, 1855, started the paper, the firm being Miller & Elliott. May 21, 1856, the paper was destroyed at the sacking of Lawrence. He was captured by proslavery forces, held as a prisoner of war, and tried for treason against South Carolina. On his release he canvassed several of the northern states for Fremont. In 1857 he was elected probate judge of Douglas county, and in 1859 to the first state senate. He was postmaster at Lawrence in 1863, and resigned to become paymaster in the army. He served again in the legislature of 1867. It is claimed for him that he was the author of the motto upon the state seal, "Ad astro, per aspera." He was a wide-awake business man and accomplished much. He died at Lawrence, July 7, 1870, after having a leg amputated on account of some disease of the member. 


The Kansas Free State was the most conservative and most influential of the first territorial papers. It was also the most scholarly of those early publications. Its counsels were not always heeded, but it opened the way to freedom for Kansas.