After a period of religious doubt and time spent as a lieutenant and captain during the War of 1812, William Miller began to study the Bible himself. His quest led him to determine that the scriptures were to be understood literally, in both their historical and grammatical sense. For Miller, the scriptures pointed to a day of judgment. Upon reading Daniel 8:14, “Unto two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed,” Miller became obsessed with the idea of Christ’s second coming.
In August 1831, Miller agreed to preach his message for the first time, followed by a published series of eight articles in the Vermont Telegraph the next year. By 1844, Miller had given over 3200 lectures.
In December of 1839, Miller accepted an invitation from the Christian Connection to speak at the Chardon Street Chapel in Boston. His trip to Boston increased his public support, and soon he wasn’t the only one preaching what had become known as Millerism.
Although he never claimed to know the specific day of Christ’s second coming, in 1843 he finally settled on some time “between March 21, 1843 and March 21, 1844.” After October 22, 1844 had come and gone, Miller finally admitted he may have been mistaken.
Four years later, after the Baptist church had cast him out, Miller built his own chapel on his lands. The chapel, home and farm all stand as a testament to Miller’s work and are available for tours. In addition, the cemetery where Miller and his wife were buried is not far from the homestead.