Samantha Anna Miller was born on January 28, 1842 in Marion County, South Carolina. She was the seventh of ten children, the third (and youngest) daughter. Samantha’s parents, John Walter Miller (1807 – 1878) and Samantha Payne (1802 – 1863), were farmers in the region that is northwest of Myrtle Beach.
Samantha’s oldest brother, John James Miller (1829 – 1929), was living in Louisiana before the Civil War. Her parents must have traveled to Beauregard Parish before or during the war. Samantha’s mother died in Dry Creek in 1863. Two years later, the family was living near her brothers, Levi Asbsury Miller (1830 – 1901) and Thomas Hugh MIller (1832 – 1914), in Wayne County, MS. Samantha met a young school teacher, William Beasley Pilley, in Waynesboro. They were married January 4, 1864.
Around 1876, the Pilley family moved to Westlake, Louisiana. William started the first school in the frontier town on the Calcasieu River. William Pilley was a schoolmaster and a preacher in Westlake.
The Pilley family grew to include 10 children. Their youngest child, Bertha K. Pilley, married Robert Clarence Sutherland.