Search billions of records on

Now Playing: Watermark
(Click for Music)


The American Surnames book by Elsdon C. Smith 1997 states 'The third most important building in the village would be the mill, and family adjacent thereto would be Mills, Mull, Milne or Trevelyn if British, and Desmoulins, Mullins, or Moulins if French. Based on this statement and the results received to date it appears there could have been many different unrelated families living near a mill and that took the Mills surname. Therefore, there could be many unrelated Mills family lines in the United States.

There are three separate and distinct Mills families in my ancestry. Since I have little knowledge of two of these lines, I'm going to report all three lines here together on this page.

First, there is the line of Thomas Mills of Pennsylvania and his wife, Hannah Wynne.

Second, there is Mellicent Mills, probably of Maryland, who married Thomas G. Soward.

Third, there is David Mills, mostly of Kentucky, who married Margarett (surname unknown).


So very little is known by me about David Mills and his life. According to one census, David was born some time between 1770 and 1780, probably in what is now called Kentucky, but was still part of Virginia until 1792.

David probably married in about 1790 (going strictly by the age of the first known child) to Margarett, with no maiden name known at this time.

Per the 1830 census, Margarett was in the next higher age range from David, which meant she was anywhere from one year to ten years older than David, being born sometime between 1760 and 1770.

David was on the Tax List for 1799 in Jasmine County, Kentucky.

Unfortunately, the 1800 Federal Census for the State of Virginia was destroyed during the War of 1812. It would have been of great help to see the number and age of children in that census year.

In the 1810 census, David and Margarett and their family are still living is Jessamine County, Kentucky.

This census shows the parents and 8 other people living in the household:

One male under the age of 10
One male between 10 and 15 years of age
One male between 16 and 25 years of age
Two females under the age of 10 (Ruth & Rachel?)
Two females between 10 and 15 years of age (Jane and ?)
One female between 16 and 25 years of age

Both David and Margarett are listed as being age 26 to 44.

In the next census, for the year 1820, I cannot locate the family. Perhaps they were on the move between Jessamine and Madison Counties, for they are found in Madison County for the 1830 census:

1830 Federal Census for Madison County, Kentucky

David Mills, Sr.*

Age 5 to 10: 1
Age 10 to 15: 1
Age 20 to 30: 2
Age 50 to 60: 1 (David)

Age 20 to 30: 1
Age 60 to 70: 1 (Margarett)

*This seems indicate one of the boys was named David, Jr..

Daughter Jane married in January of 1830 and the census for 1830 was taken a few months later. It is conceivable that the two persons age 20 to 30, one male and one female, are Jane and her husband Lucas Kidwell.

It seems clear that Jane had sisters named Ruth and Rachel. Both of these Mills girls had either Bondsmen or Consents to Marry signed by David Mills of Madison County, Kentucky.

Rachel Mills married Joel Taylor on November 02, 1826. Nothing else has been uncovered by me about this couple.

Ruth Mills married Benoni (Benjamin) Haden on December 16, 1824. Ben was born January 04, 1802 in Kentucky (presumably Madison County).

Ben and Ruth removed to Ralls County, Missouri. This apparently took place soon after their marriage. By 1830, Ruth and Ben are listed in the census of Rall County, MO.

Benoni Haden

Males under the age of 5: 1 (Sidney)
Males of 20 and under 30: 1 (Benoni)
Females under the age of 5: 2 (Sarah and Minerva Jane
Females of 20 and under 30: 1 (Ruth)

Later another son was born and named Turner for Ben's brother.

There were many other of the Haden family living in Ralls County, including Benoni's father, John, and his brothers: John, William, Tyre, Turner, Henley, and Nathan.

Ben bought 80 acres of land in Ralls County on April 24, of 1833, but by November of that year, Ben had died.

His widow Ruth is listed in the 1840 census for Ralls County, Missouri, along with four young children--two boys and two girls. Several of Ben's brothers were still in the vicinity and they, no doubt, helped her all they could.

On November 15, 1841, Ruth remarried. Her spouse was James Epperson. They had at least two children, Lucy and Curtis. According to an unsourced family tree on, James Epperson was from Jassamine County, Kentucky, so Ruth may have known him before the move to Kentucky. Possibly, the Epperson family moved at around the same time. The family tree also indicated that James died in about 1855.

Jane Mills married Lucas Peyton Kidwell on January 17, 1830 in Madison County, Kentucky. Father David Mills gave his consent:

      January the 15th 1830

      I hereby authorize you as Clerk of Madison County to license Lucias P. Kidwell to mary my daughter Jane Mills in the county of foresaid given from under my hand and seal this day and date above written.

      David (his mark) Mills
      R.M. Kidwell
      Joseph Tayler

It should be noted that R.M. Kidwell is Ralph Magee Kidwell, a brother of Lucas Kidwell. Joseph Tayler is surely related to the Joel Taylor who marries one of David Mills' other daughters, Rachel.

It should also be noted that Jane Kidwell should not have required her father's permission to marry since she was definitely have been of age by 1830. In fact, if her birthday is correct, she would have been 30 years old.

This is not the first instance I've found where permission to marry is given to someone who is obviously already of age.

I have fairly conclusive proof that David Mills died some time between 1830 and 1833. There is no record of a will for him, which would have provided an absolute bounty of information.

But we know that David was alive at the time of the 1830 census. Then a recently found document shows that David's son-in-law, Ben Haden, died some time in the year 1833. In the papers that we filed after his death, it is mentioned that one of Ben's brothers, Henley, owed Ben's estate the sum of three dollars and fifty cents, and that THE ESTATE OF DAVID MILLS, DECEASED IN KENTUCKY, owed Ben's the sum of fifty-six cents.

This tells us that David has died by 1833 and that he died in Kentucky. It also tells us how precious a few cents were in those times. (According to one website, a pair of shoes cost about 60 cents in 1830. And fifty cents was just about what a skilled laborer could earn in one day. For comparison, a person making $25,000 a year in 2010 would gross nearly one hundred dollars a day. So that 56 cents would compare to about one hundred dollars in today's money.)

The Indian Connection

All my life I've heard that this maternal line from my mother to Jane Mills (4 generations) was of Cherokee descent. It seems fairly certain that this is so because my grandmother definitely remembers her grandmother (Jane's daughter, Louisa Jane Kidwell) receiving a check that she called her "Indian money." However, I cannot find her on any of the Indian rolls, under any of her different names (Kidwell, Cox, Talbert). I also submitted a DNA sample to Family Tree DNA for mitochondrial DNA testing. The result was that my deep maternal ancestry was Haplogroup H3, which is predominantly European. This seems to indicate (and I admit I know very little about this complicated subject) that the Indian or Native American ancestry had to be from a male, either Jane's father David, or perhaps her mother's father. But definitely there had to be a male with NA blood, unless Louisa lied, either knowingly or unknowingly, (which I very much doubt) in order to qualify for her "Indian money." The only other two possible explanations are that I (or one of my female ancestors) was adopted or Family Tree DNA made an error. So those are the choices. I opt for the male NA blood, probably Jane's father.

NOTE: The Eastern Cherokees were farmers and lived much like their non-native American neighbors. It is said that Jane and her family were among the thousand or so Eastern Cherokees who, after the census was taken, hid out in the hills and did not make the forced march to Oklahoma -- The Trail of Tears. John G. Burnett, on his 80th birthday in 1890, told about the removal of the Cherokees. You should read his amazing and touching story. You will not be sorry you did.

By the time the government, under President Andrew Jackson's Indian Removal Act, began moving the Cherokees from their lands in the east in 1838, David Mills had died and Jane Mills had been married to Lucas for eight years. Lucas and Jane were actually counted in the 1840 census so it appears they were not in hiding. Perhaps because Lucas was white, the authorities were not after him to migrate west.

According to Verna McDaniel Pratt, a friend named Polle Nell (or Nail) attested and sworn that Jane's mother and father were full-blood Cherokees. As mentioned above, one of the daughters of Jane and Lucas (Louisa Jane) did possess her "Indian papers" but they burned in a courthouse fire and she said it was "too much trouble" to have them re-done. NOTE: There is a Polly Neal in the Cherokee by Blood Final Dawes Roll.


I've seen her name spelled a myriad of ways, but I think it is safe to assume that today, she would spell it Millicent.

An unsourced family tree has her born in Maryland on January 12, 1762. It also shows her father as William Mills and mother as Rachel Holmes. It was interesting to see that William's birth year was also given as 1762, so I left a short message and later Mellicent's was changed to 1782, the kind of embarrassing mistake I've made many times myself!

The tree owner has Willliam Mills born on Jan 12, 1762, but since that day and month is the same as what is offered for Mellicent, I completely discount both of them. Rachel Holmes has no dates for places of birth/death for her. William supposedly died in Hardin County, Illinois.

There is a record of Mellicent's marriage to Thomas G. Soward:

U.S. and International Marriage Records, 1560-1900

Name: Melesent Mills
Gender: female
Birth Year: 1762
Spouse Name: Thomas G. Soward
Year: 1792
Marriage State: MD

Thomas Soward was born in Monroe County, Virginia (now West Virginia) and the year is unknown. Per "History of Hardin County," Thomas and Mellisent moved from Ohio to Pope County in 1819 for land awarded his service in the War of 1812.

Thomas and Mellisent has at least the following children:

Robert Ruben, born November 1793
Mary, born 1785
Sarah, born 1787
Charles Stewert, born 1790
Elizabeth, born 1792
William Mills, born 1802

Nothing else is know about this line of Mills.


Thomas Mills was born about 1765 in Washington County, Pennsylvania. There has been much research on this line of Mills and the majority of it seems to be fairly accurate. However, no one has yet been able to trace Thomas' line back to the country of origin.

In about 1790, Thomas married Hannah Wynne. She was born about 1770 in Cumberland County, Pennsylvania. Her parents were Joseph Wynne and Polly Higgins.

Thomas and Hannah removed to Ohio some time in 1809 because Thomas is listed in an old state census that year (and again the next year).

They were living in Tuscawaras County. Thomas is in the 1820 Federal Census, same county, in the township of Warren.

In the 1830 Federal Census, Thomas is listed as living in Wayne Township, and in 1840, the same.

It is believed that Thomas died around 1842-1844. At the age of about 80, Hannah is in the 1850 census living with her daughter, Sarah.

It is believed that Hannah died in about 1858.

Thomas and Hannah had at least six children; the first four in Pennsylvania and the last two in Ohio.
Sarah (Sally) Mills, born about 1794 in PA, married John Beamer and had at least two children.

John Mills, born about 1800 in PA, married Margaret Hibbitts and they had at least seven children.

William Mills, born about 1804 in PA, married Catherine Strawn and they had at least six children.

Next born, and the last child born in Pennsylvania, was Margaret (or Margareth) Mills, born December 03, 1808, per the family Bible.

Margaret married George Farabee, Sr. on January 12, 1832 in Tuscawaras County, Ohio. George was born July 20, 1799 in PA. George and Margaret had at least ten children:

John Farabee, born February 27, 1833 in Morrow County, Ohio, married Martha Ann Buckminster on August 04, 1853 (8 children).

Hannah Farabee, born May 31, 1834, married Elliot Keen on February 03, 1853 (9 children).

Martha Browlee Farabee, born September 26, 1836, married William Davis Brumble on February 14, 1860 (8 children).

Thomas M. Farabee, born November 05, 1837, married Irena Mecham about 1857 (7 children).

Robert Farabee, born April 23, 1840, married Elizabeth Brumble July 03, 1861 in Missour, (4 children).

David Irwin Farabee, born June 24, 1842; died in service during the Civil War at age 20; never married.

Israel Lapin Farabee, born April 18, 1844, married Charlotte Pointer on March 05, 1863 (6 children).

Margaret A. Farabee, born August 06, 1846, married William Pointer on February 03, 1867 (children not known).

Samatha Farabee, born about 1850, married Samuel Gilmore (13 children).

Jackson Stout Farabee, born June 12, 1852, married Sahra Jane Reed on October 24, 1872 (3 children).

George Farabee died September 14, 1877 and Margaret Mills Farabee died approximately eight months later (May 22, 1878). They were both living in Missouri at the time.


Kenneth Mills and Ted Mills, both direct line descendants of Thomas Mills, took Y-DNA tests to determine the deep ancestry of this line.

The results of the tests, as reported by the Mills Y-DNA Project on Family Tree DNA, is that Thomas Mills was probably of Western European descent (R1b1b2-M269). Approximately 58% of the current male population of Western Europe shares the R1b1b2 Haplogroup. Approximately 48% of Corsicans are also R1b1b2, as are 55% of Northwestern Europeans and 42% of Central Europeans.

Hopping Bunny Productions Copyright 2010
Judith Stevens
All Rights Reserved