Back row (left to right): James Milroy (twin), John Milroy (the other twin), Lafayette Milroy
Front row (left to right): Jessie Watt (Milroy) Friday, Jane (Milroy) Bowman
Robert Milroy (1812-1896) and Mary Carmichael (1818-1909), my great great great grandparents, came to the United States from different parts of Scotland. Robert was originally from Wigtownshire (emigration date unknown) and Mary, according to her obituary, emigrated in 1835 - her family may have been living in Kelso in Roxburghshire where her younger sisters and brothers were born. In 1839, Robert and Mary were married in Brooklyn where they apparently spent some of the early years of their marriage and where at least two of their children were born. Their daughter Jane (my great great grandmother) was apparently born in Canada. Possibly the family was visiting one of Mary's sisters, Isabella (CARMICHAEL) GOODEARL or GOODEARLE, who lived in Kingston, Ontario, although Robert may also have had relatives in that area.
I was able to find a copy of a ship's passenger manifest that appears to show Mary arriving in New York City with her parents and siblings on the ship "Nashville" in October of 1834. The document is badly faded, but I can just make out names and some ages. The last column appears to show they came with 9 "packages" - luggage maybe? I feel very fortunate to have found this information - their names are among the very few on this document that are even partially legible.
White males under 5 years: 1
White males 20-29 years: 1
White females under 5 years: 2
White females 20-29 years: 1
Both the 1900 census and Mary's obituary state there were 12 children. One of the little girls is probably Jessie Watt Milroy. The other two children listed in 1840 must have died in childhood since Jessie Watt Milroy is the oldest child listed with the family in the 1850 census. Two of these children must be twins (they run in this Milroy line) - that's the only way three children would fit between the date of marriage and the time of the 1840 census.
Robert's obituary says they moved to Dutchess County in 1840. They settled in Milan Township, where the rest of their children were born (except Jane who may have been born in Canada). Robert (who was 50 years old at the time) and his son William enlisted together in Company C of the 128th New York State Volunteer Infantry in the Civil War. Robert's son Alexander also enlisted. He crossed the Hudson River to Ulster County and enlisted in the 20th New York State Militia, also known as the 80th New York State Volunteer Infantry. Since he was about 16 at the time, we guess that he may have run away from home to a place where nobody would know him and lied about his age to get into the army.
After the Civil War, Robert and Mary and some of their children moved into the village of Rhinebeck (also in Dutchess County), where they spent the rest of their lives. They are buried in Rhinebeck Association Cemetery.
Mary Carmichael's birthplace read "Lander Berwickshire/Scotl" in the transcription that was given to us. I have changed it to "Lauder" according to information I've seen on Scottish geography. According to census information, It's possible that oldest daughter Jessie was born in 1840. The transcript we were given noted that the original Bible was too fragile to be photocopied. Also, the 1840 census appears to show this family with a little boy and two little girls - if two of these are the missing two of the twelve children noted in the 1900 census and Mary's obituary, surely they would have been mentioned in the family Bible. Possibly it was so faded and/or damaged that some of the information was difficult to make out. I have not (yet) personally seen this Milroy family Bible - would love to have good digital photos of it. The 1840 census also shows the family with a little girl under the age of 5 - Jessie? Should her birth year be 1840 instead of 1841? Was Robert and Mary's wedding date really a year or two earlier than the transcript lists it?
Record from a family bible - Albany, NY Library D.A.R. Bible BkB1/pg 169 ...too fragile to be xeroxed... ROBERT MILROY b 21 Jan 1812 Scotl/Galoway Parish of Stony Kirk d 23 Feb 1896 ae84y m.17 Mar 1839 Mary Carmichael b 17 Apr 1818 d 26 Oct 1909 ae91y born at Lauder Berwickshire/Scotl ch: Jessie Watt b1841 Bklyn m.1864 Wm Richard Friday Jane b.1842 m.1859 John T. Bowman Wm C b.1844 NYC m.II:1909 Adah E Hyde Alexander b1846 Milan Robert J b1849 " James & John b1851 " John C. m1880 Alice Doyle Arabel b1854 " Mary Ann 1856 LaFayette b1860 m.1882 Susan Garvey
Daughter Jane's obituary notes that she was born in Canada. The 1910 and 1930 census listings confirm this. Mary's sister Isabella married Humphrey GOODEARL or GOODEARLE and they lived in Canada - perhaps Robert and Mary were visiting them when Jane was born. There are quite a few Milroys in Canada too - possibly some of them are Robert's relatives?
For more information on this family's descendants, see the listing section at the bottom of this page.
In 1922, the Rhinebeck Gazette published a long article about both the local history of this Milroy family and a biography of John Cornelius Milroy (1851 - 1930).
"Milroys, Robert - Rhinebeck - w. r. cheek - $4.00 - Mar. 1878 (151,967)"
I found Alexander Milroy, another of Robert's sons, in Company A of the 20th New York State Militia (also known as the 80th New York Volunteers) from Ulster County. It appears that he ran away from home, crossed the Hudson River to Ulster County where nobody would know him (possibly by taking the ferry from Rhinecliff to Kingston), lied about his age, and joined the army there. A town clerk's register found on Ancestry.com shows him enlisting in Poughkeepsie instead. It would certainly have been easier for him to travel south to Poughkeepsie to enlist and then was mustered in in Kingston with the rest of the unit. Obviously this needs further investigation.
I got a further surprise from the register as it has the following note for Alex: "Deserted, was retaken, and is Still in Service". Alex was a naughty boy, but apparently stuck with the army after he was retaken. The register is dated "ca. 1865-1867". Other records show him being discharged in 1865, so he doesn't appear to have stayed with the army very long after the war. Still not sure how much action he saw in service, if any.
On August 11, 2001, I was able to visit the Port Hudson battlefield site in Louisiana with my parents (Robert Milroy and his son William fought here with the 128th NYSV). Most of the site is wooded and overgrown, but the state of Louisiana has cleared out some of the area around where the visitor center is located. I have looked at maps, but am still not quite clear on what part of the battlefield the vistor center is located (probably either the "Citadel" or Confederate General Gardner's headquarters?). I got a bit turned around on the winding road into the park, so I put what direction I think the photos are facing.
UPDATE: A correspondent has alerted me to the listings of the discharge certificates of Robert, William, and Alexander in the Historical Manuscripts Collection at the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Library in Hyde Park, New York. Their Collection of Hudson River Valley and Dutchess County Manuscripts apparently also has a listing for "Box 17, Folder/File - Milroy, Robert". I hope to be able to investigate this stuff the next time I am able to visit the area.
Collection Title: FDR Historical Manuscripts Collection
Box 0 Folder/File Discharge certificates of Alexander, William C. and Robert Milroy of Dutchess County, N. Y., following Civil War service. 12 July 1865 - 14 Nov. 1865
Collection Title: Roosevelt, Franklin D. Collection of Hudson River Valley and Dutchess County (NY) Manuscripts
Box 17 Folder/File Milroy, Robert 1865 -
Three views that I took in May of 2002 of what I was told was the former Milroy house in the village of Rhinebeck. I was told that someone had been in the process of converting it into a restaurant a couple of years ago when it caught fire. It's hard to tell from what's left whether any remodeling had been done or how much. From the height of the chimneys, there was probably a second story.
UPDATE 1 (October 2002): I received the following email and photos from another descendant of this family (the late Donald C. Milroy, Jr.).
"The view you have shown as the Milroy house is not the actual house, but the SITE of the original Milroy home. The original house that stood on this site was a white clapboard house, two and ½ stories high that had it's main entrance facing the north east or opening toward the back of the 1st National Bank of Rhinebeck. The main entrance had a cement porch about 10' sq. with 4 steps down to a stone sidewalk that extended to the driveway which was behind the house or on the south side of the house. A long cement porch ran along the North side of the house and the back or kitchen door was on this porch at the West end of the house. There was what was called the sun porch extended out from the house towards the Southeast. This sun porch, which was enclosed and had windows about 4' long spaced about 1' apart that could be raised during the summer months and replaced by screens, was two stories high and encompassed the entire southeast side of the house. The Children slept on the second floor of the sun porch since the main portion of the house had only two bedrooms on the second floor. The second floor of the sun porch was divided into three separated rooms with doors that when all were opened allowed a walkway along the outer wall. A door on the West side of the house opened directly into the dining room.
I have attached three pictures to this e-mail.
- Milroyhouse#1 is a view of the house from West Market St.
- Milroyhouse#2 is a view of the main entry taken from the lower driveway which was behind the house to the Southeast.
- Milroyhouse#3 is a view of the West side of the house showing from Left to Right, the downstairs kitchen window, Dining room window and door and the Dining Room. Upstairs windows are, from Left to Right, bathroom and bedroom and an attic window. Below the two story Sun porch was cement slab or patio that had two entry doors into the cellar area, which was divided into two rooms, one for the furnace & storage, and one room that was used as a laundry room."
UPDATE 2 (August 2003): The owners of the restaurant bought this site in 1997. They are rebuilding the restaurant (they are scheduled to open in September 2003) and are looking for old photos of the Milroy house or the village of Rhinebeck to decorate it with. I can't help them as I only have one photo (the five-generation one above) for the Milroy family.
Graves of Robert Milroy (1812-1896) and his wife Mary (Carmichael) Milroy (1818-1909) in Rhinebeck Association Cemetery, Rhinebeck, Dutchess County, NY. These photos were taken facing north. The Milroy plot is off to the right of the road into the cemetery. The red granite obelisk of the Hester family behind the Milroy graves makes a good landmark to look for.
Robert's stone reads:
Dearest father thou hast left us
Here thy loss we deeply feel
But tis God who hath bereft us
He can all our sorrows heal.
The metal mount for Robert's flag reads "Post 104 GAR". Mary's stone reads as follows:
Mary's long obituary says she had twelve children, while the family Bible entries (above) show only ten. I have never personally seen this family Bible - perhaps the writing was too faded or damaged to read? The 1900 census agrees with Mary's obituary and says she had 12 children, 6 of whom were still living in 1900. The 1840 census shows 1 little boy and 2 little girls under the age of 5 years living with this family - the two missing children? If so, they likely died in childhood since Jessie is the oldest child in the family in the 1850 census.
According to further census research, William married Melinda (maiden name unknown, 1839 - 1908) in 1874. There were apparently no children from this marriage. After Melinda died, William married Ada Hyde (1864 - 1939) in 1909. No children from this marriage either.
The 1880 Federal Census for Hamilton, Fillmore, Nebraska (as transcribed on www.familysearch.org) lists him as "W. C. Milroy" - this is why it took so long for me to find him as I was looking for "William", not just "W". He is shown there as being married to a woman named "Malinda", born about 1839 in Pennsylvania. No children are mentioned in the 1880 census.
Records of Shickley Cemetery in Shickley, Fillmore County, Nebraska have been transcribed and uploaded at this Shickley Cemetery page. According to these records, William and his first wife Melinda D. (1839 - 1908) are both buried there.
A page on the history of Shickley mentions "W. C. Milroy" as being one of the earliest automobile owners in the area.
Robert operated a garage on West Market Street in Rhinebeck, possibly at the same location where his father and uncle's blacksmith shop had been located? This scan is a receipt from his garage for work done on my great grandmother (his first cousin) Elma (Bowman) Simmons' car in 1921. At that time, the work done cost $54.40 (5 gallons of gasoline cost $1.55). I would hate to think what all that would cost nowadays lol.
I found the following article in an old newspaper - believe it refers to this Robert Milroy:
The Rhinebeck Gazette
Saturday, June 17, 1911
AUTO STAGE IN FLAMES
Car Belonging to Mann, La Foyard and Marquet Caught Fire on River Road Tuesday Morning
The automobile stage belonging to the firm of Mann, La Foyard and Marquet caught fire near the engine early Tuesday morning while on the way to Rhinecliff. The car had just crossed the bridge at the foot of Curnan's hill when Mr. La Foyard noticed flames pouring out of the front end. He stopped the car and leaped to the ground with his assistant.
The alarm was sent to the village and soon several persons were on the spot. Robert Milroy took his automobile and with his father sped to the scene with two fire extinguishers. By their operation the flames were extinguished immediately. There were twelve gallons of gasolene (sic.) in the tank under the front seat and this fortunately the fire did not reach. While the car was burning, several wagons were stalled on either side fearing to pass on account of a possible explosion. The damaged car was towed to the village late in the afternoon by John W. Quick with his big motor truck. The cause of the fire is not known. The machine was protected by insurance.
Robert and Irene are buried in Rhinebeck Association Cemetery. They had seven children.
(illegible first line of inscription)
He doeth all things well
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