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Elizabeth Hill Mills


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Civil War Nurse

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Elizabeth (Lizzie) Hill Mills was born March 23, 1844 in Ohio. She was a school teacher before the Civil War started.

On August 21, 1862, the 83rd Illinois Infantry was mustered in, and were stationed at Cairo, Illinois. Many of the men of the 83rd were from Knox County. The 83rd left Cairo for Fort Donaldson on September 5, 1862.

It's not known where Elizabeth Hill was living when the war broke out, or how she came to be at Fort Donaldson with the 83rd Illinois Infantry. Mary Ball "Mother" Bickerdyke, Susan Cox, and Priscilla McCoy were also at Fort Donaldson. Susan and Priscilla were wives of soldiers from the 83rd Illinois Infantry.

Lizzie married Ira Dillion Mills in about 1869. Ira was a physician, and a Civil War Veteran. The day after his 20th birthday he started for Denver by ox-team. During the fall of 1864 he joined up with the 90-day Mounted Militia of Colorado, camping on the Platt River, opening roads and protecting the overland mails from Indians.

In September 1871, Ira and Lizzie had a daughter, Cora Bland Mills born in Missouri. Cora married Ernest F. Caldwell. The Caldwell's lived in Orange County for many years. Ira and Lizzie had another daughter, Maude born in July 1873 in Illinois. Maude married Theodore Winbigler, the family settled in Santa Ana. The Mills and Winbigler's owned the Mills Winbigler Mortuary and served Santa Ana for many years.

It was in 1887 that Ira and Lizzie settled in Orange County. They both became involved in Civil War Veteran's groups. In 1895, Ira was elected Senior Vice-Commander of Sedgwick Post 17; Grand Army of the Republic, Santa Ana, and the same year Lizzie was elected Secretary of the Santa Ana Women's Relief Corp.

The Woman's Relief Corp was organized nationally in 1883. Members cared for disabled veterans, and helped needy widows and orphans of Civil War Veterans. The WRC began the custom of decorating Veteran's graves which was originally called Decoration Day, and is now call "Memorial Day".

On Memorial Day, 1908 the WRC dedicated a monument to the Unknown Dead of the Civil War at a Whittier Cemetery. Elizabeth Mills as Patriotic Instructor of the WRC, gave a very moving dedication speech, the following was the first paragraph of that speech:

"Our unknown dead - God knows them all!
On sea, and land, in every clime where floats our flag,
where the cannons red fire has mowed them down,
Our brave boys lie.
They kept aloft, our colors true, Our own red, white, and blue.
Our unknown dead."

Lizzie was a campaigner and the President of the Orange County Women's Christian Temperance Union. Besides being the driving party for Prohibition, the WCTU was instrumental in the passage of Women's Suffrage, the right of women to vote in political elections. She was also attributed as being the founder of the Women's Club of Santa Ana.

In April, 1926, a Daughters of Union Veteran's Tent #54 was named for Elizabeth Mills and was instituted in Orange, California. In Oct.1926, Elizabeth was honored as a nurse of the Civil War, by the Women's Relief Corp, Stanton Post #55, at Patriotic Hall in Los Angeles.

Elizabeth Hill Mills died just a few months later on Jan. 31, 1927 in Orange County, California. She is interred with her husband in the mausoleum at Fairhaven Cemetery in Santa Ana.

It is with great respect that we name this tent, Elizabeth Hill Mills Tent #88, Orange, California.


Contents & Graphics Copyright Daughters of Union Veterans of the Civil War, 1861-1865                                                                                           Webmaster Judy Weaver Last changed 07/15/2007