Rev. John William Mills (1819-1874) &

Sarah Elizabeth Chambers (1823-1840)

by Chandler Eavenson, Sautee-Nacoochee, GA

Submitted by Sara Jane Overstreet




My GGG Grandfather Moses Mills (ca 1747-1833) married 8 Dec 1787 Charlotte Co., VA to Keronhappuck Rather, daughter of James and Lucy Rather. They moved to Elbert Co., GA ca 1790 and sometimes after 1819 moved to Fayette Co., GA. His Will signed there on 23 Mar 1831 names wife and children William, James and Martha C. Phipps. He died in Fayette Co. 2 Jul 1833.


1. William Mills born 5 Sep 1788, died 18 Oct 1860 in Elbert Co., married there 12 Dec 1815 to Nancy Brown, daughter of Edward and Lucy Brown. One of their 9 children was Maria Louisa Mills (1830-1885) who married 1845 Elbert Co. to Edwin Kinnebrew Fortson (1827-1898). Maria and Edwin moved to and died in Clayton Co., GA.

2. James Mills, born 5 Oct 1790, married 24 Sep 1812 Elbert Co. to Nancy McMullan, daughter of the Irish immigrant John McMullan and 2nd wife Elizabeth Stowers. James and Nancy moved to Fayette Co. (see more later).

3. Martha "Patsy" Clabourn Mills, born 1 Oct 1797, married 22 Oct 1819 Elbert Co. to Richard Phipps. They also moved to Fayette Co. Keronhappuck Rather Mills is believed to have lived with them after her husband Moses died in 1833. Martha and Richard Phipps were in the 1850 census of Fayette Co. with a son Richard still at home.


Moses Mills signed an affidavit for pension before the Inferior Court of Fayette Co. on 3 Sep 1832 in which he stated he was 85 years old, had enlisted 1776 in Halifax Co., VA where he was a resident, served 3 years before discharge in 1779, was in the 14th Regiment of the VA line, marched by way of Baltimore to Philadelphia and joined General Washington at Valley Forge, was in the battles of Brandywine, Germantown and Monmouth Courthouse, was at the taking of a fort at Kings Ferry on the York River, was in the attack on Powliss Hook, NY, and afterwards was in the militia service at Gates defeat near Camden. He was awarded a pension of $80.00 per year, after his death the pension was awarded to his widow Keronhappuck.


John McMullan (McMullen, McMullin) was born ca 1740 in Tralee, County Kerry, Ireland, the son of Patrick Joseph McMullan and Mary Sinclair. John's older brothers, Andrew, Francis, Sinclair, Patrick and Daniel went to Dublin to work in the shipbuilding industry, John following them there when he was age 18. Around 1760 John was employed on a sailing vessel bound for America, landed at Norfolk, and settled in Orange Co., VA. He first married Theodosia Beasley by whom he had 5 children, 3 of whom later moved to Georgia. John served in the Revolution, elisting in 1777 in the 7th VA Regiment, composed mostly of Irish volunteers. A daughter later stated that John was a tailor by trade and made the first military suit worn by General Washington after he became Commander-in-Chief.

John McMullan married 2nd to Elizabeth Stowers, daughter of Mark Stowers and Hannah Briant of Orange Co., VA and moved to Elbert Co. in 1797. Their 10 children were Naile, Jeremiah, Lewis, Thomas, Fielding, Nancy, Sinclair, Elizbeth, Daniel and Lavinia. Jeremiah died in Henry Co., Fielding, Daniel and Lavinia (Mrs. Archibald D. Smith) died in Jonesboro, as did John's widow Elizabeth who remarried 1839 in Elbert Co. to John Prather.

John McMullan signed his Will on 6 Dec 1817, probated 6 Jan 1818, both Elbert Co., in which he named his son Nail McMullan and son-in-law James Mills as executors. Descendants of Nancy McMullan and husband James Mills have named their children as follows:

1. Martha C. Mills, married 22 Jan 1829 Fayette Co. to William Watson.

2. Elizabeth Mills, married 28 Nov 1838 Henry Co. to John Wood.

3. John William Mills, born 2 April 1819 in Elbert Co., GA., died 6 Jul 1874 in Shelby Co., TX, married ca 1840 to Sarah Elizabeth Chambers, daughter of Joseph S. Chambers and Frances Stinchcomb.

4. Viney Mills, married 28 Jul 1841 to Josephine McNees (or McKneess) of Kentucky.

5. Mary Mills, married Riley Kinard.

6. Nancy Mills, married 1 Dec 1855 to Wash Wyatt.

7. James H. Mills, married 4 Mar 1856 to Nancy Parilee Newton, is said he died 1863 in Civil War in Arkansas and buried there.


John William Mills (1819-1874) and Sarah Elizabeth Chambers had one child, a son James Joseph Moses Mills, born on 4 Jan 1841. Sarah died 11 days later of septic fever and John William later married 2nd on 1 Jun 1847 at Albany, GA to Martha Elvira "Ellie" Ferguson (1828-1913) of Florida. John and Ellie were shown in the 1850 census of Gadsden Co., FL living next door to his parents James and Nancy McMullan Mills. Nancy was last known to have been living with a son or grandson in Panola Co., TX. John William Mills and his son by Sarah Chambers, James Joseph Moses Mills, were both Methodist ministers.

Nancy Mills Watkins of Austin, TX, a descendant of John William and James Joseph Moses Mills, furnished a transcript of the writings of Mary Elizabeth "Mamie" Mills Elrod of Texas, daughter of James Joseph Moses Mills, written on 12 Jan 1938 and in which she gives an account of the life of her father:


"He [James Joseph Moses Mills] married when 19 years old to Rebecca Anna Stephens in 1860. He entered the Civil War at age 21, joining the Calvary under Gen. Wheeler. He came to Texas in 1870/71, joined the old E. Texas Conference in 1873, and served faithfully until his superannuation in 1914. He died in Palestine, TX on 4 Jan 1929, his 88th birthday. Like his father, he loved to fish and hunt, and I remember how he used to bring in squirrel and quail, and go driving and bring in deer. He enjoyed fishing to the end of his life, was a most successful one but never used rod and reel. He was always kind and gentle, loved to tell a good Irish joke, and always had a good supply with which he kept us all roaring with laughter.


His ministry was largely in rural districts, sometimes his circuits would have eight preaching points, and riding on horseback he often swam creeks and rode through dangers, both seen and unseen, to make his appointments or get home. He served in Shelby, Panola, Nacogdoches, Anderson, Trinity, Henderson and Cherokee counties, never having a salary above $600. How he managed was to rent a small farm. We had no parsonages until I was 16 years old. He raised a garden and feed for his horses, and occasionally a wealthy brother or sister [actually a half-brother or sister] would contribute a few yards of gingham or calico, which my mother's clever fingers converted into dresses and shirts. He had a hard time making 'tongue and buckle meet' but never faltered in trying to do his best to serve the Church faithfully and well."


Mamie Mills Elrod also wrote about the life of her grandfather John William Mills, as follows:

"Grandpa had one son by his first wife, James Joseph Moses [Mills], and his mother died with septic fever when he was 11 days old. He was reared by his grandpa and grandma Chambers. He (grandpa Chambers) was a local preacher and lived to be old. Grandpa, John William was married again to Ellie Ferguson of Key West, FL and to them were born the following children: Georgia, Sallie, Mollie, Gussie, John William, Robert, Nannie Lou, Minnie Lee and Ellie. All of them married and had families here in Texas....


Grandpa was a member of the North Georgia and Florida Conferences, prominent as a delegate to the General Conference, and occupied other places of leadership and responsibility in the Church. He transferred to Texas and joined the old East Texas Conference in 1868 or 1869, and had charge of organized S.S. work in the conference when he died....He lived near Center, Shelby Co., and is buried in old Mt. Zion cemetery....He was a Mason and a man with a trained mind. He was a great hunter and fisherman. He loved horticulture, had one of the finest apple orchards in East Texas, and did all the grafting himself. That apple orchard is one of my earliest memories and I can almost smell the June apples yet."


The children of Rev. James Joseph Moses Mills (son of John William Mills and Sarah Elizabeth Chambers) were listed by Mamie Mills Elrod as follows:

1. John William Mills, born in GA 12 Mar 1862, married Sarah John Elrod in Jan., 1888 or 89. Children Hubert Lawrence, Edgar Moses, John William, Sarah Evelyn, Annie Lee, Samuel Elrod, Coy Walter and Charles.

2. Mary Elizabeth "Mamie" Mills, born 10 Feb 1867 Jonesboro., Clayton Co., GA, married 22 Oct 1890 in Starrville, Smith Co., TX to Lawrence B. Elrod. Children were Lawrence Colley, Laura Ethel Blanche, Lawrence Lucille and Paul Donthit, all born in Brushy Creek, TX except Paul who was born in Rush, Cherokee Co., TX.

3. Georgia Irene Mills, born 20 Jul 1869 in GA, died 24 Oct 1915, married 1887 to Benjamin Franklin Gaines. Children were Clarence, Alton Mills, Frankie Alive, Anna Mamie, Katherine, Pauline and Leura.

4. Robert Owens Mills, born 1870 in GA, died in Martinsville, Nacogdoches Co., TX in Aug 1882.

5. James Walter Mills, born 15 Feb 1875 in Bennavista, Shelby Co., TX, married 1897 to Katie Vernon. Children were Maurine and Walter Hillis.

6. Lovick Jefferson Mills, born 1877 or 78 in Carthage, RX, died before age 2 and buried there.

7. Anna Blanche Mills, born 1880 near Carthage, RX, died 1893, buried Olive Branch Cemetery, Anderson Co., TX.

8. Alice Douglas Mills, born 11 Jun 1887 at Brushy Creek, TX, married Dec 1902 to O. B. Rogers. Children were Mary Christine, Hazel Rebecca, Moses Mills and Jack Broyles.


The grandfather of Sarah Elizabeth Chambers Mills was Absolom Stinchcomb who came to Elbert Co. ca 1790 from Amherst Co., VA and was one of the organizers of the Stinchcomb United Methodist Church of Elbert Co. which celebrated it's 200th anniversary in 1994.

Moses Mills and wife Keronhappuck were listed as members of Vans Creek Baptist Church in Elbert Co. and his son William Mills, my ancestor, served for some years as the clerk of Falling Creek Baptist Church in Elbert Co., even though James Mills and wife Nancy McMullan and Martha C. Mills and husband Richard Phipps, and their families, were apparently all Methodists.



Elbert and Fayette Co. records.

Booklet of McMullan Family Reunion, 1996, Hartwell, GA.

Sally Mills Watkins, Austin, RX and D. Herschel Mills, Dallas, Fortson Family History by John W. Boyd.


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Compilation Copyright 2008 - Present by Linda Blum-Barton