Thomas C. Mills was born on 29 Sep 1760 to Hope III and Martha (Unknown), in Jamaica, Long Island, Queens County, New York. He died on 26 Feb 1864 in Bullittsville, Boone County, Kentucky. He married Lydia Wilson, daughter of John and Lydia Thatcher Wilson on 16 May 1787 in Paris, Bourbon County, Kentucky. To this union there were five children born, John Mills, born between 1787 and 1788; William Mills, born 17 March 1799; Nancy Mills, born about 1801; James Mills, born about 1803; and Edward Mills, born 25 December 1805 in Ohio. Since Lydia Wilson Mills died in 1805, one I can only presume that she most likely died during childbirth or from some complication following childbirth.
Thomas then married Lydia Cachel (Cahill), whose parents are unknown to this researcher at this time, on 12 March 1806, in Lebanon, Warren County, Ohio. This union produced eight children, Ruth Mills, born about 1807 in Warren County, Ohio; Hope Mills, born 08 March 1808 in Ohio; Catherine Mills, born 18 November 1810 in Goshen Township, Clermont County, Ohio; Peter Mills, born 04 March 1811 in Mill Creek, Hamilton County, Ohio; Martha Mills, B: 16 August 1813 in Mill Creek, Hamilton County, Ohio; Thomas M. Mills, 1817 in Mill Creek, Hamilton County, Ohio; Lydia Ann Mills, born 1820 in Mill Creek, Hamilton County, Ohio; and Matilda Jane Mills, born 16 January 1827 in Mill Creek, Hamilton County, Ohio.
In Thomas Mills' Obituary, dated Tuesday, March 1, 1864, the newspaper has a lengthy article written about the pioneer, unfortunately the copy donated by Beth Love doesn't have the newspaper's name listed on it but the date is printed at the top.
"Death of the Oldest Pioneer in the West – Interesting Sketch of His Life": On Friday morning last, about 9 o'clock in the morning, Thomas Mills, the oldest Pioneer in the West, departed this life at the residence of his son-in-law Mr. C. (Christopher) Barlow, opposite North Bend, Kentucky. The deceased, although he died in Kentucky, was a resident of Hamilton County over 60 years ago, and spent nearly all of his life here. He was born on Long Island, New York, 1766, and was ten years old when the Declaration of Independence was adopted. As youthful recollections are proverbially strong, he retained a clear recollection of the talk of the people in reference to what first great act in the Revolutionary drama. He remembered well, also, the surrender of Cornwallis at Yorktown in 1781, he being then 15 years old. He came to the West in 1785, in the nineteenth year of his age. At that time there was not a single settlement in the States of Ohio and Indiana, where now exists nearly four millions of people. There was not a soul in Cincinnati for three years afterward. A few scattered settlements existed in Kentucky, one of which was at Maysville, where he at first repaired. For several years he hunted and stopped with Simon Kenton, the old Ohio pioneer, and never once entered or slept in a house in that period. At the early date, and living in that manner, he, of course, had many hair breadth escapes from Indians, who were the only inhabitants of the Western wilds. Such was the difficulty of communication with the East that for nine years he never heard from his parents. He finally learned that they had come West, and stumbled upon them in the most extraordinary manner. One afternoon, while walking along the road in Columbia, just above this city, he saw and picked up a piece of cloth lying in the middle of the road, which he carried to a hut near the roadside, presuming that it belonged to the inhabitants of the habitation. What was his surprise upon opening the door to find that he was in his own fathers house, who had, but a short time previous emigrated with all his family to that locality. He belonged to the same class, and was quite as old a pioneer as Cleves, Symmes, Harrison, Kenton, Ludlow and others, all of whom long ago preceded him to the tomb, with the exception of Mrs. General Harrison, the daughter of John Cleves Symmes, who bade farewell to the scenes of earth on the same day with Mr. Mills. He was an old friend of General Andrew Jackson, when the General displayed his law shingle at Nashville. The General died near twenty years ago, at an extreme old age, but he was one year junior of Mr. Mills. He was born a subject of King George, and came to the West several years before the Federal Government was formed. When he arrived here the entire north-west was a county in Virginia where have been eighteen Presidential votes since the Constitution was signed at all of which Mr. Mills voted. He voted first for General Washington, then afterward for every regularly nominated Democratic candidate for President down to and including Stephen A. Douglas in 1860. The distressing public events of the last three years have been marvelously kept from the old gentlemen, although he had some surmises and suspicions of the truth. His son-in-law, Mr. Boyd, tells us that he predicted eighteen years ago that disturbances of this character would arise. Among the noticeable incidents of his career was the fact that although he could have purchased at a mere song the best lands in Ohio and Kentucky, he never to the day of his death bought or owned a food of ground. Coming here so early, and being a frequent witness of their terrible cruelties up the white settlers, Mr. Mills, like most of his pioneer colleagues, conceived a mortal antipathy to the Indian which he retained until the day of his death. He had more than once witnessed tenements where the Indians had just been, and brained and slaughtered all the inmates, after that perpetration of other unutterable atrocities. He was the father of thirteen children, twelve of whom lived to maturity. These are widely scattered all over the country. He had great, great grand children living. It was meet and proper that this old gentleman, who commenced his life before our career as a nation, who had spent nearly fourscore years in peace and prosperity under the aegis of our Government, should depart in blissful ignorance of the distressing scenes that have attended its disruption and overthrow. Mr. and Mrs. Harrison must be the last of the first pioneers who were conversant with such men as Boone and Kenton, and their death may well be said to mark a memorable period in the history of the West. The great tie that has linked it with its first founders is broken, and hereafter we shall only know of the thrilling incidents of our early history by tradition.
In 1986 The Ledger-Independent, Maysville, Kentucky published in their 17 March 1986 paper an article about Thomas Mills:
"Genealogy, picture of early settlers comes to Museum":
Washington will be celebrating her 200th birthday Saturday, May 24, and as a result of some publicity about the event, a delightful lady from Farmington, Ill. Has sent a gift to the Mason County Museum where it will be kept for the use of genealogists and others interested in Washington history.
The donor is Fern H. Taylor and her great-great-great grandfather was Thomas Mills, one of the early settlers and petitioners for the Town of Washington in1786.
She has sent the complete genealogy of her family and the amazing part is she has a picture of Thomas Mills! The answer to this almost unbelievable fact is that Thomas lived to be one hundred and four years old.
Mills was born in Long Island, N. Y. in 1760 and so was 16 years old when the Declaration of Independence was adopted. As an old man he retained memories of the talk of those around him at that time and remembered well the surrender of Corwallis.
In 1783, he came to the west accompanied by Lot Masters, Jacob Drennon, John Riggs and George Mefford and made locations near Cabin Creek. He returned in 1785 and came to Limestone where he hunted and stopped with Simon Kenton.
His obituary states that during a period of these early years, "he never once entered or slept in a house." This pioneer outdoorsman had hair-breath escapes from Indians, voted first for George Washington, and then for every Democratic president down to and including Stephen A. Douglas.
In his last years, the country was torn apart in the conflict between north and south, but his family kept these disastrous events from him, although he had predicted eighteen years before that civil war was coming.
It is a real thrill for the Washington Founder's Day celebration to know that Miss Taylor hopes to attend the festivities on May 24 and her gift to the county archives is greatly appreciated.
One last article donated by Beth Love is from the Kentucky Post dated 20 October 1990. It should be noted that the inscription on the front of the stone reads:
2 SC REGT
WAR OF 1812
SEPT 29 1760
FEB 26 1864
There are also other members of Thomas Mills immediate family, besides Lydia Cachel Mills buried in the close proximity – His daughter, Lydia Ann Mills Scothorn and his grandson Thomas M. Scothorn both died in 1850, Thomas in February and Lydia in November. Although not in the same area of the cemetery, Lydia's husband Esrom Scothorn was laid to rest here along with his second wife and two of their three children. Matilda Jane Mills Barlow and her husband, Christopher Barlow, are also buried at Sand Run Cemetery.
"Kentucky pioneers laid to rest in style"
A sparkling marble headstone stands amid chipped and leaning markers blackened by age at the Sand Run Cemetery in Hebron.
The inscription on the back of the military marker reads "Swamp Fox Soldier" and "Ky. Corn Stalk Militia". The marker was engraved for Thomas Mills, who died in Boone County in 1864. Next to his stone is a smaller marker for his wife Lydia Cachel Mills, who died in 1850.
Fern H. Taylor of Farmington, Ill., will dedicate the new markers at 2:30 p.m. today at the Sand Run Baptist Church. After researching her family history for 12 years, Miss Taylor concluded that her relatives, the Millses, were buried at the cemetery.
"I wanted to honor their memories because they were early pioneers that helped to form our country. I feel like they're unsung heroes," said Miss Taylor, third great granddaughter of the Millses.
An American Legion honor guard from Elsmere will punctuate the belated ceremony by firing guns and playing "Taps."
Col. Robert C. Johnson of Louisville will present a Sons of the American Revolution bronze marker, which will be inserted into the ground. A small flag will be mounted on the marker, Miss Taylor said.
Thomas Mills was born Sept. 29, 1760, in Long Island, N. Y. He moved to South Carolina with his father and older brother and signed up with Lt. Col. Francis Marion during the American Revolutionary War. Miss was only 12 or 13 years old at the time.
He served with the 2nd South Carolina Regiment and Marion's group, the Swamp Fox Soldiers, from 1776 to 1779.
Later he traveled to Kentucky and Ohio, where he was a scout and Indian fighter, Miss Taylor said. Along the way, he met several famous Kentuckians, including Daniel Boone and Simon Kenton.
In 1786, Mills was among several families who petitioned the Commonwealth of Virginia to establish the towns of Washington and Limestone, later know as Maysville.
Mills also married Lydia Wilson in 1787. The couple had several children. She died in 1805 after the birth of one of her sons, Edward.
A year later, Mills married Lydia Cachel. They moved around Ohio – from Clermont County to Cheviot and Mill Creek in Hamilton County.
Mills had 13 children by both Lydias.
He served in the Kentucky Corn Stalk Militia between 1791 and 1799 and fought in the War of 1812.
The family left Mill Creek in 1835 and eventually settled in Boone County.
Miss Taylor traced her ancestors to Boone County through a family letter that was postmarked 1888, Bullittsville, Boone County, Ky.
She started writing the Boone County Courthouse for records about five years ago.
"Anne Fitzgerald works there," Miss Taylor said. "When I would write for marriage records or death records, when would go a step beyond and answer a few more questions."
Mrs. Fitzgerald says she enjoys history and typically gets requests for marriage or death records.
Fred Irivin, sexton of the cemetery, and his wife, Nancy, also assisted Miss Taylor by looking through old church records.
Lydia Cachel Mills
1782–1850 (m. 1806)