Benjamin Rush Milam William Alexander Milam



Please help to discontinue the propagation and perpetuation of outdated conclusions, false research, and mis-information of the Milam family history.






HISTORY OF THE RESEARCH OF THE MILAM FAMILY


This page will delve into the past research, up through 1980, that has led us to where we are today in the story of the Milam family in America.



INTRODUCTION

Rarely is the research background, or the history of the research, of a family history considered in the ongoing genealogical pursuits. However, it is equally important to understand this background and the history of what led to our conclusions today, whether it is to affirm them or correct them. This has significantly been proven the case when researching the Milam Family History. Much of the foundation of what we know, or believe, primarily dates back to extensive research of the 1930s and beyond. In the last 20 years, there has had to be an extensive reevaluation of what is believed and understood in the foundations of the Milam Family History.

The long standing tradition that the 'three' Milam brothers, Thomas, John and Archibald, were the sons of Samuel Mileham and Martha Gardner, who were married in 1724 in Lancaster County, Virginia, has been extensively researched for verification and as a result has been thoroughly and completely proven as false. Thomas and John have been proven to have been born long before the marriage of Samuel Mileham and Martha Gardner, while additionally Archibald has been proven to have never existed.

Much of this old belief was based upon poor memory, incomplete information, inadequate research and false data, combined with an overly-zealous effort to make things Ďfití by the early Milam researchers of the late 1800s through 1930s. [see Milam Research History below]

While today this method of genealogy would be significantly frowned upon, and we could highly question the findings and lack of documentation, we must recognize the fact that these early researchers did have something that we don't have today: access to living family members, within only one or two generations of the children and grandchildren of Bartlett Milam Sr. who had first hand knowledge of the Milam family.

Unfortunately, despite exhaustive, extensive, thorough and detailed research by many Milam family historians the last 25 years, the identity of the parents of the Milam brothers has continued to be elusive. Milams have been extremely difficult to locate and identify in earlier Virginia and Maryland records, and those few that might have been found have not clearly been connected to the Virginia Milam Patriarchs.

The popularly theorized Boston connection that has been vigorously pursued for over 15 years has uncovered extensive valuable information, but as yet has failed to provide the substantial proof necessary. In fact, the most significant discovery that has been made is that the John Mylam who arrived in Boston prior to 1635 and married, raised a family, and achieved great success, had removed himself and his entire family to Ireland in 1652, thus eliminating all the male Mylams in Boston after that point, lessoning the possibility of the Virginia connection to the Boston Mylams. For more information about this significant research and discovery, please visit the John Mylam History web page.

Meanwhile, do be sure to visit the various websites referred to and linked to from throughout this website and review their research and discussions. Most notably, be sure to visit the website of the Milam Family Historical Society, and the very well researched website Milam in Virginia.

Please help to discontinue the propagation and perpetuation of outdated conclusions, false research, and mis-information of the Milam family history.



MILAM RESEARCH HISTORY

The following writing(s), in three parts, is a history of the research of the Milam family history as written and published by me in the Milam Roots newsletter in the first half of 2000. It is unedited from that original publication date.


PART 1

as originally published in

MILAM ROOTS
Volume 13, #1, January-February 2000


Over the course of the last couple of years, there has been a surge in genealogy nationally, and, thus, a notable increase in the Milam research activity. Unfortunately, like many new genealogists, these new Milam researchers originally dived into the research through the computer and the internet without a basic knowledge of genealogical research techniques. They were shocked to find that their complete family histories, or original documentation, was not easily available on the internet. They then went to networking, trying to find other Milam researchers, but they mostly found just more like themselves. Thus, these new researchers were exchanging limited information and basing their findings upon the research and conclusions of others who themselves know very little and are doing scant original research. So now while there appears to be extensive research activity, much of it is just the same old information being passed around with rare occasions of new information coming forth.

Meanwhile, most all Milam researchers are generally not aware of the history of the research of the Milam family history. In the course of their research they donít know what is old research or what is new research. Now, much confusion has arisen as the new genealogists try to fit their research with the historical research results which are outdated. They are unaware of how the foundational research and conclusions of the 1930s were originally made, and are not aware of the great deal of changes that has occurred as a result of renewed vigor in original research back in the late 1970s through 1980s. While I canít completely reproduce all of the old research, in the next couple of issues I hope to try to provide some insight into the known history of the research of the Milam family history and show what was known, discovered, and how the various conclusions were arrived at.

Before I go into the actual research history, I would like to introduce the key players in this history.

The core of modern Milam research is founded upon the extensive Milam research conducted by a handful of Milam researchers who were extremely active from 1927 to 1939. The primary researchers were the following individuals: Herbert M. Milam, Atlanta, GA, and brother Charles M. Milam, Cartersville, GA; Mrs. Ponder S. Carter, El Paso, TX; Mary P. Milam and daughter-in-law Mrs. A. Blum Milam, Mountville, SC; Robert Alfred Milam, Greenville, SC; Mr. M. A. Milam, Miami, FL; and Mrs. T. M. Milam, Fort Stockton, TX. Some additional input is noted from the following Milam kinsman: Mrs. Henry H. Phillips, Lexington, KY; Lon J. Milam, Big Island, VA; Mr. C. L. Milam, Mountville, SC; Robert R. Milam, Jacksonville, FL; Wiley Glen Milam, Griffin, GA.

Many typed copies of these letters from 1927 to 1939 exist in various files from libraries in South Carolina to Texas. Some of the elder Milam researchers of the last 20 years have the originals or copies in their possession. I obtained copies of the originals in the possession of Cecil F. Milam of Mountville, South Carolina. I received copies of many additional letters either from other researchers or from some of the files in libraries throughout the south. Some transcriptions of these early letters can also be found in books. One particular book of note appears to be a book that is unique to the D.A.R. Library in Washington D.C. which I discovered in December of 1995. This book is Milam Family Data (from files of George W. Wetherald Jr.) which apparently was put together and given to the D.A.R. Library by Ms. Idell Wenthur in 1991.

Some continuing research was begun in 1946, primarily by Robert Alfred Milam, Greenville, SC, who had taken over as the research expert after the passing of all of the others. He continued his research off and on to 1965. Meanwhile, Wiley Glen Milam of Griffin, GA, was another active researcher through the 1950s. However, while he gathered information from others, he was reluctant to share his research without monetary compensation. In 1963, W. G. Hobbs, Tampa, Florida, who had married into the Milam family, began to conduct research, receiving much data from Robert Alfred Milam. Mr. Hobbs continued his activity through the early 1990s, corresponding with me from 1987 through 1994. Mrs. Laura Milam Pulley, Laurens, SC, was a very active and the most knowledgeable Milam researcher from 1964 through the mid-1980s when she passed away. She briefly shared some of her research with me shortly before she passed away. However, Cecil F. Milam, Mountville, SC, was the beneficiary of the great bulk of research from Mrs. Laura M. Pulley and Robert Alfred Milam, as well as the research of, or was left to, his father, C. L. Milam, his aunt Mrs. A. Blum Milam, and his grandmother Mary P. Milam. Mr. Cecil Milam has shared a great wealth of information with me.

There were a number of other preeminent Milam researchers that I have been made aware of, and in some cases even had the benefit of corresponding with myself, who had made significant contributions in the 1970s and 1980s. I will discuss them next, but want to make it clear that I am only pointing out those that I am aware of, primarily through first-hand knowledge, as having made significant contributions to Milam research prior to 1990. There are others that I think might qualify, but I have never seen their efforts, and there are possibly others that I am completely unaware of.

Among these notable researchers were Mr. and Mrs. George H. Boyd, of Athens, Georgia, who had conducted extensive research on the Milams, and especially the descendants of Wiley Milam, and of his father John Milam Jr., the Revolutionary War Veteran who died in 1838 in Madison County, Alabama. After Mr. Boydís death in 1965, Mrs. Boyd published the book Our Boyd Family Allied Families: de Graffenried, Tidwell, Milam, Patton in 1971.

Mrs. Nadine Shelton was another significant Milam researcher of note who had conducted research of the Milam family, most notably the branch of Milams that settled in Lawrence County, Alabama. She organized her findings into a book entitled The Milam Family of England and America in June 1976. In 1992, Mr. Richard Milam of Corinth, Mississippi made a visit to Lawrence County, and met Mrs. Shelton who was 97 years of age. They drove around the county as she pointed out the most notable Milam sites. Mr. Milam was kind enough to send me a copy of the book and a recording of their conversation.

Mrs. Fred Hockey of Springfield, Missouri was another very detailed and long time researcher. She was an extensive researcher of the Milam family from the late 1950s through the late 1980s. She was researching Jordan Milam and the descendants of his son John Belfield Milam. She published her research in 1978 in the book Jordan Milam (Milum): and the descendants of his son John Milam. I had the benefit of corresponding with her in 1985 and 1986, receiving a wealth of information.

Another most notable Milam researcher was Mrs. Vera Milam Ryker who had conducted extensive research, from 1967 to 1988, on the Coleman Milam family and connecting him to the Milams of Laurens District, South Carolina. She was the one who, along with the Rev. Dr. Peeples, had concluded that Coleman was the son of Thomas Milam, of Laurens District, South Carolina, son of John Milam, formerly of Halifax County, Virginia, who died and left a will in York County, South Carolina in 1789. I corresponded with her frequently from 1984 to 1986. She shared a wealth of information with me. After the passing of Mrs. Ryker, her granddaughter published Mrs. Rykerís research in the book titled Genealogy Research by Vera Milam Ryker. Meanwhile, the Rev. Dr. Robert E. H. Peeples, of Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, and his wife, Cora, who was a descendant of the Coleman Milam family, worked with Mrs. Vera Milam Ryker. I corresponded with them from 1984 to 1988.

The following are two of the earliest known Milam research references that actually appeared as supplements to some of the 1930s letters. Realize that these are not primary documents. While these and the other letters from this early time period can provide a wealth of information, as secondary documents they must be regarded with care and scrutiny and must not be considered proof regarding anything.

MEMORANDUM

H. M. Milam, 31 Third St., NE, Atlanta, Ga. Feb 18, 1931.

In a report we had in 1893 of the children of Bartlett Milam, Sr., and his wife, Elizabeth, two of their sons, John and Bartlett, Jr., were listed as under:--

ďJohn Milam was the father of Lee Milam, who lived in Meriwether County, Georgia, and the father of Ferril Milam who owned and lived on the old homestead near Laurens, South Carolina. According to additional memorandum (made at about the same time) presume that John was the father of:-- Milton Milam, Henry Milam, and Mrs. Brighton.

ďBartlett Milam, Jr., (No information).


SUPPLEMENT IN LETTER

From: Herbert M. Milam, 31 Third St., NE, Atlanta, Ga. November 27, 1931.
To: Mr. Lon J. Milam, Big Island, Bedford County, Virginia

COPY

B. C. Milam                     John W. Milam
B. C. MILAM & SON
Manufactures of
THE MILAM,
Or
Genuine Frankfort, Kentucky,
Fishing Reel.

Frankfort, Ky., Oct. 5, 1898.

Mr. Herbert Milam,
Atlanta, Ga.

Dear Sir:--
        Your letter of 3rd has been received, and it gives me pleasure to write you all that I know about the Milams, which is not very much.
        I am able to go only to my Grandfather, Moses Milam, who left Virginia about 1795 and came to Kentucky, and from him springs all the Kentucky branch.
        He had Five children: John (My father), Ben R. (of Alamo fame), Arley, James, Archy, and one daughter, Sally.
        Archy is the father of Jefferson the head of the Texas branch.
        I am very sorry that I cannot give you more information, but hope that this will be of some use to you.

Very truly,
B. C. Milam

Letter and signature
Dictated.


PART 2

as originally published in

MILAM ROOTS
Volume 13, #2, March-April 2000


During the last three years, there has been a surge in genealogy nationally, and thus a notable increase in the Milam research activity. Unfortunately, like many new genealogists, these new Milam researchers originally dived into the research through the computer and the internet without a basic knowledge of genealogical research techniques. They were shocked to find that their complete family histories, or original documentation, was not easily available on the internet. They then went to networking, trying to find other Milam researchers, but they mostly found just more like themselves. Thus, these new researchers were exchanging limited information and basing their findings upon the research and conclusions of others who themselves know very little and are doing scant original research. So now while there appears to be extensive research activity, much of it is just the same old information being passed around with rare occasions of new information coming forth.

Meanwhile, most all Milam researchers are generally not aware of the history of the research of the Milam family history. In the course of their research they donít know what is old research results or what is new research results. Now, much confusion has arisen as the new genealogists try to fit their research with the historical research results which are outdated. They are unaware of how the foundational research and conclusions of the 1930s were originally made, and are not aware of the great deal of changes that has occurred as a result of renewed vigor in original research back in the late 1970s through 1980s. While I canít completely reproduce all of the old research, in the next couple of issues I hope to try to provide some insight into the known history of the research of the Milam family history and show what was known, discovered, and how the various conclusions were arrived at.

In the last issue (Volume 13, # 1, January-February 2000), I introduced the key players in this history of the research of the Milam family. Next I would like to introduce a key document in the early stages of the Milam family history research effort. This is the letter dated February 28, 1902 from William B. Davis of Blackwater, Tennessee, to W. M. Milam. This letter was critical in introducing the very earliest Milams and a branch of the descendants. Most significant in this letter is the introduction of Archibald Milam. Other than in this letter, there is no record, document or any source verifying the existence of Archibald Milam.

The following is a complete typed transcription of the letter which I personally made from a xerox copy of a very old typed version that I have in my possession, and which itself is a transcription. The letter was originally written in pencil by Mr. Davis. I cross checked my transcription with the transcription which appears in Archives of the Pioneers of Tazewell, Virginia, in the footnotes of the chapter An Annotated Enumeration of All Taxpayers Ė 1801 to 1820. According to this book, the original letter most recently was in the possession of Mrs. A. M. Thomas of Baytown, Texas. It was originally directed to her uncle, Mr. William M. Milam, who was born at Cedar Bayou, Harris County, Texas, served in the Spanish-American War and lived in Richmond and New York.

Blackwater, Tenn.

February 28, 1902

W. M. Milam Esq.

Dear Sir:

Yours of the 17th Inst. was recd. several days ago and I have delayed reply in order to think of the facts that I wanted to write. I am a great grandson of William Milam son of Archibald. Wm had two sons that I know of and perhaps three. I know of Wm and Lewis but know nothing of Wms family if he every had any. I have always been told he went to Texas. Lewis married in Va and finally moved to Tennessee about 1816. He had four sons by a first marriage towit: Wm, Lewis, Allen and Andrew and one son by a second wife. He did not have any girls. Old Lewis died in this county and is buried about two miles from where I live. Wm I know nothing of. Allen married a Miss Breeding and lived in Lee County Va. and his decendants live there yet. His grandson Wm is new sheriff of Lee County and lives at Jonesville, Va. which is only 15 miles from me. Allen had but one son viz: Russel who was an M.D. Russel had several sons, one Allen is an M.D. and lives in Mo. Lewis Jr. moved to Ky., Andrew went to Davidson County, Tenn. North of the Cumberland River near Edgefield now East Nashville and R. A. of Nashville is one of his sons.

My great grandfather Wm Milam had four daughters. The oldest Mary married Wm Fletcher and from that union had seven sons towit: James, Rolon (?), Elias, Danie (?), Joseph, Wm, and Aaron. James married a Cridmore and moved to Indiana. Elias married a McKinney and moved to Kentucky. Danie (?) and Joseph I know little about more than Joseph was a sporting man attending the races and loving fast horses. Wm married a Miss Church and went to Indiana where he died about 1847. Aaron married a Miss Jarvis and finally went to Alabama. One of old Wm Milam's daughters married a Dr. Hughs and another married a Mr. Pruett. I know little of their families. I have met one of the boys Wm who moved from Va. to this county and died here. My grandmother Elisabeth (Milam) married John Davis who cam to this country from Wales about 1775 and was married to Elizabeth Milam in Botetourt County, Va., 1778 from this union there were seven children. Four daughters and three sons towit: Wm, Abigail, Mary, Nancy, John, Catharine and Milam. Milam was born April 2nd 1794 and his father died in July 1794. I am a son of Milam. My grandfather Davis was a soldier in the war for American Independence -- served under Genl Marion and was at the Battle of Kings Mountain and on the day of the battle his oldest son Wm was born. At the close of the war he was granted 640 acres of land in Washington County now Tenn. for his military service. On this he lived at the time of his death and here my father was born. After my grandfatherís death grandmother moved back to Va. and her family was brought up there. Wm married a Miss Davis but of no kin of him and always lived in Giles County, Va. Abigail married James Stafford and lived at Paintville, Ky. Mary married John Stafford and lived in Ky. 9 miles from Paintville and their decendants live there yet. Nancy married Francis Grant of New Port, Ky. John married a Miss Baldwin in Va. and moved to this county where he died leaving only one child a daughter who married Dr. Richard Mitchell and always lived in this county. Catharine married Leonard Alkires (?) at Covington, Ky and they moved about 1830 to Sangamon County, Ill. now Manard County. They had four sons Milam, David, Leonard and John L. Milam and Leonard are dead and David Lives in Mo. and John D. at Denver, Colorado. The Alkires (?) were all well off. Some of them you might any rich none less than $100,000.00. My mother was a Miss Baldwin. Our family consisted of four boys and four girls viz: John, Elisabeth, Wm, Mary, Catharine, Julia, George and Leonard A. John married a Miss Kinner raised a large family that are scattered from here to Texas. Elizabeth married a Mr. Livesay and raised several children who are also well distributed. I married a Miss Mitchell Jany 18 1850 and have always made my home here. We have raised 8 children 4 boys and 4 girls vis: Milam H. Thos. L., Huldah, John R., Mary Ann, Pattie K., Agnes B., and Robert Lee. My boys are all farmers and lawyers except Thomas and all live here except Thomas who lives at Leadville, Col. and is engaged in mining in which he had been over 25 years. I was born in Hawkins now Hancock County, Tenn. March 6 1827 -- went to my Unkle Alkires (?) in Ill. in 1845 came back to Tenn. In 1847 on the 4th of March 1848 was elected clerk of the circuit court of my county. Served three terms 4 years each read law and qualified to practice went in the U. S. Army as 1st Leut and was promoted to Major in 1864 and mustered out in 1865 -- was then appointed U. S. Indian agent and went on the frontier came back in 1869 practiced law until 1890 was elected to the state senate from Andrew Johnsons old district served the term again practiced law up to 1900 and was then elected to the state senate from the 3rd district which office I now hold. All these offices I have held yet I have never been an applicant for my position. Of my four daughters Huldah married Wm Seal. They raised 4 children, three boys and one girl. The boys are all merchants and the girl married a Mr. Eden, he is a farmer and merchant. Mary Ann married E. K. Baldwin who owns a farm and is a merchant. My two girls Pattie K. and Agnes B. never married and live with their mother and myself where we have resided for over fifty years. My sister Mary married a Wm Livesay raised a large family who are all married and live in this county. Four of them married Lestermans. They own large property and do a large retail mercantile business under the firm name of Lesterman Bros. Catharine married a Mr. Lyden. She died last January they lived in Blount County, Tenn. Her children are all married one of them married a Mr. Parkam owner of the Knoxville Woolen Mills another married a Mr. Hackney owner of the Strawberry plains (?) mill. The others of her family live some in Knoxville and some in Blountsville and some in Maryville. My brother George married a Miss Lesterman and raised a large family. Some are in Kansas but most of them here. He has been dead some 6 years.

Leonard A. died in the U.S. Army Feby 29th 1864 at Nashville, Tenn. Julia married a Mr. Flemor (?) from Va. her husband died several years ago. She owns a good farm on Clinch River that once belonged to Lewis Milam Sr. son of Wm. My great grandfather Wm Milam married either a Miss Randolph or Miss Wineger and I think a Miss Randolph as my father always claimed kin with the Randolph, the Floyds and the Taylors. I could have known about this as I have seen my grandmother Davis often. She told me a good many things and among others this. Soon after her father was married and then living on the frontiers of Settlement in Va. the Indians became hostile to the white settlers one evening on his way home met seven Indians. He was riding a fine horse and had a new finely finished rifle gun. The leader of the Indians signaled to see his gun. He handed it to the Indian they all examined it and handed it back nodded him goodbye and he rode on home. One other white man and two of his daughters stayed with Wm Milam that night. Next morning at dawn of day five of these same Indians broke into the house let slip their arrows one taking effect in grandmotherís breast -- the wife of Wm Milam. Grandfather Milam, the other man and the two young women rose at once. The largest Indian attacked with his hatchet. Grandfather took a hanger that lay on the floor caught the Indian by his wrist and in this way warded off the blows of the hatchet and though his head was cut slightly in several places, and with the aid of the other man and two women, they killed the whole five Indians. The other two of the seven he had met the evening before had followed and killed two young men taken their horses and returned to Grandfather about sun up. They had thrown the five dead Indians in the yard, loaded their guns and watching for the others who rode up and seeing the dead Indians jumped from their horses and ran. They fired at them killed one dead and broke the others back. They still kept watch for other Indians until evening and then went to see the effect of their two shots. They found one dead and the others back broken as above stated and immediately dispatched the survivor.

I have simply stated this incident as a tradition that I have from my grandmother as an occurance that happened with her father, supposing that such a remarkable circumstance might lead to some identification. One other thing Russel Milam, son of Allen, son of Lewis, son of Wm, son of Archibald had two well developed thumbs on his right hand. A very notable mark of identification.

I will be 75 years old now within a few days, can get about very well but am a little shaky and for that reason generally write with pencil and give that as my excuse for using pencil in this as well as many inaccuracies and mistakes you may find.

I should be glad to hear the result of your investigation.

I am Sir very respectfully

Wm B. Davis

Not W. R. (as the Secretary of State and A. R. Milam have it.)

By the early 1930s, this letter became one of the foundations in the research of the Milam family history. However, the science of genealogy had not yet developed by the 1930s and so the letter was accepted without question, and was in no way scrutinized for accuracy. It was automatically assumed as complete and accurate facts, without any errors. It wouldnít be until the late 1980s that questions began to arise over the completeness and accuracy of the facts given in this letter, and as a result there would be a great deal of debate. This debate would reach extremes of complete refusal to accept any portion of the letter, to the complete acceptance of this letter without question despite mounting evidence and documents to disprove certain points and facts.

First, it must be stated that this letter is not a primary document and should not be accepted as such. Letters are secondary document sources, not primary. What is the difference between a primary source and a secondary source? The basics of genealogy state that in the purest sense, a primary source is a document created at the time of the event by the people who were on hand when the event occurred, while a secondary source is a document created long after the event, perhaps even by those who were not directly on hand when the event occurred. However, some documents can be viewed as both primary and secondary if they are, for example, created at the time of the event (primary) but not directly by the person or family member involved with the event (secondary). One example would be a tombstone, or a death certificate. In the case of the death certificate, the facts of the death as reported by the doctor may be accurate (thus primary), but the facts regarding the individual, such as date and place of birth, parents, etc., may be unknown by the doctor, or inaccurately stated by a family member (thus secondary).

Most of this letter must be viewed as a secondary source. Mr. Davis is primarily sharing information of people and events from long before Mr. Davis was born. In addition, he is giving information and stories on distant cousins who he had no actual contact with and received the information second hand. Overall, he is relaying information that was passed to him by family members through two or more generations. This multi-generation relaying of information creates the probability of misunderstanding and questionable memories leading to the loss or distortion of information over time.

We must also realize that we are reading the questionable memories of a man nearly 75 years of age who admits that he is writing what he can from memory. The combination of the indirect nature of the information, along with the questionable memory of the man relaying the information makes this a very highly questionable document. Yet in the early stages of Milam family history research, it was accepted without question. Let me give an example of the necessity of studying the letter and scrutinizing it in detail.

In Volume 7, # 1, the January-February 1994 issue of this publication, it was proven that those identified as the children of William Milam, son of Archibald, in the above letter, were in fact found to actually be the children of a James Milam. It was in the following land record for Tazewell County, Virginia, dated June 26th, 1810, that the persons mentioned as apparent heirs of James Milam, are the same persons who were long believed to be the heirs of William Milam, the son of Archibald, according to the letter of William B. Davis.

Tazewell County, Virginia
Deed Book 1, Page 446

Know all men by these presents that
we William Fletcher Joshua Day Edward Milam, James Milam Henry Pruitt, Aron Fletcher of Tazwell County and State of Virginia do by these presents make ordain Constitute and appoint Lewis Milam of the County and State aforesaid, Our true and lawfull Attorney, for us and in Our names to ask Sue for, recover and receive, all the money his Father hid by his James Milam - decd. + found by Mr. Lewis's son on the plantation whare he died, in Pittsylvania County, hereby ratifying and confirming whatsoever our said Attorney shall Lawfully do in the premises, as fully and effectually to all intents and purposes as if we, our selves, were personally present Given under our hands and seals this 26th day of June 1810

William Fletcher {seal}
Joshua Day {seal}
his
Edward + Milam {seal}
mark
Aron Fletcher {seal}
his
henry + Pruitt {seal}
mark
James Milam {seal}

This document proves the inaccuracy of Davisí statement regarding even his own great grandfather, William Milam. This is a clear example of the careful scrutiny that the Davis letter must be given. If Davisí great grandfather wasnít William Milam, but actually James Milam, what other errors may exist in his letter? For example, we can link James Milam to the John Milam family of Halifax County, Virginia. Thus, Davis was not descended from an Archibald Milam. In fact, in over 23 years of studying the Milam family, I have still never found a document to prove the existence of Archibald Milam. Meanwhile, other descendants of this branch of the family, as discussed in the letter, have pointed out other errors and inconsistencies regarding information in the Davis letter.

However, I am not advocating discounting the letter altogether. It can still provide helpful information and clues. For example, James was married to a Martha who, according to Davis in his letter referring to Williamís wife, may have been a Randolph or a Winegar. The name Martha is verified through the marriage record of Martha's daughter, Mary Milam, to William Fletcher in 1791 in Montgomery County, Virginia.

It is understandable that the early Milam researchers would take this information as fact. Without further information and resources to follow through on, this letter was all the information they had. This information, along with the information to come along in the 1930s would become the core of the Milam family history research and information for more than 50 years. However, during the course of the continuing research from the 1980s to the present, more reliable facts have come forward and this letter must be questioned and scrutinized and the information in the letter must be verified.


PART 3

as originally published in

MILAM ROOTS
Volume 13, #3, May-June 2000


During the last three years, there has been a surge in genealogy nationally, and thus a notable increase in the Milam research activity. Unfortunately, like many new genealogists, these new Milam researchers originally dived into the research through the computer and the internet without a basic knowledge of genealogical research techniques. They were shocked to find that their complete family histories, or original documentation, was not easily available on the internet. They then went to networking, trying to find other Milam researchers, but they mostly found just more like themselves. Thus, these new researchers were exchanging limited information and basing their findings upon the research and conclusions of others who themselves know very little and are doing scant original research. So now while there appears to be extensive research activity, much of it is just the same old information being passed around with rare occasions of new information coming forth.

Meanwhile, most all Milam researchers are generally not aware of the history of the research of the Milam family history. In the course of their research they donít know what is old research results or what is new research results. Now, much confusion has arisen as the new genealogists try to fit their research with the historical research results which are outdated. They are unaware of how the foundational research and conclusions of the 1930s were originally made, and are not aware of the great deal of changes that has occurred as a result of renewed vigor in original research back in the late 1970s through 1980s. While I canít completely reproduce all of the old research, in the next couple of issues I hope to try to provide some insight into the known history of the research of the Milam family history and show what was known, discovered, and how the various conclusions were arrived at.

After the 1902 letter of William Davis (transcribed in the last, the March-April 2000, issue), it appears that there was no continuing research activity in the Milam family history. This is indicated by the apparent lack of records, surviving letters, and other such materials from the period between 1902 and 1929. Admittedly, I base this comment on the stack of xerox copies of the early 1930s research notes and letters in my possession. It is possible that there were earlier letters, however it is really evident by these letters of the early 1930s that little research was done prior. I copied these 1930s letters from the originals now in the possession of Cecil F. Milam of Mountville, South Carolina. He inherited many of these originals from his parents, and obtained more of these originals sometime in the 1960s from Robert Alfred Milam of Greenville, South Carolina who was one of the active researchers in the 1930s. Many of these 1930s originals were carbons or other forms of early xerographic copies of these letters. In the January-February 2000 issue I identified many of the key players in this history of the research of the Milam family, most especially noting those researchers identified in these letters of the 1930s research period.

More letters, primarily from the mid to late 1930s, can be found in the book Milam Family Data : From Files of George W. Wetherald Jr., which is apparently unique to the library of the Daughters of the American Revolution, in Washington D.C.

A great bulk of the letters from the 1930s primarily cover the lines of Milams descended from Bartlett Milam Sr., who married Elizabeth Gwinn/Guinn, originally from Halifax County, Virginia but migrated early and died in Laurens District, South Carolina. Some of the letters also refer to branches of families that married into these Milams, such as the Ligons, Kirkpatricks, Paslays, Peacocks, Powells, and more.

However, other branches of Milams are also included in this extensive Milam research effort between many different Milam researchers of the 1930s. All work together to research further back to the early Virginia and Boston Milams, attempting to connect all of the Milam branches together.

When America became involved in World War II, the research and correspondence temporarily stopped. In 1946 the letters begin again, though in my collection of materials they are not as frequent. However, the letters continue intermittently through the mid 1960s. Some of the key researchers are no longer around or involved in the continuing research in these later letters. Robert Alfred Milam of Greenville is primarily involved with the research with some correspondence with C. L. Milam of Laurens, South Carolina, Wiley Glenn Milam of Georgia, a Robert B. Paslay Jr. of Spartanburg, South Carolina, Marcus A. Milam and Robert R. Milam both of Florida. By the 1960s, the most active researchers were W. G. Hobbs of Florida and Mrs. Laura M. Pulley of Laurens, South Carolina.

One of the significant factors of these letters which must be recognized is that very little, if any, documentation is used to verify or prove much of what is stated and identified in these letters. These researchers, in these letters, primarily rely upon their own memories, or the memories of the older generations which they had questioned when the researchers themselves were younger. In other words, this research of the 1930s primarily relies upon the memories of these researchers who were in their 60s and 70s and are trying to remember stories that were passed to them more than 30 or 40 years prior by elder family members in their 60s and 70s. Even in the letters, the researchers refer to their own memories for some of the information, and identify the other information was relayed to them, but they donít clearly cite sources, etc. However, there are some occasional references to bible records, cemeteries, some land deeds and tax records, and some court records, etc. But this is very very limited and infrequent.

One thing that I must mention, is that in all these letters I have never found references to Archibald Milam. I only find references to the early John and Thomas Milam who were theorized to be the sons of Samuel Mileham who married Martha Gardener In fact, the supposed children of Archibald I find in charts as the children of Thomas Milam who married Mary Rush Adams, and among these are Jordan Milam who migrated to Tennessee, Moses Milam who married Elizabeth Boyd and was the father of Benjamin Rush Milam, and the know sons Benjamin, William, John, Soloman and Rush. Which makes me wonder how by the 1970s that Archibald became the established third brother of John and Thomas, and all established as sons of Samuel Mileham.

During the 1970s, I donít find a lot of evidence of continuing active research and correspondence. None-the-less, I am sure that the process was continuing prior to my involvement beginning in 1977. However, the early Milam research was finally being compiled and published as can be seen by the following titles:

Our Boyd Family, Allied Families, de Graffenried, Tidwell, Milam, Patton, by George Hugh Boyd and Rosalie Brown Boyd, privately printed Danielsville, Georgia 1971
From the research of George Boyd. After his death in 1965 Rosalie Boyd compiled his research into this book. The Milam information was mostly researched by Rosalie Boyd. It primarily covers the descendants of William Milam, the son of Wiley Milam who was born circa 1796, married first to Martha Walker and second to Mourning Touchstone and lived in Campbell County, Georgia. Wiley is believed to have been a son of John Milam Jr., the Revolutionary War veteran who died in Madison County, Alabama in 1838. It traces the Milam lineage back to the Samuel Mileham and Martha Gardner and their three sons: John, Thomas and Archibald. Clearly, she was basing much of her research on much of the preceding research.

The Milam Family of England and America, by Nadine Shelton, June 1976
From the many years of research of Nadine Shelton of Moulton, Alabama, this book primarily covers the descendants of Bartlett Milam Jr., son of Bartlett Milam. There is some reference to the Milams of Laurens District, South Carolina with minimal links to the Milams of Virginia. There is no reference to Samuel Mileham and Martha Gardner and their three sons: John, Thomas and Archibald.

Jordan Milam (Milum) and the Descendants of his son John Milam, by Eunice Hockey, 1978
This book is the result of extensive research by Eunice Chandler Hockey, beginning with Jordan Milam (Milum), the Revolutionary War veteran who migrated from South Carolina and settled a large plat of land in Hickman County, Tennessee and then migrated to Arkansas where he died in 1851. However, the book concentrates on the descendants of Jordanís son, John Belfield Milam. There is a brief reference to the earlier Milams of Virginia, including Samuel Mileham and Martha Gardner and their three sons: John, Thomas and Archibald. However, Mrs. Hockey clearly states that she has ďnot been successful in finding any evidence of records to document generations earlier than Jordan Milam.Ē

The Milum Family and its Descendants, by Jim L. Milum, 1980
This book is the result of three years research by Jim L. Milum of Harrison, Arkansas. It primarily discusses Jordan Milam (Milum), the Revolutionary War veteran who migrated from South Carolina and settled a large plat of land in Hickman County, Tennessee and then migrated to Arkansas where he died in 1851. However, the book concentrates on the descendants of Jordanís son, Samuel James Milum. There is much detail regarding the earlier Milams of Virginia and New England. While there is details regarding Samuel Mileham and Martha Gardner, he does not link John, Thomas and Archibald as sons of Samuel and Martha. Mr. Milum too was reluctant to commit to the belief that the three Milams were sons of this couple.



NOTABLE RESEARCHERS


HERBERT M. MILAM

Cartersville, Bartow County, Georgia

Herbert Marshall Milam

Herbert Marshall Milam is one of the most significant early Milam researchers, writing fellow Milams all over the country in search of anything he could learn. Through his extensive efforts and leadership, a foundational understanding of the Bartlett Milam family of Laurens County, South Carolina was established.

He was the son of James Cothran and Lydia Pauline (Wilson) Milam. James Cothran Milam was a Confederate Veteran and the son of Madison Milam of Euharlee, Bartow County, Georgia. Madison was the son of William and Mary (Pasley) Milam of Laurens District, South Carolina. William was the son of Bartlett Milam, the son of John Milam Sr., the Progenitor of the Milams of Halifax County, Virginia to Laurens District, South Carolina.

Herbert Milam was born January 24, 1862 in Cartersville, Cass County, Georgia. As a young man he moved to Atlanta in 1885. He married Nena Mitchell, also from Cartersville, on December 22, 1909. She was born June 5, 1862 to William Arnold and Margaret (Skinner) Mitchell. They had no children. Nena, also an avid genealogist, died on March 28, 1932 and was buried in the Mitchell Family Plot, Section 1, Westview Cemetery in Atlanta, Fulton County, Georgia. Click here to go to her Find-A-Grave memorial. Herbert died on April 20, 1933 and was buried on April 22, 1933 in the Milam Family Plot in Section 2 of Oak Hill Cemetery in Cartersville, Bartow County, Georgia. Click here to go to his Find-A-Grave memorial.

Herbert was apparently involved in family history for much of his life. He was the secondary compiler of the book A genealogical history of the Waters and kindred families : in two parts / part first compiled by Philemon Berry Waters ; part second compiled by Herbert M. Milam which was published in Atlanta in 1903.

Herbert is significant in the Milam research in that due to his initiating efforts he was able to identify all of the children of Bartlett Milam Sr. of Laurens County, South Carolina, and establish the connection of Bartlett Milam Sr. to John Milam of Halifax County, South Carolina. While I am sure he began researching the Milam family history earlier, it was beginning in about 1929 when he appears to have instigated a significant writing campaign, which becomes more pronounced in 1931, between himself and several other descendants of Bartlett Milam Sr. These fellow Milam researchers (identified below) were descendants from different children of Bartlett who were able to substantiate their Milam family history mostly through personal knowledge and or interviews with still surviving elderly members of the family who had personal knowledge and heirlooms. This personal knowledge, combined with some supporting documentation and additional research, allowed these Milam researchers to establish a foundational understanding of the Bartlett Milam family.

While today this method of genealogy would be significantly frowned upon, and we could highly question the findings and lack of documentation, we must recognize the fact that he, and they, did have something that we don't have today: access to living family members, within only one or two generations of the children and grandchildren of Bartlett Milam Sr., with first hand knowledge of the Milam family.


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