Looking for Ancestry of Jane W. Mills, wife of James Perkins, born 15 Mar 1815 in Ohio.

+9 votes

I've hit a wall in my research, and need help.

Jane (Mills) Perkins was born 15 Mar 1815 in Ohio, according to her death record in Pana, Christian County, Illinois (9 Jul 1886; see below). According to the 1880 census in same location, her father was born in New Hampshire and her mother in Massachusetts. (She was living with daughter, Sarah Jane, and son-in-law Clinton Howard.)

According to the book Marriage Records of Scioto County, Ohio, 1803-1860, by Shoemaker & Rudity (1987), she and James Perkins filled out a marriage application in Scioto County, Ohio, on 6 July 1831. There was no return with the application (apparently the application only was found in an upper file drawer; it is not in the appropriate book as having been solemnized). She would have been 16 years old, but she wasn't pregnant, as her first child, son James Jr., wasn't born until 22 Aug 1832.

Husband James, parents and family had arrived in Ohio from NH, probably after 1820 (not on census). They were mentioned in the book History of Madison County, Ohio, vol.2, p. 774, available on archive.org. After his father (Elisha) died in 1823, he was listed as head of household in Canaan, Madison County in 1830. So it's puzzling that somehow he applied for a marriage license in Scioto County, four counties away. I wonder if he already knew Jane...

James and Jane were on the Darby, Madison Co. census in 1850 with their three kids (whom I have traced completely): James M[ills?], Hiram Mills, and Sarah J[ane]. James Jr. died in 1851.

James Sr. and Jane were on the 1860 census, again in Darby Twp, Madison Co. Then, her husband James died in April 1867. So, on the 1870 census she was living with son-in-law and daughter Clinton and Sarah Jane (Perkins) Howard in Goshen Twp., Champaign Co., Ohio. By the 1880 census, they had sold their Ohio farm and moved to Pana, Illinois, where she died on 9 July 1886. (Headstone says 7 July, but that could be a stone reader's error.)

On her will and death record the middle initial W was used. It seems pretty solid that her maiden name was Mills. Her daughter's death certificate in Pana, Illinois says mother's maiden name was Mills, and also her son Hiram definitely had the middle name Mills. (The other son had middle initial M. on 1850 census, so could have been Mills also.) Could the W have been her own mother's maiden name? Even daughters in those days were given surnames as middle names. Plus, I can't think of any regular women's first names starting with W that were in popular use in 1815 (e.g. Wanda, Wendy).

According to the 1880 census mentioned above, Jane's father was born in New Hampshire and her mother in Massachusetts, but Jane was born in Ohio. I'm wondering if her parents married in Ohio? James's parents were also from NH, so could the two fathers have known each other back East?

One very interesting thing concerns the ancestry of Clinton Howard, Jane's son-in-law. His father was Amos J. Howard, Jr., and he was born in New Hampshire to Amos J. Howard, Sr. and Miriam Getchell Mills (who had come west to Ohio). Miriam's parents were Reuben Mills and Mary Howard of Rockingham Co., NH. And Miriam had a sister named Jane Mills, born 1765 in NH, who married a man named Nathaniel Whitmore, born in Mass. Both died in Scioto Co., Ohio, so this means that there were Mills family in Scioto Co. Additionally, one of the daughters, Sarah K[Knapp after grandmother?] (Whitmore) Smith, died in Pana, Christian Co., Illinois, the same place that Jane W. (Mills) Perkins had moved with her daughter and son-in-law!!

There has to be some association there between/among these families (Perkins/Mills/Howard/Whitmore), who maybe all came to Ohio together? Or is the New Hampshire/Scioto Co., Ohio/Pana, Ill just a remarkable coincidence? What I was hoping to find, but didn't, was the opposite: a Whitmore woman who had married a Mills man, and who could have been Jane's parents. Does anybody know anything about the Scioto County, Ohio Mills and/or Whitmore families? (If you need more information about any of this, please ask.)

Thanks for your help.

in Genealogy Help by

There was a George Mills who of Jefferson County, Ohio. 


George Mills

mentioned in the record of George Mills and Lydia Dorsey

Name George Mills
Spouse's Name Lydia Dorsey
Event Date 20 Jan 1807
Event Place Jefferson, Ohio


"Ohio Marriages, 1800-1958," database, FamilySearch(https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:XDWD-LZ2 : accessed 11 June 2016), George Mills and Lydia Dorsey, 20 Jan 1807; citing Jefferson, Ohio, reference p 94 cn 276; FHL microfilm 900,072.

There are quite a few cemeteries in Christian County, IL. Have they been checked for Jane Mills or Jane Mills Perkins?




My Christian County contact sent the following through email (along with the death certs and obits, which are not online----I had to pay the research fee to get them.

"A physical reading of Mound Cemetery (rural Pana), 12-15 years ago, found the following on one stone:

HOWARD, Percy 1862-1923

                  Clinton  1835-1911

                  Sarah J., his wife 1837-1918

PERKINS, Jane W. March 15, 1815-July 7, 1886

                  J. husband of J.W. PERKINS July 24, 1806 - April 19, 1867

                  J.M Aug 22, 1832-June 19, 1851   SON"

This was where I learned what had become of Jane's oldest son, James M. (I had earlier thought perhaps he had died in the Civil War). Jane's husband (and probably son, too) are buried in Smith Cemetery, Madison Co., Ohio, so the inscription here works as a "memory stone" for them.

I'm not sure about the Jefferson, Ohio, which is in Ashtabula County. There were a number of Mills way up north and east in Ohio (i.e. Belmont Co., etc.). I examined the possibilities in that area, but I have never found any evidence that Jane or James had any association with northern/northeastern Ohio.

In addition. there was a statement in son Hiram's information (obit or newspaper article, I seem to recall) that said he was born in Marietta, Ohio. This turned out to have been false (he was born in Plain City, Madison Co.). There was mention of a "southern Ohio farm" for his family, but I think this was an assumption for the location of the farm based on the false notion that he was born in Marietta.

Jane's grandson's (Percy Howard's) death certificate said that he was born in "Mackinsburg, Ohio," and at first I thought they might have meant Macksburg, which is about 10-20 miles north of Marietta. But I later found that Percy had been born in Mechanicsburg, Madison County, Ohio, so this was surely just a "game of telephone" type of error through a third party not familiar with the area who "thought" they remembered that it "sounded kinda like..."

There was a Sarah (Boardman) Mills (later True), who had married a William Mills, and whom I initially thought might be a possibility, but William Mills had died, and Sarah had remarried 11 Dec 1806 to a Dr. Jabez True. This was eight+ years before Jane was born, making this impossible (her maiden name would have been True, not Mills).

So, back to drawing board. :(

2 Answers

+3 votes

Jane Mills

mentioned in the record of Sarah Howard

Name Jane Mills
Birthplace Ohio
Gender Female
Husband James Pirkins
Daughter Sarah Howard
Name Sarah Howard
Event Date 30 Sep 1918
Event Place Pana, Christian, Illinois
Gender Female
Age 82
Birth Year (Estimated) 1836
Birth Date 27 Mar 1836
Birthplace Ohio
Father's Name James Pirkins
Father's Birthplace New Hampshire
Mother's Name Jane Mills
Mother's Birthplace Ohio
Occupation At Home
Burial Date 02 Oct 1918
Cemetery Mound Semetary


"Illinois Deaths and Stillbirths, 1916-1947," database, FamilySearch(https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:NQY3-9JS : accessed 11 June 2016), Jane Mills in entry for Sarah Howard, 30 Sep 1918; Public Board of Health, Archives, Springfield; FHL microfilm 1,543,825.

by Frank Gill G2G Astronaut (2.6m points)
This was Sarah Jane (Perkins) Howard, son of James and Jane (Mills) Perkins, wife of Clinton Howard. I mentioned in my initial post that Jane had been living with Clinton and Sarah Jane Howard as of the 1870 and 1880 censuses (after her husband died).

I think I found this same record through FamilySearch, and it was where I initially found Jane's maiden name (although I had already suspected it was Mills, based on sons' middle names).

I have all of the information for Sarah Jane, and Jane's other son, Hiram, and even ancestry of their spouses. What I don't have is Jane (Mills) Perkins's ancestors. She's just a complete blank slate right now.

I still think there was some kind of connection between the Mills/Howards/Perkins/Whitmores (Scioto Co., Ohio and Pana, Christian Co., Illinois in common).

Just noticed that there is a Whitmore Cemetery in Wheelersburg, Scioto County, Ohio, and there are some Mills buried there, though not parents of Jane I don't think, alas.
My Mills line daughtered out with Mary Mills born 1786, Married in 1813 East Windsor, Hartford, CT.

Mary Mills father was Augustus Roswell Mills born 1763 died 1850. He married in 1783 in Windsor, Hartford, CT.
I don't think there was any connection to Connecticut, but I guess you never rule anything out until you check it out.

Think I'll try contacting Scioto County Genealogical Society next. Often counties have more information in their records than what has been published online. (That's the way it was with Pana, Illinois, anyway.) The downside is that you have to pay for a search.

Thanks for responding, anyway.
+2 votes
According to the book:  Memoir of Prof. Hiram Mills Perkins - (1924).

Hiram Mills Perkins was born in 1833 "near Marietta, OH" . This is in Belmont Co., Ohio. Is this incorrect ?
Alas, the "memoir" about Dr. Hiram Perkins, a three-page bio (not a book) written by Benjamin McElroy, then-professor of religion at Ohio Wesleyan, had numerous errors. I don't think the man knew Hiram very well, or he would have been told (by Hiram himself) that he was born "near Plain City, Ohio," in Madison County. This fact comes from Hiram's own writing on his passport application (sworn to be true under penalty of perjury!). I don't know the origin of the "near Marietta, Ohio" statement. But once it was made by people at the university, it was accepted as an authoritative source and copied a zillion times.

Other incorrect items in the "memoir" were: that the family moved into Madison County when Hiram was a boy (his father had actually arrived there decades earlier), and that "his parents were New Hampshire people" (true for his father only).

I'm sure that McElroy had the best of intentions, but at that time there were no Ancestry, FamilySearch and census records, etc.---those and the passport documents weren't publicly available. Too bad that his very close friend---fellow math professor and Director of the Observatory Clifford C. Crump---didn't write the article. The article might have been more accurate. (Hiram was close to him, as evidenced by the fact that he put him in his will.)

And in response to your question, I believe that Marietta is in Scioto County. Belmont county is in northeastern or eastern Ohio near the border with Pennsylvania I'm pretty sure.

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