The Family of Edward H. Mills of Brooktondale New York

This publication attempts to document all extant information on the family of Edward H. Mills (1819 to 1908), with particular emphasis on Emily Mills (1858 to 1937) and the family’s time in Brooktondale (formerly known as Brookton, and before that, Mott’s Corners), a hamlet located in the town of Caroline, Tompkins County NY.

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Mary Ann Mills

Mary Ann (Pine) Mills, born 08 Feb 1819, Hempstead NY, died 28 Dec 1895, Brookton NY. Matriarch of the Mills family. First wife of Edward Hallock Mills, married 29 Dec 1850, Hempstead NY. Mary Ann was a devoted Presbyterian/Congregationalist.

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Jonas Edward Mills

Jonas Edward Mills, born 18 Feb 1852, Staten Island NY, died 13/14 October 1885, Brookton NY. Oldest child of Edward Hallock and Mary Ann Mills. Jonas worked as clerk in E. H. Mills’ dry goods store in Mott’s Corners/Brookton and he was a member of the High Bridge Lodge # 296 of the Independent Order of Good Templars, a temperance group in Brookton.

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Horace Franklin Mills

Horace Franklin Mills, born 04 Aug 1854, Staten Island NY, died 21 October 1876, Corfu NY. Second child of Edward Hallock and Mary Ann Mills. Horace worked as clerk in E. H. Mills & Co., Corfu.

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James Wheelock Mills

James Wheelock Mills (1856?, Staten Island NY to between 31 July 1857 and 19 Jun 1860, Staten Island NY). (Likely) third child of Edward Hallock and Mary Ann Mills. The only evidence I have found for the existence of James Wheelock Mills is his baptism record in the Reformed Dutch Church of Port Richmond, Staten Island NY.

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Mary Emily Mills

Mary Emily Mills, born Dec 1858 Staten Island NY, died 03 Nov 1937 Brooktondale NY, who commonly went by Emily, and in more formal contexts, M. Emily Mills or M. E. Mills. Youngest child of Edward Hallock and Mary Ann Mills. Proprietor, M. E. Mills general store in Brookton/Brooktondale NY. Active in the temperance movement in the Independent Order of Good Templars and the Women’s Christian Temperance Union, as well as Sunday School teacher and piano player in Brooktondale Congregational Church, now Caroline Valley Community Church.

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Hannah Mills

Hannah (Thatcher) Eastman Mills, born 21 May 1824, Hawkhurst, Kent, England, died 25 Feb 1917, Brookton NY. Second wife of Edward Hallock Mills, married 30 Dec 1896 and step-mother to Emily. Active member of Brookton Congregational Church, Ladies’ Aid Society and Women’s Christian Temperance Union. In this section, the Thatcher and Eastman genealogies are also explored.

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Ellen Gould

Ellen Jane (Andrews) Predmore Gould, born 27 Mar 1848 Bourne, Lincolnshire, England, died 31 Oct 1929 Ithaca NY. Ellen lived in the Mills’ home, possibly for over a decade, to help care for Hannah and to help Emily with the home and store. She was a devoted member of Brookton Baptist Church and active in the temperance movement.

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Edward, Mary Ann, Jonas and Horace are interred at Evergreen Hill Cemetery, 112 Alleghany Rd, Corfu NY 14036.

James is presumably buried on Staten Island, although I have not yet found him. James’ page linked above summarizes my search for his final resting place.

Hannah is interred at Pleasant Grove Cemetery, 184 Pleasant Grove Rd, Ithaca NY 14850.

Emily is interred at Brookton (formerly Quick) Cemetery at the intersection of Landon Road and Lounsbery Road in Brooktondale NY, 14817.

Ellen Gould is interred at Seneca Union Cemetery, 6292 NY-414, Hector NY, 14841.


Genealogical data accumulated through this research can be downloaded here. The file format is based on the Gramps 4.2 documentation (cached version).


Specific Topics

Mills' Store in Brookton NY

After moving to Mott’s Corners in Mar 1879, Edward restarted his general store on his own, now simply called E. H. Mills, where his surviving children Jonas and Emily clerked. Emily took over the store after Edward’s death and operated it under the name M. E. Mills from 1909 until her death in 1937. Soon thereafter, Jessie Brewer took over the store and ran it under her name for a dozen years, primarily as a notions store with a lending library in the back. In 1961, Charles Vorhis purchased the building and moved the post office there from what is presently known as Brookton’s Market. The Mills’ store structure survives today and is located at 484 Brooktondale Road, better known to current residents as “The Old Post Office”.

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The Mills Family in Corfu NY

Before calling Mott’s Corners home, the Mills moved to Corfu NY in the early 1860’s where Edward, along with partners Charles Pine and James Hillyer, started E. H. Mills & Co. “cash store” offering general merchandise and dry goods. Horace clerked in his father’s store, and Mary Ann was a member of First Presbyterian Church of Corfu.

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The Mills Family in Staten Island NY

Edward and Mary Ann began their marriage in Staten Island NY where they lived throughout the 1850’s and where each Mills child was born. Here, Edward presumably learned the grocery business from Mary Ann’s brother, Charles Mills Pine (1812 to 08 Oct 1897), who subsequently co-owned E. H. Mills & Co. in Corfu. Edward presumably worked in Pine’s general store, which was located in West New Brighton, also known as Factoryville, a neighborhood in the Staten Island town of Castleton, and was known as Pine, Hillyer & Co. and then C. M. Pine & Son. The Mills are members of the Reformed Dutch Church of Port Richmond, where Charles M. Pine was a longtime member of the church consistory. This section also explores related Pine family members in Staten Island as well as associates in the Loper, Hillyer, Brown, Egbert and Mersereau families. Finally, the Civil War service of Charles’ son Theodore, and Theodore’s cousins are also explored through surviving letters between his cousins Milton Loper and Juliett (Loper) Shepard.

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Hempstead NY and Pine, Seaman Genealogies

Edward presumably moved to Hempstead with his family in 1837. There, he met his first wife, Mary Ann Pine, as well as her brother, Charles Mills Pine, who became Edward’s mentor in business. The Mills and the Pines attended Christ’s First Presbyterian Church. This section also introduces Captain John Seaman.

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Hallocks in Caroline and the Hallock Genealogy

Edward Hallock Mills (25 Mar 1819 to 01 Jan 1908) was distantly related to William B. Hallock (07 Jul 1822 to 29 Mar 1901), a prominent farmer in Caroline, and later Danby, who is closely associated with Thomas H. Howell, of Howell Brothers general store, also in Danby. Eventually, Hallock and Howell partnered on a dry goods store in Willseyville. Edward and William share the ancestor William Hallock (1610? to 1684), who was the only son of Peter Hallock, “The Original” Hallock in America.

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Temperance Activity

Emily, Hannah, and Ellen were each known to be active in temperance, primarily in the Women’s Christian Temperance Union (W.C.T.U.), although Emily and her brother Jonas, were also members of the High Bridge Lodge #296 of the Independent Order of Good Templars, in Brookton. The temperance movement was a significant cultural phenomenon of the mid 1800’s to the early 1900’s, and was particularly strong among the religious communities of upstate NY. There was significant overlap between members of the temperance movement and those supporting suffrage, and before that, abolition.

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Emily’s Brookton Baptism

07 Apr 1907, fifteen people that included Emily Mills and Jessie Brewer are baptized at Brookton Congregational Church, in a service officiated by Reverend Annis Ford Eastman on one of her last visits to Brookton.

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George Richardson

George H. Richardson (May 1862 to 26 Feb 1938) was employed at E. H. Mills in Brookton during the time that Edward Mills was Brookton Postmaster. George subsequently opened his own grocery business in Personius Hall at present day 559 Brooktondale Road and also supplied groceries to farmers from his delivery wagon two days a week. George moved his family to Ithaca in 1905.

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Mills' Home, Brooktondale

The Mills’ home in Brooktondale is located at present-day 475 Brooktondale Road.

Deeds and Other Past Owners

This section explores the historical deeds and the lives of some of the other former owners of the home beginning in the 1860’s, when the property is first sub-divided from the lower grist mill and called “The Wolcott Lot” for the first owner of record, William Benton Wolcott, through to the 1960’s ownership by Jessie (Shurter) Brewer. It is unclear exactly when the Mills family first moved into the home, although I believe the 1880 census strongly suggests that they lived in the home shortly after their move to Mott’s Corners, if not immediately so.

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The Jones, Lattin, and Talmadge Years

A compilation of information and photographs from the late 1960’s to the mid 2000’s, during the years the home was owned by C. Dalton and Clara B. Jones, then Larry and Janet Lattin, and then by Andrea Talmadge. Each set of owners did much to improve the home and property that is still evident presently.

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The Mill Race Bridge and The Barn

In the 1860’s, when Brooktondale was called Mott’s Corners, and Brooktondale Road was called Creek Road, the lower grist mill that was known for a time as Personius Flouring Mills sat where Dalebrook Apartments sit presently, almost directly across the street from Mills’ Store, a building better known to many today as “The Old Post Office”. What would later become known as “The Mills’ Place” was sub-divided from the grist mill property, and it was originally referred to as “The Wolcott Lot” for William Benton Wolcott, the first owner of record. The Mill Race Bridge is one of the primary landmarks used to establish the Place of Beginning for the Mills’ Home parcel from the time of its original sub-division from the grist mill to the end of Emily Mills’ life. This section attempts to accurately locate the Mill Race Bridge and describe its shape and size.

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Other Features of the Property

This section explores past and present features of the Mills’ Home property, including the Civil War Belt and the Old Oak, as well as an exploration of the stone foundation and its possible builders.

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Mills Family Resources

The Mills of Buffalo

This section introduces the family of William Mills, a first cousin of Edward Mills’ father Jonas Davis Mills, who lived in western NY during a time that overlaps with the time Edward Mills’ family was living in Corfu NY, likely less than 20 miles away.

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Reverend Samuel Wickham Mills’ Genealogical Research

This section presents some of the extensive research into the Mills genealogical record done by Reverend Samuel Wickham Mills (05 Apr 1820 to 22 Nov 1902) of Orange County NY. Biographical information on Reverend Mills is also presented, along with details of Horatio W. Mills’ death in the Seawanhaka disaster. Both of these Mills are descended from Timothy Mills of Mills Pond, and they are in the same generation as Edward H. Mill’s father Jonas.

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The Battle of Long Island

In the Battle of Long Island, the first major battle of the American Revolution after the United States declared independence from England, the British overwhelmingly defeated the Continental Army. Both Jedediah Mills (father of Mary Platt Mills) and William Mills (father of William Mills of Erie County) fought in the battle alongside other Mills family members in Captain Nathaniel Platt’s Smithtown Regiment of Minute Men of Suffolk County, under the command of General Nathaniel Woodhull.

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Robert Mills

The following is the research I accumulated on Robert Mills prior to determining that he was likely out-of-scope for this work. As far as I can tell, Robert Mills (17 Nov 1824 to 11 Dec 1890) is not a descendant of Timothy Mills of Mills Pond, although he may be a descendant of John Mills “who was made freeman of Boston in 1632”. (Genealogies of Long Island Families, p105.)

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Brookton Resources

High Bridge Lodge No. 296 of The Independent Order of Good Templars, Brookton NY

An overview of the temperance group High Bridge Lodge No. 296 of the Independent Order of Good Templars in Brookton NY, including transcriptions of a photographic inventory of entries from a meeting minutes notebook archived at the Tompkins County History Center, Ithaca, NY. As time allows, I will transcribe the entries, proofread, index and identify the members, and provide more complete citations for the literary works mentioned. I will also provide contextual information on the organizational structure and history of High Bridge Lodge and the overall Order, to provide context for better understanding the newspaper accounts and meeting minutes.

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The Lower Grist Mill/Dalebrook

Present-day Dalebrook Apartments sits on the foundation of the former Vorhis Milling Co., known as the “lower grist mill” or simply the “lower mill”. Owners of the grist mill prior to the Vorhis family included Charles W. Personius and Willis Shurter. Known prior names of the lower grist mill include Personius Flouring Mills, F.C. & E.F. Vorhis or Vorhis Brothers, Bates, Vorhis & Company, The Vorhis Milling Co.

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The Trestle

Completed in Dec 1875, a wooden railroad trestle crossed the valley in Mott’s Corners, and at 1600 feet long and 85 feet high and made of foot-square timbers, the massive structure was known outside of Tompkins County. Eventually, the wooden structure became equally infamous for its deteriorating condition, and in 1894, it was replaced by the “Great Iron Bridge at Brookton”, without any interruption in rail traffic. The metal bridge was dismantled in 1935.

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The Upper Grist Mill

The deed history for the “Upper Grist Mill” can be followed back from the current address of 7 Mill Street, Tax Map ID: 10.-6-8. The land that the mill sat on was appropriated from that parcel by the State of New York in 1963, with the “practice burn” of the mill taking place in 1964. The historical deeds refer to the Upper Grist Mill as the “Motts Mill Property”.

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Brookton's Market 2011 Calendar

Compiled by Deborah Halpern and Kathy Keaney. Layout and design by Avi Smith. Contains many historical photographs and facts focused on Brookton’s Market, formerly Frank F. Mulks general store.

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Relevant Deed Data

This section summarizes deeds collected during this research. Note that for the properties presented, the deed history should be assumed incomplete. I have followed the deed histories only as far as I am able at any given time, and because I am most interested in data of clear historical value, I have chosen in some instances to not include such things as appropriations, boundary line agreements, etc., unless they are themselves directly relevant to what is being investigated.

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The Congregational Church

Originally incorporated as The Congregational Church of Mott’s Corners, subsequently called Brookton Congregational Church, Brooktondale Congregational Church, Caroline Valley Federated Church and Caroline Valley Community Church. This was the church the Mills family attended in Brooktondale.

Founding the Congregational Church

The founding of the Congregational Church of Mott’s Corners is recorded in the volume Congregational Church 1868-1933 Minutes of Meetings and Membership. Images and transcriptions published with permission from Caroline Valley Community Church. Also, initial identification and exploration of the founders.

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The Family of Reverend James Richards Robinson

Reverend James Richards Robinson (10 Jun 1846 to 10 Apr 1914) married Mary Lydia (Forbes) Robinson (20 Sep 1846 to 22 Dec 1932) on 01 Aug 1871 in Oswego NY. He was a former Principal of Southhold Academy, Long Island NY, and a former pastor of Brookton Congregational Church, having graduated from Auburn Theological Seminary in 1885. Reverend Robinson died at his home in Brookton at present day 27 Middaugh Road. Reverend Robinson was a direct descendant of Reverend John Robinson, Pastor of the Pilgrim Fathers.

Acknowledgements

This research was made possible by the generosity of many people who have patiently offered their time, their knowledge, and access to their materials.

Descendants of historical subjects: Carol Coggshall, great-great granddaughter of Ellen Jane (Andrews) Predmore Gould. Jacqueline Igliozzi, great-great-great granddaughter of Samuel Mills Pine. Martha Deed, great-granddaughter of Juliett (Loper) Shepard. Charles D. Warren, great-great grandson of James Dunlap Warren. John B. Mills, great-great-great grandson of William Mills, the brother of Reverend Samuel Wickham Mills. Joan Taber, Fred Estabrook, and Ed Croop, great-great grandchildren of David Thatcher. Jodi Leaf, great-great-great granddaughter of Charles C. Eastman. Emily Brust Crane, great-granddaughter of Reverend Richard James Robinson. Matt Long, former owner of Charles Pine’s general store on Richmond Terrace in Staten Island.

Former owners of 475 Brooktondale Road: Clara and Luke Jones, Larry and Janet Lattin, and Andrea Talmadge and John Callaghan.

Historians and archivists: Barbara Kone, Caroline Town Historian. Diane Moore, Family History Center, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Allan Starkweather, Corfu Village Historian. Al Chafee, Newfield Historical Society. Alanna Congdon, Tompkins County Clerk’s Office. Diana Reding, Corfu Free Library. Bea Szekely, Cayuga Heights Village Historian. Southworth Library. Carli DeFillo, Historic Richmond Town. Andrea Squeri, Long Island Museum of American Art, History, & Carriages. Nancy Conod, Minisink Valley Historical Society. Cynthia Van Ness and Adam Rubin, Buffalo History Museum. Erik Huber and Grace de Sagun, Queens Public Library. Marcia Kirk, NYC Department of Records and Information Services. Jen Shulman, Historical Programs and Collections at American Red Cross. Richard Wines, Hallockville Farm Museum. Kelly Filippone, Caren Zatyk and Marissa Cuebas, Long Island Room, Smithtown Library. Bernard Vascotto, General Motors Heritage Center. David Kerns, Pottstown Historical Society, PA. Robert Hancock, The American Civil War Museum. Kerri A. Pfister, The Frick Collection. Mary Hodges, Spencer Historical Society. Leslie Smith, Woodhull NY Community Historian. Jay Franklin, Tompkins County Director of Assessment.

Churches and cemeteries: Elaine Sapp, Mike Scaglione, Pastor Kayti Dean, and the council of Caroline Valley Community Church. Emily Adams and Bill Besemer of Brookton (formerly Quick) Cemetery. Kathleen Langdon, Reformed Dutch Church at Port Richmond. Friends of Abandoned Cemeteries of Staten Island. Rob Bernhardt, Pleasant Grove Cemetery, Cayuga Heights. Margaret Wegener, Calvary Presbyterian Church, West New Brighton. Ken Rumble, Corfu United Presbyterian Church. Linda Tucker and Betsy Abramson, Evergreen Hill Cemetery, Corfu. Richard Simpson, New Dorp Moravian Church.

Caroline community members and collectors: Frank Proto, Lois Lounsbery, J. Burbank, Bea Raponi, Ted Sobel, Ralph Conant, Debra Rogers, Edward Dibble, Ruth Ellis, Annie Doubleday, Edie Spaulding.

Technical consultants: Lee Dresser L.S., T.G. Miller, P.C. Ian M. Sheive L.S., Sheive Land Surveying. Kelly Beaver, Goulds Pumps. Mike Bishop, Ground Penetrating Radar Systems, Terry Jones, Rivendell Masonry and Construction.

Those throughout the years who specifically preserved precious memories of Emily: Gertrude Conant, E. D. Shurter, Jessie Brewer, and Molly Adams.