MARY SCALF MILLS AND COLUMBUS
C, MILLS FAMILY
(Brittan John, Sr. - Lewis - James - John)
Mary Scalf, daughter of Brittan and Talitha Scalf, was born in Russell County, Virginia, in 1834, according to her marriage record in the Pike County, Kentucky, County Court Clerk's office. She was thus approximately 12 years old when her widowed mother moved with the orphaned family to Johns Creek.
Mary grew to adulthood in the home on Johns Creek, having attended the primitive local schools and learned the household chores of weaving,, carding, spinning and sewing under the practical eye of her mother. She met Columbus C. Mills, son of an old Virginia family that had migrated to the area from Virginia. They were married Nov. 13, 1855 "at the home of the Widow Scalf on Johns Creek in the presence of W.B. & J.S. & L.S." according to the marriage record found in Register 4, page 53, File 1323. Considerable confusion has resulted from an old copyist of Pike County marriage records and which were afterward published, who took the name down as Nancy B. Scalf. Only by a careful examination of the marriage record was it possible to disprove what had been published in several genealogical volumes.
Columbus and Mary Mills went to housekeeping on Johns Creek, the exact location undetermined but it was somewhere in the section between the present postoffice of Gulnare and the mouth of Dick's Creek. If they owned land, no record exists of it. Their first child, Henry, was born there, Feb. 22, 1859. The family withstood the vicissitudes of civil war, and its attendant horrors of guerrilla anarchy until the year 1864. The Civil War was slowly ending on the battlefield but peace was not returning to Johns Creek for the renewed fury of guerrilla activity had reduced the valley to hatred, murder, pillage and arson. Guerrillas robbed the family several times. John Scalf, brother of Mary, living in the nearby valley of Buffalo Creek, was left destitute with a family by roving bands.
How to survive became the most pressing of problems and Columbus sought a haven somewhere in Eastern Kentucky which guerrillas were overlooking. He found it on Rockhouse Creek, a long tributary stream of Rockcastle Creek that flows into Tug River. Few settlers had entered the long valley and free land and game abounded. Columbus and Mary, she now pregnant with her second son, Laban, decided to move there. As the crow flies it is no great distance but considering the rugged terrain over which they would have to travel it would be a trek of magnitude. Gathering their household furnishings and farm tools they loaded a farm wagon and moved. Down Johns Creek they wended their way, the family cow, which had escaped the guerrillas tied to the tail gate of the wagon. They came to the mouth of Johns Creek, descended the Big Sandy River. Turning north, they crossed several mountains onto Rockcastle Creek, ascended it a distance of several miles and finally after another mountain over which there was scarcely a road at all, they arrived on Rockhouse Creek. Neighbors were several miles away. Columbus and Mary built a rude cabin for the approaching winter. Site of the new home was near the mouth of a little stream, Trace Fork, a few miles from the present postoffice of Tomahawk, in the present Martin County.
Shortly after they had settled on Rockhouse Creek, their second son, Laban, was born. Henry had been five years old when they had moved to the new location. The family increased until there were eight children - five sons and three daughters. Slowly the years passed, the children married into the nearby families and all built homes on Rockhouse Creek except Montraville, who married Renda Bowen. Near the turn of the century many Eastern Kentucky and Southern West Virginia families had become infected with the western fever. Going to the State of Washington were Bowens and Gobles from the nearby area, Scalfs, Thompsons and Musics from nearby Floyd County. Melvin Scalf, nephew of Mary Scalf Mills, and several other Scalf relatives, pioneered the Cowlitz River in Washington. They wrote back glowing letters about the richness of the soil and the abundant game. Montraville and Renda Bowen Mills could not resist the lure of the new land and soon joined their relatives on the Cowlitz River.
Within a few years Archibald Scalf, brother of Mary Mills, moved with his family to Rockhouse Creek. He stayed several years and moved back to Dick's Creek on Johns Creek. There is evidence that Archibald may have moved twice to Rockhouse, finally in his old age dying on Dick's Creek.
There was always a close relationship of the Scalf and Mills family. Scalfs of Buffalo Creek would ride over the mountains to Rockhouse and stay for days. In turn, many Mills visited Buffalo Creek, especially Henry Mills who had formed a close friendship with his cousin, William Preston Scalf. The latter engaged in logging to a large extent and Henry Mills was an employee several times. The present writer was named by his father for Henry Mills.
We are indebted to the 1880 Martin County Census for information on the Columbus and Mary Scalf Mills family. Columbus is listed as having been born in Kentucky of native Virginia parents. He was 47 years old, a discrepancy of one year when compared with his marriage license that stated he was 23 in 1855, the year of his marriage, According to this, he would have been born in 1832. According to, the 1880 census he would have been born in 1833. Mary, listed as 21 when she married, is listed as 45 in 1680, or born in 1835. Here, again, there is a discrepancy of one year. The discrepancies may be of no significance and due to the time of the year when the enumerator made the roll.
In 1880, Henry was 21, Laban T., 16, Jeremiah, 15, California ("Callie"), 13, Columbus, 9, Montraville, 5. There was a Mary Johnson, age 11, in the household at the time, listed as a servant.
Columbus Mills died in either 1889 or 1890, he was either 39 or 40 years old, a middle-aged man by modern statistics of longevity. His widow, Mary Scalf Mills, survived until 1925, Both are buried on the Mills Cemetery on Rockhouse Creek, near the old home, now long torn down.
Sons and daughters of Columbus and Mary Scalf Mills were:
1. Henry Mills, born Feb. 22, 1859, died Feb. 7, 1931. Married Malissa Ward, born Jan. 1, 1862, died August 15, 1950. Both lie buried on the Boyd Cemetery on Rockhouse Creek. Henry spent his life in logging and farming. He was the father of nine children, hereinafter enumerated.
2. Nancy Mills, married Kenas Williamson, born 1850, son of Stephen and Ellen Blevins Williamson, who lived on the Spence Branch of Rockhouse Creek. Kenas and Nancy Mills, Williamson resided on Rockhouse Creek. They had eight children, hereinafter enumerated.
3. Jane Mills married Benjamin ("Benny") Ward, brother of Rev. Ali Ward, a Baptist minister of the area. They resided on Rockhouse Creek.
4. Laban T. Mills, born 1864, married Cynthia Ward. They lived on Rockhouse Creek. Two sons were John H. Mills and L.T. Mills. The latter son married Mary Belle Thompson, a cousin, daughter of Ireland Thompson and Louanna Scalf Thompson. They were later divorced and he died in West Virginia.
5. California ("Callie") Mills, born 1867, was twice married, first to John Boyd and second to Jack DeLong. California spent most of her life with her second husband on the Trace Fork of Rockhouse Creek.
6. Jeremiah Mills, born 1865, married Mary Boyd. They resided on Rockhouse, Tomahawk postoffice.
7. C.C. ("Lum") Mills, married Martha VanHoose, lived at Tomahawk.
8. Montraville Mills, born 1875, married Renda
Bowen, moved to the state of Washington. No further information.
Issue of the marriage of Henry Mills and Malissa Ward Mills were:
1. Millard Mills, born April 17, 1882, died Jan. 4, 1957, married Nannie Spears. They resided on Rockhouse Creek and had three children.
2. Sarah Mills, born July 26, 1883, died May 23, 1885.
3. Epperson Mills, born August 3, 1886, died Feb. 13, 1962. He married Lilly Mills, a cousin. They lived at Tomahawk, Ky. They were parents of five children.
4. Vina Mills, born April 3, 1889, died April 70 1890.
5. Albert Mills, born Nov. 27, 1890, died Sept. 30, 1954. Married Elmel Preston. They had three children, lived and died at Akron, 0.
6. Bascom Mills, born Sept, 7, 1892, still living in 1968, married Maudie Salmons, born Feb. 8, 1894, died March 11, 1960. They lived all their lives on Rockhouse Creek. Had nine children.
7. Nancy Mills, born July 11, 1894, died March 6, 1943. Married L.W. Spencer, lived at Charlie, Lawrence County, Kentucky. No children.
8. Henry Mills, Jr., born April 6, 1896, died June 26, 1942. Married Exer Ward. They lived on Rockhouse Creek, had four children.
9. Zilpha Mills, born Nov. 30, 1897, still
living in 1968, married Richard A. Penix. They lived on Rockhouse, had two
Issue of the marriage of Bascom Mills and Maudie Salmons Mills:
1. Ersel Mills, born Jan. 7, 1916, married Marie Boyd, live on Rockhouse Creek, Tomahawk, Kentucky.
2. Rebecca Mills, born July 12, 1918, married Edsel Ward. He was killed in a coal mine. She resides at Shelby, 0. but had lived for a time on Rockhouse,.
3. Artie Mills, born Jan. 25, 1921, married Elmer Conley. They live at Willard, Ohio.
4. Irene Mills, born Oct. 20, 92, married Howard Boyd. They now live at Willard, Ohio.
5. Arbie Mills, born Jan. 31, 1921, married Ruby Small, Live on Rockhouse Creek.
6. Lewis Mills, born March 3, 1927, married Vivian Hinkle. They live on Rockhouse Creek.
7. Hazel Mills, born April 4, 1929, married Alex Adams.
8. Nelsie Mills, born Feb. 29, 1932, married Bernard Mollett. They live at Shelby, Ohio.
9. Floann Mills, born Nov. 15, 1938, married John Wilson, They live at Shelby, Ohio.
Maudie Salmons Mills, wife of Bascom Mills,
lies buried on the Boyd Cemetery on Rockhouse Creek near the home in which she
Issue of the marriage of Nancy, Mills and Kenas Williamson
1. Sanford Williamson, married Sallie Price.
2. Stephen Williamson, Jr., married Mary Belle Spears.
3. Stella Williamson, married James A. Maynard.
4. Crit Williamson, married Clementine Blevins.
5. Calla Williamson, died single.
6. Cora Williamson, married Chris McCoy.
7. Malissa Williamson, married a King.
8. Josie Williamson, married Millard Sesco.