Carol Milam-Ogden's Family History for William Freer Milam Sr
FIRST GENERATION - Thomas Milam (circa 1716 - 1775)
I have spent nine years reading thousand of pages of court records from 1730 through 1793 searching for evidence of Thomas Milam and his sons in Orange, Culpeper and Bedford Counties of the Dominion and Colony of Virginia. My research resulted in this family history website. You may read my detailed history of Thomas Milam here (link) .
Thomas Milam was born no later than 1716 and he died in early 1775 in Bedford County, Virginia. Thomas married Mary Rush (link) , daughter of William Rush IV, about 1740. For a detailed history of four generations of Mary Rush's family in Westmoreland County please click here (link) .
Early records find Thomas living on the north side of Doubletop Mountain near a Gap that takes its name from him: Milam Gap. His land was in Orange County until 1749 when it became a part of Culpeper County. Thomas sold this land in Culpeper County in 1760 and removed to Bedford County, Virginia where he died and left his Will in 1775. Thomas and Mary had 7 children.
Mary Rush was born in Westmoreland County, Virginia, about 1721. She was the daughter of William Rush IV and Mary Hudson. Mary lived to be around 57 years of age and died in Bedford County in 1778.
For full details of Thomas Milam's life please see my complete history here (link) .
Thomas MILAM and Mary RUSH had the following children:
1. William MILAM was born by 1738 in Orange County, Virginia.
2. John MILAM was born about 1742 in Orange County, Virginia.
3. Benjamin MILAM was born about 1746 in Orange County, Virginia.
4. Moses MILAM was born about 1752 in Culpepper County, Virginia.
5. Zachariah MILAM was born about 1755 in Culpepper County, Virginia.
6. Solomon MILAM was born about 1757 in Culpepper County, Virginia.
7. Rush MILAM was born October, 1759 in Culpepper County, Virginia.
SECOND GENERATION - Rush Milam (OCT 1759 - circa 1785)
Rush Milam was born in October 1759 in Culpepper County, Virginia. In March 1775 after Thomas Milam died Rush, at the age of 16, and his brother Solomon inherited his father's farm along Hurricane Creek. There are no court records for Solomon to learn his age or how long he lived.
What we do know from Bedford County records is that Rush and his brother, William, were close as evidenced by several Bedford County court records. For example, on 23 AUG 1781 it was Rush Milam who witnessed the deed when William Milam purchased 150 acres "on Reedy Creek, a Branch of the James River" from John Crews. And, in 1785 William became Security and posted bond for Rush when Rush was sued by the Trustees of the Town of Liberty for not paying his mortgage on two town lots. See the details of these Bedford County cases in my "Chronology of Rush Milam's Life in Court Records" here (link). Thus it's reasonable to assume that William and possibly other brothers helped the young Rush and Solomon manage the farm.
Rush was a militiaman in the Revolutionary War. During 1780 and 1781 he served three tours in the Bedford County Militia under Capt. Alexander Cummins, Col. Meriweather's Regiment, General Lawson's Brigade. For more details of Rush Milam's life in Bedford County and his three tours of militia duty, please click this link (link) for my History.
In the 1782 Rush is on the Bedford County Property Tax List on page 18 with l tithe, 1 white over 21, 12 blacks, 3 horses and 6 cattle.
On 24 FEB 1783, Rush Milam qualified as a Bedford County Constable (link)  and a few months later on 16 JUL 1783 Rush married Ann Elizabeth FOWLER (daughter of William B. FOWLER and Amanda Ann HOFFMAN) in Bedford. She was born about 1765.
In the same year he is on the Property Tax List with 1 free male over 21, 2 horses, 6 cattle, and 1 white tithe above 16. On the Property Tax List in 1784 in Bedford County Rush Milam is found on page 25 with 1 tithe, 1 white over 21, 4 horses and 8 nell. cattle.
On May 24, 1785, Rush Milam purchased from the Trustees of the Town of Liberty, two 1/2 acre lots - numbers 2 and 3 - in the Town of Liberty for 57 pounds. This purchase resulted in four years of litigation when Rush couldn't pay the mortgage. The case was eventually appealed to the Chancery Court on 27 MAR 1788. You may read this series of cases here (link) .
Rush is listed on the Property Tax List in 1787 in Bedford with 4 horses and 8 cattle. The Property Tax List in 1788 in Bedford County, dated April 28, finds Rush Milam with 1 white tithe and 4 horses.
He is listed on the Property Tax List in 1789, dated April 4, with 1 white male tithe above 21 years of age and 1 horse. On the Property Tax List of 1790 in Bedford, dated March 19, Rush Milam's household has 1 white male tithe above 21. The same is true for his Property Tax listings in 1791 and 1792.
On 26 Jul 1803, after removing to Botetourt County, Rush Milam and Elizabeth, his wife, sold their two 1/2 acre lots in the Town of Liberty to William Mitchell for $500.
We know that they were in Botetourt County then because on 14 MAY 1804: "The Bedford Court orders William Quarles and James Otey, Gents., Justices of the County of Bedford to examine Elizabeth Milam in Botetourt County to see if she will relinguish her right of dower"..... on the sale of the two lots. 
In 1810 Rush Milam appeared on page 641 of the Virginia census in Botetourt County. In his household are 3 males under 10 years of age, 1 male between 10 and 16, 2 males between 16 and 26, 1 male over 45, 1 female between 16 and 26 and 1 female between 26 and 45.
On the 1820 Virginia census Rush Milam was in Kanawha County, also in Virginia at the time. This census lists Rush Milam on page 3. In his household are 1 male under 10, 1 male between 10 and 16, 2 males between 16 and 26, 1 male over 45, 1 female under 10, 1 female between 26 and 45 and 1 female over 45.
In 1835 Rush applied for a Revolutionary War Veteran's Pension as a resident of Kanawha County. In this application for pension, Rush stated that at the age of 2, in 1761, his family moved to Bedford County, Virginia, from Culpeper County, Virginia. Ultimately, Rush was denied this pension because the total of the time he served was less than the six month minimum required.
In 1840 Rush Milam was still listed on the Virginia census in Kanawha County with 1 male between 70 and 80 years old, 1 female also between 70 and 80 years old and 1 female between 15 and 20 years old. However Rush was not on the 1850 Virginia census.
In 1844 Rush Milam owned at least 200 acres of land since Deed records show he sold 75 acres to George Wilson and 125 acres to his son, Simeon. Then in 1845 he acquired 260 acres from his son, John Milam.
Rush Milam lived to be 85+ years old dying sometime between 1845 and 1850 in Kanawha County where he had lived since about 1812 according to his Pension Declaration.
For more details of Rush Milam's life and tours of militia service during the Revolutionary War, please see my complete history here (link).
Rush MILAM and Ann Elizabeth FOWLER had the following children:
1. Simeon MILAM was born between 1784 and 1790 in Bedford County, Virginia.
2. James MILAM was born between 1784 and 1794 in Bedford County, Virginia.
3. Moses B. MILAM was born in 1792 in Bedford County, Virginia.
4. Unknown MILAM was born between 1784 and 1794 in Bedford County, Virginia.
5. John MILAM was born between 1794 and 1800 in Virginia.
6. Lindsey MILAM was born about 1801 in Botetourt County, Virginia.
7. Son MILAM was believeid to be born between 1800 and 1810 in Botetourt County, Virginia.
8. Benjamin Rush MILAM was born on August 9, 1804 in Botetourt County, Virginia.
THIRD GENERATION - Benjamin Rush Milam (9 AUG 1804 - 24 SEP 1865)
Benjamin Rush Milam was born on 9 AUG 1804 in Botetourt County, Virginia. At the age of 25, Benjamin Rush married Sarah Ann SISSON (daughter of James SISSON and Mary "Polly" CARTMILL) on 5 AUG 1830 in Sissonville, Kanawha County, Virginia when she was 21 years old. According to Kanawha County deed records, Benjamin Rush eventually acquired more than eight hundred acres of land during his life.
The 1840 Virginia census lists Benjamin Rush in Kanawha County on page 44 line 19, next door to his father Rush Milam. In Benjamin's household were 1 male between 5 and 10 years of age, 1 male between 30 and 40, 3 females under 5 and 1 female between 30 and 40. It is said that by 1840 he had a large log house.
The 1850 Virginia census dated October 9th lists Benjamin R. Milam in District 29, on page 85, line 10. He is age 44, born in Virginia and owning a farm worth $1070. Living in his household was his wife Sarah age 41 also born in Virginia. A Norris B. Milam age 20, a laborer, was residing in the household. The children were Laura age 17; Mary E. age 10; Leftwich age 9; Nancy G. age 4; and Andrew P. age 2. They were all born in Virginia since West Virginia did not become a state until 20 June 1863.
The 1860 Virginia census, dated July 6th, finds Benjamin Rush still in Kanawha County with post ofﬁce in Sissonville, on page 104, sheet 104. He is listed as a farmer with real estate valued at $3000 and personal property valued at $400. Living in the household at that time were Benjamin R. Milam age 55, Sarah A. age 49, Colonel Leftridge age 2o, Louisiana age 9 and Alexander Gibson age 17, a farm laborer.
Sarah Sisson's Family
Sarah Ann SISSON was born in Kanawha County on 27 MAY 1809. She was the daughter of James SISSON and Mary Polly CARTMILL. Sometime before Sarah Ann's birth James Sisson had brought his family to Kanawha County from Botetourt County, Virginia, as Rush Milam had done.
During "Dunmore's War" against Indian tribes the major battle occured in 1774 at the confluence of the Kanawha and Ohio Rivers at Point Pleasant. It's said that a list of Captain Meriwether Lewis's soldiers at Point Pleasant contains many names later found in the Sissonville area. In 1788 a series of protective forts were built along the Kanawha River including Fort Lee at Charleston. It's said that sometime later James Sisson was a Ranger there.
James Sisson purchased 280 acres from Charles Mercer on 15 NOV 1834 on the site where Sissonville is located today. He purchased more land before the town was named in his honor. In addition to farming, the later Sissons became shopkeepers, postmasters and were involved in community affairs. The town of Sissonville was named in James Sisson's honor.
Benjamin Rush Milam's died on 24 SEP 1865 and was buried in the Milam Cemetery near Sissonville. His Will was probated on 25 NOV 1865 (Kanawha County, Will Book 2, page 137). Sarah Ann died in Kanawha County on 29 FEB 1880 at the age of 70 and was also buried in the Milam Cemetery.
Benjamin Rush MILAM and Sarah Ann SISSON had the following children:
Benjamin Rush Milam's Bible, now in the possession of Douglas F. Milam, M.D. of Nashville, lists their children's births as follows:
"Norris B. MILAM born the 3rd of November 1831.
Caroline Hilley MILAM born the 2nd day of January, 1835.
Louisa J. MILAM was the 11th of September,1837.
Mary Elizabeth MILAM born 17th of August, 1838.
Col. Leftridge MILAM born the 26th of August, 1840.
Nancy Gallena MILAM born the 15th of March 1846.
Nephew P MILAM was the 14th of May 1848.
Louisiana MILAM was the 16 of October, 1851."
Benjamin Rush Milam's Bible lists their deaths as follows:
"Caroline H Milam departed this life January 27, 1849.
Nancy G Milam departed this life August 9, 1851.
Nephew P. Milam departed this life August 11, 1851.
Norris B. Milam departed this life August 14, 1851.
Louisa J. Milam departered this life February 18, 1865.
Elizabeth C. Milam departed this life May 3, 1865.
Benjamin R. Milam departed this life September 24, 1865.
Noah Deuley (Dooley?) departed this life July 23, 1866.
Louisiana Milam departed this life March 2, 1878."
NOTE: In August, 1851, Benjamin Rush's family lost 3 children within days of each other. Nancy Gallena, age 5 on August 9; Nephew P., age 3 on August 11; Norris B, age 19 on August 14. We recently learned that in West Virginia "a third wave of the Asiatic Cholera became an epidemic in 1851" 
FOURTH GENERATION - Colonel Leftridge Milam (26 AUG 1840 - 6 APR 1908)
Colonel Leftridge Milam was born on 26 AUG 1840 in a log house at the mouth of Phillips Hollow just West of Sissonville in Kanawha County, in then Virginia. According to Kanawha County deed records, Leftridge eventually acquired more than eleven hundred acres of land near Sissonville during his life.
His middle name appears on census documents and family records in various spellings: Leftwich, Lefrige, Leftridge, C. L. In the record of births in Benjamin Rush Milam's Family Bible, his name is "Col. Leftridge Milam". I will use that name.
Colonel Leftridge first married Catherine Elizabeth VANDYNE in 1863 in Kanawha County. She was born in 1844, the daughter of John S VANDYNE and Jemima ROLLINS. Leftridge and Catherine Milam had one daughter: Mary Alice Milam, who was born on 26 AUG 1863. Unfortunately his wife, Catherine, died just two years later on 3 MAY 1865 at the age of 21.
Their daughter, Mary Alice, lived to be seventeen years old before she died on 24 FEB 1881.
On 26 MAR 1874, at the age of 33, Colonel Leftridge married Martha Ann MAIRS, daughter of Dr. William MAIRS and Martha AULTZ . Martha Ann was born on 21 FEB 1853 in Sissonville. They would have eight children.
According to Colonel Leftridge's grandson, Dr. William James “Bob” Glass Jr, son of Rosa Pearl Milam and Dr. William J. Glass Sr:
"Leftridge's health was affected by a severe case of typhoid fever when he was a child and the sequella affected him his entire life.....He had red hair, blue eyes, and a fair skin. He was very intelligent, high strung, energetic, ambitious and a shrewd business man.
"He accumulated eleven hundred acres of land in the Poca District above Sissonville. He was considered a very successful farmer and stockman. He was very ﬁrm and dictatorial particularly with his family. He was good to them but demanded strict adherence to orders; none ever crossed him. He was good to the men who worked for him and several of them who stayed with him for any length of time were able to buy a farm or place to live when they left. He was a strong Democrat, a Methodist, and devoutly religious. He died probably of heart disease.
"....Martha Ann was about ﬁve feet seven inches tall and had dark hair, blue eyes and a fair complexion. She complained a great deal and was not considered too strong, although she never had any speciﬁc illness. She was quiet and reserved. Her death came suddenly on the morning of December 22, 1923 at the age of seventy.”
Leftridge's great grandson, Dix Milam ( Claude Egbert Jr ), in his ironic style told a family story that when C. L.'s sons were old enough to work the farm, C.L. took them into the barn and said:
"Sons, there is a jug of whiskey behind that door. Feel free to take some whenever you feel the need, but don't ever, ever chew tobacco. It is a filthy, disgusting habit." As a result Dix said: "none of the brothers drank but they all chewed tobacco".
Colonel Leftridge died on 6 APR 1908 in Kanawha County at the age of 67. He was buried in the Milam Cemetery, Poca District, Kanawha County.
Colonel Leftridge Milam wrote his Will on 22 FEB 1908 and the probate was approved by the Kanawha County court on 22 APR 1908. In it Leftridge bequeathed property to his four sons and two daughter. Each son received about 200 acres of land near Sissonville. However, Benjamin B.'s property on Haynes Branch of the Poca River included the family home. His eldest daughter, Minnie Milam, received half of Leftridge's property in Charleston and daughter, Pearl Milam, received the other half. In addition, Minnie Milam who hadn't married received a tract of land "on the right hand side of the Poca River known as the Bill Burditt tract".
Leftridge's personal property was to be sold and divided equally among his children. And he provided that his Widow Martha "shall have her maintenance in equal parts from the above divided lands so long as she is my Widow." And: "....be it further known that all of the above Stipulations relating to my personal property shall be subject to my Widow's dowery." You may read a certified copy of Leftridge's Will here (link) .
Martha Ann Mairs Milam died on 22 DEC 1923 in Sissonville at 70 years of age and was also buried in the Milam Cemetery.
Colonel Leftridge MILAM and Martha Ann MAIRS had the following children:
1. William Virgil MILAM was born on 28 JAN 1875 in Kanawha County. He died on 6 Oct 1881 and was buried in the Milam Cemetery, Poca District, Kanawha County.
2. Minnie Mae MILAM was born on 20 NOV 1876 in Kanawha County. She died on 4 Nov 1969 in Charleston. She left a signed will.
3. Laura Bell MILAM was born on 27 JAN 1879 in Kanawha County. She died on 4 Jun 1880 and was buried in the Milam Cemetery, Kanawha County.
4. Benjamin B. MILAM was born on 9 JUL 1881 in Kanawha County. He died on 1 JAN 1971.
5. Rosa Pearl MILAM was born on 14 SEP 1883 in Kanawha County and died on 16 AUG 1982.
6. Claude Egbert MILAM was born 5 MAY 1886 in Kanawha County and died on 16 OCT 1961 in Weirton, West Virginia.
7. Oscar Vernon MILAM was born 25 MAY 1887 and died 4 FEB 1969.
8. Marvin Carter MILAM was born on 28 OCT 1893 in Kanawha County and died on 12 SEP 1978.
FIFTH GENERATION - Claude Egbert Milam (5 May 1886 - 16 Oct 1961)
Claude Egbert Milam was born on his father's large farm on 5 MAY 1886 near Sissonville, West Virginia. As described above in Colonel Leftridge's Will, Claude property from his father who was discribed as a "successful farmer and stockman and a shrewd business man" and who accumulated more than eleven hundred acres during his life. Claude's inheritance was about two hundred acres which included orchards. Claude youngest son, Dix, said Claude and his younger brother, Cart, managed the nursery together.
Claude acquired the name "Dod" because as a child he tried to say "Claude" but what came out was "Dod". He was therefore "Dod" all his life. Interestingly, Grandfather Dod came up with nicknames for some of his children: his oldest son, Freer became "Jack" and his daughter, Martha, became "Pat" and his youngest son, Claude Jr., became "Dix" which stuck for his whole life.
On 5 AUG 1911, at age 25, Dod married Girtha Jane FISHER, daughter of Rev. Perry Davis FISHER, a Methodist minister, and Anneliza CASTO, when she was 22 years old. Girtha Jane was born on 27 APR 1889 in Jackson County.
On his inherited land Claude built a two story house. Son, Dix, told me it had modern conveniences like the well water was brought to a hand pump by the kitchen sink. Son, Freer, recalled: "It was 2 stories, and I had to go up stairs that were outside the house to my bedroom on the second floor. It was cold to go up those stairs in the winter!"
In 1917, when Dod was 31 years old, he was appointed a Deputy Sheriff of Kanawha County for the Poca District. The Sheriff was Squire B. Jarett. My mother's Miller family recalled Dod Milam coming by on horseback collecting property taxes from the farmers who lived along Frogs Creek.
I recall that Granddad Milam had a passion for politics. When we visited them of an evening, he sat in his favorite chair and most often discussed the latest political news with my father, Freer. At one point Granddad even nicked named me "Senator".
So it was probably no surprise to anyone that in 1926, Dod ran in the Democratic Primary for the Kanawha County Commission.
The election for County Commissioner was close but, unfortunately, in the end Dod Milam narrowly lost.
During this same fateful year, 1926, Claude E. Milam was sued for debt in the Kanawha County court by Sam Berman, the Imperial Fibre Products Co. and Charleston Motor Sales, Inc.  The end result was that Claude E. Milam petitioned the US District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia to be adjudged a "bankrupt" which was declared, just four months after the election, on 7 DEC 1926.
My sister, Carol Milam Ogden, obtained Claude and Girtha Milam's full US District Court bankruptcy file, some 157 .pdf pages. Contributing factors to to their bankruptcy were 1) in June 1921 the newly elected sheriff did not re-appoint Claude a deputy sheriff so he lost $150 per month income and 2) the many loans from banks, family and friends made in 1926 apparently to fund his election campaign.
Significant Dates in Claude E. Milam's Bankruptcy
- 3 AUG 1926 – Kanawha County election for County Commissioners.
- 6 DEC 1926 – US Federal Court adjudged Claude Egbert Milam a bankrupt.
- 14 DEC 1926 - C. E. Milam bankruptcy published in Charleston Daily Mail.
- 17 DEC 1926 – The many creditors began to file their Proof of Claims.
- 3 JAN 1927 – Appraisers filed their appraisement of C. E. Milam’s estate
- 22 MAR 1928 - Their property finally sold at auction for $8000 to Pearl Milam Glass. Girtha and Claude received a "consideration" of $250 from the final bankruptcy settlement.
By 3 JAN 1927 their house was devoid of furniture, etc. and Claude, Girtha and their four children had removed to the state of Ohio, some 190 miles distant from their creditors to start over, leaving behind $16,864 of debt of which $6124 was eventually recovered for their creditors. Claude's sister, Pearl Milam Glass, assumed the payment of the balance of their $2,477.93 mortgage owed to the Virginia Joint Stock Land Bank of Charleston as part of her agreement to purchase his farm in 1928.
You may read the court documents by clicking on the links in bold:
- 6 DEC 1926 – US Federal Bankruptcy Petition and Adjudication (link)
- 22 MAR 1928 - Property Sale Deed to Pearl Milam Glass (link)
Claude and Girtha Milam had moved to Newcomerstown, Ohio, where Girtha's sister, Georgia's, family lived. By 1928 they were living in Steubenville, Ohio, probably because the steel industry in the region was booming. Dod found a job as "operator / engineer" in the Power House of Weirton Steel Company. Although in Weirton, West Virginia, it was only a few miles away by bus. His grandson, John Thomas Singleton Jr, told a family story that Claude bought a small pocket-size book on electricity and taught himself to be an "electrician". Not long afterward his eldest son, Freer - my father -took a job there to help support the family of six. He was just 16 years old. Freer later said that he began by "pushing a broom" in the tin mill.
In late 1943 Dod and Girtha moved across the Ohio River to 33 Center Street, Weirton. During his life, Dod never owned his own home after he lost his farm - nor an automobile. So Claude walked to the bottom of Center Street and took the bus to work each day. Then Dod reversed the process after a long day at work climbing up the hill to home. He was employed at Weirton Steel Company from 1928 to 1957 when he retired at the age of 71 years! He was a member of their 25 Year Club.
According to his youngest son, Dix:
“Claude E. Milam Sr as a young man and Claude E. Milam Sr as an adult were two different people. My father (according to the memories of his brothers) was an entirely different person after his bankruptcy. As a young man and young married man, he was talkative and outward going. But the bankruptcy killed his soul so that none of us who came later knew the old "Dod Milam".
"I wish that I could have known my Father before his bankruptcy. There were a lot of times when he and I would be home alone and we would drink his coffee and talk by the hour. He was always soft spoken and spoke very slowly."
Speaking of coffee, Dod liked his strong and was particular how he made it. He insisted on adding cracked egg shells for calcium and a rusty nail for iron to the coffee grounds! Dod was fascinated by politics, both state and national, and kept up by avidly reading the local paper and listening to the radio. Politics was his favorite topic of conversation when we visited of an evening. He would sit in his comfortable chair next to the upright piano with his spittoon nearby on the floor; and his son, Freer, would sit on the piano bench. Recall that Dod ran for Kanawha County commissioner in 1926. They also spoke of ball games but Dod clearly loved politics.
According to his eldest son, Freer, Dod lived by his personal creed: “live each day so as to not hurt anyone." Freer said he also tried to live by the same creed.
After his retirement, on Sunday evenings Freer and granddaughter, Carol, would visit Girtha and Dod. They would gather in the kitchen where the desserts and snacks would appear. One of Dod's favorite desserts was cantaloupe with vanilla ice cream. And he always salted his cantaloupe and also watermelon. At dinner, he liked to mix all the food on his plate together, saying: "It's all going to the same place so why keep it separate."
"In the late 1950s Dad ( Freer ) and I would go see Grandma and Grandpa. Grandma always had peanut butter, crackers and potato chips for me. Grandpa and Dad ( Freer ) ate cantaloupe with salt and ice cream. Sometimes there was angel food cake and strawberries. I think I loved the chocolate cake."
"I would play hymns on their piano and Grandma would sing while she cleaned the house or cooked. I couldn't play from memory so I brought a church hymnal with me. We did Amazing Grace and How Great Thou Art. She really did enjoy it and so did I."
“One of the things I remember about Grandpa is he just loved to sit in his chair on the porch with his feet up on the banister talking. He seemed to love to talk when people were around. Grandma always had her stories, but I remember Grandpa with his stories also. He would smile and laugh. I don't think he ever got over losing their farm.”
"Grandma would tell me stories about when they first got married and how Grandpa would come in for dinner (lunch) and he would chase her around the table until he caught her. Grandma said they hired 14 men to help with the crops and she would fix dinner (lunch) for all of them. She loved it."
"I remember one of the times when I was there, Grandpa's siblings came to visit and Grandpa went to his bedroom. He wouldn't come down to visit with them. After they left, I asked Grandma why Grandpa wouldn't come down and visit with his family; and Grandma said he was ashamed that he had lost the farm."
"The loss was hard on Grandma also. Losing the farm were very sad days for them and I don't think either of them totally got over it. Unfulfilled dreams."
NOTE: In 2015, and again in 2018, the grandchildren of Claude and Girtha Milam exchanged many emails sharing their memories of them and the family get togethers in their home. You may read their exchange of familiy memories by clicking here (link) .
Four weeks prior to his death, Claude was diagnosed with acute leukemia and hospitalized at Weirton Medical Center in 1961. Chemotherapy was very new and it was not effective in slowing the progression of his disease. Claude died in Weirton, Hancock County, West Virginia on October 16, 1961, at the age of 75.
Girtha Jane Fisher Milam's mother died when she was still quite young and her father, Reverend Perry FISHER, married Cora STAATS. Ms Staats was not a warm person. Plus Girtha's sister, Georgia, was said to be a beautiful child with personality and Girtha was said to be plain. According to her son, Dix, Girtha developed an inferiority complex early in her life.
Girtha was the matriarch of her family. She heldforth in her favorate chair next to the glass book case and the fireplace. For holidays she cooked enormous meals with the assistance of her daughter and daughters-in-laws often “using every pot and pan in the house”. Their grandchildren have fond memories of holidays in their home; see here (link) .
Girtha was an excellent seamstress who made beautiful clothes for many of her grandchildren. Girtha also crocheted and made lace dollies. She made dresses, blouses and skirts for her granddaughters. She loved to make ruffles and trim with lace. She had a tin box in which she kept the extra buttons from the many items she made. This "button box" entertained her grandchildren for hours.
Girtha also used to sing hymns, especially Amazing Grace and How Great Thou Art, while cleaning or cooking. You could tell she was the daughter of a Methodist Episcopal minister.
For reasons which are not clear to anyone living, in late 1942 Girtha, her daughter, Martha, and Girtha's sister, Georgia, moved to Akron, Ohio, for some months where Martha and Georgia worked in a manufacturing plant. Son Lakin and his wife, Clara, also moved to Akron. This left Grandfather Claude alone so he ended up living with Chistine, Freer's wife, and one year old son Billie in a tiny appartment on Euclid Avenue in Steubenville. This movement was most probably triggered by eldest son, Freer, being drafted into the US Army in October 1942 and the family not having sufficient income to afford the large house on Highland Avenue.
In the Fall of 1943 when Chistine and Billie moved to Colorado Springs, CO, to be with Freer, Claude, Girtha, Martha and Aunt Georgia got back together again at 33 Center Street in Weirton, WV. I have detailed the financial dynamics of the family here (link) .
Claude E. Milam was a member of the Humphrey Memorial Methodist Church in Sissonville and served as the superintendent of the Sunday School. While residing in Weirton, he attended the First Methodist Church. Dod died in Weirton, Hancock County, West Virginia on October 16, 1961, at the age of 75.
Girtha was a charter member of the Ladies Aid Society of Humphreys Memorial Church in Sissonville which was formed in 1921. Other charter members were her sisters-in-laws, Bessie Milam and Rosa Pearl Glass. She complained of many illnesses during her lifetime and these limited her activities in later years.
Girtha Jane lived to be 83 years of age and died in Lubbock, Texas, on November 12, 1972. She had moved to Lubbock to live with her daughter, Martha and family, after Claude died in 1961.
Claude and Girtha Milam were both buried at the Fort Steuben Burial Estates across the Ohio River in Wintersville, Ohio, where their eldest son, Freer, and his wife Christine, were also buried.
Claude Egbert MILAM Sr. and Girtha Jane FISHER had the following children:
1. William Freer MILAM born 19 JUN1912. He died 14 AUG1993.
2. Loren MILAM was born in 1913 in Sissonville, West Virginia but died in 1918.
3. James Lakin MILAM was born 10 MAY1920 and died in 1979.
4. Claude Egbert "Dix" MILAM Jr. was born on 24 JUN 1923 and died 28 JAN 1997.
5. Martha Jane MILAM was born 19 OCT 1924 and died 16 FEB 2009.
SIXTH GENERATION - William Freer Milam Sr (19 JUN 1912 - 14 AUG 1993)
William Freer Milam was born on 19 JUN 1912 near Sissonville in Kanawha County, West Virginia. He grew up on his father's 200 acre farm and attended Sissonville School through eight grade when his family moved north to Ohio. Freer, as he was known to his family and friends, began working at the Weirton Steel Company in Weirton, WV, where his father worked in the Power House, in 1928 at age 15 by fibbing about his age. His first job was sweeping the floor with a broom. But by the late 1930s, Freer had worked his way up to the position of Operator of a five story tin rolling mill with a crew of four. During that period Freer and his brother, Lakin, played baseball on a company team named the Cold Rollers. Later in life, Freer told his son, Bill, about having nice cars and a reputation for driving them fast. The local Chrysler dealer offered Freer the opportunity to race a car for him and sent Freer to Florida for a week to a racing school! In the end Freer wisely decided that he was better off at Weirton Steel....but his driving skills would be recognized again in the military because he prided himself on a driving very smoothly.
Throughout the 1930s Freer lived with his parents, three siblings and Aunt Georgia in a house at 522 Highland Avenue in Steubenville, Ohio. He and his father, Claude, and later Uncle Lakin gave their pay checks to his mother, Girtha, who used the moneys to support the entire family. He married Christina Leota MILLER (daughter of Delbert Wayne MILLER and Icie Erdine CUNNINGHAM) on 8 NOV 1940 in Russell, Kentucky. Christina was always called "Tine" by her family but, as an adult, she preferred to be called Christine - as we all knew her. They lived in a tiny one room apartment at 1436 Euclid Avenue, Steubenville, Ohio.
Their first son, William Freer Jr., was born on 2 NOV 1941 in Steubenville. A month later the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor on 7 DEC 1941. Freer was drafted into the United States Army Air Corp in the Spring of 1943. His basic training was at the newly opened Atlantic City Training Center (link) for U.S. Army Air Forces. One week his wife, Christine, was able to take a train to visit him there. Freer told the harrowing story of being caught in a rip tide while swimming in the Atlantic Ocean and of the long train ride West during which a fight broke out. The military train was stopped near Salt Lake City where soldiers were interrogated. When no one confessed, they were forced to stand in cold showers for a long period to persuade them to talk. But no one did. Freer said there was a really rough group of guys among them.
He was stationed at The Colorado Springs Tent Camp established in Colorado Springs, CO, as the headquarters for the Second Air Force in June 1943 and assigned to the Motor Pool. It was later named Ent Air Force Base. In the Fall of 1943 Christine was able to join him with, by then, their two sons, William Jr. and Robert Perry. In early 1944 Freer became the personal chauffer for Major General Uzal Girard Ent (link) who was the Commanding General of the U.S. 2nd Air Force. For photographs of Freer during the war years please click here (link) .
Freer often flew with the General so he could chauffer him, sometimes in the cockpit and even in the co-pilot's seat where he learned the basics of navigation from radio beacon to radio beacon. Freer told a story of driving back from San Antonio, Texas, and reaching the base before General Ent who ﬂew back. Late one evening in his seventies, Freer told his son, Bill, about one memorable trip to San Antonio where there was a Top Secret briefing which Freer was able to attend with General Ent. The Manhattan Project (link) - the secret development of the atomic bomb - was discussed. In September 1944, it was General Ent who recommended Lieutenant Colonel Paul Tibbets to put together a team and train them to drop atomic weapons from B-29 bombers. For more than thirty years Freer had told no one of the secret meeting.
In October 1944, General Ent was seriously injured in the crash of a B-25 Mitchell bomber on takeoff at the Fort Worth Army Airfield, Texas. Paralyzed from the waist down he learned to walk again using braces. After the General's injury Sergeant Milam was assigned to assist the General's wife and family in any way possible so he chauffered the family, ran various errands, grocery shopped for them, etc.
After the war in late 1945, Freer returned to work at Weirton Steet as an Operator in the Tin Mill and they again lived at 1436 Euclid Avenue, Steubenville. Daughter Carol Sue Milam was born on 10 FEB 1946 - so now there were five of them in the one room apartment! But by Christmas 1947 he and his family had moved to their newly built house on an acre of land in Wintersville, Ohio, a small farming village. Freer and Christine always had a large garden which they thoroughly enjoyed from spring to fall. In the early 1950s, Freer partitioned the basement so there was a large, wood paneled family room with a big stone fireplace. And they soon bought a used pool table. It became a center for entertaining family and their children's friends. In the mid 1950s Christine and Freer would treat the family to a week in Florida on Singer Island usually in June. It was quite a thrill for their kids to stay in an oceanside motel for a week and to play in the ocean which Freer also loved to do. This was when he warned us of rip tides and his own experience at Atlantic City.
In 1954 his good friend and work colleage, Markie Freese, invited Freer to join the fraternal organization, Free Masons. After becoming a Master Mason, Dad earned the 32 Degree Scottish Rite of Freemasonry. It is a secret organization and Dad never once spoke of it. His Master Mason ring and cremonial apron were buried with him as is tradition.
Christine and Freer were big sports fans. Before TV, they would listen to the games on the radio in their dining room with a cup of coffee in hand. Freer favored the Cleveland Indians and disliked the nearby Detroit Tigers - mostly because of their whiney radio announcer. But for football, it was the opposite: he favored the Detroit Steelers and not the Cleveland Browns. They also liked going to horse races.
Freer was a proud man who always dressed very neatly and was rather reserved and private. He liked to have nice cars which he kept well cleaned and serviced. One day in 1959, he surprised his children by picking them up from school in a brand new, white Pontiac Bonneville convertible with a white, pink and silver leather interior. It was 1959 when long cars with big tail fins were popular.
Freer played a duffer's game of golf with his buddies and once made a hole-in-one of which he was very proud. He was fond of taking his athletic grandson, Robbie, to play golf with him. Christine and Freer greatly enjoyed having their son, Robert, and his wife, Alberta and their four children living near them and watching them grow up and play sports.
Freer worked 44 years for the Weirton Steel Company. After he was run over by a truck while walking on the sidewalk to his car and incurred major injuries to his right hip and leg, he retired in 1972. The accident occured after he worked a 3 to 11 PM shift and had been dropped off by his car pool ride. The truck driver apparently fell asleep and drove across the center line and onto the opposite sidewalk striking Freer. After being in the hospital for nearly 6 months, he faced another 6 months of recovery. Afterward his right leg was misshapened due the fracture at his knee and he walked with a limp. But typical of Freer, he was stoic and never complained.
Freer was described as 5' 11" tall, with a rather muscular build. Freer had brown eyes and thinning hair.
In the late 1930s, Christine worked as a sales clerk including in the men's department of the Diamond Department Store in Charleston, West Virginia, in 1939. As a homemaker, she was a passionate gardener and "canned" a variety of vegetables and jellies each fall. Christine's children and grandchildren enjoyed her blackberry or crab-apple jelly on her freshly made biscuits in the mornings and her holiday dinners with her wonderful dinner rolls and delicious fruit pies. They all copied the recipes for her rolls and pie crust!
In the mid 1950s, Christine worked as a sales clerk at J. C. Penny in Steubenville during holiday seasons and was happy and proud when she had the most daily sales. Between 1961 and 1972 she became a nurse's aide in surgery at the Ohio Valley Hospital in Steubenville, Ohio, to help her children obtain college degrees. Indeed they each obtained graduate degrees in large part because of Christine's high regard for education. When one of her children came home with a "C", she would remind them that she rode horseback to get a high school education! She was very proud when they made the Honor Roll in high school or college.
In 2020 their son William remembered:
"My mother’s family lived along Frog’s Creek near Sissonville and didn’t receive electricity until the 1950s. They lived in a small Jenny Lynn house with large rocks under each corner, a tin roof, a pot–belly stove in the living room, kerosene lamps, a wood fired kitchen stove, a water well off the back porch and an outhouse some 20 yards away.
This grandfather farmed with horses – never owning power equipment – and only had cash when he sold a calf or hog in order to buy life’s staples: flour, corn meal, sugar, salt, pepper, clothes and seed for next year’s crops. But they cured the most delicious ham and bacon and made sausage flavored with sage. My Mom rode on horseback in fall and spring to attend high school 4 miles away and, in exchange for room and board, cleaned house and did laundry so she could attend high school in the winter in the town of Sissonville."
Freer died at home in Wintersville, Jefferson County, Ohio on 14 AUG 1993, at the age of 81 and was buried at the Fort Steuben Burial Estates near there. After Freer's death Christine continued to live in the family home until a couple small strokes made it impossible. This was when her daughter, Carol Sue Milam Ogden, brought her to Boston to live near her in an assisted living facility with an excellent dementia unit. Carol and her husband Frank Ogden were very attentive: visiting her, taking Christine out to dinner and to her medical appointments. However Christine had further strokes and died in Boston, Suffolk County, Massachusetts, on 15 JAN 2002, at the age of 86. She was also buried at the Fort Steuben Burial Estates next to Freer. They were members of the Wintersville Methodist Church from 1949.
William Freer MILAM and Christina Leota MILLER had the following children:
1. William Freer MILAM Jr, M.D., born on 2 NOV 1941 in Steubenville, OH.
2. Robert Perry MILAM, D.P.M., born 12 JUN 1943 in Steubenville, OH and died 14 Nov 2004.
3. Carol Sue MILAM, M.P.A., born on 10 FEB 1946 in Steubenville, OH.
SIXTH GENERATION - James Lakin Milam (10 MAY 1920 - 2 AUG 1979)
James Lakin Milam was born on 10 MAY 1920 near Sissonville, West Virginia and died on 2 AUG 1979 in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio. He was buried in Oakwood Cemetery, Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio.
Lakin married Clara Juanita STANCIL (daughter of Jess L. STANCIL and Elizabeth S. SEABOLT) on 7 SEP 1940, in Covington, Kentucky. Clara was born on 20 FEB 1917 in Lumpkin County, Georgia. She was a sucessful beautician.
In 2020 daughter Linda Kay remembered:
My Mother, Clara, was from a large farm family in northeast Georgia. I don't think my mother had electricity for a long time when they were young. My grandma in Georgia had a farm. I don't think it was huge but they had a garden and their own chickens, pigs, cows and horses. I know grandma had a well they had to use to get their water and had to heat the water for us young ones to get a bath or I imagine anyone getting a bath. I remember them having a production line for the baths.. LOL.. Big old metal tubs to wash the kids in and one to rinse us off in. I don't remember if they changed the original wash water or we all had to use the same water, ugh!..
Three of the boys didn't want to be farmers and came north to find work. My Mother came with them also. My Mother was living in a boarding house for young women in Steubenville, Ohio. She was working as a beautician and walked to work from the boarding house. My Dad was working at one of the Firestone stores and saw her everyday walking to work and wanted to meet her. One of the guys crossed the street and told my Mother there was a guy who worked for Firestone that wanted to meet her.
Long story short, they met, and starting dating and in three months got married. They drove to Kentucky with my Mother's brother, Terrell and his new wife and got married and went back home. My Dad to Grandma Milam's where he lived and my Mom to the boarding house. Grandma Milam found out and told my Mother to come live with them which she did. Must have been on Highland Avenue in Steubenville. They lived with the family; I don't know how long. Families did that kind of thing back then. Grandma Milam loved my Mother - she was easy to love, got along with everyone.
And their eldest daughter, Donna Lee recalled:
"Growing up we visited especially at Grandma and Grandpa Milam's home where from time to time, the Aunts, Uncles, and cousins would be visiting also and we had fun.
We had a wonderful time once a year when we would go to Georgia to visit my Mother, Clara's, family. They didn't get electric back in the mountains until I was 9 years old (1951). Oh my, the wonderful wood stove that made the most wonderful biscuits, corn bread, butter cakes, and blackberry cobblers, that us kids went out along the road, walking for a mile or more to pick. What fun and boy was it good. Home churned butter, yum.
In rural America that was the way it was, but everyone was in the same boat, so to speak, that was life. I can remember in the summer down there, we went out in our bare feet and some at home in Ohio also. My Mother also said they went to school in their bare feet until cold weather set in.
We did wash up every night before we got our pj's on to go to bed. And, the Saturday night baths for the children! They would take the cleanest ones and start, to keep the water clean. They may have changed the water once when the northern cousins were visiting during the summer. It was fun.
My Grandparent Stancil were good Christian people and they were clean. When we were visiting in the summer for two weeks, the kids would run in and out of the kitchen door mostly and Grandma had linoleum on the floor and the next big room. Those floors got mopped twice a day to keep it clean. I know, as we got older, us kids did the mopping. It was red Georgia clay dirt.
As we got a little older we would feed the chickens and sometimes gather the eggs from the hen house. And watch out for the roosters, too, mean as they could be! They would chase you. Sometimes they would have us slop the hogs, that is feed the pigs Georgia style. Pick apples and gather the black walnuts and try to crack them open. You can forget that, they were very hard to crack, the men usually did that.
Yes, I was nine years old when they got electric back in those mountains. Mother never had electricity growing up. Everything was by hand, and that was hard for young children, but they had to learn young. The Stancils' sons from up north went together and bought my Grandparents a refrigerator, electric butter churner and an electric iron. Before that we would have to put the old irons in front of the fire place to get them hot and then iron the clothes. They had several of those irons to be able to keep the ironing going. A lot of work. But that is all they knew."
Lakin MILAM and Clara Juanita STANCIL had the following children:
1. Donna Lee MILAM, born ono 7 FEB 1942 in Steubenville, OH.
2. Linda Kay MILAM, born on 9 April 1943 in Akron, OH.
3. Paulette MILAM, born on 23 OCT 1945 in Akron, OH.
SIXTH GENERATION - Claude Egbert Milam Jr (24 JUN 1923 - 28 JAN 1997)
"Dix" Milam, as he was nicknamed by his father, was born on 24 JUN 1923 in Charleston, West Virginia. You may read my tribute to Uncle Dix's life with the details of his World War II experience here (link) . After his World War II service, Dix married Helen Margerite HINES on 29 MAR 1947. They lived mostly in Findley, Ohio where Dix worked in the Accounting Department at Cooper Tire Company. Helen, daughter of Phillip Ora HINES and Margaret Anna SAHM, was born on 27 JUN 1924 in Chicago, Illinois.
In 2020 their son Jeff remembered:
"Same for my mother, Helen Hines Milam. Her dad’s blindness forced them to leave Chicago and live in a small farmhouse owned by one of his brothers near Cadiz, Ohio. No running water, no central heat, no electricity. One of my mother's chores was to get water from a nearby spring, breaking through the ice in the winter to fill up a bucket. She said she never wore shoes in the summer. Sometimes, by the end of the summer, she’d lose some of her toenails as a result.
It’s hard to imagine growing up under those conditions. On the other hand, she said they weathered the Great Depression okay because, on the farm, they always had something to eat. Also, I suppose, although she never said, they didn’t have much to lose: no utilities to pay, and probably didn’t pay much or any rent.
It always seemed tough to me, but she never talked about her childhood like she felt resentful or deprived or disadvantaged. I don’t remember Mom ever saying anything negative about her childhood. I got the sense she had a lot of freedom and was a bit of a tomboy. She was one heck of an athlete, I can tell you that, beating all of us at tennis, bowling, golf, you name it. Those early years shaped her, I’m sure. She was strong, practical, frugal, but she hated old things. She never liked antiques, she said, because that’s all she knew growing up.
Maybe it’s because she was a child and it was the only world she knew, or maybe she just didn’t dwell on the unpleasant parts. I don’t know, I’m sure her mother, my Grandmother Hines, had stronge feelings about it, being a city girl, having lived in Chicago all her life until moving to Cadiz area. My mother, Helen, remembered her mother crying when she had to chop the head off a chicken and prepare it for Sunday dinner.
Can you imagine moving from Chicago to a small rural farmhouse with zero amenities and none of your friends or family nearby? Your husband is suddenly blind and no longer able to work and you have a small child to care for? Talk about a culture shock.
I’m not sure how long they were on the farm, but I think they moved there when my mother, Helen, was a small child. Her father died when she was a teenager (14 or 15), and at that point, I think they left the farm and moves into the village of Cadiz."
After retirement, Dix and Helen enjoyed playing golf and toured widely by car. They would often vacation in Gulfport, Mississippi, in the winter where they could play golf and travel that area. While there, Dix's sister, Martha, and her husband J.T. SINGLETON would visit from Texas.
Dix died 28 JAN 1997 in Gulfport and was buried in Findley, Ohio. Helen Hines Milam lived to be 92 years old when she died in Findlay, Ohio.
You may read my summary of Uncle Dix's life story and the details of the battles he was in during World War II here (link) .
Claude “Dix” MILAM and Helen HINES had two children:
1. Jeffrey MILAM, B.S., born on 7 NOV 1948.
2. Melanie Marie MILAM, born in February 1954.
SIXTH GENERATION - Martha Elizabeth Milam (19 OCT 1924 - 16 FEB 2009)
Martha Elizabeth Milam was born on 19 OCT 1924 near Sissonville, West Virginia.
She married John Thomas “Butch” SINGLETON Jr on 15 April 1944 in Lubbock, TX. They first lived on the Marine base in San Diego, California. In 1945 Martha moved back to Weirton, WV, when Uncle Butch was to be deployed to the Pacific Theatre.
On 24 April 1945 their son, John Thomas III, was born across the Ohio River in the Ohio Valley General Hospital, Steubenville, OH.
Martha died on 16 Feb 2009 in Tyler, Texas, and was buried there.
Martha Elizabeth MILAM and John Thomas “JT” SINGLETON had the following children:
1. John Thomas SINGLETON, III, B.S., born on 24 APR 1945 in Steubenville, OH.
2. Sandra Jane SINGLETON, born on 23 JUL 1949 in Crosbyton, Texas. Sandra married Ric Glen STEELE SR on 20 JUL 1968.
Ric was born on 14 NOV 1947 in Lubbock, Texas, to Ellie Elizabeth EVANS and James Jefferson STEELE.