Chronology of John Milam Sr's Life in Brunswick & Chesterfield Counties

The early life of John Milam, Sr. (ca 1713 - 1789) has been confused by 1) mis-information that early on he lived in Louisa County and 2) ignorance of the years he and his sons lived in Chesterfield County of Virginia. Since this John is one of the Patriarchs of the Colonial Virginia MILAMs, it is important that we make every effort to get the chronology of his life correct. Indeed recent Y-DNA genetic studies including Family Tree DNA BIG Y analyses show that his descendants and those of the other Virginia Patriarch, Thomas Milam (ca 1716 - 1775) are extremely closely related - differing by only one mutation (a Single Nucleotide Polymorphism). Indeed all forty men of Virginia descent whom we have tested are members of the same genetic family regardless of their ancestor. You may read about our Surname Project's Y-DNA results here (link) . Thus if we can learn more of the early life of one, perhaps it may lead us to the early life of the other.

Therefore, over the past six months I have read more than 2500 pages of court orders from Brunswick and Chesterfield Counties in a search for MILAMs. Below I record all the records which I have found and comment on their significance. My comments are in italics within { }.

 

BRUNSWICK COUNTY, VIRGINIA

COURT ORDER BOOK 3 (28 SEP 1749 - DEC 1750)

Knowing that there was a Brunswick County record for a John Milam as early as 30 JUL 1752, I decided to start reading much earlier on 28 SEP 1749 so that I wouldn’t miss any MILAM records. This was some eleven years before John Milam’s Chesterfield County Deed of 7 NOV 1760. I read through the end in December 1750. It turned out that there were no orders for any MILAM during these years.

 

COURT ORDER BOOK 4

I began reading on page 1, dated 26 MAR 1751, through the entire book which ends on page 535 in June 1753. I found one record which is the earliest for any MILAM in Brunswick County thus far.

30 JUL 1752, page 311: “The Petition of John Milam against Joseph Hamilton is Dismissed being agreed by the parties.”

 

COURT ORDER BOOK 5

I continued searching for MILAMs with the first page of Order Book 5 dated 24 JUL 1753 through the end of the book on page 541 in December 1756. I found these records:

26 DEC 1753, page 98: "David Anderson plt against John Milam deft: The Defendant not being arrested, on the motion of the Plaintiff by his attorney an Alias Capias is awarded him returnable to the next court."

{Alias Capias was a second writ of a particular type issued in the same case. In this case it was a writ notifying the John Milam, the defendant, to defend Anderson's suit.}

{ Importantly, John Milam Jr stated in his Revolutionary War pension application that he was born on 12 JUN 1753 in Brunswick County, Virginia. He was John's 7th or 8th child. You may read John Jr's pension affidavit here (link)

24 JAN 1754, page 158: “John Overby plt against Edward Milam deft: The Defendant not being arrested, on the motion of the Plaintiff by his attorney, an attachment issue against his Estate for Ten Pounds and Cost returnable to the next court.”

{ This is the first record for an Edward Milam. This court case means that Edward is at least 21 years old and is a free man. So if John Milam’s birth ca 1718 is about right, John was ~ 36 years old - NOT old enough to have a son 21 years of age or older! So perhaps John Milam was born five years earlier than previously reckoned. In addition, £10 is a significant debt - for comparison, John Milam will pay £50 in 1760 for 100 acres of land in Chesterfield County.}

24 JAN 1754, page 159: “David Anderson plt against John Milam deft: The Defendant not being arrested, on the motion of the Plaintiff by his attorney a Pluries Capias is awarded him returnable to the next court.” 

{ Pluries Capias is issued after multiple previous writs were ineffective.}

28 MAY 1754, page 189: “Charles Hayes plt against John Millam deft: Upon a petition for three pounds six shillings due by promissory note. The Defendant having been duly summons and not appearing, it is Considered by the court that the Plaintiff recover against him Debt aforesaid in the said petition mentioned and his Costs.”

{ The spelling of John’s surname, “Millam”, means nothing since different Clerks of Courts – spelling phonetically - spelled names differently. I have discussed the Milam name here (link) .}

30 MAY 1754, page 206: “John Overby plt against Edward Milam deft: In case. Dismissed being agreed.”

30 MAY 1754, page 207: “David Anderson plt against John Milam deft: In debt. The Defendant not being yet arrested, on the motion of the plaintiff by his Attorney, It is ordered that an attachment issue against his Estate for { Eighteen pounds one shilling Current Money } Pounds and Costs returnable next Court.”

25 JUN 1754, page 238: “David Anderson plt against John Milam deft: In debt. The attachment awarded against the Defendant’s Estate being returned on two pewter Spoons by the Sheriff of this County and he not appearing…. It is considered by the Court that the Plaintiff recover against him Eighteen pounds one shilling Current Money, the Debt in the Declaration mentioned and the Costs by him in this expended. And the said Defendant in Mercy etc. But this Judgment, the Costs excepted, is to be discharged by the payment of five pounds 11 shillings and four pence three farthing with Interest thereon after the rate of five percent per annum to be computed from the ninth day of December 1750 to the Time of Payment. And it is ordered that the Sheriff make the Sale of the Spoons according to Law and return an account thereof to the Court." 

{ From this order we learn that John Milam lived in Brunswick County since before December 1750. This is why I started reading on court day 28 SEP 1748. }

24 JUL 1754, page 270: “David Anderson plt against John Milam deft: In debt. The Sheriff having returned an account of Sale of attached Effects amounting to three pence. It is ordered that he pay the same to the Plaintiff toward satisfying his Judgment.”

25 SEP 1754, page 295: “William Hamilton who as well for Our Lord the King against John Milam deft: In debt. The Defendant not being arrested, On the motion of the Plaintiff’s Attorney, an Alias Capias is awarded against him returnable next Court.”

28 JAN 1755, page 355: “William Hamilton who as well etc., etc ...against John Milam deft: In debt. By Consent of the Parties and the Attorney for Our Lord the King, It is ordered that this Suit be Dismissed.”

There were no more orders for any MILAM through the end on page 541, dated DEC 1756.

 

COURT ORDER BOOK 6

I found no orders for any MILAM in this brief order book from its beginning on page 1 dated 29 JAN 1756 through the end on page 213 dated in February 1757.

 

COURT ORDER BOOK 7

I continued searching for MILAMs with the first page of Order Book 7 dated 26 APR 1757. Book 7 ends on page 431, 22 NOV 1759. I note that a “James Milham, Merchant”, appears on pages 271 and 294. The James Milam who is recorded later in Chesterfield County was never identified as “Merchant” so I doubt these are the same men.

 

COURT ORDER BOOK 8

Page 1 is dated 5 FEB 1760. I found no orders for any Milam in the 97 pages that are available. This book ends abruptly on 22 SEP 1760, the next page is marked "page 99" and is dated 22 JAN 1783. I note there is a “John Mailin, Gentleman, Major of the Militia of this County” mentioned on page 75. { These records were apparently destroyed by fire or during the Civil War. }

 

COURT ORDER BOOK 9

I began reading on page 1 of this book which begins on 5 FEB 1765 - so 4 1/2 years of records between 22 SEP 1760 and 5 FEB 1765 are missing! I read only through page 257 dated May 1765.

 

30 MAY 1765, page 245: Thorton & Clark vs Isham Daniell - Case: "This day came the parties by their attorneys, Thereupon a jury to Wit, Henry Nicholson, Adam Mylam, Benjamin Pennington, William Vaughn, etc."

30 MAY 1765, page 252: “Adam Milam against Benjamin Seaward - Debt. Defendant not guilty. Milam to pay defendant’s costs.”

 

{ From this entry we know that Adam Milam must have been at least 21 years old at the time and a free man, not an indentured servant. This mean that Adam must have been born by 1744. }

30 MAY 1765, page 256: “Ordered that Adam Milam pay unto Isaac Marshat 400 pounds of tobacco for his 16 days  attendance as Witness.”

30 MAY 1765, page 257: “Samuel Lanier and Elizabeth, his wife, against Adam Milam. In case: referred to the determination of Richard Hill, Gray Bridge and Daniel Fisher and their award to be made the judgment of the Court.”

23 JUL 1765, page 313: “Adam Milam for taking up a Runaway having been made. An Oath to the same. Ordered to be Certified.”

28 AUG 1765, page 474: “Ordered that John Williams pay unto Adam Milam 50 pounds of tobacco for two days attendance at Court.”

 

COURT ORDER BOOK 10

I found these few records in the index to book 10. I didnot attempt to read page after page since I have run out of time for this project. I hasten to add that indices are notoriously incomplete. But these records are enough to confirm the presence of Adam and Charity Milam into 1766.

28 JUL 1766, page 57: "Adam Milam vs Benajmin Seawell Jr - Debt. This day came the parties by their attornies and Defendants asks leave to imparl until next Court and then to plead. Upon the Petiton by Adam Milam against Benjamin Seawell Jr for One Pound and fifteen shillings due by amount. The Parties being hear and the Plantiff having made Oath to the Justices of his Demand. It is considered by the Court that the Plantiff recover from the Defendant the said One Pound and fifteen shillings and his costs."

28 JUL 1766, page 125: "Ordered the John Williams pay unto Charity Milam Two Hundred pounds of tobacco for eight days attendance as a Witness for him against Benjamin Hicks."

28 JUL 1766, page 125: "Ordered the John Williams pay unto Adam Milam Two Hundred pounds of tobacco for eight days attendance as a Witness for him against Benjamin Hicks."

 

COURT ORDER BOOK 11

I found only one record in the index to book 11. I didnot attempt to read page after page. There was no mention of Adam Milam in the index. But there is this:

2 OCT 1770, page 370: "Edmund Milam vs Coalby Randle - Petition: "Upon the petition of Edmund Milam against Coalby Randle for two pounds eighteen shillings and one penny....due by account. The defendant having been duly summoned and served with a Copy of the Petition and account and not appearing when solemnly called, Therefore It is considered by the Court that the plaintiff recover against the Defendant the said two pounds eighteen shillings and one penny and his Costs by him in this behalf expended."

 

{ See Deed Book 11 below when Edmund sold some items and his wife, Molly Milam, is mentioned. An Edmond Millam was also a Tithable in Buckingham County in 1774 which is north of Halifax County toward Charlottesville. A Tithe lists exists for 1773 but he is not listed in 1773. }

 

I have personally read Brunswick County Order Book Records from September 1749 - May 1765.

 

BRUNSWICK COUNTY DEED BOOKS

DEED BOOK 6

27 NOV 1760, page 579: Richard Ledbetter of Dinwiddie County to John Williams of Brunswick. 99 acres. Wittnesses: Charles Floyd, William Bryant, Adam Milam. Proved 26 JAN 1761

DEED BOOK 7

24 SEP 1763, page 3560. John Hamilton of Brunswick County to Benjamin Ezell of same. 100 acres. Witnesses: Allen Love, Roger Tilman, Adam (A) Milam. Proved SEP 1763

DEED BOOK 8

30 OCT 1766, page 448: John (R) Ray Sr of Merherrin Parish in Brunswick County to William Ray of said parish. 150 acres. Wittnesses: Adam Milam, William Smith, John Wrey. Proved 23 FEB 1767.

DEED BOOK 11

15 Nov 1775, Part 2, page 526. Edmund (x) Milum & Molley (x) Milum of Meherrin Parish in Brunswick County to John Swanson for £43, shillings 7, pence 7.5 Virginia money. A parcel of hogs, 2 horses, 8 cattle, 2 pots & hooks, 1 frying pan, etc. Wittnesses: John Sims, William Randle, Briggs Goodrich. Proved 27 Nov. 1775.

 

CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, VIRGINIA

I began reading Order Book 3 at its beginning on page 1, 1 JUN 1759 – more than a year before John Milam’s land purchase deed on 31 OCT 1760. I have read through the last page 738 in June 1766.

 

COURT ORDER BOOK 3

7 NOV 1760, page 86: “A Deed from John Tillotson to John Milam was proved by the oaths of Thomas Tillotson, John Tillotson and Mary King wittnesses there to. Ordered recorded.

6 MAR 1761, page 116: “Charles Cheatham vs Samuel Milam, Petition. Defendant to pay 2 pounds and 9 shillings money & cost….

{ From this entry we know that Samuel Milam must have been at least 21 years old at the time and a free man, not an indentured servant. This mean that Samuel must have been born by 1740. }

5 JUN 1761, page 132: “John Milam vs William Gordon, Trial. Milam to receive 10 pounds money for damages & cost….

5 JUN 1761, page 133: “John Milam to pay Nathaniel Macy and Robert Franklyn (witnesses) for 9 days attendance at trial, 225 pounds of tobacco each…."

5 JUN 1761, page 137: “Hanah Rudd vs Jamestown Hatcher and John Milam, Debt. Defendants to pay 4 pounds and 16 shillings money & costs….

7 MAY 1762, page 215: “Ordered that the male laboring Tithables of Thomas Branch, John Milam, …., …., James Milam do work on the Highway under Cole.”

{ That James Milam had “Tithables” indicates that he had land to work and was at least 21 years old at the time. Since there is no deed for him, he must have been leasing land. Also a road order mean that these men lived along this highway - relatively close to each other. This means that James must have been born by 1741. }

4 JUN 1762, page 227: “Aurthor Moseley vs John Milam, Petition, the Defendant not appear….the Plaintiff to recover three pounds and fifteen shillings current money & costs…”

4 JUN 1762, page 228: “William Jenkins vs Samuel Milam, Petition, the Defendant not appearing….the Plaintiff recover two pounds and eight shillings current money & costs…”

6 MAY 1763, page 404: “Grand Jury Presentation:….Samuel Milam for retailing Liquors contrary to the law by the information of Henry Turpin, Jr.”

{Samuel wasn't the only one accused of retailing liquor!}

7 MAY 1763, page 411: “John Milam, a witness for William Gordon plaintiff against John Chotwood defendant, failing to appear. Ordered that he make his fine with the payment of three hundred and fifty pounds of tobacco for the use of the said William Gordon….”

3 JUN 1763, page 421: “Samuel Milam plaintiff vs Jamestown Hatcher Sr and Jamestown Hatcher Jr, defendants. Debt. Dismissed.”

1 JUL 1763, page 435: “Samuel Milam vs Henry Turpin, Jr, Petition. Judgment for 30 shillings and 7 pence & costs."

18 AUG 1763, page 446: “James Milam, plaintiff, vs Ann Hatcher, Petition. Judgment for plaintiff of three pounds current money & costs.”

15 SEP 1763, page 462: ”On hearing the complaint of Sarah Milam against Charles Cheatham, ordered that said Charles give Surety for keeping the peace. There upon the said Charles with James Robinson & Mathew Turpin his Sureties acknowledged themselves severally indebted to the our lord the King, the said Charles in the penalty of £ 50 and the said James and Mathew in the sum of £ 25 each of their respective goods is to be levied; but upon the condition that if the said Charles shall be of good behavior for the space of one year next ensuing, then this recognizance to be void.”

16 FEB 1764, page 477: “Ann Hatcher vs James Milam. Petition. Dismissed.”

18 FEB 1764, page 489: “Charles Cheatham, plaintiff, vs Samuel Milam, defendant. Case. Plaintiff not proceeding. Non suited.”

15 MAR 1764, page 496: “John Locket, plaintiff, vs John Milam, defendant. Petition. The defendant not appearing….the said Plaintiff to recover…four pounds, nine shillings current money & costs.”

4 APR 1764, page 519: “Ordered that the Attachment brought by James Milam against Ann Hatcher be dismissed as to Gerald Walthall, one of the garnishees.”

1 JUN 1764, page 530: “A Deed John Milam to Thomas Womack proved by the oath of John Gammon, Edith Womack & Joel Womack witnesses thereto…”

{ Please note that there is no mention of John Milam’s wife or his wife’s dower suggesting that she had died by then. }

7 JUL 1764, page 566: “Samuel Milam and his wife, Sarah, Plaintiffs, vs Charles Cheatham, defendant. This day came the parties by their attorneys and thereupon came our Jury….who do say the Defendant is guilty in manner and form the plaintiffs…declared…and set the damages at Thirty shillings current money….”

{ This entry clearly states that Samuel Milam's wife was named Sarah. }

7 JUL 1764, page 569: "Ordered That Samuel Milam pay Mark Perchet 200 pounds of tobacco for Attendance eight days as witness."

2 MAR 1765, page 644: "John Milam vs Charles Cheatham. Case. Dismissed at the Plantiff's costs."

{ John Milam pruchased land in Halifax County on 18 OCT 1764 and was not in Chesterfield County to press his case. }

6 JUN 1766, page 738: "James Milam against Ann Hatcher. Attachment. Dismissed."

 

COURT ORDER BOOK 4 (1767 - 1771)

I have run out of time for this project so I didn't attempt to read every page as I did for Order Book 3. However I did look at the Index. Unfortunately the page for "M" was torn and not readable.

 

COURT ORDER BOOK 5 (1771 - 1774)

The Index contained no MILAMs. I hasten to add that indices are notoriously incomplete.

 

COURT ORDER BOOK 6 (1774 - 1784)

The Index contained no MILAMs. I hasten to add that indices are notoriously incomplete.

At least we know for certain that John Milam was in Chesterfield County from 24 APR 1760 when his deed was signed until his land sale was proved in court on 1 JUN 1764. And James lived in Chesterfield County through at least 6 JUN 1766 which is as far as I have read - so it could have been longer and the same for Samuel whom we know was married.

Records in Halifax County show that Samuel and James and John's younger sons eventually followed John to Halifax County.

 

TO REPEAT: no genealogist / historian has yet found similar records for these MILAMS in Goochland, Hanover or Louisa Counties. It would be helpful to all MILAMs if those who propose these counties for the origin for John Milam's family understook similar county record research to support their ideas.

 

As you have read, colonial times were very litigious because more than 75% of new arrivals came as indentured servants. All the Virginia Milams were involved in lawsuits for debt, both as plaintiffs and as defendants. John Milam and sons were no different than Thomas Milam and his sons in Orange and Bedford Counties - as was the case for the vast majority of Virginians. I discuss the reasons for these frequent law suits here and here (links) .

 

I invite you to read my narrative summary of the early lives of the MILAMS in Brunswick and Chesterfield Counties here (link).

 

I have read Chesterfield County Order Book Records from June 1759 - June 1766.


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