The Marriage of Thomas Mylam to Mary Rush

The evidence is convincing that Thomas Mylam married Mary Rush, the daughter of William Rush IV, about 1737. The Rush family lived nearby in then Orange County of the Dominion and Colony of Virginia.


  • William Rush IV lived two miles from Mylam’s property. See this overlay of early Orange County land plats (image) on a current topographic map.
  • Mary Rush was the only Mary Rush living nearby; the last name, Rush, being uncommon.
  • Benjamin Rush Sr., brother of William - although he patented 387 acres next to William on the same day, 11 May 1726, that William patented 400 acres - never lived on that land. Benjamin lived in King George County and later Prince William County before moving to Bute County in the Colony of North Carolina [23, 24, 25, 26] . Please see the Chronology of Benjamin Rush Sr. (link) for details.
  • Also Benjamin Rush did not have a daughter named Mary, according to the 1746 King George County Will of his mother, Elizabeth Rush Duff, whose second marriage was to the prominent Quaker William Duff.
  • "Will of Elizabeth Duff, dated 27 Oct 1746:

    - I give and bequeath to Elizabeth McColester one feather bed and furniture.

    - I leave my stock of cattle and hogs and the remainder part of my pewter (only one pewter limrick) and one spice morter and two skillets and my meal sifter and one small brass kettle and my iron pots to be equally divided between eight of William Rush's children and one of Benjamin Rush's children, names as followeth: Benjamin Rush, Crafford Rush, John Rush, James Rush, Elizabeth McColester, Mary Rush formerly so called, Ann and Sarah being the sons and daughters of William; and Amey Grigsby being the daughter of the said Benjamin Rush." [27]

    { Elizabeth Duff apparently struggled with Mary Milam's married name and referred to her as simply "Mary Rush formerly so called". }

  • Finley McColester (McCollister, McAllister) married Mary’s older sister, Elizabeth, [27] and John Kelly married Mary’s younger sister, Ann Margaret and thus were brother-in-laws. [28]
  • Thomas Mylam is found on Court documents with McColester and Kelly. In particular, Thomas Mylam was a Security for Ann Margaret (Nannie) Rush along with Finley McColister and Thomas Henderson in an Orange County court case accusing John Kelly and Ann Margaret Rush of living in adultery. [28, 29, 30] The 26 FEB 1742/43 Grand Jury presentment against John and Ann my be viewed here (image) This accusation was a common harassment of Quaker families who were not married in the Church of England, as required by English Law. There is no doubt that this Rush family was Quaker since their mother said so in a Westmoreland County court when she returned the Inventory of her late husband, William Rush III’s, after his death in 1708 and refused to swear on the Bible as Quakers did refuse.
  • "Elizabeth, relic of William Rush {III}, deceased, returned into Court an Inventory of her deceased Husband’s Estate (upon her solemne protestation according to Law) shee professing to bee a Quaker. Inventory dated 26 Jan 1708/09

    Teste: James Westcomb, Clerk of Court" [51]

  • The Orange County court case which began on 25 November 1742 was finally concluded on 27 September 1746 when Mylam, McColester and Henderson as Securities were required to pay 500 pounds of tobacco or 50 shillings [31, 32]. Court Order (image) This fine was according to colonial law and was the routine. However, if Ann Margaret Rush could not pay the fine or provide Securities to pay it for her then the punishment - also according to law - was 25 "lashes well laid on" her bare back. [129, 419, 420] This case demonstrates that Thomas Mylam was very close to this family as a brother-in-law of John Kelly and his wife, Ann Margaret, would have been.
  • My recent research reveals that the connection between Thomas Milam and John Kelly endured even after the Milams moved to Bedford County in 1761 since the Kellys had also removed to Bedford County by 1768. In a Deed of Trust dated 23 MAY 1768, Kelly confirmed that he held a lease of land in Bedford County on Battery Creek:
    "Know all men by these Presents that I, John Kelly, for and on Consideration of John McKenzie being my Security to Lenox & Scott and Company for a large Debt which will appear by our Joint Bond, given this day in order to Prevent McKenzie from being a sufferer by me. I do hereby acknowledge and by these Presents do bargain and sell unto the said John McKenzie a Straw Berry roane horse about 4 feet high, Two feather Beds, nine head of Hoggs, a man­s hatt and a Lease of land I hold from under Nicholas Davis in Bedford County on the mouth of Battery Creek, with every other thing I now Possess or may hereafter Possess and all Crops that I make till the Debt is discharged....In Witness Whereof I have Hereunto set my hand and seal this 23rd day of May 1768. Signed: John Kelly" [421] You may read the deed here .
  • Furthermore, a 25 MAY 1772 Bedford County "road order" shows that Zachariah Milam, son of Thomas Milam, and John Kelly were neighbors since they were ordered to work on "the road above Francis Holley’s leading through Peteet’s Gap". All the individuals named in this order lived along this road in north western Bedford County.
    "The hands of Charles Lambert, George Allen, Zachariah Milam, John Kelly, Charles Barnett, Samuel Hensley, Wm Lear, John Ross, John Dewit & William Willams with their male tithes {Tithables} are ordered to work on the old road from the fork in the road above Francis Holleys leading through Peteets Gap and Keep the same in Repair, and that the said hands be exempted from working on the New Road....." [445] You may view the order here .
  • Later Zachariah Milam named his first son, John Kelly Milam (born circa 1778) and his second son Benjamin Kelly Milam (born circa 1782). John Kelly was Zachariah’s uncle on his mother’s side of the family, having married her sister, Ann Margaret Rush as discussed above.
  • Thomas and Mary named their first son, William, which was a long standing tradition of the Rush family, Mary’s father being William Rush IV and her eldest brother being William Rush V. They named their second son Benjamin, probably after her uncle, Benjamin Rush Sr., or her older brother, Benjamin, who was also a second son.
  • As if to emphasize the family connection, Thomas and Mary named their youngest son, Rush Milam.

It speaks volumns that Thomas Milam and Mary Rush did not name a child Adam or Adams which one would expect if his wife were indeed Mary Rush Adams and were related to a founding father of the United States like John Adams of Boston.


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