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. William Rush IV had patented his 400 acres of land along Quaker's Run on 11 May 1726. The Rush family lived less than a mile away from Thomas in then Orange County of the Dominion and Colony of Virginia. See this overlay of Orange County land plats (image) on a current topographic map for their properties.

Benjamin Rush Sr., brother of William, never lived on the 387 acres that he patented next to William. Benjamin lived in King George County where he became deputy sheriff and later in 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.

Finley McColester (McCollister, McAllister) married Mary’s older sister, Elizabeth, [27] and John Kelly married Mary’s younger sister, Ann Margaret. Thus they were brother-in-laws to Thomas and Mary Rush Milam and lived near them. [28]

Thomas Mylam is found in 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 may be viewed here (image) . The accusation of "living in adultery" was a common harassment of Quaker families who were not married in the Church of England, as required by English Law. Until the end of the Revolutionary War in 1781, any couple desiring to be legally married had to do so before a minister of the established Church of England. [723]

There is no doubt that this Rush family were 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]. You may read the Court Order here (image) . This fine was according to British 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, like Finley McColister, was very close to this family as brother-in-laws of John Kelly and 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 man's 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 (link).

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" in the Blue Ridge Mountains. 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 (link) .

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.

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. Traditionally, the Rush named their second son Benjamin, as did Thomas and Mary after her uncle, Benjamin Rush Sr., or her older brother, Benjamin, who were also a second sons.

As if to emphasize the family connection, Thomas and Mary named their youngest son, Rush Milam - my ancestor.

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 of a founding family of the United States like John Adams of Boston !!


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