Court Records for Zachariah Milam (ca 1755 - ca 1825)

A Chronology of his Life as Found in Court Records

25 MAY 1772 BEDFORD COUNTY ORDER BOOK 4, page 31. "The hands of Charles Lambert, John 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 Holley’s leading through Poteat’s Gap and Keep the same in Repair, and that the said hands be exempted from working on the New Road, & that the Said Hands work on the Road from Thomas’ Ferry {on the James River} to the new Road." [496] You may view this order here (image).

{ Comment: All the individuals named in this road order lived near Zachariah Milam and John Kelly in the north western part of Bedford County, as did William Milam and John Milam mentioned in the immediately preceding court order: John and William were to work on the new road through Poteat's, { Poteet's, Petite's } Gap and Zachariah and John Kelly were to work on the old road through the same gap. See details here (link) in William Milam history.

What is most interesting is that this John Kelly is the same John Kelly who married Ann Margaret Rush in Orange / Culpeper County  i. e. Thomas Milam’s sister-in-law for whom Thomas Milam was a Security in then Orange County in August 1746 (ORANGE COUNTY, ORDER BOOK 4A, page 35). The proof is that in May 1768, John Kelly states that he had “a Lease of land I hold from under Nicholas Davis in Bedford County on the mouth of Battery Creek”! (CULPEPER COUNTY DEED BOOK E, pages 569 – 70). Battery Creek was just northwest of Meadow Creek where William Milam bought land. It's most interesting that Zachariah Milam named two sons: John Kelly Milam and Benjamin Kelly Milam after Zachariah's uncle, John Kelly. }

30 MAR 1774 BEDFORD COUNTY ORDER BOOK 5B, 98. On the Motion of Zachariah Milam, It is Ordered that Richard Calloway pay him According to Law for attending for him Five Dais {days} as a Wittness at the Suit of Charles Lambert. Note: John Kelly was allowed the same for attending the same suit.

On 1 MAY 1777, the Virginia General Assembly passed the Act of Oath of Affirmation which may be viewed here (link). The following is the Oath of Affirmation, sometimes referred to as the Oath of Alligence, that the men affirmed with their signatures:

"I do swear or affirm, that I renounce and refuse all allegiance to George the third, king of Great Britain, his heirs and successours, and that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to the commonwealth of Virginia, as free and independent state, and that I will not, at any time, do, or cause to be done, any matter or thing that will be prejudicial or injurious to the freedom and independence thereof, as declared by Congress; and also, that I will discover and make known to some one justice of the peace for the said state, all treasons or traiterous conspiracies which I now or hereafter shall know to be formed against this or any of the United States of America."

28 JUL 1777 BEDFORD COUNTY, ORDER BOOK 6, Page 130 - 131. Agreeable to an Act of the General Assembly of this State, this Court doth appoint Gents. to administer the Oath of Allegiance to the Inhabitants of this County (viz.) John Ward, Gent. in the Bounds of his own Company & Capt. Gilbert’s, John Talbot, Gent. in his own Company, Charles Talbot Gent. in Capt Marshals Company.....John Callaway Gent. Capt. Pointdexter’s Company, William Calloway Gent. in his own Company & Capt. Millers, Wm Mead & Charles Gwatkins Gents.  in Capt. Gwatkins Company, Robert Ewing Gent. in Capt Dooleys & Capt. W Bufords Company, etc. etc.  

20 SEP 1777: Benjamin Milam, Rush Milam, William Milam and Zachariah Milam signed the Oath of Affirmation administered by Justice William Callaway to his Company. [480] You may view a typed copy here (link).

23 NOV 1778 BEDFORD COUNTY ORDER BOOK 6, 214. Zachariah Milam appointed Surveyor of the Road from Francis Holley's to the Rockbridge line and the Usual Hands are Ordered to assist the Surveyor in Keeping the same in good repair.

Zachariah Milam appointed Surveyor of the Road from Francis Holley's to the Rockbridge line, 23 NOV 1778
Zachariah Milam appointed Surveyor

26 AUG 1782 BEDFORD COUNTY, ORDER BOOK 6, 366. Zachariah Milam proved that he furnished the said Comissary {Capt Christopher Irvine} 375 pounds of beef for which he is allowed £ 10. 8 Shillings and Cost, Two Diets at 8 Shillings each & 1 peck of corn at 6 Shillings.

27 JAN 1783 BEDFORD COUNTY, ORDER BOOK 7, 20. Ordered that Zachariah Milam be appointed overseer of the Road in Stead of William Wright from Francis Holleys to the { Rockbridge } County line Crossing the Blue Ridge.

24 MAR 1783 BEDFORD COUNTY, ORDER BOOK 7, 28. A report of a Road from Poteets Gap to Francis Holleys by Peter Wilkinson's plantation Returned. To Wit, In Obedience to our Order do say that the old Road is the Best & that the road Turned cannot be made as good as the Road through & our opinion that the Old Road ought to be Kept Open which is Ordered to be Established accordingly. Zachariah Milam is Appointed Surveyor of the Same with Usual Hands.

~~~~Chancery Court: Hook assignee versus Zachariah and William Milam~~~~

26 JUL 1773 BEDFORD COUNTY, ORDER BOOK 5A, Page 148.  W Donald & Co vs Zachariah Milam.  Judgment  according to Specialty. Attached effects. Continued.

27 AUG 1783 BEDFORD COUNTY, ORDER BOOK 7, Page 81. Hook assignee {of W Donald & Co} vs Milams {Zachariah and William}. Allowed for Answer {William joined the suit as Zachariah's Security.}

28 JUL 1784 BEDFORD COUNTY, ORDER BOOK 8, Page 61. In CHANCERY, John Hook, Assignee of William Donald Jr. & Co., vs Milams {Zachariah and William}. The Defendants having Stood out all processes of Contempt, It is decreed & Ordered that the defendants pay to Plaintiff £14. 19 Shillings 8 1/2 Cent with interest from the 20th day of December 1773 - all paid & Costs.

Note: Due to the fact that most law suits, including those for debt, were forbidden during the Revolutionary War - largely because most suits for debt were brought by British or Scottish merchants, the Milams had successfully stalled a verdict for eleven years i. e. "the Defendants having stood out all processes of Contempt". But the Court ordered 11 years of back interest.

This was not the last time William and a brother brought a suit to the Chancery Court - see 4 MAY 1785 - William Milam vignettes, Trustees of Liberty versus Rush and William Milam here.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~End of Case~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

A July 1783 road petition was signed by William Millam, Zachariah Millam, James Kelly and Benjamin Kelly, the sons of John Kelley. It deals with the best way to Poteat's Gap.

"To the Worshipful Court of Bedford County

The petition of sundry of the Inhabitants of Bedford County Humbly Beseacheth That your Petitioners Labour under Great Inconveniences for the want of a Road from Holley's Gap to Poteat's Gap along a Road opened by Francis Holley which is Far the Nearest and Best Way. The way that Now is, is a Difficult Hilly way and by some Distance the Fartherest, And Likewise runs through the Plantation and Orchard of Peter Wilkerson and Is a Great Detriment to him. And ever hope your worships will consider These Inconveniences As we are convinced that a much Difficulter Way could not be Got Than For it to Run through the Orchard and Plantation of the said Peter Wilkerson. We shall cease to Trouble You any Futher, But rest Satisfyed that Your Homorable Court will Not neglect to promote every useful Purpose that shall come before You and your petitioners as In Duty Bound shall Pray. " [497]

Below are images of their names from a copy of the petition prepared by the Clerk of Court:


1783 Bedford Road Petition with William and Zachariah Milam & Benjamin and James Kelly
William Milam Zachariah Milam

Do you notice that these names seems to be written by the same hand? Indeed, the Clerk of Court made a copy of the poorly ledgible original. You may view the copy here (image).

Below are images of the signatures of the Milams and Kellys from the original petition. Note that William and Zachariah spelled their last name "Millam" and that Benjamin and James spelled their last name "Kelley", unlike the learned Clerk who spelled them Milam and Kelly.

1783 Petition with William and Zachariah Millam & Benjamin and James Kelley Signatures
Zachariah Milam & Benjamin signatures

Perhaps now we understand why Zachariah Milam used Kelly for the middle name of his sons. The original petition may be viewed by clicking here (image).

24 JAN 1785 BEDFORD COUNTY, ORDER BOOK 8, 98. Ordered that John Wilkerson be appointed Overseer of Poteets Gap Road in the Room of Zack Milam with the hands Between the Bounds of John Wheat, Francis Holley & John Hardwick.

JUN 1785 BEDFORD COUNTY “Road Hand Records - Road Lists and Reports 1757 - 1884, Box 1." The attached record is unique in that it is a “Road Petition” signed by all 16 “hands” who worked on an old road to Poteet’s (present day Poteet's) Gap requesting a change in the route. It was filed in June 1785.

“The the Gentlemen appointed by the Worshipful Court of Bedford To review the Road from Halley’s Gap to Poteeths Gap ~ We your Petitioners beg leave to Inform that we Labor under Great Inconveniences by the Old Roads as They now run, and beg You will view a way from Major Gwatkins along a Rolling Road Cleared by Francis Holley and by the Fork Field belonging to Charles Rice into the other Road and keeping the same to Poteeth’s Gap ~”

Signed by “Rush Milam” and “Zacha Milam” along with 14 others.


Records Complete through 1793......


~~~~~~~Chancery Cause: Mary Milam versus Zachariah Milam~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


"Milam vs Ye Said Milam For Separate Maintainance

A Writ: “The Commonwealth of Virginia to the sheriff of Bedford County. Greeting. We command you Summon Zachariah Milam to appear before the Justices of our County Court at the Courthouse of our County on the 4th Monday in August next to answer a Bill in Chancery exhibited against {him} by Mary Milam {for a Separate Maintainance}. This he shall in no wise omit under penalty of £100

Witness: James Steptoe, Clerk of our Court

The 23rd day of May 1797 in the XXV th year of our foundation"

On the back of the writ, the Sheriff wrote:

"Milam vs Ye Said Milam

For Separate Maintainance

To be Dismissed by order the Plaintiff.

D Saunders {Sheriff}
August 1797

Plaintiff not further proceding { prosecuting }."

Mary vs Zachariah Milam Chancery Case 23 MAY 1797
Mary vs Zachariah Milam Chancery Case 1797

You may view the front and back of this writ and read a transcription of the Chancery Court record here (link).

There were no further details in the Chancery record. What we learn from this case is that the first name of Zachariah Milam's wife in 1797 was Mary .

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~End of Case~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


28 JAN 1822 BEDFORD COUNTY, DEED BOOK 17, 167. Zachariah Milam made a deed of gift "of a certain tract of land lying and being in Bedford County on the Waters of Reed Creek containing 175 acres and bounded by Micajah Davis, Edmund Jennings and John Milam" to his son, Charles Kelly Milam. [499]

.. ..... 1838 BEDFORD COUNTY, DEED BOOK 27, 242. Benjamin Kelly Milam sold by deed of trust 260 acres along Battery Creek to Edmund G. Damron. [500]


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