About the Author

Photo of AuthorThe author is a retired physician and a descendant of Thomas Milam (ca 1716 - 1775) through his youngest son, Rush Milam. He became interested in researching the life and times of the early Milams in Virginia after moving to the state. His sister, Carol Milam–Ogden, was interested in the family’s genealogy for more than 30 years and successfully completed the family tree back to this Thomas Milam of then Orange County. She learned that they were descendants of his youngest son, Rush, who had fought in the Revolutionary War. After moving to Virginia, the author gathered documents for his daughters to join the Daughters of the American Revolution. In the process, he discovered the extensive resources of the Library of Virginia and the Virginia Historical Society in Richmond.

On his first visit to the Records Center of the Library he had a unique experience: having requested the earliest records of Bedford County (1754), the very first folder he examined contained a solitary scrap of paper (image) with words "John Milam Constable....". On another visit to the Records Center, he had the good fortune to meet Robert Vernon who had prepared a map of the earliest land grants along the Robinson River in early Orange County. Bob is a computer scientist, historian, cartographer- a true Renaissance man. He began his work on these land grants and plats in the early 1990s and first published his findings in Central Virginia Heritage, Vol. 12, No. 1: How Land was Granted in Colonial Virginia. [21] Bob's extensive knowledge of these grants and the genealogy of these early families helped the author immensely and the author is indebted to him. In fact, Bob located Thomas Milam's 200 acre property along the Rose River west of Syria. It was bought in 2004 by Grave's Mountain Lodge from the Kite family.

The author's most significant discovery to date is a contract (image) signed by Thomas in January 1761 which proved that the Thomas, originally of Orange County (later Culpeper County), was the same one who subsequently lived in Bedford County, Virginia. [385] As you can see, the contract was signed and dated in Bedford County but the first line specifically says that Thomas was "of Culpeper County". The document also states that Thomas was a "planter" [19, 20], the term used to designate a common farmer. Holding this beautiful paper with its aged patina and knowing that Thomas had signed it almost 250 years ago with his mark, "TM" , is a treasured memory.

The author is most interested in what life was like for the early Milams - to add flesh and sinew to the historical names of his ancestors. His primary technique is to read microfilm of county court records and to search for orignal records in the Library's Record Center which have not been put on microfilm - like those mentioned above. This Website is his attempt to learn about the earliest Milams' life experiences and to place their lives in historical and cultural context. If reading these pages promotes an interest in early Virginian history, so much the better. To that end, he offers these excellent books on the period as essential background material:

 

  • Bound Away: Virginia and the Westward Movement by David H. Fischer and James C. Kelly. University Press of Virginia, 2000.
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  • The Transformation of Virginia: 1740 to 1790 by Rhys Isaac. University of North Carolina Press. Pulitzer Prize, 1983.
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  • Buying into the World of Goods: Early Consumers in Backcountry Virginia by Ann Smart Martin. Johns Hopkins University Press, 2008.
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  • The Plundering Time: Maryland and the English Civil War 1645 - 1646 by Timothy B. Riordan. Maryland Historical Society, 2004.
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  • Flight from Monticello: Thomas Jefferson at War by Michael Kranish. Oxford University Press, 2010.

 

This Website is definitely a work-in-progress - it is being designed and HTML coded by the author. This is not a genealogy Website per se since he is most interested in the lives of oldest his ancestors. Therefore he is not able to answer questions about anything other than what he has published. As he learns more and after documentation, he will publish it. If you would like to receive notices of future updates or provide comments about what he has written, please email the author (link).

William F. Milam, M.D.

Richmond, Virginia

 

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