There is no class of biography more interesting to read than that of the industrious, enterprising farmer boy who has risen unaided to a position of affluence and comfort. Prominent among the men of Putnam county who have thus laboriously toiled onward and upward is the individual of whom this sketch is written. He now owns a good farm of one hundred and sixty acres on section 12, Magnolia township, and ten acres of timber on section 16. He was born in Washington county, Pennsylvania, June I, 1829, and in 1840 came to Putnam county with his parents, of whom mention is made in the sketch of Joshua L. Mills on another page of this work.
Our subject acquired his education in the schools of Magnolia, and on reaching manhood he was married August 1, 1850, to Arthelia Bosley, who was born in Fayette county, Pennsylvania, in 1 83 1, and was the daughter of Greenberry and Huldah (Morris) Bosley, who became residents of Hennepin township, Putnam county, in 1851, where their deaths occurred. They were members of the Cumberland Presbyterian church. Nine children were born to Mr. and Mrs. Mills, namely: Anna Maria, deceased; Martha, wife of Oliver Wilson; Milton, who married Emma Sibley, by whom he has two children, Harry A, and Ellsworth, and lives in Chicago; Oliver P., who married Lilhan Edsall and lives in Magnolia township; Huldah R., deceased wife of Oliver Smith, by whom she has four children, William Eddy, Anna, Herbert and Edith ; and William L., who married Edith Price, and lives in Magnolia township. The other three died in youth — Joseph Greenberry, Julia K. and Edwin. The wife and mother departed this life April 12, 1865.
Mr. Mills was again married on the 8th of November, 1866, Miss Elizabeth Wilson becoming his wife. She was born August 11, 1835, and is a daughter of Amos and Anna (Morris) Wilson, the former a native of Pennsylvania and the latter of Ohio. They were married in Ohio and came to Putnam county, Illinois, in 1851 from Belmont county, Ohio, and settled on section 23, Magnolia township, the place now owned by Amos B. Wilson. They were the parents oi ten children, of whom six are now living, as follows: Rebecca, now the widow of Isaac P. Howard; Morris A., who first married Mary V. Smith, and she dying he married Lydia E. John; Mary, now the wife of Henry K. Smith; Amos B., who married Anna S. Griffith ; Oliver, who married Ella Howard, and after her death wedded Martha Mills, by whom he had one child, Lois A.; and Elizabeth, the wife of our subject. All these reside in Magnolia township, except Rebecca, who is a resident of Nebraska. The deceased are Ruth, Anna, Sarah, who married William Fell, and Laura C, who was buried in the Friends' cemetery on Clear creek beside her parents. The parents resided on the old homestead until their death, the father dying in January, 1881, in his eighty-seventh year, and the mother in January, 1895, in her ninetieth year. They were both prominent members of the Society of Friends and filled at times nearly all the official positions in the church, Mr. Wilson at one time being clerk of the Ohio Yearly Meeting.
Mr. Wilson was twice married, his first wife being Hannah Brown, by whom he had five children, four of whom are now living: David, now living a retired life at Wenona; Margaret M., now the widow of Henry P. Merritt, of Lostant; Joshua B., deceased, who married Rosanna Spillers, now of Wenona ; Thomas, who first married Mary Keith, and on her death married Mary Battin, now resides in Corning, Iowa ; and Hannah, now the widow of Perry Hoge of Wenona.
To Mr. and Mrs. Mills five children have been born: Charles W., a graduate of Harvard university; Clarence C, a veterinary surgeon; Albert T., a graduate of the Kansas State Normal school; Amos P., deceased, and LeRoy Addison, at home. Victoria, daughter of Warner and Narcissa Trueblood, of Indiana, an orphan, has been a member of their household for about nine years.
Until 1865 Mr. ]Mills lived on the old homestead of his father, and then removed to his present place, which at that time was all wild prairie land, but he now has it under a high state of cultivation, tiled and fenced, and has erected all of the good and substantial buildings found thereon. His place is stocked with full-blooded Jersey cattle and high-grade horses. By earnest, persistent effort he has achieved his success in life as he received but little from his father's estate.
By birthright Mr. and Mrs. Mills are members of the Society of Friends and are actively engaged in the Lord's work. They are both well read in the scriptures and in religious literature, especially that of the Friends. Their faith in the precious promises of the word of God is unbounded, and in their lives they endeavor to conform themselves to the teachings of the lowly Nazarene. For twenty-three successive years Mr. Mills served as overseer in the church, and for many years was an elder. He has been a minister in the society since 1 87 1, and was regularly recommended in 1882. Mrs. Mills has also served some years as an elder, the duties of which office she faithfully and conscientiously discharges. Their children have all been well educated and have become useful and respected members of society. Politically, Mr. Mills was first a whig, later a republican, and for many years has now been a strong and unflinching supporter of the prohibition party, voting the straight ticket, and taking a deep interest in the success of his party. He cares nothing for political preferment but served many years as school director. As a citizen, he is esteemed by all, and no person, knowing the man, but places the utmost confidence in his honesty, integrity and Christian character.
Source: The Biographical Record of Bureau, Marshall and Putnam Counties, Illinois published in 1896, page 459.