a wide-awake and enterprising farmer, residing on section 23, Magnolia township, Putnam county, was born in that township on the 21st of March, 1849, and is the son of Eli Raley and Elizabeth H.(Kimber) Mills, the former a native of Washington county, Pennsylvania, and the latter of B'ayette county, Pennsylvania, a sketch of whom will be found in this volume. The family came to Putnam county in 1843, and in the spring of 1844 settled on a farm on section 22, Magnolia township, then in its primitive condition. This land was improved and a good brick residence and brick barn erected thereon. Here the parents resided until their deaths, which occurred in 1855.
Our subject was but six years of age when his parents died, but the family was kept together and on the home farm he grew to manhood, and as he passed from childhood to youth he assisted in the farm work, faithfully discharging the duties devolving upon him. In the common schools of the neighborhood of his home he received his primary education, which was supplemented by a course at Lincoln university and the State Normal university, although he never graduated.
Leaving school, Mr. Alills settled down to the life of a farmer, which he proposed to follow and one in which he felt himself especially adapted. He remained upon the home farm until twenty-eight years of age, assisting in its cultivation and preparing himself for the active duties of life. Some time before this he formed the acquaintance of Miss Hattie A. Badgley, a native of Auglaize county, Ohio, who was visiting relatives and friends in Putnam county. The result of this was a trip to Ohio on the part of Mr. Mills, where at St. Clary's, on the 2d of January, 1877, the couple were united in marriage at the home of the bride's mother. Mrs. Mills is the daughter of George and Martha (Watkins) Badgley, both of whom were also natives of Ohio, the father born at Gallipolis, and the mother at St. Mary's. Her father died in 1857, when she was but an infant, and she therefore never knew a father's love and tender care. He was a consistent member of the Baptist church, and died in the full assurance of faith. Her mother is also a member of the same church, and has always taken an abiding interest in the work of the Tilaster.
Mrs. Mills grew to womanhood in her native county, and at St. Clary's received her education. She remained at home until her marriage with Mr. Mills.
Immediately after that event was consummated the couple returned to Putnam county, and in the spring of that year located on their present farm on section 23, Magnolia township. The land was then partially improved, but many improvements have since been made until to-day we see a model farm of two hundred and forty acres, supplied with all the latest labor-saving implements, both for the farm and housework. The present fine, comfortable residence was erected in 1887, and the large barn two years previously. Everything about the place shows the good taste of its occupants, and the home of Mr. and Mrs. Mills is a most hospitable one. In connection with his general farm work for the past two years Mr. Mills has been engaged in buying and shipping horses, a business for which he is well adapted, being a good judge of that noble animal, which is well attested by his own fine stock.
Mr. Mills and his estimable wife are members of the Cumberland Presbyterian church, and socially he affiliates with Magnolia lodge, No. 103, F. & A. M., in which he has held office, while politically he is an ardent republican, and has served as township school treasurer. No couple in all Putnam county are held in higher esteem than Mr. and Mrs. Mills.
Source: The Biographical Record of Bureau, Marshall and Putnam Counties, Illinois published in 1896, page 596.