LETTER from James Mills to Ethelbert Mills - Mar. 2d/74 (1874)

25 Nassau Street

New York

Our Dear Nephew

I received yours of 25th Nov. ____ on 28th and will answer your queries about your ancestors as well as I can. When your ancestors of the name Mills, and Helme, came to this country they were the most prominent of the settlers, and were amongst the pattentees of the town where they settled. Our ancestors of the name Mills was doubtlessly a descendent in the third generation of one of the original patentee of the town of Jamaica, LI.I. and must have been a strong minded and influential man - but we have no record of his parentage, as in the early days of this country genealogical records were not considered of moment else have been lost.

Your ancestor in the Helme line was one of the most prominent men of his day in the locality where he lived. His father (Note: Speaking about Thomas Helme I as the original pattentes but it was his son Thomas Helme II who was killed by the wagon.) was one of the original pattentes of the town of Setauket and was killed being run over by a wagon when your great, great grandfather (Note: This was Thomas Helme III.) was an infant (who married a Tanger Smith when he grew-up). His mother married a Rowe from the Eastern end of Long Island and all records of his genealogy has been lost. There was a branch of the Helme family settled in Connecticut and perhaps there are some records of the family extant there. On a trip on the Mississippi river from Memphis, I once met a Thomas Helme who had been Governor of Kentucky, he said that the family was of Welsh origin - He considered himself an FFV and was descended from the settlers of Kentucky who came from Virginia - about the Philips _____ seem to be well posted.

All of your Mills ancestry were residents of Mills Pond from the times of the first who settled there. I do not think any of your ancestors served in the revolutionary war. Your great-grandfather Mills was but a boy thro but he obtained a commission as a lieutenant as soon as he was grown from Gov. Clinton of N. Y. State just as the termination of the war. I don't think any of your ancestry was descended from the Woodhulls. There were intermarriages between the Smiths - Woodhulls - Helmes - Davis - Hallocks - Mills - Phillips & C&C but I cannot give your the particulars. The Mills family settled in Jamaica about ___8 or 50 and has all run out and ____ from there _____ "Buss Smiths, Helme & Woodhulls were amoung the original settlers and patentees of Setauket or Brookhaven about 1655 or 60. The Tangier & Mills come from Endland and settle in the country a generation or two latter - about the year 1700. Your gret grandfather Wm. Mills was a whig in politics - he was married Dec. 27th 1785 to Martha Helme and died in 1837 - I think.

Your father wass born Jany 27th 1815 in Cherry Str.

Your grandfather Mills came to New York in 1805 or 6 - as a clerk to James Smith - afterwards went to school at East Hampton, L.I. in 1807 or 8 and returned a clerk to Wm. Smith - was married in 1814 and went into business as a wholesale grocer with his former employer under the name of Smith and Mills.

Yours affectionally


To: Ethelbert Mills

42 Divinity Hall

Cambridge, Mass.