Benjamin Milam, John Milam Jr & Thomas Milam

Their Lives in Laurens County, SC, based upon Court Records

One surprise finding in these records is that Benjamin Milam also relocated to Laurens County, SC, and bought land there. It was long known that John Jr and Thomas had removed to Laurens County from Halifax County, VA. John Jr was mentioned in Deed Book B as early as 15 DEC 1786. Ironically, Benjamin preceeded Thomas Milam in purchasing land when he bought 200 acres on both sides of Norths Creek on 9 DEC 1791. A week later Thomas bought 100 acres on 16 DEC 1791. All three Milams were still living in Laurens County in 1800 - I'm not sure why it was believed that Benjamin returned to Halifax County, VA, or why it was believed that he and Judith had no children.

A review of their Halifax County and Laurens County court records, in particular deeds, confirms the names of their wives and provides approximate dates for their leaving Halifax. In Laurens County we learn that John Milam Jr was first appointed a Constable on 14 MAR 1788. And we see the brothers acquiring land and acting as witnesses for each other's land purchases.

At the bottom of this page, I provide links to the books (in .pdf format) where I resourced these records in case you would like to download them for your genealogy.

 

HALIFAX COUNTY, VA

From these Halifax County records we learn some details of these men's lives: the size of their farms, the location, any restrictions which John Sr might have placed upon their deed and, when they sold their land, the name of their wife if they were married at the time.

 

Benjamin Milam

DEED BOOK 14

2 FEB 1785, Pages 193 - 194: "This Indenture between John Milam Sr and Benjamin Milam in consideration of the sum of twenty five Current Money of Virginia "one parcel of land whereon the said Benjamin now lives...Beginning at a bunch of Alders on Thomas Milam's Spring branch...meanders to Samuel McCraw's line...containing one hundred and fifty acres more or less. Signed John "his mark" Milam. Witnesses: Bartle Milam, Thomas (x) Milam, Samuel McCraw."

19 DEC 1787, pages 192 - 193. "This Indenture between Benjamin Milam and William Bowmar Jun "in Consideration of fourty seven Pounds ten Shilling Current Money of Virginia assigns on certain tract of Land situate of the waters of Bradley creek containing by estimation one hundred and fifty acres". Signed: Benjamin (x) Milam. Judith, the wife of Benjamin Voluntarily Relinguished her right of Dower."

It appears that Benjamin first removed to York County, South Carolina, since he is found on the 1790 census in the Camden District of York County. Recall that his father, John Sr, signed his will and died in York County in 1789. Benjamin was mentioned in his will. As you shall read below Benjamin joined John Jr in Laurens County by late 1791.

 

John Milam Jr

From John Jr’s Revolutionary War declaration we should recall that he was born on 12 JUN 1753 in Brunswick County, Virginia, that he joined the 7th Regiment of Virginia in the Army of the United States in the Spring of 1776 and served for two years. Later he was drafted for 4 months into the Halifax County Militia when Virginia was threatened by British forces in western South Carolina to defend against the Siege of the 96th District fort (May - June 1781). Afterward he returned to Halifax County and a few months later bought his first land. View John Jr’s  declaration here (link)

DEED BOOK 12

__ SEP 1781, pages 134 - 135: "This indenture between Nathaniel Hall and John Milam for the Sum of Five Thousand Pounds current money of Virginia assigns "a certain Tract of land containing by Estimation one hundred acres bounded by.... along line to Bartlett Milam and Halls land." Signed Nathaniel Hall. Elizabeth, his wife, renounced her dower and signed with her mark."

28 FEB 1784, page 426: "This Indenture between “John Milam Jun” and Robert Tucker for the sum of twenty five Pounds Current Money "all that Tract of Land lying between Bradley's Creek and Flouses branch Containing by Estimate one hundred acres". Signed John Milam and his wife, Nancy (x), her mark. John’s wife, Nancy, relinquished her dower by making her mark, an “x”." John Jr was sufficiently literate that he wrote his name.

John Jr had removed to Laurens County in 1784 - 1785 before John Sr died in York County in 1789. John Jr is mentioned in his father's will.

 

Thomas Milam

DEED BOOK 12

20 FEB 1783, pages 270 - 271. "This Indenture between John Milam and Thomas Milam in Consideration of ____ Pounds lawful money of Virginia assigns one certain Tract of land containing one hundred and fifty acres of land more or less situate on the branches of Bradley creek....and the said John Milam doth not allow the said Thomas Milam or his heirs to dispose of the land by sale during the life of the said John Milam. Signed: John his mark Milam. No witnesses."

18 SEP 1783, page 356. "This Indenture between Thomas & John Milam on the one part and Joseph Clark in consideration of fifty pounds of Current Money of Virginia assign one certain Tract of Land containing one hundred and fifity acres more or less. Signed: Thomas (x) Milam, John "his mark" Milam. No witnesses. No Dower was mentioned."

{ From the Halifax County Index to Marriages, Thomas Milam married Elizabeth Tolbert on 12 JUN 1786 which is why no Dower was mentioned in this 1783 sale deed. }

Thomas was not only named in John Milam Sr's will dated 3 JUN 1789 in York County but he also was named Executor of his father's will. When John Sr died a couple of months later this obligated Thomas to be in South Carolina. The 1790 South Carolina census lists a Thomas Milam in Laurens County of the Ninety-Six District.

 

LAURENS COUNTY, SC

MINUTE BOOK (1786 - 1789)

12 MAR 1788, page 89: "John Blackwell vs John Milam. Trespass. By consent this suit is ordered to be dismissed. Each party paying their own cost.

14 MAR 1788, page 94: "The court proceeds to appoint Constables for Laurens County when the following persons were appointed, to wit: Edward Gidien, John Owins,  John Entrekin, ___, ___, ___, ___, ___, John Milam, ___ and ___ . Ordered the Justices administer the Oath of Office to the above Mentioned Persons ....

6 JUN 1788, page 232: "The following persons were Drawn to serve as Constables at this Court, To wit: John Milam, John Owins, John Entrekin.

16 SEP 1789, page 321: "This day John Milam came into Court & was sworn according to law, Constable. Also Lewis Wells is appointed Constable & was duly sworn in open Court.

{NOTE: entries for Benjamin and Thomas Milam were not made from 1786 - 1789.}

 

DEED BOOK B

15 DEC 1786, page 96 - 97: "George Anderson to Meriah Goodman “both sides of North Creek containing 14 acres”. Borders on James Burnsides, Robert Young, John Milam, etc. Signed George Anderson, Molly Anderson

{ So John Jr was his leasing land at the time. Thus far this is the first record found for John Milam Jr in Laurens County, SC. }

16 JUL 1788, pages 420 -421: "Wm Dendy and Clary his wife to John Milam for £145 sell on both sides of Little River containing 220 acres....Signed Wm Dendy, Clary Dendy. No witnesses

 

DEED BOOK C

10 DEC 1788, page 308: "John Milam and Nancy his wife to Thomas Wilks and Francis Lester sell for £125 one Tract of land on waters of Norths Creek containing 160 acres....Signed: John Milam and Nancy (x) Milam. Witnesses: Ambrose Hall, James Clardy. Recorded 7 MAR 1791.

 

DEED BOOK D

9 DEC 1791, pages 203 - 204: "Silvanus Walker and Sarah his wife to Ambrose Hall for £10 sold for Lb 10 a certain tract of land on waters of Norths Creek containing 40 acres more or less. Witness: Benjamin (x) Milam, Thomas Jones. Witness Oath by Benjamin (x) Milam 18 FEB 1792  Recorded  24 JUL 1792.

{ Thus far this is the first record found for Benjamin Milam in Laurens County, SC.}

16 DEC 1791, page 161: "Robert Hall and Mary his wife to Thomas Milam for £30 of lawful money sell one certain tract of land in said county on both sides of Norths Creek containing 100 acres more or less located on both sides of North Creek.... Bound: Thomas Dendy. Wittness: Sylvaner Walker, Jphnathan Johnson. Sgned Robert Hall, Mary (x) Hall. Witness Oath of Sylvanus Walker 15 MAY 1792. Recorded 16 MAY 1792.

{ Thus far this is the first record found for Thomas Milam in Laurens County, SC. }

 

DEED BOOK E

9 DEC 1791, pages 38 - 39: "Silvanus Walker [sic] to Benjamin Milam for £30 sold one certain Tract of land containing 200 acres more or less. Witness: Thomas Jones, Ambrose Hall, John Milam. Oath of John Milam and Thomas Jones Given 18 JUL 1792. Recorded 27 AUG 1793.

22 AUG 1793, page 40: "Jesse Owley and Keziah his wife to Thomas Milam for £20 sold one certain Tract of land on the North side of Norths Creek containing 50 acres more or less....Witnesses: Benjamin (x) Milam, John Milam. Witness oath by Benjamin (x) Milam 27 AUG 1793. Recorded 27 AUG 1793.

17 FEB 1794, pages 113 - 114. "John Milam & Nancy his wife to Crystopher Roland for £30 one certain tract of Land on the S side of Little River containing 30 acres more or less. Witness Ezekl Roland, Mansfield Walker. Signed: John Milam, Nancy (x) Milam. Witness oath by Ezekiel Roland 17 FEB 1794. Recorded 17 FEB 1794.

18 JUL 1794, pages 260 - 261: "John Milam & Nancy his wife to Mansfield Walker for £50 sold one certain Tract of Land containing 180 acres more or less. Situate on both sides of Little River. Witness: Edmond Grinage, James (x) Ramsey. Signed: John Milam, Nancy (x) Milam. Witness oath by Edmond Grinage 18 JUL 1794. Recorded 18 JUL 1794.

2 OCT 1794, pages 299 - 300: "Robert Sims (Laurens County) in consideration of Love and Affection I bear toward my Loving friend, Drury Boyce, give all my goods, one Negro wench, Atha; four Head of Cattle; two feather beds and furniture; Silver Watch; with all I now posses in my Dwelling house in said county. Witness: Flemen (x) Hatcher, Nancey (x) Hatcher. Signed: Robert Sims. Witness oath of Fleman (x) Hatcher 24 OCT 1794

 

DEED BOOK F

9 OCT 1791, pages 391 - 392: "Thomas Wadsworth & William Turpin to John Milam for Lb 45 sold all that Tract of Land containing 150 acres more or less on the E side of Little River.... Witness Silv. Walker, Joseph (J) Groves. Signed Thomas Wadsworth. Witness by oath of Silv. Walker 1 DEC 1798. [No record date] { This should have been recorded years before. }

17 JUL 1799, pages 454 - 455: "John Milam for $300 paid by Reuben Carter, sold all that tract of land containing by Estimation 100 acres more or less in said county being part of 300 acres originally granted to John Cargill 31 OCY 1769 and by him conveyed to Cornelius Cargill his son.....Border Little River...James Young, Thomas Denny, Ambrose Hall. Witness: Abram Hall, Henry Hall. Signed: John Milam. Dower relinguished by Nancy (x) Milam, wife of John Milam 17 JUL 1799.

{ As far as these deed books are concerned, none of these brothers had removed from Laurens County, SC, before 1800 since none had sold all his property. }

 

Since the Library of Virginia does not have microfilm records for South Carolina, my only sources were four books of abstracted records: Laurens County, SC, Court Minutes 1786 - 1789 by Brent H. Holcomb; Laurens County, SC, Deeds 1785 - 1793 by Larry Vehorn; Laurens County, SC, Deeds 1794 - 1800 by Larry Venorn and Index to County Wills of South Carolina compiled by Martha Lou Houston. I have scanned the pertinent Milam pages to prepare small .pdf booklets of each. You may download them for your records by clicking on the word "here".

Laurens County, SC, Court Minutes 1786 - 1789 You may view it here (link) .

Laurens County, SC, Deeds 1785 - 1793 You may view it here (link) .

Laurens County, SC, Deeds 1794 - 1800 You may view it here (link) .

Index to County Wills of South Carolina You may view it here (link) .

 

Possible Issue of John Milam Sr

These estimated birth dates are modified from Robert Wilbanks IV's estimates.

I. Edward, Born by 1733 - ??

II. Grace Milam, Born "circa 1740" - ?

III. Samuel Milam, Born by 1740 - ?

IV. James Milam, Born by 1741 - ?

V. Adam Milam, Born by 1744 - ?

VI. Bartlett {Ferrill} Milam, Born "circa 1748" - Brunswick County

VII. Edmund Milam, Born by 1749 - Brunswick County

VIII. Benjamin Milam, Born "circa 1750" - Brunswick County

IX. John Milam, Jr., Born 12 JUN 1753 - Brunswick County

X. Thomas Milam, Born "circa 1757" - Brunswick County

XI. Nancy Milam, Born - ?

 

If one assumes that the definite descendants of John Milam Sr are the persons mentioned in John Sr's Will plus those eventually found in Halifax County where John Sr spent much of his adult life, the remainder are: Edward (born by 1733), Adam (by 1744) and Edmund (by 1749) - all found in Brunswick County but not in Chesterfield County or Halifax County - who might not be John Sr's children.

In theory, Edward could be much older - old enough to be the father of Adam and Edmund. In 2019 - three hundred years later - it's really a guessing game.............Or is it?

The fact is this conjecture puts us back close to 1711 when a passenger, John Mylam, sailed from Bristol, England, to Virginia on board the galley Cranfield referenced in The Complete Book of Emigrants 1700 – 1750! [5]

SPECULATION: This John Mylam from Great Britain might have been the father of John Sr, Thomas and Edward Milam. Instead of focusing on the Boston MILAMs of the 1600s maybe we should focus on this 1711 Virginia immigrant!

 

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