A History of the Earliest Milams in Virginia

Long before our Revolutionary War, Milams made their way to the Colony and Dominion of Virginia. John Mylam {Mylum} of Bristol, England, was Master of the sailing vessel John and he made at least two voyages to Virginia, one in October 1699 and a second in January 1701. [1, 2] It may have been his death in Virginia which was administered in the Church of England's Prerogative Court of Canterbury, London in December 1701. American Wills and Administrations in the Prerogative Court of Canterbury, 1610 – 1857 states in part: "Milam, John, of Bristol, who died in Virginia. Administration to Dorothy, wife of Richard Dyer, aunt and guardian of the children, John and Elizabeth Milam". [3] A James Millam is documented as master of the vessel Cumberland from 1709 to 1711 sailing from the port of Whitehaven near the Isle of Man. However, the ink is so faded in the microfilms of cargo records that the destinations can't be read. [4] In 1711, a passenger, John Mylam, sailed from Bristol to Virginia on the galley Cranfield referenced in The Complete Book of Emigrants 1700 – 1750. [5]

By the early 1760s, court records document Milams in at least four counties in the Colony of Virginia: an Adam Milam in Dinwiddie County [6], a John Milam in Chesterfield County [7], a John Milum in Halifax County [8] and Thomas Mylam [9, 10] in Culpeper (before 1749, Orange) County. The relationship between these Milams is not known although some theorize that John of Halifax and Thomas of Culpeper Counties were brothers - primarily because of their similar age and their location in the Piedmont of Virginia. Nothing has been proven however. What does seem certain is that most Milams in the United States are descended from these two men.

I am a descendent of Thomas Mylam's youngest son, Rush, who was mentioned in Thomas' Will (image). [126] For that reason I am initially researching the lives of Thomas and his sons in Orange, later named Culpeper County and in Bedford County after Thomas' move there in 1761 . This led me to search for the exact location of his property in these counties and to discover his wife, Mary Rush, and her father, William Rush IV, a County Constable who farmed just to the southeast. You may view their land plats on a current map by clicking here (image). Although the ancestors of Thomas Mylam are still unknown, William Rush IV's lineage [11] can be traced to his great grandfather, William Rush I, who immigrated to Virginia between 1635 and 1650. [12, 13] His portion of Northumberland County was partitioned off as Westmoreland County in 1653 where there are many records for "William Rush (s)". A history of the Rush family of Westmoreland County may be found under the Rush Family tab or by clicking here (link) .

The photos at the top of this page show in the distance the north side of Doubletop Mountain where Thomas Mylam had 203 acres along the "south fork of the Robinson River", present day Rose River. The first photo was taken from the Skyline Drive in the Shenandoah National Park just north of Big Meadows looking southeast ~ 5 miles north of Milam's Gap. The summit of Doubletop is just right of center.

If you hover your mouse over it, a second photo appears which was taken from the summit of Old Rag Mountain looking south to Doubletop. Thomas Mylam's property is in the center of view. On the far left, East, where Doubletop descends to join the Robinson River valley lies the land of the Rush brothers, William and Benjamin. The summit of Doubletop is at the far right, West. In the foreground running the width of the photo is the south slope of Old Rag. Full credit to Robert Vernon for locating Mylam's land for me.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

NOTE TO READERS: All the words in bold type face are links to photographs, maps or word definitions in the Glossary. I urge you to explore by left clicking on them. Once you have clicked a link, it will be displayed in dark red type. Many of the images have "roll–overs" whereby, if you hover your cursor over the image, a second image appears - as above. In the case of historical documents, the second image will be a typed transcription of the colonial script as demonstrated here. Citations are enclosed within brackets [ ] and are found on the Citation link under Resources. Clarifications within my writing will be found within ( ) and within direct quotes will be found within { }. Since the spelling of the "Milam" name often varies even within a single document, I will sometimes revert to the generic "Milam" rather than using the various spellings.

Try clicking on "Will " (image) in the text above and this word: Hogshead - be sure to click "Image" at the end of this definition too.


To Top