The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 79, July 1975 - April, 1976 Page: 131
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The Making of a Secessionist
his personal property at $2,250. During 1863 Charles Henley Mills drew
up his will in which he left Tabitha the farm and six slaves, already having
given each child approximately $I,ooo in wedding presents usually com-
posed of land or slaves; a horse, saddle, and bridle; bedroom furniture;
and in some cases cash. The request in his will that good homes be found
for any slaves who were sold and that husbands and wives not be separated
unreasonable distances indicated a paternalistic outlook toward those in-
volved in the peculiar institution. He died on March 6, 1864, before the
Thirteenth Amendment removed their fate from his hands. Tabitha Mills
died early in 1873 at seventy-seven and was buried beside Charles in what
later became known as the Mills Pioneer Cemetery outside Salem.6
Roger learned to read the Bible from his mother, who gave birth to
another son and two daughters in the 1830s and took them all to the
Predestination Baptist Church of Christ. Charles served the congregation
as business agent in the purchase of land for a new meeting house. As a
boy Roger assisted his father in making cigars and in harvesting and pre-
paring flax to be woven into cloth by his mother and sisters. In his teens
he rode six miles to attend the academy of Dickey and Horner in Elkton,
which claimed among its other students Benjamin H. Bristow, a future
secretary of the treasury under President Ulysses S. Grant. By joining the
school debating society Roger gave the first indication of an inclination
toward public speaking.7
Roger Mills watched most of his older brothers and sisters marry and
leave home as he himself matured. Letters to their parents from his sister
Sarah, who had moved to Palestine, Texas, after her marriage, stirred the
(microfilm, Indiana State Library), 2I; Deed Records of Todd County, Kentucky
(County Courthouse, Elkton), Book K, 403, Book L, 324, Book M, I63, 281, Book P,
I2, 274, Book S, 191-195; Deed Records of Livingston County, Kentucky (County
Courthouse, Smithland), Book I, p. 246, Book 3, pp. I34, 287; Seventh Census of the
United States, 1850, Schedule I, Free Inhabitants, Livingston County, Kentucky (micro-
film, Indiana State Library), 48; ibid., Schedule 4, Agriculture, 95-96.
6Eighth Census of the United States, I86o, Schedule I, Free Inhabitants, Livingston
County, Kentucky (microfilm, Indiana State Library), 188-189; Will Book B, Livingston
County, Kentucky (County Courthouse, Smithland), 265-272; William Henry Perrin
(ed.), County of Christian, Kentucky: Historical and Biographical (Chicago, 1884),
388; Neel, Trigg County, 69; Fannie Yater to Dear Brother, March 29, 1873, Roger Q.
Mills Papers (Archives, University of Texas Library, Austin). References to the Mills
Papers at The University of Texas Archives will hereafter be cited as Mills Papers
7United States Congress, Congressional Record, 53rd Cong., 2nd Sess., XXVI, Pt. 4,
p. 4022; ibid., 5oth Cong., Ist Sess., XIX, Pt. 6, p. 5069; ibid., 55th Cong., Ist Sess.,
XXX, 1764-1765; Dallas Morning News, September 3, IgI ; Sixth Census of the United
States, I840, Todd County, Kentucky, 21; Deed Records of Todd County, Kentucky,
Book P, I76.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 79, July 1975 - April, 1976, periodical, 1975/1976; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101203/m1/163/: accessed November 19, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.