Biographical Sketches of Leading Citizens
Lawrence County Pennsylvania 1897
[p. 591] Of the sturdy farmers who furnish for the nation the supplies of food products Lawrence County has its full quota. Its men are known as citizens of long residence, who are closely bound to the grand old Keystone State, believing that it holds a position that is second in importance to no other commonwealth. Of such a stamp is James A. McMillin of Scott township, who is a farmer, descended from an ancestry of farmers.
Mr. McMillin laid a broad foundation for his life work, seizing every available advantage and raising himself to a high plane of manhood. For some time he was engaged in educational work, being well fitted to train the pliant mind of youth by his general character and preparation. He gave up this employment at the call of the Nation for its stanch supporters, choosing to put individual interests in the background and to serve his bleeding country first. Consequently his enlistment was a matter of formality soon ended satisfactorily, and on Aug. 6, 1862, Mr. McMillin became a member of Co. B, 134th Reg. Pa. Vol. Inf., under Capt. James McCune and Col. M. S. Quay. Day after day he toiled with his fellow-soldiers in the ranks, hoping and praying that right might not be forever on the scaffold and wrong forever on the throne. With the faith of disciplined obedience the soldiery of the North beheld "God within the shadows, ever watching o'er his own." Mr. McMillin's discharge came on May 26, 1863. He returned to his former vocation in which he achieved success, applying himself diligently to the great problem that faces every man—to earn a living for himself and those dependent on him; by doing farm work in the summer months Mr. McMillin accumulated the means to purchase a farm and become independent. In accordance with his early spirit of ambition Mr. McMillin did not drop from all connection with the outside world beyond the limits of his daily toil, but kept himself informed on the topics of the day, especially in the political field, evincing the true American fidelity to candidates of his party, the Republican. For ten years our subject dispensed justice in the official capacity of justice of the peace, and he was known as a man of probity and fairness. The same intelligence displayed in material affairs extended to those of spiritual well-being, and the McMillins have ever measured their lives by the standards and conformities of the United Presbyterian Church.
Mr. McMillin entered into a matrimonial alliance with Sarah Emery of Scott township, and their home life has been blessed in the births of two children: Jennie, who resides at home, and John L., who is attending the Normal School of Slippery Rock. The young people inherit the mental activity of their parents, and are favorites in the neighborhood of their home.
Some information in regard to the parentage of Mr. McMillin may be gleaned from the fact that his father grew up in Westmoreland and Beaver counties, Pa., where he was esteemed a man of more than ordinary attainments and his life work ran on parallel lines with that of his son, as he, too, was an instructor and devoted himself to agriculture. About 1820 Archibald McMillin came to Beaver County and in a short time purchased a farm in Shenango township, where he remained thirteen years, at that time becoming the proprietor of an estate in Slippery Rock township, which became his permanent residence, being well located near Princeton. In addition to the routine of farming, Mr. McMillin surveyed section after section of land in his vicinity. At the disruption of the Whig party Mr. McMillin naturally fell into the ranks, marching under Republican banners, and worked effectually to further that party's power. In his official capacity of county surveyor Mr. McMillin displayed his public spirit and devotion to business, and for some years he laid down the law as justice of the peace, and also served as county commissioner of Beaver County before Lawrence was formed, in which position, he gave general satisfaction. In the person of Jane Aiken of Wayne township Mr. McMillin found a companion in every way worthy of her position in his affections; to the pair were born six children, five of whom endured life's struggle and grew,to mature years. Mary was united to Anderson Gardner and a quartet of children came to their family circle, Archibald W., Howard, Jennie, and Catherine. The second daughther, Catherine, became the wife of James A. Ray of New Castle. Edward M. espoused Sarah Johnson of Allegheny City. He was a gallant follower of "Old Glory" in many engagements of the late war, serving four years in the 100th Pa. Vol. Inf., known as the "Roundhead Regiment." Their home is now in the State of Illinois. Martha became the helpmeet of John E. Forbes of Slippery Rock township, and she bore two daughters, Annie and Jennie, afterwards responding to the summons of death when still a young woman. The McMillins held tenaciously to the usages of the U. P. Church, conforming their lives to its standards and many times observing the great law of kindness toward others less fortunate than themselves. Mr. McMillin lived until 1889, rounding out eighty-two years of existence; and Mrs. McMillin survived until 1894, passing away at eighty-four years of age.
Edward McMillin, father of Archibald and grandfather of James A. McMillin, was a Pennsylvanian, who loved the State next to his home and loved ones; about 1820 he located in Beaver County, where he operated a farm for twelve years, becoming a highly valued resident. As he was shrewd and energetic in business affairs, Mr. McMillin held a responsible position as a local leader of the Whig party. For his wife Mr. McMillin selected Agnes Lamont, a lady of Scotch parentage, and to them were born this family: Archibald, our subject's father; Sarah, deceased; Edward, who married Jane Leslie of Shenango township and has a daughter, Agnes (Chambers); James espoused Eliza Frew of Slippery Rock township, and they have two sons, Edward A. and J. Milton; Margaret became the wife of Joseph M. Burton of Scott township, and they have two children, J. Mansford and Mary (Balf) of New Castle; William married Ellen McMillin of Shenango township, and they have a large family of bright young people—Emma, Wesley, Dr. Herman E., Jennie M., Adaline, John C., Ellen, Matilda, and Martha C. As their descendants have clung to the U. P. Church, the family tendency to uprightness is manifested in an unusual degree. Few people gain such an honored place in the society in which they move, and few are as worthy as the McMillin family.
Biographical Sketches of Leading Citizens Lawrence County Pennsylvania
Biographical Publishing Company, Buffalo, N.Y., 1897
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Updated: 19 Jul 2001