Following is one of the Biographies and Stories which where gathered by Charles Sumner McKamy in the 1950s for publication in a Crawford County History Book. Unfortunately he passed away before the book was published.

I was born in Clark County, Illinois, on a farm about ten miles south of Martinsville, Ill. near what was known at that time as the Orange Post Office, the fourth child in a family of five born to William Whorton and Hattie Kessler Mills; each of my parents had been previously married and each had two children at the time of their marriage, so that the Mills family became a family of nine children.

My Father, William Whorton Mills, came to Crawford County from Ohio accompanied by his two brothers, Nelson and Wesley Mills and his four sisters about 1850; my Father and the sisters remained in Crawford County while the two brothers went further west, Nelson settling near Joppa, Missouri and Wesley in the then Indian Territory; William Whorton spent the first few years working as a farm hand in the neighborhood of Wesley Chapel, south of Palestine; he served two enlistments in the Civil War but did not see active service during either enlistment; about 1864 he was married to a Miss Wagner who lived near Flat Rock, who died about 1868 leaving two small children, William and Ella.

Hattie Kessler was born in Hamilton County, Ohio, September 20, 1844, the daughter of David and Mary Harter Kessler; her Father was born April 7, 1821 and Mother Jan. 27, 1823, and were married November 13, 1842. Mary Kessler died May 17, 1853 after which her Father again married; when Kesslers came to Crawford County they settled in the vicinity of New Hebron where they remained; the parents and other members of the family are buried in the New Hebron Cemetery.

December 11, 1862 Hattie Kessler married to Marshall Ford of near Flat Rock; to this union there were born two daughters, Ora and Flora; Marshall Ford died May 12, 1868 after which William Whorton Mills and Hattie Ford were married and to this union were born Ira E., in 1870, Charles F. in 1872, Daisy in 1876, Fred I. in 1879 and Estella in 1883. During the first years of their married life they resided in Missouri returning to Illinois in 1876 and settling on a farm in Clark County.

In 1884 during the time of the Kansas land boom, the head of the family decided to emigrate to Kansas and acquire some land that was reported to be so desirable and could be had for very little money, so an old fashioned farm sale was had at which time the few belongings of the family were sold with the exception of two teams of horses, two wagons and such small articles of furniture as could be carried in the wagons while traveling over land from Illinois to Kansas at a time when many of the roads were little better than byways, a few bed clothes, a chair or two and a few cooking utensils; the wagons were converted into prairie schooners, and the family left Martinsville in the fall of 1884 bound for the cheap lands of Kansas.

The trip required about six weeks; much of the time the weather was rainy, the roads were bad, progress was slow, and camping in the open at night was not too pleasant; meals were provided by cooking over the camp fires, biscuits were made in iron utensils, potatoes, occasionally some meat and eggs were available; to a family of healthy children out in the open all day, walking or riding in a farm wagon as they please it doesn't require much of an imagination to realize how eagerly the food was consumed; feed for the teams was purchased along the route and at times it was almost impossible to acquire from farmers along the way account of a near crop failure that year; at night some slept in the wagons, others on the ground under the wagons, under trees or out in the open, feather beds or inner spring mattresses were not available.

Many other families were traveling just as the Mills family; some of them had printed on the side of their wagon beds the words, "KANSAS OR BUST"; the Mills family being somewhat conservative and not given much to boasting, refrained from much advertising; they were content to go on their way without such an exhibition of determination, perhaps feeling they might be "busted" anyway.

After many long days of weary traveling the central part of Missouri was reached and it was noted each day that more wagons were met traveling east than was the case the day before; in conversation with some of them it was learned there was a crop failure in the Fair State of Kansas, the weather had been hot and dry all summer, the grasshoppers had been bad, the winds were scorching and they were returning to "God's Country"; as the days went by the wagons increased in number and many bore this inscription "KANSAS AND BUSTED". There was nothing more apparent in those people that the feeling of disappointment, discouragement and frustration.

Before arriving near the border, the Mills family became doubtful about the future is Kansas and upon arriving at the home of relatives, (some of the Nelson Mills family), a place was found that was available for rent and the journey came to an end for the time being; after spending the winter the return journey was begun ion the spring in the same manner of travel as was made in the fall; the caravan arrived by in due time that type of travel considered, and a location was found about 5 miles southwest of Robinson where a home was established with a large family and a very small amount of this world's goods, where the family was supported by farming and the making of sorghum molasses.

My first term of school was at the Mann where I continued for some 5 or 6 years; in the meantime the Kessler farm 1 ½ miles west of New Hebron was purchased and the family lived until October 1893, when the Father and Mother together with the two youngest children, Estella and myself moved to Robinson in order that better opportunities for education might be available.

I attended the grade and high schools and graduated in the class of 1899, working during the summer time my vacations I worked as a section hand in the Illinois Central Ry., the pay being 10 cents an hour and a ten hour day, with pay day coming once a month; in those days on a railroad, section hand done everything the hard way with the use of a shovel, a pick and crow bar and a jack; the section extended from Robinson to Stoy and travel; was on the old hand car where every one except the boss pumped the handle up and down with all his strength, and after a long day laboring on the track.

After finishing high school, I attended a term in a Barber School in Chicago, and hen operated for a time the shop on the northwest corner of the public square now owned by Laughead and Myers; after disposing of the shop an opportunity came to be employed in the new store just opened by Will C. Jones, Jr. and afterwards known as the Jones Clothing Store, where I remained as clerk and afterward as Manager until 1910 when I resigned and sold my interest; shortly after that I became interested in the clothing store owned by W.L. Stilwell on the east side of the square; in 1921 I with Jesse R. Sheets purchased the interest of Mr. Stilwell, where I remained actively engaged in the business until January 1, 1948, when I sold to Mr. Sheets; this partnership extended over a period of 43 years and was considered one of the very successful businesses in Robinson.

In September 1919 this partnership together with V.L. Mitchell opened a Clothing Store in Oblong; this partnership continued until the death of Mr. Mitchell in April 1950 and from then until January 1, 1952 was owned and operated by the two remaining partners, at which time it was sold to Paul Frances.

During the many years in which I was actively engaged in business I found time to always take an active part in many civic, social, fraternal and religious movements; I was one of the organizers of the Robinson Chamber of Commerce and served many years as a Director; served ten years on the City Council as Alderman and acting Mayor; served nine years on the County Board of Supervisors; one year as Chairman and one year as Chairman of the Board of Review; was for many years a member of the Board of Education of Robinson, most of that time serving as Clerk of the Board; was active in Red Cross and other drives during World War I; served as an Assistant Clerk of the County Exception Board during physical examinations; was one of the organizers and was Scout Master in one of the Boy Scout organizations in Robinson; was a charter member of the Crawford County Country Club and served as its Secretary for twelve years; a charter member of the Robinson Rotary Club, serving as its third President and as its Secretary for many years; served as a Director of the Robinson Building and Loan Association for twenty-five years and as its President for ten years and was always among the leaders in every movement for the betterment of Robinson.

I have always been interested in Republican Politics, taking an active part in most of its campaigns; at the present time I am Chairman of the Crawford County Republican central Committee and in March 1953 was appointed by Governor Stratton as a Member of the Parole and Pardon Board of the State.

For many years I have been very active in the Masonic Fraternity, not only in Robinson Lodge No. 250, but also throughout the State; served as Master of our Lodge in 1914 and 1915; was commissioned a Grand Lecturer in 1914; served as District Deputy Grand Examiner by Grand Master Grover Neimeyer where I served for seven years, the last two as Chairman; in 1941 I was elected Junior Grand Warden of the Masonic Grand Lodge of Illinois and advanced through the chairs becoming Grand Master in October 1947 and serving until October 1949; during those years I built a reputation throughout the United States as one of its outstanding Grand Masters; I was equally well and favorably known in several of the Canadian Provinces and much in demand as a Masonic speaker; in 1927 I was appointed a member of the Board of Grand Examiners of the Grand Royal Arch Chapter of Illinois, serving five years, three as Secretary and the last two as chairman; in 1932 I was elected in the line of Grand Chapter Officers and was regularly advanced until elected Grand High Priest in October 1941 serving one year in that office; I was a member of Olney Council Royal and Select Masters, Gorin Commandery No. 14. Knight Templar in Olney, Scottish Rite Bodies in Danville and the Shrine Medinah in Chicago; at Cleveland on September 27, 1944, I was created a Sovereign Grand Inspector General, 33rd Degree, Honorary Member of the Supreme Council; I also hold Honorary Memberships in several other Grand Lodges in the United States, a member of the Grotto and the Royal Order of Scotland; the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts presented me with the Henry Price Medal; and the Grand Lodge of Rhode Island presented me with the Christopher Champlin Medal; and the Grand Lodge of Saskatchewan honored me with the Degree of Honorary Past Grand Master of Saskatchewan.

For sixty years I have been a member of the First Methodist Church of Robinson; for a great many of those years I have took an active part in the church; as a young man I was active in the Young Peoples Organizations; was a regular attendant at Sunday School and later for some twenty-two years as Sunday School Superintendent; have been a member of the official board since 1917, President of the Board of Trustees for many years, Lay Leader and at the present time President of the Official Board; my work in the Church brings more satisfaction as I reflect on the activities of a busy life than any other activity in which I have engaged; the many years which I stood before a fine group of people and talked to them every Sunday morning out of my heart was a satisfaction beyond words to describe.

In 1902 I was married to Miss Maude Bradway, a member of one of the early and prominent families of Robinson, her father, James T. Bradway, was one of the leading business men in the community, having engaged in the Retail Grocery business and later he became an expert Miller in one of the large Flour Mills located in Robinson at that time.

In the later part of the 19th Century to this union were born two sons, Harry E., now living in Lincoln, Ill., and Clarence L. who was deceased in 1950. Mrs. Mills, their Mother, passed away in 1937.

In 1939, I and Mrs. Jean O'Haver Shassere of Chicago were married; Mrs. Shassere was an active business woman for many years and had gained a national reputation for being a most successful saleswoman in the steel industry, in fact, the only woman who had ever entered into the steel business; upon her marriage she gave up her business life and became a home maker and writer; her "Homely Homelies" are widely read and are written under the pen name of "Auntie Lou".

We own and live in our comfortable nice home at 400 North Jefferson Street in Robinson.

Obituary from Terre Haute Star December 1st

Rites Set Friday For Fred I. Mills -- Prominent Robinson Man Dies Suddenly

Robinson, Ill., Nov. 30 -- (Special) -- Funeral services for Fred I. Mills, president of the Robinson Building and Loan Association, who suffered a fatal heart attack early yesterday afternoon in the Mace Service Station at Terre Haute, will be at 2 o'clock Friday afternoon in the Robinson Methodist Church. Burial will be in New Cemetery.

The 75-year-old former clothing merchant and his wife were en route home after visiting with Mrs. Mills' sister, Mrs. Starke Neal, at 231 Adams Boulevard in Terre Haute. They had stopped to buy gasoline. He became ill while in the automobile and had died before the doctor could arrive.

A verdict of death due to a heart attack was returned by Dr. D.M. Ferguson, Vigo County coroner.

It is coincidental that it is only a few years since his brother-in-law, Mr. Neale, suffered a fatal heart attack while at the wheel of his automobile.

Mr. Mills had suffered with a heart condition for some time. He resigned in November, 1953, from the Illinois State Parole Board, to which he was appointed in February of that year by Governor William Stratton, because of his health.

A Past Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Illinois, which position he held two times, Mr. Mills was a thirty-third degree mason and help raise former Governor Dwight L. Green to the thirty-third. He was active in local Masonic circles and was a member of the Scottish Rite, Valley of Danville, and Ainad Shrine Temple at East St. Louis.

A former chairman of the Crawford County Central Republican committee, Mr. Mills had been active in the Republican Party for many years, serving as a precinct committeeman and master of chancery prior to his term as chairman.

His first wife died some time ago and several years ago he married the former Jean Shassere, noted as the only steel saleswoman in the country.

Besides the widow, he is survived by the son of his former marriage, Harry Mills of Lincoln, Ill.

The body was brought to the Lynn Root Funeral Home here.