In SEARCH of the DESCENDANTS of WILLIS McMILLAN
The History on this page is placed here to assist Lairold M. Street in finding any descendants of
Willis McMillan. Willis was one of the slaves of Daniel McMillan of Richmond County, NC.
About 1836 McMillan moved his family and slaves to Alabama.
Susan McMillan and Jacob Christian and her sister, Hannah McMillan and Nathaniel
Coleman were married at the same time in Midway, Barbour County, Alabama. This was the 11th day of
November 1865. Susan and Hannah were the daughters of Willis McMillan. Lairold is a g-g-g-grandson
of Jacob and Susan.
Relatives may still reside in the vicinity of Richmond County in North Carolina, and extended family
in Alabama or Washington, D.C., or elsewhere. If you have any information on a member of this family
please contact Lairold M. Street. Your help is appreciated.
Thank you. Posted November 20, 2000
Jacob Christian, " Pap Jake " , was born in South Carolina, 1822; his wife, Susan McMillan-Christian,
(also spelled " McMillian " ) part Cherokee, was born about 1824. They had thirty-two grandchildren.
The couple was officially married 11/10/1865 according to Freedman's Bureau records. Once freedom came, they
left their respective plantations and moved to a nearby farm owned by Jimmie Feagan and sister, Dixie.
The Christians had a large family of eleven children, two of whom died in infancy. Nine children survived:
Aaron born, 1852; David, 1859; Willis, 1861; James, 1862; Charlotte or " Lottie " , 1863; Jackson
or " Jack " , 1864; Adam, 1869; Jake Jr., 1873; and Elizabeth, 1876. Orphan records note Jacob's
eldest son, Aaron was 20, and valued at $1,300 when in 1862 he accompanied his master, Nathan Lewis, a minor,
" in the Confederate States army " as a personal aide. Nathan was born 1841, died 4/26/1908.
Elizabeth and James attended Tuskegee University and became teachers. Jacob died in Hurtsboro, 104; and Susan
in Midway in her 90s.
Susan's 76-year-old father, Willis McMillian, born in North Carolina, lived with Jacob and Susan on the
Feagin and Orum plantation, and in 1880 with his granddaughter, Susan Faulk. According to master Daniel
McMillan's 1851 estate recorded in Barbour County, Willis and his several children were distributed among
Daniel's family. Willis was valued at $500, his children: Harriet-$400, Sarah-$350, Jack-$ 1,000, David-$500,
Hannah-$750, Susan-$725, Tip-$700 and Mingo-$950.
In 1882, Willis' son. Jack, founded the Saint James C.M.E. Church in Midway. Later, he helped build the Old
Merritt Elementary School in 1922. Both buildings are Alabama landmarks and the Merritt school is a registered
national historic site.
Two of Jacob and Susan's grandchildren lived a century and learned much about the family. Mamie
Christian-Burkes, born 1897, and died, 1/2/1997, 100 years old; and her cousin, Annie B. Jordan-Hill
or " Splow " , born 5/21/1896 to Ambues Jordan and Lottie Christian and died, 3/3/1998, 102 years old;
they were the family historians. Mamie's parents were Elizabeth Christian and Dr. Ellick Allen of
Union Springs. Later Elizabeth married James Burkes. Mamie and Annie took different paths. Annie
attended Alabama State in Montgomery, then taught school in Russell County, became a nurse, returned to
Midway and operated a general store and gas station, where she generously supported family and community.
Mamie achieved respect from the black and white community in Ohio where she lived during the Depression
where she had a large garden that fed many who were in need. Later, she worked as a hotel maid, and a
cafeteria worker for Republic Steel. Having only a sixth-grade education, Mamie was a wonderful
quilter, self-taught and she loved history and geography. She had seven children; Annie had twelve.
Jacob's granddaughters became the family story-tellers who followed in the tradition of African
story-tellers. They spoke about family traditions; what they heard of slavery and plantation days;
working on halves and sharecropping after the Civil War;
and they often talked about Jacob's loss of his mother, Lottie Christian, when she and her six other
children were sold in Midway " to a man going to Texas " . Nearly 150 years after bondage, generations
later, a Washington, D.C. descendant of Jacob found information that helped reconstruct the family
history and reunite some of Lottie's Texas descendants in Camp and Upshur Counties with the Alabama
family. Several families with the CHRISTIAN surname still live in the Shiloh area of Upshur County.
Lottie Christian, born 1810, a slave in South Carolina, was the matriarch of the Christian family; she
had nine children, seven sons and two daughters. No one recalls the daughters' or Lottie's husband's name;
perhaps he was sold to another family, ran away, was killed, or died from illness. Despite his absence,
Lottie raised her children.
Lottie's family migrated with their masters from South Carolina to Alabama around 1840. Before the Civil
War, the family was split apart. All of Lottie's children except Jacob were sold. Gideon Christian,
born S.C., and wife, Carrie Christian, born Alabama, likely purchased them and took them to Texas to
grow cotton and tobacco. During slavery, members of Lottie's family possibly passed from Gideon Christian, Sr.,
and wife Sarah, born S.C. about 1780; Gideon, Jr. and wife, Jane Boulware, bom S.C. about 1804, (later moved
to Tallapoosa County, Alabama); Lewis Christian (bom South Carolina 1825); and finally on to Gideon and
Carrie in Texas.
Mamie remembers that the master " sold kids like they sell pigs and hogs " . Jacob remained alone
with his master Lewis Christian in Midway, Barbour County, (presently Midway in Bullock County) to serve as
his buggy driver. Around 1906 Jacob's brothers, Hal and Adam, returned to Alabama to visit relatives in Midway
for a week. Mamie remembered their visit when she was a very young girl. She said, " When they came up
to see him, [Jacob] just cried and cried all the time they were there. You see when they was sold, that broke
his heart ... sellin' his mother and all [his] brothers. " After this visit, his brothers were never seen again.
Not until 1999 did relatives learn Lotties' other Texas sons were: Abe, Butcher, Jeff and Teamer Christian.
According to the 1870 and 1880 U.S. census, Lottie lived with son, Jeff Christian, where she died around 1885.
Jacob Christian's son Jack married Carrie,Humphrey, born 7/18/1864 in Midway. Her parents, Willis and Matilda
Humphrey were bom in Georgia. Carrie married Jack Christian about 1885. They had two children: Alien
Christian, " Touga " , and Elbert Christian, " Sugar Plum. " After Jack died, about 1908, Carrie later married
Ambrose Jordan and had several other children: Sarah, Aaron, Annie Mae, Ambrose, Jr., and Carrie C. After
Ambrose's death, Carrie Humphrey moved to Akron, Ohio, where she died in 1955 near her children.
Willis and Matilda's other children were: Mariah Humphrey-Pearson, Sarah Humphrey-Banks, Mary Humphrey-Cobb,
and " Chrisy " , who relatives only knew by first name. Sons were: Jerry, Elbert and Peter. In 1900, Jerry
Humphrey, wife Mollie, and nine children lived in Union Springs. Carrie's sister, Mariah Humphrey, married
Issac Pearson and their son, Jacob, Sr. married Marian Gilis.
The Christians are a large family scattered around America. Some families connected to the Christians from
Bullock County are: BURKES, FAULK, HILL, HUMPHREY, JORDAN, McCALL, McMILLAN, PEARSON or PIERSON and SCOTT.
According to Mamie Burkes, " the slaves were freed May 28,  and they did not know they were free until
that July 4th. " Subsequently, the " former slaves return home on May 28 each year for great fellowship and
dinner " and to celebrate freedom and family. Ambrose Jordan's mother, A-M-E-R-I-C-A JORDAN, born a slave
1850 and died free, stands as a metaphor or allegory reminding family of God's miracle wrought at the holy
Jordan River, symbolizing jubilee and triumph over bondage.
(1100 words) Submitted by Lairold (Larry) M. Street, 1337 Hamilton Street, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20011.
Sources: oral interviews of family members in Ohio, Mamie Burkes; Alabama, Annie B. Hill; Texas, David
Cummingham; Hermetta Williams of Alabama; and Charles Christian of Maryland and Texas, see Christian,
Charles, " Black Saga: The Africa American Experience " (1995). Also, used Probate records, Death Certificates,
Freedman's Bureau documents, United States Census materials and finally, family records and Christian
Family Reunion programs; Street, Lairold M. " Mamie Burkes' Life Between 1897-1997 in the Cotton Fields of
Alabama to Industrial Ohio (1998): Fay Gaston, " Historic Markers Are Erected " , Union Springs Herald.
February 24,1999, at 9; Faye Gaston, " Marker Dedicated for Old Merritt School " , Union Springs Herald.
April 7,1999, at 3; and sources for research on Christian (Alabama and Texas), McMillan, Humphrey and Jordan families
of Bullock County see: Street, Lairold M. " Seeking Members of the Christian Family " , The Winnsboro New
(Texas^ April 20,1995 at 3; Street, Lairold M. " History Sought on former Slaves " , The Eufaula Tribune.
May 13,1998; Street, Lairold M., " Help Sought Here On Kinfolk Search " , The Gilmore Mirror. Gilmer. Texas.
Nov. 3-7,1998; and Street, Lairold M., " Reader Searches for Information on Family, Past " , Opelika-Auburn News.
1851 ESTATE AND WILL OF DANIEL MCMILLAN:
The McMillan Estate was actually recorded in the Probate office of Clayton County, Alabama. Based on the
information contained in Daniel McMillan's Estate and Will of 1851, it appears that Susan (McMillan)
Christian and her entire family were sold, and then separated among the slave owners, the McMillan family.
Edited and translated by: Lairold M. Street.
THE STATE OF ALABAMA AND BARBOUR COUNTY
Be it remembered that a Probate Court by and held in and for said Barbour county on the 10th day State of
Alabama of January [ ], 1353 present & presiding, W.R. Barbour County Cowen Judge of said Court, we the
undersigned commissioners appointed by the Judge of the probate are to divide the slaves of the Estate of
Daniel McMillan. Daniel McMillan of this county left a deed. After having been duly qualified, we have
divided the estate, first giving the widow of said deceased one-fifth of his slaves. The widow's lot
consisting of WILLIS valued at five hundred & fifty dollars; and HARRIET valued at four hundred dollars;
and SARAH valued at three hundred and fifty dollars. The widow's lot amounts to thirteen hundred dollars,
her part being fifteen hundred and fifteen dollars Lot No. 3/ [Pays] to the widow two hundred and fifteen
dollars. Charles McMillan Lot No. 1 JACK valued at one-thousand dollars and each share after the widow's
one-fifth having been taken from said slaves amounting to twelve hundred and twelve dollars. The fifth Lot is to [pay]
to the first lot two hundred & twelve & twelve dollars [Finlay McMillan 2nd MINGO] valued at Nine hundred and
fifty dollars, and to be paid by fourth Lot two hundred and thirty eight dollars, and by Lot No. five one dollar, and
also by lot No. [ ] three, twenty-three dollars. John McMillan, Lot No. 3 gets DAVID, valued at five
hundred and fifty dollars being valued at five hundred and fifty Dollars. Also, Lot No. 3 pays to the widow, two hundred
and fifteen dollars and to Lot No. 2, twenty three dollars.
Edward McMillan Lot No. four receives HANNAH, valued at seven hundred and seventy-five dollars and
SOLOMON valued at six hundred and seventy-five dollars, while Lot No. 4 pays to Lot No. 2, two hundred and
thirty-eight dollars. (Finlay] McMillan Receives the fifth Lot consisting of SUSAN, a girl, valued
at seven hundred and twenty-five dollars and [Tio ], a boy, valued at seven hundred dollars. Lot No. 5 pays to
Lot No. 1, two hundred and twelve dollars, and also pays to Lot No. 2 one-dollar, this December the 30th 1852.
The under signed Commissioners: A H King, Hinckley Green and David Calaway.
For Barbour County, J.H. Tipkin a Justice of the Peace, I do hereby certify that the above commissioners
were duly qualified by me, and that the above Estate was assigned before and the Seal is mine, dated this
December the 30, 1852. (Signed) Haywood Tipkin (seal) , a Justice of the Peace ordered that the Report
of the Commissioners appointed by the court to divide the negro sale of the Estate of Daniel McMillan.
Name of persons and the value price;
Willis--$550, Harriet--$400, Sarah--$350 (Widow)
Jack--$l,000 (Charles McMillan) Mingo--$950
David--$550 (John McMillan (Lot No. 3)
Hannah--$750, Solomon--$650 ; (Edward McMillan (Lot No. 4))
Susan--$725, Tip --$700, Mingo--$950 (Finlay or Fairlay (Lot No.5)
November 01, 2007
Thank you for the well researched information on the DESCENDANTS of WILLIS McMILLAN that you shared on behalf of Lairold M. Street
My 90 year old father grew up in Midway, AL and the town and surrounding area is dear to my heart.
I am interested in its history and its families. I know Hermetta Williams, who is one of your references.
"Jacob Christian was born in South Carolina, 1822; his wife, Susan McMillan-Christian, (also spelled "McMillian")
-- Once freedom came, they left their respective plantations and moved to a nearby farm owned by Jimmie Feagan
and sister, Dixie." "Susan's 76-year-old father, Willis McMillian, born in North Carolina, lived with Jacob and
Susan on the Feagan and Owen [ORUM] plantation...."
I am descended from Samuel Feagin, grandfather of "Jimmie and Dixie Feagin", so I was interested to read the reference
to them in the McMillan family history. This would be: James Madison Feagin and Nancy Dixie Feagin Orum.
NOTE: Dixie Feagin married Gustavas A. Orum, so it would be the "Feagin and Orum plantation", rather than
Feagan & Owen. An Orum descendent lives on that property currently. I can share information with you on the exact
location of this Feagin-Orum property. I can also share the 1920 census page that shows this connection.
You mention: "Jacob's granddaughters became the family story-tellers who followed in the tradition of African
story-tellers. They spoke about family traditions; what they heard of slavery and plantation days...."
QUESTION: Do you or any of the McMillian descendents have any information on Federal troops coming through Enon, AL
[north of Midway, AL] or Midway, AL near the end of the WBTS in 1865? "Matt Tarver,a respected colored man in Midway,
94 years old in 1957, was born in Enon and loves to talk of the time the Yankees came through."
[In Collections and Recollections of Bullock County History, there is a section entitled, "A Sketch of the Early
History of Midway, AL," by Sara Orum Hall, which was written in about 1930.
"Samuel Feagin, settled in the woods of Bullock Co [then Barbour Co.], near Midway [between Midway & Enon], and
established his family at what is still sometimes called "the Old Feagin Place"." She describes the June 5, 1872
Midway Sunday School picnic which was held in the magnificent grove of grand old oaks at the residence of Major
Feagin. The scene was very different from that only seven years earlier  when about 600 Federal soldiers
I have a little information on a Juda CHRISTIAN, born in AL. and her 3 sons, also born in AL.; all living in
Midway in 1880. I do hope that you and Lairold M. Street will benefit from what I have to share and that you can
answer my question!! Sincerely, Eugenia Branscomb Hobday
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