Biography of S. N. McMillen of Washington Township

S. N. McMillen, a notable farmer and stock-raiser in Washington Township, was born in Hardeman County, Tennessee, in 1833 to Robert D. and Mary (Neely) McMillen. His father, Robert, born in 1794 near Knoxville, Tennessee, moved frequently, eventually settling in Dade County, Missouri, in 1837, where he became a prominent farmer. S. N. McMillen embarked on several expeditions, including to New Mexico, Oklahoma, and California, before settling back in Missouri. In 1865, he married Sarah A. Morris and had eight children. Active in local affairs, McMillen witnessed significant changes in Dade County over his lifetime.

S. N. McMillen, a prominent farmer and stock-raiser of Washington Township, was born in Hardeman County, W. Tenn., in 1833, and is the son of Robert D. and Mary (Neely) McMillen. Robert D. McMillen was born near Knoxville, Tenn., in May, 1 794, and after living in different parts of Tennessee, he moved with his parents to Mississippi, and was married in Monroe County, of that State, in 1 823, to Miss Neely. After marriage he removed to Hardeman County, Tenn., and in 1836 returned to Mississippi. One year later he came to what is now’ Dade County, settling in a small log cabin near South Greenfield, and there improved a good farm. He died there in 1868. All was wild and unbroken when he settled in Dade County, wild game was plentiful, and the nearest doctor was in Greene County. They were obliged to go to Springfield to mill, and the nearest post office was at Bolivar. Mr. McMillen handled a great deal of stock. Mrs. Mary M. (Neely)McMillen was born in Tennessee, and died when the subject of this sketch was but an infant. Of the eight children born to Mr. and Mrs. McMillen, six are still living. After the death of his wife, Robert D. McMillen took for his second wife Miss Minerva Anderson, who died in Dade County, Mo., in 1844. He then married Mrs. Permelia Ann Thaxton, who died in 1868.

S. N. McMillen was reared in the wilds of Dade County, and owing to the scarcity of schools, never attended but a few months. He began for himself at the age of twenty-two or twenty-three, and in 1855 went with an exploring expedition through New Mexico and Oklahoma. In 1857 he went with others to Choctaw Nation, purchased cattle, and drove them to California, the trip taking 108 days. In 1858 he returned to Missouri, where he and another man purchased a large number of sheep, and started for Texas, but near Fort Smith he was taken sick and returned to Missouri. In 1862 he was made second lieutenant of a company of Enrolled Missouri Militia, was captured the same day and paroled. He soon after considered it unsafe to remain at home, and went at once to Rolla, where he was engaged as a teamster for the Government to transfer supplies from Rolla to different points. This he continued for eighteen months, when his health failed. He then went to Leavenworth, made one trip with freight to Denver, Colo., in 1864, and returned in 1865. In July of the last-named year, Mr. McMillen married Miss Sarah A., daughter of Archibald and Patsey Morris, natives of Robertson County, Tenn., who came to Dade County, Mo., in 1843. Here Mrs. Morris died in 1888. Mr. Morris is still living and is seventy-five years of age. To Mr. and Mrs. McMillen were born eight children, two sons and three daughters now living. After marriage Mr. McMillen rented land for a few years, and then settled on the old home farm, where he now has 255 acres of good land, mostly the result of his own labor. He was president of the school board near South Greenfield, for a number of years, was his party’s choice for public administrator in 1888, but was defeated with the rest of the Democratic party. He was a Whig previous to the war, but since then he has affiliated with the above party. His first vote was cast for Mr. Fillmore, in 1856. Mr. McMillen is one of the few who have lived in Dade County fifty-two years and has witnessed the marvelous growth of the country in that time. He was reared almost among the Indians. His grandfather, William McMillen, was a native of Scotland, and came to America when young. While a soldier in the War of 1812, he was captured by the Indians, and retained a prisoner three and a half years. His family, which was then living in Tennessee, supposed him dead, and were greatly surprised when he returned to them and related his experiences with the Indians. He died in Tennessee. He married Miss Mary Doak in 1792.


Goodspeed, History of Hickory, Polk, Cedar, Dade and Barton Counties, Missouri; Chicago, The Goodspeed publishing co., 1889.

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