The MacMillan Homestead

The MacMillan Homestead Jason Leon MacMillan

The MacMillan Homestead CEDARVILLE, OHIO 1828-1953 “I Learn to Succor the Unfortunate” By Jason Leon MacMillan grandson of David and Nancy Wright McMillan, who was privileged to live in the David McMillan homestead during the period when most of the events narrated occurred.

DEDICATION The preparation of this family history has been a labor of love for which the narrator has been fully compensated by the pleasure of seeking to record the family’s more distant past and in recalling persons and events connected with his own life while growing up in the MacMillan Homestead, in Greene County, Ohio. This small volume which includes pen pictures of the children of James and Martha Elizabeth Murdock MacMillan, is dedicated to these and their descendants, with the hope it may afford those who read it a small measure ol the interest and pleasure the writer has had in its preparation. Jason Leon MacMillan Norfolk, Virginia April 8, 1953. 2

CONTENTS PAGE I. Foreword _____________________________________ 5 II. The Cameronian MacMillans___________________ 7 III. The MacMillan Homestead—1828-1952___________ 18 IV. A Home of Abounding Hospitality_________________35 V. Mothers in Israel_______________________________ 43 VI. James and Martha MacMillan’s Descendants_____47 VII. Finis ___________________________________________55 In this record of the James MacMillan family, please note that the MacMillans of Scotland in time became the McMillans of northern Ireland and America. This change of spelling we are told, merely indicates a change of family residence, and not a difference in stock. Since in our family line we have both John MacMillan of Bal- maghie, Scotland, and Hugh McMillan of County Antrim, Ireland, as our honored forebears, and since among the descendants of Hugh McMillan we now have in use both spellings, this fact will be noted and adhered to in the sketches which follow. 3

THE COVENANTERS by Wilbur D. Nisbet, great-grandson of Hugh and Jane Harvey McMillan, of South Carolina. You cannot understand us, you folk of changing creeds, Who weave a changing fabric to fit tomorrow’s needs; You cannot understand us; the path is rough and high And you would turn out from it to smoother ways near by But through the clash and clamor of your disputing words We hear the olden sayings of them that tended herds, And when the ancient dogma you hold of small account We hear the primal message that thundered from the mount A covenant we cherish—a covenant of old; A covenant first fashioned where Jordan’s waters rolled; It throbbed from David’s harpstrings by the eternal plan, Unchanging and unceasing—the covenant with man. They cannot understand us, the folk of changing creeds Who weave a mingled fabric to fit tomorrow’s needs— But we have seen tomorrows grow from the yesterdays While man-made creeds have faded into the distant haze. 4

I. FOREWORD The first reference to the MacMillan name in Scottish history is so remote, its members so numerous, the ideals of the family so divergent, that any idea of thinking of the family as a whole is without meaning. The most casual observation shows that members of this family have become well known in such widely varying fields as ministers, as educators, explorers, statesmen, philosophers, publishers, men of letters, as well as warriors, athletes, and business executives. What is more to the point, these several branches show a strong tendency along with the rest of humanity, to reproduce after their own kind. It should be the source of profound gratitude to those who bear this ancient and honorable name, that though it seems to be the prevailing tendency to drift toward the purely secular, and in some cases wholely worldly pursuits, there are other branches which have been just as zealous in seeking to maintain the family’s original ideals and traditions. The branch of the family with which this narrative deals, is of the latter class, which traces its origin not back to the more remote past, but to John MacMillan of Balmaghie, Scotland, who lived and labored during the time of religious persecution in that unhappy realm and era. So far as the present writer has ascertained, no definite attempt has been made to record this religious background for the American branch of the family. This present narrative is such an undertaking, in tracing the descendants of Hugh and Jane Harvey McMillan, staunch Covenanters of County Antrim, Ireland, and Chester District, South Carolina, and of their fifth child David, and his wife, Nancy Wright McMillan, of Chester District, South Carolina, and Green County, Ohio, and particularly of their youngest son, James, and his wife Martha Elizabeth Murdock MacMillan, who with their descendants, have occupied the pioneer home of David McMillan for more than a century and a quarter, a home that was carved out of a pioneer wilderness, and is now occupied by the fourth generation of this family. Jason L. MacMillan. Norfolk, Virginia, January 1953. 5

John MacMillan placque, Parish Church, Balmaghie, Scotland. Inscription: “To the glory of God and in memory of John MacMillan, A.M., born Barncauchlin, Minnigaff, 1669. Ordained mlinister of the Parish of Balmaghie, 1701. Accepted pastorate of the United Societies, 1706, which office he laboriously discharged for forty-seven years. Died at Broomhill, Bothwell, 1753. Buried in Dalserl Churchyard. A Covenanter of the Covenanters, a father of the Reformed Presbyterian Church, a faithful minister of Jesus Christ.” Dalserl Churchyard, in which John MacMillan is buried.

INTRODUCTION II. THE CAMERONIAN MacMILLANS While there is ample evidence from ancient monuments that the MacMillans were known and the name recorded as one of the Scottish clans 500 years prior to 1700, yet the branch of the family dealt with in this narrative had its beginning at this later date, with the well known minister Rev. John MacMillan, of Balmaghie, Scotland, who lived and flourished around 1700, and through his religious activity became known to fame as “The Cameronian Apostle.” John MacMillan was a close follower and successor to Richard Cameron, one of the last of the Scottish martyrs to die for religious liberty. The close connection between the two in life and work, is seen in the fact that while at an earlier period the followers of Richard Cameron were known as “Cameronians,” these same people were later to 'be widely known and spoken of as “The MacMillanites.” John MacMillan ministered to this scattered and shepherdless group of people for nearly 40 years. In 1743, with two other ministers, and two ruling elders, he organized the Reformed Presbyterian Church, often spoken of as “The Covenanter Church”— which was destined to grow not only in Scotland and Ireland, but to reach out to distant America and other parts of the world, and to number in its membership, world figures, such as John G. Payton of missionary fame, and others too numerous to mention here. This group of Presbyterians are also spoken of in Scottish religious history as “The Society People,” because after the days of persecution were ended, for strong religious convictions, they refused to return to the established church of Scotland as the great majority of their persecuted brethren eventually did. Many thousands widely scattered through the highlands of Scotland, without pastors and without churches, formed themselves into “Religious Societies,” and worshipped as best they could, often in the open, until they could establish a church of their own choice and kind. These “Society” people have been immortalized in song and story. One of the most heartmoving tributes to their religious 7

devotion was paid by one of our own well known authors, Harriette Beecher Stowe, who after viewing Harvey’s famous painting, “The Covenanters’ Communion,” wrote as follows: “I saw” she says, “the Covenanters celebrating the Lord’s Supper, a picture I could not look at critically, on account of the tears which kept blinding my eyes. It represents a bleak hollow of the mountain-side, where a few trembling old men and women, a few young girls and children with one or two young men, are grouped together in that moment of hushed, prayerful repose which precedes the breaking of the Sacramental bread. There is something touching always, about that worn, weary look of rest and comfort with which a sick child lies down upon a mother’s bosom, and like this is the expression with which these hunted fugitives nestle themselves beneath the shadow of their Redeemer. Mothers who had seen their sons tortured, not accepting deliverance; wives who had seen the blood of their husbands poured out on their door-stones; children with no father but God, and bereaved old men, from whom every child had been rent—all gathering for comfort round the cross of a suffering Lord.” This is recorded here, that the descendants of John and Hugh MacMillan may never forget the spiritual rock from which they and their forefathers were hewn. John MacMillan undoubtedly had the spirit of the martyrs, though he was providentially spared from having to shed his blood for a cause for which he gladly would have died, had the necessity arisen. In the religious histories of Scotland, he is always listed with those who suffered and died during the days of persecution. His last recorded words were—- doubtless a quotation from the Psalms—“Yea, mine own God is He.” While he was not called upon to die for his faith, he was permitted to live for it, and this he did in a remarkable way. He was brought up in the Church of Scotland, and trained for its ministry, yet seeing the great need, and deeply believing the same things these harried people believed, he withdrew completely from the old established church, and became the minister of this group. John MacMillan was providentially aided in undertaking what undoubtedly became an arduous task, by being called to be the minister of the parish church at Balmaghie, though the call was not authorized by the Presbytery to which this Church belonged. 8

From a Covenanter hand-lbook published in 1938, we learn that the gable of the church in which he preached was still standing. Here he labored for over 40 years, during which he was granted permission by his Balmaghie congregation to spend the most of each summer among the scattered “Society People,” preaching to them in their conventicles, baptising the children, and holding memorial services for those who during the year had departed this life. In this way he was destined to become a true Shepherd of the Hills to an extent few others have ever been able to be. As an illustration of how greatly he was loved, the story is told that when he first went to live at Balmaghie, the State Church Authorities still active, sought to evict him from the manse, and for this purpose sent a deputation of armed men. Having received word that this was to be attempted, the Balmaghie, the people, men, women and children, armed themselves with pitch-forks, spades and mattocks, and the women with buckets of hot water, surrounded the manse and their pastor, ready to do battle. When the deputation saw the situation, and realized if they persisted, blood would be shed, they departed without committing any violence. Happily the days of persecution were over, and this good man was allowed to complete his work without harm or danger, although his life was an exceedingly arduous one. Unfortunately, a family record of the descendants of John MacMillan has not been preserved, or is unknown on this side of the Atlantic. This need not be too surprising, when we recall the scarcity of the family records of those who left the old world and settled in the new, particularly is this true of families like our own, that came to this country in troublous times, by way of northern Ireland. The hardships which awaited all pioneers, even the most favored, together with the growing tension between the old world and the new, which was climaxed in the Revolutionary War, would be sufficient to account for the fact that even the first generation of new arrivals would soon lose trace of their nearest kin they left behind. Yet it is interesting, and I believe a significant fact, that one of the earliest and most persistent traditions of our family is that it had its origin not only with the “Society People” of Scotland, but were closely connected if not directly descended from John MacMillan, who was one of the leaders in that noble band of martyrs. The writer is convinced, that there is authentic historical 9

data which yet may be secured, to throw light upon our Scottish ancestry. It is to be regretted that more of this historical data is not available for this sketch. The writer is glad, however, to include cuts made from pictures taken by Malcolm MacKenzie, who recently visited the MacMillan country in Scotland. These pictures show the church yard where John MacMillan is buried, and a plaque which was placed in his honor in the parish church. While these pictures do not add to our fund of knowledge, they do tend to dispel the legendary element which surrounds his name, and make him more real to those who are proud to think of themselves as being not only his spiritual but his lineal descendants. the McMillans in Ireland When we deal with the McMillans in Ireland, we come to that time and place where the family record begins to take definite shape. But here, too, we are left in doubt as to the origin of the family in the Emerald Isle. There are several stories to account for their presence. The most interesting is that this particular MacMillan in one of the battles which the Covenanters had with the Forces of the Crown killed one of the persecuting band, and later fled to Ireland to save his life. As we are often reminded that one swallow does not make a summer, it is not likely that one McMillan can account for all that happened in Ireland during the time the McMillans sojourned there. The best explanation which would seem to account for most of the facts, is to recall that some time after the John MacMillan era, and following a war which the Crown of England had with the ruling powers of Ireland, in which the Crown Forces were successful in driving the Irish Catholics from several of the northern counties, it was determined that these northern counties should be colonized by a large number of Protestant families from Scotland, including in all probability a large sprinkling of our Covenanter forebears. These would-be colonizers, in addition to holding this land, were given the task of acting as a bulwark against Catholicism, inasmuch as the war itself was largely a religious war. But like so many of these human undertakings, especially when selfishness and greed play too prominent a part, the promises which were made were not kept. Instead of being 10

Birthplace of Jane Harvey, wife of Hugh McMillan, County Antrim, Ireland. Birthplace of Hugh McMillan, Rasharkin, County Antrim, Ireland. able to buy the land which they contracted for, they were burdened with heavy and unjust taxes, and became so reduced that soon the “Killing Times” in Scotland of an earlier period became what is historically known as the “Starving Times” in Ireland. The reason we do not hear more about the McMillans in Ireland is probably due to the fact that people who have fought and conspicuously won in one point in their history, do not care to talk about the times when they did not win, but were trapped and grossly ill-treated. This is mentioned, as it probably accounts 11

for Hugh McMillan and thousands of others like him, leaving northern Ireland and emigrating to this country around 1750, and by so doing, according to Theodore Roosevelt in his book “The Winning of the West,” made one of the most significant contributions to our early American history. “These people,” said the author, “the Scotch-Irish, stern and virile, became the vanguard of our civilization.” “These are the men who first declared for American independence.” the McMillans in south Carolina Hugh McMillan, the first representative of the family in the new world, must have been a hard-pressed immigrant. We are told that when he left Ireland he was 36 years of age, and that he had been married eleven years. This would indicate that he had sought to make a go of it in Ireland before coming to the new world. He must have failed, for he came to America alone. Like Abraham of old, he came scarcely knowing his exact destination. We learn that after landing at Charleston, South Carolina, he first settled at Camden, but later, learning that there were some of “his own people” further inland, in the Chester district of the same state, he pushed on there. From some brief historical notes left by his oldest son, we glean these additional facts: It was only later that he was able to send for his wife and children, probably saving money for their passage. In settling in the new world, he emulated another of the Old Testament patriarchs by working seven years on the farm of one John Rock, quite possibly as a day laborer, or until he obtained sufficient money to purchase a farm of his own. This man, whom we are proud to call our forebear, though he came to this country a penniless immigrant, and died at the age of 66, having lived in this country only 30 years, yet was able to become one of the outstanding men of his community, not only becoming financially independent, but succeeded in educating two of his sons to become distinguished ministers of the Gospel, and to rear a family of God-fearing men and women whom their descendants have reason to remember with pride and gratitude. As the story of the Hugh McMillan family is so largely a religious history, and as the McMillans in Chester, South Carolina have always occupied a relatively large place in our thinking, and 12

as there are some facts connected with our family’s stay in South Carolina which have not been clearly understood by that part of the family which later- came to Ohio, it is necessary for us to get a fuller picture of this period, in order that we may have a clearer understanding of our religious forebears. Mr. Cooper in his family narrative sums up the whole story of Hugh McMillan’s coming to South Carolina by saying that he arrived, bought a farm and built a church1. Yet, there is much more to the story than this. There were heartaches in connection with his acquiring a farm. We wonder if there were not heartaches, in connection with the building of the Rocky Creek Covenanter Church? 1Published in 1907. Hugh McMillan came to Chester at a late date so far as Presbyterianism is concerned, just as John MacMillan of Balmaghie appeared late on the scene during the days of the persecution in Scotland. Whether the family was early or late in Ireland in making its contribution there, we do not know. When Hugh McMillan reached Chester district, South Carolina, a Union Church was already in existence in which the several branches of the Presbyterian Church were worshipping. They were worshipping in a church significantly called the “Catholic Church”. This church had three Presbyterian ministers from Ireland before Hugh McMillan arrived. The last of these was the Rev. William Martin of Revolutionary fame, a Covenanter from Ireland, whom Hugh McMillan probably had known in Ireland. But before Hugh McMillan arrived in South Carolina, William Martin, due to intemperate habits, had been required to withdraw as pastor of the Catholic Church and had built a strictly Covenanter Church of his own. The records tell us that Hugh McMillan first worshipped In the Union Catholic Church, but later because of his strict Covenanting principles, which doubtless included the matter of temperance, did not join William Martin’s church, but with a number of other Covenanters, “whose number in the meantime had increased in the district,” built what came to be known as the “Brick Church” on Rocky Creek, a strictly Cameronian Church. Here he and the members of his family and other like minded people worshipped for nearly thirty years, or until his son, Rev. Hugh McMillan, who had strict views upon the subject of slavery, 13

as well as Covenanting principles, migrated to Ohio, accompanied by all but three families of the Church of which he was pastor. This bit of history is recorded, that the descendants of Hugh McMillan may know that their forebears were men of strong convictions and of strict principles, bold and resolute in what they thought to be right. the McMillans in ohio We have come to the part of this story which will doubtless be of the greatest interest to the majority of those now living, as this part of the narrative deals with the McMillans about whom we know most. It is here, too, our branch of the family has had its longest residence and experienced its largest growth, and where apart from the initial work done by John MacMillan in establishing the Reformed Presbyterian Church, has probably done more in the propagation of those principles than any other branch of this particular church. This is said in spite of the fact that today in Greene County, Ohio, not a single congregation of the church which John MacMillan founded still exists. Yet during the hundred years it did flourish, it was the leading church in this section of the state, with strong churches in Xenia, Cedarville, with Cedarville College and Seminary, in which scores of ministers were trained, who have taken prominent places in almost every Presbyterian and Reformed denomination in the land, and have contributed in perpetuating all of those traditions and principles which our family from the beginning has been conspicuous in preserving. The influence of this family, and the families which have been associated with it by marriage, has been summed up by Rev. J. H. Cooper in his Handbook on the McMillans, who in writing his sketch on the Rev. Hugh McMillan who brought this family to Greene County in 1828, has significantly said: “Then (1828) Greene County was a wilderness; now (1907) it is one of the wealthiest and most flourishing communities in Ohio, and much of its prosperity is due to the McMillan family.” AN APPRECIATION Since this is primarily a family history, for the sake of those who are now living, and for those who will come after, it is ap14

propriate to note some of the distinctive traits of this family of which we have reason to be proud. STRONG FAMILY ATTACHMENTS This family attachment is to be seen not only for the family name, but for all those who by marriage have become a part of it. It is worth noting as evidence of this, that when the Rev. Hugh McMillan was called as pastor of the Brick Church on Rocky Creek, South Carolina, this was almost exclusively a family church. Later when Rev. Hugh McMillan came to Ohio, the church which was established here was made up almost entirely of his brothers and sisters, and the families with whom they were connected by marriage. This family trait continues to exist up to the present, although more than a century and a half have passed since Hugh McMillan came from County Antrim, Ireland, to make his home in America. the McMillans are a religious people This is a fact which must not be overlooked by those who are living today. If you want to know the genius of your forefathers, it is that they were religious people. As a family we have little else of which to boast. If religion is not worth mentioning, then we must remain silent. This is true of the past; it is true today. As a family we cannot boast of those of our number who have obtained high political preferment. Our religious principles have made us almost invariably members of the opposing party. This was true in Scotland, in Ireland, and in South Carolina. It has been largely true of the family in Ohio. Public life, especially dealing with secular affairs, does not seem to agree with our temperament. Neither are we by instinct a money-making people, because deep down in our hearts, we would rather serve mankind than to be served, and such service is not highly paid. The motto on fhe MacMillan coat-of-arms, is more than a pious platitude when we read, “Miseris succurrere disco”—'which being interpreted is, “I learn to succor the unfortunate.” Thus we have revealed that we are religious. So true is this that even today, for a MacMillan to live outside an organized church of some kind, would still be looked upon by the rank and file of the family, as a tragedy and a personal failure to be deeply deplored. 15

the Macmillans are romantically religious This romantic element may be accounted for in part by the origin of the family—the highlands of Scotland, and while destined to live in distant parts of the world, like other natives of this region, they have never gotten the “eerie” of the hills out of their blood, or ceased to be incurably romantic. But our family has a deeper reason for being romantic, in that its religion is primarily “a Covenant religion”—remembering that the word “Covenant” is not to be understood in a theological sense, or from a legalistic standpoint. It is for example, the covenant which the bride makes with the bridegroom. It is this romantic element which helps to explain why during the times of persecution in Scotland, Covenanter preachers so often chose their text from the Songs of Solomon—“My beloved is mine, and I am his, and he feedeth among the lilies.” There were not many lilies to be enjoyed by our Covenanter forebears in those stormy days when the family name had its rise, but there was heather that was much loved and admired though destined to be stained with martyr blood. But perhaps this romantic element in our religion can best be explained by remembering how our Covenanter forebears insisted upon worshipping Christ as “King.” This devotion to Christ as “King,” as well as “Saviour,” doubtless grew out of their conflict with earthly kings in their struggle for religious liberty. But an understanding of this historic struggle would be incomplete if we did not grasp the length to which our religious forebears took Christ into their innermost life and affairs. In contrast to the Crown against which they fought, their King was the “King of Kings”—One who as their leader and defender not only gave strength but dignity to human life, which no earthly monarch could possibly bestow. It helped them in the lowly lives they lived and the limitations they endured. They might live in a cottage, and at times without a roof over their heads, but at such times they did not feel unimportant, neither was their situation ever regarded as altogether hopeless. Christ was their King and Protector—One who would care for them to the end. This helps us to understand, why our forefathers were so partial to the Psalms of David, especially the “Messianic” psalms in which Christ is portrayed as King. It was this that gave them 16

courage in the days of battle, as evidenced by the paraphrase of the 76th Psalm, which was sung at the Battle of Drumclog, when the Covenanters won their memorable victory over Claverhouse forces, June 1, 1679. In Judah’s land God is well known His name’s in Israel great, In Salem is His tabernacle In Sion is his seat. There arrows of the bow he breaks The shield, the bow, the war, More glorious than those hills of prey More excellent art far. P&alm 76; Tune “Martyrs.” CONCLUSION If you want to know the glory of our forefather’s faith, go to Scotland and stand in Greyfriar Church Yard in Edinborough, and see where the great host of Covenanters signed the solemn League and Covenant with blood drawn from their own veins. Go to the Church of Balmaghie, and read the tablet which was placed upon the wall in honor of John MacMillan for his great devotion to the Covenanting cause. Go to County Antrim in Ireland, and see the modest ancestral homes of Hugh and Jane Harvey McMillan, where in spite of their near poverty, they lived in dignity and honor. Go to Chester district, South Carolina and stand in Rocky Creek Cemetery and see the scores of monuments which have been erected to those pioneers who came to America in the early days and lived their lives so nobly; and stand beside the tallest monument of all, which was erected to Hugh McMillan, a Presbyterian elder and leader of the group, who for the sake of his descendants was willing to begin life in the new world as an humble laborer, to serve seven years for his economic freedom, that he might give his descendants the privileges they now enjoy, and who fittingly rests under a monument of Italian marble, with an inscription chiselled upon it, which for real worth might well be envied by any descendant, whatever his accomplishments in life may be. But to get the full picture, so far as our immediate family is concerned, you must follow this family’s pilgrimage to Greene 17

County, Ohio, and visit Massie Creek Cemetery, where the first log Covenanter Church was built in 1812, and where the Rev. Hugh McMillan with his flock around him, now lies buried. Many another McMillan monument will be there, and many another name greatly revered, because they were so closely associated with the family, and because they, too, formed a part of a great religious tradition. Today this people—your people and mine—are no longer living under former conditions. Not many are now living in Greene County, Ohio. They are to be found the world over—but wherever they are living, and whatever their task in life may be, in their hearts they are still a “Covenanting people,” for to this end they were born, and to this end were they dedicated by their “Covenanter” forebears. III. THE MacMILLAN homestead 1828—1953 This more intimate and informal narrative, is not written for the public, and will be of limited interest to other closely related members of the family, who did not actually participate in the happenings which are recorded. It will be of special interest to those still living, who have memories centered around the old home on Columbus Pike, in Green County, Ohio, and their descendants, who at some future time may become curious to know what manner of people their forebears were. ******* David McMillan, founder of the MacMillan Homestead, was the fifth child of Hugh and Jane Harvey McMillan, who came to Chester, S. C. from County Antrim, Ireland in 1786. David was born in 1789, probably the first of Hugh McMillan’s children to be born in America. April 2, 1812, he married Nancy Wright, daughter of David and Mary Wright of Chester, S. C. The Wrights were Scotch Covenanters who preceded the McMillans in coming to America, and who had representatives of the family to fight in the War for Independence. David’s failure to acquire a formal education which Gavin, an older brother and Hugh, a younger brother, received, was 18

The MacMillan Homestead, 1867. probably due to the fact that at the time of his birth, and young manhood, his pioneer father was struggling to get an economic foothold in the new world. This son must have possessed his full share of the family’s native ability, as well as religious convictions, for upon his arrival in Ohio in 1828, in selecting the site of his future home, he showed what at this late date seems to have been a greater shrewdness than his brothers and sisters who accompanied him. Family tradition states that he first thought of settling on the outskirts of Xenia, doubtless making this choice that his family might have the protection of closer proximity to other members of the family, and to be nearer to the church of his choice. Almost immediately, however, he moved 10 miles east of Xenia to what at the time must have seemed a much less desirable location. He built his home on a tract of land which had to be cleared of virgin forest and ditched and tiled to make it suitable for cultivation. His foresight was richly rewarded. The spot on which he located is now regarded as the best farm land in Greene County, still yielding abundant crops. The house which David McMillan built, shows too, that he had spacious ideas. The house is of brick construction, still standing after 125 years, and although gutted by a destructive fire 75 19

years ago, it was so well built that after the fire the house was rebuilt, using the original walls which were left standing. This house, which has been the home of the descendants of David McMillan for 125 years, is still a landmark in the state, beautiful for situation, located on land neither flat nor hilly, the whole presenting a prospect difficult to excel whether considered from the standpoint of a home in which to live, or a farm for cultivation. David and Nancy Wright McMillan had twelve children whose record has been preserved in a larger family history. This sketch will be confined to the family of James, who was the eleventh child of David and Nancy Wright McMillan. James was the first of the children to be born in Ohio, December 16, 1833. Here this youngest son of the family lived for nearly 80 years in the home in which he was born, and was privileged to see his children’s children, and his most cherished dreams realized. As this record is intended for the immediate descendants of James MacMillan, and apart from a very few now living, he is as much a mythological character to the vast majority of his descendants today as David, his father, was to those who were living two generations ago, it seems appropriate for the sake of those who may be interested in knowing what manner of persons their forebears were, that what is now known be recorded. Unfortunately, a likeness of David McMillian has not been preserved, but we do have pictures of his son, James. In fact, we have pictures taken at various periods of his life. We have several family traditions about him. As a young man, he was regarded as rather worldly, and though a farmer, he wore tailor- made clothes. His shoes were made of the finest leather. This at a time when other farmers in the community were content to wear brogan shoes and hickory shirts. We know that he was partial to thoroughbred high-stepping horses, and had the latest in buggies and carriages. We know, too, that he was a wide-awake business man, who before the financial crash in 1873, was one of the richest men in Greene County, Ohio. In addition to his farm, he owned bank stock and city property. In later life, he was known as “Sheep Jim MacMillan” and at one time owned more than 1,000 head of blooded Merino sheep, pastured on his own lands or raised on shares with surrounding farmers. On one occasion during the Civil War he delivered at Xenia, Ohio, a load of wool 20

James and Martha Murdock MacMillan, in 1867, when they began their nearly fifty years of married life on the farm. weighing 2,000 pounds, for which he received $2,000, a rather large transaction for the time and place. Later, however, in his life, reverses set in. The panic of 1873 was a severe blow to his financial status. After this, life on the farm was a struggle. In 1893 there was a greater panic, one even more disastrous, in which farmers suffered more severely than any other class. Prices dropped to the lowest in the history of the nation. The only thing left of what was once a large estate was the original homestead, and that heavily mortgaged. These were the years that tried men’s souls. James MacMillan, who began his business career in a “care-free” if not careless way, was tried to the breaking point. By this time there was a house full of children to be fed and clothed and family appearances to be upheld. There was help on the farm to be paid, as this was before the days of farm machinery. Farm help at this earlier period was an army in itself, especially at harvest time, and a hungry army at that. Help had to be fed as well as paid; and if this were not enough, a high rate of interest had to be paid on the 21

mortgage, a burden more grievous in that day than any income tax today. You do not have to pay taxes on what you do not make, you do have to pay interest on debts, whether you make it or not. And then, as now, one was not always successful in making it, but somehow in his case, it was made. At least the family crisis was delayed. As the mortgage, and all that went with it, played so large a role in the history of our immediate family, and directly and indirectly probably has influenced the whole course of its life more than any other single fact which might be mentioned, the writer will endeavor to deal with it, because in this instance, that which at the moment seemed to be an insurmountable burden turned out to be one of the family’s greatest assets. This fact came to be recognized by both father and mother, and in the end made them resigned to what they had to endure, as they were able to see the good that could come out of it. For this reason it is appropriate that all the descendants of James and Martha Elizabeth Murdock MacMillan know about this particular phase of our family history, and learn any lesson it may have to teach. But to get this larger picture, we will have to deal with Martha Elizabeth Murdock MacMillan, the wife of James MacMillan, whose lot it was to share with her husband in the events to be narrated, and helped to make this story the kind of story it is. Martha Elizabeth Murdock was said to have been one of the most beautiful young women in Greene County in her day. When James MacMillan married her, she was 24 years of age, and he was a bachelor of 35. It has been rumored in family circles that her father, Robert Murdock, a strict Covenanter, did not look with favor upon the match because of the wide difference in age, and because the prospective son-in-law in that ultra-strict Covenanter community was regarded as being a little worldly. But this did not prevent the match. On January 6, 1867, James MacMillan and Martha Elizabeth Murdock were married. The result of this marriage was all that any careful father and mother could have wished. True, the young wife was unable to get her rather mature husband to give up his love for fine clothes and fine horses and carriages, a love which he kept to the end of his life. In fact, in the 25 years on the farm, the writer never saw him dressed in any other way. His wife could not have been too displeased with this, for she, too, liked nice clothes and 22

people who made a nice appearance. She was also pleased that her husband had other strong inclinations as well. He loved to read. One of the first gifts she gave him after they were married was a book on the Christian home. This book is still in existence, and on the fly-leaf these words are written in her handwriting: “Received from my dear husband, May 5, 1867.” This was five months after they were married, and as it stands, it suggests that the husband had given the bride the book. But knowing both as we do, we may safely conclude that it was Mother who bought the book, and inscribed it to herself, and gave it to her husband for him to give it to her—but for him to read. How much he ever read we do not know. This book as inscribed does give us at least this hint—that it was her determination that so far as possible her home would be a Christian home. This home had other books, most of them of a religious nature; Bunyan’s “Pilgrim’s Progress”—Boston’s “Four-fold State”; Baxter’s “Saint’s Rest”, and others, which were classics of the post-Reformation period. And in this home, too, there were periodicals, daily papers, monthly magazines. One of the scenes vividly remembered by the writer, is that of the family around the fireplace at night—Father with his paper, Mother with her journal in which she recorded the day’s happenings of the family, and to complete the picture, the children if any of them were home, with their noses in a book or magazine. But the greatest thing that Martha Elizabeth Murdock did for the home, was to maintain a family altar. While we have no direct information on the subject, we may well assume that since this was a Covenanter home, there was a family altar when Martha Elizabeth Murdock came into it. As her husband was the only man in the home after David McMillan’s death, it is quite likely that he conducted family prayers. But from what we know of this home in later years, we know that it was Mother and not Father who would be the most determined in all the things connected with the home’s highest welfare. She was the one who would never have given up, as this narrative will endeavor to show. It was primarily Mother’s determination which resulted in every member of the family getting the education they received, although in each case it meant that she as well as her husband would have to sacrifice in many ways to make this possible. In this, too, she was ahead of her time, as she was determined that 23

the daughters of the family should have educational advantages as well as the sons. If anything she was more determined, since she felt that the sons would be in a better position to make their way in the world. Perhaps her true character can be best understood in connection with the mortgage, which for 30 years continued to be a skeleton in the family closet, seldom talked about, but a “hair shirt” which Father and Mother both wore. Father and Mother desperately wanted the mortgage paid, especially Mother. It hurt her pride; she hated it for what it was doing to her husband, making him old before his time. She was willing to slave and sacrifice to pay it off, but she was determined that the mortgage should not hinder the careers of her children. If possible she wanted to save the farm and the children, but if either had to be sacrificed, it should not be her children. They should have their chance. And this brings me to another phase of the story, to the one who must always be thought of as the true successor to Hugh, David and James MacMillan, namely Fred C. MacMillan, the oldest of six sons. Though destined not to have a family of his own, next to Father and Mother he must be credited as being responsible for the family’s ultimate position and progress in the world. In seeking to account for certain family traits, it is doubtless possible to say that while some are more or less strongly influenced by their forebears, of Fred it can truthfully be said that more fully than any of the other children, he inherited his Mother’s spirit in important respects. His Mother’s dream for the family was to become his dream to the extent that at great personal sacrifice, he took up the family burden where his father and mother were compelled to lay it down. While still a young man, scarcely out of his teens, as far as he was able, he assumed the burden of the mortgage. And along with his other burdens, he was able in time to remove this dark shadow from the old home. He too had his mother’s dream for the children and grandchildren, and through good fortune and bad, he has never ceased to pray that they should be all that Mother wished them to be. He even had his mother’s dream about the farm, namely, the farm itself was to be regarded by the family as a token of God’s favor, that 24

so long as it remained in the family it would be an evidence of God’s covenant-keeping power. Perhaps the most remarkable fact of all is Fred, himself, whose career is not only a wonder to those who know his life’s story more intimately, but must often be a wonder to himeslf, destined as he was in life to play not one but many roles, and to play them all remarkably well. He was not to stay on the farm, yet in the end was to be the one who was to save the farm; he was not to be a preacher, but in his busy life, he did more religious work than half a dozen ordinary preachers. Seemingly destined not to be a thorough going business man in the cold calculating way we think of a business career, yet even in the business world which at times was almost a side-line in his rich life of service, he not only won the admiration of business men for his farsighted vision and practical accomplishments, but by his business successes was able through the years to be a generous benefactor to his own family and to his Church. In short Fred MacMillan became widely known as one of the outstanding workers in the Kingdom of God in his own day and generation, and accomplished all of this while bearing burdens which no ordinary man could or would think of bearing. He is still going strong at 80—still attempting things which might well stagger younger men, and what is best of all, still retaining the resiliency of an undaunted faith. He still believes that goodness is stronger than evil and love stronger than hate, and like his religious forebears he retains a childlike faith and trust that there is no such thing as defeat for those that love God. The main part of this narrative must stop here. What is written from this point on largely will be of those who have benefitted rather than what they have contributed to this history, yet, in the providence of God, those who have been so largely the recipients of these blessings have made their distinct contribution to the family record and have made this story of the old homestead the kind of a story it is. For this reason, we are encouraged to continue the narrative. The oldest child of James and Martha Murdock MacMillan was a daughter, Frances. Frances as we remember her, possessed much of her mother’s good looks and her father’s practical common sense. What her early years on the farm were the present narrator was too young to be able to record. We know that her life and 25

activity must have been very much circumscribed, for with the very strong convictions on the part of godly parents that children, especially girls, should be carefully guarded, and not allowed to make friends outside of their own church and family circle, her life must have been very narrow and provincial. One wonders just what would have happened if it had not been arranged for Frances to go to Monmouth College. One wonders, too, how it was arranged. By the time she was ready for college, the economic condition of the family was at its very worst. Yet what a wonderful stroke of good fortune it was that she got to go. While she did not graduate, she was able to widen the scope of her friends, and to meet her future husband, Thomas Hanna MacKenzie, who later became a very prominent and influential minister of the Gospel. The home which Aunt Fanny and Uncle Tom MacKenzie, as they were affectionately called by their nieces and nephews, established, was a duplicate of the home in which Frances was reared. Its hospitality was warm and generous, as was her intense loyalty to the family. In this she had the fullest cooperation of her husband. There were two sons born in this family, Donald and Malcolm, and they are mentioned here because they were the first grandchildren, who with their father and mother, returned to the farm each summer for a number of years, to spend their vacation. Additional facts concerning this family and the other children of James and Martha Murdock MacMillan, may be secured from a fuller record which has been prepared and is being printed as an appendix to these more personal sketches. But apart from what this particular family may have done in the world, they are affectionately remembered as a very important part of this picture so far as the old MacMillan homestead is concerned. Fred, the second child of James and Martha MacMillan, is also the recipient of a special sketch in the narrative above mentioned, and his career has already been dealt with in part in this present story, but suffice it to say that it is quite possible that even at this earlier period, Fred had his part to perform to see that his sister Frances got to Monmouth College, and even helped to meet her expenses. It might be interesting and instructive to the members of a later generation to be told that the day Uncle Fred left for Monmouth College, the old battered trunk and one not too large at 26

that, was open upstairs in the middle bedroom, waiting to be filled. It was found that after all Uncle Fred’s clothes had been placed in the trunk, it was still so empty that Uncle Fred in desperation, took an old Webster’s Unabridged Dictionary—large size—and planted it in the middle of the trunk, packing his clothes around it, it order to give the trunk some weight, and save himself and the family from possible embarrassment when later the trunk was put on the train at Cedarville. From what we know of Uncle Fred’s subsequent career, his first trip away from home might well be thought of as foreshadowing his future career; instead of his living out of a trunk or of having a home of his own as he might well have done, it seems to have been his lot to live out of a travelling bag; and travel up and down the earth, not for his own pleasure and profit primarily, but for the benefit of others, and in these travels as we learn from another part of his record, he literally covered the entire globe, primarily out of his interest for the work of the Kingdom of God. Mother said the only money Fred ever received from the farm, was $60 which Father borrowed for him to get to Monmouth. From then on, he was literally on his own, and helping instead of being helped. Of all of James MacMillan’s sons, Harlan was the steadiest and the most dependable of the boys who grew up on the farm, and probably would have remained on the farm had it not been for Mother’s insistence that he, too, should have his chance. The day Harlan left the farm to take a position at Carson & Fox, wholesale grocers, in Springfield, Ohio, the family fortunes were at their lowest. Under the circumstances, it seemed sheer folly that Harlan should have to leave the farm. Father was getting old; hired help was hard to get, even though it could be paid; and at the moment it looked as if even Fred was not going to be able to pull the load. It was at this point that even Father’s faith was shaken; his most dependable son on the farm was to leave him, and there was no one at the moment to take his place. This opinion was shared by both the neighbors and kinfolks, and some of the latter did not hesitate to say so. This is where Mother played her part in a magnificent way. Nothing daunted, she said Harlan had to go, even though the farm had to be sacrificed. The other children had had their chance, and Harlan should have his. 27

Harlan’s stay in Springfield was to prove a blessing to the entire family. He had left home, but fortunately he had not gone as far as Fanny and Fred, or as Homer later was to go. He was near enough to come home for week-ends. It also gave an added thrill in going to Springfield on shopping trips; it afforded an opportunity to see Harlan. It is doubtful if those living today realize what life was on the farm, or understand the role Harlan was able to play, in the life of the family as a whole. Since Harlan worked in a wholesale grocery, at Christmas time he would bring whole buckets of candy and bags of oranges, to fill the stockings of the younger member’s of the family, and there would always be enough for all the servants in the house, and for those who lived in the tenant houses. The day that Harlan and Isabel Smith were married in Springfield, was a red-letter day in the history of the family. Most of the family did not get to attend, including Fred, who somehow manages to stay away from such events. Father and Mother were there, and the story of the wedding, written by Mother to the family, was a classic, as nothing seems to have escaped her. Another thrill had come to take away the drab of the home life on the farm. It seems that Harlan was following the family pattern, when soon after his marriage, he decided to go west. Uncle John, Father’s brother had gone west; a number of cousins had also gone west, and although urged to remain with the wholesale grocery firm in Springfield, even being offered a partnership, he decided to go west. His story, his marked business success and the fine family which he and Isabel reared, is more fully recorded in another place; but no narrative how ever long and intimate could tell all that Harlan meant to the old homestead, even though it was not to be his lot to remain on the farm, and to become what for a time it seemed that he would become—a successor to his father. In indulging in this bit of family history which so easily comes to mind and is a pleasure to recall, there is an interesting glimpse recently brought to light, which I am sure the family would want to have recorded, as it pertains to the comfort which Mother evidently got from her correspondence with Harlan and Isabel, especially Isabel. She was the one who wrote the letters over a long period of years, and the one who has preserved the letters, 28