Monday, November 27, 2017

William Mills


Photographer Wm Mills & Son
Opp Post Office,
Olneyville, R. I.


reverse of the card on the left

William Henry Mills
(1835 - 1908)

Timeline
Sources: US census, R I city directories,
1835 Sep 11
William Henry Mills is born in England to Joseph and Ellen Mills
1850
Providence, RI, US census as weaver
1858
Willington, CN, estimated date of marriage to Ellen Lowe
1859 May 05
Connecticut, son Thomas Henry Mills is born
1860 Jun 13
Willington, CN, US census as farm Labor
1864 Feb 16
Connecticut daughter Sarah Jane Mills is born
1870
North Providence, RI, city directory as cotton mill worker; son Thomas also works there
1878
Providence, RI, city directory as overseer; Thomas as weaver; both reside at 18 Manton, Dyerville, RI,
1880
Lincoln, Providence RI, city directory as cotton mill worker; son Thomas and daughter Sarah work there also

1882 and 1883
Providence, RI, city directory NOT listed
1884
Providence, RI, city directory as photographer; son Thomas also at same address listed as photographer; William and Thomas do not appear in the business pages indicating they were probably working for someone else
1885
Providence, RI, city directory as photographer at Wm Mills and Son, located at the junction of Plainfield and Hartford (Olneyville); son Thomas listed at same address
1886
Providence, RI, city directory as photographer at Wm Mills and Son, Plainfield Junc Hartford, Olneyville;
1887
Providence, RI, city directory as photographer at Olneyville, Johnston, junct Plainfield and Hartford; res 775 Laban, Olneyville
1888 - 1890
Providence, RI, city directory NOT listed in business pages; no residential pages issued
1892 Oct 21
Cranston, Providence, RI, daughter Sara Jane Mills dies
1891
Providence, RI, city directory, not listed in business pages; no residential pages issued


1893
Providence, RI, city directory, as photographer at Wm Mills and Son, 58 and 60 Arcade, op the PO in Olneyville
1894
Providence, RI, city directory, as photographer at Wm Mills and Son, 58 Arcade
1895
Providence, RI, city directory, as photographer at Wm Mills and Son, 58 and 60 Arcade
1896, 1897
Providence, RI, city directory no business listing found; residential pages not issued
1898
Providence, RI, as photographer at William H Mills and Son, Plainfield junct Hartford; res 52 Whittier
1900
Providence, RI, as photographer at William H Mills and Son, 58 and 60 Arcade and 15 Olneyville Square
1901
Providence, RI, city directory as photographer at William H Mills and Son, 58 and 60 Arcade and 15 Olneyville Square
1901 May 08
Providence, RI, city records wife Ellen Lowe dies
1902
Providence, RI, city directory NOT listed in business pages

1902 Jun 04
Providence, RI, city records William Mills and Elizabeth Smith marry
1903, 1904 and 1906
Providence, RI, city directory as photographer at William Mills and Son, 58 and 60 Arcade; res 63 Whittier; son Thomas H also listed at same residential address
1908 Dec 24
Providence, RI, William Henry Mills dies at age 73

At first it appeared there were three William Mills living in Providence, RI, at about the same time. There were records showing a photographer William Mills and a William Mills who worked in the cotton mill and a third William Mills who was a dry goods dealer. As confusing as that is now, it must have been a puzzler back then.

It’s a bit fuzzy but based on the Superman/Clark Kent logic, Photographer Mills and Weaver Mills are never found together in any record, while Photographer Mills and Dry Goods dealer Mills are found together in some Providence, RI, city directories in the mid 1880’s.

Also Photographer Mills had a son named Thomas H Mills, as did Weaver Mills. They must be the same person.

Although he died in 1908, his son Thomas continued to operate the studio as “William Mills and Son” until about 1932 when he apparently retires from active work. (See city directory page below.)

No occupation is listed for Thomas in the 1940 US census and he dies in April of 1941 at age 81.

A studio in Olneyville, RI, is mentioned only a few times in records from 1885 to 1901. The address “Opposite the Post Office” is mentioned only once, in 1893. Because of the style of the cabinet card here, black with gold lettering and edges, it was probably finished in the later part of that period, perhaps closer to 1900.



1893 Providence, RI, city directory page
note the Olneyville address


1905 Providence, RI, city directory page

1915 Providence, RI city directory
Seven years after the death of William H Mills


Two examples from auction sites

Not the one you were looking for?
Here's the photographer's INDEX by name. Listed here are all the Cabinet Card photographers of the 19th century found in LOST GALLERY. This is a work in progress. For a look at the original postings go to
LOST GALLERY.

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