Biography - Charles W. Mills

CHARLES W. MILLS. It is to such safe, sane and conservative business men as Charles W. Mills, of Vienna, that Johnson county owes its present prosperous condition. Those whose only interest in business lies in looking after personal gains do little or nothing to advance their communities, but the men who have the welfare of their section at heart so conduct their operations as to build up and develop the resources of the country about them, thus opening up a wider field for the prosecution of undertakings calculated to bring out the best interests of the localities in which they live. Mr. Mills, the former clerk and recorder of Johnson county, and a member of the well known real estate concern of the Egyptian Land and Loan Company, was born in Vienna township, Johnson county, Illinois, November 1, 1873, and is a son of Elihu and Mary (Houston) Mills.

Elihu Mills was born in 1831, in Jefferson county, Tennessee, and migrated to Illinois when he was sixteen years of age with his father, John Mills, whose wife bore the maiden name of Elizabeth Manley. They first settled in Grantsburg township, in 1847, taking up a tract of government timber land and making a comfortable home in which to rear their family. Thirteen years after settling in Illinois Elihu Mills contracted his first marriage, and in 1864 he was married (second) to Mary Houston, who was born and reared in Johnson county. Directly after his marriage Mr. Mills settled on a farm in Vienna township, and for more than forty years carried on agricultural operations in that section, becoming widely and favorably known. He reared a family of four sons and two daughters, as follows: Mrs. Margaret Dixon; P. N.; Elizabeth, who died in 1882, at the age of thirteen years; Albert W., a farmer of Grantsburg township; Charles W.; and A. Otto, a farmer and teacher in Vienna township, residing on the old homestead. Charles W. Mills remained on the farm and attended the district schools until he was seventeen years of age, at which time he entered the Vienna High school, and in 1890 became an educator, teaching in various parts of Southern Illinois for twelve years. While not teaching he pursued his advanced studies in the Southern Illinois Normal School at Carbondale, and in 1903 and 1904 resided on the farm. In March of the latter year Mr. Mills was nominated on the Republican ticket for the office of circuit clerk and recorder, and during the fall of the same year was elected to that office, running two hundred and twenty-two votes ahead of his ticket. This office had never paid its running expenses until Mr. Mills was elected, and at the first semi-annual report he turned over one hundred and ninety-two dollars over and above the running expenses, and continued to do so until at the end of the term he had raised the sum to over two thousand two hundred and fifty dollars, something unknown to Johnson county prior to Mr. Mills' official career. He served for four years in that office, and in 1908 accepted the general agency for the Franklin Life Insurance Company. His district covers seven counties in Southern Illinois. During his term as clerk and recorder of Johnson county Mr. Mills established himself in the real estate and loan business, thus gaining considerable valuable experience which he was to find of great help to him in his later and larger operations. He is the owner of one hundred and twenty acres of fine land, one and one-half miles east of Vienna, which he operates as a general farm, and also possesses one of Vienna's handsome residences. He has been a member of the I. 0. 0. F. lodge since 1900, and is now connected with the Encampment, and during the past twenty years has been a valued member and consistent attendant of the Christian church.

On December 2, 1905, Mr. Mills was united in marriage with Miss Flarra Luna, in Iron county, Missouri. Mrs. Mills, who for five years taught school in her native county, is a daughter of James F. Luna, who served in the Civil war and died soon thereafter of disease contracted while swimming a river while on a march in the midst of winter. His widow, who was Miss Mary J. Mangum, still survives and makes her home in Iron county, Missouri. Mr. and Mrs. Mills have two bright, interesting children: Mary C., who is five years old; and Lewis W., who is three.

The Egyptian Land and Loan Company was organized April 1, 1910, by Charles W. Mills, D. Esco Walker and Noel Whitehead, the latter now mayor of Vienna, for the purpose of buying and selling lands and making farm loans. Capitalized at fifty thousand dollars, its operations extend throughout Southern Illinois and reach the southwest and western portions of the country, also including lands in Wisconsin, Michigan, Dakota, Arkansas and Missouri. The concern is a member of the National Real Estate Dealers Association, this membership giving the firm rights and abilities to place a prospective buyer in touch with land in any part of the United States. Business is done on a fair and substantial basis, with equally advantageous conditions for both buyer and seller, and the personal element, as far as is possible, is injected into each transaction. Loans are made on a safe basis, and as all of the partners are men of stability and business integrity, with years of experience behind them, the firm stands high in realty circles and commands the fullest confidence of the general public. Personally Mr. Mills is a genial, whole-souled man, who has never made an enemy intentionally, and who counts his friends by the hundreds.

Extracted 14 Jan 2018 by Norma Hass from 1912 A History of Southern Illinois, volume 2, pages 673-674.

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