Happy Birthday to my grandfather, Floyd Mayhue Mills. We always called him “Granddad”.
Granddad was born in Maury County, Tennessee on February 20, 1913 to Milton Everett (1890-1967) and Lunie Mae (Gilliam) Mills (1890-1981), both of Maury County, Tennessee. Floyd was the middle child of three and the only son. His older sister Ethel Elizabeth (born June 11, 1911) was 2 years old when he arrived. His younger sister Mildred Louise (born January 29, 1915) would arrive a couple of years later.
Floyd first appears in the 1920 US Census in Maury County, Tennessee, District 3, and was reported as age 6. He is living in the household with his parents and two sisters. His parents are both reported as age 29 and his sister Ethel is age 8 and Mildred, age 4. Milton (dad) is listed as a farmer for a “general farm”. They are all reported as being born in the state of Tennessee. They are living next door to his grandparents, Marshall and Nan (recorded as Clara) Mills.
Floyd is listed in the 1930 US Census in Maury County, Tennessee, District 3, and reported as age 17. He is living with his parents and they are both reported as age 39. Floyd’s sister Mildred (age 15) is living in the home; however, his sister Ethel is no longer living in her parent’s home. The Census reports that the Mills’ own their home and farm. Milton’s occupation is listed as a farmer and Floyd is reported as a farm-laborer.
In 1931, on July 13, Floyd married Anne Elizabeth Cole (daughter of Edward D. and Cordelia (Tucker) Cole) in Maury County, Tennessee. Anne was born on March 9, 1914 and died March 24, 2010. A little over a year after their marriage, his only daughter/child, Dalsie Mabel Mills was born (October 29, 1932).
The three of them are found in the 1940 US Census living in the city limits of Columbia, Tennessee.This was the 9th District area of Maury County. Floyd is reported as age 27. Anne (recorded as Mary) is 26 years old and Dalsie is 7. The Census reports that they are renting and were living in the same place on April 1, 1935. Floyd is reported to have achieved an 8th grade education. His occupation is listed as a refinisher at a furniture store, working about 60 hours a week.
On April 8, 1944 Floyd enlisted in the Army for World War II. He was stationed in Europe during the war. Enlistment documents state that he enlisted in the state of Mississippi at Camp Shelby. He is listed as a Private. It states that his birth year is 1913 and says his state and county residence is Maury County, Tennessee at the time of enlistment. This picture to the left must have been taken around this time. Floyd is on the left in his army uniform and beside him is Anne.
Floyd is listed (with Anne) in the 1948 Columbia, Tennessee City Directory on page 306. The directory reports that Floyd was a carpenter and they lived at 1007 Garden Street, Columbia. Their telephone number was 1920J.
I know that my Granddad worked as a dairy farmer for much of his life. My mother, grandmother and older sisters talked about the Criddle Farm in Maury County where my grandparents milked cows twice a day. Recently (last 5 years), my uncle has pointed out the “old Criddle farmhouse” that now is fairly close to a main road in Maury County. I think that this picture may have been taken on the Criddle Farm property around March 1953. Left to right is Dalsie (Floyd’s daughter) with Floyd’s oldest granddaughter, Floyd, and Milton (Floyd’s Dad) holding Floyd’s second oldest granddaughter (Jacquelyn “Jaci” Kaye Byrd). What a great 4 generation photo of the Mills’ family.
Later my grandparents bought about 50 acres off of Bear Creek Pike on Cranford Hollow road in Maury County, Tennessee. My Granddad built the home and the barn that still stands today. They had dairy cows and milked cows for some time there. When I was a child they had cattle that they raised for selling. The property had a large hill on the northeastern corner, where you could see all the way to the city of Columbia. There were a couple of fish ponds and a large garden in the summer-time for fresh vegetables. As a child, I enjoyed riding on the tractor with my Granddad on the farm and helping with the chores. I especially enjoyed picking tomatoes from the garden in summer and having a “fresh” tomato sandwiches for lunch. Tomatoes just don’t even taste the same anymore.
During the early 1970s, Granddad worked for the Maury County Highway Department. I remember the yellow county truck that he drove.
As depicted in the photo above, Granddad was a larger man, standing about 6’1’’. He was strong, had a deep voice, blues eyes, and a great smile. He worked hard everyday. I remember that he was an early riser in the mornings – and when he was up – he expected that everyone in the house should be out of bed. He listened to the “farm report” and news on the local AM radio station every morning. He was quite opinionated so he usually had a comment or two to add about the “happenings going on.
Floyd loved family, history, genealogy and community. His memory of people, places and events was impeccable. I loved hearing the stories that he could tell of the old stagecoach or about the places that our family settled and lived in Maury County. He spent time with Maury County historian Jill Garrett, taking her about the county and pointing out places of historical significance (small and large), with a story or two of course. I met Ms. Garrett a couple of times with my Granddad. I was mesmerized listening to all the things that they knew about the history and people of the county and Tennessee.
Granddad, after battling several years of great illness, predominantly diagnosed as Parkinson’s disease, died at the young age of 68. Prior to his death on November 23, 1981, he was bedridden and could not speak. So much was lost then, in so many ways. He is buried at Jones Cemetery in Maury County, Tennessee. His parents and now his beloved wife Anne are buried there as well.
Floyd’s influence in my life is still strong, as I believe he is the one that stirred my interest in genealogy and wanting to know more about my family at a young age. Looking back, I only wish that he had written down all those great stories and the things that he remembered or that I had. I hope that somehow, in some small way, I can generate that same love for history, family and community for and in others, as Granddad did for me.
I love you Granddad! Happy Birthday.