William H. McMillan Family

Submitted by Nancy Lindroth & Kathy McMillan


75th Anniversary Issue - "The Alpena Journal"
Vol 75 Section A # 38
Alpena, Jerauld County, South Dakota
Thursday, June 5, 1958
(Author not named.)

“Mac” McMillan Pioneer, Farmer, Cattleman, and Auctioneer

W. H. McMillan
(Photo from documents held by descendant, Vicki Wadman.)

W. H. McMillan was a native of West Virginia and lived near Wheeling. He began dealing in livestock and produce from the farms in that community. He was well known as a wrestler and was handy with a six shooter. Later he became interested in oil well and with others dropped a large sum of money in the oil fields. He had his mind set on going west from the letters he received from his cousin the Whites. He left for South Dakota where he visited the T. L. Whites and George Whites where they lived in Cherry Township.

Excellent crops were being grown at that time in South Dakota and cattle and horses were roving the prairies. Mac was delighted with the west and lost no time moving his family to Cherry township in early spring of 1892.

Lean years followed in dirt farming and he turned again to dealing in livestock, and later ran a skimming station to help bring in the shekles. In the meantime several nephews came west to see the country and visit with the McMillans and Whites - Hayes Cunningham and three brothers, Clyde McMillan and David Kern and two brothers and other friends of the boys. Some of these were helping ‘Mac’ on the farm while he bought hogs and cattle around Alpena and vicinity.

It must be remembered that there were many fine and well educated people to associate with and ‘Mac” suggested that something be done to organize and make use of some of those talents that were running loose. So literary and debating clubs were organized -- also Sunday school and a church which made a real community. Many wiped the dust off their spelling books too and other communities were challenged to spelling contests.

Among those leaders were the Hatches, Lynns, Wileys and other families who put real push into the activities.

“Mac” was one of the many farmers to move to Alpena later. Alpena became a widely known shipping center and he could operate better from that town.

From teaching voice to blowing his old brass horn that he brought from Wheeling, he bought an instrument and joined the Alpena band. The band director had insisted and rightly so, that all have the same make of instruments.

“Mac” was a lover of horses and expert in the saddle too. On trips into North Dakota for some wild broncs, he showed the boys how to pick off grouse with his six-shooter.

As a member of the town board he helped put in a race track. The trotter Dan Sprague took the first race on that track. One of his pacers took first at the state fair.

A star postal route was established, running east of Alpena with W. H. as carrier.

He was one of a company to install telephones in Alpena. He bought J D Chamberlain’s meat market and used it as an office as well as market. It was during his term as mayor that the water system was installed in town. An artesian well was located on main street and the board had a pond built where the school ground is today. Swimming and boat riding were quite the thing at that time.

In cooperation with his son, O G McMillan, a light plant was put in town. Soon nearly all the residences and business places had electric lights. The plant was a direct current system which later hooked on to the large network.

Mr. “Mac” was probably best known as a livestock auctioneer. This helped him to meet many people, especially so in Jerauld County. I could add that Pat McDonald had “Mac” act as deputy sheriff at times. All this added up to little when it came to seeking office.

He was a candidate once and was beaten. His work apparently did not mix well with politics. He was listed as a Republican with prohibition tenderness cropping out at times.

T L White and W H McMillan grew up as close neighbors. The former was a real populist Democrat; that latter a red hot Republican. They argued and debated and made many speeches but always were close friends. I have often thought of this. A larger sample was shown by W J Bryan and Teddy Roosevelt as opposing candidates; best of friends with no mud slinging.

The big little city of Alpena at that time had more teachers, ministers, tired and retired farmers than any other town of it’s size in South Dakota, truly some--to be proud of. This makes for better living indeed.

Misc. clippings from newspaper - probably "Alpena Journal"

1901: During the first week in December W H McMillan and J D Chamberlain purchased the Alpena meat market of Andrew Mercer, and a few days later W R Wiley bought the furniture store and business of J D Chamberlain.

1902: W H McMillan sold his meat market to Geo. Marston June 23rd. About the same time J S Tripp opened a drugstore on the north side of Main street west of Chamberlain’s store.

1903: on September 4th, 5th, and 6th. Horses were entered from Huron, Carthage, Plankinton and Alpena. The first trotting race was won by W R (should be H) McMillan’s horse, “Dan Sprague,” and the first running race by Frank Shull’s gelding Ukiah.

Notes & Clarification in Biography
(Spelling is presented as in original document.)

Wheeling: W H McMillan was raised in Webster District, near Rock Lick , Marshall County, WV. Marshall County is south of Wheeling WV, which is in Ohio Country, WV.

Visited The Whites: - Henrietta McMillan (aunt of W H McMillan) married Christian WHITE in Marshall Co WV. They had the following children:
     Samantha WHITE - b 1859 - d 20 Oct 1865
     Thomas G WHITE - b 1861 (Believe the extractor could have misread “L”)
     George N WHITE - b 1866
     Sallie J WHITE - b 1863
Note #1: 1870 Henrietta died in Marshall County
Note #2: 1870 Census - Christian WHITE with the children above but w/o spouse and Samantha.

Thomas Lincoln White
Note #1: T L WHITE paid SD taxes in 1884.
Note #2: A birth record lists Thomas Lincoln WHITE and Jessie Frances SMALL as parents - Jerauld Co SD
     Malcolm Christian WHITE b 4/22/1892 (SD State File # 401053)
Note #3: A birth record lists Thomas Lincoln WHITE and Clara Bell WOODRUFF as parents - Jerauld Co SD
     Frank WHITE b 8/20/1902 (SD State File #401054)

George Newton White
Note #1: A birth record lists George Newton WHITE and Lenna C HUGHES as parents - Jerauld Co. SD
     Lotta Dee Etta WHITE b 11 Oct 1888 (SD State file #474074) (female)
Note #2: A birth record lists George Newton WHITE and Lenna Calvert HUGHES as parents - Jerauld Co SD
     Bessie Nell WHITE b 25 Nov 1886 (SD State Record 474078)

Hayes Cunningham s/o Pap and Priscilla Jane (McMillan) CUNNINGHAM stayed in Alpena SD according to Maude Fordyce document in Marshall Co. Museum, Moundsville WV. (Priscilla was a sister of W H McMillan.)

Clyde McMillan b 24 Apr 1878 Marshall Co WV son of John McMillan (brother of W H McMILLAN ) and Amanda (KERNS) McMILLAN (sister of Medora KERNS - spouse of W H McMILLAN ) returned to Marshall County. He died 13 Jul 1938 and is buried in Mt. Hope Cemetery, Marshall County, Callis WV.

David Kern (should read KERNS) - brother of Medora (KERNS) McMILLAN and Amanda (KERNS) McMILLAN. He returned to Marshall Co to live. He married in 1867 and his wife died in 1901. (see Medora's obit for additional family info)


"The Alpena Journal"
Alpena, Jerauld County, South Dakota
Thursday January 14, 1943

W. H. McMillan, 81, Died Wednesday

W. H. McMillan, aged 81 years passed away early Wednesday morning at his home in Alpena, after an acute illness of nearly a month. He suffered a stroke of apoplexy December 15, and failed to rally greatly.

Plans for the funeral have not yet been completed at the time of printing this issue.

Mr. McMillan is survived by six children: Miss Nina McMillan; Orville G McMillan, Manderson Wyo.; George McMillan, Gann Valley; Mrs. K T Aisenbrey, Alpena; Albert McMillan, Ft. Lauderdale, Florida; and Mrs. John Potter, Minneapolis, Minn.

Mr. McMillan, born in West Virginia, came to South Dakota in the early days, and after farming west of Alpena, came to Alpena nearly 40 years ago and engaged in various businesses; his main work always being dealing in livestock, establishing a market here that was the envy of other towns in this section. He retired from active work about ten years ago.


"The Alpena Journal"
Alpena, Jerauld County, South Dakota
Thursday January 21, 1943

Final Rites Held For W. H. McMillan Here On Saturday

Funeral services were held Saturday afternoon in the Alpena Methodist church for W. H. McMillan, who died Jan 13 at his home in Alpena following a month’s illness.

The day was extremely cold and stormy, and many did not know of the time of the funeral, yet there was a goodly number of friends present for the services. There was a beautiful and large floral offering.

The Rev. Albert Hartt officiated at the service and three songs were sang by a mixed quartet: Mrs. Harold Neuharth, Mrs. Allen Brigham, Albert Schmidt, and Sam Burnison. Mrs. Lewis Aye was pianist.

The pallbearers were P. P. Myran, Robert Cook, Otto Winter, Mason Smith, A. J. Aisenbrey, and Allen Brigham.

Interment was made at the family plot in Rest Haven cemetery.

Thus were the final rites for a highly respected man, who lived in the community for more than fifty years, and who for more than forty years lived in Alpena and conducted business enterprises in such a manner that he helped build up the town and gained for himself an enviable reputation for honesty and loyalty. During the past several years he had been inactive in business, but until recently kept his interest in civic and political affairs.

While living on the farm west of Alpena in Chery (should be Cherry) Township Mr. McMillan helped organize a Sunday school and was instrumental in securing a pastor to hold services at a nearby schoolhouse. He taught singing school for several years. After coming to Alpena he engaged in the business of buying and selling livestock, and later formed a partnership for the same purpose with P. P. Myran which continued until a few years ago. He financed putting in the first electric light plant in Alpena, which served the town from 1914 to 1919. He was financially interested in the telephone system here, and a partnership in a general store. During all of these years he was in demand as a farm auctioneer, continuing in that work successfully until as recently as about ten years ago, when he became unable to stand the work of the large farm sales.

Coming from a distance to attend the services were his son, Orville of Manderson, Wyoming, his daughter and husband, Mr. and Mrs. John Potter of Minneapolis; and his son George McMillan, wife and two children of Gann Valley, and Miss Georgia Aisenbrey of Marion.

The following brief obituary was read at the funeral service and tells only briefly the personal events of a life full of well-doing and great enterprise.


William Hodge McMillan was born Dec. 12, 1861 to the family of John and Mary McMillan who lived on a farm near Wheeling, West Virginia. He received his public school education in that community and later attended Morgantown University.

Mr. McMillan married a childhood acquaintance, Medora Eugenia Kerns, on the 5th day of January 1881. (**see note below about wedding date and name)

To this union were born 7 children: Nina Pearl, Orville, Gracie, George, Isadore, Albert, and Golda--six of these children are still living. Gracie having died at the age of five.

Mr. and Mrs. McMillan resided in West Virginia until 1891 when they moved to a farm west of Alpena. Mr. McMillan lived on the farm until 1901 when he moved to Alpena where he lived until his death on Jan 13th, 1943 at 5:40 a.m. at the age of 81 years, one month, and one day. He was a member of the Alpena __(not legible)___ Lodge and of the Woonsocket Masonic Lodge for 40 years.

Mr. McMillan leaves to mourn his death six children, 10 grandchildren, one great grandchild and a host of friends.

SOUTH DAKOTA Death Cert #209742
Jerauld County, SD - Town of Alpena

William H. McMillan

Date of Death: 13 Jan 1943
Birthplace: Wheeling WV
Trade or Oc: Stock Buyer
Father: John McMillan born in WV
Mother: Mary Gray born in WV
Informant: Orville McMillan, Manderson, Wyo
Burial Place: Alpena, SD
Burial Date: Jan 16, 1943
 Rest Haven Cemetery -- Lot 43, Block 1, Grave #3

WIFE of William Hodge McMillan:

Medora Eugenia Kerns      b 10 Dec 1860 (Wellsburg WV)
     d 24 July 1941
     buried: Rest Haven Cemetery, Alpena, SD
     Married in Green Co PA by Rossell 1 Jan 1881
(***Note: written document on file, a compilation of his records, states name as Medora E. KERNS and lists date as 1 Jan 1883. - Child born before 1883 and obit states 1881)

CHILDREN of William Hodge & Medora Eugenia (Kerns) McMillan:

Nina Pearl McMillan
     b 26 Feb 1882 (WV)
     d 18 June 1962
     buried: Rest Haven Cemetery, Alpena, SD
     never married

Orville Gillespie McMillan (death cert says Gillespie - Fordyce/Kater notes said Gretespie)
     b 18 Dec 1884 (WV)
     d 28 April 1966
     buried: Wessington Springs, SD
     married: Dorothy BUSSE in 1919

Gracie Lenore McMillan
     b 9 Feb 1889 (WV)
     d 22 Dec 1893 (date by Fordyce/Kater -- at 5 yrs per obit)
     buried: Rest Haven Cemetery, Alpena, SD

George Grafton McMillan
     b 23 Dec 1891 (WV)
     d 7 Nov 1978
     buried: Spring Hill Cemetery, Gann Valley SD
     married: Alice WILLIAMS

Isadore D. McMillan
     b 26 Sep 1894 (SD)
     d 24 May 1993
     buried: Alpena Cemetery, Alpena SD
     married: Karl AISENBREY ( his parents from South Russia)

Albert Lincoln McMillan
Taken before death in 1943.
     b 23 April 1897 (SD)
     d 14 Nov 1943
     cremated: Ft Lauderdale FL
     married: Effie “Mae” HORN of Bonesteel SD - 20 Nov 1922 in Chicago IL
     note: SD Rhode Scholar, SD & FL Attorney, and FL Judge
     Photo 1 - 1918, SD; WWI
     Photo 2 - Ft. Lauderdale Judge.

Golda McMillan
     b 11 Dec 1900 (SD)
     d 24 Dec 1989
     buried: Rest Haven Cemetery, Alpena, SD
     married: John POTTER

PARENTS of William Hodge (Mac) McMillan:

John W. McMillan
     b 29 June 1816
     d 1884 Marshall Co WV - Marshall Co Wills - Bk 2 Pg 218
     buried: Moran Farm Cemetery - farm of Jim and Hester Cunningham (grandchildren) - Chestnut Ridge near Calis WV

Mary Ann (GRAY) McMillan (known as “Granny” McMillan per Maude Fordyce, History of Marshall Co 1984)
     b 25 April 1825
     d 3 Jun 1907
     buried: Mt. Hope Cemetery, Marshall Co, WV
     married: 8 Sep 1842, Ohio County, VA (now WV)
     Family farm on Chestnut Ridge Road, Marshall Co. WV

SIBLINGS of William Hodge McMillan

Note: West Virginia became a state 20 June 1863

1). Hiram Thomas McMillan (aka Thomas H.)
     b 9 Oct 1843 (Cemetery marker says 1842) (Ohio Co. VA)
     d 1934
     buried: Cemetery, Ryerson Station, Greene Co, PA - (Photo)
     married: Martha Jane MIRES (MYERS) - 22 Dec 1864

2). Mary Minerva McMillan
     b 17 Jan 1845 (?) (Ohio Co. VA)
     d 20 or 25 ? Jun 1869
     buried: Moran Farm Cemetery, Marshall Co, WV (23 yrs, 5 mos, x days) stone reads Myers      married: Henry MIRES (MYERS) -- 11 Oct 1865 in Greene Co. PA

3). John Oscar McMillan (also known as J. O.) - (Family Page)
     b 13 Dec 1848 (Ohio Co. VA)
     d 5 Jun 1932
     buried: originally buried at Mt. Hope Cemetery - second family moved him Limestone Cemetery, Marshall Co WV
     married: #1 Amanda Olevia KERNS (d 1 Nov 1890) #2. Jennie Sabra FRANCIS -- 25 May 1898

4). Albert Watson McMillan
     b 1 Sep 1851 (Ohio Co. VA)
     d 4 Sep 1852

5). Priscilla Jane McMillan
     b 22 Sep 1853 (Marshall Co. WV)
     d 23 Jun 1941
     buried: Mt. Hope Cemetery, Marshall Co., WV
     married: #1 William "Pap" CUNNINGHAM (1808-1889), #2 _________ after 1884 - divorced , #3 W. A BRIGGS -- 1909

6). Esther Ann McMillan (twin)
     b 23 Mar 1856 (Marshall Co. WV)
     d 27 Dec 1879
     buried: ?

7). Hester Ann McMillan (twin)
     b 23 Mar 1856 (Marshall Co. WV)
     d 4 July 1934
     buried: Mt. Hope Cemetery, Marshall Co WV
     married: James A CUNNINGHAM, 29 Nov 1875 in Green Co PA
     note: (Mt. Hope Cem. on web says James A, ; Green Co. Marriage says James A; Fordyce says John C.)

8). Sarah Huldah McMillan
     b 16 Oct 1858 (Marshall Co. WV)
     d 6 April 1862
     buried: ?

9). William Hodge McMillan
     b 12 Dec 1861 (Marshall Co. WV)
     d 13 Jan 1943
     buried: Rest Haven Cemetery, Alpena, SD
     married: Medora Eugenia KERNS 5 Jan 1881 -- Greene Co., PA

10). Ida Belle McMillan
     b 8 Oct 1864 (Marshall Co. WV)
     d 1 Oct 1947
     buried: Mt. Hope Cemetery, Marshall Co, WV
     married: Melvin ROBINSON



"The Alpena Journal"
Alpena, Jerauld County, South Dakota
Thursday July 31, 1941

Mrs. W. H. McMillan, 80, Died Thursday; Funeral Was Sunday


Funeral Services Held Sunday at Methodist Church: Burial at Rest Haven Cemetery.

Mrs. W H McMillan, aged nearly 81 years, died at a Huron hospital last Thursday afternoon. On July 7 Mrs. McMillan fell and suffered a fractured hip and her recovery was progressing well, until the morning of her death, when pneumonia developed and caused her death.

Funeral services were held Sunday at three o’clock from Alpena Methodist church. Dr. M. A. Chase read the scripture and gave prayer, and the Rev. A. R. Eschliman of Wagner, former Alpena pastor, gave the funeral sermon. The Methodist church choir sang three songs.

The pallbearers were George Brigham, George Kinsman, P. P. Myran, E. F. Coursey, John Bentson and A. J. Aisenbrey.

Burial was made in Rest Haven Cemetery.

The funeral service was largely attended, and there was a beautiful floral contribution.

Mrs. McMillan, devoted in life to her family and during her more active years was a faithful worker in church societies and Rebekah lodge.


Mrs. W H McMillan, nee Medora Eugenia Kern, was born of David Kern and Rebecca Kern December 10, 1860 in Wellesburg, West Virginia. On January 6, 1881, she was married to W H McMillan of Rock Lick, West Virginia. To this union were born seven children, six of whom are now living. The family moved to Jerauld county S. Dak. in the year 1892, where they have since resided.

Mrs. McMillan was baptized in the Baptist faith at the age of 18 years. A devoted member of the church, she remained true to the teachings of that faith.

She leaves, in passing, her husband, and six children now living; Nina, Alpena; Orville, Manderson Wyo; George, Wessington Springs; Isadore (Mrs. K T Aisenbrey) Alpena; Albert, Fort Lauderdale Fla; Golda (Mrs. John Potter), Minneapolis, Minn. Gracie, the third oldest, preceded her in death. There are ten grandchildren and one great-grandchild.

On July 7, Mrs. McMillan fell and suffered a fracture hip. She was placed in the Sprague hospital at Huron, and was there when the end came. In her last conscious moments she inquired as to the well being of her family and others. On being assured they were in good health, she said simply, “I am glad.” She passed into a coma with the prayer, “Jesus have mercy.” and a look of contentment and rest passed over her countenance.

Death occured on July 24, 1941 at the age of 80 years, seven months and fourteen days.

SOUTH DAKOTA Death Cert #200928
Jerauld County SD - Town of Alpena

Medora Eugenia (Kerns) McMillan

Date of Death: 24 July 1941
Birthplace: Wellsburg PA (should be WV) 10 Dec 1860
Trade or Oc: Not listed
Father: error by informant- name Medora's husband, not father
Mother: Rebecca Kerns
Informant: Nina McMillan
Burial Place: Alphena, SD
Burial Date: 27 Jul 1941
  Rest Haven Cemetery - Sec 1, Lot 43, Block 1, Grave #2

PARENTS of Medora Eugenia Kerns:

David Kerns
     b 15 Nov 1816 (PA or VA/WV)
     d 5 Dec 1889
     buried: Asylum in Weston WV
     Union Civil War Veteran - Pension Records

Rebecca Anne (W ?) Kerns
     b 22 June 1820 (PA)
     d 17 Aug 1874 (Webster District, Marshall Co WV)
     buried: Mt. Hope Cemetery, Marshall Co. WV
     Death record: Vol 1 Pg 40 Marshall Co - daughter of Samuel and Katherine __?__
     Married: before 1841?
     Cemetery marker - (Photo)

SIBLINGS Of Medora Eugenia Kerns

1) Lovenia/Lavinia Elizabeth Kerns
     b 2 Apr 1841 (PA)
     d 13 May 1897
     buried: Beelers Station Cemetery, Marshall Co WV - (Photo)
     married: Thomas H. WILLIAMS - 30 May 1871, Greene Co PA - (Photo)

2) Anne Rebecca Kerns
     b 5 April 1844 (VA/WV)
     d ?
     married: ? John PERRY (probably not his first marriage) - 6 Jan 1859 - Brooke Co by T Hudson, Sr
     married: ? Samuel H. ALEXANDER - 26 Feb 1865 Brooke Co - by J Peirce

3) David Washington Kerns
     B 3 July 1846 (Wellsburg WV)
     d ?
     buried: Fork Ridge Christian Church Cemetery - No death date on marker
     married: Susanna WILLIAMS - 23 Dec 1867 (d/o Hiram and Susanna WILLIAMS)
     note: Union Civil War Veteran

4) Gamaliel Pendleton Kerns
     b 29 July 1848 (Bethany, OH Co. WV)
     d 29 Aug 1928
     buried: Kerns Cemetery, Kentuck WV
     married: Rachel Ellen BOSTON - 3 Feb 1870 Marietta, Washington Co., OH
     note: Union Civil War Veteran - Pension Records

5). John Overton Kerns
     b 26 Oct 1850 (VA/WV)
     d 19 Dec 1900
     married: Sarah____________ (maybe-see note below)

6) Amanda Olevia Kerns
     b 23 Nov 1851 (VA/WV)
     d Monday, 1 Dec 1890
     buried: Mt. Hope Cemetery, Calis WV
     married: John Oscar McMILLAN (brother of William Hodge McMILLAN) - 5 Jun 1873 Greene Co PA

7) Byron E or F Kerns
     b 1854 (VA/WV)
     d ?
     ? last record 1870 census Cameron Dist, Marshall Co WV

8) Bianca Edwina Kerns
     b 1 April 1855 (Brook Co, WV)
     d ?
     buried: ? Beelers Station, Marshall Co WV - no death date on cemetery marker (Photo)
     married: Thomas H. WILLIAMS (surviving spouse of Lovenia Kerns - sibling #1) - 26 May 1898

9) Solomon Herbert KERNS
     b 14 April 1856 (Brooke Co. WV)
     d 28 Sep 1861

10) Theodore Delayfayette Kerns
     b 7 Dec 1858 (Brooke Co. WV)
     d 6 Nov 1859

11) Medora Eugenia Kerns
     b 10 Dec 1860 ( Wellsburg, Brook Co, WV)
     d 24 July 1941 (see obit above)
     buried: Rest Haven Cemetery, Alpena, SD
     married: William Hodge McMILLAN

? A Sarah Kerns appears in family bible of John Oscar & Amanda (KERNS) McMILLAN with a death date of 23 Jun 1888 age 34. Don’t know who she is. (b abt 1854) Found a Sarah buried in Bluff PA - wife of J O Kerns but death date of 20 June 1889 differs from Bible of Amanda Kerns McMillan. A child, buried with Sarah, died after 23 June 1888.

* Civil War Pension links for David and Gamaliel made possible by Eric Wheeler descended from Gamaliel Pendleton KERNS.

*Note - Computer images of John Oscar and Amanda (Kern) McMillan bible in records of Brooks Rossel, Moundsville WV

References to other Marshall County names included in Index to 1963 History of Jerauld Country, South Dakota by Fred N Dunham (1963) on SD website. Enter through CLICK ON Jerauld County.

Kerns, Kearns,
McMillan and McMullen,
Meyer, Meyers, Myer,

Submitted to the Marshall County website July 21, 2002 by Nancy Lindroth (, daughter in law of William James McMillan (Albert McMillan, W. H. McMillan, John W. McMillan) and Kathy McMillan, daughter of William James McMillan (Albert McMillan, W H. McMillan, John W McMillan).

Photos by Nancy Lindroth.