Jack & Geraldine McMillen
William James (Jim) McMillen was born in Canada in 1843. He died in 1931. Catherine (Kate) Julia Graham was born in Canada in 1855 and died 1935. Jim followed the lumber camps from Canada to Michigan. He was what was called a “Timber Fitter” and “River Hog”. He rode logs downstream and worked at breaking up log jams. Jim couldn’t swim. He told many exciting tales of his close calls with the swift currents of the icy rivers where he worked.
Johanna McMillon Vanasperen, Harry McMillon, Geri McMillon Newman
Geraldine McMillon, John McMillon
Kate came to Michigan with her brother an sister-in-law. She became acquainted with Jim in Oscoda and was married to Jim in the 1890’s. They lived in Lott before moving to the Gates Lumber Camp in 1908. They had six children. The first four died in infancy. John was born Feb. 15, 1900 and Clifford was born Feb. 25, 1903. Clifford died in 1930. Jim bought some cabins from the Gates Camp that the hired help had lived in. He dismantled the buildings and used the lumber to build a two-story frame house on twenty acres of land from Mrs. K.C. Gordon.
There was a school at the old Gates Camp. It was a small building behind the Gates house. Florence Heilig Loca was the teacher. She taught for $40.00 a month. Some of the children who attended there were Arthur, Archie, Andrew and John Hempton; Grant and Caius Gordon, Truman, Ethel, Milton and Phillip La Fleur, John and Clifford McMillen, Phillis and Carmen Carl, the Wilbur children, Villa and Bill Landon, guy, Frank and Bertha Gordon, and children of many others whose parents worked at the Gates Camp for short periods. In later years the latter years the Latter family used the old school house for a wood shed.
Jim McMillen was foreman at the Gates Camp from August, 1914 to the spring of 1915.
In 1916, the J. McMillen owned 20 acres located in W 1/2, NW 1/4, SW 1/4, Section 18, T25N - R5E, Curtis Township.
John, Jim’s son became a talented violinist. Accompanied by his brother Clifford, on the organ, they provided music for house parties in the area. John hand-made his first violin in the days of Star Club Brotherhood, a club of local boys. John McMillen, President; Lyle Bell, vice-president, and Ted Redmond, Treasurer. Alvin Bell was also a member.
John McMillen was Postmaster and a one gas pump store keeper from about 1927 to 1935. It was when Geraldine (Gerry) Pierce came into the store in 1928 that they first met. They were later married at the Glennie Methodist parsonage by Rev. C.S. Brown. Their attendants were Clifford and Georgia McMillen. Gerry was born 1910 and died in 1966. John even today is very proud of his Scotch heritage and wore the plaid of his clan whenever possible. They had three children: Johanna (Jenny), born Dec. 5, 1929. Jennie is married to Elliot Van Asperen. They had four girls: Debra, Cheri, Taryn and Lori. Geraldiine (Gery Lou), Born Dec. 8, 1932. Married to Hans Newman. Has a family. Harry, born Aug. 13, 1941. Has a family.
Clifford & Georgia (Bell) McMillen
Georgian (Bell) McMillen and her son Howard
Clifford McMillen married Georgia Bell on March 28, 1923. He died in 1930 and she followed on October 10, 1932.
Kate McMillen, Jim’s wife, was noted for her good housekeeping.
She was also very clever with her fingers. Grace Bell Wallace recalls that when she had her long hair cut, Mrs. McMillen used it to make her doll a beautiful wig. Visitors were always welcome for a cup of tea.
Information supplied by: John McMillen, Johanna Van Asperen