Robert Mills

According to Handbook of Texas entry, Mills was one of the “wealthiest men in Texas and possibly in the entire South” at the beginning of the war, when he was “reputed to have been worth between $3 and $5 million.”

The firm of R. & D. G. Mills (owned with his brother) served as a sort of private bank in the antebellum period, and circulated its own notes that were considered to be equivalent to gold. These became known as “Mills Money.”1

Mills served as an agent of William F. Weeks during the war, apparently working to hire out Weeks’s slaves to various employers, and in January 1864 Weeks advised correspondents to address him care of Mills. In February 1864 and possibly March 1864, Mills or one of his agents had to inform Weeks that slaves belonging to him had run away.

Records for Mills’s firm in the Confederate Citizens File at the NARA shows that he was filling Confederate orders for gunpowder, lead, uniforms, rifles, saltpetre, sugar, molasses, salt, and other supplies. Some of the powder and lead was delivered into Louisiana. In early 1863, he also hired out slaves to the Confederacy to work on the construction of Galveston fortifications, and sold lumber and nails to obstruct Galveston harbor.

He “freed about 800 slaves in 1865,” and subsequently went bankrupt.

More on him in Fornell, scarborough2003, and carlson1929.

Biographical Checklist

Source Date Checked Link
Census (1860)
Census SS (1860)
Census (1870)
County Tax Rolls
Handbook 11/15/2013 link
Fold 3 11/15/2013