Munson Mills was born in approximately 1755 in the Beaumont Parish District of Essex, England. His birth year has been estimated from his burial record. Despite an extensive search of Essex parish records, a baptism record for Munson is yet to be located.
It is not proven at this stage, but it likely that Munson's parents were James and Sarah Mills (nee Munson), who married in Ardleigh, Essex in November 1754. This puts the date right for Munson's birth, and also explains his unusual first name, after his mother's maiden name. No other 'Mills/Munson' marriage has been located at this time, and Ardleigh is close to Dedham, where Munson would raise his own family. The names of his parents, James and Sarah, were also repeated in subsequent generations.
Munson had 3 half-siblings by his fathers' first marriage - brothers James, John and George. George died as an infant.
At age 19 in 1774, Munson became an apprentice farrier to Jona Oddy in Ardleigh, Essex. This was recorded in the apprentice indentures. A farrier was a smith that shoed horses and this would go on to be Munson’s adult occupation, as borne out by a marriage certificate for his son. Occupations involving working with horses in some capacity appear to have passed down several members of Munson’s family line.
Munson married Jane Wilby at Kirby-le-Soken, Essex on 23rd July 1783. Jane was the daughter of Thomas and Elizabeth Wilby, who had been baptised on 25th November 1759 at Bradfield, Essex, some 5 miles from Beaumont. Her siblings were George (baptised 6.1.1754) and Abraham (baptised 6.11.1758).
Witness to the wedding of Munson and Jane were W. Burges and John South. The couple were married by Banns which had been read on 29th June, 6th July and 13th July 1783. Munson signed the marriage record (which meant he could write) and Jane signed with her mark.
Munson and Jane’s first child, a daughter named Jane is believed to have been born in Beaumont. She was baptised in Great Oakley which is only 3 miles from Beaumont. This child lived just over one month, and was baptised and buried on the same day in Great Oakley on 16th January 1785. Source for this information is Essex, England, Church of England Baptisms, Marriages and Burials, 1538-1812, Ancestry.com – provided by the Essex Records office.
Munson and Jane would name another of their daughter’s Jane. On later census records, this daughter Jane would also record her birth place as Great Oakley.
Around the year 1785, not long after the birth of their first child, Munson and Jane decided to move from the Beaumont area of Essex to Dedham, a town that is not far from Ardleigh, where Munson's parents were from. In order to move from Beaumont to Dedham however, the couple required a 'Settlement Certificate' that stated they originated from the parish of Beaumont. This meant that despite living in Dedham, if anything happened to the couple (e.g. poverty), it was the parish of Beaumont that would be responsible for them.
Munson and Jane carried such a certificate when they moved from Beaumont to Dedham. They would raise the remainder of their family in the Dedham area.
It is interesting that the Settlement Certificate for Munson refers to daughter Jane as 6 months or thereabouts”. The certificate was issued on 11th May 1785, which places daughter Jane’s birth in November 1784. November 1784 is the birthdate of their eldest child who died in January of 1785, aged only 2 months, some 4 months before the certificate was issued. When their second daughter (also called Jane) was born is yet to be established, however she could not have been born at the same time unless she was a twin.
As the certificate refers to a daughter Jane being alive in May 1785, the question is raised is to whether she is Munson and Jane’s natural child or an adopted one, of similar age to their first born. Whatever the cause of the discrepancy, it could have been the impetus for the family’s move from the Beaumont region to Dedham. It is also interesting to note that second daughter Jane always referred to her birthdate as around the same time as the eldest daughter was born.
Children in Dedham
The next four children for Munson and Jane were baptised in Dedham, while no baptism for youngest child Mary has been located. Later census records indicate that she too was born in Dedham.
Munson died in Dedham and was buried on 16th November 1821 in Langham, Essex (a town that is not far from Dedham). His wife Jane would outlive him by 6 years. His burial was recorded under the name of 'Maison' Mills.
|Children of Munson and Jane Mills
Great Oakley, Essex
Great Oakley, Essex
|Sep Q 1870|
Lexden District, Essex
Great Oakley, Essex
buried Langham, Essex
|June Q 1869|
Lexden District Essex
- Seax Parish registers
- Information from Jo Carr, South Australia, AUST
- Information from Bernie Barnes, UK
- Information from Jo Stevens, AUST
- Free REG, (http://freereg.rootsweb.com/cgi/SearchResults.pl?RecordType=Marriages&RecordID=3492150), marriage record for Munson Mills and Jane Willbe, file number 29030
- Essex, England, Church of England Baptisms, Marriages and Burials, 1538-1812, Ancestry.com – provided by the Essex Records office.
- Index of Settlement Certificates, Essex FHS, Ref 26/13/1
- National Burial Index of England and Wales, burial record for Maison Mills
- National Burial Index of England and Wales, burial record for Jane Mills
- RootsChat, (http://www.rootschat.com/forum/index.php?topic=9638.10), posting from One Name Study, Munson/Monson, UK, all dates