"Mr. and Mrs. W. P. Mills Have a Golden Wedding"

Mr. and Mrs. W. P. Mills highly respected pioneer residents of Centralia, celebrated their golden wedding anniversary Friday night, June 24, at Eagles' hall in that city, there being a large number of relatives and friends present. Mr. and Mrs. Mills were married at Dallas, Polk county, Ore., June 24, 1877. Mr. Mills, who will be 82 years of age August 9, was born in Missouri. When but a year old he came to the Oregon country with his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Elcana Mills, who located at Oswego, Ore., in 1847. Four years later, in 1851, Elcana Mills moved with his family to Lewis county, which was then a part of Oregon territory, where they have since been noted as one of the earliest families in this section of Washington.

Mrs. Mills, whose maiden name was Jennie Crystal, was born in Iowa November 7, 1858. She came to Dallas, Ore., with her parents in 1864, her people being well known to the pioneers of Oregon.

The life history of the family of Elcana Mills is very closely interwoven with the earliest pioneer days of Lewis county. Mr. Mills settled in 1851 at the present site of Chehalis, which was then known as Saunders Place, later Saundersville, and afterwards Chehalis. At a later date the family made its home at Claquato. There Mr. and Mrs. Mills kept a hotel for stage passengers and also a relay station for the stage horses. Mr. Mills worked in the grist mill at Claquato for Mr. Davis and was widely known to the settlers of those days. Mr. Mills secured a donation land claim a mile southwest of Centralia and his old log cabin stood a short distance south and west of the Chehalis river bridge on the A. F. Gordon road until it was destroyed by fire a few years ago.

Mr. and Mrs. Elcana Mills had a family of eight children. Five of them are yet living, including W. P. Mills of Centralia; Sam Mills, Grand Mound; Mrs. Mary Brown, Gate City; Mrs. Lizzie Beall, Seattle; and Mrs. M. S. Shriver, Dallas, Ore. Deceased children were Joe M. Mills, John P. Mills and George Mills.

The name of Mills has for three-quarters of a century been associated with music for the dances that have been held in Southwest Washington. The first orchestra that played at Claquato was composed of John Mills, violin; George Mills, violin; Bailey Bush of Bush's prairie, violin; and Wm. P. Mills, guitar. July 4, 1862, sixty-five years ago this coming Fourth of July, this orchestra played for a ball that was given in the home of John D. Clinger at Claquato. Tickets were $5 each. Proceeds were sent east for use of the Union army soldiers in the Civil war for the purpose of purchasing medicines and other supplies they might need. Thus in those early pioneer days did the people of this territory display their first spirit of the Red Cross of today and "do their bit" to help alleviate the suffering and wants of the boys at the front.

When the writer came to Chehalis 37 years ago and for many years afterwards the Mills Brothers orchestra was always the one first in mind whenever music was needed for a dance. At Friday night's golden wedding Billy Mills, who even now has a number of pupils on the violin, gave an exhibition of his old-time prowess with his bow by leading a lively orchestra with four of his sons, George C. of Centralia, Edward, William H. and J. H. of Salem, Ore. Each of these sons has his own orchestra.

Friday night the sons played the wedding march for their beloved parents. In turn four daughters-in-law of Mr. and Mrs. Mills honored them by acting as attendants for the occasion.

Under a bower of flowers most artistically arranged, with an elaborate color scheme of gold, Mr. and Mrs. Mills renewed their marriage vows of fifty years ago. Mrs. C. P. Remley was matron of honor, Mr. Remley best man. Rev. C. H. Lorimer was the officiating clergyman. Mrs. Lorimer rendered a vocal solo, Miss Maxine Wilkins being accompanist. Little Mildred Mills, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Geo. G. Mills, and Miss Dolores Mills, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. W. H. Mills of Salem, were flower girls. Dorothy Mills, also a daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Geo. G. Mills was ring bearer. Two other grandchildren were also present.

ollowing the ceremonies congratulations were extended and there was a brief program. Dan W. Bush gave a talk along pioneer history lines. Refreshments were served and a great wedding cake was cut, being shared by all the guests. There was more music by the Mills brothers and W. P. Mills, the father led with his old-time vigor with the violin, demonstrating to all that when he was awarded first prize of a silver loving cup in the old-time fiddlers contest held last year at Olympia, and won first money at Centralia a year ago in the Southwest Washington old fiddlers contest the decision of the judges was well made.

In the arrangement of the Eagles hall so prettily for the occasion the Centralia area members and the ladies of the Eagles auxiliary, of which organizations Mr. and Mrs. W. P. Mills have long been members, had a prominent part. (photo)

Source: The Chehalis Bee-Nugget, 1 Jul 1927, page 25.

Transcribed by Diana Smith. She has no further information on this individual.