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Mills, Harvey, Captain (1817-1894) | Maine Maritime Museum Manuscript Collection Online Catalog

Name: Mills, Harvey, Captain (1817-1894)


Historical Note:

Capt. Harvey Mills was born August 1817 in St. George, Maine to parents James Mills and Mary Hathorn. Capt. Harvey Mills was married three times. He married his first wife, Olive Fountain, in 1841 when he was 24 and she, 30 (born 1821). Their union produced one son, Warren Fountain, born 1849. Sadly, Olive died in 1853 at the age of 32. Capt. Harvey Mills then married Sarah Frances Dizer on December 2, 1855 when he was 33 and Frances was 25 (born 1830). Unfortunately, there are no death records available for Sarah Frances Dizer. Capt. Harvey Mills married a third time to the very young Mary Rhoda Adams on April 3, 1860. She was 23 (b.1837) and Capt. Harvey Mills was 43. They had one daughter, Eda Olive, born in 1862.

Capt. Harvey Mills began his maritime career at the very young age of 12 and was master at the age of 25. He commanded numerous vessels including the ships Colonel Adams, Eliza McNeil, Henry L. Richardson, Harvey Mills, James Nesmith, Joseph S. Spinney and Samuel Watts.

Capt. Harvey Mills retired from sea at age 57 after an impressive 45 years as mariner. He passed the reins, so to speak, to his son, Harvey Fountain Mills in 1873 with the command of the ship Eliza McNeil.

In his retirement, Capt. Harvey Mills took up the hobby of building models of ships. He died in August 19, 1894 in Thomaston, Maine. He was 77 years old. His wife Mary died September of 1902.

Capt. Warren F. Mills, son of Harvey Mills and Olive Fountain, was born in Thomaston, Maine in 1849. He attended Eaton’s Boarding School for Boys at Kents Hill, Maine during the mid 1860s as a young teenager. He commanded the ship Eliza McNeil from 1872 to 1877 before taking command of the ship Harvey Mills. The ship Harvey Mills was built in 1876 by Harvey Mills and [James] Creighton ranking as the fourth largest in size among American merchant ships at that time. Capt. Warren Mills commanded the Harvey Mills until 1884 at which time he decided he had enough of the seafaring business. In a letter written September 5, 1884 (Box 9, Folder 8) he tells his father that he decided not to sail. Instead, he feels he will do better on shore and asks for a cash loan to start a stevedore business together with Capt. A. H. Herriman. In 1887, Capt. Herriman, J. F. Chapman and Harvey Mills invested in the Grey Eagle Mining Company hoping to make a profitable sum on gold. In the early 1893, Warren Mills considered the idea of purchasing the North American Navigation Company.

U.S. 1900 Federal Census records identifies Warren Mills’ wife as Sarah. However, in a letter to his father dated October 4, 1881, Capt. Warren Mills identifies his wife as Sadie.  Capt. Warren Mills married on October 14, 1880 while in command of the ship Eliza McNeil.  He and his wife had two daughters, Rhoda (b.1884) and Marjorie (b.1885). Capt. Warren Mills died in March 1926 in San Francisco.

Eda Olive, daughter of Capt. Harvey Mills and Mary Rhoda Adams Mills, married Charles Copeland October 27, 1886. Charles Copeland (b. 1858-d. 1945) is a well-known twentieth century American artist. He was active in the New England area and held memberships at both the Boston Society of Watercolor Painters and the Boston Art Club. Charles Copeland assisted Mary Rhoda Mills in handling Capt. Harvey Mills’ estate and later, managed the estate of Mary Mills. He died in 1945. Eda Olive Mills Copeland died in 1958 at the age of 96.

* U.S. Federal Census records

Sources: 1. Matthews, F. C. American Merchant Ships, 1850-1900, Vol. I. Marine Research Society, 1930





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