Mills, William (1838-1905)

Discovering My Great Grandfather

William Mills was my great grandfather and I am only now discovering about his life and work as a MNC minister.
Born in North Shields and brought up by his grandmother as he was orphaned as a baby, He married Mary Alice Robson in 1865 in Durham when he was 27 and she was 23. He had already taken up his ministry having been involved from a very early age and a “boy preacher” at 15.
The growing family traveled around the circuits, mostly in the North East though they spent 5-6 years in Lisbon, Northern Ireland and 3 years in Epworth, home of Methodism.
It sounds, from his obituary, that they had a hard life losing 5 out of their 8 children, who were born in so many varying and challenging places .
His work, with its many stresses, and personal tragedies, took its toll on him and he spent the last few years of his life in a supernumerary capacity, still supporting the South Shields MNC.
He was commended for the “helpfulness of his preaching and fidelity with which he discharged his ministry”
On a personal note, my voyage of discovery has made me feel that I would have been proud of my great grandfather but also liked him tremendously . He was described as having “a good voice and commanding personal appearance and yet was naturally diffident and retiring”.


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