He was the youngest son of William Nelson and Ann Leap Mills. His obituary was recently discovered in the “News,” a local newspaper of Frederick County, MD. Little was previously known about John R. Mills because he moved from Alexandria to Liberty, MD shortly after the 1850 Census was taken. He married Rachel Baker Pearre and became a farmer. Following excerpt from his obit shows he had a long and interesting life:
“He spent a few years of his early manhood in a seafaring life, during which time he made a number of trips to Europe. After a few years spent in this way, he settled down to an agricultural life in which he was successful. In 1856-57, he was a member of the Board of county Commissioners. In 1891 he was elected a Judge of the Orphans Court of Frederick County, MD which position he filled for a term of four years. He was originally a Whig in politics, but from the outbreak of the Civil War, became a Democrat, to which party he always afterwards belonged. He was a consistent member of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, and a Free Mason.”
He and Rachel had four children: Pauline Baker Mills Norwood; Margaret Alberta Mills Dorsey; Howard D. Mills, a pharmacist who lived in Baltimore, MD, and Clifton M. Mills who married Sally Naill and continued farming on the land of his parents in Frederick County, MD.