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Louisa Avelina Sleater Mills (no children);
William Gill Mills, Father of Mannie Pickett and Avelina Mills (Saville)
                        Maria Louisa Pickett Family Web Site
                William Gill Mills Family Page
A History of Mannie Pickett.doc
William G. Mills History.htm
Miriah Louise Pickett by Patricia Miller.doc
Priscilla Clark Pickett Wilford Murder Account.htm
Pickett Descendants of Maria Louisa Pickett.doc
Pickett Descendants of Maria Louisa Pickett.htm
Miriah Louise Pickett by Patricia Miller.htm
Priscilla and Maria Louisa.htm
William G. Mills History.doc
Summary of the life history of William Gill Mills: (See links to more histories above)
William Gill Mills and Louisa Avelina Sleater were converted in England to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and migrated to the United States in 1855, crossing the plains with the Milo Andrus Co.  William is listed as age 32 and Louisa as age 22 on the company roster, and they lived in Salt Lake City. He and Louisa, and later, Emily, took in a stranded girl from the Andrus company, Alexandrina Sarah Bray (Md. John H. Woodbury), under instructions from Brigham Young (See cite from Heart Throbs of the West, Vol. 8 p. 74 -  The Woodbury family, descendants of Alexandrina (Alexina) Sarah Bray, credit Emily Hill as adopting and raising Sarah, and include Emily and William Mills as adoptive parents  (  In 1857 William participated in the rescue of the Willie Handcart Company in the mountains of Wyoming.  Shortly thereafter he married as a plural wife one of the girls he rescued, Emily Hill, who bore his child, Avelina Mills (b: 18 Oct. 1859; Md. John Harrie Saville). 

In 1860 he asked for and received another mission to England  where he served with his first wife, Louisa Avelina, leaving Emily, baby Avelina, and apparently, young "Alexina" to fend for themselves in Utah.  While in England he was excommunicated for adultery and wrote back to Emily denouncing plural marriage and severing all ties with her and his child.  Emily's sad response to this tragic desertion in her life is included in her history on this web site.  Emily later married Joseph Woodmansee and raised a large family. She became well known as the "poet laureate" (Def.: A poet acclaimed as the most excellent or most representative of a locality or group.) of northern Utah and wrote many poems, today the most famous of which is, "As Sisters in Zion." (See a brief history of Emily Hill Mills Woodmansee on this site.)

William and Louisa Avelina spent some time in Illinois with her family, and then they went on to northern Nevada and California. He published poems while in Austin, Nevada and Havilah, California (north of Bakersfield) in 1866: "The Havilah School District was formed on November 9, 1866.  It was the first public school to operate in Kern county.  At that time Havilah was a bustling mining community and the County seat.  The first district clerk was William Gill Mills." (from He settled probably late in 1868 in Gilroy, south of San Jose, where he served the community on the city council and as interim Mayor while the city became incorporated.  Technically, he was the first mayor of Gilroy, CA, while the new Mayor was elected, and was so designated by the State Legislature.  He owned a Mercantile store and advertised weekly in the Gilroy Advocate, where he also published at least two poems. (See above.) He took in two of Priscilla Clark Pickett Wilford's children, including Maria Louisa Pickett, and sometime after Priscilla's murder in Carson City, migrated back to Utah, settling in Alta and in Salt Lake City, where he lived at 88 "O" Street.   In 1876, 53 year old William became the father of Mannie Pickett (b: 4 Jan. 1876), whose unmarried mother, 19 year old Maria Louisa Pickett,  he had raised in his home since her mother's murder.  He had no posterity from his wife Louisa Avelina Sleater, and did not raise either of his known offspring, Avelina Mills or Mannie Pickett. He apparently became a Methodist minister, and representing himself as such preached a sermon in Tucson in 1879, where he also wrote and published at least one poem:  "In 1879 the Rev. William Gill Mills gathered a little group of Methodists who held services in the Court House. Tucson was a wide-open town in 1879." ( from Methodist History in the South West:

He died in Salt Lake City 24 May 1895 at age 72 shortly after a final visit to England to visit relatives.  His possessions passed down through the family of Louisa Avelina's sister, and today belong to the Barker family. He and Louisa Avelina are buried in Salt Lake City, directly across the street from the University of Utah Stadium, and a large grey obelysk marks their graves, just a few feet from the street. (See photo, below.)

He was a gifted poet, musician and advocate.  Several of his hymns have appeared in the LDS Hymnals, one of which is in the current Hymnal:  #40 - "Arise, O Glorious Zion." His written works on life and hopes for Zion are still powerful and moving. Many of his poems and works are and will be published on this site.  Photos of his artifacts and gravesite are also published here.  In his own words, " I came to America in 1855, and visited England twice since.  Have edited several papers and one magazine, was a preacher and lecturer for years.  Was the first mayor of Gilroy, California; Justice of the Peace several terms in Utah; was merchandising in Illinois, California and Utah; never conceited enough to publish a volume of my poems, of which I've written some hundreds, and translations from Greek and Latin poets (my versification).  Some of my writing have appeared in the Manx Sun; Manx Liberal; Millenial Star, Liverpool; Family Herald, London; Salt Lake Tribune, Salt Lake Herald, Deseret News, Salt Lake; Godey's Lady's Book; Tullidges' Magazine.  From the "Weekly Budget" London, I received two prizes for the best poems open to competitors in Great Britain and Ireland. My effusions have appeared in the Manx and English newspapers since my fourteenth year.  Occupation: Attorney, Solicitor, and Literatus.  My hair is grey (was brown), my eyes are dark grey,  height, 5 ft. 8 in., and weight 170 pounds."  (See more history in links above.) 

His daughter by Emily Hill, Avelina Mills, married John Harrie Saville (b. 1858, England) and died in Mexico. His grand- daughter Caroline Mills Saville married John Eli Telford (b. 1879, England), who also died in Colonia Juarez, Mexico.  His adoptive daughter, Alexandrina Sarah Bray, was raised by Emily and married John H. Woodbury, leaving a large posterity.

His son by Maria Louisa Pickett, Mannie Pickett, married Dora Briggs and lived most of his life in Burley, Idaho where he raised a large family of 4 boys and 4 girls.  Their descendants live in California, Washington, Idaho, Utah, Arizona and elsewhere with surnames, Blackhurst, Bjorkman, Pickett and Porter from the first generation, and other  surnames by marriage in the second generation: Daugaard, Erickson, Kent, Needham, Payne, Price, Russell, and Stuart.  

If you have any contributions or corrections to make to this site, please email Roger Porter, a great grandson, at porterhouse88 at cableone dot net, or click on the "e-mail" button to the right.

Return to Maria Louisa Pickett Family Home Page:
Go to Dora and Mannie Family Reunion Photos Page:   
Go to Mannie and Dora Pickett Children Page:
Go to Mannie Pickett and Dora Briggs Family Page!
(Includes links to Children of Mannie and Dora Pickett)
A History of Mannie Pickett.htm
.doc histories are in Word document format
.htm histories are in Web format 
Historical Clips from the Life of William Gill Mills
Age, Year
  0 1822- 18 December:  Wm. Gill Mills born, Ardglass Co. Down, Ireland, to Thomas and Jane Gill Mills
18 1841- 18 July: Baptism by half brother, John Mills, at Ramsey, Isle of Man
26 1849- 18 May: Ordained Baptist Elder at Whitehaven, Cumberland (copy of certificate Jean Sleater/Roger Porter)
27 1850- July: Called as branch secretary, Isle of Man Branch
            -  Nov 22: Called by F.D.Richards on first mission, South Conference, under Pres. Geo. Halliday
28 1851-  1 October 1851: Married Louisa Sleater, 20 years old (Copy of Mg Cert. Jean Sleater/Roger Porter)
29 1852- 1 January: in Devonport, Isle of Man
            -  June: President of Lands End Conference, Samuel Frances as secretary
            -  11 December: Appointed President of the Reading Conference
31 1854- 2 December: Released with permission to emmigrate to America
32 1855- 17 April: Migrated on ship "Chimborazo" with wife, Louisa Avelina Sleater
            -  21 May:  Arrive in Philadelphia
            -  June:  St. Louis, wrote "A Hymn" for the saints on the ship Chimborazo
            -  24 July:  Arrive at Mormon Grove, Atchison Co., Kansas 
            -  28 September: Wrote poem to Louisa Jane Stocks (Black) at her birth at Independence Rock
            -  24 October:  Arrive in Salt Lake City in Milo Andrus Wagon Co.
33 1856- 30 January:  Ordained a High Priest by David Pettigrew and G. B. Wallace
            -  25 April:  William and Louisa Avelina sealed in the Endowment House, SLC
            -  4 December: G.S.L., "On the Death of Pres. Jedediah M. Grant"
34 1857-  14 June 1857: Married 21 yr. old Emily Hill in plural marriage (a Martin Handcart Co. english emmigrant)
34 1857-  30 June 1857: Appointed by Brigham Young Captain of Topographical Engineers (copy of certificate Jean Sleater/Roger Porter)
35 1857-  31 December: G. S. L.(Great Salt Lake), "Song"
36-37   -   1859-60: Priscilla Clark Pickett, widowed, stayed 12 months with Wm. and Avelina Mills
36 1859-  January: Sired Avelina Mills (b: 18 October 1859, SLC) with Emily Hill Mills
            -  April:  S.L.C, Poem, "There Is Nothing New"
37 1860-  12 January: Gr. Salt Lake City, "National Anthem"
            -  22 September:  Set apart by Pres. John Taylor for second mission, to England
38-40   -  1861, 1862, part of 1863: President of the Birmingham District (Shropshire, Stafford, Warwic)
38 1861-  23 March: Published three page article in Millenial Star, No. 12, Vol. XXIII on The Gathering
40 1863-  16 May: Notice in Millenial Star of his excommunication for adultery
            -  15 May: Left Liverpool with his wife for America
42-44   -  1865, 1866, 1867: Lived in Austin Nevada and Havilah, CA, north of Bakersfield, (from poems).
43 1866-  Served as first District Clerk of the Havilah CA School District. (See cite in text above, this page)
45-48    - 1868-1871: Lived in Gilroy California, south of San Jose.  Mayor of Gilroy during transition to a City.  Lost election.
46 1869-  16 Jan: poem "Lessons From the Storm Clouds" published in the Gilroy Advocate
   -  20 Feb: poem "Life's Enjoyment" published in the Gilroy Advocate
   -  June: Maria Louisa Pickett and Sarah Wilford in the care of William G. and Avelina Mills in Gilroy
            -  9 July: Testified in Carson City at inquest for Priscella Clark Pickett Wilford's murder                 
            -  22 July:  Penned his last will and testament in Gilroy, CA.  Copy w/Roger Porter
48-52   -  Moved to Alta Utah until the big fire, then lived in SLC
52 1875-  April: Sired Mannie Pickett ( b: 4 Jan 1876) with 19 year old  Maria Louisa Pickett
55 1878-  7 April: Store burned down in Utah after apparent theft (Journal entry in Women Voices)
56 1878 - 25 December:  Salt Lake City, Poem, "The Glorious Birth"
57 1879- Traveled to Tucson and preached as a Methodist minister (see cite in text above, this page).
58 1880- December: Tucson, Arizona, Poem, "Speak Not Unkindly"
58 1880- 18 December (Birthday): Tucson, Ariz, Love Poem to Louisa Avelina Sleater Mills, no title. (Copy Jean Sleater/Roger Porter)
67 1889- 25 December: "To Mrs. Charlson" poem (Copy, Jean Sleater/Roger Porter)
??        - Undated hymn, "8's and 7's" to tune "Mona's Isle" with Sleater packet. (Copy Jean Sleater/Roger Porter)
70 1893- Traveled once more to England to visit loved ones
            -  10 October: "El Manx National Ode", Barrow-in-Furness
71 1894-  Salt Lake City, wrote "True Prayer"
72 1895-  24 May:  Passed away at the address: 88 "O" St., SLC
            -  26 May Buried in Mount Olivet Cemetery, now across the street from the U. of Utah Stadium, SLC, UT(see below):
Headstone of WGMills gravesite:
         "WM. GILL MILLS
              DEC. 18, 1822
              MAY 24, 1895


Louisa Avelina Sleater Mills 
on reverse side.  U. of Utah
Stadium across the street.
 Below: William Gill Mills Artifacts: Candlelamp engraved: "W. G. M.  Presented by W. F. 1863"
(Owned by the Barker Family, St. George, UT)
Poetry and other writings of William Gill Mills - 
.doc = Word Format; .htm = Web Format:
Mills Poems pub. in Gilroy, CA.doc
Mills Poems pub. in Gilroy, CA.htm
Mannie Pickett and his mother,
Maria Louisa Pickett.
Priscilla and Maria Louisa.doc
Priscilla Clark Pickett Wilford MurderAccount.doc
Priscilla and Maria Louisa History-Pickett Fam. Version.doc
Priscilla and Maria Louisa History-Pickett Fam. Version.htm
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Many thanks to Jean Sleater for the poems and histories recently added!!
Mary Susanna Higgs Sleater History.htm
Mary Susanna Higgs Sleater History.doc
Mills poems from the Sleater Family.htm
Mills poems from the Sleater Family.doc
Emily Hill Mills Woodmansee Poems and Commentary.doc
Emily Hill Mills Woodmansee Poems and Commentary.htm
Emily Hill Mills Woodmansee Poem of the Handcart Rescue.htm
Emily Hill Mills Woodmansee Poem of the Handcart Rescue.doc
Emily Hill Mills Woodmansee.htm
Emily Hill Mills Woodmansee.doc
Thomas Mills family in Ireland and Isle of Man.doc
Mills Family Histories/Genealogies. . . . . . . . . . . .