“The challenge: have one blog post each week devoted to a specific ancestor. It could be a story, a biography, a photograph, an outline of a research problem — anything that focuses on one ancestor.”
This is my 13th contribution to Amy Johnson Crow’s challenge 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks.
52 Ancestors: #13 Milla Susan “Millie” PETERS 1856-1891
Do you remember when you were young and one of your parents wanted to scold you and ran through the names of all your siblings before they got to yours? Image what it was like for Milla’s father, “Cynthia, Henry, Zachariah, Stephen, Mary, Jonathan, James, Jane, Martha,William, Peninah, Sallie, Joseph, Moses, Kesiah, Mandy, Callie, Elizabeth, Nannie, Milla!!!“
The 19th Child of Twenty-one
Milla Susan “Millie” PETERS was born 6 December 1856 in Raleigh County, (West) Virginia [line 44] to Jordan N. PETERS (1796-1890) and Rachel PROFFITT (1817-1899). She was the 19th child of her 60 year old father Jordan and the 7th child of her
thirty-something 39 year old mother Rachel.
Family on the Move
Milla’s parents seem to have been constantly on the move. They were married in Franklin County, Virginia, in 1844 and by 1850 were living in Raleigh County, formed on January 23, 1850 from portions of Fayette County, then a part of Virginia, now West Virginia. Their daughters Mandy and Callie were born in Floyd County in October 1850 and June 1853 per their marriage records. Jordan was in Raleigh County in June 1855 when he testified to claim the bounty land due him for his service in the War of 1812. In September 1856 he was in Floyd County when he received a Bounty Land Warrant for 160 acres. By December 1856 he was back in Raleigh when his wife Rachel gave birth to Milla. After her birth they moved again and were in Franklin County in 1860.
Milla Lives Through a House Fire
In February of 1865 a major event took place in the life of 8 year old Milla Susan PETERS. According to statements made by her parents their house “got burnt up” in Floyd County and all of her father’s papers, including the family bible, were lost.
Was the place of residence in 1860, 1865 and 1870 the same? A portion of Franklin County was added to Floyd County in 1870. I wonder if the changes in the county line between Floyd and Franklin may make it appear that the family was moving around when they were actually in the same place.
Milla Marries a Younger Man
Milla Susan PETERS married Gordon Washington ROOP on 1 January 1880 in Floyd County, Virginia, at her father Jordan Peters’ residence. The bride and groom, or whomever gave the information, were not honest about their ages. Milla’s age was given as 20 but she had turned 23 the month before and Gordon’s age was given as 21 although he was 17 and would not turn 18 until four months later.
Milla and Gordon were first seen together on the 1880 census. They lived on Alum Ridge in Floyd County near the Montgomery County line.
Milla and her husband Gordon did not wait long to start their family. She gave birth to five children, four sons and a daughter, in ten years:
Ch 1: George Washington ROOP (1880-1950) born 19 September 1880in Floyd County, Virginia. Note: no birth record however WWI and WWII draft cards match date seen on his death certificate.
Ch 2: Walter Farmer ROOP (1883-1971) born 16 April 1883 in Montgomery County, Virginia.
Ch 3: Charles Turner ROOP (1885-1966) born 15 June 1885 in Montgomery County, Virginia. The father’s residence at the time was Raleigh County, West Virginia, and the birth was recorded there.
Ch 4: James H. “Old Man Jim” ROOP (1887-1962) born 30 May 1887 at Snuffer’s Branch, Clear Creek, Raleigh County, West Virginia.
Ch 5: [–?–] ROOP (1890-1891) born in June 1890 in Kanawha County, West Virginia. She died in a house fire in 1891.
When she was expecting her fifth child or perhaps after the birth of her only daughter in 1890, Milla’s father Jordan N. PETERS died on 14 October 1890 in Nettle Ridge, Patrick County, Virginia. His wife, Milla’s mother, Rachel PROFFITT died there on 5 March 1899.
Second House Fire is Fatal
Milla Susan ROOP, née PETERS, died at the age of 34 with her only daughter, an unnamed baby, in a house fire in 1891. Family tradition is vague and does not tell us enough of the story. I cannot imagine the horror of living through one house fire and then perishing in another twenty-six years later. How was the fire started? Was it during the day or at night? Who else was in the house? When the fire broke out, where were Milla’s sons, aged between 10 and 3 years, and her husband? If it happened during the day, had the boys been playing outside? Did she save her sons from a fiery death, or was it Gordon? Was she overcome by smoke and flames? Was she suffocated or burned to death?
Milla’s grief stricken husband Gordon Washington ROOP placed his sons George, Walter, Charles and James with two Snuffer families until he was able to care for them.
 Her siblings:
Child 1: Cynthia Peters (1819-?) born 18 October 1819 Franklin County
Child 2: Henry T. Peters (1821-1890) born 17 March 1821 Franklin County
Child 3: Zachariah Peters (1822-1899) born 14 May 1822 Franklin County
Child 4: Stephen Peters (1824-1869) born 13 March 1824 Franklin County
Child 5: Mary Peters (1825-1856) born 6 August 1825 Franklin County
Child 6: Jonathan Peters (1827-1910) born 23 April 1827 Franklin County
Child 7: James Peters (1829-1880) born 25 January 1829 Franklin County
Child 8: Jane Peters (1831-1867) born 23 June 1831 Franklin County
Child 9: Martha Ann Peters (1832-1902) born 19 January 1832 Franklin County
Child 10: William Edward Peters (1834-1863) born 2 October 1834 Franklin County
Child 11: Peninah Peters (1839-1859) born 14 November 1839 Franklin County
Child 12: [–?–] Peters (1841-1841) born 1 July 1841, died 1 July 1841 Franklin County
Child 13: Sarah “Sallie” Peters (1842-1899) born 2 November 1842 Franklin County
Child 14: Joseph W. Peters (1844-1862) born 12 May 1844 Franklin County
Child 15: Moses Samuel Peters (1846-1915) born 25 January 1846 Franklin County
Child 16: Keziah Lucy Peters (1847-1934) born abt 1847 Floyd County
Child 17: Amanda Angeline “Mandy” Peters (1850-1895) born 2 October 1850 Floyd County
Child 18: Caroline “Callie” Peters (1853-1930) born 13 June 1853 Floyd County
Child 19: Milla Susan “Millie” PETERS (1856-1891) born 6 December 1856 Raleigh County
Child 20: Elizabeth F. “Emma” Peters (1860-1944) born 22 March 1860 Floyd County
Child 21: Nancy Ellen “Nannie” Peters (1864-1942) born July 1864 Franklin County
 Milla Susan “Millie” PETERS has been incorrectly seen as Willa or Willie in online GEDCOM files. Her 1856 birth record clearly shows Milla S. On the 1870 census I compared names beginning with M and W on the same page and her name was written as Millie Susan. B. P. Elliott, the enumerator of the 1870 census, was also the clerk who filled out the 1880 Marriage License for Milla. The handwriting is the same and it is an M and not a W. Millie is seen on the 1880 census. Her son George’s death certificate has her name listed as Millie Peters. Son Walter’s 1971 death certificate has Mary Peters listed, an obvious error. The persons who gave the information on her younger sons Charles and James’ death certificates did not know the name of the mother. I rest my case.
 Jordan N. PETERS married first Mary “Polly” TROUP on 6 Oct 1817 in Franklin County. They had 10 children. Polly died on 5 January 1837 Franklin County. Jordan married second Sarah COX (?-1841) on 15 August 1837 Franklin County. Sarah died 8 July 1841 in Franklin County a week after giving birth of her second child. Jordan married third Rachel PROFFITT on 8 December 1841 in Franklin County. They had 9 children.
 In 1977 Paula Kelley Ward obtained Jordan’s complete War of 1812 file from the National Archives and Records Administration. From the information gleaned from the file she wrote “Jordan’s Story” included on pgs. 24-29 of Whenever We Wander, compiled, designed and edited by Carolyn Hale Bruce.
© 2014, copyright Cathy Meder-Dempsey. All rights reserved.