Daniel Azro Millington.
[Note: Kay did not begin to complete this file. Much work needs to be done. MAW]
Daniel Azro Millington was born in Hubbardton, Vt., May 17, 1823. He received an education in the common and higher schools of the state, and became proficient in mathematics and the sciences. He taught in the common schools five winters. In 1844, at the age of 21, he moved to Illinois and located in Will County. He married Miss Mary A. Smith on May 16, 1848, at the home of her father, John Smith, near Chelsea Post office in Will County. They had three daughters.
He wrote in his diary “Having come to the conclusion that I could not make money fast enough in Illinois, my adopted (home), I concluded to start for the famous land of gold, California. I made preparation for the journey and started on Monday morning March 4th, 1850, on horseback.” He left behind his wife and a daughter. He went by way of St. Louis, St. Joseph, and Salt Lake City. He reached Sacramento on July 19th, 1850.
He met with some success in gold mining. On September 1, 1851, he boarded a steamship to return home. On September 19th he disembarked to walk, or ride a mule, across the isthmus of Panama. On September 25th he boarded another steamship in the Atlantic. Upon his return he went into the lumber business at Joliet, Ill. In 1856, he moved to Iowa City, Iowa, and went into the general mercantile business. In the fall of 1862, he relocated to Leavenworth, Kansas, and there continued in the mercantile business, which was very successful during the war.
In January of 1866, he moved to St. Louis, Missouri, and continued in the mercantile business, meeting with heavy losses. In 1868, he moved to Fort Scott, Kansas, and continued in the mercantile business.
In 1870 he closed out his business and came to Cowley County, arriving August 16, where he immediately entered into the plan to build up a city later called Winfield. At the time the land belonged to the Osage Indians, who were present in great numbers, and the land had not been surveyed. Several men were holding claims of 160 acres each in the vicinity. The claims of E. C. Manning and A. A. Jackson occupied what is now the most central portion of Winfield, and were surrounded by the claims of A. Meanor (Menor), J. C. Loomis, A. Howland, A. J. Thomas, A. D. Speed, P. Knowles, and G. W. Green, all or parts of which claims were later incorporated into the city of Winfield.
Mr. Millington came in company with J. C. Fuller and bought the claim of A. A. Jackson, then associated themselves with E. C. Manning, laid out the half of the two claims into a town side, and invited settlers who would improve lots.
The town site was surveyed and platted by Mr. Millington, and completed in January 1871, after the government survey of these lands had been made. The town site was entered at the United States land office July 10, 1871, and was the first entry made of lands in this county. By that time there were seventy-two buildings erected on the town site by as many different settlers.
In March of 1874 D. A. Millington was examined by lawyers McDermott, Mitchell, and Adams, and admitted to the bar by Judge Campbell.
The mother of Mrs. Millington, of this city, died at Belle Plaine, Iowa, on the 28th of August 1877, at the advanced age of 84 years.
Mr. Millington became prominent in all the plans and schemes for the building up of Winfield and Cowley County, as well as the politics of the county and the state. Mr. Millington was for several years editor of the Courier, was mayor of the city for two years, and was postmaster of Winfield for five years. He retired from active business in 1886, but was still connected in an official capacity with the Winfield Gas Company.
D. A. Millington died May 6, 1891, of heart failure. He was survived by his wife, of the home, and his daughters: Mrs. W. J. Wilson of Albuquerque, New Mexico: Mrs. Ezra Nixon, of Medicine Lodge, Kansas; Mrs. J. Ex-Saint, of Albuquerque, New Mexico; and Mrs. A. B. (Clara) Lemmon, of Santa Rosa, California.
The original 1850/51 diary of D. A. Millington is on microfilm in the Bancroft Library of the University of California in Berkeley. The Cowley County Historical Society has a transcript of this diary that was donated by ‘Nick’ Nixon of Florida.
Winfield Courier, November 14, 1878.
I. L. Millington, a brother of ours, and John Buell have fitted up the building lately occupied by the post office for a feed store and will soon be ready to buy corn, oats, and other produce from the farmers.
Winfield Courier, April 17, 1884.
A BIG THING.
The Grocery Firm of Saint & Cleland, the Lucky Possessors,
A Thirty Years’ Lease of the Acoma Indian Reservation.
“One of the most important land transactions, which has ever taken place in the Territory, was concluded yesterday, by which Messrs. Saint & Cleland, of this city, became the lessees of the entire Acoma Indian reservation or grant. This reservation is some eighty miles west of Albuquerque on the line of the Atlantic & Pacific railroad and consists of somewhat over 95,700 acres of as fine grazing land as there is west of the Rockies, watered by the San Jose River and several small lakes. The terms of the lease secured to them the sole right and possession to these lands for a term of thirty years. The lands on either side of the grant being very poorly watered, the leasing of the grant practically secures to them the grazing lands for miles around, which will equal as many acres as the grant proper. The lease also secures to them the sole right to work a three-foot vein of coal on the grant, while being so much nearer the city than any other coal field, will, of itself, be worth thousands of dollars to them. In the transaction, in addition to becoming the lessees of this grant, they secure a full title to eight hundred acres of fine land adjoining the grant, through which the San Jose River also runs.
“This is certainly the biggest transaction, so far as the amount and value of the land is concerned, that has taken place in New Mexico for many a month. The gentlemen who have become the fortunate possessors of this property, have not as yet fully decided on the course that will be pursued regarding it, but they are both live, wide-awake businessmen, and our readers will hear from them later.
“The Journal congratulates Messrs. Saint & Cleland on their good luck in securing these lands. A thirty-years’ lease is almost as good as owning the lands, and if this lease does not make the gentlemen a princely fortune, it will be their own fault.”
We cut the above from the Albuquerque, New Mexico, Journal of April 10. Our Winfield boy, J. Ex-Saint, is the senior of the said firm of Saint & Cleland. He writes his wife, who is now with us, confirming all that the Journal says, and thinks he has a bonanza sure.