MILLS, Oliver, of Lewis, Cass County, has been for nearly fifty years a resident of Iowa, and through his connection with the State Agricultural society, which lasted for about twenty years, became well-known to the people of our state. For three successive terms he served as president of the society, and was for many years a director and one who took a leading part in building up the society and making it a success. He, like many others of our prominent citizens, is a native of Ohio, born at Gustavus, Trumbull County, February 1, 1820. This village is situated in northeastern Ohio, about fifty miles east of Cleveland and almost in sight of the beautiful Lake Erie.
Harlow Mills, the father of Oliver, was of pure New England stock and a native of Hartford county, Conn. He was a prosperous farmer and dairyman and married Faith Ann Spencer, also a native of that county, but of German descent. In 1819 they emigrated to what was then the wild west and located in northeastern Ohio. In this beautiful lake region, known then as the western reserve, Oliver was born and grew to manhood. He attended the district schools in that locality, which were then excellent, until he was 14, when he went to Farmington academy to finish his education.
When old enough to start out for himself he engaged in farming and stock raising, in which he was very successful. April 17, 1839, he married Sophia Arnold. Attracted by the fame of the wonderful prairie west of the Mississippi, in 1850 he removed his young family to Lee county, Iowa, and settled at Denmark. Since that date he has been active in building up the industries of the new state and has managed his own business with a sagacity which has enabled him to accumulate a competence.
After residing at Denmark nearly eight years he removed to Lewis, Cass county, in 1857; at that time almost all of the country west of Des Moines was a prairie wilderness. It is now, 1899, a thickly settled and most beautifully improved country. Mr. Mills still resides at Lewis, at the age of 78 years, with mind as bright and clear as ever, with interest unabated in state and nation.
Mr. Mills was originally a whig, but since the organization of the party has been an active and influential republican. He has held several minor offices and was a member of the Fourteenth General Assembly, representing Cass, Montgomery and Adair counties, then forming the Twentieth representative district.
Since the early age of 14, Mr. Mills has been a member of the Congregational Church. He has always practiced and advocated the strictest temperance. Mr. Mills has six children: John A., born March 9, 1840; Edward P., born August 25, 1841; N. L., born March 25, 1846; Sophia, born April 21, 1849; George S., born June 1, 1852, and Franklin O., born June 1, 1854. His first wife died in 1876 and April 25, 1877, he married Julia A. Porgy.
From Biographies and Portraits of the Progressive Men of Iowa, Leaders in Business, Politics and the Professions, Together with an Original and Authentic History of the State, by Ex-Lieutenant-Governor B. F. Gue. Des Moines: Conway & Shaw Publishers, 1899, pp. 180-181.