Rachel Mills, b. bet. 1798-1800, d.c. 1842 + Miel Spirlock > Matilda Spirlock b. 1830 AL, d. 1893 IL, + Rev. James E. Snow, Jr., d. 1893 IL > Malinda F. Snow b. 1857 IL, d. 1945 IL, + Lewis Harvey Garren HVR1 Haplogroup J2
HVR1 Mutations 126C
HVR2 Mutations 73G


Copyright © December 2010
Mary Fern Souder

Generation 1: Rachel Mills was born between 1798 and 1800. In about 1817, Rachel married Miel Spirlock, and although this was the spelling he always used in signing documents, most public records spelled his name as it sounded, "Miles Spurlock."

Their family Bible is no longer extant, but a handwritten copy (and then a typewritten Family Group Sheet) of information taken from it was available to Spurlock historians. Unfortunately the page that listed Rachel's date of birth had the last three digits of the year worn off; however, this paper did show that she was born on January 8th. This paper also listed the names and dates of births for all of Rachel's children, as well as the names of the spouses of her children. Subsequently, diligent research has resulted in locating all twelve of her children, and the details found on the typewritten Family Group Sheet have been found to be without even the slightest error.

By 1819, Rachel and Miel were in Alabama where eleven, and perhaps all twelve, of their children were born. At least seven of their children lived until the 1880 census, when each person enumerated was asked to tell the places of birth of both parents. These census records regarding Rachel's place of birth are too inconsistent to be able to say with certainty where she was born. It is possible that Rachel Mills was somehow related to Charlotte Mills who married John Spurlock on 17 April 1782 in Henrico County, VA. The identities of John Spurlock and Charlotte Mills are unknown and Rachel Mills has not been connected to any earlier family.

Although Rachel and Miel were living in Alabama by at least 1819, Miel Spirlock (using any spelling) has have not been found as head of household in 1820 in Alabama. Perhaps they lived with another head of household, they were inadvertently omitted from the 1820 census, or the census record for the area where they lived has been lost. Miel and Rachel Spirlock were enumerated on 1830 and 1840 census records in Jackson County, AL. During their stay, they purchased at least two tracts of land.

Rachel died between 1841 and 1843, leaving eight children under the age of 16. Her death occurred either in Alabama or on the way to Illinois. One legend is that Miel made the trip to Illinois so his children (reputed to be part Indian) could attend a school that admitted Indian children. Obtaining a mitochondrial DNA test for one of Rachel's lineal female descendents was done in order to determine whether Rachel was part Indian through her maternal lineage.

On 19 December 1843, Miel Spirlock was married 2nd to Miss Catherine Fine in Marion County, IL. In 1850, they had only one of his children living with them, Miles Spurlock, Jr. Rachel's younger children who were not married were living in other households in the region of Jefferson and Marion Counties, IL. A discussion of the DNA results for Miel Spirlock and some of his kin can be seen here: Spurlock History, and the results of all male Spurlocks who have tested my be seen here: Spurlock DNA Study. Additional information about Miel Spirlock may be seen at the link to the Murr study: Murr Mitochondrial DNA Study.

The children of Rachel Mills and Miel Spirlock were: James L. (or S.),* Elizabeth, Bethena, Mary Ann "Polly Ann," Martha, John B., Matilda, Malinda, Miel, Jr., Rachel, Julia (twin), and Juliann (twin) Spirlock. *Some believe that James was the same child as Stephen Spirlock, who was killed in 1838 while fighting in Florida in the Indian Wars, and for whom Miel received a monetary settlement.

Generation 2: Matilda Spurlock, daughter of Rachel Mills and Miel Spirlock, was born 31 December 1830 in Jackson County, AL. She came with her father and siblings to Illinois in the early 1840's, and they lived near the county line between Marion and Jefferson Counties. Legal documents for the family have been found in both county courthouses.

On 16 December 1847, when she was age 18, Matilda married the Rev. James Snow, Jr., in Jefferson County, IL. James was the son of James Snow, Sr., and Christina Fine, and nephew of Catherine Fine who had married Matilda's widowed father. Matilda and James Snow were the parents of twelve children. James was a farmer and also a minister of the Christian Church.

Matilda died on 1 February 1893 in Walnut Hill, Marion County, IL, and James died 24 September 1892. They are both buried in the Little Grove Church of Christ Cemetery in Rome Township, Jefferson County, IL, where James served as church pastor. Following is a biography for Matilda's husband:

Condensed from a Speech Given to
Carbondale (IL) Federated Woman's Club on
6 May 1975 by Descendant
Emily S. Morris

The Reverend James Snow was born in Clark County, Indiana, the second son of James and Christena (sic) Fine Snow, on March 9, 1825, after his father had died of typhoid fever. In 1835 his mother married Andrew Copple there, and they came by wagon train to Jefferson County, Illinois, later having bought a farm in Walnut Hill Prairie in Marion County. The first school was held in a log house in 1819 at the farm of George Bundy, and the first teacher was Jefferson Dow. Thus Bundyville School was already established when the family got to Walnut Hill. When he was 21 and possessed a common school education, he married Matilda Spurlock, who was born December 30, 1830, in Alabama. There were eleven children born into this family, three of whom died.* One son, William Riley, had 7 sisters, Mary, Ellen, Sarah, Rozella, Laura, Harriet and Malinda. Riley Snow married Darthula Ann Copple; his sisters married Samuel Few, John J. Copple, John Cameron, Oscar Bundy, J. B. Telford, Albert Cruzen and Harve Garren, respectively. *This biography fails to mention their youngest son, R. A. Snow, who died at age one and is buried in the Little Grove Church of Christ Cemetery.

What is recorded as actions of his church, Little Grove, established December 27, 1838, showed that he learned his lessons well. The first recorded actions signed by James Snow, elder, showed that the congregation kept its members in line. Members were excluded from the congregation for minute infractions of church morals. The Civil War, however, almost destroyed the church, and from time to time these old feelings still surface in this community. The trouble began in his family when two of his half-brothers answered their draft calls, and his older brother sent a substitute. Marion County had encouraged the practice of paying $300 for each volunteer. (At the end of?) The church trial that ensued when a member was excluded for leaving the church, when he got up to preach saw the congregation line up as Republicans and Democrats, for and against the War. The congregation voted to sustain her exclusion, but the feelings were so strong that a petition was signed to have Reverend Snow hanged as a traitor to his country. The end of the War probably saved his life, and he went on to serve his church and community well.

In 1874 when Marion County was apportioned into 16 townships, James Snow was elected as supervisor from his home township, Racoon. He served two other terms in 1875 and 1879. By 1881 history showed that he had helped to organize of sustain six of the 12 Churches of Christ in the county: Turkey Creek at Odin, Harvey's Point, Lovell's Grove; Mt. Moriah, the oldest; the church in Centralia; and his home church, Little Grove. He was called far and wide to conduct funerals and weddings. He died September 24, 1892, and his wife, Matilda, died on February 1, 1893. His record speaks for itself; he lived his religion. He stayed with the church when the fires of hate burned hottest. He held the congregation together with a spirit of conciliation, even at his own emotional trial. He went on to serve his community because it needed his talents. His descendants have not failed him, for they are still trying to uphold the morals he lived by.

Generation 3: Malinda Frances "Lindy" Snow was born 31 January 1857 near Walnut Hill, Marion County, IL. She married Lewis Harvey "Harve" Garren on 9 October 1873 at the home of her father, Rev. James Snow, near Walnut Hill. Harve was the son of Jacob and Phebe Garren, and a farmer.

Lindy and Harve were the parents of five children. Harve died on 12 August 1943 and Lindy died on 16 April 1945 at her home six miles southeast of Centralia near Walnut Hill, Marion County, IL. They are both buried at the Little Grove Church of Christ Cemetery in Rome Township, Jefferson County, IL.

Analysis of Mitochondrial DNA Results:

If Rachel Mills was part American Indian, it was not through her maternal ancestry. Rachel's matrilineal ancestry falls within the T2 Haplogroup, which is a European Caucasian lineage. It had an origin in the Near East greater than 45,000 years ago. The major sub-lineages of haplogroup T entered Europe around the time of the Neolithic period about 10,000 years ago. Once in Europe, these sub-lineages underwent a dramatic expansion associated with the arrival of agriculture in Europe. Haplogroup T2 is one of the older sub-lineages and may have been present in Europe as early as the Late Upper Paleolithic Age.

I am deeply grateful for the assistance of R. Bruce Thorsen, Pearl Patton, Kenneth Haas, Shirley Spurlock Grooms, Virgle L. Chappell, Leota Klinker, Pauline DeWitt, Kathy Larbi, the late Peggy Cameron Forman, and the late Howard H. Harvey.

Last Updated on 12/30/2010
By Wallace W. Souder