Peter Matthew Mills

1743 - 1792


Nephew and co-heir of John Mills of Woodbridge (q.v.), given as of Twickenham in his will proved in 1792 and reportedly dying in Italy.

  1. Peter Matthew Mills senior was the ‘Only son and Heir of Matthew Mills of St Kitts by Cornelia, dau and coheiress of Col. Peter Soulegre of the same Island, from Languedoc; born 1743-4. Inherited in 1760 the plantations of his said grandfather.’ According to his entry in the Cambridge University Alumni he was born 23/03/1743 and was educated at Westminster School. School list gives ‘Mills, Peter Matthew, only son of Matthew Mills, of St Christopher’s, West Indies, by Cornelia, elder daughter of Col. Peter Soulgre of St Christopher’s; b March 23 1743; at school under Markham; Christ’s Coll. Camb. (adm. Fello commoner Oct. 23, 1760); resided till Dec. 1761; m 1762 Catherine, daughter of Dr. William Hamilton; d 1792.’ (Marriage date of 1762 contradicts another source: see note 6). Cambridge University Alumni gives same details: ‘Name: Peter Matthew. Mills/College: CHRIST'S/Entered: Michs. 1760/Born: 23 Mar 1743/More Information: Adm. Fell.-Com. (age 17) at CHRIST'S, Oct. 23, 1760. [Only] s. of Matthew. B. [Mar. 23, 1743], at St Christopher's [West Indies]. School, Westminster. Matric. Michs. 1760. Resided until Dec. 1761. Married, 1762, Catherine, dau. of Dr William Hamilton. (Record of Old Westminsters; Peile, II. 271.)’

  2. He is also listed as having literary interests: ‘Name: Peter Matthew Mills/Dates: 1751-1775/Gender: Male/Society/club membership:Societies/Clubs: Christ College, Cambridge, fellow commoner/Source Date: 1762/Source Info: Subscribed to Poems. By Robert Lloyd, A.M., 1762, LLOYD, Robert. London/Subject: poetry’ and also ‘Peter Matthew Mills/Dates: 1751-1775/Title: Esq/Gender: Male/Source Date: 1766/Source Info: Subscribed to Miscellanies, in Prose and Verse. By Mrs. Catherine Jemmat, Daughter of the late Admiral Yeo, of Plymouth, and Author of her own Memoirs, 1766, JEMMAT, Catherine. London/Subject: literature’. The biography of his eldest son, George Galway Mills, states that when he returned to St Kitts he was the fourth generation of the family to reside there: ‘Mills represented the fourth generation of his family settled on St. Kitts, where they intermarried with the leading planter families. His kinsmen in Parliament included Sir John William de la Pole, William Colhoun and Sir Ralph Payne.’ This means that Charles Andrew Mills came from three generations of the Mills family resident on St Kitts. Charles’ grandfather, Matthew Mills, father of Peter Matthew senior, was described thus: ‘This Mr Mills lived sometime at Richmond in Surrey and married a daughter and co-heir of Colonel Soulegre: (the other daughter married Stephen Theodore Janssen, esq, Lord Mayor of London in 1755.) He went over to St Christopher, Antigua etc to look after his estates there and was barbarously murdered.’ A transcript of the murder trial, including this note, can be read in A Complete Collection of State Trials and Proceedings for High Treason and Other Misdemeanours from the Earliest Period to the Year 1783 Volume XVIII by Thomas B Howell. Matthew Mills was a student at Leyden University in 1731, age 24, and graduated in medicine in 1735. On the title of his thesis he is described as of the Island of St Christopher. J. Bardot was tried for the murder of Matthew Mills, Esq., of St Christopher, in 1753.

  3. Another reference is also found in Settler Society in the English Leeward Islands, 1670-1776 by Natalie Zacek: ‘On Friday, January 5 1753, John Barbot, a twenty-five-year-old attorney-at-law, was arraigned at the Court of Oyer and Terminator in Basseterre for the murder of Matthew Mills, Esquire. Barbot, the court alleged, had shot Mills at sunrise on the shore of Frigate Bay, near the salt ponds on the desolate and sparsely populated eastern end of St Kitts. The prosecution, led by John Baker, solicitor general of the Leeward Islands, made its opening statement: On November 7 1752, on the occasion of the sale of a piece of property called Bridgewater’s Estate, on the nearby island of Nevis, Barbot had quarrelled with Mills about a matter relating to the terms of the estate. Several witnesses claimed that they had heard Barbot several days later, on November 10, declaring to a gathering of people in Basseterre that ‘there was a certain gentleman in this island, whom he would either kill or be killed by in less than a fortnight.’ Baker stated that several witnesses had seen Barbot practicing shooting a pistol later that same week and that others had seen him hastily drawing up an impromptu will at Hugh O'Donnell's tavern in Charlestown, Nevis, on November 18. On the following day, November 19, John McKenley, overseer of Spooner's Plantation near Frigate Bay, was, as he testified, awakened at daybreak by a young male slave named Coomy, whom he recognized as the property of Matthew Mills, being “the boy who always ran with the deceased.”’ This murder seems to have happened soon after Matthew Mills was knighted in 1752. Also in Settler Society in the English Leeward Islands, 1670-1776 by Natalie Zacek: “Matthew Mills, one of St Kitts’s wealthiest men, had chosen as a spouse Cornelia Soulegre, whose father was a Huguenot from Languedoc and whom Leeward governor Hart described as ‘not only the wealthiest man’ on the island but ‘in all respects a worthy and discreet person’.

  4. This Matthew Mills was, in turn, the son of an earlier Matthew Mills, probably born circa 1671 and who died circa 1744. Peter Matthew Mills ‘Inherited in 1760 the plantations of his said grandfather’, presumably when he matriculated and left school (see note 2 above), his father having been murdered in 1752. Given the number of generations listed as resident in St Kitts, this earlier Matthew Mills must be the one listed in St Christopher’s, January 11th 1707-8 An account of all and singular the white men, women and children at present residing and inhabiting in this Her Majesties island. As also of all slaves, men, women and children, belonging unto the said inhabitants. He is given as Mathew Mills, aged 36, with the white family consisting of 1 man, 1 woman, 2 boys and 1 girl, with 21 men, 24 women, 4 boys and 8 girls as enslaved persons, held ‘In company’ with William Woodley, aged 32. This same Matthew was also Speaker for the Assembly and Chief Justice.

  5. Peter Matthew Mills, father of Charles Andrew Mills, married Catherine Hamilton, daughter of Dr William Hamilton. Date of marriage given in one document as 1758 but this seems unlikely as he would have only been fifteen and probably still at school. The date of 1762 given in the Cambridge University Alumni seems more realistic. No place or date of birth known for Catherine but it is likely that she was from St Kitt’s as there were Hamiltons there. Peter Matthew is described as ‘of Twickenham’ but the family clearly spent time on St Kitts. Peter died in Twickenham in 1792 and his will was proved in Middlesex in July 1792. Surviving children named as George Galway, Peter Matthew, Charles Andrew and Cornelia Soulegre. He left his real estate on St Kitts to George Galway Mills, subject to the trusts he had previously established governing his property, and subject also to an additional charge of £2000 to his son Charles Andrew, which together with £8000 previously settled on Charles Andrew brought his legacy secured on the estate up to £10,000. It seems likely that George Galway Mills was tenant-for-life under these trusts, but this has not yet been confirmed.


Will of Peter Matthew Mills of Twickenham proved 17/07/1792, PROB 11/1221; European Magazine and London Reporter [1792], p. 83.

  1. Caribbeana Vol III p 49 [accessed 13/11/11];, Cambridge University Alumni 1261-1900 [database online];, Old Westminsters, Up to 1927 [database online]., UK and US Directories, 1680-1830 [database online].

  2.; A Complete Collection of State Trials and Proceedings for High Treason and Other Misdemeanours from the Earliest Period to the Year 1783 by Thomas B Howell at; email from Stanley R. Criens sourced to Album Studiosorum Academiae Lugduno Batavae MDLXXV-MDCCCLXXV, kol. 934; Edward Peacock, Index to English speaking students who have graduated at Leyden university (London, 1883) pp. 68, 934; R.W. Innes Smith, English-speaking students of medicine at the University of Leyden (London, 1932) p. 159; Matthaeus Mills, Angl. ex insula Christophori, de Dysenteria, priv., Med. (Bronnen tot de geschiedenis der Leidsche Universiteit, vijfde deel, 10 Febr. 1725-8 Febr. 1765 : Catalogus promotorum ex die 13. Februarii anni 1725 / P.C. Molhuysen. -'s-Gravenhage : Martinus Nijhoff, 1921, p. 237*); Dissertatio medica inauguralis de dysenteria. quam, ... ex autoritate magnifici rectoris, Jacobi Wittichii, ... pro gradu doctoratus, summisque in medicina honoribus, & privilegiis rite ac legitime consequendis, eruditorum examini submittit Matthæus Mills, ... ad diem 12. Julii 1735.... - Lugduni Batavorum : apud Gerardum Potvliet, 1735. - 8 p. : ill. ; in-4.

  3. Settler Society in the English Leeward Islands, 1670-1776 by Natalie Zacek at [accessed 13/11/11]; [accessed 14/11/11].

  4. Caribbeana p. 136, Caribbeana p. 49 [accessed 13/11/11]; Cambridge University Alumni online; Prerogative Court of Canterbury Wills Index 1750-1800 online; [accessed 13/11/11].

  5. Rome the Second Time: 15 Itineraries That Don't Go to the Coliseum by Dianne Bennett and William Graebner at; Will of Peter Matthew Mills of Twickenham proved 17/07/1792, PROB 11/1221.

We are grateful to Stanley R. Criens for his assistance with compiling this entry.

Further Information


Associated Estates (2)

The dates listed below have different categories as denoted by the letters in the brackets following each date. Here is a key to explain those letter codes:

  • SD - Association Start Date
  • SY - Association Start Year
  • EA - Earliest Known Association
  • ED - Association End Date
  • EY - Association End Year
  • LA - Latest Known Association
- 1792 [EY] → Previous owner

The 1817-1834 Slave Registers show this as the estate of Peter Matthew Mills deceased.

1782 [EA] - 1782 [LA] → Seller

Vere Langford Oliver in Caribbeana Vol. IV shows P.M. Mills selling Olivees to James Akers the elder (p. 98) and to Aretas Akers for £16,800 (p. 99), in both cases in 1782. Given its descent to Edmund Fleming Akers, it is reasonable to infer the purchaser was Aretas Akers.

Relationships (5)

Father → Son
Father → Son
Nephew → Uncle
Notes →
The will of John Mills or Miller [sic] of Woodford Bridge proved in 1758 shows Peter Matthew Mills as the nephew of John Mills, the son of John's late brother...
Son → Father
Notes →
Inferred by...

Addresses (1)

Twickenham, Surrey, South-east England, England