John Mills of Hitchin

1742 - 1784


London merchant, dying at Grenada in 1784 aged 42, possibly but not certainly the son of Thomas Mills of Great St Helens (q.v.). He was partner with Sherland Swanston (q.v.): their firm failed in 1781.

  1. Will of John Mills [late of Harpur Street but now] of Hitching [sic] Herts., merchant, [made in 1778] proved 08/12/1784. In the will he left his 'present wife' Sarah £4000 out of the capital of Messieurs Mills and Swanston of Great St Helens. He left the remainder of his estate in trust (the trustees were his wife Sarah Mills and William Colhoun of Wrotham Norfolk) for his five children, John Colhoun, Elizabeth, Thomas, Sarah Pittman and Padfield Mills. Administration of the will left unadministered by Sarah Mills and Padfield Mills was granted in 1837, when the testator was described as John Mills the younger late of Hitchin but 'at the Grenades' in the West Indies.

  2. By a deed of 01/06/1774 John Mills merchant of Great St Helens raised £15,000 through the sale of annuities to a long list annuitants in Britain, secured on two estates, one unnamed of 187 acres and one identified as Clarke of 45 acres, both in St John Figtree, Nevis, and on the enslaved people attached to them. LBS has inferred these two estates to be reflected in the Slave Registers as Prospect, then owned by John Mills' son John Colhoun Mills: this is supported to a degree by the (re)appearance of several of the names of enslaved people from the 1774 in the 1817 Slave Register entry for Prospect for people of an appropriate age (e.g. Claret aged 60; Ned aged 70)


Vere Langford Oliver History of Antigua is tentative on the family tree of the Mills, adding John Mills of Hitchin by a dotted line to Thomas Milliken Mills and William Maynard Mills, firmly identified as the sons of Thomas of Great St Helens. Oliver also shows a son of John Mills of Hitchin, Henry Roper (1784-1790), and makes no mention of Padfield.

  1. PROB 11/1124/158.

  2. Common Records 1775-1776, British Library, EAP794/1/1/15, pp. 65-94.

Further Information

John Colhoun; Henry Roper(?); Elizabeth; Sarah Pittman; Thomas; Padfield
West India merchant

Associated Estates (3)

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
1776 [EA] - → Creditor
- 1781 [EY] → Mortgage Holder

Mills & Swanston failed in 1781

- 1784 [EY] → Owner

Inferred by LBS. The estate was held by John Mills of Hitchin's son John Colhoun Mills in the 1820s.

Legacies Summary

Commercial (1)

Name partner
Mills & Swanston
West India merchant  

Relationships (4)

Notes →
Inferred relationship...
Father → Son
Testator → Trustee
Business partners

Addresses (1)

Hitchin, Hertfordshire, South-east England, England
Notes →

Given as of Hitchin in his will (proved in 1784), but dying in Grenada. his widow Sarah died of Roxley House Herts. in 1819.