As discussed earlier, my ancestor Thomas Millman was shown in the 1851 Census for Exeter to have been born in Dartmouth in about 1800. However, no baptism entry in the parish registers of that area was discovered for him - by which means one had hoped to learn the name of his father. It was known however that Thomas had named his first son William (in 1827) and that a witness at his marriage the year before was of this same name. These facts pointed strongly to his father being a William Millman. A marriage was later discovered in Brixham, near Dartmouth, of a William Millman to Susannah Granville in March 1798 at which the groom was described as a 'Sojourner' in that parish - as a member of the Royal Cornish Militia, then stationed at nearby Berry Head. While no Thomas Millman was subsequently baptised there to this couple, nor in Dartmouth nearby, they did at least have a namesake son William baptised in Dartmouth - in 1802.

       Militia records at the PRO revealed that the Cornish Militia, after some months in Plymouth, Somerset and then, fittingly, Dartmouth by 1800, were sent to their own county of Cornwall in 1801. An IGI entry shows a Thomas Millman, son of William and Susannah, was baptised in Tregony, Cornwall in August that year - when that regiment was stationed for some months in that very town. It thus appeared that while apparently born in Dartmouth some months earlier (as stated in his Census entry), Thomas's baptism was for some reason delayed until his parents were settled for a time at least in Tregony. By 1802, they'd returned to Dartmouth where their second son William was, as mentioned above, born and baptised. He soon died however, being buried in Dartmouth in 1803, after which William and Susannah had a second William, and a daughter Susannah, baptised in nearby Ashburton before 1810. It was thus apparent that Thomas's father was indeed a William Millman, after whom Thomas had named his first son, as suggested. After the war, the family moved to Exeter by about 1820, where Thomas would marry in 1826, later settling for a time in Crediton. A William Millman who died in Exeter in early 1841, aged 69 (and thus quite possibly approaching 70) would appear to have been his father who lived just two streets from where Thomas himself would shortly reside for many years. This placed William's birth around 1771. But, as asked above, to whom was he born that year, and where?

       William had himself named his first son Thomas, and only his second one William, after himself. Until shown otherwise therefore, we may assume that William's father was very likely a Thomas Millman. Where did that elder Thomas and his wife live - in the early 1770s, when William was seemingly born to them ? Only one possibility appears likely in this search and it is described below.

       Tracing the Militia records back in time, we next found that William had joined the Cornish Militia in Plymouth - on the 6th January 1796. Sadly, the associated records gave no information or clues about his parentage, place of birth or usual abode (as did many contemporary maritime and naval records). During 1795, this regiment had been recruiting in the smaller centre of Crediton in mid Devon and many Devon men joined while they were stationed there. The baptismal records of most of these men, then in their early 20s, may be found in the local parish registers for the years around 1770-1775. During 1797, after William had joined, the regiment was sent for some months to Kent where William and one of the Crediton recruits, Richard Puddicombe, were transferred into the same Company. On their return to Devon in early 1798, Richard Puddicombe appeared as a witness at William's marriage to Susannah Granville in Brixham. Many years later, William's son Thomas would marry Richard's daughter Thomasine and, as mentioned, live for a time in Crediton. No William Millman of the relevant age (ie to be Thomas's father) was however born in the Crediton area ca 1765-75, nor did anyone of this name who later joined the Cornish Militia emanate from that area according to the relevant parish constable's records which do show, for example, Richard Puddicombe's name (and many others of Crediton and neighbouring Sandford) in this regard.

       In like manner, no William Millman was born/baptised in the Plymouth area to account for his later presence there when joining the Militia in early 1796. This he did as a Substitute - probably for a Cornish man who sought to be so released. Plymouth was a much larger centre - for recruitment into many services - and men were drawn there from a fairly wide area of south Devon and neighbouring Cornwall. By examining all relevant south Devon and Cornish parish register entries, it was found that there were in fact just two William Millmans born at about the right time for one of them to represent our William. Both were born near Dartmouth and Brixham - in Paignton and neighbouring Stoke Gabriel - in late 1773 and early 1775, respectively. They were cousins born to brothers Edward and John Milman of a large Paignton-based family of Milmans (as the name was often spelt). But oddly, our William named no son by either of these two names. But these brothers did have an elder brother - Thomas Milman who, with wife Mary (nee Churchward), also had a large family in Paignton. There were also 3 other married Milman brothers of this family in that generation - Francis, Philip and William - and all 6 brothers tended to name their own sons mainly with a selection of these same 6 names, including William. These six were the sons of an elder Thomas Milman and wife Jane (nee Brooking), both of Paignton.

       However, their eldest and namesake son Thomas Jnr (with wife Mary), while having several children in Paignton, including sons, appeared to have none there baptised as either William or even Thomas - despite the latter being both his own and his father's name. This was quite unexpected. There was however a gap in the otherwise fairly regular sequence of births to this couple for such sons to have been born - in the case of Thomas around 1762 and of William around 1771. A later discovery of a Thomas Milman as a Mariner - shown in associated records as born in Paignton and in about that year, and also of one of this name marrying in Paignton in 1786, for which no other Thomas was available to better fit, strongly indicated that he must have been that expected but missing son born to Thomas and Mary. Confirmation of this conclusion was eventually discovered when it was found that Marldon, a Chapelry next to Paignton, included just such a baptism for this Thomas - for 1762 - born to Thomas and Mary Milman. And, crucially, a William Milman, Mariner, shown also as born in Paignton - around 1770/71 - was also discovered in these same maritime records. This placed his birth there about 3 to 5 years before the two other William Milmans born in the Paignton area - to Edward and John, respectively. When we couple this with the fact that our William (later in the Militia by which time, significantly, he appears no longer in those maritime records) named his first born Thomas, strongly points to his birth in Paignton around 1771 - to Thomas and Mary Milman. Fittingly as well, the William Milman who died in Exeter near Thomas's abode in 1841, aged 69+, fits this interpretation perfectly. And no one else does.

       Sadly, no baptism to this effect was later found in that same Chapelry neighbouring Paignton as revealed for the younger Thomas - just as one hasn't (as yet) for another expected brother 'Francis' - a family name typically commemorated by most in this family for some years. Either these names were not entered into the relevant register when baptised in Paignton or, as for Thomas, they were baptised elsewhere - as yet undiscovered. Another member of the Paignton family, a Philip Milman of the previous generation, was shown in the same maritime records as also having been born in Paignton but, again, no record of his birth there (ie by way of a baptismal entry) is found in the Paignton register. In his case (and that of two of his near brothers), the baptisms were in fact performed and registered in Throwleigh, several miles away. Their mother may have come back to her home town of Paignton for her confinements and their births, with the children baptised a week or so later back in the village church where they were then residing. Possibly this happened also with William and Francis ? Their mother (Mary Churchward) was herself also a native of Paignton. But where was this other parish ?

       If William was born about 1771 in Paignton to Thomas and Mary, as appears most probable from this analysis, he would be about 24 when he joined the Militia - as a single man in January 1796. We may enquire what he had been doing over the preceding few years - ie from about 1786 or so (when his apparent elder brother Thomas was marrying in Dartmouth). As he had little formal education (like his probable brother John who would also only make his mark at his marriage), he likely began working by then - aged 15. As the major employer in Paignton and nearby parishes then was in the Merchant Marine and Fishing industries, centred on neighbouring Brixham and Dartmouth, it seems likely that he too would begin in this sphere - probably in coastal fishing boats as he learnt the various skills of seamanship. Later, from about the age of 18, such experienced young men in the area were typically employed in the deep-sea industry - on Dartmouth-registered vessels sailing to and from the Mediterranean or, more usually, Newfoundland. Or, they may have joined the Navy in nearby Plymouth who also sought young men with such skills - especially as the Napoleonic wars spread - if not as a Volunteer then as a Pressed seaman. Fortunately, there are records at the PRO in both these spheres and we already know - from details shown in some of the marriage entries for the Paignton Milmans of the previous generation - that some members of this family did indeed follow these routes, as did the Thomas Milman of the next. By getting a fuller perspective on their careers, it is hoped that we may obtain further support for our belief that it was our William, albeit later in the Militia, who was the above mentioned William noted in maritime records of that same age - being one of these several sea-going Milmans born in Paignton. We shall examine and describe firstly those of the Merchant Marine and later any of possible relevance from the Navy.

THE CAREER OF WILLIAM (and other MILMANS) of PAIGNTON AT SEA: ca 1772 - 1820

       The only records for men in the Merchant Marine before 1820 are Ships Muster Rolls for a very few Ports including, usefully, Dartmouth and Plymouth - in class BT 98/. I checked these initially for Dartmouth only - for the years 1776 to 1803. The first 'box' (BT 98/5) covered 1776 to 1789, but with an inexplicable and unfortunate gap between 1778 and 1786. Each ship's Captain (a Master Mariner) was supposed to have completed a standard form listing the name of the ship (and rarely its owner), its home port and destination, dates of leaving and returning, the names of his crew from himself and his 1st (and rarely 2nd) Mate, through Boswain, about 5 to 10 'Seamen' and often 2 or 3 Boys. Their ages, places of birth and current abode should also be given, as well as the name of the ship on which they served immediately prior to the current trip. There appeared to be about a dozen or so such ships sailing regularly out of Dartmouth - making one or two trips a year lasting 5 to 10 months each. The Captains and crews of these rarely remained the same; over a 5 or 10 year period most men seem to have sailed on most ships although a given Master generally had a crew that included several men from his own or nearby villages. These were typically in south Devon and not necessarily ports. Paignton was well represented. But they also picked up men in distant lands if needed. Most trips entailed going to and from Newfoundland, probably returning with fish, but sometimes to the Mediterranean or Africa. [A later class of records was examined which gives the names of ships and their Masters (who were granted exemption for the Navy press gangs) and home ports. It appeard that there were many more of these from Dartmouth than those shown in the Muster Lists so our records of the Paignton men at sea may well be incomplete.]

Records of the Merchant and Fishing Ships Sailing Out of Dartmouth

       While these records were initially examined in no particular order, they are now reported below chronologically - from 1770 (although some earlier ones, if relevant, may be added later). Masters were required, from 1747, to keep a record of the names of all men serving on their ships although there appears to have been many gaps in such records. Moreover, until 1800, such records survive for only 4 ports: Liverpool, North Shields, Dartmouth and Plymouth. Fortunately, the latter two cover the areas we are interested in. The records are in Class BT 98/ and are arranged by port (eg Dartmouth) and the ships' registry numbers. After 1835, they also included more comprehensive Agreements (Contracts) made between each crew member and the master or owner, for each voyage, but these may be too late for our purposes.

       In order to facilitate the identities and inter-relationships of these men, it may be useful to describe firstly those aspects of the family tree of the Paignton Milmans which are relevant. [This is an abstract of similar material given earlier.] The Paignton family began around 1695 when the Rev Francis Milman became Vicar of the parish church there. He had a large family but many died young, as did Rev Francis himself and his wife - by 1718. Prior to their arrival, there were no other Milmans in that town, and all those settled there later during the 18th century descended only from Thomas Milman, the younger of their two surviving sons. The elder, Francis Jnr (b 1703) also became a Vicar after going up to Oxford. His descendants, who did not remain in Devon, were generally very successful and mostly had university educations. But the younger boy, Thomas (b 1708) remained in or near Paignton (or Throwleigh) and, as mentioned, was the progenitor of the large number of local Milmans with whom we are now concerned. His education was probably not beyond grammar school.

       Thomas married a local girl Jane Brooking in Paignton in 1733. His occupation is unknown; he was generally referred to in records as 'Mr Thomas Milman' (eg when described as the Churchwarden) which usually signifies a young gentleman who was a son of an Esq (or in this case, the Vicar) who may have had just enough inherited income not to require training or employment. In Thomas's case, however, this was likely to be of borderline status, as he appears to have held no significant property and his 6 surviving sons had all to find occupations themselves. The year and place in which they appear to have been born (according to their baptisms or other data) were: Thomas (Jnr) - Paignton, 1734; Francis - Paignton, 1735; John(1) - Paignton, 1736 (buried Paignton, 1737); John(2) - Throwleigh, ca 1745; Edward - Throwleigh, 1750; Philip - Throwleigh, 1752 and William - Throwleigh, 1754. There were also five daughters - four born between the two Johns (baptised in Paignton, Buckfastleigh, unknowm and Throwleigh, respectively) and one just before Edward (baptised in Throwleigh). If not tied to an occupation, Thomas Snr with wife Jane and family may have been free to settle in a more rural atmosphere than busy Paignton - ie eventually in Throwleigh on the edge of Dartmoor, seemingly after a brief sojourn at Buckfastleigh and possibly elsewhere nearby. Such a property may have had the advantage of being more reasonable as well. The elder three sons trained as Butchers (although the evidence with respect to eldest son Thomas Jnr is presently missing) - probably after apprenticeships - and settled in Paignton, Sandford (near Throwleigh) and Stoke Gabriel (next to Paignton), respectively. The younger three boys trained as Mariners (for which apprenticeships were also available at that time) - as each was so described at their respective marriages - all in or near Paignton, where they too appear to have settled (rather than in more distant Throwleigh). Two of the daughters married in Throwleigh in the 1760s but most of the family seem to have returned to Paignton by 1767 - after about 25 years in that delightful Dartmoor parish. The Mariners would likely have started going to sea from about that time - something very common in Paignton and also nearby Ippleden, where several Captains (Masters) of Dartmouth-registered ships resided when on shore.

       All 6 sons married and had issue. As many of the same few names were used in naming the sons of this next generation as were used by Thomas Snr, we shall try to distinguish them as best we can. If we think of Thomas Snr as generation One, his 6 sons - Thomas Jnr, Francis, John, Edward, Philip and William - as generation Two and their issue in turn (often with these same names) as generation Three, we can use these descriptions where any confusion may otherwise appear. As Thomas Jnr was several years older than his 3 youngest brothers (the mariners), his own sons (including yet another Thomas) would be teenagers around the time that their three young uncles were presumably still returning home with tales of their sea-going experiences (ca 1780s) . They thus appear in the maritime records themselves - shortly after their uncles and before the uncles' own sons, some of whom also followed later in these same occupations.

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       The first member of the Milman family of Paignton serving as a Mariner was noted in Muster records for the years 1770 to 1772 (BT 98/2). This was a Philip Milman who served on the Brig 'Honor' under Capt George Norris of Dartmouth on a short voyage to and from Lisbon between October and December 1772. His place of birth was given as Paignton and his age as 20 (and thus born about 1752). He was one of the three younger sons of Thomas Milman Snr and wife Jane (nee Brooking). However, as noted earlier, the Paignton register shows no such baptism in that name around that time. There is however one for Philip Milman in Throwleigh in that very year - and born fittingly to Thomas Milman. We find this Philip again early in 1773 on the Brig 'Codfish' under Capt Wm Tully who, like Philip, is shown as both born and currently residing in Paignton. His age was now given as only 18, which seems to be an error; there was no other Philip born in Paignton around 1750 to '55. This trip was to Newfoundland. [Capt Tully of Paignton was later noted as serving on a Naval ship (in 1795) and the relevant PRO Guide points out that men on such ships were often transferred from the merchant service to the navy and back again at that time.]

       There was also a William Millman who sailed in this earlier period - on the 'Two Friends' - during 1774, shown as just 17 (but quite possibly about 19), born in 'Newton Abbott' (ca 1754), which was listed as his current abode. Interestingly, the Master was born in Marldon (next to Paignton). The elder Thomas Milman and wife Jane did have a son William - baptised in 1754 - but again in Throwleigh. He later married in Paignton in 1785 and is known to have been a Mariner. It is possible that he was actually born in Newton Abbott or there may have been be a second, unrelated William of this elder generation. Equally, as there were two other crew members shown as born in Newton Abbott on that trip, both this William's abode and place of birth may have been assumed to be the same - in error. The accuracy of some of these Musters appears suspect at times (described as such in the Guides). In any case, any such William would be too old to represent our William - of the next generation. We shall seek more on this man in any earlier records (ie in BT 98/1 - not yet examined). It would be useful if we could also locate any details in that earlier period (ca 1767-69) regarding the maritime career of Edward Milman, the third brother of this generation known to have gone to sea.

       Philip Milman appears next as the Mate on the Brig 'Devonshire' during the latter half of 1776. His age was now given as 23 and abode and place of birth again as Paignton. As a Mate, Philip's name may appear in an Admiralty class of records of those Masters and Mates (mainly) who were to be protected from being 'pressed' into the Navy (ADM 7/). This will be checked in case it provides further confirmation about Philip or other Millmans who served as Mates - as shown below. [Sadly, these records only gave names of Masters and no Milmans were noted.] In any case, we may note that there appears to be more than one Milman shown as born in Paignton for whom that register lacks the expected entries - including William, Thomas and now this Philip at least (and possibly others). This can only strengthen our hypothesis.

       The next relevant entry found was for a Thomas Millman, one of the 'boys' (ie apprentices) shown on the large Brig 'Heptarchy' which made a 6-month trip to Greenland in mid 1777 with a large crew, including several 'harpooners'. He too was shown as having been born in Paignton (and as currently living there), although his age wasn't given. He was probably around 14 and thus very likely the Thomas born in Paignton to the eldest of the 6 sons of Thomas Snr - ie to Thomas (Jnr) and wife Mary (nee Churchward), although as noted no baptism appears in that parish's church register. However, as described above, it was later discovered that he was baptised locally, as the son of Thomas and Mary, in neighbouring Marldon - in 1762. The Master of another ship sailing out of Dartmouth that year - the 'Mary' - was a Capt Richard Goodridge of Paignton - of a family with several sea-going members and into which a Milman daughter had married. There were a number of such inter-married seafaring families in Paignton. Sadly, we can't follow Philip, William, (possibly Edward) or Thomas's immediately following careers - during 1778 to 1786 - due to the missing records. We may however reasonably assume that they (and possibly other Paignton Milmans) made several more trips out of Dartmouth over that ensuing decade.

       In 1787/8, a John Millman of Paignton, aged 21 was a Seaman on the Schooner 'Industry'. He was very likely the John born to Thomas and Mary in 1766 who later married his cousin Joney, when she signed but he 'made his mark'. If, as I believe, my ancestor William was also born to Thomas (and was thus this John's younger brother), we may better accept that he too could only sign (ie at his marriage). The following year (1788), another seeming John Millman, aged 34, born and living in Paignton, is listed as a Mate on another Schooner - the 'Good Intent' whose crew included 7 others born in Paignton. The latter man would thus be born about 1754 but this doesn't fit (even approximately) for any known John of the Paignton family and I suspect that there has again been an error; it should have read Philip Millman, who was then that exact age.) By 1788/9, the above-mentioned Thomas Millman, now 26, born Paignton, is now shown as a Mate himself - on the 'Vigilant' - his previous voyage having been on the 'Industry' under Capt Carpenter possibly two years earlier (and thus not when younger brother John Millman, 21, was on her under a different Captain seemingly - just the year before). [Note: the spelling of the family surname was as often Millman as Milman in these Maritme records; this likely signifies simply the variability of spelling generally at that time.]

       File BT 98/5 ends in early 1789 and the records continue unbroken in BT 98/6 as of March 1789. It was in this one that I had briefly first noted a William Millman listed on an earlier occasion. He was a Seaman on the Brig 'Unity' under Capt Thomas Palmer of Paignton. His place of birth and abode was given as Paignton, and his age as 18. The voyage lasted 10 months - departing Dartmouth on 25 March 1789 for Newfoundland and returning to Dartmouth on 24 Jan 1790. His immediately previous voyage was given as this same ship (when he would have been 17) but I did not note this record over that previous year. It appears that not all voyages and muster lists were invariably recorded as ostensibly required. It is however most satisfying to note that this William appears to have been born (in Paignton) in 1770 or '71 and thus fits very neatly into the gap of births noted in the family of Thomas and Mary as suggested, whereas the Williams born to Edward and John were born in late 1773 and in 1775, respectively. We may also note here (before mentioning other Millmans from Paignton seen in subsequent lists, including two other sons of Thomas), that we find this Paignton-born William Millman mentioned twice more - on ships sailing during 1790 (on the 'Unity' again) and 1791/92 (on the 'Brothers') - when his age was given as 19 and 22, respectively - thus further re-enforcing our view that he was born in Paignton in late 1770/early 1771 and was exactly the age that fits for his death in Exeter. And, importantly in one sense, he then appears no more in maritime records before or after our William joins the Militia in early 1796 - significantly in the Naval port of Plymouth. For he may well have spent 1793-95 in the Navy (as had Capt Tully) and, as many did then, may have jumped ship in Plymouth). This too is to be checked.

       The Napoleonic wars had begun in 1793 and experienced Seaman in particular were subject to quite legal impressing into the regular Navy - both before that date but increasingly afterwards. Also, we find a 37 year old Seaman - John Granville - sailing in 1793 out of Dartmouth and born in what appears to say Dittisham (next to Dartmouth). This was the only Granville noted. It had occurred to me that our William may have met his future wife (Susannah Granville) through knowing her brother by virtue of such common marine careers. We can only hope that they may have served together later (ca 1793-95) - quite possibly in the Navy. [I did also note a Michael Granville in the Navy ca 1795 subsequently.] Equally, it strongly appears that not all merchant trips were properly recorded. [In an Index of Naval officers and ratings for ca 1815-1880, I saw, in addition to a William Milman serving on 3 Naval ships around 1847-'50 (possibly the grandson of the William Milman of present interest), 4 entries for sailors named Granville (ie Thomas, Henry, James and William). These can be followed up later (in vols. 4, 12, 63 and 68; pages 139, 100, 207 and 234, respectively) to see if any derived from south-east Devon rather than from the Plymouth and Cornwall areas where this surname was slightly more in evidence, although still relatively rare.]

       Between William's 2nd and 3rd recorded trips (there may have been others), we find another entry for his seeming brother John Millman for the year 1791 - born Paignton, aged 28 - for a short 3 month trip on the 'Snow Hawk' out of Dartmouth. His previous trip is shown as on the Brig 'Monkey' under Capt Palmer of Paignton. The given age proves difficult to analyse - unless he was born some time before he was baptised - in 1766. We also find the other brother Thomas Millman - born Paignton and shown as 27 - now serving as a Mate on the Brig 'Polly' during a 6-month trip to Newfoundland in the spring and summer of 1791. John Millman - born Paignton, age 26 - appears again - in 1792 - on the Brig 'Mary' under Capt Palmer. We next find Edward Millman, yet another brother it seems, serving on the Brig 'Priscilla' for a 9-month trip - he also shown to have served previously on the 'Monkey' with Capt Palmer. After William's last recorded trip, we find brothers Thomas, Edward and John serving on more trips: Thomas as a Mate (age 28) on the 'Experiment' during mid-1792, Edward (age 26) on the Brig 'Elizabeth' on a 7-month trip to Newfoundland during 1793 and John (age 26) on the Brig 'Siren' in early 1794. The latter man appears again in 1799 on the Brig 'Swallow' shown now as aged 31 - born Paignton. Finally, we find John still at sea in 1813, now aged 46, on a 5 month trip to Newfoundland on the 'St Laurence' out of Dartmouth. His abode then was given as Stoke Gabriel (next to Paignton) where some of the family were known to reside. Significantly, there is no further sighting of elder brother Thomas (born 1762) after the burial in Dartmouth in 1798 of Thomas Milman.

       A second (younger) Philip Millman (of generation Two) first appears in 1795 and 1801, apparently born around 1771 (possibly in Stoke Gabriel) but baptised in Paignton, serving on the Packet 'Naples' and the Brig 'Caplings', respectively. He was a son of the elder Edward Milman (also an earlier Mariner) and wife Susanna Harris who married in Paignton in 1770 when both signed and were 'of this parish'. This Philip married in Stoke Gabriel (to Ann Penam of that parish) in 1796 and if his abode was there, his birth place, again, may have been wrongly shown to be the same (ie in the muster list). This middle Philip had apparently joined the Naval vessel H.M.S. 'Minataur' in March 1794, age 23, where he would no doubt meet his future bride's brothers Richard and Joseph Penam also of Stoke Gabriel (if he didn't already know them) who also served on that same ship. To later serve on the Merchant vessel 'Caplings' in 1801, he would presumably have ?deserted the 'Minataur prior to that date (ca 1798?) which could imply that he had been Prest. This should be revealed when I examine the records for the latter ship. [Result: No, he appears to have been a Volunteer but may still have 'Run' as it was called or simply was given permission to return to the merchant marine which, as described, happened frequently.]

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       It thus appears that William ceased his (recorded) maritime career around 1792. His last recorded trip - on the 'Brothers' - was a short one to London and he wasn't shown as one of the crew who returned (to Teignmouth) after an additional, lengthy 10 month trip (possibly to Africa?) as the second part of that voyage. One must assume that, at just 22, he returned more directly back to Dartmouth, one way or another, during 1792 and hopefully wasn't swallowed up into the anonymity of London (or 'pressed' there?). 'Returned' that is, eventually to become the William Millman of the Militia in early 1796 and, crucially, to marry in 1798, have his son Thomas in 1800 and finally to settle eventually in Exeter where he died in 1841, aged almost 70. No other William fits this scenario. It may well be significant that the first Militia musters for the developing Napoleonic Wars occur in early 1793. We may assume that the 'Fencibles' (a Naval equivalent of the Militia) were also mustered about then and that the legal right the Navy had in such times to impress experienced Seamen in particular would be further implemented from that year. This gives us two sources of records to search next for any further information about William - especially during the years 1792 to '95 when, unfortunately, we have lost sight of him. [The Fencibles did muster about 200 men monthly in Brixham and in Dartmouth although not in Paignton itself but these records didn't commence until 1798, after William had joined the Militia. Many familiar names were noted but no Milmans. The men received 4 shilling a month for which they had to sign; about two thirds still made their marks.]

Records of Naval Vessels Stationed Mainly in Plymouth

       The sheer numbers of ships in the Navy at that time make the latter source almost impossible to search if one hasn't the name of the ship concerned. One possible lead in this sphere however is where the marriage entries in parish registers in or near port towns show that the groom was then serving on a particular naval vessel stationed nearby. It seems reasonable to assume that it would be onto fairly locally based ships (even if temporarily so) that men in a given area would be so impressed. Thus, by 1813, a third Philip Milman was shown at his marriage to be serving on the Cutter H.M. 'Surly' - as was his brother-in-law Thomas Spendlow. This Philip was born to the elder (1752-born) William Milman and wife Catherine Goodridge (married Paignton 1785) who, after having their first two children in Paignton, had three others, including this Philip in 1789, baptised in neighbouring Churston Ferrers. His records consistently shown him to have been born in that parish as well. His sister Jane married a fellow crew member Thomas Spendlow in 1813 in Dartmouth, just 3 days after Philip's own marriage - to an Elizabeth Tippett - in that same port town (which abutts Churston).

       I had assumed that Thomas Spendlow would be a friend and fellow Seaman with Philip - both from the Paignton area - who had both worked previously on Dartmouth vessels, say, and had been 'impressed' onto the 'Surly' a year or so earlier. But it turns out that Spendlow was in fact born in Northamptonshire and joined the 'Surly' as a Volunteer in July 1807 - just 6 months after it was first commissioned - in January 1807 - possibly in Plymouth where the crew received their first pay in February that year. Philip Milman (born Paignton) joined some months later near the end of that year. [Interestingly, a member of the Clerical staff of the Navy there overseeing the Plymouth payments was one 'John Millman' (along with a Henry Hayward). His identity is presently unknown.] The majority of the 'Surly's small complement of 50 were however not from Devon but from almost anywhere - with no predominance of area apparent. However, there were 3 others from Dartmouth at least and it appears that this ship did stop there or thereabouts briefly around 1808. They were later sent to Spithead. About half the ship's crew were 'Prest' and half Volunteers. In 1811, a Joseph Millman, aged 40, born Dartmouth (unrelated to the Paignton family), joined the ship as a 'Substitute' [he later noted on H.M. Blenheim in 1795], while a member of the crew deserted around that same time by 'swimming away at Dartmouth'! Another man was shown as sent to the hospital at Paignton - in May 1811. The ship was thus clearly in that area again that year at least. In 1813, Spendlow appeared on another ship - the 'Lord Cochrane' - as noted in an entry in 'Surly's muster: viz "deserted to the 'Lord Cochrane"; such behaviour was seemingly tolerated. This was the same year he and Philip had married - in Dartmouth. He was listed as an 'AB' initially and later as an 'Ord' (ie ordinary Seaman) and a Boat's Mate. But Philip worked his way up from some rank below 'AB' to becoming first 'Captain's Master ' (after 4 years) and then 'Quarter Master' (1814) and remained on the 'Surly' until at least 1820. He was clearly determined to make a successful career at sea. I believe I discovered a Will written by him some years later (currently misplaced).

       If William Millman had been similarly impressed - but in 1793 or '94 - we may ask whether he too may subsequently have deserted (many did) - in order to join the Militia - where he would presumably be protected from further presses; naval life then being notoriously harsh and not sought out by most non-commissioned Seamen. One can thus examine marriage registrations for, say, Dartmouth, Brixham and Paignton during 1793 to 1795 to see if any one or two ships in particular are mentioned for that area and then search their records (in ADM 36/) to see if anything on William may be found. We have the above references to H.M. 'Minataur' and H.M. 'Surly' as possible models. However, the 'Surly' wasn't commissioned early enough to find our William on same. But 'Minataur' is a better possiblity on which we know middle Philip Milman (of a very similar age to William) did serve - for a time - as well as the two Penam brothers - also from the Paignton area; we shall see. It would of course be extremely satisfying if an entry could be found for William in early 1796 that stated "deserted to the Militia". There are also records showing which ships entered a given harbour (as Plymouth) over a given period (eg 1792-96) and these too can be examined. But if pressed, he could be sent to serve on any one of a very large number of ships. The value of finding William on such a naval vessel is that it would show his parish of birth and age and thus allow us to identify him as being available in the mid 1790s conveniently to join the Militia there in Jan 1796.

       Initially, one was hopeful that a Naval ship - the 'Rattlesnake' - on Coastal duty off Dorset and Devon during 1792-94, which had permission to land periodically at Dartmouth (as did the 'Surly' later), may have taken on board our William. But this search proved negative. However, I now have the names of about 20 larger ships that were stationed at Plymouth itself over that same period and hope gradually to examine their muster lists as well - particularly H.M. 'Cambridge', a 'Recruiting Ship' where new and transferred men (from other ships) were held briefly before being allocated to particular new ships - mostly in 1795. [This has now been examined and while a very large number of men were indeed channeled through that ship, William again wasn't one of them. Recruiting parties from the 'Cambridge' sought both volunteers and men for pressing throughout most of Devon, Cornwall, Somerset and parts of Wales. However, while some towns (as Dartmouth, Brixham and Plymouth) and many rural parishes were frequently noted, these recruiters appear never to have visited Paignton itself. On one occasion, they visited Roborough Camp, near Plymouth, where they recruited as volunteers about 25 men from the Cornish Militia - then stationed there. One hopes that it was the case (as it was between the merchant marine and the navy) that this was sometimes a two-way traffic - with some men choosing to leave the Naval service to join the Militia, as well as vice versa. If William had somehow ended up on a Naval vessel during 1792-95, it is possible that he was transferred to a different ship - but via some other recruiting ship - in such as Portsmouth or London, if such existed. Hopefully, this can also be checked.]

       Result: Portsmouth did have a comparable Recruiting Ship - the H.M. 'Royal William' which was stationed there for most of 1794 and 1795. But sadly, no muster lists showing the very large number of men transferred briefly to her over that time and showing to which ship the men concerned were then sent appear to exist!! How maddening. One ship then in Plymouth docks, H.M. 'Sceptre' seems to have held a large number of men for a time also - all shown as having come from the 'Royal William' and, after two weeks, sent back to her!? What did become apparent was that when in a large harbour like Plymouth, many more men were deserting, especially during late 1795, than was the case 2 or 3 years before. This was exactly the time we would expect William to have done just that, and in Plymouth, before almost immediately joining the Militia there - in early January 1796. All we have to do is find the right ship to verify this. But there are just too many - some with over 800 men. Maybe I'll check a few more - after taking a break from this long search; the PRO at Kew is situated inconveniently, expensive and time consuming to travel to. We'll see.... But, in any case, I am at least now much more confident (about 99%) than I was previously that our William, father of Thomas, was indeed the mariner of the Paignton family - born there in about 1771 to Thomas and Mary Milman.

{Note: Since writing the foregoing some years ago, I happened to come across a National Archives abstract of an entry in a Devon Record Office record (1579A-O/24/38/17) dated 1816 in which the history and details of a claimant for Poor Law relief - one Phillip Elliott - exemplifies the life and times of many young men in Devon at that time - one which proves most relevant to our own searchings: 'Phillip Elliot was born about 1773 in Harberton, South Devon, to Thomas and Agnes Elliott (she now a widow of Totnes). When he was about 9 (ca 1782), he went to live with a Mr George Whiteway of Harberton as an apprentice, although not bound to him. He left when he was 16 (ca 1790) to work as a servant to George Pering of Berry Pomeroy but soon returned to Mr Whiteway in Harberton - apparently for a further year or so (to ca 1792) - but then moved to Plymouth where his parents then lived to work for a time as a servant for a Mr Moss (to ca 1794). He then bound himself apprentice to the Captain of a coaster for three years (to ca 1797). But during this time he was impressed into the Navy (ca ?1798) to serve on the Frigate 'Clyde'. He was discharged in 1802 and returned to Totnes to live with his mother Agnes,now a widow. He soon went to Paignton and hired himself to a William Rossiter for a short time before returning to Harberton to work for Thomas Burn. When war broke out again in 1803, he went to Plymouth and joined the South Devon Militia and while serving with them, married Mary, a servant with a Mr Langmead'. By 1816, just after the war, Phillip would be about 42 and, on leaving the Militia, must have found himself unemployed and in need of assistance. (The actual record in Exeter may provide us with further details. Moreover, if we are very lucky, we may locate a similar record for William Millman which, unlike all other records we may have for him, could indicate where he was born !!)

This story could so easily have applied to our William who, however, left his maritime employment before being impressed (conceivably) into the Navy (as we had suggested earlier) and joined the Militia directly instead - in 1796. After 1815, when aged about 45, he seems to have moved to Exeter and may have had some assistance himself there for at his death in 1840, he was living in a kind of subsidised alms housing provided by a local Exeter benefactor, possibly for war veterans , etc.] Return to Millman Homepage