Anson Mills, Native Son

Where in the world was Anson Mills?

  • He was born in 1834 on a farm east of Thorntown where the Indian Cemetery is located.
  • He was born to a family whose ancestor came over with William Penn to the United States.

What in the world did he do?

  • He went to West Point Army Academy
  • Worked as a surveyor, He actually planned out the city of El Paso, TX.
  • He fought in the Civil War for the North in a unit that had more killed or wounded than any other during the war.
  • He fought in the Indian Wars.
  • Because of these fighting experiences, he invented a woven cartridge belt for carrying ammunition that was far superior to the old one the army used. It is still used today.

What in the world did he do for Thorntown?

  • On a visit to Thorntown once to give money for a library, he learned that there was an epidemic of typhoid fever due to a bad water supply. He decided it would help the town most if he planned and paid for a new water and sewage system. So he did.
  • Then he had a large fountain built in the middle of Market and Main Street in honor of his parents. He had a smaller on built down at the alley across from the Lost Frontier for horses to drink from. This was kept in operation until cars became too plentiful and the State highway made the town take them out.
  • He also gave two drinking fountains for people. One of the 1909 fountains is in the garden east of the Thorntown Heritage Museum

Anson Mills Chronology

Page Number Date of event Event People associated w/ event
23 31 August 1834 Born in Thorntown, Indiana
117 29 Sept 1846 Hannah Cassel – Born in Zanesville, Ohio
34 September 1852 Entered Charlottesville academy, Schoharie County, New York
39 1 June 1855 Entered West Point (5′ 10 1/2″, 160 lbs.)

General Winfield Scott
45 February 1857 Resigned form West Point
46 April 1857 Arrived at McKinney, Colin County, Texas, Taught school, studied law Sam Houston
49 May 1858 Arrived At El Paso, Texas (known as Franklin) after trip home to Indiana.
52 May 1858 Later his suggestion to name it El Paso was adopted
52 May 1858 Appointed surveyor of El Paso and Presidio Land District
56 February 1859 Surveyed Forts Quitman, Davis, Stockton, and Bliss, and Town of El Paso Samuel A. Maverick
57 February 1859 Surveyed Town of Panos Altos near Silver City, New Mexico
62 9 March 1861 Left El Paso for Washington, D.C.
62 21 July 1861 Brother Emmett, Killed by Indians, Cook Springs, Arizona
76 22 June 1861 Commissioned First Lieutenant, 18th Infantry
77 25 June 1861 Reported to Columbus, Ohio for training
77 19 July 1861 Opened recruiting office Toledo, Ohio and Tiffin, Ohio
79 23 February 1862 Ordered to Louisville, then by boat to Nashville
80 7 April 1862 At Battle of Shiloh – saw little action
Joined Army of the Cumberland at Nashville, Louisville
88 31 December, 1862 – 2 January 1863 Battle of Stone River, 2 miles north of Murfreesboro
90 19 September 1863 – 20 September 1863 Battle of Chickamauga
Battle of Missionary ridge
Battle of Jonesboro

93 16 December 1864 Battle of Nashville
95 December 1864 Battle of Decatur, Alabama
100 February 1865 Recruiting in Toledo, Zanesville, St. Louis
100 5 December 1865 to April 1866 Went to Washington – appointed to Board of Visitors to West Point by President Johnson General U. S. Grant
Commanded Fort Bridger S.W. corner, Wyoming Brigham Young
Developed leather cartridge belt Jim Bridger
110 Spring 1867 2 months with General Dodge exploring Railroad route Salt Lake to Oregon.
Then at Fort Fetterman (40 miles east of Casper, Wyoming)
General G. M. Dodge, Chief Engineer U.P.R.R.
110 Spring 1868 At Fort Sedgwick, Colorado (3 miles from Julesburg, Colo.)
116 13 October 1868 Married Hannah Cassel at Zanesville, Ohio
119 16 October 1868 Arrived at Fort Sedgwick with bride
121 April 1869 To Atlanta, McPherson Barracks
121, 126 Fall 1870 2 months visiting Zanesville, Ohio. Then to Laurens Court House, S. C. and Columbia
130 1 January 1871 Transferred to 3rd Cavalry – Visited Washington, Zanesville, ordered to Fort Halleck, Nevada (20 miles east of Elko), then to Fort Whipple, Arizona (Prescott) General W. T. Sherman
132 2 March 1871 San Francisco to San Pedro on arm transport, Lorizaba
132 4 March 1871 Arrived San Pedro (Drum Barracks)
132 9 March 1871 Left by wagon train for Arizona via Los Angeles, Cocomanga Ranch, Indian Wells, Martinez, Dos Palmas, Ehrenbery, Date Creek
138 1 April 1871 Date Creek
138 14 April 1871 Arrived Fort Whipple, Prescott, Arizona
138 8 May 1871 – 15 May 1871 To Fort McDowell (NE of Phoenix)
147 1 December 1871 Ordered to Fort McPherson, Neb. via Yuma, down Colorado to Gulf, then steamer to San Francisco
148 17 January 1872 Arrived at Fort McPherson (15 miles east of North Platte, Neb.
148 May 1872 Commanded sub-post of North Platte
149 July 1872 Escort to Yale paleontological expedition on Niobrara River
149 2 December 1872 On leave to Zanesville for 3 months
149 1873 Escort for Lord Dunraven hunting party, Loop River Buffalo Bill Cody, Lord Dunraven, Spotted Tail, General George Crook, General Alfred H. Terry
161 Winter 1874 – 1875 At Fort D. A. Russell (Cheyenne)
151 14 April 1875 Ordered to construct and command Camp Sheridan, Neb. (northwest corner of Neb.)
163 20 September 1875 Escorted commission to treat with Sioux at Fort Robinson (northwest corner of Neb.)
162 17 March 1876 Battle of Powder River
397 29 May 1876 Left Fort Fetterman with Crook’s Army to Camp Reno, Fort Phil Kearney (16 miles south of Sheridan, Wyoming) and east Calamity Jane
400 17 June 1876 Battle of the Rosebud
“Sioux best cavalry in the world”
166, 428 9 September 1876 Battle of Slim Buttes, 3 miles west of Reva, South Dakota
Crooks command disbanded at Fort Robinson
170 1876 In command of Camp Sheridan
174 1877 On leave in Washington
175 March 1878 Sailed for England and Paris
176 1878 Commissioned Major 10th Cavalry. Served as Military AttachÈ at Paris Exposition
180 18 November 1878 Anson Cassel Mills born in Paris, 44 Rue de Clichy
180 March 1879 Returned to U.S.A.
182 11 April 1879 Arrived Fort Concho, Texas (San Angelo) to serve with 10th Cavalry (colored) for 12 years
314 1879 Built power loom for cartridge belt, Worcester, Mass.
182 May 1881 To Fort Sill, Indian Territory (Lawton, Oklahoma)
182 22 October 1881 Constance Lydia Mills born at Fort Sill
182 30 October 1881 To Fort Concho by wagon train
182 July 1882 To Fort Davis, Texas (21 miles North of Marfa)
Built largest hotel in Texas at El Paso General (Doctor) Leon Wood
185 1 April 1885 To Fort Thomas, Arizona by wagon train to command Fort Grant, Arizona
248 1880 +\- President of El Pason and Juarez Traction Co.
259 December 1888 Went to Washington to request government to help for dam on Rio Grande
199 May 1889 To Fort Bliss Texas (El Paso) as supervising engineer under Col. Nettleton of the Geological Survey to study proposed dam on Rio Grande John Wesley Powell
199 April 1890 To Presidio of San Francisco, Lt. Col. 4th Cavalry, to Walla Walla, Washington to command regiment
200 July 1892 Toured Alaska on “SS Queen”
200 28 February 1893 To Fort McIntosh, Texas, as Col. 3rd Cavalry in “Garza War” on lower Rio Grande
203 24 June 1893 To Fort Reno, Oklahoma
Took 6 month leave – went to Worcester, Mass. To prepare for retirement and operation of belt factory
204, 278 8 January 1894 Became U.S. Commissioner of International Boundary Commission. First meeting in El Paso
210 25 February 1894 Anson Cassel Mills died, appendicitis
219 1894 Bought home, #2 Dupont Circle, Washington, D.C.
219 1897 Retired from Army
Many trips to Mexico
321 1898 Licensed Hiram Maxim to make cartridge belt in England Hiram Maxim
234 25 March 1899 W. S. Overton wounded in Bottle of La Loma, P.I.
234 30 April 1903 Constance Mills married Winfield Scott Overton
325 11 September 1905 Sold belt business
308 1906 Trip to Europe with General Miles Wm. McKinley, Chas. W. Fairbanks, Joseph Cannon, Champ Clark, General Phil Sheridan, Adm. Geo. Dewey, adm. W.S. Schley, General Wm. H. Bisbee, Wm. Jennings Bryan
234 June 1908 W. S. Overton retired from Army
239 1908 Gave water and sewer system to Thorntown, Indiana
Erected Mills Bldg., Washington
241 1910 Built “Bayberry Ledge”, Gloucester, Mass.
241 1912 Built Mills Bldg., El Paso, 1st monolithic reinforced concrete building in U.S.>
304 March 1913 Championed Women’s suffrage Carrie Chapman Catt
302 1 July 1914 Resigned from Boundary Commission
169 July 1914 Unsuccessful search for Slim Buttes Battle site
351 1915 Visited Hawaii
353 14 May 1917 Hannah Cassel Mills died
353 4 May 1924 Anson Mills died