Scotch Settlement: Millikins and Mortons

Millikins and Mortons in the Scotch Settlement Cemetery

Written by
Barbara Laughlin Adler
for the Almont Historical Society newsletter The Lamplighter

Buried in Scotch Settlement Cemetery are four pioneers, orginally from Craige, Ayrshire, Scotland. Thomas Morton and his wife Jean Millikin Morton settled in "Bristol" in June 1838, where Jean gave birth to her first child, Anna Morton in the same month. Near their graves are Jean's parents, John Millikin and Jenette Reid Millikin, who arrived in 1844.

Jean Millikin was born in 1814 to John and Jenette at Lochliehill, in the town of Tarbolton, Ayrshire, Scotland; she emigrated with her husband Thomas Morton, her sister Catherine Robb and her husband, Samuel, and Samuel's brother John Robb and his wife Mary. They sailed on the ship "Sarah & Arsillia" from Liverpool, arriving in New York, 21 May 1838. Jean was expecting her first child when they landed in New York, then made the trip to Michigan in just 20 days, where Anna was born June 1838 in Bristol (early Almont was named Bristol- editors note).

Thomas Morton was born in 1804 in Craigie near Kilmarnock, Ayrshire, Scotland. Craige is a beautiful little village (2005) with a small parish church, and a very nice pub. The small cottages down the main street are all white and the same architecture. It's probably a good guess that Thomas left Scotland for America because, as the 4th son of John Morton, he had little hope of having a farm of his own or of making much money. In America, his chances for wealth were better.

Thomas and Jean can truely be called "pioneers" in Michigan history. Thomas purchased land for a farm in Bristol in 1838. Pioneer Families and History of Lapeer County Michigan says he settled by the "Red Run in 1838 and was the 'advance guard' of the army of Scotch who followed after 1840."

Thomas and his neighbors organized the United Presbyterian Society in 1846 and built a church and cemetery. The deed shows Thomas and Jean sold land to the Presbyterian Society on 18 April 1853 for $1.00- a bargin even in those days. The deed describes the land as "in the town of Almont, Lapeer County Michigan, 6 rods east and west and 8 rods north and south of the SE corner of W 1/2 of NW 1/4 of section 36 being 1/4 of an acre more or less to be used for the site of the church edifice" and makes provision "that the church edifice should be used for a ministry in agreement with the majority of members of the religious society in Almont and Bruce."

When he died in 1870, Thomas did not leave a will. However, Lapeer's probate office holds papers for "determination of Heirs" from 1941. His land in Scotch Settlement was left with heir, and according to the papers, no heirs were found in 1941. In fact, heirs were still living in Lapeer County, but obviously they had lost touch with the previous generation. At any rate, by 1941, all of his and Jeans chilren were dead, so the land was sold.

John Millilkin was born about 1789 in Ireland, according to J. Kirk Seaton's history of the Millikins (in Henry Stephens Library). In fact, several entries in the 1841 census of Riccarton, Ayrshire, Scotland, and the 1880 census of Almont support his Irish origins. Family history says that he went to Kilmarnock Scotland in 1804, and apprenticed as a shoemaker. He disliked making shoes and took up horse racing and later, farming, when he settled in Almont

The Old Parish Register of Craigie records the marriage banns of "John Millikin and Janet Reid, both of this Parish, entered their names for proclamation in order to marry" on 10 February 1811. John and Jenette and four of their children- Robert, Mary, John and William- sailed from Glasgow, Scotland on the passenger ship "Brilliant" and settled in Almont's Scotch Settlement in 1844 (Declaration of Intent, Lapeer County, 1 May 1856). They joined their daughter Jean and her husband Thomas Morton.

Jenette Reid, wife of John Millikin, was born in 1789 in Tarbolton, a village near Craigie. Tarbolton is famous as the home of poet Robert Burns' famous "Bachelors Club." Many of her granddaughters, great granddaughters, and G,G granddaughters were named after her with various spellings of Janet (Jennett, Janett, Janett, etc.) Some were named Janett Reid, some Jennie, etc. Several who are buried in the Scotch Settlement have her name.

Many others of the Millikin and Morton clans from Craigie and Tarboltan in Ayrshire, immigrated to Almont between 1838 and 1852.

Anyone wishing to correspond about the Millikins and Mortons of Almont, please feel free to email me at I would love to hear from you!