Millie Brewer Packett, 1834-1918

I like to say that I prefer dead people to living ones.  After all, the dead ones don’t hurt your feelings, steal your money, or lie to your mama.  I especially like Millie Brewer Packett, and not because she’s deader than the others.  Millie Brewer lived a long time, and saw many changes in her life and in the life of her country.  She might have been about 83 years old, or at least that’s what was guessed by the informant, her daughter Sarah Catherine (Mrs. J. E. Lively), on her death certificate, because her true date of birth was not known.

Millie married James Packet(t), and they had seven children.  The oldest was John William Packett who married Hester Delila Lillie/Lula/Lila/Lillie Rogers, and that was a whole big bunch of crazy (more on that later).

Millie and James set up housekeeping about July 2, 1859.  The scholars among you will know that their world was about to explode into the Civil War.

BigBroBob provided this widow’s pension about 13 years ago.  It was a bit complicated to scan so that it shows to its best advantage, but only the second page has been broken into three parts for better viewing.  The remaining pages all fit onto the scanner, although some of the pages are a bit cramped.  Remember to left-click once, then again, on the image to enlarge.  Someday I’ll come back to this post and transcribe them, but for now I won’t take away your fun in trying to read this.  Click away!

The cover page with her name and the file number.

The top of the first true page.

The bottom of the first true page.

Perhaps I didn’t mention that I don’t have any magical software to blend the two images together.

Next, here’s the little bit of script from the left side of the above image.

Now comes the true pages.  Let me say that the top of one page that has a child’s name and date of birth, etc. etc., is exactly as it was sent to me.  I imagine it must be a boring job to make copies of historical documents in a historical archives setting, but I’d say that I’d like a crack at that job.  Maybe the image was taken from a microfilm and so it’s recorded that way for posterity.

The name that is cut off at the top of the page is Mary E. Packett. She’s the one that married Hugh Blair Simpson. Their granddaughter was Lavona Simpson, my elementary school librarian.

This is the order that I received these pages.  I’ve noticed there’s a seemingly random number on the bottom left corner of the pages, like it’s number 5 in the page above.  Out of order?  Possible.  Any comments and suggestions are welcome.

Good night, Millie.  We’re thinking about you.

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8 Responses to “Millie Brewer Packett, 1834-1918”

  1. Nancee Brewer Russell Says:

    Hello, My name is Nancee Brewer Russell, I’ve very interested in talking with you. Milly Brewer Packett was my fathers Great Aunt and I would love to know more about the Packett side of the family. My dad is 83 and I would love to tell him all this before its too late. Please send me an email at


  2. Joan Troy Says:

    Hi Ruth,

    Liked by 1 person

    • Joan Troy Says:

      I’m sorry, I meant to say more than that. I have been interested in the Packetts because of my interest in a family to which they were only tangentially connected. Still, it’s an interesting connection. Millie Brewer Packett’s son, James Lafayette Packett, married Sarah Allgood in 1885. They had a couple of children before he disappeared, whether by desertion or death, I don’t know. She had another child, William Packett, born between 1898 and 1900, by her liaison with Robert Calhoun “Cal” Howard. They had actually been indicted for fornication in 1892, which suggests Lafayette was gone by that time. I would expect that the indictment resulted from an obvious pregnancy, but any child born of this event either died or was perhaps given up for adoption. Fellow amateur historians have recorded William’s name as “Lackett” due to a mistranscription.

      Liked by 1 person

      • ruthrawls Says:

        Hello Joan, and welcome to the blog! I don’t know this story at all, but I’m sitting up late tonight right now, looking at Packett info on I see on Myrtle Mae Packett’s delayed birth cert that she doesn’t know who her father is, but that her mother is Sallie Packett. And she married a Howard. More mysteries! Thank you for sharing!


        • Joan Troy Says:

          Yes, the Howard she married was the son of her father’s brother, Joseph Johnston Howard (1862-1938). Robert C. Howard lived with the Joe J. Howard family for periods of time. He never married, though in the 1920 census where his son, William Packett, is living with him, he claims to be a widower. I don’t *know* that Myrtle is his daughter, but suspect it because Robert “Cal’ Howard and Sallie seem to have had a long-term relationship, starting at least with their being indicted for “fornication” in 1892 and lasting — or at least being rekindled — to William’s conception in 1900. Myrtle was born between those years. Williams’ tombstone says he was born in 1898, but I suspect that he added two years to his age when he signed up for military service. In any event, he isn’t listed in the 1900 census with Sallie and her other children. My guess is that she was pregnant with him during that census. There could have been numerous reasons for the family not wishing to acknowledge that Cal (and, DANG, his middle name wasn’t “Calhoun” but rather “Callaway,” a name of significance to the Howards) was her father. First, he was considerably older than Sallie, wouldn’t marry her or give William his name. Secondly, it’s possible that by this era, the wedding of kin was no longer regarded as a respectable union. Sallie may have stepped out with someone else, of course, and maybe she even disappeared with a new beau, since we can’t find her after 1900. Fun stuff. BTW, Myrtle was married to a Charles Milhorn and had several children with him before divorcing him and marrying Raymond. She divorced Raymond, too, after a couple of children, and returned to live in Johnson City, where her previous husband had married another “Myrtle” and was raising her eldest children along with his by the second marriage. I wish FindAGrave weren’t such a difficult site to mine these days, because I would like to do more searching there. Seems like every time I access it these days, my computer freezes. Thanks for letting me go on about this. It’s just fun.

          Liked by 1 person

  3. Len W Armstrong Says:

    Ruth, I accidentally found your page and it provided fascinating information on my (our) Packett family. I am Len Armstrong. I am the youngest son of Mary Lillie Packett Armstrong, who was the 3rd child (2nd daughter) of your uncle John William Packett whom I vaguely recall. Thank you for detailing this information for us distant cousins related to the Packett family. ~Leonard ‘Len’ Armstrong

    Liked by 1 person

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