ALLEN ALFRED McMILLEN

B. May 1868 in Illinois
D. July 23, 1953 in Waukegan, Lake County, IL
Find A Grave memorial (click here)

“The funeral of the late Mrs. Elmer E. Rote will be held at 2:30 p. m. on Thursday, from the residence of Mrs. Robert McMillan (sic), 206 Harvester venue, with Rev. C. B. Osgood in charge.” (NOTE: Robert McMillen was married to Mary Rote)

According to the Lake County Independent, August 8, 1902:

“Fort Hill
   The Fort Hill Cemetery Society met with Mrs. C.E. Coombs (sic Combs), July 31, and a very pleasant afternoon was enjoyed by all.  The proceeds of the supper was three dollars.  Our thanks to Mrs. Nina Rote, nee McMillan, of Winona, Minn., for one dollar, making a total four dollars, to be placed in the treasury.  Visitors present were: Mrs. Parker, Mrs. Alma Walton, Mrs. E.L. Huson, Mrs. C. Raught, Mrs. J. Converse, of Volo; Mrs. C. Morrill and daughter, Mrs. Sadie Mead, Mrs. J. Vogt, Mrs. A. Hanson, Mrs. J. Graves, Frrieda Riner, Amanda Wait.  Our next meeting will be with Mrs. R. Paddock, August 21st.  We want to see more of the members out.  Visitors welcome.”

Additional Information:

According to the 1870 U.S. Census in the Town of Avon, Lake County, IL; Hainesville post office the household members were: James McMillen, age 25, farmer, born in New York; Aurilla McMillen, age 25, born in New York; Allen McMillen, age 3, born in Illinois; Emily McMillen, age 1, born in Illinois.

According to the 1880 U.S. Census for the Town of Avon, Lake County, IL the household members were: James McNellon (sic) age 39, married, occupation: farm laborer, born in New York, father born in Scotland, mother born in New York; Arielia McNellon (sic) age 36, wife, married, born in New York, father born in Connecticut, mother born in Vermont; Allen McNellon (sic) age 13, son, single, occupation: farm laborer, born in Illinois, Nina McNellon (sic) age 10, daughter, single, born in Illinois; Willis McNellon (sic) age 7, single, born in Kansas; Edna McNellon (sic) age 3, daughter, single, occupation: painter, born in Illinois.

According to the 1900 U.S. Census for the City of Racine, Town of Mount Pleasant, Racine County, WI residing at 1021 Marquette Street, the household members were: Allen McMillen, head, born May 1868, age 32, married for 9 years, born in Illinois, parents born in Illinois, occupation: street laborer; Mine (sic Minnie) McMillen, wife, born May 1869, age 31, married for 9 years, 1 child born, 1 child living, born in Illinois, parents born in New York; Lloyd McMillen, son, born December 1891, age 8, single, born in Illinois.

According to the 1910 U.S. Census for the Village of Grays Lake, Avon Township, Lake County, IL residing on Westerfield Place, the household members were: Allen A. McMillen, head, age 42, married once for 19 years, born in Illinois, father born in New York, mother born in Illinois, occupation: marshall – village; Minnie M. McMillen, wife, age 40, married once for 19 years, 1 child born, 1 child living, born in Illinois, parents born in New York; Lloyd A. McMillen, son, age 18, single, born in Illinois, occupation: assistant post master – in post office.

According to 1913 U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995 for Grays Lake, IL:

“McMillen Allen (Minnie) marshal r Westerfield pl”

According to the 1920 U.S. Census for the Village of Grays Lake, Avon Township, Lake County, IL residing on Westerfield Ave, the household members were: Allen McMillen, head, age 51, married, born in Illinois, parents born in New York, occupation: assistant postmaster – U.S. Govt; Minnie McMillen, wife, age 50, married, born in Illinois, parents born in New York; Lloyd McMillen, son, age 28, single, born in Illinois, occupation: electrician – own business.

According to the 1930 U.S. Census for the Village of Grayslake, Avon Township, Lake County, IL residing on Westerfield Place, the household members were: Allan A. McMillen, head, age 61, married at age 23, born in Illinois, parents born in New York, occupation: painter – interior & exterior; Minnie M. McMillen, wife, age 60, married at age 21, born in Illinois, parents born in New York; Loyd A. McMillen, son, age 38, single, born in Illinois, occupation: electrician – wiring & fixtures, veteran? Yes WW.

According to the 1940 U.S. Census for the Village of Grayslake, Avon Township, Lake County, IL the household members were: Allen A. McMillen, head, age 72, married, highest grade completed: 8, born in Illinois, lived in same house in 1935; occupation: painter & decorator – private house; Minnie McMillen, wife, age 70, married, highest grade completed: 8, born in Illinois, lived in same house in 1935; Lloyd McMillen, son, age 46 single, highest grade completed: C3, born in Illinois, lived in same house in 1935, occupation: electrician – own.

According to the Grayslake Historical Society (https://grayslakehistory.org), September 2012 newsletter, pages 7-9:

A PAGE FROM THE PAST
The Waukegan News-Sun: Wednesday, May 14, 1947
Grayslake Fire Chief, 80, Oldest In State; Still Good Paperhanger

   Eighty-year-old A.A. McMillen, Illinois’ oldest fire chief–in point of service and probably age too–still does a good day’s work as a paper hanger, answers all fire calls and can remember within a dollar how much money the Grayslake Volunteer Fire department took in at its first annual dance 46 years ago.
   McMillen was re-elected chief of the Grayslake department recently as he began in 49th year of service with the department he helped organize in 1899, and his 43rd year as chief.
   This month also marked his 80th birthday, and for the occassion, he had gold badges made for each of the department’s 25 members.
   Of the 51 members whose names appear in the roster dated Dec. 26, 1900, almost two-thirds are dead. Some of those still alive have moved away from Grayslake. McMillen isn’t leaving; it is the town he was born in and the place he learned his trade of paper hanging 63 years ago.
   “You want the oldest fire chief?” he asked when the photographer came out to take his picture. “Better go look for him, then. But I can tell you this–I’m probably the oldest paper hanger.”
   The Illinois Firemen’s Association has certified, though, that McMillen is the state’s oldest fire chief.
   McMillen’s father, as a 14-year-old boy, came out to Grayslake from Waukegan in the 1850s, when a cholera epidemic killed his parents. McMillen’s father was a cousin to Wild Bill Hickok, and there is still a resemblance, in the nose and in the way the mustache hangs, between McMillen and pictures of the famous Kansas marshall.
   After the Civil War, McMillen’s father took up a veteran’s claim in Kansas. When McMillen was six, the family came back to Illinois in a covered wagon. McMillen remembers the family receiving news of Hickok’s murder from Jack McCall in 1876, but can’t recollect what his parents said.
   It seems to be one of the few things McMillen doesn’t remember. He well recalls the great Wilbur lumber yard fire in Grayslake in 1899, when he and another man stood atop a building and poured down water handed up by a bucket brigade that had “a man on every rung of that ladder.” He also remembers the name of the man who died in the fire-Frederick Potter, who went back into the burning building office to retrieve the company books. It was the town’s worst fire and the one that led to organizing the volunteer fire department.
   There were two hand pumpers then. G.M. Fitch, now dead, was chief. McMillen was a hook and ladder foreman. In 1901, McMillen was elected chief for the third time. The next three years there were other chiefs, and then in 1905, McMillen was elected chief again, and has been re-elected every year since then.
   The first annual dance was held in 1901. McMillen recalling it said the department took in $85. Secretary Arthur Horenberger’s history shows the amount was $84. In that year a fire bell was put in the village hall and it was decided “that the first man at the bell should ring it as long and as fast as he could.”
   In 1905, the village bought a second-hand gasoline pumper from Waukegan, A.E. Rich, now second in point of seniority, had joined the department by then. The old gasoline fire engine was sold for junk in 1924, but one of the two original hand pumpers is still around the firehouse, sitting out in back unused but in good shape.
   The hand pumper was hauled out for a picture and McMillen, looking at it said it reminded him of “all the times we dragged that thing through the mud.”
   Equipment now is all modern and includes a 1,000 gallon capacity water truck and two pumpers. As chief, McMillen still rides the trucks or his own car to fires, but more often stays at the village hall to direct the dispatching of men.
   He is a carpenter and painter as well a paper hanger, and many times, he said, “I’ve been caught up on a ladder when the fire whistle blew.”
   McMillen whose wife, the former Minnie Washburn, was killed in an automobile accident near Libertyville on their 55th wedding anniversary Dec. 14, 1945, lives with his son, Lloyd McMillen, in a house at 132 Westerfield Place that he built himself.
   Although he served as Grayslake mayor and village marshall for 12 years before that, McMillen seems at heart to be a true volunteer fireman–that is, he’s practically never without a money-raising ticket of some kind.
   The department earns much of its money this way, and if you want to buy a ticket–well, any member of the Grayslake fire department will sell you one. Cecil Caldwell is committee chairman, for the annual carnival, July 18 to 20.
Editor’s note: The Graysiake Historical Society has one of two original hand pumpers. Visitors to the Museum Annex may see it.”

According to the Chicago Tribune (Chicago IL) Thursday, July 23, 1953, page 71:

ALLEN M’MILLEN, GRAYSLAKE FIRE CHIEF, 86, DIES

   Allen A. McMillen, 86, believed to have been the oldest fire chief in the United States, died yesterday in St. Therese hospital, Waukegan.  He was the fire marshal of Grayslake, Lake county, where he helped organize the volunteer fire department on December 26, 1899.
   He was a former village president of Grayslake, a former police marshal of the village, and a former Lake county deputy sheriff.  Until four years ago, he operated a painting and decorating business.
   He leaves a son, Lloyd, with whom he lived, and a nephew, James W. McMillen, village president of Antioch and part owner of the Chicago Bears.  Services will be held at 2 p. m. tomorrow in Strang’s chapel, Grayslake.  Burial will be in Fort Hill cemetery.”

According to the Lake County Illinois Genealogical Society. “Strang Funeral Home – Grayslake, Illinois – 1908-1964”. Mundelein IL. 2015:

“Name: Allen A. McMillen; Birth Date: 02 May 1867; Birth Place: Avon Twp.; Death Date: 22 July 1953; Widowed; Occupation: Decorator; Minister: Rev. Stephen Liddicoat, Chapel; Burial Place: Fort Hill Cem.; Next of Kin; James McMillen – Father, Rilly Fuller – Mother”