While doing routine ancestry research one day on my own family tree, I discovered a rather significant and totally unexpected family connection with the Quaker tradition on my mother’s side. In doing so I also came across the surname Milhous, which I knew to be the middle name of the only Quaker American president, and began to put two and two together.
My suspicions were correct, and Richard Milhous Nixon, 37th president of the United States, was my 6th cousin, twice-removed. The linkage from my standpoint is admittedly convoluted but stems from my maternal grandfather’s (Penrose) side of the family and is shaped like a horseshoe to get to Nixon. My great-grandmother Mary Alma Carothers’ father was John William Carothers and his mother was Elizabeth Helen Christian (1825-1889). Elizabeth’s mother was a Wylie and going back a couple more generations we come to Samuel Wylie, who married Dinah Mickle Milhous in 1744 in Ireland and began the descent back down to the present day through Dinah’s brother and his descendants until we get to Hannah Milhous, who married Francis Anthony Nixon in 1908 and the rest, so to speak, is history.
This trail would be significant even without the Nixon connection for it highlights yet another totally unexpected aspect of the story of us, namely the strong family connections to the Quaker tradition on both sides of my family tree. Both the Penrose family on my maternal grandfather’s side and the Bousman family on my paternal grandmother’s side can trace their roots to the early Quaker settlements in Pennsylvania.