Milligan families, contributions left major impact on Andalusia

Published 12:00 am Saturday, May 21, 2011

Three of the children of Rufus and Caroline Milligan from last week’s column will be the subjects of today’s writing. All three of these and their families came to Andalusia during the early 1900s.

William F. (Franklin ?) Milligan and his wife, Carrie E. (Mahone), came to Andalusia circa 1906, because they were still residing in Milton, Fla., in 1905 when their youngest daughter, Virginia, was born. The couple had prospered and upon settling here, William built a Victorian-styled mansion on River Falls Street. It has been described by Dr. William C. Hansford, a native of Andalusia, as having beautiful interior detail. William also acquired the historic Milligan Building on the northeast side of Court Square, which had been built a bit earlier by the Shreve family. For many years the Murphy Family Law Firm has been a primary occupant, so the building has come to be known as the Murphy Building. Many will recall that The Covington Stores, a men and ladies‘ clothing business, was a major occupant in past years.

William F. and Carrie Milligan had four children who were all born in the years just prior to their move to Covington County. They were Georgia, b. 1890, m. 1913 Norman Joseph Searcy; Marion, b. 1896; Franklin, b. 1902; and Virginia, b. 1905, m. (1) ? (2) Raymond “Ray” Parish. William F., a resident of Andalusia, died in 1909 in Luverne and left Carrie a widow to rear the young children. Carrie survived him until 1951.

The youngest daughter, Virginia, did not have any children by either husband. Her husband, Raymond, was an entertainer, but he may have kept books early on for the Jackson Pontiac Company in Andalusia. Virginia was known for having a commanding presence and to be quite outspoken with confidence. According to Dr. Hansford, they lived in a beautiful well-balanced house, which was located on River Falls Street in a lot adjacent to the former Murphy house. Virginia had it painted a creamed yellow and trimmed in white. In her later years, she operated Virginia’s Antiques in this Milligan/Parish house, which unfortunately burned in 1970 soon after her death. Virginia was very active in the Methodist church.

Another child of Rufus Milligan who came to the area was Kate M. Milligan (1861-1939) who was married in 1891 to Charles Perrenot (ca 1860-late 1890s), son of Frederic (born 1812 in France) and Mary Perrenot. Charles J. Perrenot served in the Florida Senate in 1899. Kate and Charles reared the following three children: Caroline “Carol,” b. 1892, m. ? Longone; Leon, b. 1894, d. 1909 as youth; and Louise, b. 1897, m. 1918 Dudley Lee O’Neal, Sr., son of Clanton and Ida (Rousseau) O’Neal. Louise and Dudley resided on Church Street and reared one son, Dudley Lee O’Neal, Jr., b. 1922, d. 2004, m. Mildred J. ?. Carol studied music and the Conservatory of Music in Cincinnati and pursued a career in music. Her husband operated an opera house in New York where they lived, and Carol sang in a number of operas.

Kate followed her brothers to Andalusia as a wealthy widow circa 1900. She built a fine home on River Falls Street and in 1905 sold it to the John Burnetts who were establishing the Coca Cola Company. She then constructed a large “Arts and Crafts” house on the north side of Church Street at the site of the current Regions Bank. At the end of World War II, the house became a school for helping veterans complete high school or gain a G.E.D. certificate. (One of the teachers was Mrs. Camma Cook.)

The third child of Rufus Milligan to move to Andalusia was Sumpter Benjamin “Sump” Milligan and his family. Sumpter soon became a strong and influential leader in the growing town. They arrived circa 1900, and he built one of the first fine homes in Andalusia. It was located on the west side of South Three-Notch Street on the lot between the Hines house and Attorney John Peek’s office building. Then in 1920 he built the stately mansion on East Three-Notch Street, which is located across from the current home of Mark Murphy. This house is sometimes remembered as the Newberry home.

Sumpter was quite industrious and successful in numerous business adventures. He was known as a banker and owned partnership in The Bank of Andalusia with C.A. O’Neal, E.L. More and A.R. Powell. They sold the bank, which was located on the east side of Court Square, in 1918. Sumpter also owned a fertilizer company, one half interest in a bottling company, the building in which the Ford Motor Company operated and the Milligan Building. He served as an Andalusia City Councilman in 1912 under Mayor J.W. Shreve, and was president of the corporation organized to develop the first hospital for Andalusia in the former E.C. Gunn house on South Three-Notch Street.

Sumpter and his wife, Minnie (Mints) (1873-1942), lived in the above houses and reared the following children: Leon Mints, b. 1895, d. 1940, m. Ruby Law; Jachin Perrinot, b. 1897, died as a young child; and Cecelia, b. 1899, d. 1993, m. 1922 James Earle McGowin. The Milligans were strong supporters of the Episcopal Church, and they even held church services in Mrs. Milligan’s music room before the church building was completed. Cecelia’s son, Sumpter Milligan McGowin, may have been the first baptism in the new church.

The daughter, Cecelia’s, husband, James Earle McGowin, was the son of J. Charnic and Lela (Earle) McGowin, of Chapman/Greenville. They lived in Georgiana where James Earle operated a car dealership. They reared the following three children: Sumpter Milligan, b. 1923, m. Joanne Slemons Veeland; Minnie Lea “Tere,” b. 1924, m. Warren Jackson Williamson; and Cecelia, b. 1929, m. John Stewart Yow.

Sources for this writing include the following: Notes from Dr. William C. Hansford; genealogy data from Bob Bryan, interview with Sumpter Milligan McGowin and G. Sidney Waits,, census data and Gus and Ruby Bryan’s Covington County History, 1821-1976.

Anyone who might have a correction to the above or additional data on the Milligan and/or Perrinot families is requested to contact this writer, Curtis Thomasson, at 20357 Blake Pruitt Road, Andalusia, AL 36420; 334-222-6467; or email:

HISTORICAL MEETING: The Covington Historical Society will be meeting at 7 p.m. on Thurs., May 26, in the Dixon Memorial Room of the Andalusia Public Library.  Guests and prospective members are welcome.