Alert reader — and 11th-generation Westporter Jacques Voris — sends along a fascinating photo:
This photo of John Burr Mills was taken circa 1922. He was about 87, and is holding his great-grand-niece, Shirley Mills.
John Burr Mills — a relative of mine — was here for much of the early formation of Westport, and its transition from a farming community into the artist colony of the 1920s.
He was born on February 25, 1835 in Greens Farms — a few months before Westport was incorporated. He was the second of 3 sons of John Mills and Sarah Batterson. His father died when he was 20 years old. He and his older brother Charles struck out on their own.
John was primarily a mason. He built the State Street (now Ruth Steinkraus Cohen Post Road) bridge. He lived until 1934, and his direct descendant Wayne Mills still lives on West Parish Road.
What I really like about this photo are his hands, as he gently holds the child. Look at the size of them, and think about their obvious strength.
In addition to the photo, Jacques has a request:
I need “06880” readers’ help finding something. There was once a horse track in Greens Farms called the Dingee Racetrack. Other than a name, I don’t know a thing about it. Where exactly was it located? When?
Readers: If you have any information on the Dingee Racetrack, click “Comments” below. NOTE: The racetrack on the Bedford property — near, interestingly, West Parish — was called Wynfromere. It may be a different one.