The John B. Milholland Family

John Bower Milholland (1834-1896) was the son of William and Jane (Bower) Milholland. William was a contractor and builder identified with the early development of Pittsburgh. His wife, Jane-a descendant of the Bower family who settled in the area during colonial times-was raised on her family home in the Bower Hill Road area.

In the mid 1850s, John was working as a machinist on Carson Street; around 1862, his brother James went into business for himself on Fifth Avenue in Pittsburgh doing machine work and building engines. Eventually, James and John Bower partnered up to form J & J.B. Milholland Company. The firm built the incline railroads located on the South Side. At one time James served as superintendent of the MLEPC Sunday School, but it is doubtful he is buried here as historical biographies say he became very active in the Bellefield Church where he was a deacon and trustee.

John married Tamar Matthews (1841-1921)was born Oct. 11, 1820 to Sarah (Crawford) and James Matthews of Washington County, Pennsylvania. Tamar had nine siblings. An interesting aside: her grandfather James Crawford was left an orphan at the age of 4 after his father died of a copperhead snake bite. Tamar’s sister Martha Ann married a man named John Bower-there is a chance the he is related to Tamar’s husband, John Bower Milholland. Tamar and John had at least six children-three of whom died before the age of five-Chatham (died age 4), Sarah Agnes, William, John Bower, Henry (died age 2) and Martha Fisher, who died before her first birthday.

We believe that John Bower was the cousin of Caleb Milholland.

John B., George B. (see below), W.W. and James all purchased lots in St. Clair Cemetery November 14, 1874 (#8, 7, 2 and 1 respectively) for $31.25 each. Since they were all born within 14 years of each other, they are probably brothers.

On October 11, 1861, George B. enlisted as a private in the Civil War. He was 18 years old. He served a three year term in Co. B, 77th PA volunteers. Three years after being discharged-December, 18, 1866-he married Anna Lose. They had nine children-two of who died around the age of 9 and two died at age 1. The several small, illegible markers near George’s grave could be the graves of those children. When George died on July 31, 1913, he was living at Andover Apts on Bates at McKee Place in Oakland.

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