UNC Charlotte Special Collections J. Murrey Atkins Library - Special Collections & University Archives

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C. M. Mills papers

Identifier: MS0419

Scope and Contents

The C.M. Mills Papers are made up mostly of letters and copies of letters, almost entirely on very acidic and fragile paper. The vast majority of the letters concern Mills’ work as an elder in the Providence Baptist Church in Charlotte, North Carolina (a church in the Primitive Baptist denomination); though there are a few items that concern such things as his automobile service shop, his activities in real estate, law suits he was involved in, utility bills and a copy of the “Plan for Gasoline Rationing” that was issued during World War II. Most of the collection consists of copies of letters that Mills mailed out, though there are several letters addressed to Mills.


  • 1936 - 1962


Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Some material may be copyrighted or restricted. It is the patron's obligation to determine and satisfy copyright or other case restrictions when publishing or otherwise distributing materials found in the collections.

Biographical / Historical

Clarence Marion Mills was born on September 16, 1900 to Calvin Thomas Mills and Rena Clontz in Monroe, North Carolina. He was a member of the Primitive Baptist Church in Charlotte, North Carolina, and served as one of its elders from 1936 at least until 1962. As an elder, Mills was deeply involved in the activities necessary to make his church function, and he corresponded extensively with church leaders in other states, especially Virginia. Mills spent a great deal of time traveling to other churches in his denomination, visiting them on Sundays, developing and maintaining a supportive network between these associations. Some of Mills' correspondence indicates that breeches and divisions sometimes occurred among some of these congregations. On one occasion, a man who was nominated to be a deacon was found to have been drinking alcoholic beverages (a strict taboo among Baptists), which aroused the ire of church leaders who felt they had to take corrective action. Other controversies included pastors who were preaching what Mills and his associates considered to be false doctrine.

A letter in this collection, dated November 3, 1941, apparently intended for an officer in the US Army or Draft Board, concerned Henry H. Smith of Oakboro, NC and was meant to encourage the authorities to release Smith from his military obligation so that he could return to his parents' farm. In this letter, Mills indicated that he was the "pastor of the Liberty Hill Primitive Baptist Church." Aside from his ministerial duties, Mills owned the Mills Auto Service, Inc., but sold that business in 1943. Series three contains employee time sheets (dating from 1937 to 1943) at a business where he worked as a manager. This item is perplexing, because these time sheets do not indicate what business it was that he managed. It could very well have been the Mills’ Auto Service, though it is surprising that he would have filled out time sheets for himself as a manager of a business he owned. Some of the letters in this collection indicate that Mills was involved in a number of lawsuits and legal proceedings. A letter from a lawyer named Frank Wylie Orr, dated May 21, 1941 indicated that Mills was involved in a law suit against Evelyn M. Wingate, though the case was eventually dismissed without consequence to Mills. Three years later, Mills hired lawyers to settle the sale of a plot of land in Charlotte. Another legal action, brought by Walter R. Jones, Junior in 1948 was a motion to resolve a debt of L.L. Ross to the Mills Auto Service beginning in 1939.

After closing his auto service shop, Mills made a living in real estate and there is a series in this collection that is dedicated to his real estate ventures—Series V. Mills died on February 3, 1979 in Charlotte. [Sources: C.M. Mills Papers, 1936-1962, Mss 419, UNC Charlotte Library.]


1.25 Linear Feet




Contains a small amount of material that primarily consists of correspondence from Clarence Marion Mills (C.M. Mills), in his role as an elder in the Primitive Baptist Church of Charlotte, NC. He corresponded with several elders in churches elsewhere, in order to build and maintain a support network among the congregations and associations within this denomination. Other papers concern real estate transactions, Mills’ Auto Service, Inc., and printed matter concerning gas rationing during WWII.


The collection is arranged into the following three series: Primitive Baptist Church Correspondence, General Correspondence (1943-1960) and Real Estate Papers (1942-1952). There are also several files that do not belong to any series.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Acquired from Mrs. Amber Benton, of Charlotte, in September 2009.

Related Materials

Selby Daniels Collection, Mss 211.

Processing Information

Processed by Robert A. McInnes
C. M. Mills papers
Robert A. McInnes
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Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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Repository Details

Part of the Manuscript Collections, J. Murrey Atkins Library Special Collections and University Archives, UNC Charlotte Repository

Atkins Library, UNC Charlotte
9201 University City Blvd
Charlotte 28223 United Stated