American family especially prominent in the South. Its founder, Abraham Minis, went from England to America in 1733. The family tree is as follows:
One of the earliest settlers in the colony of Georgia; born c. 1696; died 1757. He arrived at Savannah with the group of Jewish colonists which came from England July 11, 1733, shortly after Oglethorpe. Abraham was accompanied by his wife Abigail, his daughters Leah and Esther, and his brother Simeon. He seems to have been a man of means. Some of the family silver he brought with him is still in possession of his descendants; and several pieces bear his crest. Abraham's name appears among those of the few Jewish grantees mentioned in the general conveyance of town lots and farms executed in Dec., 1733, and whichis virtually the earliest deed in the colony. He soon became a merchant, and is mentioned as such in Savannah as early as 1737.
When many of the colonists, both Jew and Gentile, left Georgia about 1740, owing to the illiberal policy of the trustees, Minis was one of the few Jews who remained; he is mentioned in the trustees' minutes of that period. His widow died in 1794.Simeon Minis:
Brother of Abraham Minis; also one of the original settlers. His name appears in the records as late as 1743, when he received an allotment of land.Philip Minis:
Son of Abraham Minis; born at Savannah July 11, 1734 (being the first white male child born in the colony of Georgia); died 1789. He was a successful merchant at the outbreak of the American Revolution. An ardent patriot, he advanced considerable sums to the Revolutionary cause, mainly in connection with the payment of the troops. His name appears in the "Journal of the Continental Congress." In 1778 Congress directed the payment to him of several thousands of dollars, advanced to the "acting paymaster and commissary to the Virginia and North Carolina troops in the State of Georgia." When, in Sept., 1779, the French auxiliaries besieged Savannah, Minis acted as guide through the woods, and was consulted as to the best place for landing. He also volunteered to act as a patriot guide thereafter. In 1780 the British passed their famous "Disqualifying Act," whereby certain persons were disqualified from holding office, because of their prominence in the "rebel cause." The name of Philip Minis is one of the 150 names appearing in this list.
After the Revolution Minis took a lively interest in congregational affairs at Savannah. On the reestablishment of the congregation in 1786 he became parnas or president of the Mickva Israel congregation in that city.David Minis:
A member of the family who was prominent in masonic affairs as early as 1757. He was among those who, on behalf of the order, waited on Governor Ellis with an address of welcome in that year.Judith (Judy) Minis (née Judith Pollack):
Wife of Philip Minis; died 1818. She and her mother were both prominent patriots. On this account both were confined to their dwelling after the taking of Savannah, and were finally ordered to leave the town.
Among the soldiers of the Georgia line in the Revolution are also found the names of William Minis and James Minis, presumably members of the same family.Isaac Minis:
Son of Philip and Judith Minis; said to have been born in 1780, in a cave near Charleston, S. C., while that city was besieged and while Savannah was in the hands of the British; died 1856. He served as a private in the War of 1812 in Capt. William Bullock's company of artillery, 1st Regiment Georgia Militia.Abraham Minis:
Son of Isaac Minis; born at Savannah 1820; died 1889. He was physically disqualified from serving in the field at the outbreak of the Civil war. Though disapproving of secession, he, after hostilities commenced, espoused the Confederate cause, and filled a position in the commissary's office at Savannah. He also subscribed liberally to the issue of Confederate bonds.Isaac Minis:
Son of Abraham Minis; born at Savannah 1857; died 1893. He was an active member of the Georgia Hussars for many years, until his death.Abraham Minis:
Son of Abraham Minis; born 1859. He joined the Georgia Hussars in 1881, and became first lieutenant. At the outbreak of the Spanish-American war he requested assignment to a cavalry regiment, but as no cavalry was called from Georgia he had no opportunity for active service. Later he was appointed quartermaster (with the rank of captain) of the 1st Regiment of Georgia Cavalry, of which body he is now (1904) adjutant.
- Charles C. Jones, Hist. of Georgia, vol. i.;
- idem, in Pub. Am. Jew. Hist. Soc. i. 5;
- George White, Historical Collections of Georgia, pp. 98, 102, 104, 339, New York, 1855;
- Occident, i. 247, 381;
- George Gilman Smith, The Story of Georgia, pp. 517, 619, 627, Macon, 1900;
- George White, Statistics of Georgia, in Journal of the Transactions of the Trustees of Georgia, p. 418, Wormloe, 1896;
- W. B. Stevens, History of Georgia, vol. i., 1847;
- Georgia Gazette, March 12, 1789;
- Leon Hühner, The Jews of Georgia in Colonial Times, in Pub. Am. Jew. Hist. Soc. x.;
- idem, The Jews of Georgia in the American Revolution;
- Charles P. Daly, Settlement of the Jews in North America, pp. 68-73, New York, 1893;
- Isaac Markens, The Hebrews in America, p. 49, New York, 1888;
- Journals of Continental Congress, 1778;
- Herbert Friedenwald, in Pub. Am. Jew. Hist. Soc. i. 67.