Samuel Lester Millsap was born on June 13, 1909, in Hazen, Arkansas, where his father operated a rice farm. When Sam was thirteen, the family moved to southern Iowa to escape bouts of malaria. From there they moved to Hooker, Oklahoma, where his father worked in the oil fields. They traveled on to Oregon in 1925. Sam attended Oregon Agricultural College, where he later worked as an electrician in the maintenance department. He married Margaret McAllister on September 10, 1933, in Corvallis. She was born in Monet, Missouri, on July 9, 1909. At the age of eight, she moved to Oregon with her mother to join an aunt who lived in Bellfountain. She graduated from Kelso (Washington) High School, then returned to Corvallis to attend OAC, studying home economics. She graduated in 1932 with a Bachelor of Science degree. She later worked for fifteen years in the Agricultural Research Lab on campus.
In 1940, they purchased a farm two miles north of Corvallis on Highway 20. Sam was a successful filbert and row-crop farmer. He raised twenty acres of hand-picked pole beans, forty acres of filberts, and grew cannery produce and raspberries. Sam was active in the Farm Bureau, attending many conventions. They both enjoyed trips sponsored by the Bureau. Their farm had grown over the years, and in 1969 they decided to retire and do some traveling. They sold the farm to Homer Twedt and bought an Airstream trailer and spent many enjoyable years traveling. Sam was involved in a variety of activities. He was a member of the Elks, Oddfellows, and Knights of Pythias. Margaret participated in auxiliary associations, Rebekkas, and Pythian Sisters.
In 1985, Sam and Margaret moved to the Mennonite Village in Albany, where they appreciated having lifelong friends and close neighbors. They enjoyed a decade of life there before Sam passed away November 15, 1995. They had been married sixty-two years. Margaret remained active in the village, taking classes and participating in field trips and many village activities, until her death March 28, 1999.
The fruits of Sam and Margaret Millsap’s labors continue to benefit Benton County in many ways. The Millsap farm, where Sam’s forty acres of filbert trees still stand in regimented corridors, completely shaded now that the slow-growing trees extend their branches from row to row. For many years the Millsaps provided employment to hundreds of local youngsters in the pole bean fields. Following their deaths, their bequests created an endowment fund to benefit the Youth Career Exploration Project and/or provide financial assistance to mentally or physically challenged individuals. The fund was established as a joint bequest.