MINIS, family of original settlers of Savannah, Georgia. ABRAHAM MINIS (1694?–1757) arrived in Savannah with his wife ABIGAIL (1701–1794), two daughters, LEAH and ESTHER, and brother SIMON in 1733. Four sons and three daughters were born in Savannah. When fear of Florida's Spaniards drove Sephardi Jews from Georgia by 1741, only the Minis and Sheftall families, Ashkenazi in origin, remained. After trying farming unsuccessfully, Abraham began trading and shipping, and soon became an official supplier for General Oglethorpe. Upon Abraham's death, his widow Abigail, aided by her sons, continued his import business, and expanded their land holdings in Georgia to more than 2,500 acres. At the outbreak of the revolution, PHILIP MINIS (1734–1789), Abraham's only surviving son, was made acting paymaster and commissary general for Georgia, subsequently advancing $11,000 of his own funds to Virginia and North Carolina troops in Georgia. In 1779 he and Levi Sheftall guided Count d'Estaing and General Franklin in their unsuccessful attempt to recapture Savannah. The entire Minis family moved to Charleston, but Abigail secured agreement from the royal governor not to confiscate her property, and when the British left Savannah the family returned. Upon the reorganization of Savannah's Congregation Mikveh Israel in 1786, Philip was elected president. The following year he became a warden of the city, holding both posts until his death. -BIBLIOGRAPHY: M.H. Stern, in: AJHSQ, 52 (1963), 169–99; 54 (1965), 243–77; J.R. Marcus, Early-American Jewry, 2 (1953), passim; Rosenbloom, Biogr Dict, 113f., incl. bibl. (Malcolm H. Stern)

Encyclopedia Judaica. 1971.

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