Hi, cousin. Will contact you personally, but for other researchers, here is additional information.
The 1860 census states that Mary Routt is 29, which would make her 28 when she married Richard Rout.
I do not think the census taker meant to write that Mary was from MA. As a different researcher pointed out to me, ditto marks (") are used to indicate that the information on one line is the same as that in the column above it. This census taker uses these marks on this same page for other families. The family above Richard and Mary Rout are from MA. Whether he mistakenly continued the ditto marks into Richard's record, I don't know. We DO know, as you pointed out, that this would be incorrect, as Rickard was from England.
But beginning with Mary's line, below Richard, the census taker drew a solid line all the way down the column to the end, I believe indicating he didn't have the information. At any rate, the lack of a birth place is a big loss!
As far as who Mary and William Mills are, I am inclined to say it is "likely" that she had been married before, giving her age. If haven't found a good match for that name as a single person, but neither have I found a good married match where the husband died before 1859.
There is a "Mary Ann Eaves" who married a "John F. Mills" in 1849. They lived two counties to the north of the Routs. This John and Mary did have a son named "Willim S Mills" born abt 1853. However, John didn't pass away untill after 1880. He did remarry in 1860, there is a SMALL possibility that John and Mary divorced, and this IS the Mary that married Richard Rout. Unusual at that time, yes, but there were other members of this Mary's "Eaves" family that divorced in that time period.
John Mills and Mary Eaves' son William is still alive in 1870.
I think that there must be a certain truth to all of the stories passed on by Richard's decendants, but the when/where/who details got pretty garbled. My mother remembers listening many times to her grandmother, Ellen Rout Proctor, visit with her Rout siblings, and they spent all their time arguing about "who has the story right." But there are enough consistant details to convince me that Richard did travel to California at least once.
If he did go in 1849, then his wife, Margaret Van Zandt, was still living. The tornado she died in was in May 1859. See these newspaper articles I found on her death. http://trees.ancestry.com/tree/21914604/person/1152980683/me...