The Story of a River, Its History, Features, Moods, People and Places with Particular Reference to Rock Island and the Area Above Great Falls
Brought Together By
|It is through the generosity and sense of history that his son and heir, Ed Crouch has given his permission to reproduce here excerpts from his Father's book. We thank him.|
abundant supply of water power awaited the early settlers of the Caney
Fork region. They took advantage of it and built grist or corn mills,
wheat mills although not as common as the corn mills, saw mills and later
carding mills, cotton mills and some for special purposes.
From a study of land grants and deeds it is apparent that some mills were built without getting any formal approval, some were built before land grants were secured, some were authorized by County Courts and some were through court action.
Grist mills or water mills, under Tennessee law were considered " public utilities" and could not be condemned. This raised a serious problem in the early 1900's when Field Yost, Dan McGugin and Art Dyer decided to develop the Great Falls Hydro Project and realized that there were may small mill sites that would have to be purchased and they did not want to be help up.
Mr. Yost, in 1902, was able to get the Tennessee Legislature to pass bills giving "Water Power Companies" the right to condemn land for water power plants and transmissions lines.
Mr. Womack, in his History of McMinnville, stated that in 1895 there were 32 mills operating in Warren County and that after the disastrous flood of 1902 less than 12 were rebuilt. It is interesting to note that the latter date is about the time that the first electric generating plants were built in some of the towns.
|ANDERSON||Corn Mill on Town Creek above Sparta mentioned in Seal's History of White County.|
|BAILIFF||Saw Mill on the Smallman & Swan property below the Great Falls Dam was located where the Webb School Camp was later established. It was at the mouth of Barren Fork Creek. Mr. James McGiboney stated that the mill was operating prior to 1847. His father had the lumber sawed out at the mill for his new house. He carried it up the hill (about 300 feet up a steep bluff) on his back and then carted it to his home. Cart referred to a 2-wheeled vehicle which Mr. McGiboney said a number of families owned. He added that very few owned wagons before the Civil War. A few people in the area had horses but most families depended on oxen.|
|BLANKS||Mill was built some time after the Civil War. The corn mill was located on Rocky River, a few hundred feet downstream from the present Blanks Bridge, which Mr. Womack refers to as the "crooked iron bridge." The mill building was on the left bank of the river. The property was owned by General John B. Rodgers before the War. He sold it to John L. Miller in 1847, next owner not known and then sold to Charles R. Blanks and J.D. Hash in 1894 and 1898. W.W. Blanks also had an interest in the mill.|
|BOSSON||Mill on the right bank of Caney Fork below the main falls
and just upstream from the present TVA Power House. Seal's History
of White County places the starting date between 1815 and 1820 and that
it was built by William Bosson. The above statement is in error as
will be noted in the following story. See Goodspeed's History,
p. 861, White County, for more on the Bosson Family.
The following story is taken from an article written in 1933 by the present writer. The story of power development at Great Falls really begins about 1840 at a boat landing on the Ohio River. Samuel H. Laughlin wrote in his diary that while on his way to the Democratic National Convention, he met Thomas Bosson and asked about southern water power sites. Mr. Laughlin recommended a site in Alabama and the Great Falls of the Caney Fork in Tennessee. Bosson was very much interested and after visiting both sites selected the latter and immediately purchased the necessary land and riparian rights, a portion of the same being purchased from General John B. Rodgers of Rock Island. Mr. Bosson was from Massachusetts.
Thomas Bosson built a two and a half story mill below the main falls in which he installed a set of corn stones made locally by Mr. Drake and a set of wheat rocks which were purchased in France for $300.00, shipped to Boston, then overland and by canal to Detroit, and on to the Ohio River, Cumberland and Caney Fork to Great Falls. A carding factory was put in the second floor of the mill.
A small diversion dam was built at the Falls. Water was conveyed from the "Water Basin" located just below the main Falls, which can still be seen, in a rock and timber flume to the mill. After grinding corn and wheat the was was carried in a wood flume to a saw mill located across the river and just upstream from the TVA Power House. The small bit of bottom land on the north or White County side of the river was used to store lumber on. A winding road was built down the hill and then up the river under the over-hanging bluff to the mill. The road was very narrow but there was plenty of room to turn at the mill. Farmers frequently camped under the bluff for the night. About the time of the War, Charles P. Hill acquired a one interest in the mill property.
Then came a day in 1882 much like other days except that there had been an unusually heavy rain. Uncle Billy Chisam, the miller was grinding corn as usual. He stepped out of the mill a moment and at the same time a great tree borne on the crest of the flood knocked out a corner post and the old mill crashed into the river and was swept away grinding corn to the end, thus ending the first chapter in the development of power at Great Falls.
See "Falls City Cotton Mill Company" for the second chapter in this development.
|first called Burden's Mill was located on Burden's Mill
Branch which empties into the Calfkiller River a short distance above the
Brady-Haston Bridge. The mill property was conveyed to Benjamin Burden
by grant #1051 in 1809, surveyed 1808 on July 28 and called for 50 acres
on Calfkiller River and on Burden's Mill Creek. The description indicates
that the mill was already in operation in 1808. The branch was and
still is fed by a spring a few hundred feet upstream from the Calfkiller
and a short mile from Greenwood Church. This was a grist mill for
grinding corn meal.
The property was transferred to James Bowen in February 1811, to David H. Mayborurn in October 1814 and following his death to Elijah Drake in March 1822 and in the same month Drake sold the mill property to Thomas Meeks who sold it to James Randals in November of the same year. A deed from Warren to Joseph W. Taylor in 1862 refers to "the grist mill and saw mill" and near the wagon road leading from Hickory Valley to Rock Island.
The Warrens were millers and merchants. It should be noted that Drake made many of the grinding rocks used in early grist mills throughout the Caney Fork area.
|Cotton Mill on Charles Creek mentioned.|
|Seals in his History of White County mentions Ward & Brickfords saw and corn mill in White County on the lower Caney Fork.|
|BURDEN||See Brady-Haston Mill.|
|Factory - This plant, located on the right bank of Calfkiller
River and close to Cave, Tennessee was incorporated as Burroughs &
Taylor Co. in 1891. They manufactured men's clothing and specialized
in blue denim work clothes. The writer bought clothes from the in
As mentioned elsewhere there was an old suspension foot bridge above the dam which was replaced when the Great Falls Dam was raised in 1924-25. This also ended the use of water power to run the factory. (See Mitchell (Jabez G.) Mill for earlier development of this site.)
The owners of the factory organized the Cave Water & Light Co. which served a few houses at the top of the hill with water. The water from a spring across the river from the factory was pumped up to a storage tank with a hydraulic ram. Unknown to the Tennessee Electric Power Company the spring and ram were on a tiny piece of land which was to be flooded. Filling the Great Falls reservoir was delayed from early spring to fall until the land could be purchased at about $20,000.00 This was referred to as the $20,000.00 ram by those involved in the transaction.
|CANE CREEK||This mill was located at the head of Cane Creek Falls and was built in 1831. The last man to own and operate the mill was Lawson Fisher. The mill was washed over the falls in the flood of March 1929. (Lawson Fisher, Testimony of)|
|Seal's History of White County
lists four mills that were operating prior to the Civil War. They
Joe Taylor Mill on the Calfkiller River near Cave, Tennessee
Henry Echols Mill on Falling Water Creek.
James Robinson Mill on Post Oak Creek.
George Ogden Mill at Sparta on the Calfkiller River. This mill was operating in 1831 and had an overshot wheel.
|CHASTAIN||Mill on the Collins River - See Shell's Ford Mill.|
|CLARK||Mill was built on Town Creek in 1866 a few yards west of the "new mill" which was operating in 1930.|
|COOK||Cove Spring Mill Branch - See Dillon's Mill.|
|On Caney Fork River - See Wallace and Cooper Dam.|
|JOHN DALE||See Mormon Mill.|
|Mill pond mentioned in deed to Zavida Seals in 1806. White and Dales received a grant 1809. Notes are not complete but the writer believes this was on the Calfkiller and probably at or near the Simpson Mill.|
|DALY||Mill Dam was at mile 11.9 above the mouth of Barren Fork River.|
|He operated a corn mill on the Calfkiller six miles above Sparta. According to Seal's History of White County it was built between 1815 and 1820.|
|DAVIS||Mill was on the Davis farm in Big Bottom and operated
by the Davis family. It may have been located on Gaston's Branch
as there was a mill there. Gaston Branch, Cold spring Branch, Suggs
Branch and the Slough in Caney Fork were on the Davis property.
The mill was owned by Robert James and Absolom Davis. It was conveyed by them to David Davis.
|DILLON||Mill Tract referred to Carter Dillon's mill tract on the north side of Caney Fork, mentioned in a deed of 1882, being on the first small branch below the Tosh mill. It is the same property referred to in a deed in 1929 described as Cook's Cove Spring Branch on Caney Fork.|
|DRAKE||See Brady & Haston Mill.|
|CARTER DRAKE||Mill - See Sparkman Mill on Cane Creek.|
|ELIJAH DRAKE||See mill at Laurelburg on Rocky River.|
|ELIJAH DRAKE||Grant of 1815, entered 1814, referred to Elijah Drake Mill Dam on Laurel Creek. The mill was still operating in 1884 and known as Grissoms Mill.|
|DRISKOLL||Still House mentioned in 1848 deed was on the east side of Calfkiller River near the old Harriet Iron Works.|
|ECHOL||See Carding Mills.|
|FALCON||Flour Mill on Barren For immediately down stream from the Railroad Bridge was built on land purchased by Asa Faulkner in 1880. He sold a one-half interest to Jesse Walling in 1885 and the remainder in 1887. After that date it was called the Falcon Roller Mill. One source states that the first mill was established 1879.|
|FALLS CITY||Cotton Mill - The story in this section is really the
second chapter in the development of power at Great Falls.
Asa Faulkner purchased the property formerly belonging to the Cunningham family in 1881. This included most of the land between the Caney Fork and Collins River. In 1883 he bought a one-half interest in the Bosson property across the Caney Fork in White County. He, together with Clay Faulkner, Jesse Walling and H.L. Walling had a wheel pit dug and low diversion dam built at the Falls. James McGiboney installed a saw mill and grist mill for the owners and was employed to operate it. The owners erected a timber bridge across the mouth of Collins river and a log toll house on the hill above the saw mill. Later a frame house was erected on the river side of the road closer to the bridge. This building was used as a construction office during the building of the power dam. It was torn down in 1927. r. McGiboney sawed out all the timers and lumber for the bridge and houses.
A small community grew up in the area and was called "Falls City." The spring of 1892 saw the first real boom for Falls City. The Falls City Cotton Mill Company was chartered with a capital of $30,000.00 to "manufacture, spin, weave, bleach, dye, print, finish and sell all goods of every kind made of wool and cotton." A three tory brick mill was erected by the Company. The brick were burned on the hill and a snort distance upstream from the mill. The Company also purchased the toll-bridge from Asa Faulkner.
The Mill was heavy for it's "Heavy sheeting." There was a Post Office, store and other structures at Falls City although all are gone. The mill furnished employment to citizens of the neighborhood and the little community thrived and grew. The came that memorable Good Friday in March 1902 when the heavens opened up and rain came down in torrents. The might Caney Fork, like a dog which had been straining at its leash, suddenly broke loose. The raging torrent sweeping down off the mountains carrying death and destruction before it swept away the wheel house and the Collins River Bridge as well as every other mill on the river. The old river had gained one more victory over man thus ending the second chapter in the development of power at Great Falls. Easter Sunday in 1902 was a lovely clear day but for the citizens of Falls City things looked very gloomy even though they knew in their hearts that the old river would some day be conquered.
|See Woodman Cotton Mills on Barren Fork for power rights and mills at McMinnville owned and built by Faulkner.|
|Erected a cotton mill on Charles Creek in 1846. It operated till the War after which it was converted to a cotton gin. This may be the same as the Central Factory cotton mill built by T. H. Faulkner.|
|Mills on Charles Creek was established in 1873 by T.H. Faulkner and his brother, Clay. Clay bought out his brother's interest in 1877. It was called the Mountain City Woolen Mill at that time. In 1887 new machinery was installed and the plant was known as the Clay Faulkner Woolen Mill.|
|Mill built about 1807 was probably one of the first, if not the first mill, to be built in Warren County. Henry J. Hill and Jesse Savage built the mill on Indian Village (Hill) Creek, a tributary of Collins River.|
|GALLOWAY||Mill on Laurel Creek, 200 feet above a foot bridge and 100 feet above the ford where the Spencer Road crossed Laurel Creek. The dam was 7 feet high. This description was taken from one of the H.M. Bylessby & Company maps and covered conditions as they were about 1920-1912. J.J. Galloway owned the mill at that time. H.C. McCoy and Daniel Tosh owned adjacent property.|
|GASTON||Mill Branch in Big Bottom - See Davis Mill.|
|GLENN||Grist Mill - Goodspeed, p. 799-80 mentions that William Glenn built a grist mill on Calfkiller about 1815. The writer believes that this mill was located above the falls of the Calfkiller and above the Harriett Iron Works and may be the same location as the Jett Mill site. - See Jett Mill.|
|GOODBAR||Mill on Rocky River downstream from the concrete arch
bridge on the Spencer Road. A deed from Gardner & Company
to J.M. Goodbar in 1865 mentions and includes the mill, storehouse and
tan yard. Goodbar's Mill mentioned in a deed of 1871. Some
additional land was transferred to Wm. Goodbar in 1872. The property
was sold to Geo. E. Kell in 1878, to Harmon York and Jacob Stipes in 1880
and York's share to Stipes in 1882.
After that the following transfers were made: to I.A. Justice 1884, to H.R. Gribble mentions grist mill 1888, J.J. Walker 1900, A.L. Johnson 1902, Victor A. Russell mentions Roller Mill 1906, A.L. Johnson 1909, T.F. Page 1910 and D.T. Johnson 1910.
|GRAHAMS||Still House mentioned in Big Bottom in 1843 deed. It was on the south side of the river. There were a number of orchards in that area but no signs of them in 1923 except a few scattered trees.|
|GRIBBLE||Mill - See Goodbar's Mill.|
|Grist Mill on Barren Fork near McMinnville.|
|GREAT FALLS||Saw Mill - See Falls City Cotton Mill.|
|GRISSOM||Mill on Laurel Creek - See Drake's Mill.|
|HARRISON||Mill Creek was a small tributary of the Calfkiller River near Taylor's Factory.|
|was located on the left bank of the Calfkiller River
about one mile down stream from Sparta and above the falls of the Calfkiller
River. Isaac Swindle and Armstead Stubblefield, Ass'ee of Jesse Swindle,
received 514 acres on both sides of the river by Grant 2813, Jan 12, 1811,
entered Aug. 7, 1807 on N.C. warrant No. 106 dated Dec. 12, 1804.
Surveyed in 1809. This grant included the falls and land on which
a future hydro electric plant and a cotton mill would be built. Either
both of the men or one of them immediately build and operated the iron
George Matlock and Robert allen purchased the property at a Sheriff's sale in 1812, including the Harriet Iron Works, land on the Calfkiller River and 50 acres on the Caney Fork including an ore bank.
The project was operated for a few years under the name "Rice & Herbert" as indicated in a deed from Thomas Herbert, dec'd to his wife Sarah Herbert through the County Court, June 10, 1817. It included the Harriet Iron Works and a grist mill and saw mill.
The property was involved in a great deal of litigation and property transfers during the next 40 years. An 1849 deed to John B. Rodgers refers to "the old Harriet Iron Works" indicating that the mill was no longer in operation.
A deed of 1853 refers to the Minton Factory House which may be the Cotton Mill which operated for a number of years prior to the Civil War. It was located on the right bank of the river on the side of the hill and about opposite the site of the hydro electric plant which was built later. During the Civil War the machinery was moved south for safety and never returned.
John Simpson received the property in 1855 which included "the Harriet Iron Works."
A deed from John B. Rodgers to the Sparta Manufacturing Co. gave the Company the right to repair the old bridge or build a new one. This was located down stream from the plant. Foundations of the cotton mill and slag heaps at the iron works were still visible and seen by the writer in 1927.
For further use of this property see "Sparta Hydro Electric Plant" under the general heading "Electric Power Plants."
|A.J. HILL||See Simpson's Mill on Calfkiller River.|
|IRON FORGE||A grist mill on Rocky River located downstream from the Iron Forge described in the next item. It was owned and operated in conjunction with the Forge.|
|IRON FORGE||On the left bank of Rocky River a short distance below
the Rowland Ford, sometimes referred to as the Hash Ford or the Indian
Ford. Larkin Baker received a grant entered in 1826 for 50 acres
on Rocky River. He, according to available information was the man
who built and first operated the iron works. Thomas Mayberry sold
15 acres including the Iron Works to James Miller in 1832 and sold 30 acres
to James Miller and John Cain, including the Iron Works in 1833.
(There is an apparent duplication here.)
James Miller conveyed to John B. Rodgers in 1835 a one-half interest in the Iron Works and 30 acres of land on which it stood and also sold 100 acres of land owned by Miller and 15 acres originally purchased from Larkin Baker.
He in turn conveyed the property to his brother Dr. A.C. Rodgers in 1860. This deed calls for "the iron works."
The next deed, to Dewitt and Horace L. Rodgers, made reference to "acres know as the Forge tract." A man named Nelson was also a partner and was the last man to operate the Forge. After the War the place was usually referred to as "Nelson's Forge." One source refers to a bridge at the above location but the fact may be open to question.
The ore was found in small pockets in the land around Squire George H. Hash's farm. Many excavations could still be identified in the 1920's. It is understood that operations ceased prior to the Civil War.
See the Walker story. [Below]
See Pitt's Bottom Iron Works also located near Rock Island.
||A Man Takes His Pay in Iron Billets
John Jefferson Walker, Sr. father of the former Mayor, J.J. Walker, of McMinnville, applied for work at the Iron Forge during its last years of operation. John was not much more than a boy and lived about 7 miles from the Forge. The owners agreed to pay him in iron instead of cash which was in short supply. It was agreed that he could take what he could carry walking, each day. He carried at least one 25 pound billet each day and stored the iron in an old smoke house. He would not sell any iron. He told the family that the mill was bound to close down soon and then there would be a demand for iron for its many uses on the farm. The forge closed down and in about a year he began selling at a very good price in small lots. He invested his profits in excellent white oak timber land saying he could wait a little and then sell off the timber at a good profit. This he did.
|JETTS||Mill Dam. This mill must have been above the Harriet
Iron Works. There is a reference in 1812 to the Jett lands on Calfkiller
River. Jett sold to a Mr. Connor in 1830 and the Jett Mill Shoals
In 1884 the Jeff heirs sold "the Mill site" to S.D. Wallace. The writer was not able to get any definite information in the late 1920's and was of the opinion then that the mill did not operate for any long period.
|LAURELBURG||Mill on Rocky River. This mill site included a
grist mill and saw mill. The mill building were on the right bank
and at one time a store was operated in connection with the mill.
Elijah Drake lived on Rocky River prior to 1826. He probably built
the mill. A grant in 1846 to Abraham Drake, assignee of Elijah Drake,
Jr. mentions "a Mill tract" and also refers to "Drake's Mill."
James Walling was the owner of the mill at the time the first surveys for the Great Falls Project were made in 1911-12.
|LOST CREEK||Mill was located on Lost Creek in White County and was one of the early grist mills in that county. It is mentioned in Morris' Universal Geography and was built before 1808.|
|Mill - See Shells Ford Mill.|
|Mill on Laurel Creek in a deed of 1865.|
|MITCHELL||Mill on the Caney Fork up river from the Butt's ford and bridge was built in 1865. A grist mill and sash were operated by Mitchell. The mills gave employment to 30 to 40 men. A small community grew up near the mill. In 1923 there was no trace of any of the buildings.|
|Mill Dam was located "150 poles above Burdens Branch"
of the Calfkiller River. This would be a little less than 1/2 mile.
This is mentioned in Grant No. 7961 given in 1828. A deed of 1841
refers to the "The old mill" at mouth of Spring Branch. The mill
may have been on the Spring Branch rather than the main river. The
mill dam had been built prior to 1827. The property was sold to Thomas
Burroughs and Joseph in 1863 including the mill. Taylor's' Mill tract
was sold to F.P. Austin in 1894 and included the grist mill, saw mill and
tan yard. The first mills were probably on the left bank of the Calfkiller
For the further use of at least a part of this property see Burroughs & Taylor Factory.
|MORMON||Mill on Caney Fork River was located about 1/4 miles
above the mouth of Cane Creek. It was first known as Scarbrough Mill
and began operations between 1810 and 1812 according to Goodspeed's History.
According to Jim Baker the first structure was a "wing dam" which diverted
the water or the amount needed to the "water-house." The mill operated
on a low head of water.
Next a man named Carnes, from Michigan came in and built a rock dam using the thin flat frocks from the river bed. When he had finished he said, "Now I've got the old Caney Fork collared." It was not long before a big spruce pine came down the river on a flood tide and tore down the rock dam.
Mr. Baker went on to say that the first real timber dam was built by a man named Goodman, who built a number of dams on the Caney Fork and other streams. Mr. Baker said that when he was a small boy he knew and talked to Mr. Goodman, who was then a very old man.
John Dale built or had built a dam between 1831 and 1839. He was probably the owner and this may be the dam that Goodman built. James Anderson became owner of the property and he sold it to John Warren in 1849. A deed of 1848 and the one of 1849 included "mill and distillery conveyed on Caney Fork in Hickory Valley." The mill was sold again 1872 when A.S. Rogers sold to Dyer White and for a time the mill was called the Dyer White mill. The property went to John Mosley who sold it to C.E. Mormon in 1894. This accounts for the name, "Mormon's Mill."
The dam and mill were washed out in the flood of March 1902. A few traces of the mill were still visible in 1923, but are now under water unless the reservoir level is very low.
|NELSON||Iron Forge - See Iron Forge, Rocky River.|
|OGDEN||Mill - See listing under Carding Mills.|
|PHIFER||Mill - See Reno Mill on Caney Fork River.|
|Iron furnace and charcoal. Traveling east toward Rock Island the Pitt's Bottom was located to the left of the road after passing the Squire Hash home. It was up a hollow and in back of the Friendship Church. The charcoal was made to use in the manufacture of gun powder. The operations were carried on by either Pitts or Amsterdam or both. Very little information was found and it appeared to the writer in 1925 that the operations were all prior to the Civil War.|
|ROCK ISLAND||Mill - This mill was built at the lower end of the Island
by John Goldson, father of Wiley Goldson, for John B. Rodgers after he
acquired the property. Old Dr. Mason of Quebeck told the writer that
Goldson took the job with the understanding that he be paid part in cash
and take the balance from the operating profits till paid. He did
not receive any cash payment. During the War Goldson operate the
mill while Rodgers was in the north.
James McGiboney said he remembered going to the mill as a young boy. He said a dam about 8 feet high was built across the lower end of the slough. The slough gradually filled with mud, the property was neglected and as Dr. Mason said the mill did not operate after the close of the War.
|RENO||Mill on the right side of Caney Fork River a few hundred
feet down stream from the present Reno Bridge. It was almost due
southeast of the Onward Community. Spring water flowed out of a cave
behind an over-hanging bluff. The water was carried to a large over-hot
wheel. The mill building were gone by 1923 but the over-shot wheel
did not disappear until about 1925. Albert Kuhn owned the property
at that time.
The original land grant at Reno was to Elijah Hill. According to older citizens visited in 1924 there was a mill operating at this location prior to 1822. In 1841, John E. Turner was operating a saw mill, powder mill and probably a grist mill. Turner also operated a "large plantation." E.J. Reno was the owner of the mill site in 1912.
||Source of Reno Spring Water
In October 1927 the writer made a study of some underground stream flows from a stream that dropped into several sink holes at the foot of Gum Spring Mountain and 5 miles north of Reno Spring. A green dye was used to color the water entering the sink holes. It reappeared. Colored water appeared at 2 springs on Calfkiller River, one 2 1/2 miles southeast of the sinks holes and one 3 1/2 miles south east.
Much to our surprise the color showed up in a well at Onward, 4 1/2 miles south of the sink holes, at an underground stream in a cave a half mile further south, and at Reno Spring another half mile south on the Caney Fork. The farmer found out that his fine, cool well water came from the run-off on the side of Gum Spring Mountain. It did not worry him.
|Mill Branch mentioned in 1851 deed on the right bank of the Caney Fork below Franks Ferry. There must have been a mill there at some time.|
|RICE (T.B.)||See Harriet IronWorks.|
|ROSS||Mill on the right bank of the Caney Ford. - See Underwood Mill.|
|Mill. This was an early grist mill on the Barren Fork upstream from McMinnville.|
|A later generation than the one above. - See Brady & Haston Mill.|
|SCARBOROUGH||Mill on Caney Fork. See Mormon Mill.|
|SCOGGIN||Mill on Caney Fork. See Williams Mill.|
|SHELL||Grist Mill on Collins River at Shell's Ford and frequently referred to as Shell's Ford Mill. It was operated by James Shell. The mill was built in 1869 by E.G. Mead. A deed of 1886 mentions both the mill and ford. In 1887 Mead and Debard were operating a grist mill, saw mill, planning mill, flour mill and grist mill at this location. A deed of 1903 refers to the Chastian Mill.|
|SIMS||William Sims operated a corn mill below Wilhites on Cherry Creek.|
|SIMMONS||James Simmon's grist mill on Cane Creek mentioned in deed from James Simmons to Robert Gamble. From a deed made in 1882 the grist mill was about 9,000 feet as the crow flies upstream from Carter Drake's Lime Kiln which had been burned. There is a further reference to the upper Drake place.|
|SIMPSON||Mill on the Calfkiller River about 4 miles below Sparta.
Goodspeed's History of White County, p. 799 states:
Terry was at Rock Island prior to 1807.
The Carthage Gazette in the March 19, 1814 issue stated, "Simpson's Mill was operating on the Rocky River." This statement was incorrect and it should have read Calfkiller River.
Grant 3399 entered July 20, 1821 (or 1831, not clear) refers to James Simpson's (deceased) place which, according to the description, was up the river from Simpson's Mill. The mill was located on Simpson's original grant for 100 acres. There was a saw mill and grist mill and dam in the original layout. James Williams (1785-1876) helped saw out the lumber for the mill and covered bridge. This bridge was the main crossing for travel on the Sparta - McMinnville road. John W. Simpson's name entered the picture at an early date. The John W. Simpson Mills added 20 acres in 1825, 50 acres in 1826 and 75 acres in 1849. The latter "adjoins the old 100 acres on which the mills are located". Reference is also made to "the saw mill under the bluff on the east side of the river" in an 1851 deed to J.W. Simpson's heirs.
During August 1862 there was fight at Simpson's Mill between Col. Whorton's Texans and General Nelson's Federals.
In 1871 and 1872 the properties were transferred to O.F. Young and from that time were referred to as Young's Mill. During this period there are references to both a corn and flour mill. The mills were sold to the Hill family in 1898 and in 1902 to the Farmers Flouring Mill & Elevator Co. which was granted a charter by the White County Court in 1900 with a capital stock of $10,000 and increased to $30,000 in 1902. The deed of 1902 refers to an old store and an old still house. 200 acres were deeded to White County in 1906 for the White County Poor Farm. The properties were deeded to R.L. Hill in 1922.
Note - O.F. refers to Oliver F. Young.
|SIMS||William Sims operated a corn mill below Whilhites on Cherry Creek.|
||John W. Simpson and the War of 1812
The following is from Goodspeed's History, p. 805-06.
|See Bailiff Mill.|
|SPARKMAN||Mill on Cane Creek in the first sharp bend above the
mouth of the river. The dam was 6 feet and 5 inches high. The
mill building was on the left bank. There was a foot bridge 200 feet
above the dam in 1912. In 1923 a few of the dam timbers were visible
Sparkman received the land by deed in 1909. This mill was on property that probably belonged to Carter Drake. The writer did not have enough information to identify it for sure.
|Thomas Sperry and Jacob A. Lane Mill was located on Town Creek about 2 miles above Sparta. At first there was a corn mill. ____ Givens was the operator at one period. It is referred to in deeds of 1854 and 1881. It was later operated by Allen & Mayberry and then to the Tubb family. At one time there was a saw mill and powder mill at this site. There was also a tailor shop and saloon adjacent to the mill.|
|Clark Swindle, Sr. operated a grist mill at an early date on Cedar Creek. Later it was called Swindle & Sanders corn and saw mill.|
|TAILOR||Shop - See Sperry & Lane Mill.|
|TOSH||Mill was located on the right bank of Caney Fork a few feet upstream from Tosh Bridge and old ferry site. The first mill was in a cave and powered by water from a spring branch. The property was sold to Ed Blankenship in 1884. He built a flume from the cave to a new building. It is of interest to note that the Blankenship property was at one time a part of Van Buren County. This was the result of an Act of the Legislature of 1869. It was later transferred back to White County. The story is told that at one time a pond, some distance away sank and drained out through a sink hole and that many frogs came out at the mill spring branch. The property was in the name of Wiley Goldstone when first surveyed for the Great Falls development.|
|Powder mill - See Reno Mill.|
|UNDERWOOD||Mill was located in a large cave on the right bank of the Caney Fork River about half way between Tosh Mill and Reno Mill. As the writer remembers it the cave was large with a high overhanging bluff. The water came from an underground stream that flowed out of the cave. There were no remains of the mill in 1923. There was one reference to the Underwood Mill in a land description in 1848. The property originally belonged to the Ross Family. According to tradition they built the first mill.|
|VAN BUREN||Land Company Saw Mill - They began operations on the Caney Fork in 1902. Their operations were not destroyed by the 1902 flood. They had a log boom from Mitchell's Ford downstream to the Mill. It appears that they took over the Mitchell Mill.|
|S.D. Wallace & Wm. Cooper Saw
Mill and Grist Mill. - The White County Court at a meeting in January 1882
gave Wallace & Cooper the right to build a dam on Caney Fork at Molloy
Shoals above the Porter Ford and to erect a saw and grist mill. This
was in the second district of White County.
A grant of 1829 refers to an old mill dam build by John Porter. This was at Butts Ford or upstream from it.
|WALLING||Mill Company mill on Mountain Creek was located about
1/4 mile above the mouth of the creek. It was also referred to as
the J. Walling Mill. The dam, 10 feet high, was built of logs.
An unusual feature was a flume about 100 feet long, extending down stream
to a wheel pit in which a water turbine with a vertical shaft was mounted.
By use of gears a horizontal shaft extended some 50 feet to a 2-story mill
building. An old store building was also located on the property.
Originally the mill was owned by Walling, W.C. Womack and Alice Jones. A deed of 1898 refers to the "mill property." Jesse Walling apparently became the sole owner at that time.
All of the above information was taken from the Bylessby drawings made from 1912 surveys.
|See Laurelburg Mill.|
|H.R. WARD||See Brickford's Mill.|
|WARREN||Saw Mill - See Brady & Haston Mill.|
|WHITE||Mill pond - See Dale & White's Mill pond.|
|DIRE WHITE (?)||In 1865 built a mill and ad a sash saw operating in connection with it on Caney Fork. See Mitchell Mill.|
|DYRE WHITE||See Mormon Mill.|
|WILHITE||Corn Mill was located on Cherry Creek.|
|WILKINSON||Mill on Collins River. Notes are incomplete. Appears to have been near Gribble Ford and may have been on a small branch.|
|WILLIAMS||corn, flour and saw mills were
located on the north bank of the Caney Fork above the Scoggins Shoals and
about a mile below River Hill and the mouth of Cane Creek. The Williams
farm was in the lower end of Hickory Valley and extended along the Caney
Fork for nearly 1/2 mile.
The property first belonged to the Scoggins family. John Scoggins received 144 acres under Grant No. 534 on Caney Fork River near a Spring Branch in 1808. In 1809 John Scoggin transferred to Jesse Scoggins 64 acres, a part of Grant No. 534. (Bk. 3, p. 113-116) In 1816 John Scoggin deeded an additional 21 acres to Jesse Scoggin. (Bk. F, -. 36) Jesse Scoggins received 23 acres on Caney Fork River near a Spring Branch by Grant No. 10809.
Jesse Scoggins gave Jesse Williams, son of James and Hannah Wills his property on the Caney Fork under his will dated 1858 and proved in 1865. (Will Book E, p. 526)
Jesse Scoggins had the first mills built. In addition to operating the mills and his farm, he was a brandy distiller.
According to Jim Baker the dam was built by a Mr. Goodman, an experienced builder of dams and the builder of many dams on the Caney Fork. Several of the children of Dan Rogers, Mr. Goodman's son-in-law, were living in Doyle in the 1920's. Jim Baker said Goodman was a very old man when he was a young boy.
The dame was built largely of white oak timbers hewn and mortised in the woods. It was floored with hewn or sawed planks. Jim was by the mill in 1892 and said that the dam was "partially rotted out and washed out at that time."
|W.C. WOMACK||See Walling Mill Company.|
|WOODMAN||Cotton Mills were located on the right bank of Barren
Fork River in McMinnville on the property where the Annis Cotton Mill was
later built. The mill was also referred to as the McMinnville Manufacturing
Company. The property was sold to Asa Faulkner. Deeds of 1866-67
refer to "old mills, debris dam etc." Another deed refers to "Woodman
Mills being on the land sold to Faulkner." According to an affidavit
of W.A. Bell the first mill in the area was the Woodman Cotton Mill.
He further stated that it burned soon after the War.
Asa Faulkner bought the right of way along the right bank of Barren Fork for a canal to carry water from the upper diversion dam down to the mills below the railroad bridge. This purchase was made in March 1860 by Goodpasture who also sold some additional land for the cotton factory. In 1859 John E. French, A.P. Welcher and Berry Layne sold Asa Faulkner additional canal rights and the right to build a dam.
After the War Faulkner built the Annis Cotton Mill. Asa Faulkner and his son W.P. Faulkner bought water rights for a dam to be built below the railroad bridge. The dam had been built in 1880.
Jesse Walling purchased the Annis Cotton Mill properties in 1903 and the same were transferred to the Walling Light and Power Company in 1903.
For further developments in this area see "McMinnville Hydro Electric Plant" under the general heading "Electric Power Plants."
|YOUNG||on Calfkiller River - See Simpson's Mill.|
|YORK||Mill on Laurel Creek - York received a grant in 1838, entered 1834 to lands on Laurel Creek and Rocky River. A deed of 1860 refers to York's Grist Mill. A deed in 1883 refers to the above property as Mrs. Passon's Mill.|
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