Mills of Southwest Virginia

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Southwest Virginia
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Southwest Virginia Project
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Glade Creek Grist Mill, Babcock State Park, WV.   This is a nice photograph of an overshot mill,  similar to many of those that would be seen in Southwest Virginia.
Glade Creek Grist Mill, Babcock State Park, WV. This is a nice photograph of an overshot mill, similar to many of those that would be seen in Southwest Virginia.

The following is an extract based on New River Notes which provides a copy of Emory Hamilton, 1973's discussion of mills of Southwest Virginia. Hamilton's article gives considerable more information about these mills, and their owners. If enough additional information about these mills comes to hand, the following article may be expanded into a series of articles on each mill; Hamilton's article, however, contains much information that would have been lost, and with a few exceptions, its not obvious that the information is available to improve on what he did. So for those looking for more information, Hamilton's article is probably the best place to go.

There were undoubtedly other mills in Southwestern Virginia other than the ones identified by Hamilton. As additional mills come to our attention they will be added here, (denoted by green background) though it is unlikely that much information on these other mills exists. Note that the assessment of "status", is as described by Hamilton in 1973. In the intervening 35+ years there probably has been more deterioration and loss than is described here.

Return to Pioneer Forts, Cabin's, and Mills.


Hamilton's Forward:

Not long ago nearly every rural community in Southwest Virginia had a grist mill, and oftentimes one mill house enclosed both a grist and a flour mill. Oftentimes, they served as gathering places for the men of the community, especially on Saturdays. Nearly all were water powered. The overshot wheel type predominated, because even a brook in the hills could be turned through a flume and made to spill on the big overshot wheel. This type also was the most picturesque. However, turbine power wheels were especially used in large creek or river mills where it was necessary to empound water with dams.
Name AKA Location date of earliest operation First owner Other Owners Operational Status
The Wynn Mill Browning-Wynn Mill. west of Jonesville, Lee Co., VA, just off highway 58 aft 1863 Dr. James G. Browning operated until sometime in the 1930's, now deteriorating
The Ball Mill Cowan's Mill south side of Route 58, just west of Rose Hill, in Lee Co., VA. c1878 Moses S. Ball Intact, non-operational
The Gibson Mill On Indian Creek, west of Ewing, in Lee Co., VA, upstream a short distance from the old Wireman Mill the Gibson family
Wireman's Mill On Indian Creek in Lee Co., VA, west of Ewing, a short distance downstream from the Gibson Mill. sometime prior to the Civil War Mr. Wireman W. H. Pridemore, W. P. Nash, Mr. J. D. Hurst, Mr. Willard Brooks
The Bush Mill the Bond Mill. on Amos Branch in the Copper Ridge section of Scott Co., VA, Valentine Bush The sluice way that carried water to the wheel is no longer standing.
Duncan Mill Cove Creek in the edge of Rye Cove. around 1835 John Duncan George W. Johnson Destroyed by a tornado in1929.
Brickey Mill Stony Creek, north of Ft. Blackmore, in Scott Co., VA, about 1845 Peter Brickey, James Brickey ,John Brickey. George Wolfe. widow Jennings, Will Owens, Graham G. Brickey. Much of the mill machinery is intact and the mill ran until just before World War II. The old water wheel at the back of the building has fallen down and almost rotted away.
Logan Cox Mill Alley Valley of Scott Co.,VA about time of Civil War. Mr. Logan Cox Bent Quillen, Henry Kidd, Logan Cox, Sr., is a composite, being made of parts of older mills and is completely functional today.
Patterson mill two miles up Plank Creek from Logan-Cox mill
The Riggs Mill Before 1817 Elijah Carter Harry Carter (1799-1872), James Stewart, Harry torn down in 1930’s
Patrick Porter Mill Nash's Mill. Fall Creek, near Hunters Ford 1774 William Nash
The Beverly Mill Moccasin Creek, near Gate City, Scott Co., VA. the Click family, Mr. McClellan, Cephas Meade. Bill Jennings, William E. Taylor Preacher Bill Vermillion, Harvey Wolfe, Tom G. Templeton, John Ransom (Rant) Beverly, Ike Fletcher, Harvey H. Williams, L. Kelly Williams.
Culbertson-McConnell Mill northeast of Snowflake on Moccasin Creek in Scott Co., VA, 1880's. James Culbertson, Jr., W. Pat McConnell, Mr. Shephard until the 1930’s
The Semones Mill Benges Creek on the south side of Clinch River, about two miles downstream from Dungannon, in Scott Co., VA. James Addington Moses Hoge Semones ”the mill it just stood and rotted down”
Caleb Hawkins Mill Route 58, between Dickensonville and Caleb Hawkins, Billy Gilmer, L. A. Matheny, and George Peery. Torn down after 1923
The Jessee Mill Mill Creek four miles southwest of Cleveland on Route 645 and about six miles from Lebanon, in Russell Co., VA. between 1889 and 1900, Earlier mill near site Andrew Jackson Jessee. Wiley E. Jessee closed in 1932
Elk Garden Mill across the road from the Stuart Mansion at Elk Garden, in Russell Co., VA, between 1823 and 1840, Aaron Hendricks
Robinson Mill 300 yards from U. S. 23, on Clintwood Road at Pound, Wise Co., VA, 1816 James Mullins and Greenberry Robinson. William Roberson, James Roberson, Augustus Roberson washed away in the flood of 1957.
Bickley's Mill Castlewood, on lower Mill Creek, nearest of two mills to the fall lower mill built for John Lynch before 1774, upper mill built around 1783 for Henry Hamlin John Lynch, Henry Hamlin Frederick Fraley, Henry Hamlin, James Bush, Charles Bickley "it stood and rotted and finally the wind blew it down."
The William Gray Mill about 1835
William Houston's Mill Mocassin Creek By 1783, when it is mentioned in a road order for Alexander Barnett' Company. Summers, 1929:1130
Looney's Mill Just above the mouth of Looney's Mill Creek on the upper James River, Augusta (now Botetourt) County, VA built by 1739-1740, making it one of the very first mills west of the Blue Ridge Mountains Robert Looney "operated until 1755 (and maybe later), the French & Indian War may have affected it's operation."
Arthur Cambell's MillReputed to have been granted persmission to build a mill at Royal Oak, supposed first mill on either Holston or Clinch Riverc1770