This week marks the passing of the oldest landmark in this part of the state--the old Jenkins mill--located about a mile south of Steele City. For almost a half century it has stood on the site of the first little village on the prairies west of the Missouri River to mark the progress of civilization and the development of this part of Nebraska by the pioneers.
The mill was built in 1867, and was first used as a saw mill, but a little later machinery was installed for grinding grain and it was used as both saw mill and grist mill. In 1871 or '72 the mill was rebuilt, and was rented to a Mr. Skinner for the sum of $3,000 a year. At that time it was the only mill within a radius of 40 or 50 miles and was kept busy day and night grinding flour and corn for the settlers. Besides the mill there was one general store, a hardware store kept by Andy Stevenson, a hotel run by D.C. Jenkins and a postoffice to make up thelittle village. The town was called "Jenkins Mills." The school house stood on the lowest part of the flat where Art Hamley's cornfield is now, the teacher being Mrs. Forsha (nee Nannie Phelps) now of Steele City. The first newspaper in the county was published at Jenkins Mills. It was named "The Little Blue", was republican in politics, and was edited by D.C. Jenkins and M.J. Kelly in 1868. It was discontinued in 1871.
When the railroad was built in 1870-71 and Steele City established, all the business places at Jenkins' Mills were moved here, except the mill building. For the past twenty years or more it has not been on a paying basis and has changed hands many times. In 1910 it belonged to Thos. Longdon, who was the last one to operate it. In 1911 Mr. Longdon disposed of it and since that time it has stood idle.
The building was purchased by Wm. Luhm, Jr. and Joe Davis who are tearing it down. -- Steele City Press
"The first mill in the county was built on Rose Creek, near Thayer County, in 1863, by Rev. Ives Marks. Although not very extensive it was the only mill in the county until 1867, at which time D. C. Jenkins built a mill just below Steele City on the Little Blue. Marks' Mill, as the place was for some time called, where Mr. Marks located, became quite a business point, assuming in a few years the name of Rose Creek. There was soon sufficient business for two run of burrs, three stores of general merchandise, two blacksmith shops, one harness shop, one hotel, two livery stables and a pottery. Mr. Marks built a schoolhouse and organized a United Brethren Church. The Republican branch of the Burlington & Missouri Railroad passed to the north of this isolated but flourishing village, and the place is returning to its native wild appearance. The first sermon preached in the county was by Rev. Ives Marks, of the United Brethren denomination, in 1862, and he has been preaching in Jefferson and adjoining counties ever since that time."