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Warren County Local History by Dallas Bogan

Various Mills In Warren County

Dallas Bogan on 18 September 2004
original article by Dallas Bogan
Return to Index to see a list of other articles by Dallas Bogan

The Telegraph Mill at Waynesville had its name originated from a telegraph office that was situated at the location. It was first referred as "Telegraph Mill" in the Waynesville Miami Visitor on July 23, 1852. Also the Visitor is recorded to say October 13, 1852 that:
"Telegraph Office--When the Sandusky and Cincinnati Telegraph Line was first constructed, the company offered to the citizens of this place an office, provided a certain amount of stock was taken. The office was immediately accepted, the stock raised and an office opened. For a time, all things appeared to go on very smoothly, until the superintendent removed the `instruments,' first placed here, and put up some old worn out ones in their place, and of a truth, `things didn't work so nicely.' In a very short time after that, the office was discontinued, and from that time to this, nearly two years, there had been no nearer office than Xenia (fourteen miles). Now, in my opinion,
if the citizens of this place were to go to work in the right spirit, they might succeed in having the office re-established in a very short time. What you say friends? You know it would be a considerable benefit to the town."
Samuel Harris writes in his history of Washington Township in the 1882 Beer's History of Warren County a description of Freeport manufacturers. It says:
"At what time this place took the name of Freeport is not known, but in 1802 or 1803, Nebo Gaunt settled there and built a mill which passed to the ownership of Judge Ignatius Brown and David Brown, and was known as Gaunt's Mill and Brown's Mill til probably about 1820 when it assumed the name of Freeport. In connection with this mill David Brown built a paint mill for the manufacture of Spanish brown and its kindred shades, the materials which were procured from a point above the mill.
"David Kinsey built a carding mill in 1816, and about the same time a cotton factory was built by a company, the latter being burned in 1818. How long the carding mill was operated after the burning of the cotton mill is not known. James Van Horn had a blacksmith and auger factory and Elijah or Elisha Vance had a pottery about 1820. Mark Armitage, a farmer, had an auger factory near by. A large frame was erected in 1844 for Charles Nixon to be used as a paper mill, but not being used for that purpose, the machinery was operated from some time for a barrel factory."
The Miami Manufacturing Company erected a cotton mill at Freeport in 1816 (the railroad established a station and called it "Freeport," but when a Post Office was established in 1845 it was called Oregon which finally became "Oregonia"). A report by Samuel Harris states that before 1820, Freeport had a grist mill and saw mill, a carding mill, a cotton factory, a blacksmith shop and auger factory, a pottery, and another auger factory in the country nearby.
The settlement at Mather's Mill on the Little Miami was situated on the Lebanon & Wilmington Road. The date of this settlement was earlier than 1807, David Van Schoyck and Lewis Rees being there at that time. Lewis Rees built the mill in 1807; it was later sold to Richard Mather, who settled there the same year. George Zentmire settled the same year some distance below the mill and built the dam for Mather. His cabin was by a spring below the mill. In addition to the mill, Richard Mather set up a store and smith shop; he brought with him Jacob Ashmead and Richard as millers. Jacob Horn, blacksmith; Jacob Longstreth, storekeeper; Samuel Couden, Irishman John Frazee and others came the same season. George Zentmire was a Virginian of German descent, spoke the German language fluently and was a Revolutionary soldier.
"As early as Aug. 1, 1832, a Bark Mill was located just south of where the Miami-Erie Canal crosses Clear Creek.-James Death, Sheldon Richmond-in 1836 George Ballentine had a saw mill there. Then H.J. Death and William Echelbarger. In 1852 a saw mill and a flour mill mentioned, but no reference to a bark mill. Levi Croll bought part in 1858. After 1858 the business was known as Death & Croll. A three story wooden structure was erected for the manufacture of flour and cornmeal."
"First railroad to pass through Franklin was the C C & I in 1872. Franklin Paper Company in 1898 sold to Richardson Paper Co. of Lockland to manufacture roofing felt. Has continued as Patent Vulcanite roofing Company, Beaver Board Company, the Logan-Long Company in 1922, Bird and Son, Inc. in 1976, and OKI Manufacturing in 1981."
Other mills in Franklin: Harding Paper Mill, 1874; American Writing Paper Company, 1898-1923, Maxwell- Howard Paper Co., 1925, 1971; and Georgia Pacific, 1976+.
"Mills were built at an early day and were used for both sawing and grinding. The Van Tuyls built one (on Twin Creek about Martz-Paullin and Dian), but both race and mill have disappeared. The Underwood mill, afterward owned by the Heistands, then by the Hankinson's, now serves as a barn on Mr. Jos. A. Chamberlain's farm (at 9794 Carlisle-Germantown Pike). For many years VanDerveer's (east side of the Miami River, near Pennyroyal Road) was the main mill and was erected at a very early date, and as one old man told me, "It did a thundering big business," but it came to grief at last and sometime in the [18]60's went into the hands of a receiver. The machinery was moved to Franklin and the old mill gradually fell to decay and no trace of it is there now."
James Wilkerson, who was a Revolutionary soldier and born in Virginia, came to Ohio in 1805. He built a distillery at the foot of a hill called "The Knobs," which is located at the brow of the hill on the Lebanon & Wilmington Road. The product produced by this distillery was mostly peach and apple brandy. His son John, and grandson, James H. Wilkerson, built a steam saw-mill on the same location in 1860.
The old village and mill, under what is now the Jeremiah Morrow Bridge on I-71 (Little Miami) was Lockport Village (1830-1850). This village and mill were built for the purpose of cutting and processing the cotton wood trees in the area.
Charles Nixon built a large building in 1844 for a paper mill but it was used for a barrel factory instead. Stubbs and Sherwood converted it into a flour mill which with an adjoining saw-mill was operated for many years. It was noted for the high grade of flour it made.
"According to both Alfred Wright's letter, which he wrote in 1963, and Jesse Wright's address, which he delivered in 1915, several stores, distilleries, blacksmith shops, wagon factories, tanneries, and pork houses existed in the village during the first 100 years of Springboro's existence.
"Having been settled near an abundance of water, these early pioneers took advantage of the power and built many mills. Four flour mills, or grist mills as they were called then, were built on the west boundaries of the village. The old brick mill on Lower Springboro road was built by Springboro Manufacturing Company in 1814. It was also known as the Brock Mill and the 'Old Red Mill,' and stood on the land where the Julian Johnson and Mae Johnson houses now stand. Wright's Mill or the "Old White Mill" was built in 1831 and was located near the entrance to Fairway Drive just north of State Route 73. Two other grist mills existed. One was located on the north bank of Millard`s Creek and the other near what was the home of Henry Madison Decker.
"There were on Clear Creek and its tributaries also five or six saw mills. The first woolen mill to take in raw wool and turn out finished cloth and blankets was a brick building which was built about 1836, burned to the ground in 1843, and was rebuilt the same year. It was operated by the Wrights and was located on the north side of Factory Road. A blanket made at the woolen mill was on display during the national centennial celebration in Springboro in 1976."

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This page created 18 September 2004 and last updated 28 September, 2008
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