Eagle Mill | Edge's
Mill | Guiesville Paper Mill
| Ivy Paper Mill | Laural Paper Mill | Pusey's Sawmill
EAGLE (PAPER) MILL (aka-
Mill, Guiesville Paper Mills)
(Daily Local Newspaper; date unknown; Jane
Eagle Mill soared in its day
Eagle Paper Mill is probably one of the oldest of the mills found in the three
villages along Bondsville Road. James Guie (pronounced Guy) and Sons
established the mill, then known as the Laural Paper Mill, in 1833.
Originally, Guie had made paper the old, hand-processed way; but, after three
years, he began to make innovations in the process which led to his making the
best waterproof paper to be had in the country.
In 1865, fire destroyed the paper mill. One Friday evening in December,
Guie's eldest son was drawing oil from a barrel while another worker held a
lighted oil lamp about 8 feet away. Supposedly, the heat from the lamp
ignited the fumes from the barrel. Guie's son immediately put his hand
over the bung hole to try and stop the barrel from igniting---instead it
Flying, burning oil landed on everything, including the two men. The
worker escaped down the stairs, but Guie's son found his way blocked by flames
and smoke. He escaped by climbing down the gearing into the waterwheel and
sliding across the shaft into the yard adjoining the house.
With the help of neighbors, the house and barn were saved. Guie's son made
a full recovery, but the mill was useless. Undaunted, Guie set about
By 1876, Guie was so confident of his paper that he sent samples of it to be
exhibited at the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia. By the end of the
year, Guie & Sons had been awarded a diploma of merit by the authority of
the United States Centennial Commission. This award helped boost Guie's
reputation and by 1877, the mill was so busy it couldn't keep up with the
By 1879, the mill was not only making the "buckskin" wrapping paper
for which it was famous, but also box boards, for which there was an increasing
By 1881, they had added newspaper to their repertoire and were getting orders
from all over New England as well as other states.
In 1889, Guie & Sons advertised, for the first time, as the Guiesville Paper
Tragedy finally befell this prosperous mill when its founder died in 1893 after
spending 70 years in the papermaking business. His sons, James, Richard
and Adolphus, continued the business after their father's death.
In 1894, they advertised their mill as the Eagle Paper Mill. Business
continued much as it had---the buckskin wrapper remaining as popular as
ever---and the mill enjoying, in these times of high tariffs and stiff
competition from mills in neighboring industrial towns, a prosperity little
known in other mills.
But in 1900, a double tragedy ended the Guie era. In April, James Guie,
Jr. died and in August, his brother William H. died.
In 1902, Frank M. Rudolph picked up the property and continued the business
until 1922. Unfortunately, the times were hard for mills and Rudolph was
forced to sell in 1923.
Mrs. M. A. Russell then acquired the mill and managed, with the help of her son,
William R., to put it back on its feet. It was going strong making paper,
carpet lining, sheathing, indented paper and other quality paper goods on its
100th birthday. These goods were shipped all over the United States as
well as to Canada, Cuba and Puerto Rico.
In 1943, L. J. Meumier purchased the mill after it had been idle for a while,
and announced it would be used for making roofing and lining products.
Under Meumier, the plant enjoyed such prosperity that Eagle Paper Mills, Inc.,
decided in 1946 it had to expand to keep up with the demand.
In 1956, a fire destroyed 40 tons of finished paper stock which was being stored
in a warehouse. The main mill building as well as a farmhouse/apartment
unit were saved. Today, the ruins of the mill and barn envelop a new
building used as an office.
(Daily Local News; date unknown; Jane Dorchester)
Once, mill was on cutting edge-
Edge's Mill was the oldest of the mills in the three villages strung out along
Bondsville Road, operating from 1784 to about 1910.
Robert Valentine built the mill on the Beaver Creek in what was then East Caln
Township. Valentine died around 1817, and eventually his great-grandson,
Jacob Edge acquired the place in 1852.
Edge proved to be as innovative as his illustrious neighbor, mill owner James
Guie. In 1886, looking for ways to improve his operation, Edge traveled to
Minneapolis and toured the modern grist and flour mills there. He returned
home, purchased the best machinery he could find and turned his mill into a
50-barrel roller flour mill. At that time, it was ahead of anything in the
It took time to remove the old machinery and install the new. Some
enterprising souls in November 1886 tried to take advantage of this situation by
attempting to rob the mill.
An employee, returning home late one night, noticed the lights were on in the
mill office. The employee ran and got Edge and his miller, who discovered
the burglars in the shop. The burglars extinguished the lights, and after
a brief struggle fled the scene.
By February 1887, the mill was operating successfully with the new
machinery. Unfortunately, Edge only lived long enough to enjoy the success
of his experiment for two years. In 1889, he died. His son then took
over. The flour produced by the mill was popular and considered of high
quality. In 1899, Edge boasted in advertisements that his brands of
flour---perfection, sunflower and white daisy---were much improved in quality
because they were made by the mill's New Western System.
Unfortunately, times were hard for the mills, and Edge was getting older; there
were fewer young men willing to go into the milling business, which
traditionally required a period of apprenticeship. So, the mill closed
about 1910 and Edge retired.
In 1923, the mill was rented to Claude Eby, who remodeled it into a mushroom
plant. Today the mill is used as offices for Edge Wallboard Machinery Co.
IVY PAPER MILL
Philadelphia Ledger; 7 Jan 1936
By Le Roy Greene
IN THE dreamy valley of historic old Chester Creek where it cuts a whispering
way through the rolling hills of Concord township there is preserved an
unequaled collection of historical treasure in the form of early American
hand-made currency paper--uncut, unprinted and unspoiled.
As white and snowy as the day it came from the hand-made brass molds, this paper
has been handed down from father to son by the men who made it. Much of
it dates from the days of the Revolution, when British musket balls were
whistling through the not far distant Brandywine region.
Kept in the vaults of Pennsylvania's old and distinguished Willcox family, these
crisp, watermarked sheets, which attest to the craftsmanship of the Colonists,
are reviving almost-forgotten incidents in the financial story of the country's
beginnings and westward expansion.
Still standing on the vast Willcox estate, which once was host to Benjamin
Franklin, are the silent ruins of old Ivy Mill, where the paper for the money of
the struggling Colonies was made.
The old ruin, with the ivy after which the mill was named still clinging
tenaciously to its stone sides, has been described as the "shrine of the
fine writing paper industry in America."
Erected about 1726, the mill turned out the currency paper for the Colonies and
later for the young States. It made paper for Dr. Franklin's
newspaper. Its product was used for powder wadding in the barrels of the
patriots' muskets. Its watermarks were stamps of authority.
It was the third paper mill in the United States, it is believed. The
first mill was built in 1690 by David William Rittenhouse, and the second by
William DeWees in 1710, both on Wissahickon Creek.
But Ivy Mill was the "currency paper mill" It was erected by
Thomas Willcox, first of the distinguished family, who purchased, through
William Penn, a 100-acre tract that later was Delaware county.
Handed down through five generations, it is now in the possession of Thomas C.
Willcox, retired business man and farmer, who lives on the estate with its old
home and mill ruins.
But the family has long since left the papermaking business--the mill ended its
historic career in 1865. It is notable that the descendants of the son of
the currency-papermaker have of recent years distinguished themselves in finance
and banking circles.
The mill was powered by the waters of Chester Creek, whose flow was
harnessed by many another mill in the Colonial days. This was the first
mill in America to use vellum or wove molds and the State of Maryland used its
paper for currency dated December 7, 1775.
A special printing of the Declaration of Independence was made by Thomas Amies,
who was a foreman of Ivy Mill at one time and became proficient at this trade
This week there will be delivered to the Ohio State Historical and Archeological
Society, as a gift from Mr. Willcox, to its curator, Dr. Harlow Lindley, a sheet
of this hand-made paper marked "Ohio State Stock Bank Paper," and
there has, as a result been brought to light an interesting phase of early Ohio
A sheet of paper thus marked was found in the Willcox collection, and research
was instituted by Mr. Willcox and Weldon Heyburn, friend of Mr. Willcox, with
the aid of Kenneth B. Tooill, of Columbus, and Dr. Lindley.
It was found that an Ohio banking law of 1851 allowed banks designated by such a
group name, and provided for a deposit of 60 per cent of capital stock with the
State Auditor, who in turn furnished the banks with circulating notes equal in
amount to the securities deposited.
The paper for this issue was made at the Ivy Mill. Mr. Willcox also sent
several other specimens of the hand-made paper. The museum now has a
collection of the early American currency sheets.
Other treasures of Americana connected with the old mill abound in the Willcox
collection, including an eight and one-half foot desk and secretary of the
Revolutionary period and some of the old wire molds used to make paper.
One memorable story of the Revolution is told about a shortage of paper in the
struggling young country, so that residents were using for stationery the
fly-leaves from books, pages from account books, etc. Washington's staff
often complained about inability to send orders because they had no paper.
Thus papermakers, working under pressure, found their molds wearing out.
They also found that "the only maker of molds in the country" was
serving with Colonel Paschall's battalion in New Jersey, fighting the
Redcoats. Promptly they petitioned Congress to honorably discharge Nathan
Sellers, of Darby township, the moldmaker, so that he could more usefully serve
in the "service of supply."
Congress granted the request and Sellers promptly turned out molds for Ivy Mill,
so that Mark Willcox could continue with his water-marked paper for Continental
Ivy Mill, most noted for its banknote papers, also made a fine grade of
stationery. From its colonial bill paper the Willcox family produced
Government bank-note paper until 1878, when John Sherman, then Secretary of the
Treasury, placed the Government contract with another firm.
(Daily Local News; date unknown; Jane E. Dorchester)
Guiesville bides time-
...Originally, there were three mills in proximity; Edge's Grist
Mill, Guie's Paper Mill and Pusey's Sawmill. Very little is known about
the sawmill since there is no trace of it; the Rte. 30 Bypass very likely
The only thing that can be said about it is that it was built by 1847 and that
in 1888, Margaret Crowe, the widow of the owner, sold it.
A smithy, established by 1837, flourished well into the latter half of the
century. By 1883, Thomas B. Powell owned it and in 1887, he advertised it
Today, it is part of a private residence to which it is attached.
American Republican; 6/11/1816
20 Dollars Reward.
Ran away from the subscriber, in Brandywine township, Chester county, yesterday morning, the 2d of June inst. an apprentice to the paper-making business, named
THOMAS J. VANDERSLICE
He is about 16 years of age,--midling size--light brown hair, hazle eyes, has some
intelligible marks of Indian Ink, on one of his arms. He had on when he went away, a newish fur hat, flaxen shirt, a dark mixed cloth coat, a striped Marseilles vest, with green and black stripes, a pair of new calf skin shoes, a pair of half worn nankeen trowsers and cravet handkerchief.
The above reward will be paid for the apprehension of said apprentice if brought home, or confined in any jail so that I get him again, and all reasonable charges paid. And all persons are forbid to harbor or employ him at their peril.
JOHN BICKING, SEN'R
At the same time, from the same mill, another apprentice named,
About 17 years of age, about the same size of Vanderslice, with fair hair and light complexion, had on a blue roundabout of domestic stripe and pantaloons of the same,--a white jacket, domestic
shirt about half worn, a plaid handkerchief, old fur hat and calf skin shoes. Whoever takes up said apprentice and returns him to his master, or lodges him in any jail and gives information so that I get him again shall have Five Dollars reward and all reasonable expenses paid; and all persons are forbid harboring him, under penalty of the law.
JOHN BICKING, Jun'r
American Republican; 3/14/1820
TO PAPER MAKERS
The subscriber will rent or sell his new paper mill, on Buck Run, Chester county, now in order for business, with water at all seasons for two mills, about 100 acres of land, a good proportion of which is
meadow, two dwelling houses, good stone barn, apple orchard, &c. Possession given on the 1st of April next, enquire of the owner at his mills on Doe Run.
Village Record; 11/14/1821
A Paper & Saw Mill,
Late the property of Lewis Kirk, dec. situate in East nottingham, Chester county, Penn. with about 140 acres of Land, a proportionate part of which is in meadow and arable land, there is a comfortable dwelling house and four others suitable for the accommodation of Workmen. The works and
machinery necessary for carrying on the Paper-making are in good repair; it is though unnecessary to give a further description. For information call on the Subscriber or Roger Kirk near the premises.
JACOB KIRK, Ad'mr.
Kirk's Mill Post Office, Lancaster co
American Republican; 2/26/1823
I am about to alter my new Paper Mill, on Buck Run, Chester county Pennsylvania, into a Cotton Factory, which I will sell, or rent for a term of years, from 5 to 7, and give possession the 1st of April next. The Mill house is stone, 3 stories high and 2 vat houses 12 by 15; an excellent Stone dam, with power to drive 2000 spindles, six dwelling houses, Stone barn, Orchard and about 100 acres of land, a proportion of which is meadow and ploughland, the remainder thriving timber. Likewise sell a billy and jinney, new and warranted, and all the apparatus in said Paper mill; viz. 3 new screws and presses, vat, pot, stuff chest, engine, roll, spindle, 2 plates, duster, layboards, and
too_s with the poles in the drying loft, &c. apply to the owner at his mills on Doe Run.
American Republican; 5/29/1827
Paper Mill Property,
IN Pursuance of an Order of the Hon. the Court of Common Pleas of Chester County, the subscribers (the Committee of the Estate of JAMES ROBESON, a lunatic,) will offer at Public Sale, on the premises, in the township of East Nottingham, county aforesaid, on the 2d of June next, a certain Messuage or Lot of Land containing about
On which is erected a Paper Mill, a small Dwelling House, and a Barn. The Mill is turned by the Big Elk Creek and is situate about 3 miles west of New London X roads. Any person desirous of viewing the property, will be shown it on application to John M'Henry, residing thereon, or to either of the subscribers.
Sale to commence at 1 o'clock, PM. Terms at Sale
James Alexander, George Storrey, Committee of the Estate of James Robeson.
Village Record; 12/22/1840
Paper and Saw Mill for Sale.
WILL be sold at private sale, a plantation situate in West Nottingham, Chester county; bounded by lands of Joseph Kirk and others, containing 112 acres. The improvements are a large paper mill, saw mill and one run of stores, all in running order, two dwelling HOUSES, frame barn, with stone stabling underneath, and other out buildings. If the above property is not sold before the 15th of January, it will on that day be offered at public sale, when attendance will be given and terms of sale made known by WILLIAM KIRK.
Village Record; 12/05/1848
New England Paper Mill for Sale
The New England Paper Mill and 41 ACRES of land, situate in the township of East Fallowfield, Chester county, is now offered for sale. The buildings are ample and all nearly new and substantially built. The mill contains a Patent Fourdinere Machine in good order and also all other necessary machinery for manufacturing paper on an extensive scale. The power is that constant stream of water called Buck and Doe Run, with a large dam and sufficient head and fall. There is also a good supply of Wash water from a spring conveyed in iron pipes into the mill. The land is of good quality and divided into convenient sized fields. A part of the purchase money many remain secured upon the property. Possession can be given of the first of April next. This
property is situated about one mile south of Youngsburg and three miles south the the Philadelphia and Columbia Railroad at Coatesville. For further information inquiry may be made of Robert Young, at Youngsburg; John Parker, at Parkersville; Abraham Darlington, near Birmingham; Elisha C. Warren, on the premises or at the Bank of Chester county. If the property is not sold before the 25th instant, it will be for rent.
Before the recent rain, several of the Paper and Binder Board Mills in Chester county were obliged to run but half the time, owing to a scarcity of water.
Daily Local News; 4/12/1884
A gentleman residing in West Fallowfield says that within his recollection there have been nineteen paper mills on Octorara Creek between Atglen and Andrew's Bridge. Now there are only three.
Daily Local News; 8/07/1884
A Poor Business.-- A well-known paper maker who is engaged in the manufacture of box boards says there is nothing in the business any more. He is making no money and is afraid to stop for fear of losing his customers and be unable to regain them again when business gets brisker. He thinks but very few, if any, paper manufacturers are making a cent. Last year his own profits amounted to only five per cent. on the money he had invested and without one cent for his own services. This year he is running his mill at a slight loss.
REVOLUTION IN MILLING.-- During the past few years there has been a great
revolution in the milling business in this country; the old burr process is now
almost a thing of the past, and the Odell or roller system is daily gaining
favor. While all persons now insist on having roller flour, there are
comparatively few who have any idea of the work and mechanism required for this
system. Some time ago we paid a visit to the mill of Tatnall &
Handwork, Parkesburg, the only complete roller mill in this section of the
country, and were surprised at is completeness and labor saving
construction. The wheat is stored on the third floor and runs from the bin
into a separator where all the dirt and broken grains are taken thence into a
scouring machine where all the dust is scoured from the grains, thus leaving the
wheat thoroughly clean, and starts it on its journey through the rolls, which
are on the first floor. The first pair of rolls barely crushes the grains,
and that goes into an elevator which takes it up to the scalping reels, and any
flour there is in it is taken out, but this time the amount is small, not being
more than one barrel out of a hundred bushels of wheat. It then goes
successively through ten pairs of rolls, twelve reels, two purifiers, a
centrifugal reel, an aspirator and two dust catchers. During that time it
has travelled about a quarter of a mile and comes out finished flour, never
having stopped and not touched by hand, the machinery when set in motion having
done it all. The superiority of this mill over other roller mills is in
the delicate and thorough separation. And certainly the flour made by it
is as elegant as the most fastidious housekeeper or complete epicure could wish
fully equal if not superior to the best Minnesota. Mr. Tatnall is a
son-in-law of our townsman, Abram Gibbons, and Mr. Handwork is a miller of
twenty years experience and one of the best in the country. They are both
gentlemen of the highest type who are always pleased to meet visitors and take
pleasure in showing them through their mill which is so free from dust that any
one can go through it with safety. The mill is now running constant night
and day in order to fill orders.
(?Daily Local News?; date unknown; Jane
Dorchester, Local News Correspondent)
Mills were prone to a wide variety of problems in the 19th century.
The problems that beset the five mills featured in this 3-part series of
articles on the Bondsville Road villages fall into three categories:
lawsuits and labor troubles; personal injury; and property damage.
Guie's Paper mill had the most trouble with lawsuits. The first suit,
filed in 1853, involved Duhring's Woolen Mill in Fisherville. It seems
that after James Guie bought his mill, Duhring turned his sawmill into a woolen
mill. The dye from the factory so contaminated the water at Beaver Creek,
which both mills relied upon as their source of power, that Guie could not use
it in the papermaking process.
Duhring maintained that it was the quality of the work, not the water, that
rendered the paper unsalable, the verdict was in Guie's favor.
The second suit was filed in July 1884 by the administrators of the estate
of James M. Dorland against James Guie & Sons for an alleged infringement
upon Dorland's patent for making waterproof paper. The case was tried in
the U. S. District Court and involved testimony from witnesses from as far away
The question before the court was whether the use of chloride of lime in the
making of waterproof paper was covered by Dorlan's patent. Guie claimed he
had been using the method since 1836, and the court found in his favor.
Beaver Valley Mills, Fisherville, had the most trouble with labor
disputes. In 1887, the work force walked off the job when it was rumored
that a loom boss had been fired because he belonged to the Knights of
Labor. The workers formed a committee which met with owner Jarvis
Ellis. He claimed that the boss had been fired because he was not
following his duty in the weaving room, not because he was a Knight of Labor.
The risk of personal injury was ever-present. Two examples come from
Guie's mill. Richard Guie, one of James' sons, had to have several of his
toes amputated after an accident in the mill.
In 1869, William H. Guie, another son, had an accident. He was working
in the machinery while it was running. His arm was caught by an 8-inch
belt which ran it over a pulley and threw him 7 or 8 feet down among the belt
and engine works.
Another worker heard his cries and immediately shut off the engine.
William Guie was badly bruised, his arm almost torn off at the shoulder.
For a while it was thought the arm would have to be amputated, but eventually he
Fires were another constant concern. In 1857, a tenant house belonging
to Guie was damaged by a fire discovered by some men working in a nearby
field. In 1866, another tenant house was destroyed by fire.
Accidents involving the machinery were a big problem. In 1884, the
Beaver Valley Mills shut down because a belt being shifted on one of the main
pulleys caught on a nut which instantly wrecked the shafting and other machinery
in the room. The shaftings were violently torn from their moorings,
forcing the workers to flee the building for their lives.
In 1877, Guie's mill was considerably damaged by flooding caused by heavy
rains. Dams and mills were frequently in need of repairs from flooding.
In 1891, the Bondsville Mill was closed because heavy rains washed an entire
field above the mill into the millrace. Another common problem was water
wheels freezing in Beaver Creek during the winter.
In 1890, the Bondsville Mill was struck by lighting four times during the
same storm. Each time, a fire started but was put out by the fire brigade.
These problems, combined with tariffs and stiff competition from mills
closer to the railroad lines eventually forced all these mills out of business.
Daily Local News; 1/09/1930
The weather-beaten mills, a half dozen decaying foundations and two unmarked sites whereon stood structure which years ago, resounded with the splashing of water as it lazily spilled its way from the race to the mill are the only remaining signs of what was once a thriving industry in East Goshen township. Ten mills stood in that township in those days.
A minute's study of the area of East Goshen township reveals the fact that the township covers ten square miles, thus making a mill for each square mile. Little wonder then that the community lying along the West Chester-Philadelphia trolley line, just east of this borough, should be known as Milltown. At that place were located two of the mills. One was known at the Milltown Woolen Factory and was purchased by Christian Dutt about 1860 from John T. Midnight, a brother-in-law. The mill was originally built to be operated as a cotton mill about 1790 but under the Dutt ownership was always run as a woolen mill. In 1904 Fred A. Dutt bough it from the estate of Christian Dutt and years later sold it to Joseph Byrne. Under his management it turned out carpet and sweater yarn. It is claimed an old mill stood on this same site as early as 1720. This property was recently purchased by T. Van C. Phillips, well-known resident of this place and Westtown. The abandoned mill still stands on the edge of the new concrete road which connects Milltown and Westtown, while not far away trickles Chester Creek, which once furnished the power for the structure. A part of the old dam may still be seen, grass-covered and crumbling.
Walking a short distance in the direction of Milltown one comes upon the site of Dutton's mill, where the water works for West Chester were located in 1898. The old mill was a few feet from the old stone structure which still stands and in by-gone days ground flour and feed and also turned out some lumber. It was at one time owned by Thomas Beaumont, Thomas Dutton and later Richard Dutton, who sold it to the Borough of West Chester.
ANOTHER DUTTON'S MILL.
While the water of Chester Creek poured over the old wheel at Milltown the waters of Ridley Creek were also busy at work bringing the desired power to another Dutton's Mill located on the Strasburg road, one mile east of Rocky Hill. This may, say those who know, was last operated twenty-five years ago by Harry Dutton as a grist, flour and saw mill. It was later purchased by Howard E. Jones and run in connection with his 200-acre farm adjoining. As far as records go this mill is said to have ground wheat and corn for the soldiers quartered at Valley Forge. Later logwood bobbins were made there. To-day there remains but a crumbling wall of the old structure. A ______ to which still clings a few scattered leaves covers the last vestiage of the once busy mill.
By way of contrast, a few hundred feets from the ruins of the structure stands the attractive stone residence of W. C. Hummeman, who purchased his property from the estate of Miss Frances Hook. Almost within a ston's throw one has the ancient and the modern, the crumbling remains of the old mill, hardly visible to the average passer-by and the sedate walls of a country home, remodeled, the chief attraction along that stretch of road.
AN OLD AX FACTORY.
Another mill on the same stream just below Dutton's mill was owned by a man named LaRue and later by Lorenzo Beck. This structure was known an an axe factory, a great quantity of these being turned out . Under the management of a late owner it was made into a bobbin factory. This mill was abandoned about thirty-five years ago.
ONE AT GOSHENVILLE.
Hiking across country and farther up stream may be seen the ruins of what was once the Goshenville mill, located a short distance from the Goshen Grange meeting house. This was operated by Samuel Hibbard and later by Frank Smedley and ground flour and grist only. The foundations of this one-time three-story native stone structure may still be seen. Just below this mill the east and west branch of Ridley Creek join.
STILL FARTHER NORTH.
Farther north of the east branch of the same stream on the Chalkley Singles farm, now owned by Samuel Horner, Jr., and now known as Apple Brook Farm was a small mill used for hulling clover seed. This mill was abandoned possibly three-quarters of a century ago. A clump of cedar trees stand on the site once occupied by the mill.
About a half-mile farther north on the same stream was the well-known David Eldridge woolen mill and cider mill. Many a farmer has driven to this mill where he had his apples made into cider. As a woolen mill the
structure was abandoned over forty years ago.
One resident of East Goshen boasts that he sleeps under woolen blankets made at this mill about 1820. This property minus the mill is now owned by William J. Mirkil, a well-known Philadelphian.
ALONG WEST BRANCH.
Coming to the west branch of Ridley Creek one finds the ruins of an old saw mill on the George Hoopes property, later owned by Harry H. Pratt and now owned by
John J. Sullivan, of Philadelphia.
Returning to Chester Creek we come across the site of another mill on the L. G. Harper farm, just north of Milltown and now the property of Len Zengle, of Bryn Maw. The structure disappeared as a mill possibly sixty-five years ago.
ONE IN GOOD REPAIR.
Wandering farther up the west branch of Ridley Creek the traveler comes into view of an old building known for nearly a half century as Hershey's Mill. So picturesque is the spot in which
the is mill is located that the visitor almost imagines he has stepped into some quaint European spot, where peasants might gather for a morning chat. The large dam lies quietly by the side of the mill which has for many years been idle, the wheels of industry having cased their motion years ago. The old mill is a three-story structure and in good repair. This property is also owned by John J. Sullivan.
TIME BRINGS CHANGES.
Years ago these mills were in operation and were the centers of industry in their respective sections. To-day they are silent, the majority of them having been reduced to ruins, with perhaps only a crumbling foundation left to mark the spot where once one stood. In a few cases not even so much as a vine-clad wall remains to
tell the story, but in its place there stretches a long piece of raised ground where once the mill race huried on to turn the wheel of industry.
Older residents of East Goshen recall with interest the days when many of these mills were in operation, but their children will know only of their existence through stories which they may hear fall from the lips of their parents as they hear them recall memories of a generation or more ago.
Coatesville Record; 9/12/1946
OLD PAPER MILLS
The sale of the century old Curtis Paper Mill at Newark, last week, called attention to the days when the center of the paper-making industry for the new nation was located in this section. All up and down the Brandywine, the Elk and the Octorara Creeks, are still to be found abandoned mills, which supplied the country in early days. Spring Lawn, Rudolph's Paper Mill, McHenry's mill on the Elk and that on the Octorara are just a few of the old landmarks. The new owners of the Curtis Mill are the well-known Hamilton Paper company. --Oxford News.
Local News; 8/09/1948
Some Old Mills Nearby.
A West Chester resident states that he still remembers a number of various mills that were in operation hereabouts when he was a boy, but now abandoned, and of them were: Robert F. Hoopes, on Valley Creek; the Clover Mill (woolen) near Bradford Hills; Grubb's mill near Harmony Hill; Ingram's; Cipe's; and Bowers (paper) on the Brandywine, not far from West Chester; Hawley's sawmill. At the Chambers' tannery, in East Bradford, there was a small feed-mill. At the old stands there is only traces of a dam, a
building out of repair, a lot of oldtime machinery, or there is merely the site on which the buildings and dam were once located.
c1949; Newspaper unknown
Water Flowing From Picturesque Sharples
Estate Used in Turning the Ancient Wheel for Generations.
Few mills that grind out flour, meal cider and other food products are in
existence about the county. Those of importance with a historical
background are that of Wm. L. Pollock & Son, situated a short distance from
the Lincoln Highway, at Downingtown; Strode's Mill, about two miles from West
Chester, on the Lenape Road and Taylor's Mill, one mile north of the borough on
the Pottstown pike.
Taylor's Mill was first erected in the year 1786 by a man named Hoopes.
This original building was constructed of rough native stone, and hard tough
wood, and is of the same design as the present building. For years it was
deserted and stood in a ruinous condition, until Benj. Taylor took and rebuilt
it in 1861.
During the Civil War this mill was used as an Underground Railroad Station for
the smuggling of slaves into the North. Slaves were hid in the sawdust pit
under the saw mill during the day, and at night were taken on to another
station. Lionville was the nearest station to the north.
Some of the equipment first installed in the structure is still in use.
The French Burr stones, imported from France are used in grinding the finest
corn meal. These stones weight about a ton each and have a diameter of
four feet. They are dressed by men skilled at this kind of work.
Millers say this is still the most economical way of grinding meal, but for the
lack of men who can carefully dress the stones they have to use the more modern
The cider press is probably the most modern piece of equipment in use, this
being hydraulic with a pressure of 80 tons and making 2300 revolutions a minute,
thus yielding much cider.
The power is of the old wheel type, it being turned by water from the Taylor's
Run, which is a stream from the beautiful Sharples estate. This wheel
makes but six to seven revolutions a minute and gives as much power as
Several men have run the mill successfully since Benj. Taylor's time-- Townsend
Wright, F. E. Cox and its present owner, Jesse D. Gilbert, who has spared no
time or expense to keep the building in operation. T. L. Davis, of
Malvern, is his assistant.
ANTIQUE IN FLOWER BED.
A native stone used as a date marker for the original mill was dug out of a
flower bed a few years ago by Jesse Gilbert. The stone is about ten inches
in height and eight inches in width. The inscriptions on it shows two
wheels on either side of an "H" and below is the date
Pollock's mill, in Downingtown, is historical, being used to grind feed for
soldiers in 1776. Although now electrically outfitted, it has some of its
antiquated machines in use.
Strode's Mill is also historical, it being used in the Revolutionary War times
to quarter soldiers.
Chester Co. Day; 10/07/1950
AMONG the fascinating facets of Chester County's history--the record of her paper industries, which started during the last two decades of the eighteenth century, has received but scant attention. By 1800 paper was being made in at least eight different locations in the county. The
abundance of pure water and water power led to the establishment of 34 mills by 1834. A County map issued in 1847 shows paper mills at 25 different locations while the 1874 map shows 37 mills. A survey of paper mill sites between 1781 and the present time shows 58 places where paper of one sort or another has been made. These mills were widely scattered from the Schuylkill River on the northeast to the Octorara Creek on the southwest. At one period there were eight paper mills on Buck Run within a distance of five miles. Other mill sites were located on each branch of the Brandywine, Muddy Run, Elk, White Clay, Red Clay, Beaver, Marsh, Ridley and French Creeks.
The earliest mills were of a primitive type using handcraft methods. Gradually a transition took place to the highly mechanized methods now in use. The raw products used by the early mills were rags, linen, cotton while those of today are largely waste paper and old rope. A century ago at Spring City the American Wood Paper Company pioneered in using wood as a raw product. Following this several mills made wrapping paper containing a high percentage of straw. The early mills produced writing, wrapping and printing paper. The current mills are producing binder-board, paper towling, mimeograph, bond, colored crepe, filter and paper specialities.
Among the early names associated with our County's paper industry made be mentioned Bicking, Dorlan, Fulton, Garrett, Gibbons, Guie, Lysle, McHenry, Mode, Steele, and Webb. As today's antiquarian looks through old letters and manuscripts what a delight to find, in addition to the nominal content written in ink, a water mark which identifies the paper as being a local product! The mark I BICKING signifies John and/or Joseph Bicking. John operated a mill on Beaver Creek 1791-1826 whereas his brother Joseph's mill was on the Brandywine near Wagontown 1806--1831. J. WEBB
identifies paper made south of Kennett Square 1800-1821. J F accompanied by the outline of a plow suggests paper made at the mill on Elk Creek run by Johan and Joseph Fulton between 1781 and 1834. MODE was the papermark used in paper made at Modena Paperville. Here the Mode Family produced paper between 1850 to 1881. J M G was on the mark used by James M. Gibbons whose mill on Buck Run operated from 1796 to 1810. J S was the imprint used in paper made by John and later James Steele. Their mill on the Octorara Creek was active between 1791 and 1820. The village of Steeleville was located nearby. Doubtless other water marks will come to light.
The manufacture of paper in Chester County is by no means past history. Today at nine locations the manufacture of paper products represents several million dollars of capital investment and gives employment to at least 1,000 people.
Downingtown sometimes designated as "Papertown" is the most important center. Here the S. Austin Bicking Company, the Downingtown Paper Company and the Davey Company operate extensive mills each of which were started in the 1880s. Nearby, up the Brandywine at Dorlans, Shyrock Brothers run a small mill which dates back to the early 1800s. Another small mill located on Beaver Creek is owned by the Eagle Paper Company. This mill was started by James Guie in 1833 and is less than a mile from the site of John Bicking's mill. At Modena, on the Brandywine south of Coatesville, the Beach and Arthur Paper Company now has a plant whose yearly production is about 10,000 tons. Four miles southwest of this location, on Buck Run, the General Paper Company has a mill producing large daily tonnages of high grade paper toweling. This mill which appears to have been started before 1800 was owned by Caspar Garrett for a few
decades prior to 1900 at which time its product was wall paper. The Franklin Paper Mills in Franklin township south of West Grove were started in 1847. James Lysle began this mill which was operated by the Lysle family for just 100 years. In now produces a high grade filter paper.
Despite the hazards of fire, flood, and foreign competition Chester County's infant paper industry of 1800 has in 150 years, become an important segment of our contemporary economy.
Daily Local News; 6/21/1950
SOME OLD MILLS IN CHESTER COUNTY.
Broad Run, Doe Run and Buck Run Supplied Water Power for a Number of Good Ones
in the Old Days.
Items of interesting history concerning old mills and factories of Chester
county long since fallen to decay are given thus by a veteran writer:
On Broad Run we have Trimbleville mill. 'Tis so said that Cornwallis'
division on its march from Old Kennett the day previous to the Battle of
Brandywine, secured horse feed at this old mill. Further up the stream are
the sites of several old saw mills, factories and grist mills.
On Doe Run the writer remembers Webb's mill, Springdell mill, Pyle's mill,
Clark's mill, together with a factory at Rosenvick. At Doe Run a cotton
factory operated by James Barton successfully for several years is at present
used as a milk station by the Highland Dairy Co.
The water of Doe and Buck Runs also furnished power for numerous paper mills,
viz,: Palmer's Jessup & Moore's, Truman's Broomall's, Wilson's and
Buck Run. About all that remains of these old one-time industries is the
place where they stood. The old water power rolling mill at Laurel is well
remembered by the writer of this article. A combination of the waters of
Buck and Doe Run creeks was the propelling element of this once flourishing iron
industry. Quite a considerable amount of iron ore was dug in the vicinity
of Doe Run and hauled to Coatesville, from there shipped to the company of
Kaufman & Hunter, Sheridan, Lebanon county. The writer of this article
has in his possession some of the old books in which is an account of the ore
hauled and by whom. In busy times, or rather in slack times, with the
neighboring farmers, their assistance was sought to haul the ore for which a
reasonable rate was paid. Prices of produce, wheat, corn, cider, flitch
and jowl were somewhat different from those at the present time.