Gristmills offered to grind corn, wheat, and also other grains into flour and also meal to be a common sight in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century phibìc Carolina. The very first recorded phibìc American gristmill was developed in Jamestown, Va., in 1621. As settlers relocated from the jamestown area right into what is now northeastern phibìc Carolina, they lugged their milling methods with them and began building small mills come grind grain.

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Gristmills generally operated by guiding a present of water into a waterwheel, which provided the power to revolve the collection of substantial millstones that crushed the grain into progressively smaller pieces. Most early on North Carolina gristmills were located along creeks because that a resource of waterpower, usually near natural falls. Countless gristmills had actually saws attached, harnessing the waterpower not just to grind flour but additionally to experienced lumber. Strength was enhanced by building dams. On some mills, millraces were constructed to bring water to the mill, particularly those equipped through an overshot type of wheel.

The need for grind grain for use as flour or meal grew as the population of north Carolina increased. In an initiative to encourage the settlement of the Carolina backcountry frontier, the legislative branch in 1715 happen a law providing 50 acres of land and also exemption native taxes and service in the state militia to gristmill and sawmill operators. This act included a delivery subjecting every mills to federal government regulation due to the fact that of their "public" character. Despite these efforts, the variety of mills in the colony remained tiny until the mid-eighteenth century. A an ext extensive and also detailed legislation was passed in 1758, providing the early american government better supervision over the procedure of mills.

Roller mills, an 1876 invention first used in man Sellers"s mill in Philadelphia, had a tremendous impact on the milling industry. The roller mill had several benefits over rock mills. Primary amongst them to be a product that was much more uniform and also had a much more appealing appearance come customers. The usage of rollers eliminated the need for rock "dressing," the regular sharpening the millstones, saving the müller money and time. The rollers likewise extracted more flour indigenous the exact same amount that wheat together the millstones. Many North Carolina mills constructed after 1876 to be of this variety.

Few of phibìc Carolina"s larger gristmills continued to be operational at the start of the twenty-first century, having become obsolete in the shadow of the larger, more efficient grain processors the the Midwest. House"s Mill close to Newton Grove in Sampson County claims to be the earliest continuously operation gristmill in the state, having actually ground flour and also meal due to the fact that 1812.


Grimsley Hobbs, Exploring the Old Mills of phibìc Carolina (1985).

Additional Resources:

Catawba County historic Association. "Historic Murray"s Mill." (accessed June 14, 2012).

The society for the conservation of Old Mills. "The Old Mill the Guilford." (accessed June 14, 2012).

Dunaway, Stewart E. Grist mills of phibìc Carolina: a historical review using county records : S.E. Dunaway ;Morrisville, N.C.: spread by 2010.

Stephen Cabarrus history Club, Harrisburg School. By the Old Mill Stream: The Story of early on Industry in Cabarrus County. .

Dellinger, Jack David. Dellinger Grist Mill ~ above Cane Creek, Mitchell County, phibìc Carolina: A an individual History.

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Image Credits:

Yates Mill, a gristmill in wake County, 1958. Courtesy of north Carolina Office that Archives and History, Raleigh.