Sunday, January 4, 2009

The World Around Me...

This week for my photo journal on "The world around me" I want to show you two of the still standing Grist Mills in our area The first one is

Young's Mill -
A mill existed here since the 17th Century, when one was constructed on Denbigh Plantation. The structure is an early 20th Century frame construction built over a 19th Century brick foundation and first floor. Mills were of great importance in the economy of Warwick County for grinding corn and wheat. Thomas Wright, Sr., a free Black man was the mill’s owner. In 1860, he was one of 59 free African-American men and women living in Warwick County, when it had a population of 1,500. Wright appears to have gained his freedom around 1810 at the age of 20. He owned 60 acres and his household contained 12 members and three slaves. His son, Thomas Wright, Jr., was the first African-American Warwick County resident to be ordained. Confederate fortifications extending from Young's Mill (Deep Creek) to Harwood's Mill (Poquoson River) were built in 1862 as the first line of Magruder's trans-Peninsula defense. Skirmishing occurred here during the Peninsula Campaign. This site has been developed as a passive park and includes well preserved earthworks.

This mill is about 2 miles from my house and everyday when I pass it on my way to work I find it amazing how much the area around it has grown up. In the mid 1800's Civil War soldiers occupited the land.

The second mill is about 6 miles away on the same road and is a bit more off the beaten path. Both mills are on the National Registry of historic places
Causey's Mill -

is one of the two last surviving grist mills on the Peninsula. The mill is a small wood frame two-story building supported by a brick and concrete foundation that was constructed in 1866. Causey’s Mill is one of many mills that have occupied this site since the mid-17th century.
In the 1930s the creation of Lake Maury drastically altered the function of the mill and erased all remnants of the old mill dam and pond.Today the mill is owned by the City of Newport News which has obtained a 55 year lease of the property.

Detailed Description:
Causey's Mill is a small wood frame two-story building supported by brick and concrete.
The exterior is covered with 5/8-inch thick untapered wood siding boards, which are nailed down by single nails at the studs. The wood siding is painted with a lead-based white paint that has worn off over the years. On the west side of the building, there is a sign on the upper left hand corner reading "Causey's Mill, 1866." The mill has three doors: two are located on the first and second floor of the north elevation, and the third is on the east side. The building also has eight windows. Four windows are found on the west side. Two windows are on each floor of the west side. They have six panes per sash. On the south elevation, there are two windows for providing light into the hurst frame. These windows also have six panes per sash. The last two windows are located in the attic,one on each gable end. The gable windows have six panes per sash. The roof is covered by asphalt shingles installed on top of solid wood sheathing boards. There are eave cornices on the east and west sides, and they have one-inch wood fascias and soffits, with a plain, diagonal, flat fascia moulding. There are no gutters or downspouts. Inside the mill there are two floors. The interior also contains a hurst frame which is made completely of wood. In addition, there are bridge trees and bray posts for two runs of the stones; however, only one run was ever installed. The cast iron spindle, which lifted the runner stone above the stationary bed stone, is still in place. The hurst frame is supported by ten-inch x eighteen-inch beams that run the whole of the east and west sides of the mill. The building has the tongs for raising the runner stone and the bed stone. On the floor, there is a twenty-inch Leffel or Sampson turbine. The scroll case and gate controls are missing, and perhaps are still in the turbine pit, now submerged in water. The steel turbine shaft, composite drive gear, turbine shaft bearing, and turbine gate shaft bearing remain intact in the hurst frame. The cast iron spur gear used to drive the stone spindle is also still intact. The crank and levers, however, for engaging and disengaging the spur gear are no longer present.

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Blogger solsticedreamer said...

what amazing history!
i am interested that the freed slave had slaves himself~would these have been freed or regular employees or actual slaves?

January 5, 2009 at 4:03 AM  
Blogger Linda said...

If he was freed in 1860 before the outbreak of the Civil War, I wonder what Mr. Wright thought of the whole thing? He lived in the South but was he a Southern sympathizer or did he side with the Northerners?

How fascinating to have this kind of history right there in your own backyard!

January 5, 2009 at 9:36 PM  

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