top of page

Isaac's Branch Mills, thanks to "Chief Petequoque'.

Updated: May 10, 2022

The Isaac's Branch runs west to east across the center of Kent County. The headwaters are about a quarter of a mile behind Swartzentruber's sawmill on Pearsons Corner Road, 1.2 miles north-west of the Hazlettville Road.

Looking upstream - Wyoming Mill can be seen just above the viaduct

It then flows through the Wild Quail development and along the north side of Allabands Mill Road, before entering Wyoming Lake.

From there it flows under a 167-year-old stone viaduct that the Delaware Railroad built in the mid-1850s, and then squeezes between the Rodney Village Shopping Center and Brecknock County Park. On the east side of Rt.13 Isaacs Branch flows through Moore's Lake and then merges with the St. Jones River just above the Rt. 10 bridge.

Isaac's Branch was named for Isaac Webb, who purchased the area from the Native American 'Petequoque'. On February 19, 1683 he received the tract known as "Shoemaker's Hall", which contained four hundred acres, for three gallons of drink, three matchcoats (A loose coat of cloth or skins made for the Indian trade) and four double handfuls of powder and shot.

Source: Indian Land Sales in Delaware by Leoin deValinger, Jr. - 1941


"Mt. Vernon Mills" - (Moore's Lake)

A saw-mill was built on Tumbling Dam on Isaac's Branch as early as 1772 by John Pennell, and subsequently a grist-mill was erected at this point. John Tucker remembers that Henry Molleston had a grist-mill here in 1805, shingled with cedar shingles, as it is now [1888], with two or three run of stone. Henry Molleston was one of the signers of the Constitution of Delaware, sheriff in 1787, and quite an extensive land-owner. He was a tall, fine-looking man, and was elected Governor, but died before inauguration, in 1819. He was a descendant of Alexander Mollestine, who was one of the magistrates of the Whorekill (now Sussex County) in 1673. Nathaniel Coombe, Molleston's brother-in-law, administered the estate and rented the mill to Jonathan Elliott, who added a carding-machine. Sipple & Pennewill, of Dover, purchased the mills, and sold them to David D. Lewis, who operated them many years. In 1859 Henry Moore, of Montgomery County, Pa., purchased the property, and immediately began to make improvements. He introduced the new process into the grist-mill, and subsequently put in rollers and steam-power. The mill now [1888] has a capacity of fifty barrels of flour per day. The saw-mill and carding-machine are no longer in operation. History of Delaware, 1888 by J. Thomas Scharf


Fishing back of H. E. Moore's Mill, Moore's Lake - Delaware Public Archives

Daniel Toaes purchased, built a dam and flooded what is now Moore's Lake in 1685 and then built a sawmill.

Moore's Lake spillway - 2-22-2022

The mill hanged hands and in 1805 there was a grist mill on the lake owned by Henry Molleston, a signer of the Delaware Constitution. Molleston called the mill "Mt. Vernon Mills" and added a carding machine. In 1859 it became the property of Henry E. Moore, who upgraded the mill to include rollers and steam power. Mr. Moore was also a prominent merchant in Dover, but in 1908 he sold his store to his manager, Willard M. Hinkle, so that he could devote all his time to milling.

H.E. Moore's assistant dies - March 30, 1910 - The Morning News

In September of 1911 a devastating fire burned the mill to the ground.

September 20, 1911 - The Evening Journal

In 1916 the mill property and Mr. Moore's home were sold at sheriff's sale to A. B. Magee for $4,700. The State of Delaware purchased the mill seat in 1936 and, like most other millponds in Delaware, it is now managed by DNREC's Division of Fish and Wildlife.

March 19, 1940 - The Morning News


Howell's Mill (Brecknock Park)

The Howell Mill is next above the Mt Vernon Mill on Isaac's Branch, and has been owned by the Howells many years. Thomas Howell was a deaf-and-dumb man, and was succeeded in the ownership of the mill by his son Hanson, who has put in steam and the full roller process. History of Delaware, 1888 by J. Thomas Scharf


In 1680 Alexander Humphreys received a warrant from the county court for 600 acres of land which he called Brecknock. John Hill purchased the land and obtained a permit for a grist mill in 1740. The mill was purchased by John Clayton Jr., a descendant of John M. Clayton, Secretary of State in Delaware. In 1761 the mill was sold to Joshua Gregg and Thomas Hanson, a deaf mute. Hanson obtained title to the mill from his partner in 1766.

Thomas Hanson died in 1783 and left the mill to his daughter’s children. Her husband, Samuel Howell, served as the caretaker of the mill.

By 1812 a three-story Oliver Evans mill had replaced the small mill that had been built in the mid-eighteenth century. In 1851 Thomas Hanson Howell insured the mill and buildings with the Kent County Mutual Insurance Company. The mill was described as being a frame building (30 feet by 35 feet) and two stories high, on a brick footing. There was also a one-story “mill-house” fourteen feet square. In addition to the dwelling, the property also included a brick smoke house, a barn (16 by 42 feet) with a shed (18 by 14 feet), and a carriage house (22.5 by 25 feet).

June 22, 1899 - The Morning News

July 9, 1908 - The Morning News

In 1928 a significant hurricane washed out the mill dam and it was never rebuilt.

The mill building was demolished during the World War II scrap metal drive.

In 1988 Mrs. Elizabeth Howell Goggin granted the property to Kent County on the condition that they "use the land for passive park use and education, conservation, wildlife and historic preservation…” The park is named "Brecknock County Park."

All that's left of the Howell Mill is the foundation. It is now used as a viewing platform by Brecknock County Park


Wyoming Mill

The Camden Mill was next above, and was owned by Judge Wm. Warner, who had a grist-mill there contemporaneously with the Mt. Vernon Mill about 1800. Dr. Isaac Jump owned this mill subsequently, and it is now owned by William Lindale, who has improved the property.

History of Delaware, 1888 by J. Thomas Scharf

There has been a mill on this location for almost 300 years. In 1734 John Clayton dammed up Isaac's Branch, where Wyoming Lake is now, and built his mill on the site. This was 122 years before the town of Wyoming was even founded. In 1738 he gave the mill to his son, John Clayton, Jr. By 1766 two-thirds of the mill was owned by Joshua Clayton, first governor of Delaware, as settlement of an estate. He sold his share to his step-mother's husband, Isaah Wharton, who added a sawmill. The mills remained in the Wharton family until sold for debt to Thomas Fisher. (Continues...)

Wyoming Mills - 1907 - Delaware Public Archives
November 20, 1920 - The News Journal

Wyoming Mill, circa 1936 - Delaware Public Archives

William P. Lindale owned the mill in 1870, and in 1880 it was owned by Robert Lindale and operated by James Coverdale and James H. Evans. (Evans took over operation of the Dover mill in 1883.) In 1900 39-year-old Robert Lindale was still the miller, along with William Shantz , 48, but by 1910 it appears that the mill was being operated by 48-year-old John F. Fields and 24-year-old Marion W. Fields. Marion was still miller in 1920, assisted by 17-year-old John Fields, but in 1930 Marion's assistants were Fred Dolby, Reynolds Kemp and truck driver Kline Kemp.

I was unable to determine when George H. Short, Jr. bought the Wyoming Mill. He passed away in 1983 and stipulated in his will that the mill be auctioned off and the proceeds divided among his heirs. Fifer Orchards bought and continue to own the mill.

Sources: Wyoming census records 1870 - 1930 and

A Tricentennial view of North Murderkill Hundred : 1683-1983, (North Murderkill Mills, by Cynthis Angermeser, with Elizabeth Goggin)

Wyoming Millpond

Wyoming Mill today - Notice that the main building is considerably longer now than it was in 1936.

Wyoming Mill head-race
In its later years Wyoming Mill was strictly a feed mill. There is no evidence of any flour or cornmeal making equipment.

"Eureka" receiving separator

"Unique brand Cracked Corn Grader"

Upper-end of three elevators

The lower floors of Wyoming Mill are presently occupied by a

boutique called "Simply Charming at the Mill".


Allaband Mill

"The Allaband Mill was above Camden, and was fed by the stream in its upper course, where it receives the small streams and ditches from what was once known as the forest, but which has long since disappeared. December 1, 1785, Richard Mason sold part of "Long Reach" tract, lying on the north side of Isaac's Branch, to William Allaband. Wharton's mill-pond was there then. April 2, 1767, Hillary Herbert sold three hundred and seven acres more of "Long Reach" to William Allaband. A grist-mill, fulling-mill and distillery appear to have been operated by Mr. Allaband about 1800, and the grist-mill for many years thereafter. This mill property descended to Martin Allaband, who in 1868 sold it to Henry Todd, who operated it until 1880, when a great flood swept the mill and dam away, since when it has not been rebuilt." Source: History of Delaware, 1888 by J. Thomas Scharf


The Allaband Mill was located close to the present intersection of Westville Road and Allaband's Mill Road. The mill ground grain into flour, had fulling equipment (see note below) and a distillery. In spite of what J. Thomas Scharf says above, Henry Todd's mill was sold at sheriff's sale in 1876 to Levi H. Miller, for $2,210.00

Note - A fulling mill was a water mill that was used to full, or felt, woolen cloth to make a sturdy and windproof felted material. The process increased the thickness and compactness of woven or knitted wool by subjecting it to moisture, heat, friction, and pressure until shrinkage of 10–25% was achieved.

Rotary Fulling Mill - From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


I'LL BET YOU DIDN'T KNOW: The community of Hazlettville was originally called Georgetown, and later changed to Soward Town. In 1852 it was renamed Hazlettville by an act of legislature in honor of Governor Haslet, who, by then, had been dead for 31 years. (Bounds, 1938). Hazlettville is pronounced 'Hazelville'.

50 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All

The Jolly Miller

The Jolly Miller There was a jolly miller once lived on the river Dee; He danced and sang from morn till night, no lark so blithe as he; And this the burden of his song forever used to be "I care for

No title...

I've said before that Mary Oliver is one of my favorite "outdoorsey" poets. Here's another of hers that I like. Apparently it has no title. · I know, you never intended to be in this world. But yo


Post: Blog2_Post
bottom of page