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The Old Mills of, White Clay Creek Hundred - part I

As we did last time, we will begin at the northern end of the hundred and work our way south, exploring the mills that we find along the way.

Most of the following text is straight out of Thomas Scharf's 1888 "History of Delaware". I modified and added to some passages to better fit this posting.

Side note: In the Revolutionary War, my GGGGreat grandfather, Mosby Childers (1757-1843), was assigned to Capt. Matthew Jouett’s 7th Company of the 7th Virginia Regiment in Gen. William Woolford’s Brigade. Woolford’s brig. spent 16 days camped along the White Clay Creek in northern Delaware in Aug. and Sept of 1777, awaiting orders from General Washington.

This proves that, for at least 225 years, soldiers have been awaiting orders from Washington. ;-)

Lambert and Pyle Mill

Previous to 1798 Benjamin Chambers erected a saw-mill on the White Clay Creek, in the north-western part of this hundred. After his death the mill and property came into the possession of his son Joseph, who tore down the mill. In 1843 the property was sold at Sheriff's sale, and purchased by Daniel Thompson, who erected a new saw and grist-mill.

In 1860 Lambert and Pyle operated the mills and they were succeeded by Joseph Eldridge. The mills were not been used after 1881 and were partly fallen-in by 1888. At that time, they were the property of Joel Thompson of Newark.

Constantine McLaughlin Mill

In 1795, Thomas Phillips purchased a tract of land in White Clay Creek Hundred from Mary Steel. Between that year and 1798 he erected a grist-mill and a sawmill. These were sold at sheriff’s sale in 1824, and purchased by James Ray. He conveyed them to Wm. H. Robinson, who, in 1854, sold them to Constantine McLaughlin. The scarcity of timber in this neighborhood rendered a saw-mill no longer necessary, and it was torn down, circa 1888.

McLaughlin was owner and proprietor of the grist-mill until his death, in 1882. From that time to at least the late 1880s, the mill was managed by his heirs. The building erected by Philips was then still in use, with but few if any repairs. It was a three-story building, two-stories of stone and one-story frame. Until 1885 the old machinery was also used, but in that year, it was refitted with modern roller-mill machinery. Three men were employed in its operation and the capacity of the mill was thirty barrels per day.

John Tweed Mill

Sometime previous to 1798, Thomas and Joseph Rankin erected a grist-mill, a saw-mill and a bark-mill in the northwestern part of White Clay Creek Hundred, on the White Clay Creek. In 1803, the property passed into the hands of James Crawford, who in 1841 sold it to William McClelland. John Tweed in 1855 purchased the estate, and in 1869 rebuilt the grist and saw-mills. At the death of John Tweed in 1875, the property came into the possession of his son, Mansel Tweed.

May 19th, 1879 - The Daily Republican

In 1880 the bark-mill was converted into a flint-mill. In a flint-mill, burned and crushed flints are ground to powder for mixing with clay to form slip for porcelain. The old apparatus still remained in the grist and saw-mills, and nothing but custom work was being done. The capacity of the flint-mill was six tons per day, and eight men are employed in operating it. The flint was hauled by teams from a quarry about three miles distant.

May 19th, 1879 - The News Journal

pounds, and death was instantaneous...

(This sentence was very graphic and has been edited.)

January 23rd, 1892 - The Morning News

January 16th, 1899 - The Daily Republican

August 30th, 1902 - The Evening Journal

Levi Hutton Mill

On August 9, 1799, Maxwell Bines, Sheriff of New Castle County, sold to Thomas Henderson a small tract of land on White Clay Creek. On this land was a long dwelling and a fulling mill. On April 3, 1811, John and Thomas Glenn, paper makers, purchased this tract of Henderson and an adjoining one making in all thirty-three acres. The fulling mill was converted into a paper-mill, and shortly afterwards sold with the land to James Falls. After the decease of James Falls, the property was vested in his son, John. In 1851 Thomas Gibson became the owner, and used the mill for manufacturing cider. In 1853 Levi Hutton bought the property of Gibson. He proceeded to fit up the mill for a cotton manufactory. The building was not strong enough for the purpose, and the undertaking was abandoned. The building was not used after that and was finally removed.

Ed. Note: I am unsure of the exact location of the Levi Hutton cotton factory, Scharf only indicated that it was on White Clay Creek. I indicated on the 1868 Beers map that it was near where Paper Mill Road crosses White Clay Creek, but I actually have no idea. Can anyone shed any light on the location? And by the way, Paper Mill Road takes it's name from the Curtis Paper Mill. More on that when we get to Mill Creek Hundred.

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