List of Mills
|Anderson's corn mill on Town Creek
above Sparta mentioned in Seal's History of
|Bailiff Saw Mill on the Smallman &
Swan property below the Great Falls Dam was located
where the Webb School Camp was later
established. It was at the mouth of Barren Fork Creek.
Mr. James McGiboney stated that the mill was operating prior
to 1847. His father had the lumber sawed out at the
mill for his new house. He carried it up the hill
(about 300 feet up a steep bluff) on his back and then
carted it to his home. Cart referred to a 2-wheeled
vehicle which Mr. McGiboney said a number of families owned.
He added that very few owned wagons before the Civil War.
A few people in the area had horses but most families
depended on oxen.
|Blanks Mill was built some time after
the Civil War. The corn mill was located on Rocky
River, a few hundred feet downstream from
the present Blanks Bridge, which Mr. Womack refers to as the
"crooked iron bridge." The mill building was on the
left bank of the river. The property was owned by General
John B. Rodgers before the War. He sold it to John L.
Miller in 1847, next owner not known and then sold to
Charles R. Blanks and J.D. Hash. In 1895 and 1898 E.W.
Blanks also had an interest in the Mill.
|Bosson Mill on the right bank of Caney
Fork below the main falls and just upstream from
the present TVA Power House. Seal's
History of White County places the starting date
between 1815 and 1820 and that it was built by William
Bosson. The above statement is in error as will be
noted in the following story. See Goodpeed's History
p. 861, White County, for more on Bosson Family. The
following story is taken from an article written in 1933 by
the present writer.
The story of power development at Great
Falls really begins about 1840 at a boat landing on the Ohio
River. Samuel H. Laughlin wrote in his diary that
while on his way to the Democratic National Convention, he
met Thomas Bosson and asked about southern water power
sites. Mr. Laughlin recommended a site in Alabama and
the Great Falls of the Caney Fork in Tennessee. Bosson
was very much interested and after visiting both sites
selected the latter and immediately purchased the necessary
land and riparian rights, a portion of the same being
purchased from General John B. Rodgers of Rock Island.
Mr. Bosson was from Massachusetts.
Thomas Bosson built a two and a half story
mill below the main falls in which he installed a set of
corn stone made locally by Mr. Drake and a set of wheat
rocks which were purchased in France for $300, shipped to
Boston, then overland and by canal to Detroit, and on to the
Ohio River, Cumberland and Caney Fork to Great Falls.
A carding factory was put in the second floor of the mill.
A small diversion dam was built at the
Falls. Water was conveyed from the "Water Basin,"
located just below the main Falls, which can still be seen,
in a rock and timber flume to the mill. After grinding
corn and wheat the water was carried in a wood flume to a
saw mill located across the river and just upstream from the
TVA power house. The small bit of bottom land on the
north or White County side of the river was used to store
lumber on. A winding road was built down the hill and
then up the river under the over-hanging bluff to the mill.
The road was very narrow but there was plenty of room to
turn at the mill. Farmers frequently camped under the
bluff for the night. The Bosson Mill ground many a
bushel of corn and wheat as the years rolled by. About
the time of the War, Charles P. Hill acquired a one-half
interest in the mill property.
Then came a day in 1882 much like other
days except that there had been an unusually heavy rain.
Uncle Billy Chisam, the miller was grinding corn as usual.
He stepped out of the mill a moment and at the same time a
great tree crashed into the river and was swept away
grinding corn to the end, thus ending the first chapter in
the development of power at Great Falls. See "Falls
City Cotton Mill Company" for the second chapter in this
|Brady & Haston Mill, first called
Burden's Mill was located on Burden's Mill Branch
which empties into the Calfkiller River a
short distance above the Brady-Haston Bridge. The mill
property was conveyed to Benjamin Burden by grant #1051 in
1809, surveyed 1908 on July 28th and called for 50 acres on
Calfkiller River and on Burden's Mill creek. The
description indicates that the mill was already in operation
in 1908. The branch was and still is fed by a spring a
few hundred feet upstream from the Calfkiller and a short
mile from Greenwood Church.
This was a grist mill for grinding corn
meal. The property was transferred to James Bowen in
February 1811, to David H. Maybourn in October 1814 and
following his death to Elijah Drake in March 1822 and in the
same month Drake sold the mill property to Thomas Meeks who
sold it to James Randals in November 1853. He in turn
sold the property to John Warren in November of the same
year. A deed from Warren to Joseph W. Taylor in 1862
refers to "the grist mill and saw mill" and near the wagon
road leading from Hickory Valley to Rock Island." The
Warrens were millers and merchants. It should be noted
that Drake made many of the grinding rocks used in early
grist mills throughout the Caney Fork area.
The same year that Taylor bought the mill
property he sold a half interest to T.F. Burroughs which in
turn was sold to Sprout Waldron & Co. in 1899. Taylor
built a new brick building a few yards upstream from the old
mill in 1867. A roller mill was installed
in 1898. Dr. Lee Smith and Frank P. Austin,
son-in-laws of Taylor here connected with the mill
operations. The property was next owned by D. Frank
Johnson and Albert L. Johnson and known as Johnson's Mill.
The last owners who were operating the mill at the time it
was purchased by The Great Falls Power Co. were Carrol
Haston* and M.D. Brady. It was then known as the
Brady-Haston Mill. The property was rented to George
Savage who used the building as a furniture shop until 1925
when the basemen began flooding from backwater from the
Great Falls Dam. Mr. Savage moved the rocks for
grinding corn to a shed along with a small saw mill.
He relocated the water flow in the branch and for a few
years longer did a limited amount of business grinding corn,
making furniture and a small amount of sawing.
The writer wrote in 1933 that "the old
building is about ready to fall in and is not in use.
The brick will probably be removed before long thus ending
another mill history extending over a period of 125 years."
References;- Grants, Deeds, Histories and
notes from Mr. Mal Baker. Note: The over-shot wheel
at the mill was built by a Mr. Goodman at the close of the
Carrol Haston was the son of Charles Thomas Haston, son of
William Carroll Haston, son of David Haston, son of Daniel
Haston. He married Pauline (?) Brady.
|Bridleman, Henry - Cotton Mill
on Charles Creek mentioned.
|Brickfords, Ward &, - Seals in his
History of White County mentions Ward & Brickfords
saw & corn mill in White County on the
lower Caney Fork.
|Burroughs & Taylor Factory - This
plant, located on the right bank of Calfkiller River
and close to Cave, Tennessee was
incorporated as Burroughs & Taylor Co. in 1891. They
manufactured men's clothing and specialized in blue denim
work clothes. The writer bought clothes from them in
the 1920's. As mentioned elsewhere there was an old
suspension foot bridge above the dam which was replaced when
the Great Falls Dam was raised in 1924-25. This also
ended the use of water power to run the factory. *See
foot note. The owners of the factory organized the
Cave Water & Light Co. which served a few houses at the top
of the hill with water. The water from a spring across
the river from the factory was pumped up to a storage tank
with a hydraulic ram. Unknown to the Tennessee
Electric Power Company the spring and ram were on a tiny
piece of land which was to be flooded. Filling the
Great Falls reservoir was delayed from early Spring to Fall
until the land could be purchased at about $20,000.
This was referred to as the $20,000 ram by those involved in
*Foot note - See
Mitchell, (Jabez G.)
Mill for earlier development of this site.
|Cane Creek Mill - This mill was
located at the head of Cane Creek Falls and was built about
1831. The last man to own and
operate the mill was Lawson Fisher. The mill was
washed over the falls in the flood of March 1929. (See
Lawson Fisher, Testimony of)
Carding Mills in White County. Seals History of
White County lists four mills that were
operating prior to the Civil War.
- Joe Taylor Mill on the Calfkiller
River near Cave, Tennessee.
- Henry Echols Mill on Falling Water
- James Robinson Mill on Post Oak
- George Ogden Mill at Sparta on the
Calfkiller River. This mill was operating in 1831
and had an overshot wheel.
|Chastian Mill on Collins River - See
Shell's Ford Mill.
|Clark's Mill was
built on Town Creek in 1866 a few yards west of the "new mill"
was operating in 1930.
|Cook's Cove Spring Mill Branch - See
|Cooper, William - on Caney Fork River
- See Wallace & Cooper Dam.
|Dale, John - See
|Dale & White's Mill pond mentioned in
deed to Zevida Seals in 1806. White and Dale
received a grant in 1809. Notes are
not complete but the writer believes this was on the
Calfkiller and probably at or near the Simpson Mill.
|Daly's Mill Dam was a mile 11.9 above
the mouth of Barren Fork River.
|Denton, Sam - He operated a corn mill
on the Calfkiller six miles above Sparta.
According to Seal's History of White
County it was built between 1815 and 1820.
|Davis Mill was on the Davis farm in
Big Bottom and operated by the Davis family.
It may have been located on Gaston's
Branch as there was a mill there. Gaston Branch, Cold
Spring Branch, Suggs Branch and the Slough in Caney Fork
were on the Davis property.
Webmaster's note: As
page 50 of this book, "The mill was owned by Robert,
James, and Absolom Davis. It was conveyed by them to
David Davis." David Davis was the father of Jimmy
Davis, father of George Vergil Davis, father of Mary Ruth
Davis Haston, mother of Wayne Haston (webmaster of this
|Dillon's Mill Tract referred to Carter
Dillon's mill tract on the north side of Caney Fork,
mentioned in a deed of 1882, being on the
first small branch below the Tosh Mill. It is the same
property referred to in a deed in 1929 described as
Cove Spring Branch on Caney Fork.
|Drake - See
Brady & Haston Mill.
|Drake, Carter Mill - See
on Cane Creek.
|Drake, Elijah - See
mill at Laurelburg
on Rocky River.
|Drake, Elijah - Grant of 1815, entered
1814, referred to Elijah Drake Mill Dam on
Laurel Creek. The mill was still
operating in 1884 and known as Grissoms Mill.
|Driskolls Still House mentioned in
1848 deed was on the east side of Calfkiller River
near the old Harriet Iron Works.
|Echols Mill - See