The Heritage of Daniel Haston


The Caney Fork of the Cumberland
Old Mills, F through L - Pages 41-45
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Old Mills and the People Who Built and Operated Them
on the Caney Fork River and Tributaries - F through

Falcon Flour Mill on Barren Fork immediately down stream from the Railroad Bridge was

built on land purchased by Asa Faulkner in 1880.  He sold a one-half interest to Jesse Walling in 1885 and the remainder in 1887.  After that date it was called the Falcon Roller Mill.  One source states that the first mill was established in 1879.

Falls City Cotton Mill - The story in this section is really the second chapter in the

development of power at Great Falls.

Asa Faulkner purchased the property formerly belonging to the Cunningham family in 1881.  This included most of the land between the Caney Fork and Collins River.  In 1883 he bought a one-half interest in the Bosson property across Caney Fork.  He, together with Clay Faulkner, Jesse Walling and H.L Walling had a wheel pit dug and a low diversion dam built at the Falls.  James McGiboney installed a saw mill and grist mill for the owners and was employed to operate it.  The owners erected a timber bridge across the mouth of Collins river and a log toll house on the hill above the saws mill.  Later a frame house was erected on the river side of the road closer to the bridge.  This house was erected on the river side of the road closer to the bridge.  This building was used as a construction office during the building of the power dam.  It was torn down in 1927.  Mr. McGiboney sawed out all the timbers and lumber for the bridge and houses.

A small community grew up in the area and was called "Falls City."  The Spring of 1892 saw the first real boom for Falls City.  The Falls City Cotton Mill Company was chartered with a capital of $30,000 to "manufacture, spin, weave, bleach, dye, print, finish and sell all goods of every kind made of wool and cotton."  A three story brick mill was erected by the Company.  The brick were burned on the hill and a short distance upstream from the mill.  The Company also purchase the toll bridge from Asa Faulkner.

The Mill was heavy for its "Heavy sheeting."  There was a Post Office, store and other structures at Falls City although all are gone.  The mill furnished employment to citizens of the neighborhood and the little community thrived and grew.  Then came that memorable Good Friday in March 1902 when the heavens opened up and rain came down in torrents. The mighty Caney Fork, like a dog which had been straining at it's leash, suddenly broke loose.  The raging torrent sweeping down off the mountains carrying death and destruction before it swept away the wheel house and the Collins River Bridge as well as every other mill on the river.  The old river had gained one more victory over man thus ending the second chapter in the development of power at Great Falls.  Easter Sunday in 1902 was a lovely clear day but for the citizens of Falls City things looked very gloomy even though they knew in their hearts that the old river would some day be conquered.

Falls City Cotton Mill
This mill, sometimes referred to as the Great Falls Cotton Mill, was located at the Great Falls of the Caney Fork River.  Heavy cotton sheeting was the best known product.

Falls City Cotton Mill
[Note: This photo was not in Mr. Crouch's book.]

The original wood block used to stamp the sheeting, using powdered bluing was found in a trash heap under the mill by the writer about 1928 and was given to the McMinnville Public Library.  The sketch below was taken from an old envelope.

Falls City Cotton Mills

Falls City Cotton Mill

Part of the flowing water was diverted towards the river bank and into a channel behind the stone wall.  The water then flowed into the wood flume which carried it into a recess cut in the bluff.  It then flowed into the water chamber in which a turbine was mounted.  The turbine shaft extended up into the horizontal shed above.  A rope pulley connected the turbine shaft with another under the sloping roof.  Again a rope belt was used to connect with the main drive shaft in the mill.  Power was transferred to various parts of the building with belts and shafts.

Fall City Post Office was located in one of the buildings to the east of the Mill.

Faulkner, Asa - Erected a cotton mill on Charles Creek in 1846.  It operated till the War after

which it was converted to a cotton gin.  This may be the same as the Central Factory cotton mill built by T.H. Faulkner.

Faulkner Woolen Mills on Charles Creek was established in 1773 [1873?] by T.H. and his brother,

Clay.  Clay bought out his brother's interest in 1877.  It was called The Mountain City Woolen Mill at that time.  In 1887 new machinery was installed the plant was known as the Clay Faulkner Woolen Mill.

Faulkner, Asa - See Woodman Cotton Mills on Barren Fork for power rights and mills at

McMinnville owned and built by Faulkner.

Galloway's Mill on Laurel creek, 200 feet above a foot bridge and 100 feet above the ford

where the Spencer Road crossed Laurel Creek.  The Dam was 7 feet high.  This description was taken from one of the H.M. Bylessby & Co. maps and covered conditions as they were about 1910-12.  J.J. Galloway owned the mill at that time.  H.C. McCoy and Daniel Tosh owned adjacent property.

Gaston's Mill Branch in Big Bottom - See Davis Mill.
Glenn's Grist Mill - Goodspeed, p. 799-80 mentions that William Glenn built a grist mill on

Calfkiller about 1815.  The writer believes that this mill was located above the falls of the Calfkiller and above the Harriett Iron Works and may be the same location as the Jett Mill site. - See Jett Mill

Goodbar's Mill on Rocky River downstream from the concrete arch bridge on the Spencer Road.

A deed from Gardner & Co. to J.M. Goodbar in 1865 mentions and includes the mill, storehouse and tan yard.  Goodbar's Mill mentioned in a deed of 1871.  Some additional land was transferred to Wm. Goodbar in 1872.  The property was sold to Geo. E. Kell in 1878, to Harmon York and Jacob Stipes in 1880 and York's share to Stipes in 1882.

After that the following transfers were made: to I.A. Justice 1884, to H.R. Gribble mentions grist mill 1888, J.J. Walker 1900, A.L. Johnson 1902, Victor A. Russell mentions Roller Mill 1906, A.L. Johnson 1909, T.F. Page 1910 and D.T. Johnson 1910.

Graham's Still House mentioned in Big Bottom in 1843 deed.  It was on the south side of the

river.  There were a number of orchards in that area but no signs of them in 1923 except a few scattered trees.

Gribble's Mill - See Goodbar's Mill.
Grizles & Wisly Wilson Grist Mill on Barren Fork near McMinnville.
Great Falls Saw Mill- See Falls City Cotton Mill.
Grissom's Mill on Laurel Creek - See Drake's Mill.
Harrison's Mill Creek was a small tributary of the Calfkiller River near Taylor's Factory.
Hill & Savage Mill built about 1807 was probably one of the first, if not the first mill to be

built in Warren County.  Henry J. Hill and Jesse Savage built the mill on Indian Village (Hill) Creek, a tributary of Collins River.

Harriet Iron Works was located on the left bank of the Calfkiller River about one mile down

stream from Sparta and above the falls of the Calfkiller River.  Isaac Swindle and Armstead Stubblefield, Ass'ee of Jesse Swindle, received 514 acres on both sides of the river by Grant 2813 Jan. 12, 1811, Entered Aug. 7, 1807 on N.C. warrant No. 106 dated Dec. 12, 1804.  Surveyed in 1809.  This grant included the falls and land on which a future hydroelectric plant and a cotton mill would be built.  Either both of the men or one of them immediately built and operated the iron works.

George Matlock and Robert Allen purchased the property at a Sheriff's sale in 1812, including the Harriet Iron Works, land on the Calfkiller River and 50 acres on the Caney Fork River including an iron ore bank.

The project was operated for a few years under the name "Rice & Herbert" as indicated in a deed from Thomas Herbert, dec'd to his wife Sarah Herbert through the County court June 10, 1817.  It included the Harriet Iron Works and a grist mill and saw mill.

The property was involved in a great deal of litigation and property transfers during the next 40 years.  An 1849 deed to John B. Rodgers refers to "the old Harriet Iron Works" indicating that the mill was no longer in operation.  John W. Simpson received the property in 1855 which included "the Harriet Iron Works."

A deed of 1853 refers to the Minton Factory House which may be the Cotton Mill which operated for a number of years prior to the Civil War.  It was located on the right bank of the river on the side of the hill and about opposite the site of the hydroelectric  plant which was built later. During the Civil War the machinery was moved south for safety and never returned. A deed from John B. Rodgers to the Sparta Manufacturing Co. gave the Company the right to repair the old bridge or build a new one.  This was located downstream from the plant.  Foundations of the cotton mill and slag heaps at the iron works were still visible and seen by the writer in 1927.

For the further use of this property see "Sparta Hydro Electric Plant" under the general heading "Electric Power Plants."

Hill, (J.A.) Mill - See Simpson's Mill on Calfkiller River.
Iron Forge Mill - A grist mill on Rocky River located downstream from the Iron Forge

described in the next item.  It was owned and operated in conjunction with the Forge.

Iron Forge - On the left bank of Rocky River a short distance below the Rowland Ford,

sometimes referred to as the Hash Ford or the Indian Ford.  Larkin Baker received a grant entered in 1826 for 50 acres on Rocky River.  He, according to available information was the man who built and first operated the iron works.  Thomas Mayberry sold 15 acres including the Iron Works to James Miller in 1832 and sold 30 acres to James Miller and John Cain, including the Iron Works in 1833.  (There is an apparent duplication here.)

*Printed note from margin: "James William Wallington Miller, son Abrm. Miller II, Bro. Cyrus Miller."

James Miller* conveyed to John B. Rodgers in 1835 a one-half interest in the Iron Works and 30 acres of land on which it stood and also sold 100 acres of land owned by Miller and 15 acres originally purchased from Larkin Baker.  He in turn conveyed the property to his brother Dr. A.C. Rodgers in 1860.  This deed calls for "the iron works."  The next deed, to Dewitt and Horace L. Rodgers, made reference to "acres known as the Forge tract."  A man named Nelson was also a partner and was the last man to operate the Forge.  After the War the place was usually referred to as "Nelson's Forge."  One source refers to a bridge at the above location but the fact may be open to question.  The ore was found in small pockets in the land around Squire George H. Hash's farm.  Many excavations could still be identified in the 1920's.  It is understood that operations ceased prior to the Civil War.

See the Walker Story on the following page. [that is, the following page of the book, but in section below of this website page, "A Man Takes His Pay in Iron Billets"]

See Pitt's Bottom Iron Works also located near Rock Island.

A Man Takes His Pay in Iron Billets
John Jefferson Walker, Sr., father of the former Mayor, J.J. Walker, of McMinnville, applied for work at the Iron Forge during its last years of operation. John was not much more than a boy and lived about 7 miles from the Forge.  The owners agreed to pay him in iron instead of cash which was in short supply.  It was agreed that he could take what he could carry, walking, each day.  He carried at least one 25 pound billet each day and stored the iron in an old smoke house.  He would not sell any iron.  He told the family that the mill was bound to close down soon and then there would be a demand for iron for its many uses on the farm.  The Forge closed down and in about a year he began selling at a very good price in small lots.  He invested his profits in excellent white oak timber land saying he could wait a little and then sell off the timber at a good profit.  This he did.
Jett's Mill Dam This mill must have been above the Harriet Iron Works.  There is a reference

in 1812 to the Jett lands on Calfkiller River.  Jett sold to a Mr. Connor in 1830 and the Jett Mill Shoals is mentioned.  In 1884 the Jett heirs sold "the Mill site" to S.D. Wallace.  The writer was not able to get any definite information in the late 1920's and was of the opinion then that the mill did not operate for any long period.  See page 50 [not sure what is being referred to on page 50, which would be toward the bottom of the following web page].

Laurelburg Mill on Rocky River.  This mill site included a grist mill and saw mill.  The mill

buildings were on the right bank and at one time a store was operated in connection with the mill.  Elijah Drake lived on Rocky River prior to 1826.  He probably built the mill.  A grant in 1846 to Abraham Drake, assignee of Elijah Drake Jr. mentions "a Mill tract" and also refers to "Drake's Mill."  James Walling was the owner of the mill at the time the first surveys for the Great Falls Project were made in 1911-12.

Lost Creek Mill was located on Lost Creek in White County and was one of the early grist

mills in that County.  It is mentioned in Morris' Universal Geography and was built before 1808.

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