Tag Archives: North Georgia Mills

Nora Mill, Circa 1876, Sautee-Nacoochee

Built in 1876 by John Martin, a gold miner who decided to stay in the valley, Nora Mill got is present name when purchased by Dr. Lamartine Hardman around 1903. He christened it Nora Mill to honor the memory of his sister.

Instead of the typical water wheel usually associated with milling, Nora Mill utilizes a turbine, fed by a raceway, and gravity, to grind the grain. The 1500-lb. French Burr millstones have been turning out product for nearly 150 years.

In the early 1980s retired Army Lieutenant Colonel Ron Fain leased the mill from the Hardman family and thereafter revived it. His family continues to operate it to this day. The third and fourth generation of the family (Joann Fain Tarpley and husband Rich) run it today.

Tommy Martin has been the manager for many years and is glad to talk about the process and the history of the mill with visitors. His enthusiasm for the place certainly makes you want to return again and again. He told me that the corn meal is popular far and wide, and that Shaquille O’Neal had recently placed a large order for his new restaurant in Los Angeles.

Nacoochee Valley Historic District, National Register of Historic Places

 

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Filed under --WHITE COUNTY GA--, Helen GA, Sautee-Nacoochee GA

Dennis Mill, Circa 1869, Murray County

The Dennis community which grew up around this historic gristmill was one of the earliest settlements in this section of Northwest Georgia. It was named for Dennis Johnson, who was an early mill operator and postmaster. One of the grindstones indicates that it may have been originally known as Cohutta Mills but this is unclear. Electrified in the 1940s, the mill operated on a limited basis until the 1950s. The original structure survives and is the centerpiece of a property that today includes two wonderful rental cabins on the banks of Rock Creek, known as Dennis Mill Cabins and Events.

 

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Filed under --MURRAY COUNTY GA--, Dennis GA

Starr’s Mill, 1907, Fayette County

A grist mill was first established here in 1825  by Hananiah Gilcoat. Whitewater Creek was less than a mile from the Creek Nation and the area was a frontier at the time. The mill changed hands numerous times over the first few decades of its existence until it was purchased by Hilliard Starr in 1866.  In the 13 years that Starr operated the mill, he made a lasting impression on the surrounding community, which would come to bear his name.

The present mill, the third to be sited on the mill foundation at Whitewater Creek, was built by William T. Glower to replace its predecessor which was destroyed by a fire. By this time, the mill was also powering a sawmill and a dynamo which powered nearby Senoia. The mill was operational until 1959.

 

 

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Filed under --FAYETTE COUNTY GA--, Starr's Mill GA

Fielder’s Mill, Junction City

Making Grits at Fielder's Mill Junction City GA Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2013

The historic Fielder’s Mill, one of the oldest continuous businesses in Talbot County, takes center stage at the annual Plantation Days in Talbot. It was built in 1930 on the site of the John Downs grist mill. There’s been a mill at this same location since the 1840s. The original mill was located on the far end of the present dam over the run of Patsiliga Creek. The timbers and foundation of the old site remain today.

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After a fire, the new mill was moved to the west end of the dam in 1930. The mill is powered by a Leffel-type turbine producing about 25 horsepower. Mike Buckner produces great cornmeal, grits, and flour at this water-powered mill.

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I believe my father began buying corn meal from Mike in the 1980s, when he was running to Manchester on the railroad. My family has used it ever since; it’s just not an option to run out as nothing comparable can be found in any grocery store.

Grinding Grits Junction City GA Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2013

Here’s something from the Fielder’s Mill Cookbook, compiled by Mike & Debbie Buckner in 1994.

Washing Grits

Measure the amount of grits you wish to cook. Put grits in a deep bowl (I use a deep Cool Whip bowl for as many as 4-6 servings) and add plenty of warm water. Stir grits. Bran and specks will float to the top of the water; tilt the bowl to one side and pour the water and bran off. Do this procedure several times, usually three times or until the grits are “clean”. Place grits in a boiler, adding enough water to cover well. Cook on low heat for about 45 minutes. The water will cook out soon after heating; add more water or for a creamier taste add milk. There is more involved in cooking the course ground grits; however, the taste and added advantage of more dietary fiber make them an excellent substitute for quick grits. It seems the longer grits are cooked, the better they are, but you will have to add more liquid and stir them to prevent sticking. There are a number of variables so you may have to experiment and try cooking these grits a couple of times before you master their creamy goodness.

For busy cooks, try the Crock Pot Grits:

Wash grits as described above and place in the crock pot with appropriate amount of water, salt and butter before retiring for the night. Turn the crock pot on low and allow the grits to cook about 10 hours. Wake up the next morning to creamy grits. (If the grits are too stiff add water or milk-stir).

Photographed at Harvest Days in Old Talbot, Patsiliga Plantation, 2013

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Filed under --TALBOT COUNTY GA--, Junction City GA

O’Quinn’s Mill, Circa 1807, Baldwin County

baldwin county ga historic oquinns mill photograph copyright brian brown vanishing south georgia usa 2016

Little information is available about this historic grist mill located on Town Creek. A sign notes that it was established in 1807 by Colonel Thaddeus Holt (misspelled Thaddus on an identifying sign on the property), and I believe the present structure likely dates to that time. A Baldwin County deed book records his sale of 2000 acres on Town Creek on the first Tuesday in May 1812 and this grist mill was included in the sale. Colonel Holt, who was married to Martha Goode, owned numerous slaves, grist and saw mills, a ferry, and even a toll bridge. He served on the Georgia General Assembly in 1809, was a captain in the Georgia Militia, and a lieutenant colonel in the War of 1812. He was known to be quite feisty, having participated in several duels in his lifetime. On 10 October 1813 he was ambushed and shot by John “Whiskey” Jones and died on 14 October from his wounds. A Baltimore Patriot & Evening Advertiser notice of the event follows but the paper’s confidence in Colonel Holt’s ability to recover proved unfounded: On Thursday last, Thaddeus Holt was shot through the body, (supposed with a rifle bullet) which entered below the breast bone and came out just under the right shoulder blade. He received the wound in Oconee Swamp on the way to his lower plantation by John Jones, (Whiskey.) It is worthy of remark, that early in Col. Holt’s life, he fought a man, both armed with knives, in which affair both were badly cut to pieces. In Kentucky, in a duel, he wounded through the leg; and directly after in many Indian skirmishes. Afterwards he was shot through the neck; and in the year ’95 had his mouth shot to pieces in a duel – all of which he survived, and lives to agonize his present wound, from which it is probable he will recover, being the 4th day since it was received. Colonel Holt was the grandfather of Captain Thaddeus Goode Holt, Jr, a well-known Confederate cavalryman and the great-great-grandfather of tobacco heiress Doris Duke.

baldwin county ga historic oquinns mill deepstep road photograph copyright brian brown vanishing south georgia usa 2016 2

Please note that this is located on private property and there is no public access other than the right of way.

 

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Filed under --BALDWIN COUNTY GA--

Millmore Mill, Circa 1800, Hancock County

Millmore Baxter Sparta Mill Shoulderbone Creek Hancock County GA Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing North Georgia USA 2015

Located on historic Shoulderbone Creek at Georgia Highway 77, this landmark grist mill has had several names, including Baxter’s Mill, Sparta Mill, and Millmore Mill. A mill at this location has served the community for over 200 years, though its early history is a bit unclear. The area was the site of an unofficial treaty between pioneer settlers and Creek Indians. It’s truly one of the most beautiful places in Georgia.

I was thrilled to hear from Martha Harris, who writes: …I am a direct descendant and live one mile from “Harris’s Mill” up 77. My people built the current structure and owned it up until the 40’s, maybe, need to check my documents. Growing up as a child, we knew it as “Millmore Milling Company” owned by the Lovejoys…….it was operating during my childhood from the 50’s till mid 70’s, I think or 80’s. Some of my reference material says that the original mill by the Baxter’s burned…

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Filed under --HANCOCK COUNTY GA--, Shoulderbone GA

Ogeechee River Mill, 1932, Hancock County

Ogeechee River Mill Since 1847 Hancock County GA Historic Landmark Operational Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing North Georgia USA 2014

A big fan of Jack Leigh’s work, I was amazed to find this water-powered mill still operational and virtually unchanged in appearance from the time he photographed it in the mid-1980s for his iconic The Ogeechee: A River and Its People (UGA Press, Athens, 1986). The original mill was built in 1872; it was relocated and built on this site across the river after flooding in 1932. It is still operational but open only once or twice a month, I believe.

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Filed under --HANCOCK COUNTY GA--