McCully’s Mill along the Grindstone

There was an early settlement south of Grand River, near Grindstone Creek, in the summer of 1838. It may have also been called Miller’s Grove in some county records.

There was an early settlement south of Grand River, near Grindstone Creek, in the summer of 1838. It may have also been called Miller’s Grove in some county records.

This place was raided by the Mormons about the same time Gallatin and Millport were burned and looted. Danite leader Seymore Brunson (Brownson) lead the raid on “Grindstone Fork” and several Mormon researchers have asked me to locate this place.

So far, I can only guess where it was. It seems that Grindstone Creek ran out into the bottom land of Grand River and changed its flow about every flood. There was a point south on Grindstone where the course didn’t change and that place may have been the location of the first water-powered mill built in Daviess County.

There also may have been a still operated at that site in the early days, which also made it of interest to travelers. After 1840, the still was moved up the river a mile or so and shows on maps to be on the south bluff.

This mill is not to be confused with a place called Groomer’s Mill on Grand River. It was referred to in 1847 when it was being run by John McCully. There was a ferry license from time to time issued by the County Court for that location. A bridge was proposed for that spot in 1848 but rejected by the County Court.

In 1860, the place was the residence of Isaac McCully and Fayless McCully. It was generally known as the Dave Groomer Mill in later years and shows clearly in the 1876 county plat books.

I think the Grindstone Forks Mill was sold to Taylor McCully in the period 1839-41.

The first county roads north of Gallatin were constructed to this “Forks of Grindstone” location. In the court records (Book A, p. 59) there was a place in Daviess County first mentioned as Jacob Groomer’s Mill on Grindstone Fork.

The mill was discussed in connection with a proposed road leading from Gallatin to that place. Court members M.T. Green, James H. “Willson” and Adam Black ordered that two roads be constructed in what was then called Grindstone Township.

Road District No. 1 was to start at Grand Street in Gallatin and run northwest across the prairie, passing near William Prewett’s (north of Lake Viking), then west to Zachariah Clevenger’s (near the east side of I-35), then directly to Groomer’s Mill. This route was requested by Thomas P. Gilreath, Elizah Frost and William Roper. William Prewett was to oversee the work and could call on allotting Justice John Wright for funds and “hands.”

The court also approved Road District No. 2 and Vincent Smith was appointed overseer with the same authority. Road District No. 2 of Grindstone Township was to build a road running from Groomer’s Mill on Grindstone Fork southward, passing near the Mason W. Cope place, then to James McCoy’s place, then directly to the prairie at John Higgins’, then to intersect by nearest and best route to the east-west prairie road at Vincent T. Smith’s place.

I believe that the east-west prairie road ran from Gallatin toward what became the county line, just to the west of the old Black Cemetery. It ran just south of Smith Branch, northwest of Winston.

John Higgins held the SW 1/4 and W 1/2 of the SE 1/4 (S-20, T-59, R-29) in 1839. No land could be found owned by James McCoy.

Wiley Cope owned the W 1/2 (S-17, T-59, R-29) in 1839 and may be the Mason W. Cope referred to in the court records. That would be the land north of Owl Creek, south of KK Highway and northeast of Alta Vista. Road District No. 2 was petitioned by Vincent Smith and had 23 other signers and was to be “viewed and marked out” by John Cope, John A. Williams and John Wright.

The county court judges took the above action on March 4, 1840, on a Wednesday in the presence of Sheriff John Pinkerton and County Clerk Robert Wilson.

Jacob Groomer had made original entry to the W 1/2 of the SW 1/4 (S-15, T-60, R-29). This would be about a mile or more up Grindstone Creek from its current mouth on Grand River. He was known to be in Daviess County on March 10, 1838.

After the roads were built Sept. 28, 1840, Jacob Groomer purchased another 40 acres south of the original piece from Isaac Groomer, who had before sold Jacob another 40 acres, SE 1/4 of the SW 1/4 (S-15, T-60, R-29) in February 1840.

I would like to have more information about these families; more on the exact location of the mill; more on the power source for the mill; and more on its ues uses i.e. grist, saw, carting, etc.

This mill was called, in most records, the Taylor McCully Mill and the road record could be found on pages 59-63 of Book A of the County Court. Any historic records about this first water mill in the county could lead to a historic site development in later years.

Grindstone Creek runs so clear, clean and cool most of the year that this development would be made into a very nice stop for people going north or south on I-35 Highway.

Written by David Stark