Much of the time spent by early county court judges was in ordering and approving early roads. These trails ran from historic place to historic place in nearly a direct line. Many of these locations were mills. The records, however, do not describe the power source for some of the mills, nor the work done at the mill such as sawing, milling, grinding, carding, grain separating or cleaning, etc.
The exact site of some of the places has been lost. The descriptions given, if any, are not clear in current terminology. The following is a list of 22 mills in Daviess County, about which little more is known.
- Taylor McCully Mill 1839: This mill was construced by Jacob Groomer before 1840. The last reference was in 1860 when it was owned by Mary McCully. The first county trail northwest of Gallatin went to this site. This may be the first water-powered mill built in Daviess County. It was located in the west half of the southwest quater of Section 15 (T60N-R29W) and sold to Taylor McCully in August, 1839.
- Matthew Patton Mill 1841: This mill was first noted on May 10, 1841, when Charles Yates requested a Dram Shop license there. In June 1841 a road to the place was requested and approved by the court in December. The last reference found was in May 1847 when it was called the Sevier Mill. It was on North Big Creek, at the location of old town Pattonsburg.
- Lewis Watson Mill 1841: This mill was on North Big Creek just north of “Dry Deer Lick” at the southeast quarter of Section 16 (T61N-R28W). It was sold to Jonathon Watson in 1849 and last referenced in 1859.
- Cypress Creek Mill 1841: Location is not known. This mill may have also been called the Wlirte’s Mill when last noted in 1844.
- Harris Mill 1842: The only reference seems to place it in the northeast part of Daviess County.
- Hardin Stone Mill 1842: The mill was south of Gallatin on Marrow Bone Creek near the trail to Richmond. (See Mill #11)
- Jeremiah Lenhart Horse Mill 1842: This mill was reported in other records, in Monroe Township.
- Haptonstall’s Mill 1847: This mill was first called Haptins Falls Mill, near a place later called Alta Vista. It was also called the Smith Mill, Happenstall Mill, and the JMeremiah Lenhart Mill in 1858 and 1859. It has been reported to have been built by Vincent Smith in 1845 and burned in November, 1860. It was probably located on Lazy Creek in Section 19 (T59N-R29W) near an old road to Maysville.
- Gay’s Mill 1847: This mill was once reported on Mill Seat Branch in the northwest part of Daviess County.
- Barnett Dilley Mill 1851: The mill was on Sampson Creek near the trail from old Pattonsburg to Gentryville. It may have been built by William Patton in 1850 and was also called Cooper’s Mill in 1854 and Taylor’s Mill in 1856.
- Hardin Stone Mill 1851: This mill was reported once on Honey Creek south of Gallatin in December 1851. The exact location may be mistaken.
- Shriver’s Mill 1853: The mill is reported on Grand River and site is now known as “Mill Dam.” It may have been constructed by Samuel Crews and was sold to Andrew Shriver in May, 1854. It was mapped as the Daviess County Milling Company in 1876; it was first called the Shriver and Scott’s Mill in July, 1854.
- Jackson Township Mill 1854
- Netherton and Isaac’s Steam Mill 1856: This mill was reported on the west of the southeast corner of Section 12 (T61N-R26W) and near John and Harry Netherton’s land in 1859 and 1860.
- Craig’s Mill 1857: This may have been built by Uriah Craig on Dog Creek near Pool Ford (Surface Ford) on the trail from Gallatin to Mirabile.
- Liarley’s Mill 1857: This may have first been called Dave Brown’s Fish Trap in 1856 but known as Youtsey’s Mill on the Grand River in 1857. In 1865 the mill was on the trail from Salem to the Old Union Meeting Houts. May have been owned by Solomon “Lierley” who came to Lincoln Township in Daviess County from Illinois in 1856.
- Weldon’s Saw Mill 1857: Once reported near Haw Branch Ford, south of Honey Creek.
- Thornton S. Talbot Mill 1858: This mill was on the old bed of the Grand River where the trail from “Greasey” to Breckenridge crossed. The last reference was made in 1860.
- Steven’s Mill 1859: This mill was reported in 1859 on South Big Creek near Grand River.
- C.E. Morton Steam Saw Mill 1859: Reportedly located near Honey Creek south of Gallatin in 1859 and shown on the William Lewis land Section 4 (T58N-R27W) on the 1876 plat.
- Hill’s Steam Mill 1860: Reportedly at Aubrey Grove
- Weldon’s Mill 1862: Located on an old bed of the Grand River at Hobb’s Ferry in 1862. It was at Weldon’s Ford in 1863 and in 1864 Benedict Weldon was assessed for a $300 steam mill (no location given).
These “unknown” mills are in addition to the more widely known mills, such as the David Groom Mill, the Butler-Lewis Mill, and the Robert Peniston Horse Mill. There were also three steam saw mills shown on the 1876 plat pages not included in the list above.
Since there were no new mills found in the records up through 1865, research on this topic ceased with 1865.
— researched by David Stark, Gallatin; first published in the Gallatin North Missourian on March 7, 1990