OLD MILLS OF LEE COUNTY

Contributed by Karen Holt

On the left is an artist rendition of what that mill might have looked like when in operation / on the right is an actual photo of the old mill

Reverend Joseph Emmert and his son-in-law Christian Lahman came from Washington County, Maryland in 1843 looking for natural resources suitable for construction and operation of a grist mill. Their success would be measured by their ability to combine hard work with creative use of abundant resources such as water, wood, and soil. Surprisingly, they selected a mill site a half mile from their water source. Their project required excavating a long raceway and a mill pond. The location required a tremendous amount of earth moving accomplished by horse power and hand shovel. The site was chosen because of its accessibility by customers and the virtual elimination of flood and ice damage. The mill completed in 1847, this early American corn meal and wheat flour producing mill was the largest and most complete grist mill in Lee County . Although the mill changed hands several times over the years, it was abandoned as a mill about 1896. The original mill was torn down in 1930 leaving very little trace of the mill remains today.

Photos and information contributed by Karen Swegle Holt whose father was very involved as one of the volunteers who helped with the reconstruction of the Mill. Karen and her daughter assisted by designing brochures for the Mill. The mill is Located in Franklin Creek State Nature Preserve, a reconstruction of the mill began in the fall of 1992 was completed in the fall of 1999 and is open to the public.


Fitting epitath for the Rockyford Mill on Green river near Amboy appeared under this title in The Telegraph of February 21, 1914, by Herbert Conner, Amboy artist, who also made this sketch.

Situated in a pastoral setting of wood and stream, the stone structure had been erected in 1842 as a sawmill and was made into a distillery by Frederick Dutcher, Lee county pioneer, in 1848.

In its last days the mill was used as a storehouse, barn and residence.

Razing of the stone structure began on New Years Day, 1914 and 700 loads of stone were taken from the old building to build a stone road in May township.

Waggish citizens called the old mill " the Amboy public library."




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