Old Malvern Mill / Hough's Mill / Appel Mill
Hough’s Mill, a few mile south on Rock Creek, was built in 1839 by William P. Hiddleson on the west line of Section 26. It was called Hough’s Mill and is still standing today, but is known as Appel’s Mill. Hiddleson also put in a carding machine that prepared wool to be made into yarn by spinning. How the ladies would howl if they found sheep ticks in the wool they were spinning. One of their brave sons would have to put the ticks in the fire of the fireplace. Later, the mill was owned by Jacob Geyer, then his son, S.L. Geyer, and was known as Geyer’s Mill. After that it was run by B. Shriner, followed by Amos Grater (or Greater) who installed a set of rollers in 1885. The rollers were large stones with diagonal groves cut in them.
In the early 1900s George Appel ran the mill, followed by his son, John Appel. George Apple had only one eye and used to walk to our place north of White Pigeon to use our telephone to call Sylvester Zewiskee. I can’t tell you why he called Sylvester because my mother told me not to listen. I knew she meant it because she would close the door between the kitchen and the dining room where the phone was located and she didn’t listen either. John Appel installed an oat huller. He made oatmeal, cornmeal, white and whole wheat flour, rye flour, middlings, shorts, and bran as well as buckwheat flour. It was known as the Malvern Milling Company. He sold to stores locally and to New York City. In fact, he even shipped some to England. A barrel of flour weighed 140 pounds. Flour was sold locally in 49-pound calico-print sacks. After the sacks were empty, the women would make dresses and shirts out of them. Smaller amounts were put in paper bags stamped with the proper labeling. John Appel had a McCormick-Deering tractor motor in his mill to boost the power when he ground a truck load of feed. He also generated power for his own lighting system. He did a lot of grinding for our local farmers before the days when they all had their own grinders. Every couple of weeks we would load up a wagon load of grain, haul it to the mill with a team of horses, back up the load to the pit, and Mr. Appel would grind it into an over-bin. Then we would drive the team so the wagon would be under the chute and Mr. Appel would pull the slide. The ground feed would come scooting out. You have to be ready with a scoop shovel so the wagon didn’t overflow. You didn’t dare have a wagon full of oats because the wagon wouldn’t hold all the ground feed. You soon learned to have a bang board on one side. Hulled oats became very popular for the hog farmers. [The following excerpt came From "Some History of Whiteside County IL" Written by Landis Fay (1992)]
Jacobstown, Whiteside County was begun in 1836 with the construction of a simple sawmill by the inventor of the steampowered iceboat. The later mill and settlement around it were gone by about 1890. The stones from the mill are said to have been used to build a house in nearby Morrison. This picture was taken looking approximately north from the now wooded hillside on the east bank of Rock creek. Crosby Road parallels the other bank where a stagecoach route once ran. Norrish Rd. angled to the creek and the mill from the west. This picture was generously shared to accompany the article by Gladys and Lawrence Ludens, Morrison, whose home overlooks the former site of Old Jacobstown. Many thanks to them for their interest. [Excerpt from "The Prairie Advocate", Carroll County IL, March 30, 1988; Written by Caralee Aschenbrenner; Contributed by Alice Horner & Leroy Getz]
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