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Spiceland's Stone Quarry Mills

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A Short History of One of the Most Interesting Spots in Henry County

By T. L. Dickerson
New Castle Democrat, 1902

      This mill is one of the oldest and best known, in a word among the best sites in Henry county. It antedates all other flouring mills and the pioneer settlers came on horseback with their contributions to be ground into bread stuff, even the barefooted boys who rode on sheep skins. The original mill was first located about 1835 or '36. It was a little log building just north of the present mill built by a man named Dawson and run for a few years and did considerable grinding as there was no other corn cracker for miles around, hence it was a ground hog case, patronize the Stone Quarry Mills or do without bread. Soon after, other mills started up north and south and this little mill in time went down.
      Several years elapsed when Cammack and Jessup built a saw mill on the site of the original Stone Quarry grist mill. Using the excellent water power this site possesses, which made it convenient to the sellers who could afford to build frame houses.
      During the Civil war Henry Cammack, Robert Dunn and Jenkins Kennard bought this splendid mill site and built the present magnificent mill. It was then a buhr mill and a portion of the grinding material came from France. This mill was completed and commenced running in the fall of 1864, the mill and fixtures costing $16,000. The first wheat was 2,000 bushels purchased from Jabez Hodson at $3 per bushel. The next harvest wheat commanded $2 per bushel and the following spring it was sold for only $1 per bushel. Farmers who held their crops for "war prices" lost heavily by not selling at the proper time. About the year1866 the proprietors who went into this milling venture concluded milling was not a paying business, and at the first opportunity sold out their interest.
      Our informant told us that this celebrated mill has changed hands many times since the unpleasantness between the states. Of those who have interested themselves in this milling enterprise were Isaac Trout, David Jessup, Nathan Ballenger, John Small and Robert Hodson, all good citizens, but the venture did not prove a financial success.
      The present owner is William Hodson, he having inherited it from his father. Within the past few years Mr. Hodson has remolded the mill and added a large amount of modern machinery for making roller flour, besides adding the upper Hodson mill to it, which makes it complete in fixtures and one of the best and most flourishing mills on Blue river. Mr. Hodson and his jolly miller are quite popular and they render splendid satisfaction, the women folks for miles around will not use any other brand of flour, hence he is making a flattering success.
      The locality know as "Stone Quarry Mills" is an ideal spot for picnics and camping parties, the picturesque scenery and romantic surroundings make it available for lovers to seek this secluded spot to pop the question and be made sublimely happy. Two accomplished lady artist, one from Chicago and one from New Castle spent several weeks last summer making landscape views of the charming scenery near the Stone Quarry Mills.
      The greater part of Henry county from a geological standpoint was at one period under the glacial invasion, and the stone monuments are silent souvenirs of their numerous presence through the varied cycles of time.
      In our observations while touring over the county only one locality shows the presence of sedimentary limestone, and that spot is near the Stone Quarry Mills on Blue river, a few miles from Knightstown. There was once a limestone quarry at this place and tons upon tons of flat rock taken from it. Much of the material used in bridge abutments along the "old National road" came from this quarry. In our grandfathers days lime was buried there. This deposit of sedimentary limestone is rich in fossils of the Hudson river group, and some beautiful specimens of trilobites of the Calemenia Senaria Niagaraensis have been found by naturalist.

T. L. Dickerson

2001 UEB


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