Saturday, February 26, 2011

John Thomas "Tap" Scarce (seated at right) was a long time miller at Lanier's Mill. His first child was born there in 1890. The youngest girl in this circa-1905 photograph is Jenny Alice Scarce (born 1901) who later married Lennie James Boaze. Jenny is the girl in the white dress who came with Tap to survey the destruction of Lanier's Mill in 1923. About 1910, Tap and family moved to Trelow Mill on Sandy River. Trelow is between Brosville and Soapstone. (more on Trelow: ).

This is the scene at Lanier's Mill on April 21, 1923. The mill was completely destroyed by a violent storm. Huge twelve-by-twelve beams were shattered and parts of the mill landed miles away.

Kevin Hawke grew up near Lanier's Mill where his grandmother Mae Simpson settled after she was married in 1940. On February 26, 2011, Kevin showed me the area around the ruins of Lanier's Mill on Sandy River. Mrs. Simpson told Kevin that the old store next to her house had not operated since she lived there. A large store called "Pennell's Sore" operated a short distance up the hill on the other side of the road across from the old Lanier's Mill site. A "cyclone" destroyed the old 1881 mill in April of 1923, the year that Kevin's grandmother was born. She just recently died.

Pennel's Old Store. In 1920, Cass Pennel was a miller at Lanier's Mill. In 1930, he was operating this store.
Kevin Hawke and his aunt Melanie Cockram at Mae Simpson's house next to the small store building.

Kevin at the falls of Sandy Creek. He loved this place when he was growing up.
Mrs. Bobbitt lives across the road from where a water-powered grist mill operated for more that two hundred years. She has an old tool for sharpening the millstone which was found near the mill. Near her house is an old farm bell set in the center of the upper millstone which ground corn and wheat at Lanier's Mill. The large stone probably weight over half a ton.

The Lanier's Mill millstone. The mill foundation is on the opposite side of the road here. There was a massive dam and large mill pond on nearby Sandy Creek.
Petrified wood from the creek below the Lanier's Mill site. The Sandy Creek rushes over ancient sandstone which is the edge of the Triassic Age of 200 million years ago, so they say. This fall of the creek created a perfect location for a water-powered mill. The first mill here was built in 1788. I'm more than a little bit skeptical of the ability of scientists to measure 200 years, but there is an abundance of petrified wood which is from a time when the entire area was under a great sea.

This is the tool which was used to sharpen the groves in the millstone. This is the upper stone which is upside-down here. A shaft came through a hole in the lower stone to turn this stone. The lower stone remained stationary.
The mill was built on bedrock seen at right in this photograph. The mill was probably twenty-some feet above the creek. It was probably fire that destroyed other mills at this site. Above this dam is the remains of a tall wooden dam and the earthen wings on the right bank of Sandy Creek.

More views of the smaller store near the forks of the roads to Franklin Turnpike and Mount Cross Road:

The old door at the Simpson house. The wood is mortised through the wood at right.