Early Mills

Previous to 1809 the settlers of Giles County were compelled to go to mill in Williamson County, or crush the corn into meal by means of the mortar, as there were no mills at that period in the county. In that year, however, Nathaniel Moody erected a small waterpower corn-mill on Robertson Fork, one-half mile south of Old Lynnville. Soon afterward Robert Buchanan built a water-power grist-mill on Buchanan Creek, and at about the same time George Cunningham built one on Richland Creek; Hardy Hightower built one on Bradshaw Creek; John White built one on Robertson Fork, near what was afterward Buford's Station; Jacob Bozler built one on Big Creek and John Williams built one on the south ride of Elk River, near where Norvell's mill was afterward erected, all of which were common corn-mills of water-power. Lewis Brown built the first horse-power mill in 1810. After Pulaski had been selected as the county seat, Nathaniel Moody moved his mill to a point near town on Richland Creek. This was in 1811, and during the same year, Clacks or Mayfield's mill was built on the same stream, about one mile below Mount Moriah Church, and John Laird built a mill on Lynn Creek. James Cox built & water-power mill on Sugar Creek in 1818, which was afterward known as Malone's mill, and during the same year James Paisley built a horse-power mill in the Shoal Creek neighborhood, and Elijah Ruthony [correction: Elijah Anthony *] built a water-power mill on Sugar Creek.

The powder used in the early days by the settlers was all manufactured within the county. One of the first powder-mills built in the county was owned by Daniel Allen, and stood near Allen's Spring, since known as Wright's Spring, a few miles northwest of the present site of Campbellsville. John Williams also operated a powder-mill near the State line, one mile southwest from Elk Mount Springs, and James Ross owned one in the western part of the county. The saltpeter used by these manufacturers was obtained from different sources, principally from a cave near Campbell's Station in Maury County.

Many of the early settlers brought with them cotton seed, and though at first only small patches of that useful article were grown from a production for home consumption only, it soon grew into one of the largest crops produced in the county, forming one of the chief exports, and as such continues at the present. Cotton gins were soon established, and today the county is dotted over with them. One of the first cotton gins built in the county was that of Lester Morris , and was erected in 1810 near Rebobeth Church. The power at first was furnished by hand, but later on the gin was enlarged and converted into horsepower. The first waterpower gin was built in 1811 or 1812 on Lynn Creek, by John Laird. Soon afterward John Henderson built a waterpower gin on a branch about a mile south of Cornersville, now in Marshall County, and Maj. Hurlston built a waterpower gin on Dry Creek.

The mills and cotton-gins in the county at present are as follows, by districts: First District-Jacob Morrell has a steam saw-mill and cotton-gin; John Brown has a water-power grist-mill on Ragsdale Creek; S. H. Morrell has a water-power grist-mill on same creek; R. L. Donnevan has a water-power grist-mill on Sinking Creek; and J. N. Ruder, Edward Copeland, W. F. Smith, James Arnett, Thomas E. Dailey, Thomas Whitfield, A. R. Garrison, L. J. Bledsoe and Dr. Patterson each have one-horse-power cotton-gin. Second District-James Rivers has a water-power grist-mill on Richland Creek; M. B. McCallister has a water-power grist-mill on Elk River; Smith & Bell have a steam saw-mill near Prospect, and cotton-gins are too numerous in the district to mention, there being not less than twenty-five or thirty, each farm of any consequence owning its own gin. Third District-Thomas E. Smith has a steam saw and grist-mill and cotton-gin combined; Joseph Edmunson has a similar mill, and Owen, English & Fowler have a steam saw and grist-mill; and Sterling Brownlow and Isaac Casey have each a horse-power cotton-gin. Fourth District-Graves & Dougherty have a steam saw and grist-mill, and James Marbett has a horse-power cotton-gin. Fifth District-James Patrick has a water-power corn and wheat-miIl and cotton-gin on Shoats Creek, and J. E. Pryor, S. C. Johnson, James Tidwell, A. W. Parker and Felix Petty each have horse-power cotton-gins. Sixth District-The Vale Mills, corn and cotton-gin, water-power, on Richland Creek; Babe Nance has a steam saw-mill, and Elihu Coffman and William Edwards each have steam cotton-gins; David Shore [correction: David Shores **] , Samuel Williamson, Samuel Hower, James Short, Wiley Rogers and William Morris each have horse-power cotton-gins. Seventh District-W. I. Rainey and Mrs. Elder have water-power grist-mills on Richland Creek, and T. B. Wade has a horse-power cotton-gin. Eighth District-F. D. Aymett has a water-power grist-mill on Leatherwood Creek, and John M. Aymett, F. D. Aymett, Giles Reynolds, George Suttle and Thomas Harwell have horse-power cotton-gins. Ninth District-Andrew Chambers has a water-power flour, grist and saw-mill combined; Bud Morrell has a water-power corn-mill on Richland Creek; Jacob Morrell has a flour and grist water-mill on Elk River, and C. 0. Bull, R. I. Baugh, E. N. Grigsby, John R. Beasley, Gray Hopkins, Wilburn M. Stephenson, James Scruggs, Marion Ellison and James Rivers have cotton-gins, all of which are of horse-power, except those of Baugh and Rivers. Tenth District- J. K. Craig has a horse-power cotton-gin. Eleventh Dirtrict-Joseph Parsons has a steam flour and grist-mill; William Abernathy has a water-power grist-mill on Buchanan Creek, and Monroe Smith has a horse-power cotton-gin. Twelfth District- T. S. Williamson has a steam saw and grist-mill; J. M. Young has a water-power flour and grist-mill on Richland Creek; W. T. Copeland has a steam gristmill and cotton-gin combined, and T. B. Wade, G. S. White, John Phillips, B. T. Reynolds, Frank Bramlett, William Rivers, Robert Rhodes and James Buford have cotton-gins, all with one exception, Wade's, being of horse-power. Thirteenth District- J. T. Steele has a waterpower flour, corn and sawmill combined on Big Creek; Joshua Morris has a waterpower corn and sawmill on the same creek, and Mrs. Buford and Mrs. Rhae have horsepower cotton gins. Fourteenth District- L. Alexander has a flour, corn and saw-mill, water and steam-power, on Big Creek; Capt. Watson has a water-power flour and grist-mill on Brownlow Creek; A. Williams has a water-power wheat and corn-mill on Factory Creek, and Isaac Yokely and Mow Hays have horse-power cotton gins. Fifteenth District- Joseph Goldman and Griffis Bros., each have water-power grist-mills on Robertson Fork; Mrs. Fry has a water-power grist-mill on Lynn Creek; Wilkes & Calvert have a steam-power cotton-gin, and B. F. Walker has a horse-power cotton-gin. Sixteenth District- Horse-power cotton gins are owned by Ephraim Gordon, Hugh Topp, Mack Dougherty, David Simmons, G. H. McMillan and Thomas Spofford. Seventeenth District- J. M. Gordon and R. F. Jackson have horsepower cotton gins. Eighteenth District- Levi Reed has a waterpower gristmill on Egnew Creek; John Rector has a steam sawmill, and Henry Purger has a horsepower cotton gin. Nineteenth District- J. M. Parker and Sam Collins have horsepower cotton gins. Twentieth District- J. M. Brownlow has a steam sawmill, and J. H. McCormick has a horsepower cotton gin.

* Correction by M Kelly
** Correction by Buddy Shores