Business of DeWitt: Mills

From the end of January, 1880, until June, the Clinton County Advertiser ran a section called “Business of DeWitt” in which they tell quite a bit about the local businesses.

Since the days when the early settlers of Clinton County made their patent process flour in a coffee mill, or corn meal with a jack plane, or perhaps went a two or three days journey to a mill, DeWitt and immediate vicinity have made great strides in the milling interests, until we thing there is no town better supplied with mills of the first order than ours.

Within the limits of the town, and eligibly located near the the Chicago, Milwaukee and Saint Paul Railway, with a side track running to I., is the steam mill of J. E. TOWNSEND & CO which was built in 1875 by C. E. Dinehart and J. E. Townsend. The enterprise was liberally assisted by donations from the town and country, and we trust none of the donors have ever regretted the act, for it has been the means of drawing a large trade to our own town, which otherwise would have gone elsewhere. This mill is 30 by 40 feet in size, and three stories high above the basement. In addition is an engine room 16 by 45 feet, in which is a first class engine of 60 house power, which is ample to run the four sets of burrs, the entire cleaning and elevating apparatus, and the two corn shellers. In the basement are the “sinks” for storing wheat, and also the main line of shafting. On the ground floor are the 4 runs of burhs, the flour packers, the scales and office. On the next floor are the wheat garners, Victor smutter, cockle machine, one bolting chest with four reels, one single reel bolting chest, purifier and bins for feed. On the upper floor are the two cleaning machines, a separator, brush scourer and large purifier, feed cleaner and elevators.

In connection with the mill is a building for shelling corn, for grinding, and one for shelling and shipping. It is common to see customers at this mill from near Princeton, Davenport and Dixon in Scott county, and from any part of our own county, except the extreme eastern portion. The product is sold all along the line of the two railroads, and in DeWitt by Adam Bloom, T. J. Scallon, Kelley & O’Hern, C. W. Cressler & Co., Mrs. M. J. Hey, Ellis and Foster, E. Christiansen, Farmers’ store and J. C. Reed.

At Grand Mound it is sold by all the dealers, and at Calamus by Daman & Bros., R. Dreschler and J. W. Liebler. This mill makes four grades of flour, Winter wheat, Avalanche, XXXX and XXX. Coal and wood are kept constantly on sale and a large business is done in this branch.

The personnel of this establishment consists of J. E. Townsend, the general business manager, who is business all over, and is always “on the go,” A. W. Barton, an experienced miller, who has a way of sending his customers away satisfied and happy; D. W. Bird, delivery clerk, who is on duty early and late, and is well adapted to his position; and the faithful F. G. Townsend, the engineer, who furnishes the motive power which drives the whole business. This mill is a liberal patron of the ADVERTISER, and acknowledges its assistance in aiding its business. The reader is told weekly through our advertising columns to “bring your grists to the steam mill, DeWitt. Satisfaction guaranteed.”

Two and one-half miles north-west of DeWitt is the famous EUREKA MILL, owned by King, Miles & Griffin, one of the best appointed mills in the country. It is driven by the waters of Silver Creek, and since its erection in 1875, has, we believe, never been idle a day for want of water. The dam is of stone, throughly built, consequently never gets out of order. The mill is 30 by 36 feet in size, three stories high, and supplied with the best of machinery. It was built in 1875 by J. L. Turner, an experienced millwright and miller.

There are some 80 acres of land connected therewith which is used for farming purposes, and for cattle and hot lots. The mill has a capacity for grinding 400 bushels of grain daily, and people coming from a distance can take their grists back with them.

This mill draws custom from a large scope of country, including some from Scott and Jackson counties. Their team can be seen on our streets daily loaded with the product, and their flour is on sale in all grocery stores. The Grand Mounders are fed in a great degree from this mill, a team going there weekly. Parties wanting feed can leave orders at any of the grocery houses of DeWitt or Grand Mound, and they will be promptly filled. The enterprising proprietors intend to build a warehouse for the storage of grain this fall. Mr. King, the senior partner, owns a mill at Ida Grove, where he now lives. Mr. Miles has had a large experience as a miller in this and Jackson counties. Mr. Griffin the junior partner, who has just been admitted to the firm, is a wide-awake business man, and just such as is needed to fill the outside place. See their advertisement next week.

There is probably no one in this vicinity who understands milling in all its branches better than Capt. W. H. Hall, the proprietor of the SILVER CREEK MILL, one and one-have miles south-west of town. He is a practical millwright as well as miller, and in 1858 built the Work Mill on Clear Creek, which was carried away by the freshet a few years ago, and in same year built the Oxford Mills. In 1859 he repaired the Big Rock Mill, and run it for two years. At one time he was part owner in the Work Mill, and afterwards bought an interest with Mr. Follett, where he now is, and in 1871 bought the entire mill, since when he has been sole proprietor.

He has expended some three thousand dollars in improving the dam and mill, and has now one of the best in the country with a reliable water power. The product of this mill may be found at the popular grocery house of Ellis & Foster, where it meets a ready sale. It has two run of stones, and there are 80 acres of land belonging to it, besides water rights to a considerable more. This mill draws a large custom business from over the Wapsie, and the patrons go back happy. In addition to this he has a large trade from all points of the compass, and radiating for many miles.

The HAWKEYE MILL of Work & Goff was built in 1877, on the site where its predecessor had recently been burned. It is the farthest down on Silver Creek, therefore getting the benefit of Clear Creek, which empties in a mile above. It was built by J. L. Turner, a thoroughly competent millwright, who pronounced it, on its completion to be perfect in all its appointments. The machinery was entirely new, and of the most approved pattern. The water is taken in a canal some 280 rods and is generally plenty, but a dam is needed as a reservoir, and will probably be built. This mill draws heavily from Scott County for its custom, and also all the region round about.

The flour manufactured here is on sale in DeWitt at Fuller & Connole’s and give good satisfaction. The partners are William A. Work and Lemuel Goff, the former of whom is a practical and experienced miller. Mill 8 miles south-west of DeWitt.

Six miles north-east of DeWitt, and located in the midst of the best wheat growing region of the county is the famous CHERRY CREEK MILL., R. P. Barr proprietor. This mill was built ten years ago by the present proprietor on Cherry, a branch of Brophy Creek. The power is good and seldom fails. On account of the excellent quality of wheat brought to this mill and of course, high grade of flour, the product is very readily disposed of. The flour is used largely by our bakers and is on sale in DeWitt by C. W. Cressler, and at the Farmer’s Store. This mill has two run of burhs and also a corn sheller, which will put through a load of corn preparatory to grinding, without delay. This mill generally has all it can do, and gives good satisfaction. Mr. Barr, the proprietor, attends to the outside business and Mr. S. S. Stough, a miller of large experience, attends to the duties inside. We have often used this flour, and it has always given satisfaction.