Seneca Creek Mills Study

Clopper Mill
Clopper Mill Ruins - Feb. 2002

Study Objective

A study is currently being done to determine how many mills were located on Seneca Creek and all of its branches, the exact location of the mills, and as much about their history as may be found.

The following references have been used and sometimes copied verbatim. They may be found in the Montgomery County Historical Society's library.
  1. "A History of Early Water Mills in Montgomery County" by Eleanor M.V. Cook
  2. "Mills on the Seneca and Their Tributaries" by Doris B. Cobb
  3. "The Molinography of Montgomery County" by John W. McGrain
  4. "Goshen, Maryland: Its History and People" by Ardith Gunderman Boggs 1994
  5. "History of Western Maryland" by J. Thomas Scharf
  6. "Circling Historic Landscapes" 1980 by M-NCPPC
  7. Additional material and old photographs were provided by Mike Dwyer, Retired Historic Resources Manager, M-NCPPC Dept. of Park and Planning

    Field trips are done to verify mill locations and research additional mill information.

    Current Study Results

    The study has been broken into two parts. The first part lists mills whose locations need to be to be verified by actually visiting the site. This would insure that they are not a duplicate of the mills listed in the second part. Also, more information about these mills is desirable.
    The second part lists mills whose locations have been verified. Additional information about these mills would also be appreciated.

    Interested?

    If you are interested in helping to locate a mill or research its history, contact Frank Ierardi: CLICK HERE to e-mail Frank.

    Part I - Mills to be Verified

    1. Darby Mill (Oakland) grist and saw mill - 1865
      LOCATION:
      Great Seneca Creek NW of present MD 124 Mentioned in Scharf's History of Western Maryland and in the Atlas of 1879.
      OWNERS:
      Samuel T. Darby, Laytonsville, miller atlas patron "Oakland Grist & Saw Mill"

    2. Pleasant Hill Mill
      LOCATION:
      Seneca Creek, on the Kelly Farm, between Rt. 28 and the Berryville Road Side Trail
      OWNERS:
      INFORMATION:

    Part II - Mills of known locations


    1. Seneca Ford Mill History and Pictures

    2. Dawson's Mill History and Picture

    3. Black Rock Mill History and Pictures

    4. Hoyle's Mill History and Pictures

    5. Clopper Mill History and Pictures

    6. Long Draught Mill History

    7. Middle Brook Mills (a.k.a. Good Will Mills, Faw's Mill) on Seneca Creek. ca. 1795 - no remains
      LOCATION:
      On the east side of Seneca Creek next to the Route 355 bridge.
      OWNERS:
      Abraham Faw, James Maccubbin Lingan, Colonel John Tayloe
      INFROMATION:
      Abraham Faw offered to sell Middlebrook Mills in 1795. He described the mill as newly built. The Mill House is roomy and spacious containing four pair of stones, three pair of which are French Burrs. It has every kind of machinery for manufacturing flour, and as well constructed as any Mill in the state.

    8. Walker's Mill History

    9. Watkins Mill (a.k.a. Grays Neck) 1783 - 1908 - no remains
      LOCATION:
      Watkins Mill was located on the west side of Watkins Mill Road and the north bank of Seneca Creek. (across Watkins Mill Rd. from the parking lot and across the bridge). The mill pond was on the east side of the road. (same side of the road as the parking lot, but across the bridge)
      It has been described as being on the Cabin Branch of Seneca Creek. "junction of Lukes Cabbin Branch & Senica Creek"
      OWNERS:
      Adin Gray, Nicholas Worthington Dorsey, Reuben Dorsey, Joshua W. Dorsey, Harry D. Cooke, Samuel Riggs of R, et al,. Remus Synder, Levi Watkins.
      INFORMATION:
      Watkins Mill was a three story wood frame grist mill that operated as early as 1783. It's two mill stones were powered by an overshoot mill wheel fed by a quarter-mile mill race with a 10-foot drop. The mill race, or ditch, can still barley be seen near the site of the mill. In the 1800's, it also served as a saw mill. It was destroyed by fire in 1908.

    10. Davis Mill History and Picture

      Davis Mill Preservation Project

    11. Ford's Grist and Saw Mill
      LOCATION:
      On Wildcat Branch by the pipeline cut. The stone wall in the bank, visible from Davis Mill Road, may be the site.
      OWNER:
      William Ford
      INFORMATION:
      William Ford offered his grist mill for rent in 1828 and for sale in 1831.

    12. Goshen Mills History and Map

    13. Waters Mill History and Pictures

    14. Wolfs Cow Mill History and Pictures

    15. Pyles Mill History

    16. Viers Saw Mill
      LOCATION:
      At the Model Airpark, downstream on left side of Bucklodge Branch just above where it joins Little Seneca Creek.
      OWNERS: John Viers
      INFORMATION:
      On the Viers farm. John Viers advertised his plantation for sale in the Frederick Town Herold March 9, 1811. The plantation was located "on the mouth of Bucklodge, near the great road leading from Georgetown to the mouth of Monococy, about 26 miles from the former and nine miles from the latter." The ad mentioned the saw mill.
      Just a slight trace of the mill run may be seen, with a good imagination.

    17. Magruder Saw Mill
      LOCATION:
      On Great Seneca Creek, upstream from Davis Mill and below Magruder Branch. It located on the same property as the historic J. Magruder house.
      OWNERS: James Magruder
      INFORMATION:
      Samuel and James Magruder were granted Magruder's Hazard of 100 acres on Nov. 23, 1726.
      Traces of the mill run, mill pond and tail run may still be seen. The exact location of the mill is unknown. It is believed to have been built near a bank in the vicinity of the mill pond. The tail run may have followed a gully back to Great Seneca Creek or may have emptied into the nearby ice pond. The mill run is about 250 feet long.
      According to Mr. Washington White Sr., the saw mill was later converted to steam power. He speculates that it operated in the late 1800's and early 1900's. The mill is on the White's Azalea Nursery property off Wildcat Road.

    18. Midford Mill History

    Part III Other Mills In Montgomery County

    Seneca Stonecutting Mill

    In 2006 a new project to recover the iron turbine at Valley Mill has been initiated. For more information go to:
    Valley Mill Project


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    This page was last updated on 04.19.13