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March 3, 2013 / Joanne Yeck

Mills of Buckingham County: Curdsville

 

Mill-Header

Flour Bags, Buckingham Mills, Buckingham Court House

A mill, in the vicinity of what became Curdsville, was one of the oldest in the county. In her 1937 survey for the Virginia Historical Inventory, Elizabeth McCraw noted the imported French Burrs, used for grinding corn, remained at Curdsville Mill located close to the Willis River, below the deserted village of Curdsville. It was a mammoth structure, four stories high with a basement. Her recounting of the history of the mill is particularly rich and detailed:

It is said that John Gannaway about 1765 operated a store and a saw mill on Gannaway Mill Creek – and a mill on Willis River for grinding corn and wheat. This mill being the ancestor of the Curdsville Mill of today. The present mill is thought to have been built by Richard Woodson Gannaway sometime before the Civil War, about 1840.

A land grant from King George II , dated September 10, 1755 and signed by Gov. Dinwiddie, gives a tract of land containing seven hundred and twenty-five acres of land described as follows: “In Albemarle County on the branches of Willis Creek” bordered on the north side by Bairds Road, John Hodnell’s and Alexander Stinson’s corner. It is further described as bounded by Joel Walker’s and Henry Perkins’ land, and as crossing Gannaway’s Mill Creek.

All this would indicate that as early as 1755 – before Buckingham was cut off from Albemarle, a mill was in operation on the present site of the Curdsville Mill.

It has often been said that a million bricks went into the building of this mill, but one familiar with such work figured that 250,000 brick were required because there is so much rock in the foundation. The mill was originally five stories high, each floor having a pitch of eleven feet. A cyclone some years ago demolished the top story and when the building was repaired it was lowered and a hip roof replaced the old gable roof which was put on the layers of brick. It now has a metal room and several dormer windows for light and ventilation. The bricks used in the building are said to have been made on the place by slave labor.

23 Comments

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  1. Joanne Yeck / Dec 7 2014 11:27 am

    Thanks to all of you for your interest in the Curdsville Mill. Look for more posts about it in the coming weeks. Joanne

  2. Kenneth A. Harris / Sep 23 2014 6:33 pm

    The White Lily flour bags pictured are from the Mill at Buckingham Court House I think last operated by Joe Thompson. The Curdsville Roller Mill did not produce self rising flour at least not while operated by my daddy Thomas Alfred Harris he operated it from May 1950 until the fall of 1957..

    • Joanne Yeck / Sep 23 2014 7:26 pm

      Dear Kenneth, The image was made to represent Buckingham County mills in general. I had no image for the Curdsville Mill. Do you have a photo of mill I could post? If so, please contact me. Joanne

  3. William G. Baldwin / Aug 26 2014 3:05 pm

    Katheryne, I am Greg Baldwin, I played at the Curdsville Mill as a child, my great Aunt Mamie Harvey and her husband used to own the mill and at one time lived in the old mill house. I remember the Mill, Wheel, and 4 story mill. My sister Judy and I would climb up in the rafters and jump into the grain. My 3 Great Aunts owned the Baldwin Home Place, Cacerta on Rt. 15and we would go to the mill often. I would love to go back to the site sometime and take pictures of what remains.

    • Joanne Yeck / Aug 26 2014 3:07 pm

      William, Thanks for adding your memories to the post. Joanne

    • Debra Boyer / Aug 26 2014 5:30 pm

      Hi Mr. Baldwin,
      We live on Mill Rd. & have enjoyed seeing the old homeplace & remnants of the mill
      through the years. Would love to hear all of your memories/stories about the Mill,
      your aunt’s home, the old Baldwin home! We know the family that lives there now.
      Please contact me at boyersx7@gmail.com as we’d love to converse w/ you more.
      Where are you living these days? Do you remember Wesley Dunkum? We bought
      his uncle’s farm on the road to the Mill, he lived across the creek from us & remembers
      the mill very well. Thanks, Debra

      • William G. Baldwin / Aug 27 2014 1:48 pm

        Katheryn, I am located in Charlottesville, Va. I don’t know if I ever met Mr. Dunkun, maybe when I was young? I would like to go down sometime and see the old house and foundation,etc. Fond memories of Cacerta and the mill. Thanks for getting back to me. Greg

    • katheryn Smith / Nov 25 2014 8:56 pm

      The old home is still standing only remnants left of the mill.

    • katheryn Smith / Dec 7 2014 11:23 am

      Sure. There are only remnants left of the mill.

  4. Debra Boyer / Jan 23 2014 10:34 am

    Hi Katheryn,
    We are neighbors on Mill Rd. Have you met and talked with Mr. Dunkum who has many
    stories to tell you about your place & the mill? Contact me at boyersx7@gmail.com and
    I’ll get you in touch w/ him. Have a great day! Debra

    • katheryn Smith / Feb 4 2014 10:29 pm

      Debra
      Thank you for the information. Please send me contact information for Mr. Dunkum to boxercash13@gmail.com

  5. katheryn Smith / May 27 2013 5:31 pm

    I currently own the old curds ville mill site. It is very hard to find out any information or see any pictures of it.

    • Joanne Yeck / May 27 2013 5:36 pm

      Katheryn, Thanks for writing. The only documentation I have of the Curdsville Mill is Elizabeth McCraw’s survey. There was no photograph submitted with it.

      • katheryn Smith / Nov 9 2013 9:06 am

        If you would like to take pictures for the blog. There is an old house, the old water wheel, and the dam on the old curdsville mill.

    • Norman Eby / Sep 13 2013 12:25 pm

      Katheryn,
      I currently own the site of “Rock Mill” on the Willis River. Do you have any knowledge of it or a resource to find out?

      Thanks,
      Norm

      • katheryn Smith / Nov 8 2013 11:27 pm

        I have a copy of the slate and Willis river atlas that lists the locks and mills on the Willis river. I don’t see a listing for that mill what road number is it located on.

      • Norm Eby / Nov 9 2013 7:43 am

        Katheryn,

        Rock Mill is on Rt. 633 just down the hill from Arcanum going towards Buckingham courthouse. Any information about Rock Mill is welcome.

        Norm

      • Joanne Yeck / Nov 9 2013 7:52 am

        Katheryn, Thanks for reminding me to take a look at my copy of “The Slate and Willis’s River Atlas.” Watch for a post soon about this marvelous resource.

    • Joanne Yeck / Nov 9 2013 9:10 am

      Katheryn, At some point I would love to photograph what remains of Curdsville Mill. Thanks for the offer!

  6. Kathy Clark / Mar 11 2013 1:17 pm

    I grew up in between Curdsville & Sheppards and visited this mill. It also had a fire that finally closed it. We used to go fishing there.

    • Joanne Yeck / Mar 11 2013 1:23 pm

      Thanks, Kathy, for the information about the fire at the mill. Joanne

Trackbacks

  1. For Sale: Curdsville Mills | slate river ramblings . . . .
  2. Mills of Buckingham County: Slate River Mill | slate river ramblings . . . .

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