Skip to content
October 13, 2014 / Joanne Yeck

Buckingham County: Williams Mill, Part One

Slate River Ramblings_Williams Mill

Williams Mill, Photo Courtesy Alice Scott

In 1937, Garnett Williams surveyed Williams Mill for the Virginia Historic Inventory.  She traced the owners from James I. Berryman (abt. 1840-1866) to Samuel Williams (1866-1885) to a Mr. Saunders (1885-1896) to Roy Gormus (1896-present). Mrs. Williams stated that the mill was one of the oldest of its type found in the state and believed it to be the oldest in the county.

Located on Randolph Creek in Buckingham County, the operation was 1.2 miles west of Nuckols on Route #622. Garnett Williams wrote that the building had seven rooms including a large basement and that all the machinery was original. The wheels, cogs, and huge water wheel all were made of wood.

In 1870, Samuel Williams, whose name stuck to the mill, was a fifty-one year old millwright living with his five young children. His property was worth $10,000 reflecting the impressive value of the mill.

According the Guy Woodson, Jr. who wrote an article about the mill for The Farmville Herald, Knight Saunders was an owner. In a later article, Vallie Booth identified him as W.K. Saunders.

In 1900, Thomas Raikes, age forty-three, was the miller. He was killed at the mill in December of 1917. Guy Woodson wrote, “An accident of note about sixteen years ago was the fatal injury of Tom Raikes, when he was caught by a large wheel and killed.  Being alone at the mill when the accident occurred, he was dead before aid arrived.”

Raikes’ daughter, Alice, married John “Roy” Gormus, who followed in his father-in-law’s footsteps at the Williams Mill.

To be continued. . . .


Leave a Comment
  1. Joanne Yeck / Jul 20 2018 11:01 am

    Terry, There are four volumes of “Buckingham Burials.” According to volume one, Lucy and William Knight Saunders (d.1911) are buried in the family cemetery on Hwy 7376. I don’t have a more specific locale. In Virginia, current land owners are obligated by law to let family members visit graves. Good luck! Joanne

  2. Bill Davidson / Jul 20 2018 9:30 am

    Per Ruby Talley Smith (who I suspect is deceased), William Knight Sanders is buried in the Sanders Family Cemetery on Highway 736 in Buckingham Co., VA. I have no information on that cemetery. I also don’t know if William fathered children with both of his wives. I wish I knew what became of Ruby’s extensive files and “family trees.”

    • Joanne Yeck / Jul 20 2018 11:12 am

      Bill, To the best of my knowledge, Ruby is alive just slower than she use to be. Joanne

  3. Joanne Yeck / Oct 15 2014 6:11 am

    Thanks, Bill.

  4. Bill Davidson / Oct 14 2014 8:23 am

    Per Ruby Talley Smith, William Knight Saunders was a son of Goodrick Saunders and Lucy D. Malloy, and he married first to Lucie Catherine Bonderant and second to Caroline P. Davidson. Caroline P. Davidson was a daughter of Thomas J. Davidson, and Thomas was a member of my overall Davidson family. Caroline P. Davidson and her father Thomas J. Davidson were descendants of the David Davidson (born about 1710-1715 in James City Co., VA; married Mary Giles; died about 1798) who was on the 1764 Buckingham Co., VA tithe list. David’s apparent brother Edward Davidson (married Agnes Mosby) was also on that 1764 tithe list (ditto another apparent brother named William Davidson, Senior….all three apparent brothers had been on the Goochland Co., VA tithe list back in the 1740s), and Edward Davidson was a constable in Buckingham.

    • Joanne Yeck / Oct 14 2014 1:07 pm

      Bill – Thanks for the added information about William Knight Saunders and for the Davidson connection. Was his father Goodrick or Goodrich? Joanne

      • Bill Davidson / Oct 14 2014 4:57 pm

        Joanne – Ruby Talley Smith showed “Goodrick.”


    • Terry P Saunders / Jul 19 2018 8:59 pm

      I’m not sure that this will get to anyone 4 years after, but I will try. My husband’s father was William Knight Saunders III. He passed away before I ever got the chance to meet him. It is interesting to get this little bit of history as the family doesn’t seem to know a lot about the history of the Saunders side of the family. Do you know if the Saunders family cemetery is still there and able to be visited?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: