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January 8, 2015 / Joanne Yeck

Slate River Mills


Silos at Slate River Mills, 2007, Courtesy Lee J. Dowdy

In April of 2014, Slate River Ramblings featured a post about Hocker’s Mill (a.k.a. Slate River Mills), one of the first and longest standing mills in Buckingham County.

For many years, the Dowdy family operated the mills, which they renamed Slate River Mills. In 1884, Napoleon B. and Judith L. (Murray) Dowdy purchased the property from Nathaniel Archer Dowdy and Willis J. Dowdy. Following Napoleon Dowdy’s death in 1896, Judith ran the mill for several years with the help of her oldest sons. They updated the mill and, in 1900, Judith headed the household, with ten of her eleven children living with her. Son Oscar A. Dowdy, then age twenty-two, was the miller.

In 1902, Judith moved to Roanoke with her youngest children, selling 25 acres (more or less), her dwelling house, and the mill to James L. Anderson.

Descendant Lee J. Dowdy commented: “The mill was located on what is now Old Mill Road, off of Slate River Mill Road. If you are heading west on Slate River Mill Road, (north, northwest of Dillwyn), Old Mill Road is on your left before crossing over the Slate River. The foundation of the mill is still there in a small copse of trees.”

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