Rockville's History in Your Own Backyard
You are standing on the tract of land where Wootton's Mill once stood near Watts Branch stream. The gristmill was constructed and began operations in 1821. The saw and gristmill was powered by an overshot wheel, in which the weight of water conducted through a millrace from the mill pond, to the top of the wheel, caused it to turn. This small mill (considered a local or custom mill) ground the Wootton family's grain and, upon the payment of a toll, that of their neighbors.
The original miller's log house was constructed by Richard Wootton in the 1790s, on land once owned by his father and Montgomery County's forefather Dr. Thomas Sprigg Wootton. Today the miller's house is privately owned and sits at the end of Camden Court The log portion of the original home is a fine example of an early American log cabin with v-notched logs and concrete chinking.
In 1848, then-owners Turner and Olivia C. Wootton separated the ownership of the mill from that of the miller's house by selling 229 acres and the dwelling to Chandler Keys, reserving the right of way into the family burial ground and privileges of the stream. According to the 1850 census, the mill and its cabin were leased to a miller, Benjamin Sparrow, age 41, born in Maryland, and he lived here with his large family. Another miller, Salathiel Mullican, appears in
records sometime after Sparrow and before 1905. In 1905, the property became the country retreat of Smithsonian artist, topographer and curator William Henry Holmes. The saw and gristmill operated until about 1919 when the property was sold to Charles Veirs.
The two millstones on display here were donated by the Veirs family. It was their wish that the history of Wootton's Mill be kept alive through an exhibit of the millstones at the original mill site. These millstones ground the grain as the bedstone was turned by the power of the waterwheel. The upright wood hoist/lift was used to adjust the height of the runnerstone and to lift it off of the bedstone. Once lifted off, the hoist arm could be rotated away and the stone could be moved into a vertical position (by the use of the metal caliper) so that both stones could be serviced and maintained.
Terms Used In The 1800's Mill
Lower stone in a pair of mill stones.
A machine used for separating meal into grades of flour.
The outer coating of a grain of wheat or corn.
Millstones quarried in France and generally made up in separate pieces of freshwater quartz.
A two handled knife used while seated on a shaving horse to shape wood into tool handles, barrel staves and wheel spokes. Used by
coopers living at the gristmill.
The pattern of furrows in a millstone.
The act of dressing (or cutting out furrows) of a millstone.
A gear wheel with cogs mortised into it's face and usually associated with the driving of lantern pinions.
Recives the meal from the stones (also can be called meal bin).
The channel or canal which carries water from the millrace, via a control gate (sluice gate) to the water wheel.
Channels cut in the grinding face of a millstone.
A wheel with teeth of rods made to fit together with other gears so that one gear's turning causes the other gear to turn.
Greater Face Gear
The larges toothed gear in the mill. It is attached directly to the shaft of the waterwheel.
A mill used for grinding grains.
Tapered wooden container for grain, mounted above and feeding millstones.
Machine used to cool and dry hot meal received from the millstones through a raking motion. (Until Evans system installed in GW mill, this process done manually with a rake)
Or Horse frame, is the framing on top of the stone casing and supporting the hopper and shoe.
The large, heavy wooden frame, which contains
all gears and shafts for driving and supporting mill stones.
Lesser Face Gear
The smaller toothed gear that fits together with other gears to turn the grinding stones.
A large gristmill having trade over a wide area.
Mill Bill (Mill Chisel)
The chisel used for dressing millstones.
The person who operates the mill.
Area of water normally crated by a dam which serves as a reservoir for water to power the water wheel.
The canal that carries water from the millpond to the mill.
A pair of large round stones between which grain is ground. The turning of the top stone (runner stone) does the grinding, while the bottom stone (bedstone) does not move.
The person who designs builds and repairs a mill.
The upper stone in a pair of millstones.
Tapered wooden trough, which is vibrated byh damsel to feed grain evenly into millstones for grinding.
Channel which carries water from water wheel and back to steam.