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Clifton Mill
Loudoun Co. | Virginia | USA | Early mill 1787, this post Civil War
Township: Blue Ridge Supervisory District. | Watersource: Pantherskin Creek.


Clifton Mill
Picture: Robert T. Kinsey 01/31/2012

One report indicates the first mill on this site was built in 1787 by Abel Janney and Samuel Wilds. The Janney family owned several mills in this area of Virginia.

Clifton Mill
Picture: Robert T. Kinsey 01/31/2012

Around 1795 the mill property was purchased by Burr Powell and Joseph Lewis Jr. Apparently Lewis, a congressman in the early 1800's, must have bought out Powell because later the mill was owned by Lewis, who named the mill "Clifton Mill" after the name of his plantation. Lewis died c. 1821.

Clifton Mill
Picture: Robert T. Kinsey 01/31/2012

His widow married George Carter of Oatlands. They sold the mill to Bushrod Rust in 1838. By 1845 James Slack was the owner and in 1858 he sold it to James H. Silcott and John M. Reed. The photo shows the inlet gateway on the headrace seemingly coming from a possible millpond.

Clifton Mill
Picture: Robert T. Kinsey 01/31/2012

Clifton Mills prospered until late 1864, when it was burned , along with other mills in the area, by Brig. Gen. Wesley Merritt's brigades. After the Civil War the mill was rebuilt. The headrace as it remains as it encountered another valve at the mill proper.

Clifton Mill
Picture: Robert T. Kinsey 01/31/2012

By 1904 Joshua and William Fletcher became the owners; and in 1918, they hired Wade Hampton Palmer Sr. to run the mill. In 1921, Palmer bought the mill from the Fletcher's. The mill now became known as the Palmer Mill. The area of the basement near the inlet of the headrace.

Clifton Mill
Picture: Robert T. Kinsey 01/31/2012

The top stone or runnerstone of the grinding stone set to the left and in the next photo.

Clifton Mill
Picture: Robert T. Kinsey 01/31/2012

The millstone set shroud. The top stone is not visible, as it is standing on edge nearby.

Clifton Mill
Picture: Robert T. Kinsey 01/31/2012

Palmer's son, Wade Hampton Palmer Jr., worked at the mill as he grew up. In 1936 he left the mill when he married Jame Jolliffe. The mill continued to operate until 1941 when Wade Sr. died at the age of 63. In 2012 the mill is very quiet but in very good condition. Pictured is a lineshaft, poweed off the waterwheel, that turned various pullys to operate sundry machines via belts and gearing.

Clifton Mill
Picture: Robert T. Kinsey 01/31/2012

Some cleaners with wooden chutes algling down from the floor above. Each chutes carried grain, in various stages of processing, to its next operation.

Clifton Mill
Picture: Robert T. Kinsey 01/31/2012

Wade Jr. told this little story about the mill's business. The last week in August was the grape-crushing season. For hours, wagons brought grapes to the mill, and the Palmers shoveled them off into the cider mill, where the grapes were crushed. Customers then bottled the juice, which when fermented, became known as "Christmas Wine".

Clifton Mill
Picture: Robert T. Kinsey 01/31/2012

A photo of the detailed printing on a paper corn meal sack, indicating Clifton Mills was located in the small locale of Upperville, near Middleburg, Va.

Clifton Mill
Picture: Robert T. Kinsey 01/31/2012

GPS: 38' 59.86N, 77' 50.53W 417'/127 metersRectortown Quadrangle

Sing them over again to me, Wonderful words of life! Let me more of their beauty see, Wonderful words of Life! by Philip P. Bliss 1838-1876
(From the Nazarene hymnal - Sing to the Lord)
Directions: From Middleburg, Va go west on US 50 about 6 miles to Willistown Road/Sr 623. Turn right onto Willistown Road and go 0.8 miles to the mill property on the left, before crossing Pantherskin Creek. The mill, at 22468 Willistown Road, sits back a dirt road, but can easily be seen from Willistown Road.


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