JACOB SNIDOW'S MILL
Jacob Snidow (Nov. 15,1763-July, 1847), youngest
surviving child of John and Elisabeth Helm Snidow, was granted or received
by deed a number of tracts of land totaling many hundreds of acres of land
in the New River area, several on or near Little Stony Creek.
Apparently he had built grist mills probably on this creek prior to 1815,
as in that year the Giles County Tax List shows he was taxed on 2 grist or
saw mills. We do know that on Little Stony Creek just above what is
today the town of Pembroke he built a large grist mill for grinding wheat
and stone ground corn meal.
When he died his Will, bearing date of
3rd of July, 1847, probated July 26 (Will Book B, p. 496), stated that he
left the mills to his son, Augustus E. Snidow. In Deed Book H, p.
515 is recorded that on 7th Sept. 1850 Augustus E. Snidow sold this land
of 296 acres, "all that he had inherited from his father" to William Henry
Snidow, his first cousin. According to Givens and Hall Genealogy by
Dorothy Givens, p. 611, Augustus Snidow, wife Eliazbeth and four children
removed to Livingston County, Missouri around 1850, apparently after
selling off his land.
The lands of Jacob Snidow, Jr. adjoined this
land and in Deed Book H, p. 267 there is an interesting agreement (dated
31st Jan. 1849) signed by William Henry Snidow and Jacob Snidow, Jr.
The agreement reads: "Whereas the said parties are much
inconvenienced from the want of water upon their lands at the turnpike.
It is therefore agreed that water from the race flowing to and
driving the Mills of the said Augustus E. Snidow upon the lands purchased
as aforesaid shall be conveyed from some convenient point of the said race
in sufficient quantities not only for the use of the said Jacob Snidow's
lands along and through his field on the left of the road running from the
mills aforesaid to the old toll gate on the turnpike but for the use and
benefit of the lands of the said Wm. H. Snidow at the toll gate, to which
point the said water shall be conducted not only for the convenience and
advantages of the parties but for their respective heirs.
This 26th Feb. 1849 made further agreement that water conducted
through lands which said Wm H. Snidow purchased of Augustus E. Snidow to
the lands of the said Jacob Snidow is to be conducted on same ground water
now passes and each party is to furnish to other sufficient quantity of
water for family and stock purpose and no more or such quantity as will
pass through a common pipe log."
Research at this time doesn't
show exactly who owned the mills following this period. Wm H. Snidow
died in 1866 and one of his heirs could have owned the land on which the
mills stood. We do know that prior to 1902, according to Mr. Mervin
Williams (in an interview with him in August, 1979) his father, "John F.
Williams and John Matt Kirk bought the mills from Jake Snidow". The
mills were run by Mr. Williams and Mr. Kirk until 1922 on which date John
F. Williams died and as he died intestate there was a sale of the mills to
settle the estate.
= = = = = = =
(A note from Mary French Boswell)...
In the next article there is a detailed description of this large
mill built originally by Jacob Snidow prior to 1847.
PEMBROKE ROLLER MILLS
by Frederick Lee Snidow, Pembroke, Virginia
My dad, Grover Glenn Snidow, purchased the Kirk and
Williams Mill located on Little Stony Creek in 1922. Dad gave the
mill a new name, Pembroke Roller Mills. The mill was said to be
quite old at the time Dad purchased it. Mr. Hilton, an old man 75 or
80 years of age, came to the mill at the time Dad bought it and told him
his grandfather helped build the mill.
The mill was a large 4-story structure, with a 40 foot
frontage and depth of approximately 60 feet. The rock foundation,
about 24 inches think and 10 feet high, was rock hewn from Giles County
limestone said to have been done by slave labor. The 10-foot
foundation was the first floor or basement level and contained machinery
and power equipment. Placed in the ground inside the foundation
were six limestone rocks, each 3 feet square, and on each rested upright a
heavy oak timber to support the weight of the floors above. On top
of the rock foundation the sills were laid of heavy timbers 8" by 16",
hand hewn of poplar. Across the mail sills 3" by 6" floor joists
were laid and 1 1/4" oak flooring on top of that.
There were three
mill floors, each floor had the same construction outlined above.
Also, each floor had 6 oak support posts to support the weight of
the floor above. Above the 3rd floor were solid oak rafters 24
inches apart. On top of the rafters was one inch wood sheeting which
was used to support the A-shaped metal roof. The outside walls of
the mill were made of 3" by 6" oak studs (framing) on top of which yellow
poplar weatherboarding was nailed.
The first mill floor contained
3 wheat roller mills, weigh hoppers, flour storage bins and one large corn
mill. The second floor contained storage bins for wheat and corn,
also there was open floor area for storage of bagged flour and cornmeal.
The 3rd floor held a large flour sifter and bran separator.
The mill manufactured pure unbleached flour and stone ground corn
People came from all over the country and surrounding states
to photograph the large water wheel and the beautiful supply of water from
Little Stony Creek that furnished power for the mill. The water
flowed from the mill race out on to the wheel. The amount of power
needed was controlled by the amount of water allowed to enter the wheel.
I remember times when a belt would break on the machinery inside
the mill and it would send the big water wheel spinning. We called
it a runaway wheel. Every effort was made as quickly as possible to
close the gate over the wheel and divert the water through a spillway to
the side. Dad was usually on hand to take care of this emergency
and more often than not it was like the hundred yard dash.
fascinating to go into the mill when it was in operation with the buzz of
the machinery and the conveyor belts, with little buckets attached,
carrying the grain through the chutes to where it should go. Up they
went, down they came in a rhythm all their own. Actually what
transpired was the conveyors were carrying ground wheat from the roller
mills to the large sifter on the 3rd floor. 3 times the wheat was
ground and sifted, each time through a finer sifter cloth, made from a
very high grade of silk cloth. All the run-off from the ends of the
sifter screens went to the bran separator. The bran separator
separated the wheat bran from the shorts, a part of the wheat not suitable
for flour. These two products were used for animal feed.
Also housed in the same mill was a stone corn mill. It was 2
large stones 4 feet in diameter, one mounted stationary, with the top
stone rotating in a clockwise direction, which ground corn meal that was
cool, fresh and sweet. It surely did make good corn bread.
Some of Dad's customers would bring their own corn and Dad would grind it
and keep a small amount as payment. Occasionally it was necessary
to sharpen the two large stones. The sharpening was a skillful and
time-consuming task and usually the mill was out of operation for a day or
two. To sharpen the stones a mill pick was used to rough up the
grinding faces on the mill stones.
Use of the mill was
discontinued around the year 1929 when larger manufacturers or millers
made it too competitive a business. Dad converted the lower area of
the mill into an ice manufacturing plant. His new business was
known as Pembroke Ice Company, where he supplied ice to
all of Giles County for many years.
About 1943 the old mill was
completely dismantled, machinery sold and the mill, mill wheel and mill
stones taken down and moved from the site. Today there isn't a
trace of the mill. Little Stony Creek, with its cold, clear
mountain water flows now where the old mill and mill race stood,
wending its way south through the town of Pembroke and in its meandering
finds its way to New River to be swept along by other currents to the
Kanawha, the Ohio, the Mississippi and finally to the Gulf of Mexico.