High Shoals, NC Now and Then
BEAVER DAM CREEK GRIST MILL
These pictures were taken October 4, 2010 by Steve Bailey.
Soon after the time John Fulenwider started his iron foundry in High Shoals, Johannes Zimmerman (John Carpenter) started a grist mill in Long Shoals that was in operation until the 1940s.
Mr. Robert C. Carpenter has generously given us permission to use information from his book, "Carpenters a Plenty" as we continue to delve into the history of this area. He has, additionally, shared information with Steve Bailey about the Johannes Zimmermann (aka John Carpenter) Grist Mill on Beaver Dam Creek which follows:
Page 831-832 of "Carpenters a Plenty"
Many persons who reside in the Long Shoals-Landers Chapel area knew of the Beaverdam Creek Grist Mill. No one to whom I talked knew that originally it belonged to Johannes Zimmerman. As early as 1795 he mentioned his mill and that he wanted his son Henry to receive the mill and property on the south side of Beaverdam. Henry Carpenter operated the mill until he removed in 1835 to Indiana.
From a letter from Mr. Robert Carpenter to Steve Bailey:
On pages 831-834 of Carpenters A Plenty I discussed the family of Johannes (John) Zimmermann (Carpenter). I quoted some documents which were located at the home of Carrie Lynch, now deceased.
As early as 1795 Johannes mentioned the mill in an unrecorded will. He made another will in 1799 and his final will, which was dated 1806 and probated 1809. In all these wills Johannes mentioned that the mill would descend to his son Henry Carpenter.
When Henry Carpenter moved to Indiana, he deeded the mill tract to his brother Daniel Carpenter.
I do not know when the mill, dam, and race was first constructed but certainly prior to 1800 as evidenced by the wills of Johannes.
The home of Johannes Zimmerman was on the north side of Beaverdam and the mill was across the creek on the south side. It was in easy walking distance of the home.
It is unclear when mill ownership passed from Daniel Carpenter.
By 1870 the homeplace of Johannes Zimmerman was owned and occupied by Henry "Johnson" Carpenter who married Margaret Kiser. As early as 1859 Elizabeth Carpenter, widow of Daniel, sold the homeplace tract to Henry "Johnson" Carpenter. In a number of subsequent deeds Henry came into possession of most of the land of Daniel Carpenter. It is unclear which deed involved the mill tract.
I assume that after Henry's death in 1899 or his widow, Margaret's death, in 1916 the mill tract passed to different ownership.
The mill operated until the 1940's. My father recalled taking grain to be ground and he recalled his father also taking grain. By that time I think (emphasis think) that the mill was operated by the Sidney Lee Carpenter family.
At the mill site one can see the stone wall, race, and foundation of the mill. Also further down Beaverdam one can see the steel wheel. It has been washed downstream. It was an undershot mill. The steel wheel was obviously a later addition. It is unclear how many mills may have been built on the site. But it was used from 1795-the 1940's. I was told that at least two old houses stood near the mill on the south side of Beaverdam. I suspect that at least one of the houses belonged to a hired miller. A powerful spring comes out of the hill overlooking the mill which provided drinking water to persons in the area.