The Old Mill of Guilford
|In 1767, before the colonists decided to seek independence
from England, Daniel Dillon built a small tub mill in North Carolina on Beaver Creek, and
went into business grinding grain for the early settlers. The Earl of Granville had
granted Dillon the tract of 552 acres on Reedy Fork and Beaver Creeks in 1755. Rowan
County later granted him a license to build the mill in 1764. Rowan County court minutes
from January 10, 1764 read: "Ordered that Daniel Dillin have License to Build a
Publick Grist Mill on the Reedy Fork of Haw River at the mouth of Beaver Creek." The
mill was located in what is now Guilford County, which was created out of Rowan County in
On February 10, 1781, during the Revolutionary War, British troops under General Cornwallis marched past the mill in pursuit of General Green who was encamped at Guilford Courthouse. Legend has it that British troops seized the mill to grind grain for the soldiers prior to the Battle of Guilford Courthouse on March 15, 1781.
The original tub mill and dwelling on 175 acres was sold to Joel Sanders for $900 in 1808. In 1819, Sanders moved the mill 500 feet down stream and built a new dam across the creek, which increased the millpond to 10 acres. The new mill was designed as a merchant corn and wheat mill with an overshot wheel to replace the small tub mill.
In 1913, the mill was purchased by K. L. Hendrix who later converted the mill to a roller mill and replaced the water wheel with a turbine. In 1932, state highway 68 was built between the dam and the mill. To keep the mill in operation, the long overhead wooden flume, which carried water from the dam to the mill, was replaced by a 26" diameter steel pipe which ran under the new road. Clarence E. Bailes purchased the mill in 1954. Bailes removed the roller mill machinery and replaced the turbine with a 24 x 4 Fitz overshot water wheel which still operates today.
In 1977, the mill was sold to the current owners who continue to operate the mill on a full-time basis.
Photography by Ruth Anne & Wayne Lee