Daniel Smith's Old Mill on the Wading

Oriental

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Apr 21, 2005
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I have been planning to explore some of the mill sites along the Wading River this summer and finally got a chance to start some adventures last Thursday. One particular place that I hoped to explore was a sawmill site just upstream of Evans Bridge. Daniel Smith purchased a 60 acre tract there in 1760 and built a saw mill sometime prior to his death in 1769. Of particular interest to me was the fact that the original survey mentions an existing road through the parcel. This byway connected the Tulpehawkin Road to Wm. Rogers sawmill and crossed the Wading River at a place called Rogers Bridge. John Pearce in Heart of the Pines located a much later map that showed the approximate location of the mill. That map seems to suggest that the span across the Wading was subsequently called Sooy and Weeks Bridge.

So I recruited my two sons to accompany me in looking around. We put in at Evans Bridge and began paddling our kayaks upstream. Before long we arrived at the location and were greeted by remains that were considerably more substantial than I had hoped to find. Plenty of pilings rose out of the murky water. Beginning on the west side of the river, these obstructions carried nearly to middle of the stream. Upon further examination, there appeared to be several rows of well-spaced, heavy pilings behind a row of more closely spaced members. I am guessing that the larger pilings once supported a bridge across the river. They perfectly line up with the lengthy earthen dam whose remains are easily located. I suppose the dam and bridge once carried the roadway that was mentioned in the survey. The other posts just upstream were probably used to underpin the dam that was later used to back up the stream forming what appears to have been an enormous mill pond.
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Looking downstream
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A row of pilings on the riverbank.

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Possible bridge pilings in foreground with remains of a dam structure behind.

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The earthen dam on the west side of the river.

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Another view.

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From the other (east) side of the river.

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The dam of the east side of the river extends for hundreds of feet until it disappears into the uplands.

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Looking down the mill race from the Wading River.

The boys and I had a great time. I will share some history of the location when I get a chance.
 

Ben Ruset

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Site Administrator
Oct 12, 2004
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It's amazing just how long wood will stay around for when it's kept wet. The other day I was watching a TV show about archaeology and they were examining the site of a former fortified house on an island in a Scottish Loch that was demolished in the late 15th - early 16th century and pilings from the wooden walls that once lined the island were still visible underwater.
 

Oriental

Explorer
Apr 21, 2005
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It's amazing just how long wood will stay around for when it's kept wet. The other day I was watching a TV show about archaeology and they were examining the site of a former fortified house on an island in a Scottish Loch that was demolished in the late 15th - early 16th century and pilings from the wooden walls that once lined the island were still visible underwater.
I was very surprised to see how much remained. To think these pilings may be more than 250 years old! I was similarly shocked when I discover what I believe to be the remains of the so-called "Tunking Mill" on the Green Limb Branch of the Batsto.

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Apr 6, 2004
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Yes, it is a great post that I have read and pondered often. In particular I too have been stumped by Balangee's Mill. That I recently came across evidence of a Mott's Mill at what would later become Harrisville and that there was a William Roger's Mill in the area adds to the mystery.
Where did you come across references to these two mills?

Also, can you show me on a map where the pilings on the Green Limb Branch are?
 

Oriental

Explorer
Apr 21, 2005
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Where did you come across references to these two mills?

Also, can you show me on a map where the pilings on the Green Limb Branch are?
An early survey to William Rogers places Mott's Mill on the Wading before 1752. The survey says "beginning at a pine tree corner to Thomas Mott's mill place on the west side of the Wading River about 3/4 of a mile above the Great Bridge." Mott's survey itself says the property is 1/2 mile above the Great Bridge which many know as the bridge at Bodines. I also thought I saw a reference in the Wharton Ledgers that suggested that the slitting mill was built where Mott's Mill once stood but can't find that citation right now.

The 1760 survey to Daniel Smith that began this post references the road to William Rogers Mill. It is quite possible that Mott's and Roger's mills are one and the same. Though Roger's did survey some land up by Tranquility Branch, most of his land surrounded or was near to Mott's. Exactly how Balangee's and later Hallock's Mill (well documented by Jerseyman) figured into the picture is still a mystery that I am trying to unravel.

Regarding the Tunking Mill site - sorry but I am not ready to share just yet as I still want to put some pieces together first. Besides it is nearly impossible to get to!
 
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