8. Big Chief Grist Mill
Constructed in the mid-1800s on Lanahassee Creek in Southern Marion County, Big Chief Grist Mill has been owned by three generations of the Upton family. Located near two major antebellum communities, Pineville and Church Hill, local farmers brought their corn for grinding while their families picnicked around Powell’s Mill Pond.
Powell’s Mill Pond and dam. Newly reconstructed sluice gate and mill building that makes up Big Chief Grist Mill, Marion County, GA. Photography courtesy of David Rush, 2016.
Before corn could be ground, it needed to be dried, a process that could take several weeks. Once completely dried, the corn was poured into a hopper then ground between two millstones. Often made of granite, these stones were on average 15 inches thick and each weighed around a ton. At the mill dam, the sluice gate was opened and closed to control the flow of water by turning the sluice wheel. Closed in 1950, it was reopened in 1980 for several years to supply regional stores with stone-ground corn, commonly considered superior to more industrially produced corn meal.
Submission composed by Mia Harris, April 23, 2016
Oral interview with Laverne Powell and Dr. Amanda Rees. April 2016.