The Wilson Mill:


The Wilson Mill: Situated at the outlet of White Pond today is a very large stone dam, a ruined concrete gate and spillway and numerous stone piers that held the structures of the mills here from 1796 to the end of the 19th century. It is referred to as the Wilson Mill after Asa Wilson its longest tenured proprietor. The dam is broad enough to provide vehicle access to the mill buildings on its top. At the height of its operation, the dam probably raised the level of the pond by 10 feet or more.

The first mill was built here in 1796 by Henry Melville. It was a gristmill. He probably built the miller’s house (D-4-5) at the same time. Melville operated the mill until 1828 when he sold it to Asa Wilson. Asa, the oldest son of Archaelous and Sarah Wilson, seems to have lived on the family farm (E-4-13) until his mother died in 1825. He quit farming and went to work for Henry Melville occupying the miller’s house on this site.  After running the mill for 27 years and at the age of 73, he sold the mill to Silas French and retired to the Lydia Felt house (D-4-23) in the village. He lived to age 92 and is buried beside his wife (d. 1847) in the Village Cemetery.

Silas French was not a resident mill operator; he lived in an elegant house at C-3-7.  After French’s death, the mill had several owners and was eventually bought by Caleb Goodnow, a miller from Sullivan. He idled the mill and sold it to George Devaul with the proviso that it never be operated as a gristmill again. Devaul converted it to a sawmill and operated it a short time before being killed in an accident there.

After the death of George Devaul, the mill was purchased by Edmund Barton of New Ipswich who purchased and lived at the Lydia Felt place In the village. He ran the mill until 1877. The mill may have been operated a few years longer by John H. Osgood.

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