Miller’s mill: History of grain works sought

May 28, 1998

Jon McConal
Virtual Texan Writer

By Jon McConal
Star-Telegram Writer

GRANBURY – Rick Miller and Ron Hall want to restore what they
think is one of the oldest wooden structures in Hood County.
But they need a little help in their efforts on the old flour mill
north of here, which was apparently built about 1855.

“We are hoping that maybe somebody has some early photographs of the mill that they might share with us,” said Miller, owner of the land on which the mill sits.

We had driven to Miller’s place recently. The sounds of guineas
and roosters greeted us, sounding like they were arguing over who was going to sing solo that morning.

Miller, a slender, strong man with light blue eyes, is a
pharmacist. But you can tell his real love is with his mules, dogs
and donkeys. He led us to the mill.

“When I bought this place, this thing was leaning over. They told
me that I should bulldoze it,” he said. “But when I found out what it had been, I wouldn’t think of that. “

Actually, his friend, Hall, discovered some history about the
mill. He’s a solidly built man with a beard spilling from his face.
He found that T. Parkinson built the mill on Long Creek in a
community later called Center Mills. The reason for the location was probably the springs that run year-round, furnishing water for the mill.

Today, the springs are still strong, making a gentle sound as they
come from the ground like somebody whispering to their lover.

I looked at the hand-hewn timbers that sound like iron when
hammered on. Miller told how with Hall’s help and advice, he has
slowly straightened the lean of the 2-story building.

“I would do a little bit and wait a few months and then do some
more,” he said. “It’s amazing to me that they could take timber and rock, build something that is still standing today after 150 years. ” Hall agreed.

“The only problem with this building today is where they have
tried to alter it,” Hall said. They pointed out a rock pad that had been installed for wagons that brought corn and wheat to be ground.

“I found the old millstone, or half of it,” Miller said.

I looked at it and felt the face, which had also been handmade.
Miller also found a diary that tells how the mill machinery was
sold and moved to a town called Carterville near Springtown in 1867. Center Mills apparently died after that.

But at Carterville, the mill’s reputation for flour became
well-known. And in 1873, it was judged the best flour at the State
Fair of Texas in Houston.

Parkinson apparently became partners with Judge W.F. Carter and H.C. Hardy in the venture at Carterville that had a general store, blacksmith shop, school and church.

The town faded into memories in the 1920s. That’s one reason Hall and Miller want to preserve the old mill. “If we can restore it to as near as possible to its original state, we will preserve a part of history that does not need to be lost,” Miller said.

Anyone with information about the mill can call Hall at (254)
834-3425 or e-mail him at

Jon McConal’s Texas appears Monday, Thursday and Saturday.

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