Independent TribuneColumns Welch-Teeter Mills – Part II

Welch-Teeter Mills – Part II

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By Janet Morrison
Did you know?
According to By the Old Mill Stream, by the Stephen Cabarrus Junior Historians Club in 1968, some people in the 1960s thought that two separate grist mills operated in close proximity to one another on the Teeter land on Reedy Creek in the 1800s along present-day Robinson Church Road. Today we will delve into that theory.

Joshua Teeter willed the mill tract of 61 acres along with a cotton gin and press to his two sons, Marshall H. and Elam S. Teeter, in May of 1870. The Products of Industry Schedule of the 1870 Cabarrus County Census reveals an interesting situation. Although the streams on which the mills were located are not identified, it is recorded that Elam S. Teeter and Isaac B. Teeter each operated grist mills in Township One. That would lend credence to the theory that Joshua or another Teeter built a second grist mill on Reedy Creek.

In 1870, Elam S. Teeter’s grist mill operated on waterpower at 15 horsepower with one burr and one stone and a 150-bushel capacity. The capital invested in the mill was $4,000 One male over 16 years old was employed during the year. The mill was in active operation year-round.

The measurement used was not noted in the census records, but it is assumed that the figures refer to bushels, as follows: 3,500 bushels of wheat valued at $5,250 and 3,500 bushels of corn valued at $3,500 were processed. Seven hundred bushels of flour valued at $5,600 and 3,500 bushels of meal valued at $4,375 were produced by Elam S. Teeter’s mill that year.

Elam Teeter also operated a cotton gin and wool carding operation.

In 1870, Isaac B. Teeter’s grist mill operated on waterpower at 12 horsepower with one burr and one stone. The capital invested in the mill was $1,800. The one male employee over 16 years of age was paid $27 in wages during the year. The mill was in active service for six months that year. 

Again, it is assumed that the form of measurement in the census records is bushels, as follows: Isaac B. Teeter’s mill processed 200 bushels of wheat valued at $300 and 500 bushels of corn valued at $500. Forty bushels of flour were produced at a value of $320 and 500 bushels of meal were produced at a value of $625.

The 1880 Cabarrus County Census Special Schedule of Manufacturers, lists M.H. and E.S. Teeter as operating only one mill. That census record states that they had invested $4,000 in the “Flouring & Grist Mill.” They had employed no more than one male over the age of 16. The employee’s average workday was eight hours and a day’s wage was 60 cents. 

During the year ending May 31, 1880, the Messrs. Teeter paid a total of $157 in wages. The mill was in full operation for six months and idle the rest of the year. It had two runs of stone, with a maximum capacity of 75 bushels per day.

The mill passed into the possession of Marshall B. Teeter in 1882. It is not known when the mill ceased operations. Most of the 1890 U.S. Census records, including those for Cabarrus County, were destroyed my mistake so the manufacturing schedule for that year is unavailable.

Bill Price’s Uncle Belk Farrar, who was born in 1889, told Mr. Price that the Teeter Mill washed away in a flood in 1898. Mr. Price remembers seeing the mill race. 

Coincidentally, after I thought I had finished writing my two columns about the Welch-Teeter Mills, Johnston Howie told me that my father and Bill Carriker (both deceased now) walked up Reedy Creek a long time ago and found the remains of a mill race somewhere on the east side of Robinson Church Road.
That lends further credence to the theory that Marshall H. and Elam S. Teeter owned separate mills in close proximity of each other on Reedy Creek in the 1870s: one near present-day Chestnut Hill Drive and one on the opposite side of Robinson Church Road.

Bibliography:
• By the Old Mill Stream, by the Stephen Cabarrus Junior Historians, 1968.
• 1880 Cabarrus County Census records on microfilm at The Lore Local History Room, Cabarrus County Public Library, Concord, NC.
• Interview with W.F. “Bill” Price, January 20, 2007.
• Conversation with Ben Johnston Howie, October 21, 2008.


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