THE QUESTION about the location and history of Johnson’s Mill has been posed several times lately and piqued my curiosity too. There’s a Johnson’s Mill Road, too, but no mill on it. The frequent answers I got were “Out there by Hubert Anderson’s old place west of town,” or “Do you know where Doc Childs lived?”. After many inquiries, someone said that Solomon “Junior” Christman, a lifelong resident of that area, and now at the Barnesville Health Care Center knew and has a keen memory. Injury from a fall several years ago resulted in paralysis on his left side, but it certainly didn’t impair his mental capacity.
THE MILL was gone when his father moved to the old mill area in 1922. He knew only that a water-powered grist mill had been there, but that it had burned down in 1905 as well as the house beside it. The father bought another house, married in 1923. Junior was born in 1924, and later, his sister Catherine. Catherine married a Yockey and has two sons. She now resides in her brother’s house and continues to operate the farm.
“JUNIOR” REFERRED me to the Charles Harpers who live near the old mill site. Bill Farson knows the area well and took me there where we met Chuck Harper who took me to the locations of the mill and the mill pond.
CHUCK AND KATHY Harper salvaged one of the mill wheels which stands in their yard next to their driveway lined with sandstones from the old mill.
WE LEARNED that a sketch of Johnson’s Mill had been done many years ago by the late Paul Mellott. Luckily, we traced it to the Harper family who had a copy of it made for use in this column. However, the penciled sketch is probably too faint for reproduction here. My copy will end up in the Watt Center for History and the Arts.
IT’S BEEN too much for my feeble brain to connect all the names of those in that extended neighborhood of Johnson’s Mill - Henderson, Hall, Tharp, Pfalzgraf, Christman, Wagner, Yockey, Schooley, Gray, Miller, Anderson, Gallagher, Crawford, and Harper - to name a few. At one time these families lived in this Belmont-Guernsey county area. Among all of these folk, you’d think some of those still living could come up with the name of the family who operated this old mill.
jeanealities is compiled by Jean Palmer Davies, lifetime Barnesville Enterprise associate. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.