Monday, May 29, 2017

Decatur Dorsey - slave to Medal of Honor recipient

Decatur Dorsey (1836-1891) was an enslaved African American in Howard County when he signed up in 1864. He would become a Sergeant in the 39th US Colored Troops and earned the Medal of Honor.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Videos of working 18th century mills

Union Mills just north of Westminster, Md. was built in 1797 on Oliver Evans plans, which incorporated details from the Ellicotts mill workings.  Evans had visited Ellicotts mills several times, and a brother of the founders wrote a lengthy section with sketches in Evan's book.  The Shriver family owned and operated the mill for almost 200 years until the 1950s.  George Washington also had a Oliver Evans style mill at Mount Vernon, which has been reconstructed and working.   

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Conestoga wagon deliveries to Lea flour mills in Delaware

Before the first railroads in the 1830s, huge Conestoga wagons hauled by 6 horse teams brought wheat from Pennsylvania to the Lea mills along the Brandywine River by Wilmington Del.  A convoy of 20-30 "inland ships" would approach a mill, with the others waiting in line, blocking roads, as the first unloaded.  The physical activity of unloading and the loud noise from "rumbling wheels, clattering [horse] hoofs...shoutings and clamorings of the Dutch drivers" contrasted with the railroad and barges that replaced the Conestogas.

Elizabeth Ellicott Lea (daughter of George Ellicott) married Thomas Lea and lived in Brandywine (Wilmington) after their 1812 marriage and returned to Maryland in 1823.

Monday, May 8, 2017

Oliver Evans 'peculiar accidents' causing flour mill fires

Mills were dangerous places and could catch fire for many reasons.  Oliver Evans and Thomas Ellicott's The Young Mill-wright and Miller's Guide, (1795) described six causes.  Thomas was the brother of the Ellicotts who erected innovative mills and founded Ellicott's mills, now Ellicott City.

Monday, May 1, 2017

Baltimore the "greatest flour market" with trains and wagons

Thousands of barrels of flour passed through Baltimore by large Conestoga wagons and railroad cars then onto ships to American and foreign ports.  The following excerpt is from an 1848 children's history book.