Today two friends and I went to the Smithville that is in Atlantic County, not to be confused with the historic Smithville that is in Burlington County. My purpose was to have a better look at Oliphant's Mill which I had been reading about in Old Mills of Camden County by Charles Boyer. It had been the last standing mill in Gloucester County until it was moved to Smithville. Here is a quote from a website about it:
"In my part of New jersey these things (old mills) are getting harder and harder to
find. This one is on its last legs after being moved here from
Gloucester County. When new sources of power replaced these things,
mills were eventually abandoned for easier ways to run equipment. Many
mills just decayed where they stood which seems to be the case with this
wheel. Storms, especially a September 1, 1940 storm, demolished the
remaining mills as well as bridges and mill dams in our area. The last
mill in Gloucester County was this mill, Oliphant's Mill, south of
Swedesboro along Kings Highway. Samuel Morgan's will mentioned his grist
mill. Samuel Oliphant purchased the mill in 1871. It operated until
1937. In 1964, the mill was dismantled and moved to Smithville in
Atlantic County. There you may see Gloucester County's last standing
mill reconstructed. It needs some help"
Yes, indeed, it does need some help, in fact the wheel is now gone which was there the last time I visited Smithville. I can only hope it was removed for repair and will be returned. Speaking of mills however, I had the great good fortune to see two in operation. While at a hsitory symposium at Walnford, I saw their functioning grist mill in operation and when I visited the Daniel Boone homestead in Pennsylvania, I saw a very primitive small one saw mill in operation. Every since I was a child and had one of those tin bucket water wheels for the beach, I have been fascinated with waterwheel technology.
Also it was a lovely day at Smithville and I enjoyed the many saved historic buildings. Tomorrow, I'll post one of the little red schoolhouse of 1871.
Happy Trails! Jo Ann