We are proud to offer material from one of the earliest public structures built by the settlers in Church Hill, Tennessee. Rice’s Mill, a water-wheel powered grist mill used to grind cereal grains into flour was built in 1775. It served as not only a local place for grinding flour, but also the gathering center for the first census of the inhabitants in 1777. Being one of the larger structures in the area, along with neighboring Patterson’s Mill, it also served as a fort while settlers sought refuge from many Cherokee Indian raids that took place during the early development of the area.
A historical marker depicts one encounter in which nine settlers met with 30-40 Indians – while stating what happened to one of the settlers, it doesn’t go on to say what happened to any of the Cherokee. The mill served as a great historical building for the last few centuries, but it eventually had to be taken down due to some decay and liability reasons.
The reclaimed wood was extraordinarily well preserved and in unique dimensions rarely seen in hardwood.
The 3-story structure was primarily framed with white oak and poplar beams; some of which are as large as 12x12x38’! Additionally, the pine threshing floor can be re-milled into flooring, wall cladding, ceiling decking, or furniture stock.
We are also excited to offer many of the original fixtures from the building including one of the main mill stones that ground flour for countless years for the inhabitants in the area. We were able to salvage some of the antique wooden machinery including several flour separators – used for separating the different grades of flour based on how fine it had been ground. The waterwheel hub is also available and would make a stunning art piece or could be fashioned into a table top. Please visit our Vintage Timberware Page for individual items for sale.
We also own the rights to the amazing hand cut blue limestone foundation stone. There is an enormous amount that can be brought over by rail. It will be sold in somewhat large quantities and cannot be sold by the piece. Please contact us if you are interested in more information.
For those interested in how a grist mill operates and their purpose, we have attached a link to a great YouTube video that shows a grist mill in operation and shows the purpose of many of the wooden odds and ends we have for sale.
Please feel free to contact us for more information regarding beams, lumber, stone, or antique odds and ends from this great historic building!