|Abel Jeanes Mansion|
The story of what would become the Eastburn-Jeanes Mining Complex begins with Abel Jeanes (1795-abt.1845?), who I think bought an existing estate along Upper Pike Creek Road in about 1815. In another post I'll detail more of what I found about the land pre-Jeanes, but for now, since A) Jeanes was born in PA, B) there is no mention of him in Delaware before 1816, and C) 1816 seems to be the common date for the beginning of the limestone quarrying, I believe c.1815 is about right for his purchase of the property. Whether lime was quarried prior to Abel Jeanes' tenure is unknown, but not long after his arrival he was joined by his brother-in-law David Eastburn (1773-1824), who bought the neighboring farm fronting onto what is now Paper Mill Road. Evidence hints that at this time, the quarrying and burning of lime was done as a secondary activity and source of income, supplementing the men's farms. It was only after David Eastburn's death in 1824 that the business would come into its own.
After his father's passing, David's eldest son, Joseph Eastburn (1802-1882), along with his Uncle Abel, expanded the lime business and made it a full-time enterprise. I plan on doing a separate post about the lime-burning process, but to give the quick explanation, it involves quarrying limestone and burning it in large kilns (eight of which are still present on the property). The resulting material, called quicklime, could then be used in mortar or plaster, or more commonly, as a fertilizer. To give you an idea of how extensive the venture was, by the 1840's there were seven kilns operating on Eastburn's property, and ten or twelve on Abel Jeanes' farm. Joseph Eastburn employed 14 men while Jeanes had about twice as many working for him. As you see, the supplemental activity of a decade or two earlier had by this time become a big business.
I've not been able to pin down exactly when Abel Jeanes died, but my best guess is sometime in the mid-to-late 1840's. It's likely that right after Jeanes' death, Joseph Eastburn moved into the old house on Upper Pike Creek Road. Elizabeth Eastburn (Joseph's mother and David's wife) continued to live in her husband's home on Paper Mill Road until her own death in 1864, after which ownership passed to her 11th child (out of 14 -- the Eastburns are prone to large families), Samuel. Joseph continued to run the lime quarry and kilns, later with the help of his son Joseph, Jr. (1847-1934). The business grew throughout the 19th century, prompting the erection of several of the structures around the site, such as an office, a wagon shed and wheelwright's shop (both to tend to the wagons with which the lime was delivered as far south as Middletown and as far north as Lancaster), and a storeroom.
|Bank of six lime kilns along Upper Pike Creek Rd|