Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Mid-Week Historical Newsbreak -- Another Mill Bites the Dust

(Philadelphia) Times - August 16, 1891
I haven't gotten to one of these newsbreaks in a while, so here's a quick little story. It comes to us from The Times of Philadelphia, dated August 16, 1891. It tells of the fire that destroyed Joseph Derrickson's woolen mill, reportedly near Stanton. As best as I can determine by looking at the maps, this is referring to the former Spring Grove Mill located on Mill Creek just below Stoney Batter Road.

The 1881 and 1893 maps both label the mill as "A. Derrickson", presumably for Aquila. This is slightly problematic in that Aquila Derickson passed away in November 1881. The Joseph mentioned in the article was Aquila's eldest son, who it seems acquired the mill after his father's death. I think the 1893 mapmakers may have leaned heavily on the 1881 version, since I recall seeing other instances where the later map seemed like it was not updated.

The Derickson Mill in 1881

For a while now I've wanted to write a post about this mill, but I've been unable to come up with much of what you'd call "facts", or "actual information". The closest I've come recently was discovering that Samuel Broadbent, the son of the former mill owner James Broadbent, seems to have built the Marshallton home of our new blog friend Craig. Beyond that it gets a bit thin.

I'm still hopeful that someday I'll stumble upon...um, I mean gallantly discover, more about this mill. If nothing else this article gives us an idea of the state of the mill in the early 1890's. My hunch is that it had already been shut down for good and was never rebuilt. If more comes up, I'll be sure to pass it along.