Friday, June 24, 2016

The Zachariah Derickson House -- The Early History of the Land and Family

The Zachariah Derickson House
One of the challenges in researching the historic properties in Mill Creek Hundred is that many of them have long-ago passed out of the hands of the families who built and originally lived in them. This means that the people who would be most invested in a site's history, and the ones who would presumably have the most information about it, are out of the equation. In a few lucky cases, however, -- like the Cox-Mitchell House, the Ward-Dudkowitz House, and Woodside Creamery (the Mitchell Farm) -- the property (or a nearby one) is owned by a member of the family who long occupied it. Fortunately this is the case with an old home that, while not exactly hidden, is probably unknown to most who drive by it -- the Zachariah Derickson House.

Located on the west side (left if you're going uphill) of McKennans Church Road between Milltown Road and Delcastle Golf Course, this Derickson house has been keeping watch down the hill for about two centuries now. And while the first decades of its existence still contain a few questions, most of the history of this house is well-documented. Aiding in this documentation is the fact that someone with the Derickson name has been living in or near it since at least 1842. If you jump to Zachariah's wife's family, the current Dericksons can trace their presence on the same land back to 1766.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

The Roseville Covered Bridge

We'll take a quick detour now between the last post and next post (both regarding the Milltown area) to introduce a site that I'm pretty sure I was unaware of before this week -- the Roseville Covered Bridge. I've written several times in the past about the Roseville area, which is located along Kirkwood Highway just west of Possum Park Road. The posts have mostly focused on the mill seat located there or the neighboring farm (I hate to keep teasing upcoming posts, but one soon will again mention a planned later iteration of the Roseville Mill). I was aware that there was a bridge there, crossing White Clay Creek, but I didn't know it was a covered bridge.

This shouldn't have been too surprising, really. All the surrounding crossings (Paper Mill, Red Mill, and Harmony) had, at one time, covered bridges. There's no real reason why Roseville shouldn't have also. The reason why I had never heard of it before can be explained by the August 19, 1901 newspaper mention of the bridge seen above (courtesy, as usual in these cases, of Donna Peters). And although, to paraphrase a contemporary author, reports of its death were greatly exaggerated, the Roseville Covered Bridge did not last quite as long as did some of the others spanning the borders of Mill Creek Hundred.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Filling in the Gaps at the Robinson-Harlan-Chandler Mill

It all started with Wedgebury
As I've said a few times lately, one of the things I'd like to do with the new resources available to me is to go back and fill in the holes in the histories of certain sites. As it turns out, I've been able to do a decent job of just that with one of the very first sites I covered here on the blog. I actually started out piecing together the history of a neighboring site (which will be the topic of an upcoming post), but since the two were originally part of the same tract it became very easy for me to jump tracks.

The site in question here is the Harlan-Chandler Mill Complex, located on the southwest corner of Limestone Road and Milltown Road. The original post dealt mostly with the 19th Century history of the site, covering the ownerships of the Harlan brothers and the Chandler family. Only brief mention was made of its earlier history, noting that it was originally the Robinson Mill and at some point Caleb Harlan took over. (Most of the recent attention has been on the burnt and being-rebuilt Chandler House, which is about a century newer than the time-frame we'll look at now.)