About Locke’s Mill
Locke’s Mill is a colonial-era grist mill located in the northern neck of Clarke County, Virginia. It is near the confluence where the Shenandoah flows into the Potomac River. It was one of many mills along the Shenandoah and Virginia piedmont area that provided grinding services for grains coming over the Appalachian passes from the Shenandoah and Ohio Valleys for sale in the large coastal cities. Originally a double mill site, the present building dates from 1876 and ran two mill-wheels. The mill has recently had the second wheel assembly restored and certified organic in 2017. Today, Locke's Mill provides essential services to the growing local organic food movement in Northern Virginia.
Below is a wonderful video about the restoration of Lockes Mill.
Locke's Mill History
1740: Robert Carter Nicholas, grandson of Robert “King” Carter, received approximately 6,000 acres as a part of the 1740 grant distributing Carter’s estate to his heirs. Nicholas was a noted lawyer, a High Court of Chancery Judge, and Treasurer, Burgess, and Delegate of Virginia, James, City County. Upon his death in 1780, he conveyed approximately 3,000 acres to Col. Fieldling Lewis of Kenmore Estate in Fredricksburg, Virginia.
1780: Col. Fieldling Lewis married Betty Washington, the sister of George Washington, as his second wife. At his death, Lewis willed his Nicholas portion to his three sons, Lawrence, Fielding Jr., and George Lewis.
George Lewis, a nephew of George Washington, served in the Revolutionary War. He married Catherine Daingerfield in 1779, settling in Berryville, Clarke County, Virginia In 1790, Lewis sold the property to Thomas Colston and George Stubblefield. The deed cites a John Mausey survey of November 21, 1751, showing the mill as operational. At the Kenmore Museum, a mill accounts book, dated 17 January 1777, shows the name of Lewis and indicates that there were two mills on the site: the Upper Mill and a Lower Mill. One ground oats and Indian corn and the other ground rye and wheat. There is evidence of the lower mill’s foundation visible at the present mill site. A later map of Mausey’s, dated 1793, shows one building and George Washington’s land directly across the river!
Charles McCormick, a Clarke County businessman, purchased the property from the Holker family. The largest landowner in Clarke County, he willed the property to his brothers, Francis, Province, and Dr. Cyrus McCormick. The latter willed his portion to the others and Thomas Mc Cormick. Cyrus McCormick’s niece Nannie received the portion with Locke’s Mill and 260 acres. Interestingly, the 1864 map only shows Shephard’s Mill slightly up-river from the position of Locke’s Mill. As the map only superficially covers this area, it may have been unintentionally overlooked, or the mill might have been derelict through this period of the Civil War. This may be the reason why the Price family had to rebuild in 1876…
1876: Joseph and Mary Price rebuilt the mill, when it became known as Price’s Mill. They operated the mill until 1899. The current French Buhr millstones, were sent to the Prices as ballast in the ship coming from France to the US, then were assembled in Baltimore and named as trustee for Holker’s heirs: his wife, daughter, Anna Maria Adelaide Holker and his son, John Holker, Jr. A receipt for two French Buhr millstones were shipped from France to Baltimore, traveling by rail to Summit Point, West Virginia, and then carried by horse-cart to Berryville, Virginia. These are the millstones currently in use at the mill.
1899: J. H. and Roberta Wilson owned the mill briefly, from 1899 to 1907.
1907: Thomas H. and Rosa V. Locke owned Locke’s Mill from 1907-1946. They operated a general store and post office also on the property. The 30 foot overshot wooden water-wheel was flood damaged and lost in a subsequent flood causing the operations to cease in the late 1930’s to early 1940’s. The mill ceased operations under the Lockes’ ownership.
1946: William Botts Combs and his wife purchased the mill.
1950: Earl J. Clowser and G. Gibson Baker owned the mill property for four months and obtain a survey for the mill site.
1950: E. Blackburn Moore, a Clarke County apple farmer and politician, acquired the mill. It remained in the possession of the Moore family until it was purchased by Carol Sigler Joyce.
1980: Mrs. Blackburn Moore and others, Including Romni Cash, receive the mill property upon the death of E. Blackburn Moore.
1990: Romni Cash becomes the trustee for the Locke’s Mill property.
1992; Jon and Carol Sigler Joyce purchase Locke’s Mill. Over the next twenty-plus years, they restore Locke’s Mill with the invaluable help of Ben Hassett and Derek Ogden, millwrights, Ken Kephart, metalworks, William Callahan, sawyer, Mike Gerbowski, excavation. There is a currently a stone foundation with 2 (originally 3) framed stories.
2016: Sandy Lerner purchases Locke's Mill. In 2017, Locke’s Mill was certified USDA organic. Now, Locke’s Mill provides organic-certified non-GMO grains for sale through Gentle Harvest.™ The flours, meals, and middlings ground at Locke’s mill are available on-line, at the Mill, and at Gentle Harvest in Marshall, Virginia. Locke’s Mill also provides custom grinding services for local distillers and other customers of it’s stone-ground flours and meals. The mill is run by the three Founding Millers, Jon Joyce, Roger Steyaert (also the Miller at the Burwell-Morgan mill), and Harry Lewis.