Steam Power Water Power Grist Mills

| March/April 1998

  • Frick
    Photo by Jack C. Norbeck, Nor-beck Research, Coplay, PA 18037-1712.
    Jack C. Norbeck
  • Ira J. Haines

  • Aultman-Taylor steam traction engine

  • Frick
  • Ira J. Haines
  • Aultman-Taylor steam traction engine

Norbeck Research, 117 N. Ruch Street #8, Coplay, Pennsylvania 18037-1712

Frick 8 x 10 built in 1896. Owned by Steve Coldsmith of Chambersburg, Pennsylvania. Engine is in front of Anderson Grist Mill, Mercersburg, Pa.

On the front cover is Steve Coldsmith's Frick 8 x 10 built in 1897 by the Frick Company of Waynesboro, Pennsylvania. Operating the engine is Steve and his son at the old Anderson Grist Mill, Mercersburg, Pennsylvania. Steve Coldsmith, owner of Coldsmith Construction Company, Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, used his Freightliner truck to haul his Frick to the old grist mill. This reenactment was the way grain was brought to the old grist mills by horses and steam traction engines.

James Irwin, born in 1700, was a Scotch-Irish immigrant who came to Pennsylvania in 1729 with seven other Irwins. The Irwins operated mills, a bleaching plant and a smith shop in Ireland. James Irwin in 1748 owned 540 acres in Peters Twp. just north of present day Mercersburg, Pennsylvania. By 1766 he owned a mill valued at three pounds 12 shillings and by 1769 the value of the mill was 10 pounds six shillings.

During the Revolutionary War, Archibald Irwin's oldest son, James, began to do commissary duty for the Western Army at Irwinton's Mills. James Irwin organized pack horse trains to carry flour, meat and other provisions to Pittsburgh for the Western Army. James Irwin acted as an assistant commissary under the appointment of Col. George Morgan, who was Commissary General for the Western Army, whose headquarters were at Pittsburgh.

Large quantities of flour were made at Irwinton's Mill, packed in kegs, each weighing about one hundred pounds, to be sent west. Flour was brought in from Washington County, Maryland. Large numbers of beef cattle were driven to Irwinton's plantation to be purchased, slaughtered and processed in a recently erected slaughter house, and sent to the Western Armies. James Irwin stated that the Pittsburgh Quarter Master Department had four brigades of pack horses each containing about one hundred horses, with one horse master and twelve riders to each brigade, to carry provisions west for the Army. The mill must have been busy and crowded, with one hundred pack horses being loaded, and with their drivers and horse master preparing for a trip over the mountains to Pittsburgh.


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