| September/October 1981

Site Administrator, Watkins Mill, Rt. 2, Box 270M, Lawson, Missouri 64062

In 1860 Waltus Lockett Watkins built a steam powered woolen mill on his farm in western Missouri. He had moved to Missouri from Kentucky where, as a young man, he had apprenticed in cotton mills and eventually became foreman of a mill in Frankfort, Kentucky. It was in Frankfort that he had his first experience with steam engines. He reported in his autobiography that 'I assisted in the building of the first locomotive and car that ever moved on a railroad in America by steam power.' This was the engine built in 1828 by Joseph Bruen and Charles Lewis.

Watkins moved to Liberty, Missouri in 1830. In 1839 he settled a farm about twenty-five miles north of present day Kansas City where he became quite successful as a raiser of mules and shorthorn cattle. By the mid-1850s he had a 3600 acre farm complete with a sawmill, flour and grist mill, and brick kilns. He then decided to build the first woolen factory west of St. Louis.

This three and a half floor mill was designed to produce fabrics, yarn, and blankets for use by local farmers. The power for the mill was supplied by the J. T. Dowdall & Company of St. Louis who's letterhead proclaimed them to be:

Engine and Machine Shop Corner of Second & Morgan Streets

Manufacturers of steam engines and boilers, saw and grist mill machinery, muley saw mills, tobacco screws and presses, lard kettles, lard screws and cylinders, wool carding machines, Young's patent smut machines, building castings, etc.


Farm Collector April 16Farm Collector is a monthly magazine focusing on antique tractors and all kinds of antique farm equipment. If it's old and from the farm, we're interested in it!

Save Even More Money with our SQUARE-DEAL Plan!

Pay now with a credit card and take advantage of our SQUARE-DEAL automatic renewal savings plan. You'll get 12 issues of Farm Collector for only $24.95 (USA only).

Or, Bill Me Later and send me one year of Farm Collector for just $29.95.

Facebook Pinterest YouTube


Copyright 2018, All Rights Reserved
Ogden Publications, Inc., 1503 SW 42nd St., Topeka, Kansas 66609-1265