Working in the Mills

An aspect of researching my family history that really interests me is the occupations of my ancestors. A common occupation that crops up again and again is working in various types of mills.

My Harris family has a long history in the mills. Ezekial Harris owned a saw mill in Bedford, NY in the the mid 1700′s. Nelson Harris built a saw mill in Cato, WI and then in Forest Junction, WI in the 1850′s. It was Forest Junction’s first business and was later operated by his brother, Isaac. Nelson’s son, Orville, worked in the Cato mill and later was an engineer in at a flour mill in Appleton, WI.

Walter Kachelski came to America in 1870, and during his early years, was employed as a weaver in a woolen mill in Beaver Dam, WI

Reuben Perry Benjamin operated a saw mill in Pierpont, Ohio in the mid 1800′s

In 1897, Daniel Webster Allen build the first grist mill in Custer, MI.

In the mid-1800′s, Lysander Ormsby operated a stave mill in Deerfield, MI. Stave mills produced the narrow strips of wood that composed the sides of barrels.

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2 thoughts on “Working in the Mills

  1. “Uncle Orville” (who worked in the Cato sawmill) made things out of wood, and gave a few of them to my grandmother Viola Seybold as gifts when she lived with him and “Aunt Kate” in Appleton during her high school years. We still have a footstool and a wooden box that he made and gave her.

  2. The stool is with my parents and the box is in another house — so it will take me some time but I would be happy to send photos to you once I can get them. Amazing that these pieces of the past are still out there — they clearly meant something to my grandmother!

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