History and Location of Driver’s Mill

Other Names: Garey’s Mill, Spring Mill, Spring, Mills, Driver’s Grist Mill, Driver’s Sawmill Mill

Years: 1769 – 1902

Structure Exists?  No

Historic Site Location Precision:  50 meters

The following text is extracted from John F. McGrain, The Molinography of Maryland, Expanded, 2007 Edition for Posting Online at the Maryland State Archives.

The old mill dam of Matthew Driver, Jr., formerly made by Thomas Foster, was mentioned in 1769 on Ingrams [Chapel] Branch in Dorchester County deeds, 23 Old 169. Driver also had a tract called Mill Range surveyed in 1770. The 1798 tax list of Fork and Bridgetown Hundreds listed a mill house and gristmill owned by Joshua Driver and occupied by Stephen Trusty [Finsty?] on the tract “Grist Mills”, assessed at $1000. Drivers Mill Branch was mentioned as a landmark in that tax list.

About 1810, the mill belonged to Colonel Matthew Driver, who also had a sawmill near the point where Md. 313 crosses Chapel Branch. Later called Gareys Mill or Spring mill, the Driver Grist Mill was on the outlet of the present Garland Lake, 0.7 mile east of Md. 313. Matthew Driver’s home, Willow Grove, was described in HCLN, p. 82f.

Spring Mills near Denton, rebuilt in 1838, with a first-rate carding machine were advertised by Bachelder G. Chance, The Whig, Easton, August 18, 1840. Chance, presumably a Quaker, wished to leave the State. An ad for Chances Mill near Greensboro (q. v.) mentioned Spring Mills as near Denton. Chance had advertised in the Whig for a carder “to take charge of a new carding machine at Spring Mills . . . 5th mo. 24, 1839.”

The sale of Drivers Sawmill by Edwin M. Garey, heir of George W. Garey, to John Stack, Samuel C. Barnnock, and Foster B. Stevens, in 1841 was recorded in Caroline County deeds, JR V:186.

The 1860 census of manufactures showed Thomas F. Garey with $6000 capital investment in a gristmill with 1 employee, and output of 10,000 bu corn and 3000 of wheat ($13,120). The 1875 Isler county map showed T. F. Garey with a gristmill NE of Denton. The 1880 census of manufactures showed Garey doing a $8036 business, 87% of it custom, with the mill value down to $3000. Per diem maximum capacity was 90 bu; there were 2 run of stones powered by an 11-foot fall on Chapel Branch; two 32-inch turbines ran at 180 rpm to develop 20 hp.

The 1887 State business directory listed T. F. Garey, Jr., while the 1897 map by Saulsbury showed T. M. Garey. The American Miller, 17 (January 1, 1889): 57, reported, “T. Fred Garey, Denton, Md., has purchased two hominy mills, one Fairbanks’ Scale, and a lot of shafting, pulleys, gearing, belting, etc., of Aug. Wolf & Co., Chambersburg, PA.” The Manufacturers’ Record, 12 (December 17, 1887): 830, reported, “Denton . . . E. M. & T. F. Garey have contracted for remodeling their flour mill to the roller system.”

The American Miller, 16 (March 1, 1888): 204, reported, “T. F. Garey, Denton, Md., will build a 30-barrel roller mill, 30 x 50 feet in size. Water power will be used.” The same journal on September 1, 1888 (16:643), reported, “T. Fred Garey, Denton, Md., is building a roller mill, using four double roller machines, six Wolf & Hamaker Bolts, three Shaker Scalpers, No. 3 Purifier aspirator, bran duster, wheat scourer, 24-inch Low Kaiser Turbine, which will furnish the power, together with the shafting, pulleys, gearing, etc., The mill when completed, will have a capacity of 50 barrels per day. Wolf & Hamaker, Chambersburg, Pa., have the contract.”

T. Fred Garey, advertised as proprietor of the 40-barrel per diem Spring Mills near Denton, “Having just completed my roller mill,” Denton Journal, September 7, 1889.

In 1899, Thomas F. Garey made a deed of trust for the benefit of his creditors (Caroline County deeds, CWH 65:120), and the Spring mills was advertised in the American Union, January 25, 1900. The mill was described as a gristmill, roller process, with 24 bbl/diem maximum capacity. “The mill house and machinery are completely new.” In 1908, Thomas F. Garey, Jr., conveyed Gareys Mill to Peninsula Light and Power Company (Caroline County deeds, TDL 72:511). By 1920, the mill was extinct, HCLN, p. 244.

(HCLN is History of Caroline County, Maryland, Caroline County Schools, J. W. Stowell Printing Co., Federalsburg, 1920.)

Driver’s Mill in the Historic Landscape

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Other Historic Grist Mill and Sawmill Sites Caroline County

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