A mile or so from the Hinshaw Barn near Buffalo Ford on the Deep River in Randolph County, North Carolina is Cox’s Mill, the last intact water powered grist mill in the county and one of the last in the state. Built around 1900 on Mill Creek by a Beane, it was run by several different millers during it’s history. It sits adjacent to an 18th century mill site also called Cox’s mill. Raymond and Flossie Cox ran the mill from 1938 till around 1983, grinding flour and cornmeal and then feed, using water for power till 1953 and then converting to diesel and electricity. The mill is closed now, but all of the equipment is still on site and intact including the wheel.
I stopped by the mill on a snowy day to take a couple of photographs and spoke to Miss Flossie as she is called. She talked about the history of the mill she and her husband worked for over 40 years (and she worked the equipment beside her husband Raymond) and she told me of some of the other folks who were connected to it. I found out her mother was my great aunt’s sister; small world. Then she told me that John Routh also once ran the mill. I was floored. John was my great grandfather and I live in his house. I knew he was a miller all his life, but never knew his connection with this mill.
I don’t know how long Cox’s Mill will remain. Though intact, the roof is failing and the creek is slowly eating away at it’s foundation. Unless someone restores it, and that’s not likely, it will soon disappear and along with it the last chapter of a part of Randolph County history.
Flossie and Raymond Cox (Photo courtesy of Flossie Cox)
(Photographs copyright 2010 by Dan Routh)